Speaker upgrade question - Wilson vs Focal


Hey audiogoners!

Thinking of upgrading and need the community/expert input.

Thinking of upgrading from a set of usher mini ones that I've had and loved for a few years.

I listened to a bunch of speakers, Focus Audio, Martin Logan, B&w, higher end ushers, Wilson audio, and Focal.

The ones I liked the most were the Wilson Audio Sasha DAW and the Focal Sopra 3. 

Loved the forward and detailed instrumentation on the Wilson's, especially the Sasha DAW, but liked the vocals slightly better on the sopras, though instrumentation on them was not as crisp as on Wilson's. But the two are very close.

Music is mostly jazz, classical, light rock, electronic and occasionally symphonic metal / European metal (night wish, sonata Arctica, dream theater). Mostly jazz though, vocal and instrumental. 

Trying to decide between getting the Wilson audio yvette, ( Sasha is too expensive and Sabrina's don't deliver enough) and Focal Sopra 3. Though I can wait a few years and get the Sasha then second hand.

I won't be considering other brands since I already did that research run around. These two brands work best for me and synergize well with my inwall home theater speakers (origin d87s).

I will be powering them using a McIntosh mc452 /C2600 for 2 channel, mostly LPs (McIntosh mt10) and tidal streaming and a anthem 1120 for home theater. 

What you guys think? Go for the Yvettes, wait for the Sasha's or go for the focals? 

Thanks.


mepstein10
Mepstein, neither the WIlsons or the Focals' will 100% synergize with your Origins.

We have been doing surround sound for over 30 years, if matching your origins is a priority, then the Wilsons will be a much closer sonic match, as their tweeter is also a soft dome, so at least they are in the same family.

Did you hear both of these speakers on Mcintosh gear?

The Mcintosh gear tends to be rolled off in the treble vs other brands of electronics which are more neutral, Mcintosh products mirror a more tube like presentation, which would favor the pairing with the Focals whose Beryilium tweeter does show more detail than the Wilsons, but then you are less close to matching the Origins.

If you are doing surround sound the most important loudspeaker is the center channel, the rest of the loudspeakers for back or surrounds the Origins will still work no matter which main speakers are chosen.

WIlsons tend to image better with a more holographic presentation than the Focals which throw a wide but less specific soundstage.

Personally we would recommend that you keep looking and not limit yourself to just these two companies.

We heard some speakers at Axpona that combine many of the traits of both of these speakes in a somewhat similar price point.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ

Matching the origin is not exactly a priority, I just do not want them to clash.

For music I generally do 2-channel, but since I have the theater setup already done and in the walls, no harm in also going that way.

Mcintosh only does the 2 channel for music, and powers the front speakers for the theater via passthrough.

The Anthem 1120 does the home theater. 

My setup is 70/30 for music/home theater.

No disrespect meant, but it does seem that you are quite seriously pushing against both Wilson and Focal with my setup. May I inquire into why? 

Which speakers did you hear at Axpona that combined the traits? Where they on par with the other two? Not saying I will switch my view but would be interesting to consider. 

I was looking at the Focal's, but just thought they were all bland. Same with the Dynaudios. I ended up with a used pair of Wilson Sasha's. They sound terrific after I forked over $500 bucks to repair a defective driver that fell apart after 5 years (I have old cheap klipsch that did not fall apart after 30 years). So, I guess I would say, want boring sound that is well built, get Focal. Want excitement that falls apart, get Wilson.

Which Focals did you listen to? I was not impressed with anything below the Sopra 2s.

Also, I don't want my speakers to fall apart :( 

Focals don't sound quite "Natural"

Wilsons will bore you to death.
These are the two you have narrowed it down to.

Doesn't your brother in law rep any other lines?

Like Vimberg for example??

What say yeah?

Not sure what brother in law you are referencing...

Agree, that Focal does color the sound a little

Have not heard of Vimberg before. I do like the looks of the cabinets, though I can't seem to find much information on them or dealers who have them to audition nearby. I won't be considering a speaker unless I am able to audition them. 
mepstein10 - I currently own Focal Sopra 2 speakers so my recommendation could be biased but would try my best to advise.

They’re really fine sets of speakers, especially non-fatiguing, vocal clarity, good mid-range, and good bass when pairing up with tube pre / power amps. Sopra 3 will definitely "do more." I mentioned pairing up with tube amps because when comparing with demos at dealer’s (they used Naims solid state amps), I found Sopra 2 abit too boomy to my taste, yet sound clarity and mid-range are superb. Hence I paired them with slightly "mellow, laid-back" Primaluna Pre / Power amps to get my best settings. I also demo-ed the Mastro Utopia, its sound characteristics differ from Focal and with superb headrooms for bigger rooms, but I still prefer the Sopras. If I had the money, will definitely go with Sopra 3.

I also listen to symphonic orchestra with diverse combination of instruments, but I found the best separation so far is B&W 800 D3 the top of the line speakers. B&W lower ranges (e.g. 802 and below) are "too forward" for my taste and could be due to drivers’ size with different frequencies response. When comparing to Sopra 2, my view Sopra still at times "mixing up" the cymbals, trumpets, and piano together slightly with no clear separation, but still better comparing to my old KEF700 speakers, plus other demo-ed speakers e.g. Sonus Faber, Tannoy, plus the lower range B&W speakers.

The B&W 800 D3 price is definitely out of my range and could be an alternative. In my case, Sopra 2 suited my requirements with good compromises, coupled with price / performance ratios plus good dealer’s support in my area. Have not demo-ed the Wilsons but from what I heard their Alexia range and above are quite well-known.

Hope it helps.
mepstein10 - I currently own Focal Sopra 2 speakers so my recommendation could be biased but would try my best to advise.

They’re really fine sets of speakers, especially non-fatiguing, vocal clarity, good mid-range, and good bass when pairing up with tube pre / power amps. Sopra 3 will definitely "do more." I mentioned pairing up with tube amps because when comparing with demos at dealer’s (they used Naims solid state amps), I found Sopra 2 abit too boomy to my taste, yet sound clarity and mid-range are superb. Hence I paired them with slightly "mellow, laid-back" Primaluna Pre / Power amps to get my best settings. I also demo-ed the Mastro Utopia, its sound characteristics differ from Focal and with superb headrooms for bigger rooms, but I still prefer the Sopras. If I had the money, will definitely go with Sopra 3.

I also listen to symphonic orchestra with diverse combination of instruments, but I found the best separation so far is B&W 800 D3 the top of the line speakers. B&W lower ranges (e.g. 802 and below) are "too forward" for my taste and could be due to drivers’ size with different frequencies response. When comparing to Sopra 2, my view Sopra still at times "mixing up" the cymbals, trumpets, and piano together slightly with no clear separation, but still better comparing to my old KEF700 speakers, plus other demo-ed speakers e.g. Sonus Faber, Tannoy, plus the lower range B&W speakers.

The B&W 800 D3 price is definitely out of my range and could be an alternative. In my case, Sopra 2 suited my requirements with good compromises, coupled with price / performance ratios plus good dealer’s support in my area. Have not demo-ed the Wilsons but from what I heard their Alexia range and above are quite well-known.

Hope it helps
.
Thanks for the advice. I do a solid state amp with a tube pre-amp (both Mcintosh). I am not a fan of B&W. They are fine speakers, but not my cup of tea. 
One nice thing about several Wilson models is that you can adjust the tonal balance. I'm not sure how many know about this.


They have removable resistors in the crossover which can be accessed to adjust the balance to suit.

I am pretty sure I've heard at least one pair that was "juiced up" at the dealer this way. If you find the treble / mid / bass balance not what you are looking for you can probably adjust it.


Best,
E
One nice thing about several Wilson models is that you can adjust the tonal balance. I'm not sure how many know about this.


They have removable resistors in the crossover which can be accessed to adjust the balance to suit.

I am pretty sure I've heard at least one pair that was "juiced up" at the dealer this way. If you find the treble / mid / bass balance not what you are looking for you can probably adjust it.


Best,
E

This I did not know. That's actually really cool. Thanks for the info on that.