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.
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