Upgrading from Martin Logan ESL15a w/Force subs to Wilson Sasha Daw or Alexia 2 w/JL subs

I would like some guidance on switching from ML to the Wilsons mentioned above.  While I do really enjoy the ML I'm looking for something smaller as well a better connection between the highs and lows which both of the Wilsons do better.  There are numerous other things I like about the Wilsons as well.

Currently, I have the McIntosh MC-1.25kwh mono blocks with my ML center powered by a MC-601.  My speaker wire is transparent.  My Processor is a McIntosh MX160 and I am using Roon with a NAS and Lumin Streamer.  I will also be adding a McIntosh pre-amp to improve performance on the 2 channel.  Haven't decided between C2700 or C53 yet.  Adding a Clear Audio Concept turntable but haven't settled in on cartridge.  There is no rush to do anything, so I'm open to opinions.

A couple comments on the Wilson's.....the midrange and tweeter are the same on both but the Alexia 2 has much more adjustability.  While demoing without the subs the Sasha Daw bass hit me but the Alexia 2 went through me.  Sasha has 2 - 8" bass drivers and the Alexia 2 has an 8" and a 10".

I listen to all types of music including Jazz from the 50's - 60's, Acoustic, classical symphonies, rock and progressive/alternative rock.

Thanks in advance for your honest feedback.
128x128Ag insider logo xs@2xwoots
Roon has excellent, digital domain DSP capabilities, so you can adjust far better there than in the Wilsons.
Your desire for bass seems overkill though.  Those are both large speakers, and the JL subs are phenomenal, especially thanks to the room correction. 

Good room treatment lets your speakers behave like they are much larger.  How much time and effort have you put there?
I would recomend a more transparent preamp transparent a mcintosh

For example we have a cj gat series 1 an 18k ttube reference preamp for 5k

This preamp will trounce any Mac preamp

Dave and troy
Audio intellect Nj

I appreciate your feedback. Can you help me understand the adjustments to the Roon a little better. 
Also, you mention the subs from JL are very good but you also mention that my bass is overkill.  I’ve always operated with subs in my systems to cover the lower octaves but don’t think it has ever been overkill.  I will also be using the system for movies as well through the MC160. 
As far as room treatments go I’m guilty as charged so fair point. I’ve been fortunate to have decent equipment but not so fortunate convincing my wife with treatments but it’s always worth another attempt. 
So, I think what you are saying is with the Wilson’s I shouldn’t need subwoofers. Both dealers I have talked to say they recommend subs with the Wilson’s. 
Again, thanks for the feedback and appreciate any additional insights or comments you may have. 

where are you located in NJ?  Lived in Colts Neck for 10 years.  I will definitely check out your recommendation and thanks for your response. 
I never cared for Conrad-Johnson.  I would get the McIntosh C2700 preamp.  I have the C2500 and I love it.  It’s my last preamp. 
Almost all systems needs subs unless the mains have active subs.
I would add a watch controller from wilson ($4500). It will take the system to a different level. You could pass higher then too if you are currently coming in under the mains (not as good as passing at 50-60z) imo. The downside is the additional wiring...

JL CR-1 would be a cheaper option. 



Excellent suggestion. My dealer actually recommended that to switch between 2 channel and Home Theater.
I appreciate your suggestion.

 am thinking of buying the ESL 15a or focal scala evo. Should I audtion the Wilson's? Didnt think about them.
Yes, you should check them out for a variety of reasons but better transition from the mids' to bass and significantly better tonality in my opinion.  Have never heard the Focal's.  Maybe I should be checking them out!!

In my opinion you are spending a lot of extra money pairing a floor standing speaker with subs. I would let your subs do the heavy lifting. You do not need a main speaker that cycles low when you are using subs. If you run your mains full range you are not getting full value from your subs, if you cross over at a higher frequency then you are paying for a portion of the floor standers that you are not using. You can get excellent results pairing subs with bookshelf speakers. I use the Wilson Tune Tots with my subs and in my opinion my system can handle any style of music from the heaviest bass laden EDM and metal to the softest folk and acoustic jazz, though I have to add with one caveat, I rarely listen to anything louder than 110db at the listening position.

I also agree with everyone that is recommending an external crossover unit be it analog or DSP. You have several options. Besides those already mentioned there is miniDSP, DBX makes both analog and DSP units, I believe Bryston has an offering, there is my favorite, the DP series of Audiocore units by XTA and I’m sure there are others that I’m not familiar with.


Really appreciate your feedback.  If was just listening to music on 2 channel I am inclined to agree more.  I will have the system set up as well for Home Theater. While the Wilson's can handle the bass I feel that subs will give that extra bit that movie soundtracks offer.  I am, however, open to your thoughtful suggestion so thanks.


JL audio’s sub inputs are summed. So if you have two of them (which leaves an open input on each sub) you can use them to crossover to the mains AND run the LEF of your processor for movies. 
You just setup with the crossover like normal for two channel (between the pre and amp) then run the lef out of the reciever/processor to the open input. This method has worked fine for me for years.

you can then adjust the bass gain on the processors like normal for movies (say plus 5db) and not effect your two channel bass setup. This gives the mains all the power of the subs and also plays the subs louder for explosions etc. 

I was planning on adding the JL Audio CR-1 Sub Crossover.  Is this what you are referencing?  I will have both the C2700 and the MX160 connected into my amps and use a switch to alternate between the 2 channel and Home Theater.  Let me know if this is what you are thinking.


I assume you pass the home theater through the C2700. Is this correct or are you doing something custom? If custom it might not work for you. 
The CR-1 is designed for two channel music. Out of the CR1 you will have a right and left lead to the sub/subs. 
If you have two subs you will have a right input open on the left sub and a left inout open on the right sub after connecting the CR-1. You could then run the LFE line out of the MX160 to the open inputs on the JL subs. This will work fine as the two inputs are summed. You will then be running the subs both crossed over to the mains and the LFE of the processor at the same time. 


I think the MX160 has a pass through for 2 channel.  I will be doing 2 subs.  The CR-1 will be connected to the 2 channel but I think there is a connection from the MX160 via a manual switch to have both subs connected to the LFE.  Using the LFE since the home theater piece plays in mono.  I think you have explained it well. Hooking it up is anything thing.....