Imo they are that good. I use the term good as enjoyable. There are better more accurate speakers for less money but I really like wilsons. The Sophia 3 has great bass and solid mids. The highs might be the only deal breaker as many don’t care for the older focal tweeters. I think they are fine but the highs are not as clean as the new crop of wilson, Focals, etc.
I have never heard the watt puppy 8. They could be getting a little old. Make sure you check the foam around the tweeter.
The Sophia 3 sounds pretty close to the Sasha to me. The Sophia with its fixed head is more limited in setup. But within that setup (9-12 seating distance) there is less of a difference than one would expect for the price. You could probably find some old reviews of the Sasha comparing them to the 8s and read between the lines a bit for a glimpse of how the 3 might compare to the 8.
The bottom line is it is your call. Go demo as many as you can and then decide what your EARS like. I have had Wilson and Sonus Faber. Are they good? Yes, but so are 50 other speakers just like them.....some for more money and some for less. Having a Wilson or SF may be a tiny bit easier to sell on the used market. I n longer have either as I am now into Viking Acoustic horn speakers which blows away both Wilson and SF at a $30k prices range.
They are the lowest value least sound for the money overpriced speakers on the market you can find better sound almost anywhere when you know what to buy advertising is king and the magazines rule but you will much happier with a true tonal loudspeaker and there are many of those to choose from. On this fact do you want to buy a new speaker with a 30000 paint job i do not think so.
The new ones are by far the best ,even their latest under $20 k pare better then the last watt puppies ,drivers and cabinet are New trickle down technologies from their top models, they now even wind their own capacitors . His past year or so has been a generation in advancements.
I would add that I bought Sasha 2's new, but as a closeout at what I thought was a competitive price. I still do, but I'm still figuring them out, making changes to all my associated components. I read the reviews that said that Wilsons demand a level of support from other components in the chain, but I didn't understand that until I started listening to them in my own system. I was not that impressed when I first burned them in. Then I gave them virtually unlimited power via Parasound JC1+s monoblocks and they came alive. The improvement in sound was more than I would have ever expected from an AMP swap. It was the interaction between the Wilson's and the power of the new AMP. I was feeding them before with a Niam NAP DR300, 90 watts, but known to drive down to 1 OHM. Great amp, but it wasn't enough power to control the Sasha 2s. Anyway, my point is that when you buy Wilsons you have to feed them what they want to get the performance you want. You need to budget and plan for it. Good luck.
Seeking and making recommendations on speakers out of context (system discussion) is not productive.
I guess he has not heard a good metal dome tweeter, then, or at least set up in a beautiful system. I am reviewing now a dynamic speaker with a metal tweeter that has some of the most scrumptious high end I have heard in my room. The tweeter performs on a level with the ribbons I have used. Not the same dispersion, but every bit as erudite and flawless sounding. BTW, that is not a tacit endorsement of the speaker discussed in the OP. Everyone has their preferences.
I’ve spent decades doubting the power of marketing, even though it’s one of my degrees. Strong marketing does explain the strength of several products which really may not represent to many a cohesive price/performance formula.
Truly successful marketing explains Range Rover, Rolex, Bose and Wilson Audio. I applaud those firms for playing the game better than others. They validate the consumer with a sense of pride and accomplishment regardless of what other seemingly more critical minds project.
I now live in an area up to my gluteus maximus in Range Rovers brought in by transplant residents who rave about them. Really? And why does your Range Rover smell like curry? Which BTW I love. But they did not ask me to buy them for them, so I move on.
For those haters of others audio products; it’s not YOUR money, it’s not YOUR ears so stay in your own lane please. Stop rescuing strays. Don’t we have enough caustic judgement already?
Thank you I’ll be here ‘till Friday and try the veal.
I would love to have a pair of Wilson speakers. I have heard them in someone's home a few times and several times in different stores over the last few decades. They sound wonderful. The resale value shows what these speakers are worth. A big part of the resale value, in addition to its performance is based on the reputation of the company and its product support. When I spend large sums for a stereo component, I want to know the company is going to be there when I need them. Many of these big name hifi companies have been transitioning from their original founder/genus's to the next generation of leadership and ownership these last few decades. Some have made the transition and sadly, some good companies have not. Wilson Audio will hopefully be around for some time to come. Indications are that they will, right?
My best friend has a pair of Watt/Puppy's. Not a bad sounding loudspeaker for a little tike. The grills are comical, disintegrating foam. I am so biased towards planar line source loudspeakers my opinion of dynamic speakers has little worth except for Tektons. From a value perspective Wilson's are obviously not so hot. Maybe on the used market you can get a pair for reasonable money that are not too old. Wilson owners are not the type of people who abuse their speakers. In my head there is no new loudspeaker worth more than $40 grand.
Tony, who knows these days. Wilson is certainly well established but their market can be very fickle. One good economic downturn and companies like Wilson and Sound Labs for that matter can get into trouble in a hurry. Companies like Klipsch will survive as they make product the vast majority can afford. Wilson also has competition now in Magico and YG. When they started they really did not have any.
As for Range Rovers, I put money down on a Tesla Cybertruck. Now that is style:-) (triple motor with full self driving capability. FUN!)
I was looking at Tekton Moabs but they are having trouble getting drivers to make them so its a 3 month wait minimum. I need something now. If a Majestic 545 Sound Lab came up used, I'd be a player. Good luck finding a used pair though. Martin logans aren't doing it for me with their hybrid designs. If I'm going planar, it's gotta be full range. Thought about Maggie 3.7i, but even with my 300 watt Krell it may not be enough power for those. Maybe I'll just get a decent speaker to get me by until something else pops up.
What you are going to get here is of course personal answers. But you set the bar fairly low. Good is not really good or excellent. But if you are asking are they good, yes, they are. Of course, we all have our own preferences.
Yes, I've never owned them, but I have many many hours of Wilson listening experience as I have a dealer that is five minutes away. Was going to purchase Sabrina's but got a deal on TAD E-1s that I could not pass up.
Wilson with the right amp and supporting cast can be very very good. In the end, you need to hear whatever model you decide to purchase and decide if you can give it a supporting cast that will make them sing. It is never about just component X, all need to work well together and the amp/speaker interface is very critical.
I’ve owned the Sophia 3 for a couple of years. Enjoyable yes, great no. I’ve discovered afterwards far superior speakers such as the Lawrence audio double bass, cube audio Nenuphars and Soundkaos Vox3A. The sophia’s main weaknesses are a rather limited soundstage (they were installed by Wilson) and a tweeter that sounded metallic to my ears.
Although speaker sound is of course a personal preference, I'll never forget the sound of a pair of WATTs (no puppies had been added yet) that were nearly randomly placed in a designer show house in NYC decades ago. I was astonished at how lifelike the "background music" piano sounded. I haven't owned any Wilson speakers, but if they're as good as their vollyballs I imagine they're worth it.
@jeffvegas, your 300 watt Krell is more than enough to drive the 3.7s into distortion. You have the right idea for sure. You might also look for a pair of Acoustat 2+2's. They do come up once in a while. Sound Labs not so much. Those of us who are into speakers of that type really have no where else to go except maybe into a bigger Sound Labs. Dynamic speakers need not apply. The Tektons will play loud and that is about it. Their sound is best described as ....fractured. Go with the 3.7i's and set up a Sound Labs piggy bank account.
I suspect you are going to get a wide range of opinions on this, all the way from Wilsons are great to they are overpriced garbage. You need to make up your own mind, of course. I just bought new Sabrinas on closeout, for a subtantial discount. I heard them during an extended audition a few years back and thought it was some of the best sound I have ever heard. I have heard other Wilson's over the years, going back to seeing David Wilson demo early Watt/Puppies back about 1989, and I have always, always come away very impressed, in spite of the price tags, and the at times, a design that I don't find particularly appealing. There are a LOT of speaker manufacturers out there, and always the possibility of something better lurking around the corner. I had Magnepan 3.7i's before - they worked very well in a space that I had before, but not so well in the space where I live now. Lots of factors here - the space, your electronics, and how you hear music.
Wilson makes Phenomenal Speaker's. Big fan since the early 90's IMO probably one of the BEST. The WATT PUPPY's the WITT's and the Sophia all sound great with the start of the Watt Puppy V However they are not for the budget audiophile. You can get a great deal in the used market place. You need to inspect very well. The Majority of people have cared meticulously for these speakers. Be careful of the products that have been repaired, modified or upgraded by the non experienced DIY's The Sasha DAW sound incredible 15k - 28k price range. If you have the cash give them a try. The Watt, Witts and the Sophia can be driven nicely with moderately priced electronics. They are that good.
mijostyn, I had Acoustat 2 plus 2's 20 years ago on a Krell stack. Amazing speakers. I just had Acoustat model 3's and they finally gave out and the panels started to rattle. I miss the punch that dynamic speakers have but I don't think I would be happy 100 percent owning a dynamic speaker. I had Tektons. don't let the naysayers fool you. They are decent loudspeakers. Thought about Moabs with the same drivers covering 300 hz to 20k hz with 6 db slopes would be seamless like a planar but with punch. I think the old Wilsons are out. It's between the Magnepan 3.7i and Tekton Moab. I can get them brand new compared to the 14 year old Wilsons at the same price.
I don't think you'll be sorry purchasing Maggie 3.7 I've had them the past 2 years with a sub plenty of clarity, staging, dynamics a you are there fell with good recordings. Good luck, happy listening!
Pretty hard to advise on buying speakers without you auditioning them, and if you can audition them, you won't need anyone's advice.
Having said that, I was never a huge fan of the Watt/Puppy in early iterations and haven't heard the 8s so can't help there, Have listened to Sophia 3 and liked them a lot. I personally have older larger Wilsons and would never give them up (I also have other very good and very different speakers in other systems).
With Wilson, you pay more, but you generally get quality stuff. OTOH, you might want to add the Vandersteen 5A to your list....