I really like the 5A, with its powered woofers and its 11 band bass EQ its hard to beat, the Sophia is a good speaker in its own right but the 5A has so much more to offer in both performance and adjustability. BW speakers are not really mu cup of tea as I find them a bit forward and aggresive, those other models I am not experienced enough to give an informed opinion.
With any of the speakers you mention I believe your system would be somewhat unbalanced. You might consider upgrading your source components before or as part of getting new speakers. The AP Virgo is a very good speaker and I just think you could get bigger bang for your buck by looking elsewhere in your system.
Given the price diff between the Sonata IIIs and Sophia II, do the Sonatas. the diffs are marginal, and the cost is vast.
Past that tid bit, I'm lost. I make it a habit to not listen to things I would have to shoot somebody for, or sell crack, in order to afford.... although I am buying a few more lottery tickets lately... so who knows?
I'd love to be able to afford the Sofia IIs or IIIs but given I can't I own B&W 803D mains.
They are particular to good high current and wattage of 400 watts/channel or more and like to be bi-wired to get the best bass and overall sonics of out of them. Plus the amp has to be able to handle impedance loads of 2-3 ohms as while nominally rated at 8 ohms, they do dip to the 2-3 ohm range.
If I had the money, I'd choose the Sofia IIs but I imagine they will need more power than your current amp as well.
I have mine mated to a Spectron MK2 Class D amp with the V-Cap option and a McIntosh C2300 preamp and they sound great with the SS and tube combination. I've listened to the speakers with Mac 501 monos and while they sounded rich, there was a lot lost in dynamic impact and overall headroom and bass tightness.
I have a Sony SACD 777 as well which i was going to add. do you feel my Mac mc252 and c22 are good enough for the mentioned speakers above. My 2nd system is a a Mac mx135, mc207, Arcam DVDA, WAdia ipd transport, Peak Consult Princess (bookshelves), REL subwoofer, my 3rd is a classe amp and a conrad johnson preamp with a pair of audio physic yaras and a marantz cd and finally a teac system with thiel cs 1.5s.....
I was waiting for a used pair of 5A's to come on the market and while waiting a friend suggested I listen to Sophia 1's. Well it was a great suggestion the inner detail of the Wilson's made me a buyer and the Sophia ll is considered to be superior detail wise by many. Definitely worth a listen.
I have owned Sophia 2s and listened extensively to the Vandersteen 5As...between those two I selected the Wilson speaker...for the small difference get the Sophia 2 over the 1 version. As an aside I would suggest that you look at some of the Rockport speakers. As a further aside any of those speakers would benefit from an upgrade of your electronics/source players.
when you refer to upgrading my source..which is my weaker link, the Cal audio lab or th eVPI Scout...I assume the CAL.....I am looking at a Mac SACD or Esoteric SACD...I like the Esoteric better but with my Mac electronics, I assume the Mac SACD will fit better...
Cal for sure is the weaker link. A great unit in its day. Personally, I don't think that matching brands btwn a digital player with your amp/pre makes any difference and would go for the player you "like" better, whichever criteria you use.
With your current gears I would vote for SF Elipsa. However, if you have plans of gearing towards the more current and neutral crop of components in the not too distant future, go Magico.
thank you Bvdiman. Can you please elaborate on this? Also, I just heard the Revels again and was impressed. They are also a lot less $$.
I found it much easier to get a pleasingly musical sound out of Elipsa. Although they too are pretty transparent to source, their tone colors (warmer seductive sound) somehow to me more forgiving of the various components we tried them with (at dealer's place). Even using a Pioneer DVD player as source at one stage, they can, and still remain musical.
Whereas, the V3 needed much more attention to sound their best (from source right down to amp and cabling). Thus, they are more fussy, revealing and harder to drive. In the 3-4 different set-up configurations we tried both speakers, more often, the Elipsa sounded better (in their own ways). However when we finally got the V3 properly dialed-in, they are in our opinion, by quite a margin, to be the better speaker overall--truer to source (transparent), quicker, more resolving, coherent and most importantly (to me at least) 'neutrally balanced'.
Thank you...I dont disagree that the SFs are musical and many recordings sounded excellent in my auditions...even those that are averageecordings....I have not listened to the magicos through Macs...but loved them through VTL....What do you think of the Revel Salon2s which I have hears with Mac and was very impressed...
Sorry, I do not have any first hand experiences with Revels nor the Vander 5s except through some references from friends and great reviews. So will leave that to other fellow A'goners in better positions to contribute their views/insights of them.