Wilson Audio Thor's Hammer Subwoofer Home Theater Review 01/2009

Jerry Del Colliano

Home Theater Rewiew

I recently saw a late-night show on the Discovery Channel about Type-T personalities. You know who I am talking about: the ones who are always seeking a thrill like going on roller coasters or skydiving. They seem crazy to the risk-adverse, but really all they are looking for (with every fiber of their beings) is a true thrill. For the Type-T personality audiophile, I would like to introduce the $21,000 Wilson Audio Thor's Hammer subwoofer.

Named after the chief weapon of the Norse god, everything about this gigantic subwoofer screams powerful. With dimensions of 59 inches tall by 20 inches wide by 25.5 inches deep, consider this passive subwoofer to be the exact opposite of the trend of small subwoofers started by Bob Carver at Sunfire. Designer David Wilson believes in big ideas done with top performance first and cost a much lower priority. Anyone who has heard (let alone owned) his speakers knows exactly what I am talking about. He is the Enzo Ferrari of speaker designers, who can ironically match the color of your subwoofer to any "prancing horse" you might have in your garage if you think it would look good in your living room.

Additional Resources
• Pair the Thor's Hammer with the Wilson Audio Sophia 2 loudspeaker.
• Find an amplifier to power this beast of a subwoofer.

Wilson Audio's Thor's Hammer is characteristically a very high-efficiency speaker at 93 dB, which means it has the ability to keep up with Wilson's popular WATT Puppy version 8, MAXX version 3 and Alexandria loudspeakers. The Wilson Audio Thor's Hammer weighs a massive 412 pounds when sitting in your listening room and an even more hefty 545 pounds when crated up and ready to ship. There is nothing undersized or low-performance about this subwoofer.

High Points
• I love the fact the David Wilson doesn't need to BS his clients about statistics. His woofer - as many woofers in the $2,000 to $3,000 price range claim to do - actually can hit 16 Hertz at full volume. Wilson suggests 16 Hertz is the lowest note on a pipe organ, which is his reference, yet electronic musical instruments that aren't quite as "natural," such as a Roland 808 synthesizer and/or crash-and-bang blasts that are sent via HDMI on the new HD audio tracks on Blu-ray via DTS Master Audio or Dolby TrueHD, are equally well received by Thor's Hammer.

• The fit and finish of Wilson speakers are the best in the business. No speaker is more luxurious. Nobody's paint or detail work looks better. At first glance, you know what you spent your money (a lot of money) on and it feels good.

Low Points
• Wilson Audio's Thor's Hammer isn't a powered subwoofer. Therefore, there is the need to obtain an amplifier for the "point 1" channel of your audio system, adding additional cost and complication to your system.
• Unlike lesser subwoofers, there is no digital room correction with Wilson's Thor's Hammer, so you will rely on your Wilson dealer for proper set-up. It is probably recommendable that, if you are making this level of an investment, you and your dealer should consult with an acoustic engineer for room treatments and speaker placements before you take delivery of a full-scale Wilson speaker system. They aren't that easy to just slide around a room in order to try new locations for bass performance.

Conclusion
It doesn't get any bigger, badder or more lust-worthy in the world of subwoofers than Wilson Audio's Thor's Hammer. You could legitimately put a picture of this insane subwoofer in the dictionary next to the term "over-the-top," because it is just that. For the audiophile who has it all - if you don't have Thor's Hammer, I can tell you that you don't have real bass, and why in the world wouldn't you want to experience every audible note you possible can hear (or feel)?