The speaker cabinet carries the classic Wilson trademarks of an immaculate finish on top of their proprietary composite material construction. When you hear the music flow from them you realise that this is a masterpiece of design. They have no parallel surfaces and the X and S materials that the enclosure is constructed from have variable thicknesses. Wilson Audio is a world leader when it comes to cabinet design and claim that the Tune Tot has the same level of care with its configuration, construction, and use of composites, as found in both the Alexia Series 2 and the WAMM. This most certainly includes their highly evolved internal reflection management system, which goes some way to explaining the out-of-the-box music-making they are capable of. It’s worth mentioning that Wilson don’t see the Tune Tot as an entry-level product at all and I understand exactly where they are coming from here. This is a fully-fledged Wilson speaker that has limited bandwidth but can operate in situations that are, conventionally, unusual. I can imagine many existing Wilson owners finding a place for a pair of Tune Tots in their home.
The driver array starts with a 146mm paper pulp mid/bass rear-vented through a slot port. This is from Scan-Speak’s Revelator range. A Wilson Convergent Synergy 25mm doped silk fabric tweeter (also found in the Sabrina) in its own sub-enclosure handles the high frequencies. These are mounted on a tiny baffle, treated with Wilson’s customary damping materials around the tweeter and the lower corners. Minimal reflections are the order of the day here and the Tune Tot takes full advantage of this when it comes to their presentation and sheer clarity. They are not particularly sensitive at 86 dB but also not a difficult impedance load. Wilson suggest amplifiers with a minimum of 25 watts. This was ideal for my listening and I used them with the lovely Vitus SIA-025 integrated amplifier, running in full 25-watt Class A mode. Although they are accommodating of inexpensive amps, the quality of the amplifier is more important than the power output as these tiny Wilsons are capable of serious refinement. The trusty Vitus proved a perfect match. Rear connections are a robust pair of gold plated types able to accept spade or 4mm plugs, usefully angled to make connection easier.
Siting the Tune Tot is always going to be fun. With just about any other small speaker that might conventionally sit on a stand, possibly hard back against a wall, dialling their sound into the room is relatively easy. But, for any high-potential speaker to flourish you need to create the right environment and the Wilsons bring a whole new set of decisions and options and obviously they have their own set of compromises. Wilson have cleverly addressed their conventional small-cabinet shortcomings of low-frequency extension and turned it to their advantage. Nobody is going to buy these speakers for their bass weight. I used them on my desk where they were very, very near-field and on a pair of wooden cabinets in my listening room where they were in a more conventional setting, essentially using the furniture as stands. It soon became clear that, without the usual metal stand, the Tune Tots are likely to find themselves in any number of weird and wonderful locations and as I mentioned earlier, Wilson have provided what they term as Ecosystem tools to allow the user to extract the best possible results for most situations.
In a situation where they will excite all sorts of resonances within a hollow cabinet there are a pair of custom plinths. Forget the usual laminated block of medite or some other materials. The Tune Tot’s plinths are a thing of beauty in themselves. They are called ISObase and are designed to provide vibrational isolation between the speaker and the dangerously resonant locations where they are going to find themselves seated. They are formed from constrained layers of composite materials and some newly developed polymers that add to the damping characteristics. These are immaculately finished in matching paint with aluminium decoupled features and elongated slots to allow a little to and fro location of the spikes. There’s a possibility you won’t need them for some applications but, having said that, I always preferred the sound with them in place. They look great too.