Wilson Audio TuneTot

Let’s start by getting one thing out the way. The £10,998 price tag is not a misprint or reflective of a one-off special edition. In fact, it doesn’t even include the cost of the grilles for Wilson Audio’s smallest speaker yet that pays homage to the company’s first ever design created to solve a specific installation challenge. This is an unashamedly high-end solution, but for a sense of perspective the TuneTot sits at the foothills of a strong product range extending all the way up to the WAMM Master Chronosonic built-to-order flagship priced around £700,000.

Wilson Audio has cemented its reputation as one of the world’s premier high-end loudspeaker manufacturers. Founded in 1974 by Dave Wilson, it has refined long-held design principles in the pursuit of the best possible performance that has included some of the world’s most striking loudspeaker designs.

The TuneTot was Dave’s final project before he passed away last year and is an entirely new design in cooperation with son Daryl, but the name and ethos harks back to the very beginning of the company. One of its earliest products was the WATT (Wilson Audio Tiny Tot), a two-way standmount that was later augmented by a ‘Puppy’ woofer that eventually became a fixed combination. The TuneTot goes back to the idea of the original WATT and is intended to offer the performance values it holds dear in what it rather dramatically describes as “hostile environments”.

The TuneTot is designed and built with a view to being isolated from the outside world and vice versa. The cabinets are made from the same materials as the company’s larger designs using two composites called ‘X material’ and ‘S material.’ Naturally, given the names, the ingredients are something that Wilson keeps to itself but construction feels utterly inert and even when pushing it hard at high volume levels, the amount of energy expelled from the top or sides of the cabinet is minimal.

To minimise internal reflections the cabinet has no parallel surfaces and contains a 146mm doped paper mid/bass driver and a 25mm soft-dome tweeter. The rectangular aperture of the rear port is angled downwards and is fairly benign when placed close to a wall, but a foam bung is supplied to be completely sure of its docility.

But this is just the start of a toolkit of components that work to realise Wilson’s design aims. There are adjustable spikes that can be fitted to the bottom of the cabinet to adjust the front panel to help with time alignment. If you wish to isolate it further and use the TuneTot on a surface such as a shelf or cabinet, you can add a pair of ISOBase platforms priced at £2,498 a pair. Constructed from a combination of alloy and the same composite materials as the cabinet, they effectively make it immune to any surface it’s placed on.

Available in five gloss colours: teak, quartz, ivory, carbon and crimson, other optional extras are more focused on the TuneTot’s cosmetic concerns. It doesn’t come supplied with speaker grilles, but these can be added in a range of six colours costing £350 a pair or if you decide not to go for grilles, anodised trim rings are available in grey (pictured), clear, black or red for £750 a pair. Regardless of what you choose, the standard of finish is immaculate.

After experimenting with placement and consultation with the manual, I put the TuneTot with the ISOBase platforms on a pair of relatively lightweight Soundstyle stands. My listening room dictates that speakers be positioned fairly close to the rear wall, so the port bungs are employed. Connected to a Musical Fidelity M6 500i integrated amplifier and a Naim ND5 XS 2 network music player/DAC (HFC 446), listening starts in earnest.

Sound quality

The form factor-to-price ratio of the TuneTot is sufficiently different to products I typically review and there is an element of entering new territory here. After two minutes of Brace from Twin Shadow’s Caer, it becomes apparent that the allowances you need to make for the Wilson’s size are negligible. Even with the bungs in place, there is enough bass extension to ensure the deep notes underpinning the music are a palpable and convincing presence. The laws of physics will only stand up to a little bending, of course, and there are limits to what it can do compared with larger cabinets at the same price but in all but the very largest of rooms, it doesn’t feel like it is going to struggle.

The TuneTot gives a tantalising taste of what larger Wilson loudspeakers are capable of delivering. The sheer three dimensionality of the stereo image it manages to create is something that has to be experienced to be believed. Listening to material I feel I know intimately, the TuneTot delivers in a manner that I had previously assumed was all but impossible within the confines of my listening space. Without exception, the tangibility of the soundstage it creates is something I hadn’t imagined being feasible from a loudspeaker of this size in this room.

This is a very neutral and revealing loudspeaker and one that easily shows the characteristics of the components it’s partnered with. Both the aforementioned Musical Fidelity M6 500i amplifier and my resident Naim Supernait 2 integrated are able to provide perfectly solid bases for the TuneTot to demonstrate its incredible spaciousness and exceptional detail retrieval, but I have little doubt that moving further up market will yield even greater rewards – provided, of course, that you have a reasonable amount of power at your disposal.

Best of all is that the TuneTot never demands a constant supply of perfectly mastered material to deliver on its virtues. My music library contains more than a few rough diamonds and no journey into these areas leaves me unhappy with the results as it consistently delivers an engaging performance without fear or favour on every occasion. The balanced manner in which it allows you to hear the limitations on some recordings its fed while effortlessly connecting with and delivering the music’s emotional core is one that is perfectly judged.

Naturally, give it a high-quality feed and the result is breath taking. The vinyl pressing of Dead Can Dance’s Dionysus takes on a quality that bypasses the feeling of any mechanical transmission of the music at all. It is simply you and the shifting, undulating sonic space. There is an element of contradiction to the idea that a product so grounded in material science and applied engineering can generate a performance that feels more akin to magic, but there have been times with the TuneTot that this best describes my listening experience.


For some people the TuneTot will never make sense – as the price for such a compact speaker will forever be better spent on something larger and more imposing – but I take a different view. Short of a lottery win, I am resigned that my listening space will never be vast and will always be somewhere that serves other functions. The idea that the TuneTot delivers jaw-dropping sonics regardless of its surroundings is an intoxicating one and for some lucky people represents the start of an astonishing journey into Wilson Audio ownership. ES  

Product: Wilson Audio TuneTot
Price: £10,998
Origin: USA
Type: Two-way standmount loudspeaker
Weight: 13kg
Dimensions: (WxHxD) 219 x 377 x 259mm

● 1x 25mm soft-dome tweeter
● 1x 146mm doped paper mid/bass driver
● Quoted sensitivity: 86dB/1W/1m (8ohm)

Read the full review in March 2019 issue 447

Absolute Sounds Ltd. (UK distributor)
58 Durham Road
SW20 0TW
0208 913909