B&W 802D vs. Sophia and

Interested in members views of the 802D vs. the Sophia and other speakers in comparable price range. Thanks.

I feel that I should respond to your inquiry in that I did some serious comparisons of these two exact speakers. I listened to both of them one after another three different times using the same music...albeit, different components at each setting. I believe that when choosing any speaker, especially at this price point (12,000+), one has to listen to them as often as possible before throwing down the cash. In my case, when I first went to hear the Wilson Sophia's I was totally enthralled by their-what I perceived to be-clean and tight sound. They sounded lively and were thrilling. I came home thinking that these were the ones! Then I began my camparison listening homework. To make a long story short, the B&W's began to sound better and better to me. Don't get me wrong, the Sophia's are wonderful, but the B&W diamonds, especially when driven properly, produced a "realness" for me that I, as a serious music lover, can live with over the long run. I sincerely believe that the criticism of the B&W 802's stem mostly from their honest and accurate reproduction...they can sound dry without the proper source components. However, they sound effortless and engaging with careful component choices. To me, what I originally percieved as the Sophia's bright and lively sound, began to seem like a speaker with a real sonic signiture, whereas the B&W's really were closer to no sonic signiture. In other words, the diamonds can be as good or bad as the component-cable combination that is sent to it. I am very aware that everything I say can certainly be refuted, especially in the "subjective" world of how each of us really hears the music. Believe me when I say that my ultimate choice of the 802D's was arrived at only after as much objectively as I knew how to muster and over many listening sessions and source components. I use a deHavilland Ultraverve tube preamp, a Wadia 302 player, with a huge Bryston 14bsst for unlimited power. Whatever speaker you choose, whether it be the B&W 802D's, the Sophia's, or any other in this price range, if you do your listening homework I know you will be thrilled with your choice.
Jppenn, at the likely risk of being ridiculed by Judy..thank you for a well written, helpful and informative description of your comparision.
Not sure if you made your decision yet - but I was in the same boat and went through a similair process. I was dead set on the Sophias, but after going back and forth between the two I ended up with the 802D, and have never regretted it. The Sophia was just too cold, the 802d is real, alive, sounds like music. Good luck with your choice... I was comparing the two with Accuphase CDP and Krell EVO and Accuphase amp.
That is strange to say at least. My expirience is quite the opposite. I have heard the Sophias 2 and B&W 800D (so a much more expensive model than 802Ds you are describing) in the same room, driven by the same electronics (ARC & Nagra), and to me there was no contest - Sophias were much more natural and real sounding. The B&W sounded oh so colored - both in the midrange (the infameous kevlar "quack") and in the bass. When we swithed to B&Ws after listening for a good while to the Sophias - we looked at each other and literally started laughing ! Long story short - I ended up getting a Sophias.
My dad listened to both, really liked the Sophia but instead bought the Vandersteen Wood Quatro.....beats them both IMO. The Quatro has much better bass than Sophia, and is much warmer than BW it is also easy to integrate in any room with bass tuning 11 band EQ...these speakers are good enough that my dad decided against the 12month 100% credit towards 5A...they are that good. $11,400 with inline filters.
I decided on, and purchased, the Wilson Audio Sophia, after extended-listening to the B&W 802D, Krell Res.2, Revel Studio and Focal 1037Be. The Wilson sounded beautiful, regardless of electronics or room. The other Speakers may have excelled in certain specific areas, but the Wilsons have a more-balanced and integrated sound. Also, the finish is just superb, and gorgeous in Diamond Black. They look more like Art, than conventional Speakers.
Higly recommended!
congrats on your purchase...enjoy!
I noticed in another thread you stated this is now your third straight set of Wilson's.Some seem to love the Wilson sound while others hate it but then again B+W gets the same thing.What were the other 2 sets of Wilson's?
I heard the sophias years ago and was impressed. But Ive heard the diamonds recently and was amazed at the soundstaging and disappearing act. But I cant afford either so Im sticking with my current system. B&W matrix802s3( Im a diehard B&W fan) use the center Matrix HTM and 601 for the rear. Big Ol' Classe DR 25 for stereo. Happy Listening!!
Budt - I think there is no such a thing as "Wilson sound". Not anymore at least. The Sophias sound superbly natural and balanced, which was not always the case with the older designs. Personally, I hated the older Wilson products - WP 3/2, 5.1, 6 and even 7. They made my ears bleed. That was why, at the time, I much prefered, and bought the Avalons Eidolon. But Sophia II is a totally different story. This is, to my ears, the best Wilson speaker to date.
I've owned the CUB2 and WATCH Surround Speakers, prior to the Sophia. The CUB2 were excellent Speakers, with beautiful imaging and vocals, and tight punchy bass. A great deal on the used market.