Wilson Audio Sophia III Question/Help

Dear friends,

I have recently found the chance to upgrade my speakers to a pair of Wilson Audio Sophia 3's. They are driven by a McIntosh MA8000 (300w p/ch SS amp). Although the details in music, huge dynamics and being able to hear more layers into music have been a stunning experience for me with the Sophias, I am a little troubled in a very basic area of stereo image reproduction.

First, some information on the setup: The speakers are 7 feet apart and the listening position is approx 9 feet. However, due to limited space the speakers have to sit less than a foot to the back and side walls (I have installed Vicoustic Flexi wall treatments on back and side of the speakers) The speakers are on spikes and currently toed in 15 degrees. (I have experimented with 0-25 degrees toeing in). I listen to mostly Rock and Jazz music.

I feel like the center image/presence/focus/impact is not strong enough in some recordings. It feels like the vocals are too laid back when there comes a loud orchestral/dynamic passage. It just feels like I need to pay more attention to understand/decode what the vocalist is saying... In vocal-oriented music, Jazz audiophile recordings, etc, there is no such problem, yet sometimes I still feel like the vocal is not pinpoint center but a little dispersed in between the speakers. The traditional solution would be to toe in the speakers more, but then Sophias on direct axis tend to draw attention to themselves, which make the sound coming from left and right more apparent, contradicting with my purpose of strengthening the center image. It just feels like the sound is diffused - perhaps too wide soundstage than I'm accustomed to... I don't think I have trouble with boomy bass which curtain the mids by the way. I am sure the room acoustics are in play here, yet I did not have a similar experience with the B&W 804 speakers I have used in the same place before, they have had strong center fill, pinpoint phantom image in the center with a decent soundstage. I feel like the Sophias are rendering much more information from music, they offer higher resolution and transparency yet I cannot get them to sing as they are supposed to - missing some of the very basic attributes in stereo. I knew that Wilsons are picky in room setup but I have been experimenting for days and don't have an alternative space to move my hi-fi.

I'll appreciate any comments and suggestions.
Thank you.

Showing 1 response by gpgr4blu

Wilson set up instructions call for you to sit a distance away equal to 1.1 to 1.25 times the distance between the tweeters so it sounds like you are close to that. Toe in should be so that you can barely see the inside of the cabinet from your listening position. The right  tweeter should be directed at the right ear and the left at the left ear . The speakers should be placed in the zone of neutrality re the wall behind and beside each speaker. I think you should experiment with toe in while moving the speakers closer together. That alone should solve your center fill problem. 15 degree toe in is definitely a problem. When you dial it in you will know it because you will get a better center fill, the speakers will disappear as source points AND you will get a wider and deeper soundstage.  In a way it's anti-intuitive, but it works.