BEST AMPS FOR WILSON SASHA


hi, i have in this moment a ayon cd5s cdplayer with built in preamplifier , pass x250 amps and wilson sasha speaker ( i love sasha), i want a new and better amplifier, the options are two, pass xa100.8 monoblocks or cary 211fe monoblock, what is the better option for the sasha?, your opinion please
orionpcgames
My good friend has ARC VM220 tube mono amps for his Sasha 2's and speaks very highly of the combo.
i have only two options pass xa100.8 or cary 211 fe
I am not a Sasha owner, but I do have Wilsons.  I think the Cary is risky.  I love tubes, but I think the 200 watts of pure class A in the Pass amp will be a better driver to the Sasha.  I would be worried about lack of power with the Cary.

i have 100 watts of tube power driving my Sophia 2's, and I think even the easier to drive Sophia could benefit from more power.  The Sasha, being a more challenging speaker to drive, would probably do better with the stronger of the two amps.

A big +1 for the Pass amps, as they will stay uniform over the audio band range in frequency response driving the Sasha varying loads.

The 211’s will act like a tone control and not stay flat in it’s power delivery, especially around 60- 100hz where the Sasha is 2ohm and -45 degree phase angle and where the power is really needed, the 211’s will sound thin/bright and with very low bass drive and control.

(That 2ohms and -45degree can equate to an even lower than 1ohm perceived load to an amp!!!)

http://cdn.stereophile.com/images/archivesart/710Wilfig1.jpg

Quote from Stereophile measurements:

Sasha’s plot of impedance magnitude and electrical phase (fig.1) reveals the speaker to be a demanding load for the partnering amplifier to drive. Not only does the impedance drop below 4 ohms for most of the lower midrange and upper bass, with a minimum value of 2 ohms at 86Hz, but there is also an amplifier-unfriendly combination of 3 ohms and –43° phase angle at 61Hz.

Cheers George

I agree with George. The Sasha’s impedance curve suggests that it probably would not be an optimal or even a good sonic match for a triode-based amplifier that is described as using no global feedback.

It would be possible to say with greater certainty if the output impedance or damping factor of the 211FE were specified, or indicated in published measurements, but I couldn’t find any such numbers.

The ARC tube amp Mark indicated a friend uses successfully with the Sasha 2 is a different animal altogether. Like many ARC amps it uses a significant amount of feedback (14 db), and has a higher damping factor (12), and therefore a lower output impedance, than most other high quality tube amps. And of course it is significantly more powerful than the 211FE.  So I would not extrapolate any expectations about a 211FE/Sasha pairing from reports about ARC tube amp/Sasha pairings.

Good luck. Regards,
-- Al

And to boot Al,, not just zero global feedback to bring output impedance down, but in conjunction with a minimum transformer tap of 4ohm, is another indication of a "not very good match", with these types of impedance loads that Sasha's and many other have.


Cheers George  

This is a case where an audition of the Cary 211 parallel SET with the Sasha is a must before purchasing. In the Stereophile review cited by George , Art Dudley said his Shindo 25 watt tube amplifier was really quite special driving these speakers and this combo made beautifull music. However the Shindo amplifier is push pull and may also utilize NFB.

On paper I’d have to agree strongly with George and Al, the Pass Labs seems the more appropriate amplifier given the Sasha’s impedance characteristics. Zero NFB SETs can be marvelous but they must be mated to a compatible speaker. If you’re unable to audition the Cary with your Sasha, IMO the Pass Labs is by far the safer and wiser choice
Charles, .
i am running Sasha wit Xa 100.8  and beginning to think I need more power .  Bass needs more impact and midrange more projection.  i am looking at the Burmeister 911 mk3 or Xa 160.8
Charles, a minor correction to your characteristically sage post.  I'm pretty sure that the 211FE is a push-pull amplifier, not a parallel SET.  I say that because it is described as transitioning from class A to class AB and then to class B at high power levels (a SET would always operate in class A), and also because it is described as being a "fully differentially balanced" design.

Best regards,
-- Al
 
Wilson's love power. And systems that need lots of power can have their otherwise excellent systems limited by something as basic as standard Wall Outlets. 

Alpha 100 is looking for more bass impact and midrange projection - I suggest trying the Synergistic Research Black A/C Wall Outlet. First installed there is more presence, and then over the next 100 to 200 hours there is an improvement in bass, midrange and PRAT.

They come with a 30 day trial and if not happy return for refund. Certainly easier than shipping amplifiers to and fro.

David Pritchard
Hi Al,
 You are correct, it does transition to class B to provide more power and SET amplifiers certainly aren't capable of a differential balanced circuit. I don't know why I overlooked those two glaring factors. What is fascinating  is the reviewer (Mr. Dudley) said based purely on listening the 25 watt Shindo was so pleasing with the Shasha. You'd never imagine this outcome possible given the speaker's load demands. He did also find the 400 watt Electrocompaniet amplifier an excellent choice as well. Based on specifications alone the Shindo would ( justifiably so)  be ruled out as a suitable amplifier candidate.  Audio is such an intriguing endeavor. 
Charles, 
Thank you David. i recently installed Furutech GTX D NCF R.  An improvement over  the Oyaide R01.  will the Synergistic Research be better?
Often you see that people want to keep their speakers and they always will be protected why they want to keep them.

A client of mine owned the Wilson Audio Sasha, the first time I audtined his set I was amazed by the poor endresult of the set.

Even when he used a d’agostino momentum stereo it was still very poor.

The drivers have a slow response and the speaker is difficult to drive. Beside this the realism in sound of classical music is a lot different than it sounds in real. Even with tubes the speaker still has his own sound.

We live in 2016 and Wilson Audio still uses dome tweeters which own a reach far below 30khz.

The difficulties is has with some recordings is insane. Come on speakers in this price range with harsness in the high freq. is not done.

Even a simple recording of Jacintha the set was not able ( even with the Momentum) to create a physical double bass with all the layers you want and need.

Even with the Wadia 381i and MIT Oracle cables it still sounded poor.

A new client of mine owns the Sasha 2 with Pass Labs XA100.8 and he is not happy with his set either. Here I also will sell the Sasha.

If I were you I would sell the Sasha without doubts.
Hi Bo,
The OP wrote "I love Sasha" so clearly he's quite happy with these speakers.  I appreciate that you aren't enamored with them but that's besides the point in this case. He just wants a good amplifier match for them. 
Charles, 
I understand, but the problem is still that it is a difficult speaker.

This is based on the fact that it is difficult to drive, but also difficult to be placed in most rooms.

You have to ask yourself the question: Why you would choose for a speaker with these difficulties. In about 18 years of time I visited several people with Wilson Audio speakers, Often they had difficulties with the acoustics and drive difficulties.

You need to understand that these limitations makes it a lot more difficult to create a stunning level out of the speakers.

At the end the result of the overall sound is what counts most. Many people get a low % out of speakers they own in sound quality.

I seldom audition a set were a person gets a good level in overall sound of the loudspeakers. Many people are not able to create a good balance out of their loudspeakers.
Charles,
I understand what you're saying about the OP loving his Sasha's. However based on my experience with Wilson Audio Sophia 2's, 3's, and Sasha's I sent the OP a PM suggesting that he should consider other speakers. It's just my experience, but I convinced myself that I loved my Sasha's when I had them also. In hindsight I realized I didn't love them and after I sold them I started to listen to music more often and for longer periods. I know the OP and I may have different sonic priorities, but listening to other speakers may help. 

Hi ricred1,
I do understand the point you and Bo are making,  it can be said truthfully that Wilsons aren't suited for everyone  (no speaker is). I'm just accepting that the OP has sorted this out and has determined however the Sasha is the best speaker choice for him. All of this is a pure demonstration of the nature of subjectivity. You became dissatisfied with the Sasha but the OP loves them. 
Charles, 
Bo,
I share your viewpoint in regard to difficult to drive and fussy speaker attributes. Horses for courses as they say. 
C,
There is a need to change audio as soon as possible.

The audio market is getting smaller and the knowledge is getting poorer every year. The word highend is used by brands like Denon who call their surround amps of 500 dollar highend.

Highend is based on nothing. There are no rules about it. It is based on air......not based on facts.

I spoke with different people about the Highend Show in Munic this year. People were only talking about the poor demos. We are only talking about how bad it is and who was the worst.

Last year over 90% were 2 dimensional at the highend show in Munic. When I asked people who gave the poor demos what music are you using ( horrible and aweful music) they didn’t know.

Stage depth is one of the most important parts what make highend different from hi-fi. But most sets are playing in 2 dimensional sound.

2D sound I call standard audio, because a simple amp of 100 dollar will almost playe the stage the same way.

Most people who buy a system like the people in audio don’t know the F. about audio and music.

People need to know a reference frame were you can judge the quality for.....
I've heard the Sasha powered by McIntosh MC452 (450/ch) and it sounded superb.
Wilson has a large market share so probably doing something right.  
knghifi,
I submit there are many reasons besides sound that a company can have a large market share in highend audio...marketing and wide distribution are two reasons that I think contribute to a company having a larger market share
Wilson dealers don't just carry Wilson but many different brands.   So the fact they chose Wilson, I THINK they like the sound?

Several weeks ago I heard Wilson Sabrina at a dealer and with the RIGHT electronics, it was excellent.
System synergy, as so often pointed out in these forums, is key--in addition to the particular sonic proclivities and preferences of the listener. I have Sashas driven by MF NuVista 800 with Transparent cabling. The sound is beautiful--I literally  listen daily for many hours on end without fatigue. Definitely no high end "stridency" etc. the highs sound natural and beautiful.  I just wish I had the time to listen even more! They sound real. I've listened to Wilsons (I have owned Sophias and Sashas; heard Alexandrias, Maxx, Alexia), B&W (owned 804s and had extensive in home audition of 802s), Maggies, Harbeths, Dalis, Sonus Fabers, Linns, Vienna Acoustics. There are things I liked about most all of those. But the Wilsons were, to my ears, the best and most real sounding. But I've always heard them being fed with a lot of power.

If anyone says Wilsons have harsh highs, they need to look seriously at their amps preamps or source for the problem.

As Wilson highs are about the only one of a couple dynamic driver top ends that I can listen to and still like compared to my ESL’s, or when I can leave my windows open to get rid of the ozone gas, my Plasma tweeters.

http://www.hifido.co.jp/KW/G0206/E/0-50/C11-62930-26992-00/


Cheers George

When people do not have a reference frame, you can sell them everything you want.

After I visited my client with the Sasha I invited him to my house. He only plays classical music. To be honest every single Wilson Audio speaker I listend with classical music I was not convinced at all.

Because in real a violin, cello or even piano sounds a lot different.

This client also visits live classical music.

I think and work by Tru-Fi. This is how music sounds in real. I collect properties to create Tru-Fi. I test each part of an audio set ( amp, source, speaker, cable, conditioner etc) on Tru-Fi. These are 8 parts you judge sound for.

I have done thousands of tests in about 18 years of time and now understand of many brands the d.n.a. en properties.

I learned also the connections between brands and properties. This makes audio much easier to understand and use.

Because it allows me to create the sound I have in my head. It is like a puzzle. When you have done thousands of tests like I did you see patterns after time. They make audio so much more effective.

When I judge any set by Tru-Fi and using my own music in a few seconds I know what is there and what is missing. I can easiliy explain to each person what it missing. For me it is that simple, and it is even very easy for others to understand.

The client with the Sasha said after listening to my set; this is the sound what I would like to have. The instruments sounds how my experience is during live concerts.

In the past I have adapted sets with Wilson Audio speakers for clients. They were often a lot more satisfied. But to be honest I could never life with the endresult they have. Because it is by far not good enough.

The properties are not good enough to create the best sound possible. For a perfectionist only one thing counts; THE BEST. For me there is no second best or third best.

Why is Wilson Audio based on my personal expience not good enough?

For met it is very easy to explain it. I test each speaker based on Tru-Fi. This makes it easy to compare it with others ( like I did many times)

Based on sound realism, there are speakers who get closer to how instruments sounds in real.

Based on intimate sound, how sharp and physical in stage there are speakers who do it better. Listen to small classical live concerts and compare it with Wilson Audio. Then you understand exactly what I mean.

Black level, this makes instruments fully 3d and more tangible. The Wilson Audio speakers I heard often had a low or average blacklevel.

Timing and speed, based on all the acoustic difficulties you often get it is clear that it is not the fastest speaker in the world. Often I would like a much tighter bass with much more layers when I audition them.

Resolution, dome tweeters ( old technique, I think in about 10 years we will see them a lot less than today) have reached the maximum we can get out of them. They are less forgiving and realistic in sound compared to the best ribbonbtweeters. The older Wilson Audio speakers are even poor or average in high freq. The Sasha also had some difficulties in the high even with Audioresearch/Momemtum poweramps.

Beside this they can create less depth and width.

With the best ribbontweeters you have a much better perspective of differences in height of the recording. This part makes the harmonics of 2 or more voices togheter so much more diverse. And also it make the stage wider and deeper. It sets instruments much more separate from eachother.

When the tweeters of the Wilson Audio speakers would have a higher reach, you get more authority over these frequencies. This is often what you miss.

It can go low, but often you miss the layers in the lowest freq. In many rooms the freq. response of the Wilson Audio gives you difficulties.

Also in stage depth and width there are speakers who use better crossovers to create a much bigger soundstage.

When people have no reference frame they don’t know how to compare. In almost all shops and shows the sound is incomplete. But the people who listen to it, often don’t know how good it is.

When you use the word: Highend, they think it must be great. Audio is not based on words, but how it sounds.

The is the thing I love must of audio; because the sound doesn’t lie!


Bo, I  respect you opinion, and it sounds like you have a lot of experience. However, others of us who have and like Wilsons may also listen to live music (I do) and have that as a reference (I do). So many other variables come into play, such as system synergy, the listening room acoustics, preferred music genres, and your hearing (have you had pure tone audiometry up to 20kHz done in the past couple of years)? You mentioned ribbon tweeters.  I also have spent a lot of time listening to Carver Amazing loudspeakers in the past (planar with ribbon tweeters--admittedly they are now old) which are very nice, but I like Wilsons better. Just my 2 cents.

Wilson Sasha is the best that I tested, well above the C4 confidence Dynaudio that had, the sound is very real, very vivid, holographic, the question is if I buy a pass 100.8 I have problems 

a question, pass x350.8 is a good option?
It will be an excellent combo. Only 2 times in my life I found Wilson Audio speakers gave a good sound. One was with my sold personal set of XA100.5.

I own the X350.5 now and prefer it over the XA100.5. I use it with the new Purist Audio Limited Edition luminist powercable.

This make the X series sound like XA series but with more controle and more details in the high freq.


This year I auditioned the Sasha with the Momentum power. This was not enough for the Sasha.

The 350.8 delivers more power, but also a lot more electricity compared to the Momentum. This is what you need.

I have done many tests with Pass labs poweramps, with Purist Audio powercables you can reveal a much higher result in sound out of the amp.

I think most people have no idea how big the differences are. When I give shootouts most people get crazy and are amazed about the differences.

The knowledge in audio is poor this means that people only can get an average level out of any speaker at the max.

I have proven that I could reach a higher endresult with a X250.5 with a Purist Audio Limited powercable vs XA100.5 with powercables of 1500 dollar.

Most people never test these things. Here you will find how much higher quality is possible to reveal out of any amp.
hi bo1972, Then , the x350.8 is best match that pass xa100.8 for the Wilson Sasha according to your opinion?
When you want to go on with your speakers, it is a lot better.

Because it can give a lot more amperes. I hope you have a big room as well. Because you need space around your speakers.

I also hope you placed the speakers in the length of the room. You need to understand that you have to adapt to the demands and properties of your speakers.

When you want to get a higher level out of your speakers you need to understand your speaker first. Which cables do you use?
The Pass Labs amps before .5 series are of a much lower quality compared to the .5 and .8 series.

Even a X250 is not able to drive your speakers. You also need the rest of the set of a very high level to have a chance to get a good result out of your speaker.


By using the Ayon also as a pre amp you will loose a lot of quality a poweramp can give. For example; before I bought the Pass Labs XP-20 I used a Meridian 800Daxv4 as a source and pre amp. It is comparable with your situation.

It is far from ideal. It lack dynamics and even details. It also build a less wide and deep stage. 

By far the biggest limitation I have auditioned at many sets in about 18 years of time is that most of them get a low quality out of the speaker they own.

I always bring in sources and cables and sometimes amps to show people how low the level is what they get out of their speaker. When you show them how much higher the level is by using better stuff they realize that the balance is not good.

Here you see that the people who sold it to them, often don't know how tot create the best balance for the money people spend.


Arsh, I am also a Wilson fan!  Of all of the speakers I have owned, my Sophia 2's are my favorite.

Bo, while you sound very knowledgable, lets not forget to play nice.  No need to over-enthusiaticly trash a brand that the OP and others actually enjoy.  Your input is valuable, but if you tone down the rhetoric just a tad, the post will stay constructive and be less of a rant.

I do agree that Wilson's are generally hard to drive.
Atma-Sphere Amplifier the MA-2 (220 Watts of OTL) will happily run the Wilson with ease and finesse. These are regarded as one of the best amplifiers on the planet.
At the end it is important that you get the best possible out of any speaker.

At the end in most situations it is average till poor. It is seldom that people are able to create a good level out of a speaker.

This is based on different aspects. When you are not aware of the properties and d.n.a. of a speaker it is a hard job.

Most people think when they buy an expensive speaker they don’t have to spend a lot of money on other parts. This is by far the most made mistake in audio.

Most rooms in houses are not easy to be used for Wilson Audio speakers. You need to know how you can adapt it.

Even when I ask a question about cables why they choose it and if they can tell me the properties of the cables they use people don’t know.

You cannot use cables blind in a set. At the end you will hear a sound and image what is build by all the different properties togheter and the acoustics.

Each cable builds the stage differently and also has a different way in sound.

That is why you need to understand how music and instruments sound in real.

If I can give an advice to each person overhere; please visit a small acoustic live concert. It will give you a new view about music and audio as well.

Audio needs a new reference frame so it becomes more easy for people to adapt the sound and stage of each system.

In the last months I asked to many people who work in audio if they are aware of all the different properties of each part in the set they demo?

No one knew. So I asked a new question to them all; this means that you are not aware of why the sound and stage is what we hear?

Most said; I think so. This is audio by trial and error. When you don’t understand why the sound and stage is what you hear it is almost impossible to create the sound you would like.

When you don’t have a reference frame ( most even don’t know it) then tell me what is your focus?

This is the main reason why all the sets I have auditioned in 18 years of time most were poor till average. It is very clear to me why this is the level in sound what people can create.

When I listen to a set at a show and I see which brands people use and how the set is being placed it is clear that there are many mistakes.

We are not talking about one mistake, but many. You can spend 500.000 dollar on a set, this does not garantee you anything.

I saw at many highend sets exactly the same faults people make at mid level priced audio sets. You would think that the knowledge would be a lot better. But in real it was not.

You want the best sound possible for the money you spend. But the way audio is sold by trail and error you always work at a very ineffective way.

That is why you need to change it to create a much higher rusult in sound.




" You want the best sound possible for the money you spend." - no kidding .  Time to come down from the mount with all of the preaching Bo
When you use audio by trial and error, you never will get the best sound for the money. I have proven this to many people in a period of 7 years now.

When you are not aware that trial and error is ineffective you don't understand it!!

Audio is sold by shootout and the most convincing and emotional sound always wins. Because the level of emotion influences what we buy.

So you need to create a sound what owns as much diversity and realism of the recording. This is why I work by Tru-Fi. 

It is more complete and diverse, each person will choose for it. Tru-Fi is based on how humans feel emotions by sound.


bo1972" ... Audio is sold by shootout and the most convincing and emotional sound always wins. "

You may sell audio by "shootout," but I think that's a very poor way to choose an audio component. Nothing is better than long-term listening, imo. I don't need to be "sold" anything.

I use my set and those of my clients to make other ’new’ clients clear what a 3 dimensional sound based on Tru-Fi does compared to any other set in a shop.

Because the difference in quality and emotion is so big that people often directly understand why it is that much better.

Words I hear often are: this is the sound what I would love to have myself.

Here it starts to rebuild sets te create a 3 dimensional sound with much more diversity in sound.

I sell a sound, because this is what creates the highest level of emotion in music.

No person will ever be come happy with any kind of 2 dimensional and incomplete sound.

And you know why?

Because it is not able to create enough emotion during listening. I have spoken to many many people who only owned 2D sets.

At the end they want to buy something new because they are nog happy. Often they are inside a spiral and are not able to get out.

When your system stays 2 dimensional, after time you get the same outcome. Many of my latest clients are now aware what the main reason is why they are changing all the time and never become satisfied.

The level of emotion and excitement of any 2 dimensional set always will be low.
So Bo,  layout for us your Tru Fi 3 dimensional system components in detail 
For a 3 dimensional stage and sound based on Tru-Fi You need:

- speakers who use crossovers and owns the d.n.a. to build a wide and deep stage

By far most speakers are 2 dimensional. This means that they only can create no depth till maximum of 1 metre.

In the middle frequencies you find the most important part were the emotion of music is being experienced.

You need a source who also can create a deep and wide stage. Again most brands are 2 dimensional.

The biggest mistake these days are the use of seperate dacs with usb. Because it is a fact that you loose a big part of the diversity in the middle frequencies. What you hear is that the sound in the middle frequencies is almost the same.

When you compare sources, the differences in stage depth and width and also in diversity is huge.

For amp and pre amps again you need those brands who are capable in creating a deep and wide stage. Most are also 2 dimensional.

I give you another example: When you compare a new Pass labs poweramp with a Mcintosh or Accuphase you will understand why the Pass is so much better.

It can reveal many more layers in the middle frequencies compare to the other two brands. It also can create a deeper and wider stage compared to the other 2.

You have a much lower level of diversity in the middle frequencies with the Accuphase and Mcintosh.

Each part needs to have the right properties to create the best sound possible.

You need to understand how the emotion is being created during listening to music. When you build an audio system this way the level of emotion will become so much higher.

Most people in audio don’t know a lot about properties. So only the ineffective way of trial and error is what they can use. It is a useless way of creating audio. It always will be a big F guess!!
And CARY 211 FE NO POSSIBILITY?
Bo, you didn't answer the question - what specific components , you know brands, models, cables, that you specifically use for the Tru FI 3 dimensional sound so we can all see what's in your system 
I seldom talk about my set. Because even when you buy the same set, it will be totally different in sound what you wil get.

I never will talk in details about my own developed Statement Audio Pro measurement. Because this brings audio to a much higher and new level.

We do a lot of modifications to amps and sources. We will never tell in details how we do it.

In 2015 we did a lot of research in electricity and smog. Here we made a lot of progress as well.

Audio is not based on brands and products, but the way how you use it.

We use a lot of tricks and do many things totally different. Here is were we reach a much higher level than others.

I use the best professional lasers in the world and have created different ways to measure. This is also an important part were we have a big advantage compared to the rest.

Research and testing gives me a lot of information all the time. The differences are all the details togheter.

My focus is always based on how I get the highest level out of each part of an audio set. This only can be given and understood by testing for hours each week.

Most people create a very low level out of each part of their system. For me it is very easy to make this clear. Often I take only one part with me. Often it is only one cable.

Even with one cable I can make clear why a person only uses a low level out of a part in his system.

I always know exactley how to reach a higher level out of a set and what I need to change. I am only interested in creating the biggest improvement for a certain amount of money.

A perfectionist is only interested in the best result possible. 2nd best is for F losers. It is my job and responsibility to create the best sound possible for every single client. Only result counts and never is the focus on how can I earn the most money from this client.

I love to compete, I see audio as a game. I love to play against others. Because I always want to win. Proof me you can create a higher endresult?

All audio shops have the same chances as I have, may the best win!!








bo1972"I seldom talk about my set ... I never will talk in details about my own developed Statement Audio Pro measurement. ... We will never tell in details how we do it ... I love to compete, I see audio as a game ... Proof me you can create a higher endresult?"

How can anyone prove anything to you Bo? Your equipment is Top Secret. Your "measurements" are Top Secret. Your "Tru-Fi" premise is mumbo-jumbo. Yet, you demand proof from others! Silly!

" Proof me you can create a higher endresult? "

I don't claim to be all knowing, nor to have the ultimate system. You on the otherhand claim to be well ahead of the curve in knowledge and ability to create the TruFi (ultimate sound). I asked you to enlighten us with the specifics of your system so we could all see what specifically has created the ultimate sound for you; rather you continue to ramble on with your tiring diatribe of how wonderful and all knowing you in this regard. As the saying goes - time to put up or shut up




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