Proac D38, Wilson Sophia II, Avalon Ascendant???

Which of these would you go for? I'm running Theta Gear.
for all kinds of music, the proac or the avalon.
I would suggest the oposite. I'm familiar with ProAc, owned Avalon Eidolon Vision for over a year (and heard Opus Ceramique, Ascendant and Symbol in MY system), and now own Sophia 2. To my ears, Sophia II is considerably better than the speakers you listed - it has better articulation, deeper soundstage and MUCH less colorations.
Elberoth2, thanks for the opinion. I've listened to the Wilson's and thought they were great. I'm still waiting to audition the D38's. I'm less inclined to evaluate the Avalon as I am looking for more of a true full range sound and have heard the Avalon Ascendant is a little less dynamic on the low end??? I'd like to listen to the Avalon Indra but at $20K it is out of the price range.
I would like to add to the mix if I may. When looking in this price range you may want to add the Von Schweikert VR4sr mk2 to the list. Great bang for the buck. Very detailed and musical with great dynamics.

Blessings, Bob
Inhisservice, I've heard good things about Von Schweikert but I don't have a dealer close by.
Chetiar - all Avalons I have tried (maybe with the exception of Isis) have somehow limited dynamic impact in my expirience. Even the Eidolons, which use 11" Eton bass driver.

Wilsons, on the other hand, have been known for years for great dynamics and bass impact. And Sophia II is no exception.

The problem I always had with Wilson speakers, was that they were too bright and fatiguing for my taste. But not any more. Sophia II - for whatever reason - is a major breakthrough from the typical Wilson "family sound". Properly burned in (read: after 400h), they are not bright or edgy AT ALL. Sophia II sounds very natural and well balanced through out the spectrum, fast, uncoloured, and with one of the most grainless high frequencies.

One of the Sophia's strenghts - and the do that better than almost any speaker I have tried - is the power and articulation they are able to provide in the vital lower midrange. If you love classical music as much as I do, you would love the way Sophia can reproduce the left hand of the piano, the baritone chest-tone or the chello. Most other speakers sound boomy and muddy in this region compared to Wilsons.
Elberoth2, I am envious of your system. It looks fantastic. Thanks again for the input on the Wilsons. I agree with you completely. I remember the old Wilson sound and never cared for it but the Sophia II's are different...very well balanced, dynamic, and not bright or fatiguing. I really do love the ProAc sound being a current D15 owner. Without being too analytical they just sound good. I'll keep the forum updated when I get a chance to listen to the D38's!
I have always been a fan of Proac, ever since the Response 2.5 came out. I think they are a wonderful speakers. Yes I have compared it to others but I always came back to wanting to own the Proacs. There is something about them they always makes you wanting to listen to music. Isnt it why we are discussing it! They are very musical and involving. You can listen to it for hours and not feel fatigued.

I am a musician/pianist and very fussy about the sound that I hear. I spent a lot of time and money to buy the piano that produce the sound of my liking. And I spent a lot of time and money to decide which speakers I want to own.
I now own the D38s.
I like the Sophia but if you had a dealer look at Vandersteen, more musical and bass EQ adjustments to tune to any room but again the Sophia sound darn good and probably the sweetspot in the wilson line.
Chadnliz, I have heard Vandersteen. I think they sound good. Maybe a little more musical and not quite as accurate as the Wilsons. I think I favor ProAc sound over Vandersteen but the Vandy's did sound good.
Zeeshanb, I agree there is something special about the ProAc's! Out of curiosity did you feel the D38's also made improvements in the total presentation of sound, or did the improvement mostly come in the lower register when compared to smaller ProAc speakers???
Chetiar I used to own Proac D38's and I would agree with Zeeshanb's comments. Compared to the smaller Proacs, the D38's are more dynamic and sound less constrained. The lower registers have the most improvement, but how much you get depends on how well you set it up. I have heard my D38's sound horrible but once I positioned them correctly and applied some room treatment (I was in an over-bright room) they came together really well.
I can only say that the improvement was in the total presentation and I agree with Amfibius that it sounds more dynamic and yet very musical.
When I evaluate speakers I do not really want to concentrate on any individual aspect of speakers. Its the overall sound and the presentation of the speakers. And in case of proac it makes you want to listen to music, and its almost like it has emotions. I know I am getting carried away with my comments but just wanted to describe the feelings when I listen to my D38!
Thanks Amfibius and Zeeshanb for your thoughts. It is really strange... you talk to fans of ProAc and they have negative things to say about Wilson. I however tend to agree with Elberoth2 that the Sophia II is a very different Wilson sound. I wish I could compare D38 and Sophia II directly but it seems that that will be very complicated to arrange. Just not sure what to do???
Chetiar it might be because Proac and Wilson sound is quite different :) I have not heard the Sophias, but I have heard a couple of Wilson W/P's. The bass hits you like a fist in the chest, with clean, natural and extended midrange and highs. Proac sound is different, with a more prominent and warmer midrange, and more subtle bass. Suits different types of music and different listeners.
Amfibius - I agree with you that W/Ps sound VERY different to ProAcs. However, Sophia II is a different story.

I personally love ProAcs, Avalons and yet ... I was so impressed with the Sophias II, that I bought a pair. I never though that it could happen !

To me, they do everything ProAcs can do, but are much less coloured, more transparent and offer superior articulation. I atribute ths to their advanced enclosures, which are very inert. Listening to ProAcs, I always hear the contribution of MDF box.
Thanks for everyone's help. I think I've decided to go with ProAc D38. I like the Wilson Sophia II and agree with Elberoth2 on many of his points. I currently own D15 and can only assume that moving up the ProAc line gaurantee's improvement for me. Switching to Wilson is still a risk and at $5K more I want a sure thing!

I am probably too late here but wanted to offer you the opinion of someone who has owned speakers from each manufacturer mentioned (ProAc and Wilson Audio). In our primary listening suite, I previously used ProAc Signature 50 Monitors (and still own these...will never sell) and ProAc D15 loudspeakers. A couple of years ago, I compared the D38s to the Wilson Audio Sophia Series II loudspeakers, and the Wilsons were my preference. I immediately purchased the Wilsons and sold the D15s. The ProAc monitor will be used in a secondary system.

Food for thought from someone who has been there, done that. :-) The Wilsons are likely to be the last speakers we ever purchase. They are outstanding.

Best of luck in your quest.

Thanks for your advice. I have not made a purchase yet. The more people I talk to tend to think the Wilson's have a slight edge over the ProAc D38's. I'm not sure and probably will never be sure. I e-mailed a professional reviewer who has listened to both speakers at length and published articles about them as well. Ultimately he said three things that I take to heart. 1. The ProAcs have a musicality about them that is amazing for how they are priced within the market. 2. The Wilsons are more accurate and more true to the reproduction of what is being put through them. 3. You can't go wrong with either speaker as they are both incredible and both highly recommended by many audiophiles around the world.

Taking all of this into account and the fact that the Wilson Sophia II are $5K more than the ProAc D38 I just have a hard time deciding if that difference in cost justifies making the change???
You should consider having Rick at SelahAudio build you a custom pair with the drivers and of the shape/design that you like best.
Building a speaker is much more than just putting a bunch of speakers together in a DIY box.

I have heard a ton of DIY speakers, many of them using state of the art drive units, and most of the time was very disapointed.
Hello All,

Thanks agian for all the advice. This was a great thread. I just auditioned the Wilson Sophia II against my ProAc D15 to evaluate for tonal differences etc... I've decided to go with the Wilson Sophia II. I plan on taking delivery in the next few days. My final assessment is simple and mentioned above. ProAc and Wilson are both great. ProAc is more musical at the expense of being slightly colored. Wilson is more accurate. Above all else listen for yourself and go with what you like. Also, realize that a more accurate sound does not always translate to a better sound.
I know you were in a difficult position - having to extrapolate how the D38's would sound from your experience with the D15's(two steps down in the line) - but I worry ,for you, that you've jumped from a known and loved family sound to one very different. Please keep us posted on how the Wilson's wear on you.I've always liked the Proac sound but based on my recent auditions of the D38's they strike me as really,really special!!

I absolutely love the Wilson Sophia II's. I am very happy with my decision. Absolutely no regrets. I would say the only drawback is that my bad recordings sound worse but my good recordings sound astonishing. To me the Wilson's are what speakers should be. They allow the sound to come through without altering the tonal characteristics. The Proacs tend to push musicality (which I admit can be very enjoyable). For instance take Diana Krall, Patricia Barber, Norah Jones, or Cowboy Junkies for example. On the Proacs the female voices are right there in all their glory. With Wilsons depending on the track/album they are at times set back. If you keep listening what you first heard as a slightly muted female vocal actually places the voices more accurately in space. If you concentrate you can actually picture the band/vocalist and hear how far away they are from the various instruments etc. In addition, you can pick out each instrument in the background so concisely. Everything is just more real. These are obviously very analytical attributes but to me it makes listening more fun.

I really enjoyed my time with Proac and realize that the D38's would be in another league than the D15's but I really admire the honesty that the Wilson's provide. Spacial orientation, dynamics, an out of the box flavor to music. When I close my eyes and listen to them the imaging is extraordinary and that sense of being at the performance is magical. Especially with any instrumental recordings. I've never been so excited to listen to CD after CD.

Also, my speakers are set-up for home theater as well. Wow! The impact of movies now are just incredible. Again, I did not compare side by side to D38 but suspect that that the overall design and dynamic capabilities of the Wilson would have greater impact for movies.

I understand hesitancy to leave that classic Proac sound but at least for me what an eye opener type of experience this has been. Obviously these are all just opinions as what sounds good to one person may not be the preference to another. Just like some like their coffee black and others with cream and sugar.

So far the Wilson's are wearing just great with me. I don't think I'll be replacing them anytime soon.

Hope that helps.
Glad your jazzed about your purchase - nothing worse then being disappointed (or even ambivalent) about a new purchase.For the sake of those of us students-of-the-art, if you ever get the chance to finally hear the D38's ,let us know your thoughts.Might help entertain/educate some of your fellow'philes.
Mred, you might consider contacting Mcrheist who made an entry on this thread as he has directly compared D38 to Wilson Sophia II and much preferred Wilson.