42 years of experience (including building Stereophile Magazine Editor's top choice of speaker) has allowed us to build the best speaker we've ever made.
The Generation Four High Definition Loudspeaker With Extended Bass in a Bookshelf Size
Our Constant Goal
We've been designing and manufacturing quality loudspeakers for forty two years. Our goal has always been to create a speaker of unsurpassed tonal quality, high definition, and extended bass covering the lowest musical octave. In short, a speaker that creates a realistic soundstage like that of a live performance.
Note that we make only one model. It is the most natural sounding speaker we know how to make, and we are not interested in less.
A Brief Summary of Our Qualifications
Although we are a small company, we are known world-wide for our patents and innovations. Our speakers have been awarded "editor's top choice" by Stereophile Magazine, the original and leading magazine in the audio business (see below *). We invented the Watkins dual-drive woofer, marketed world-wide by Infinity. It received world-wide acclaim and was decisive in putting Infinity on the map. It had no equal at reproducing low bass in the pre-subwoofer era. We pioneered the first acoustic absorbers for music room treatment, and they were hailed as a breakthrough by the leading magazines. We hold three U.S. patents on loudspeakers, and have authored numerous articles in the leading audio magazines.
* Larry Archibald (Stereophile Magazine owner) wrote:
As this review appears, the Watkins WE-1 remains firmly ensconced as J. Gordon Holt's reference system. In fact, for the first time there has been a respite from JGH's recurrent pleas, "It just doesn't sound real," or, "I haven't liked anything I've listened to for months." Instead I hear, "Have you noticed how these grow on you?"
Gordon Holt (editor of Stereophile Magazine) wrote about the Watkins WE-1:
"The more these speakers stay around my listening room, the more I like them. I find these speakers "wear" better than any I have lived with for many years.
Even so, it turned out to be a work in progress
In our never-ending quest for natural music reproduction, and as technology improved we continued to improve on the WE-1. Now with current technology and our know-how we have succeeded in designing a speaker with which we are completely satisfied. The Generation Fours literally open a door into a realistic and believable soundstage of imaging, detail, and natural tonal quality. We believe they are equal or superior at reproducing natural sound to any speaker on the market, regardless of cost. This in a bookshelf size, and also at affordable cost. Listening to music on the Generation Fours is a pleasure you may not have experienced before.
Why the Generation Fours sound good
Our exclusive Watkins damped reflex bass system allows the Generation Fours to reproduce the lowest musical octave, thus the lowest note on the bass fiddle (41 Hz) is reproduced at full power. This is without equal for a small speaker of the Generation Fours size, and it gives the music a full-bodied and satisfying sound, unlike the thinner sound of other small speakers. The cone composition and damping ring in our low-mid frequency driver allows a uniquely smooth and flat response and peak-free roll-off in the high end. This allows instruments and voices to be reproduced with correct and natural tonal accuracy. With our first-order crossover design, the impedance does not fall below 6.7 ohms from 20 through 8,000 Hz, or below 5.3 ohms above that (see below).The benefit here, along with a higher than average 88 dB sensitivity is an easy load for an amplifier. This can make a given amplifier sound better, and monster amplifiers with high wattage are not needed. A 60 watt per channel amplifier is quite adequate in the average size listening room. The 5.3 ohm minimum impedance also allows tube amplifiers to operate in a cleaner mode. The smooth roll-off of both our low-mid frequency driver and tweeter is due to eliminating the usual need for crossover inductors with their inherent distortion and undesirable reactive load on amplifiers. Thus there are no sharp peaks and dips in either impedance or phase found in other crossover designs. Even very expensive speaker systems are not in the same league with the unrivaled low value of reactance of the Generation Fours phase response (shown below - compare this with any speaker on the market today). The benefit from this low inductance load allows amplifiers to reproduce transients more accurately, resulting in music that's better defined, clean, and without harshness.
Another major factor to the Generation Fours clean and natural sound is our exclusive custom-damped tweeter. All tweeters have a high-frequency resonance that distorts and colors the sound. Our special damping process eliminates this unwanted resonance completely. This is another factor in allowing the entire musical spectrum to be reproduced with natural, clean, and uncolored sound that is unsurpassed by other speakers regardless of price.
Our low-mid frequency driver cone uses a special blend of polypropylene and minerals for low distortion and clean natural sound. The motor utilizes aluminum shorting rings and coil back-venting for linear movement in the bass frequencies. It also incorporates our exclusive damping ring for natural reproduction of voices and instruments in the mid-range band. It operates in a Watkins damped reflex mode of our own exclusive design, providing unrivaled low deep bass in a small cabinet. The tweeter is acclaimed world-wide as the best of its type and is modified by us to eliminate the high-frequency peaking and coloration common to all dome tweeters. The result is clean and well defined high frequencies, pinpoint imaging, and natural air and space between instruments. Crossover components are necessary evils for multiple order crossovers used in even the most expensive speakers. The Generation Fours crossover is a special single order six dB design, using just one component, a single premium capacitor. This lack of the usual reactive components that cause coloration is difficult to design into a loudspeaker and therefore almost never found. However it is the only type that allows accurate transient response and truly excellent detail in music that such brings. The icing on the cake is the unique time aligned front baffle, allowing the sound from the low and high frequencies to reach your ears at the same time. The end result of all the above is speakers that literally disappear, and instead you hear a panorama of natural and realistic sound as though you were present in a concert hall.
Generation Four Frequency Response, Impedance, and Phase
Generation Four Specifications
Type: Two-way dynamic, operating in our exclusive Watkins extended bass tuned mode (patent pending).
Drivers: One 6 ½ inch woofer-mid, and one 1 inch magnesium alloy dome tweeter.
Frequency response: +/- 2 dB 41 Hz to 20 kHz. Down 10 dB at 30 Hz and 28 kHz.
Crossover: Special 6 dB first order with no inductors or resisters, and just a single premium grade capacitor. We use 99.99% pure oxygen-free copper wiring. All connections are soldered (no clip-on connectors). Even the two internal connections in the capacitor are soldered. This will prevent oxidation and distortion due to the wire lead-outs just being pressed against the conducting foils, as is the usual practice in capacitors.
Phase shift: Unequaled overall for a dynamic speaker. Maximum 38 degrees with no sharp peaks or dips.
Sensitivity: Above average at 88 dB at one meter with 1 watt input, 180 degree radiation angle.
Impedance: 8 ohms nominal. Minimum 5.3 ohms, maximum 20 ohms, 20-20.000 Hz.
Recommended power: 30 to 125 watts, unclipped music.
Inputs: Heavy duty gold plated copper 5-way binding posts. Accept up to #8 gauge wire.
Cabinet: High density non-resonate with special 4-way internal bracing. Time-aligned front baffle.
Finishes: Cherry, black ash and pecan. All are semi-gloss on real wood, not vinyl.
Dimensions: HWD 14x 8 ½ x 13 ½.
Net weight: 24 lb each. Shipping weight 32 lb each.
Warranty: 2 Years.
Watkins Audio Inc.
1019 E. Center St.
Kingsport TN 37660
Web : www.watkinsstereo.com or www.watkinsaudio.com
Phone (423) 246-3701