Hi vargus -
The answer to your #2 is certainly YES, the WP7 have a very differnet presentation than the Sophias. Which is better? up to you of course - Most seem to prefer the WP7, I personally prefer the Sophias. Yes, I have compared them in the same room, with the same system. There were no bottlenecks. I would not recommend buying a pair of WP7s based on your audition of the Sophias. You very well may like the WP better, but it would be a shame to buy them and find that you don't like their presentation.
Based on my listening in my dealer's place, both speakers well set up, the general feeling I had was that there is a noticeable difference, the Watt/Puppies are more revealing and go deeper in the bass, the Sophias are decidedly more forgiving of electronics upstream, perhaps a little bit warmer in the upper bass. Both are fine speakers, and the better the sources you have, the better both will sound--Goatwuss is right that neither speaker will be a bottleneck, and I like his advice that you should hear the Watt Puppies rather than buy them without listening to them. Both perform equally well in a room your size, they do not have a significant difference in the ability to fill up that size room. Can't comment on the JC-1s, never heard them.
On your point about the Sophia being a newer design, that's not really true--as I recall, the WP6 was revised to the 7 because the Sophia was so close to the WP6 in performance.
For the same price of the new Sophias, you can own a nice second hand pair of the Watt-Puppy 6.
Go with the 7's. The 7's come very close to the original MAXX in dynamics and imaging. The 7 is by far the best Watt/Puppy series ever. As you upgrade your electronics, the 7's will do nothing but reveal the upgrades you make more apparent. You will not regret the decision.
Rcprince: Said it perfectly that the
The top end on the Sophia is more forgiving. I found the JC-1's will be a little bright (many hours listening to this amp even after the 1500hrs breakin) on the top but your CDP should take care of that edge. The midbass is warmer on the Sophia's. The WP7's require a more time to setup but that's what your excellent dealer will take care of for you! The highs and mids characteristics can be adjusted with a resistor pack from Wilson (The WP7's are amazing with the customizing and flexibility with the setup spikes for the Watt and the Puppy)
The other option is to buy the Sophia's and then buy the Watch Dog and you will be amazed! Or buy the WP7's and then do what I did a 1.5 years later.. I bought the Watch Dog which give you better positing options of the WP's!!
Another Deciding factor was weight as the 160lb Sophia is a lot harder to move around than the 100lb Puppy and the 75lb Watt which can be separated! Important when you don't have your friends around and you tweak a lot, but otherwise let your dealer dial them in!
Now I'm extra Happy! until I can upgrade to the Maxx II's and keep my Watch Dog.
No problems in your room size with either as my room is 12x16 and I ran them in a much larger room also.
Either way you will get an amazing speaker!! that will reveal everything (good or bad )! But your Electronics will present a good synergy.. Oh yeah.. make sure to run the JC-1's Balanced as the design is fully diff balanced and sounds much better, and run it in High bias for Jazz and female vocals and low bias for Techno and Classical (full orch)
Although I am not a fan of the breed the WP 7.0s are a step up from the Sophoias and the maxx is just more of the same relative to the 7's. Wheather or not they are worth the extra dollars is in the ears of the beholder. Either speaker will fill your room up nicely and the JC-1s should do just fine. Good Luck.
I have had demo of WP7, sophia, and the original MAXX in the same room (an isolated treated listening room at the dealer) with the same equipment (meridian 861/800, transparent cabling, classe CAM-350 monoblocks). Prior to this audition, I had heard the sophias in a separate dedicated room with classe home theater amp with transparent cabling. This latter audition was my introduction to quality equipment and it sounded great. The sophias sounded great with the other audition also, but are definitely upstaged by the WP7s. The MAXX and WP7 I would agree did not sound much different from one another. The WP7 has MUCH more detail than the sophia making for a more intimate listening experience. The sophia is no slouch, though, and imaging is excellent on both. I had read reviews on the sophia before the audition in which it was compared to the WP6. The bottom line in it was that the WP6 was more detailed, but the sophia was more enjoyable to listen to. The WP7 seems to take the sophia a step further in that it is even more enjoyable to listen to in my opinion.
I too am curious to hear opinions on the sound with the jc-1's.
When I was shopping for speakers I also listened to B&W nautilus 801s and martin logan odysseys with musical fidelity gear, jm lab micro and alto utopia berylliums with g series meridian components and transparent cables, and revel salons with krell preamp/ levinson 436s/ denon cd player(I am sure this CDP impaired this audition greatly as I was unimpressed by this setup). The WP7s were my favorite and I hope to one day aquire some. Currently I use the micro utopia berylliums with a rel sub.
I think the JC-1 should make both speakers sing
I've never heard the amp.. (cough..) but
this guy (Fremmer?) at the Stereophile highly recommended the Pass X-160 to the WP7s and he recalled the closest competition to the X-160 was the JC-1.. (if I remember right)
either way, good luck and happy listening ~!
The real question isn't whether the Watt 7s are better than the Sophias, but which speaker will sound better in your listening room with your equipment? It actually could be the Sophias.
I would never buy Watt Puppies w/o a careful audition. They are an acquired taste & not everyone's cup of tea. I had the WP 6's for a year or two and could never get the highs to stop sounding buzzy, and vocals were terribly screwed up, like a tinny transistor radio. Remember that was the 6's, not the 7's, so I can't speak for those. The bass, however, was phenomenal on the WP 6's: unobtrusive, "just-there", extremely detailed, never overbearing even at close listening range. I still long for the Wilson bass.
I wish Dave would put a softer tweeter in the Watts, maybe a ribbon. Or maybe he should try the ribbon supertweeter approach like Albert Von Schweikert uses in the smooth-as-silk VR9s. Dave Wilson would have one heck of a speaker if he could just get those highs and upper mids on a par with the bass, IMHO. (Watt Puppy 8 someday?)
Thanks for your responses guys.
As I have stated, I will listen to the 7's in the next week or so. I will do an A/B comparison with the Sophia's.
The issue I'm having is listening to these speakers with the system I have put together.
Onhwy61, I agree with your point, so that's why I'm trucking the jc-1's and the Capitole to a fellow audiophile's place to voice my system on his Sophia's. I won't be able to do this with the 7's. The dealer I have been using for Wilson is in the States and I'm in Canada. I think it will be a real hassle for him or for me to get the amps or speakers over the border to listen to this system. Yes I could go to Toronto, but I would rather not drive 4 hours with this equipment to do so in that traffic.
That's why I'm trying to use the collective knowledge of the 'Gon to come up with some idea of the synergy of this possible system.
I have to listen to the 6's (which may be impossible for me) so that's why I haven't considered them.
Bigsam2 and Hifimaniac,
Interesting point about the MAXX's. I listened to the MAXX2's the same day I listened to the Sophia's (at the insistence of my brother!) Clearly an amazing speaker- I could go that route, but I have to put a stop to this spending $ somewhere. I wonder how the 7's will compare to them- I guess I'll find out soon.
Thank you for the reference to the Stereophile article- it would seem the Pass XA 160 has some sonic similarities to the jc-1's, at least according to MF. Perhaps by extrapolation this means the jc-1's will synergize as well with 7's as well as the Pass amp does. If I go this route in someways it will be somewhat of an educated guess to see whether this all works. An expensive guess too.
I am hopeful because currently my amps are getting broken in on Nautilus 802's at my in town dealer. I first heard these speakers using his Rotel monoblocks- the system sounded absolutely crappy- loud but no music. Well, I heard those speakers yesterday voiced through my system. It was like night and day. I thought B&W had sold out(I have 805 matrix) but they can still make a good speaker. I still feel the Sophia's outperform them and looking forward to hearing the 7's.
for their price they(the w/p) certainly aren't the last word in a lot of areas. the highs do sizzle compared to many other speakers that sell for much less and midrange is not only detailed buy almost in your face. if you have a huge music collection, get ready to frown at anything that isn't state of the art.
I own the 7s & have listened to the 6s & the Sophias. The 7s definitely have equipment that they favor. That being said they sound great with equipment they don't favor as well. They just sound incredible & beyond in a synergistic system. The Sophias are great as well but not as great. IMO if you are willing to upgrade along the way then you will notice your rewards w. the WP7s. If not then you can stay w. the Sophias. Allow me to confuse things more. The lack of bass might become an issue on the Sophias and less of an issue w. the WP7s. It really will depend on your listening. I will not sacrifice bass. To me it is the foundation of much of the music I listen to. A great speaker without extended bass should not cost a lot of money. Also if yo ucan see yourself purchasing a Watchdog subwoofer (truly an amazing subwoofer) then the bass situation will be solved w. the 7s & I assume (I haven't heard it though) the Sophias. If you really want to finish it up get the Maxx IIs. Also if the tweeter is to "hot" you can warm it up by positioning & angling the 7s & changing resistor values (not encouraged though). The Maxx IIs the resistor changes are more "normal" occurence. Hope I helped. Your ears will be better than any of my words.
The WP7s give me greater access to the details that give recorded music its drama and movement. I believe that these details are microdynamic in nature, and they knock me out every time. The WP7s yield significantly more of this than the Sophias, and that's why I bought them instead. Bass extension, clarity and macrodynamics are also significantly better with the WP7s than the Sophias, but these are less critical factors in determining my emotional involvement with the music. All this being said, the MAXX2s are even better in this regard, and are worth the extra sheckels if you can afford them.
Vargus if you are interested in a Pair of Ferrari Fly Yellow WP7's I'll be glad to step up to some Maxx II's?
I've spent too much time listening to my dealers Maxx II's and will be looking at posting my WP7's up for sale. Depending on the sale price will deteremine if I can go to Maxx II's.
If you already made a decision let the group know what you decided on!
I've been busy...listening to a lot of speakers!
Where to begin? Let's see- about 2 weeks ago, I listened to the Sophia's and W/P 7's back to back. This was with SS equipment (the Krell stuff I told you about before). I think the W/P goes higher and deeper than the Sophia, but isn't necessarily more musical. It may also be that the W/P was not optimized for that room, as I understand they are harder to set up than Sophia's.
Last week I went to visit an audiophile in London ON, and listened to his Sophia's with my JC-1's and AA Cap Reference. It sounded pretty good till Gilbert Yeung of Blue Circle arrived with one of his hybrid amps in tow, the BC 204. It was then that I heard real music- the combo of the Sophia's and this hybrid amp made the sound that I have been looking for so long. There was so much ease and liquid in the midrange, yet there was very little loss of slam and bass extension. I can see now why Wilson's sound so good with Lamm equipment.
Next up was listening to the Dynaudio Confidence C4 and the Revel Studio, again using my own equipment. The C4 I didn't really care for- it's bass extension was all wrong in the particular room we were listening to them in. They would probably sound good in the right room.
The Studio's were a different story- this is a synergistic combo with the JC-1's. The presentation is more airy and detailed than Sophia, particularly with symphonic pieces. This speaker is now on my short list.
Then I did something I shouldn't have done- I listened to the MAXX 2's for an extended period of time. This is by far the best speaker I have ever heard. Excellent midrange clarity, fantastic bass extension, very detailed and airy at the top, but all of it cohesive. I can only imagine how it would sound with one of those Blue Circle hybrids. Because of this, the MAXX2 is now at the top of my list and the only thing preventing me from going for it is how it will look and sound in my rather small room. My dealer has contacted Rives Audio for consultation in this regard.
Because I am looking at speakers in this price range, I am going to audition the Evidence Temptation next week. I am also going to listen to a new speaker, the Eben X-3. I'll report back when I have listened to them.
I'm interested in hearing how you like the Temptations vs. the Wilsons. I like them better than the WP7, and in most respects better than the Maxx2s, though they can't get the deepest bass as well, because they convey the music and the recording beautifully without crossing the line into the analytical camp. You can't go wrong in this choice, all of these are fine speakers, it's a matter of what works best in your room and what you're looking/listening for sonically.
The Krell with the WP7's is not a nice combo if you are partial to the Blue Circle equipment. WP7's work fine in small rooms, and Maxx's work also in small rooms. Just need some bass absorbtion (aka I have a ton of RealTraps Mondo Traps) in my 12x16 room
Do a Search on agon for Maxx's in Systems and you will see a guy running some huge KR amps in a really small room.. Wilsons are designed to be used in small rooms.
Here is how Wilsons should be setup, I've used this with other speakers also..
If you can afford (not just pay) that kind of money for a pair of speakers, can't you build a music/home theater room that would better suit your needs? I like the sound of both the WP-7 and Sophia, and would be pleased to have either. It's true I could pay for the fly yellow WP-7s that might come on Audiogon, but I don't think I could afford them -- I no longer buy Ferraris either. Unless your retirement already is well funded, I'd let budget considerations enter the decision process. On other sites, you can find those nearing retirement with only a few hundred $K wondering how they can grow their savings to match their needs. As you can see from the previous posts, it's a slippery slope: If the Sophias, why not the WP-7s, if the WP-7s, why not the MAXX-2s. But perhaps you are wealthy, in which case I ask again why limit yourself to such a small room?
I realized as I wrote it that my previous post sounded preachy, and would have canceled it had that been an option. The thought of all that expensive equipment in such a small listening environment clouded my judgement. If the speakers are given the space behind them they need for imaging, and if the space behind the listening position is sufficient to avoid boom, it would seem the listener inevitably would be sitting too close to the speakers. I'd at least argue for listening to the speakers in that small room before buying, because I suspect the room will have more of an effect than whatever amp is driving the speakers. A good pair of monitors with a sub might be preferable in that setting, and likely a lot less expensive.
I appreciate your concern. Believe me, I never thought it would go as far as this. I still have not decided to go as far as the MAXX2 for that room, but it is a consideration and I have seen others use rooms as small as mine or smaller with speakers as large as these. Whether they would work properly is a whole other question and why I am getting Rives involved.
About whether I can pay for this stuff or afford it, I am/or:
a. Work a s--t load
b. Single with no dependents
c. Specialist physician
d. Work a s--t load
I have bought a new house that doesn't have a finished basement. I don't want to do any work to it yet as I don't know what my domestic situation will be in the next few years. So I decided to use my living room as my listening room for now. Perhaps I'll build a dedicated listening room one day, perhaps not. I know that I don't want to go through upgradeitis, so that's why I am considering this equipment. My decision will be based on replies from Rives, those on this site and the aesthetics of such large speakers in my living room (which by the way is not completed and why I have not pulled any triggers on speakers yet).
In addition to Audiogon, I regularly read the Vanguard Diehard board at Morningstar and several of the Motley Fool boards. It's on TMF boards that one encounters the plea from someone five years from retirement with a few hundred $K in savings who, having come to realize it's not enough using a 4% guideline, wants advice on quick portfolio growth.
And I've been down the slippery Ferrari slope -- nothing sounds like a Ferrari V-12. But I also know what it's like to at last have a good income after years of schooling. Next thing after our first house was a Porsche 911.
I've found buying used equipment from other audiophiles on Audiogon a very cost effective way to build a first-rate system that can do both stereo music as well as home theater.
I have always said that this hobby involves two things--our ears and our wallets
Having said that, if you are looking for a superb entry level speaker the Sophia for the money is hard to beat. But if you can afford them, the WP 7 is indeed in a different league with a much larger and more realistic soundstage. I have owned just about every Wilson speaker made and each one has its own special virtues. I did have the WP 5.1 and the WP 6. My son and many of my friends have the WP 7 and it is the best WP made to date. You owe it to your self to listen. You also must be cognizant as to whether your gear will drive them
Here is a look at my Wilson systemhttp://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?vaslt&1049587927&read&3&4&http://homepage.mac.com/imacdoyou86/PhotoAlbum52.html
Thank you for your advice, Oneobgyn and Cytocycle. I will give the 7's a second audition. It will be difficult to hear the type of sound I'm looking for as both dealers who are the closest to me (Ann Arbor and Toronto) run SS systems with their 7's. I may hold off on purchasing till I am able to go to one of the upcoming shows in the new year. I have a feeling my room won't be ready anyways once Rives audio gives me blueprints, I'll probably have to make make some major changes to the room.
If anyone is interested, I listened to the Eben X-3 a couple of days ago. I wasn't expecting much, but I actually enjoyed it quite a bit. It is very musically coherent and very fast in terms of bass speed. The tweeter is also probably the nicest I have listened to yet. It does play down to 30 Hz, but you don't get the subjective weight of the bass that the Wilson speakers provide. It has a different presentation than the Wilson speakers, but I feel it was no less enjoyable than the Sophia. Of course my listening memory is short, and it is hard to compare these speakers with the Wilson's as it was a completely different set up in terms of the room. I am going to try to see if I can somehow convince the dealer to let me A/B them with my friend's Sophia and BC 204.
Unfortunately I spent so much time with the Eben's, I was unable to audition the Temptations, so it'll have to wait for another day.
you have some money, you have a nice house, and you want a reference-level pair of speakers. so your biggest problem is that you seem to just be in the early stages of researching what you want, with a myriad of choices to make. and, if you haven't heard (sonus faber) loudspeakers just for an example, you could possibly end up making hasty decision that you might regret in the future. recalling your experience with the blue circle amplifier, i can only say that in my case it took a lot of years trying different components in MY ROOM. if you want a synergistic system right away, you may need a really good friend/audio consultant to help you out, and find out what kind of music you like and what your sound-preferences are. just as an example, my present amplifier sounded "okay" at the dealer, but when i got it home, it blossomed into something really special. THEN, not leaving well-enough alone, i started a SERIOUS upgrading of wires- i now have to stick my neck out and state that, imho, wires are a component-level part of the results you might potentially obtain. my speakers are doing things now i didn't know they were capable of. ditto for my front-end components. as long as we're stuck with so many separate components, so many possibilities (what about big-buck power cords and conditioners, isolation platforms, ACOUSTICS, etc.), RESEARCH is inevitable and must be embraced as a "fun" endeavor, rather than a time-consuming chore. i love classical music, and played a musical instrument for 12 yeare, so i've been dreaming of a great-sounding stereo since i was 15yo or so... otherwise...
I certainly agree about interconnect and speaker cables.
I have tried them all and IMO there is simply nothing better than Nordost Valhalla. You should audition this cable as it is a must have in any system
I too am looking at both these speakers in the near future. I have only heard the Sophias to date - I'll post what I hear!
I've had the opportunity to hear both in my house with my system (I have an awesome dealer). The WP7s are worth every penny of the difference. Greater dynamic range, lower, better defined bass, all the other aspects of the sound; soundstage, depth, imaging, et.. all vastly improved. However, they're VERY sensitive to setup and ancillarly gear.
I said I'd post - I did hear both. In my opinion the differences were marginal, so obviously I bought the Sophias. From here I want to upgrade the rest of my system, but the next port of call would not naturally be the WP7 (8? 9? etc) but the larger brothers (Maxx / X1) or similar from another brand.
My next choice would, however, be dependent upon being able to get it into my living room as it was a significant struggle to get the Sophias into my 1st floor living room.
If the WP7s are sensitive to downstream electronics, have a look at some room treatment too - mine sound fierce as it is! (Treatment is ordered!)