Sophia 2 vs. Vandersteen Quatro


Can you all help? I'm considering the quatros or the Sophia 2s. I realize that they're different but wanted some opinions on which is better. I really like the sound of both but it's hard to decipher b/c I've listened at different dealers in different rooms with different equipment. Has anyone compared the two? Thanks for the help.
briandwyer
I worked the last Stereophile show. We had two rooms. One with the Sophia and one with the Quattros. Both are good. If it were my decision and my money I would buy the Sophia. It is an exceptional speaker that, I feel, is a bit more refined than the Vandersteen. That being said, both are excellent.
My dad and I listened to the Wilson and the Vandersteen at seperate dealers and have the same issue you have..both are really nice and great sounding. I think we both prefered the Vandy as it was a bit less detailed (again it is hard to say with seperate rooms, equipment and so on) the Wilson sure wins in looks! Not to say detail is a bad thing but the Vandy had a more polite musical flow and we both really like the bass loading adjustments the Vandy has. Again the Wilson was a blast to listen to but the Vandy was what we enjoyed a bit more.
How will you live with yourself if you pass up the name dropping snob appeal of the Wilson and settle for the pedestrian Vandy? I can hear them now; "I don't know about Wilson, but my ex college boyfriend had some Vandies".
I am familiar with both speakers.
I own the Sophias(1's), and have auditioned the
Quatros on a number of occasions at a dealer's show room
that I've been to many times. There is no "Better" speaker in this comparison. They are both capable of marvelous performance and are really terriffic products. As I see it, the differences boil down to the rooms they are placed in and the ancillary equipment. The Quatros LOVE tubes. The mid-tweeter units are easy to drive and excel when driven by moderately powered tube amps. The woofers are self powered and the output can be tailored to difficult rooms with uneven bass response. I think the Quatros are probably easier to get to their best in a variety of rooms and systems.
The Sophias are true thoroughbreds. They are capable of extrordinary performance. They require precise placement
good speaker wire, top flight amplification and a reasonably good sounding room. They also love tubes, BUT to really sound their best, they need at least 100 or more Tube Watts. That can be expensive. It's easier to make a good sounding medium powered tube amp than one with higher power....and that translates to $$$. I think the Sophias are capable of higher level performance, but it's a much bigger challenge to get there. So I think the choice requires an honest look at your room, your ancillary equipment and your willingness to design, arrange and decorate your room around the speakers.
The Sophias are gorgeous. The finish is magnificent........is this inportant? Only you can judge.
Hopefully this helps.
Vandersteens are time and phase correct and Wilson are not. Do you care to hear harmonic content that captures timbre accurately that is essential to the enjoyment of music? Also, Wilson uses a midrange driver that makes no sense to me; 7 inch?

No contest. Vandersteen.
From John Atkinson:

"In the time domain, the Sophia's step response (fig.7) reveals that its tweeter and woofer are connected in positive acoustic polarity, the midrange in inverted polarity—which is what is needed, in conjunction with the phase shift provided by the crossover, to ensure that the outputs of the drive-units add to give a flat response in the farfield in the crossover regions."

So my question is, if you have to invert the polarity of the midrange driver to balance against the steep crossover, what impact has that done to the complex harmonic content that provides timbre accuracy? A flat frequency response won't help if this fundamental aspect of speaker design isn't intact.
Steve,

You sound like you are on a Vandersteen crusade. They are wonderful speakers as is the Sophia. I can't imagine anyone hearing them not being impressed even if they prefer
something else. I could live, happily, with either.
Have not heard the Vandersteen. Although I'm sure it's quite good. The wilson is fantastic. Expensive, yes, but good sound will cost you a little.

Steve, just because you don't understand the idea behind a 7" driver doesn't mean it doesn't get the job done.

FYI, wilson is not the only one that inverts the polarity of the midrange driver. Have you ever heard a pair of wilsons?
Add the Green Mountain Audio Calypso to your short list.
I listened extensively to the Sophias, the Watt Puppy and the Maxx (the last I could no way afford) when I was on my quest to replace Dynaudio Contour 3.0s. I liked the Sophias at first because the bass and high treble were emphasized. After awhile I noticed the mid range was not to my taste.

Having said all this, one of the most impressive demos ever was a Watt Puppy powered with Classe amps and Levinson front end at the audio show in Montreal a few years ago. They were playing soem big band Count Basie music. But the room had been treated to the gills and there was no way this type of set up could be found in my home. I'm not bashing Wilson, I just question the design philosophy; why not use the reasearch resources and focus on accuracy is what I don't understand? Because it's not important? See?
Both excellent speakers. Matter of personal choice. I own Quatros.
How will you live with yourself if you pass up the name dropping snob appeal of the Wilson and settle for the pedestrian Vandy? I can hear them now; "I don't know about Wilson, but my ex college boyfriend had some Vandies".

That has to be the silliest post I've seen in a long time. No one at college and 99.999% of the world have no idea what Wilsons and Vandersteens are, and most likely every other brand unless it is sold at Best Buy (and if they can remember any speaker brand names, besides ones they bought and own, from Best Buy is even contentious).

Only an audiophile would know who any of these companies are, unless someone close to those other people owns a pair and they have seen them a few times before...
Vandersteens are time and phase correct and Wilson are not. Do you care to hear harmonic content that captures timbre accurately that is essential to the enjoyment of music? Also, Wilson uses a midrange driver that makes no sense to me; 7 inch?

No contest. Vandersteen.

See, this is proof that people don't like the same things. I heard the Vandersteen 5a speakers at HE2007 along with the Wilson Watt Puppy 8. To my ears the Vandersteens lacked midrange detail and sounded grainy in general. The soundstage was also rather dimensionless in comparison to the Watt Puppy 8 rooms. Like looking at a two dimensional picture instead of a 3-Dimensional recreation of an event. Correct me if I am wrong, but the room had been set up by Vandersteen I believe, or at least he was there sitting in a corner and must have approved of the setup I would think.

The Watt Puppy 8 on the other hand, despite having a more oddly shaped room, had greater midrange clarity and detail, lacked any grain, and had proficient bass as well. They also had incredible dimensionality, the notes and instruments seemed real and to scale with other instruments on good recordings (no speaker can make a bad recording or highly compressed Pop music sound better unfortunately). The soundstage was palpable to me. To my ears the Watt Puppy 8 with the BAT gear was the best sounding room at the show. The great thing is, I get that same experience at home too, not just on a show room floor.

I had previously been considering the W/P 8 speakers, and I consequently own a pair now, as well as Sophia 2 speakers for my surround channel speakers. It doesn't matter to me how "correct" someone thinks a speaker is on paper, because if it doesn't sound incredible and "lifelike," who cares? It also doesn't matter to me what people have said in previous online periodicals, who likewise have complained about the driver size in some Wilson speakers.... As the only judge that is worthwhile is your own ears.
Ever Wilson speaker I have ever heard, just like Thiels and many, many others, can do double duty as a paint-peeler. People who listen to live acoustic music and know what it sounds like, always prefer Vandersteens, Quads and Magnaplanars. Everything else is "Technicolored Dream-Coat", engineered to impress at the point-of-sale. period. If you don't believe me, read Anthony Cordesman's reviews - he is an honest man, who hasn't lost his hearing like most of the other "professional" reviewers who recommend this other crap......
Hmmm, this thread was brought back from the dead after nearly a year and a half.........I bet he made his choice long ago.
And the winner was?
Good thing it was as I have been so enlightned by so Dcbingaman; good thing I have a log home.
Whats the "D" stand for....Dueschebag?