Searching for new speakers: Wilson, B&W, ??

My quest continues for the "right" speaker. I am looking for a good match for my current system. All ARC with a VT100MKII (100watt per ch) amp. I don't want to go any bigger with the amp (not any time soon) It sounds really good with my Martin Logans, but I am looking for more low end and mid bass. I listen to rock, classic rock, and jazz mostly. I want something that I can listen too for hours at low volume without fatigue. And for it to be musical and engaging with good bass response at lower volume. I occasionally get loud. My room is about 15x22 with a vaulted ceiling. Its hard for me to demo these where I live, I have heard and like the B&W 804 or 803 ,really like the look. And I like the Wilson Sophia which at its used price would be about my spending limit. Thank you
Try Audio Physic Scorpio. detail, low end bass, slam,natural sounding,coherent from top to bottom with seamless integration.I found them better than B&W or Martin Logans.
I did not like the sharp unnatural high frequencies of B&W and the Martin Logans did not do bass integration well i.m.o.
PLEASE try the Crites Speaker Works CORNSCALA;they have 15in woofers and are horn loaded in the upper frequencies. You can order them in either a 2- or 3- way configuration and a guarantee that you will have all the bass you will ever need! You may want to get an electronic bass eq from Marchand Electronics to tune them to you room and ear.
The B&W'a are a nice choice but are a little current and power hungry for your set-up and room. The Legacy Focus HD or SE models would be a good choice. They are efficient, have good low to mid bass and are extremely musical at low volumes. I have owned Legacy and know this to be true from a personal stand point. But keep in mind this is just my opinion. Good luck!
Well, as opposed to some responses here which don't answer your question, but merely implore you to buy the brand THEY did, I'll give this a shot. The B&W's are great speakers. For the price difference, try to go with the 803 as the extra bass is welcome and they are not too much larger. They are rated at around 89-90db and 8 ohms (but dip to 3 so use the 4 ohm tap on the VT. I also have an ARC VT100 and it will drive these fine. I would avoid the larger 800 speakers as these are bears to drive. The Wilson's are also great speakers and are decently efficient at 89db and 4 ohms nominal are not too difficult to drive, again, just use the 4 ohm tap on the VT. Please note that these are quite different sounding speakers made for different buyers. The Wilson's can be very unforgiving of setup/source,etc,etc. The B&W's are probably easier to live with for always, try to listen to them in your own room if at all possible. Not easy with speakers this large though. Good luck!
My suggestion is to listen to MY favorite speakers...Vandersteen and Magnepan. I owned the big B&W's but tired of them soon.
I highly recommend the PSB line of speakers for your musical tastes and at a reasonable price. Their most expensive Synchrony One is a true bargain, but even their Image line has great bass performance and is smooth and detailed througout the range. I have the 4t, T65 and Stratus Golds and each is a great performer at its price range and the lasted Image t6 can be found for less than a grand and rivals anything close to its price.
That being said, if you can afford the Wilsons or the B&Ws and you like their look, go for it. They are great speakers.
Apples and oranges, or in this case, B&W's and Wilsons.
They are very different...VERY.
The Wilson is clearly a better loudspeaker, much more neutral...less fatiguing...fewer colorations.
I'm thinking that you HAVE what you describe that you're wanting. This may be a simple virus...the stereo bug, that you have...more than anything else...I recognize the symptoms. I've had that disease for more than thirty years now.
After the ML's...the B&W's colorations will make you nuts.


Good listening,
A backward search,buy the speakers you really like then match the amp/pre to it.
Stating that IMO I agree with Larry,the Wilson sophia blows away the B&W..but I wouldnt limit myself to a couple speakers without listening to all thats out there.Dynaudio,Focal both have speakers in your price range.
Salk and be done.
I can only say that, for classical music at least,I would not take B&W for free could I not resell them.
I never owned Vandersteen but anyone I ever knew that did was well satisfied.
Often overlooked are the Rega RS3 and RS5 ,relativly cheap and VERY natural on acoustic music.
PSB is hard to beat for the buck butIMHO Rega beats them
on classical,probaly other way around for rockers but either will do for any kind of tunes.
I have recently auditioned the B&w 802, 804 and Magnepan 3.7

The magnepan's made me turn the volume way way down. That bright!

The b&w sounded like real music one hears in a jazz club or orcehestra hall. The 802's provided a better soundstage, but the 804's are very good for half the price. They are quite revealing of the electronics and balanced on the warm side so they should match well with you ARC amp. The 803's need more power but if you listen at low volume, 100 Watts should suffice.

I have not heard the Wilsons, so no comments on them.

...the B&W,s colorations will make you nuts.
Could you please elaborate?
Just add a Martin Logan sub. By alleviating the amp and speakers from producing that much bass will really open them up. Since bass draws so much power, your mid bass may be lacking from too little power.
Thank you for the responses. The primary objective here is to have fun and find a speaker that will make music enjoyable to listen to, not to explore the inner detail of the perfect recording at the compromise of the 100's of other recording in my collection. My Martin Logans (Aeons) sound very good and great at low volume detail and imaging. And even though I have a JL F110 sub, I find the low end (or rather mid bass) lacking. As well as just wanting to have fun with a new sound. I tried Vandersteen 3A sigs, and found them to just not work well in my room. They seemed to want to be turned up to sound full (in my room) and then they were over powering the room. Ironically we threw in a pair of 20 year old Polks just to try and whereas they did not sound as good over all. They were more listenable. I have heard both B&W and Wilson at different times in different showrooms and like most of what I heard. There are fewer Hi-Fi shops these days at least where I live so the only way to be an enthusiast is to buy some and try it and if I don't like it sell it and try something else.
Why do I think this is a trap...hmmm.
OK, and these are my ears only--except for comments mentioned later.
But, after the ML's which are VERY nice and neutral sounding through the, lightning fast...with very low coloration...the B&W's have very identifiable colorations...the Kevlar has a distinctive mid range 'honk' (not my description, but a well referenced call by many). I hear that, don't like it.
Then...there's the lack of coherence (NOT a problem with the ML) from the lower mid, all the way through the high frequencies...with a delicate top on the ML's...not a strength in the B&W's.
Maybe I'm too hard on the B&W's...but I have to say...after designing the LSA's...then taking a pair of $1K speakers into a store...comparing them ON THE FLOOR...people crowding around...shocked beyond belief at the disparity in sound between my humble little speakers and the $3K 805' was very telling.
I asked can, why would all these heady engineers at B&W design a speaker that sounds like that? With such obvious colorations?
Then there's me...NOT AN ENGINEER...armed only with ears...(sounds weird) who can voice a speaker that just kills theirs that costs three times the price. How can that be?
Not a fan...B&W's...if you love them, that's great...great...everyone likes a flavor...I like 'neutral'...they're not.
Hope I didn't shoot anyone in the foot...especially myself!

Good listening,
Hi Vdosc,

My experience is that with almost al speakers (priced for mortals) a subwoofer is mandatory in order to have good bass when listening at low levels. Luckily you have a sub already. Also, often floorstanders need to be cracked up a bit in order to open up (I talk here about midrange and high frequencies). Thus, IMO for listen sessions at low levels one is better off with a pair of good monitors and a sub than with a floorstander.

Regarding your question, i.e. B&W vs. Wilson, the Sophias are much better speakers than the B&W models you've considered. Also, being more dynamic than the B&Ws, the Sophia will most likely play better at lower volumes.

Good luck and keep us posted!

Happy new year to everyone!
Sophia 3 or Sasha. Great speakers.
The sophias will provide better bass at lower volumes than most high end speakers on the market today. Plus the Sophias excel at just about every aspect of musical expresion. I see no downside to Sophias based on Vdose's needs.
Larry, don't worry. No trap here. Just glad to hear a civil comment about the B&W's. Yes I own a pair of the "infamous" 802D's. I also have heard the midrange coloration you have heard, but I found out that experimenting with different interconnects seemed to tame that a bit. Seems like some of the regulars in this forum have a very strong feeling about their loudspeakers of choice. I've been in this hobby for forty years now and by what I have read about audio, I still have alot to learn. I recently went to a highend store in the mid-west. Listened to Wilsons both Sasha and Sophia 3's, Spendors, and Vandersteen 5A Carbons, only to have them all obliterated by a Pair of Magnaplanar 3.7's with a Rel Gibraltor 2 sub woofer. My point is how do you make a rational choice and feel you have not wasted your money on the wrong product? This is especially true for guys like me with limited funds. Anyway, thanks for the resonse.
We can all agree to disagree when it comes to loudspeakers...thanks for reading with a neutral eye.
I suppose, I've always 'liked' the British sound, but don't hear it, per se, in the B&W's, in the same way as the older Brit products...Spendors, et al.
They're pleasant...colored, to my humble old ears, but colored nonetheless--BUT a color I could live with...again, the B&W, not so much.
The shocking thing here was...comparing them to the 'ML's a very neutral (throughout much of the spectrum) speaker.
We could discuss the midbass/bass blend and such...but to me, minor niggles. ML made a good product and they were good people to boot.

Great keep on loving it...I will...

Good listening,
Lrsky,B&W engineers know exactly what they are doing and that is voicing their speakers the way typical rock releases are.
And yes, many classical releases are voiced with B&W,EMI etc aren't going to change a studio around for that tiny
market share.
IMHO your description of the B& W sound is perfect,spot on !