Of the two, the Sophia would be my choice. The 5.1 sounds a bit sterile to my ears.
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The Sophias are more "sophisticated" with significantly less bass hump and an overall more refined presentation. If you want exhileraton then go for the WP's. Another way to think of it is - if you have a big room and want to fill it with big punchy bass then go for WP's otherwise Sophias will be a better choice..
I am not so sure that I agree completely with these statements in full. I went with the 5.1s over the Sophias, based on my personal preference. I actually like the Duettes better than the Sophia's as well. I think the Sophia (#1/one are the speakers I am referencing) are a very good speaker and worthy of careful consideration. However, for my tastes, I prefered the performance on the WP feeling that they are more dynamic throughout the produced frequency range than the Sophia. Additionally, I felt the WP produced a more likeable sound stage. Some people claim the WP are too bright; however, I have not experienced this within my system or during auditions. Additionally, I don't find them uninvolving or sterile. But again, this may be my prefered sound!? I liked the Sophias, but the WP delivered a performance that I personally prefer.
I think coonery makes an important statement "I am not a fan at all of the Wilson Sound . . ." and then prefers the Sophia's over the W/P. I think this is common, people not liking the Wilson sound but liking the Sophias. This is the same reason why I am not a fan of the Sohpias, they lack the Wilson sound. If I am going to pay that much money, why should I buy a speaker that sounds like so many others, but for a lot more money. While I think the Sohpia is a good, even a very good speaker, I think that it sounds like too many other speakers. I think the Sophia was David Wilson's attempt to expand his market share by offering a product that does not incorporate the Wilson sound (so much), but will appeal to people who like the B&W, VS, Focal/JM Lab and other "sounds". This was probably a very good move on his part and I suspect over time, people that own the Sophia's will start to realize that they like more the other Wilson speakers as the Sophias are moving people from the "other referenced branded sounds" to a little bit more detail, resolution and energy.
On the point of resale values of New Sophia's vs. other Wilson speakers, I am not so sure about lost value. As for buying used Sophia's vs. used other Wilson speakers (W/P in particular), I would disagree with this. I have purchased a pair of 5.1s and then an additional 5.1 puppy and single watt. I can sell my three speakers for the exact same amount I have paid for them (as I have received offers to do so). During this same time frame, the Sophias have dropped about $1,800 and the Sophia 2s about $1,000 from their used price when I bought my W/P.
Again, I think those buying the Sophia's are new Wilson customers more so than those buying the W/P. As such, I suspect the Sophia's are selling at closer to list price than perhaps the other Wilson speakers (I have also purchased brand new Wilson speakers in the past, that is my refence).
I think this is a very good thread. I like some parts of the "Wilson sound" but over the long term to my tastes it gets old. I wonder how many Wilson owners really have a chance to compare to Von Schweikert speakers which IMHO are less HIFI more natural music. I mean no disrespect to Wilson owners and I hope you get great joy from your speakers. I am just suggesting that a prospective buyer might not buy Wilsons just because they are Wilsons.
Inhisservice, You are right in that people should listen to "Von Schweiker" (as you stated, and many other brands) vs. Wilson. I couldn't agree with you more, that there will be people that don't like the Wilson sound, and these people should obviously not buy Wilson speakers (or anything they don't actually like the sound of). And nobody, certainly, should buy any product on name alone, Wilson or otherwise.
I can't speak for the ease of sale of Sohpia's VS. W/P (or other models) as I have never owned the Sophias. My feeling is that the Sohpias are the entry into the Wilson sound, taking one only part of the way. This being said, there is likely to be many people who feel that this is the sound they like and want. They are excellent speakers. The Sophia 2s seem to be selling at roughly 50% as of now.
Wilson to VS sound? It is a personal matter. I feel that the Wilson delivers what is on the recording better and more accurately. But I can also understand why and how other people would prefer the VS sound. Again, this makes more the point that it is and should be personal preference. I won't ever state that the Wilson (any model) is the best speaker, producing the best sound for such are only opinions and matters of personal taste.
Ckoffend's comment of "My feeling is that the Sohpias are the entry into the Wilson sound, taking one only part of the way." is complete nonsense. Wilson Audio does not make a Speaker System that is partially complete taking one only part of the way. The Sophias are "100% Wilson". Daryl Wilson (Daves Son-who is also involved in the business) has been using Sophias in his personal Home System since they were introduced back in 2001, and he, obviously, could use any Wilson Speaker System that he desires. The Sophia is only considered entry-level when it is compared to the price and size of Wilson's larger floor-standing Speakers, and not simply based on sonics. The larger Wilson Speaker Systems are made for larger rooms, with powerful amplification. A pair of Maxx2s would not sound as good as a pair of Sophias in a small>modestly sized listening room, with modestly powered amplification, and vice versa. The Wilson Audio Sophia is probably the most universally praised high-end Speaker System available today, as well as winning numerous awards and a perennial favorite of Hi-Fi Magazines, since its introduction. Ckoffends own comment of as I have never owned the Sophias should be enough of a disclaimer for readers to consider his opinion of the Wilson Audio Sophia null-and-void.
As to the original question: It is of my opinion, based on owning 3 pairs of Wilson Speakers (currently Sophia), and being close friends with my local long-time Wilson Audio Dealer, and hearing every Speaker System in their current line-up; that the Sophia will best any W/P-System up to the W/P-7. Most long-time Wilson Audio Dealers would concur, that when the Sophia was introduced, WP-6 sales tanked, Wilson new this would happen, and planned accordingly, by releasing the W/P-7 soon after.
I still stand by my statements, having owned several pair of Wilsons as well, including side by side comparison with the Sophias (which I never purchased as I did not prefer their sound as much as the alternatives). With every comparison I made, my feeling was that the Sophia was/is a "kinder and gentler" Wilson speaker. This is by no means a knock on the Sophia, and it certainly was not intended as one. The big complaint that so many people have against the Wilson speakers is that they are bright, un-musical in that they are too detailed (the too detailed is my interpretation of the un-musical based on numerous elaborations on the un-musical statements) and unforgiving to an extreme (ie. a bad recording will sound bad).
It is my contention, and not a statement suggested to me by any Wilson dealer, that the Sophia's are designed to bridge this gap to widen the Wilson audience. Let's face it, if a suitable number of potential customers feel a product is too much of "something" (whatever that "something" is) and the manufacturing can reduce that same "something" to a point where those previous complainers no longer have an issue with that "something", then the manufacturer has a great potential to increase his customer base. Whether you agree or disagree with me on my impression of the Sophia's, I think most people would agree with the above statement as a general, common sense business approach (and yes, it does assume one/a business cannot do this if it jeopardizes their reputation).
I neither claim to speak for Wilson's goals with the Sophia or claim this to be fact. This has been my impression of the sound of the Sophias. I think they are great speakers. I think they will appear to a great number of customers, possibly more than the W/P (for example). However, the sound of the Sophia's is not as appealing to me because of my impression of how they sound. I obviously like a high degree of resolution and want the details (in full strength, if that is how they are recorded) and the energy I get with the other Wilson speakers over the Sophias. That is my listening preferences.
When I suggest that they are an entry level into the Wilson sound, I am not saying that they are a low level or quality of speaker in any way. My point is that they do a better job with resolution (and the items I reference above) than most other (branded) speakers, but they do not do it the Nth degree that many of their (Wilsons) other speakers do.
My example would be that if you own VS speakers and want a some more resolution, etc. . . the Sophia's would be a great speaker. If you want the impression of a lot more resolution, etc. . . than other Wilson speakers will deliver this "more" of these attributes. One or the other is not better, it is subjective.
As for a Wilson dealer (or any dealer of various products) saying that the "new" X-model is the best they have heard always raises a question mark in my mind. The fact that the Sophia's have "eaten" into the W/P sales should not be too much of a surprise to anybody. When they came out, they were the only other full size/full range speaker Wilson offered and were at about 1/2 the price. In reality, should also appeal to a wider segment.
As for me, I wouldn't trade my W/P for the Sophias as they have less of what I like (personally). However, that doesn't mean others won't find the Sophia's better for their tastes. Again, I am not criticizing the Sophia speakers, in fact I feel I have praised both their sound and my impression of their reason to be.
I won't/wouldn't recommend to every/anybody the W/P or other models over the Sophias or for that matter any Wilson speaker over a VS (for example) speaker as the sound/performance is subjective and based on personal preferences. We should all know at least that by now. Attacking another's clearly stated opinions just because they don't agree with ones own likes or current equipment ownership is counterproductive to the purpose of the forums. I have no problems with somebody/anybody disagreeing with me or my impressions and clearly stating as such, in fact would encourage it based on personal experiences and opinions to further others abilities to determine on their own what their preferences are and to get all sides/opinions of an issue.
The wilson speakers look and sound very good. I have owned 6's and 7's and liked them both. I did find that I had to upgrade the rest of my sytem to try and get rid of the shrillnes of the highend on most recordings when played loud.
In my mind the Sophia is not even close to the 6's or 7's and I agree with many others who feel the same way. In several side by side demos I felt there was no comparison. If you have $5 to $10 thousand dollars buy used watt puppies.
Thanks, after hours and hours and with a few other comrades of listening to both the Sophias and WP 8's. I am sorry to disagree with some. The 8's are better than the Sophias, i do agree.. more refine on the very very top, richer and a little fuller with a deeper bottom end.
It not far for sure like what some are saying. They are quite close for sure. We tried with similar electronics and moved around a little here and there and with similar electronics and location of room and I must say, the Sophias are a steal. I ended up buying the Sophias and I could have picked up a WP6 or 7 used for a little more or for the same price but ended up going for the Sophias.
I like the new technolgy driven idea.
I just dont like the idea that all my good recording sound amazing and my bad recordings suck. I guess thats what honesty is all about. Thanks again for all your help guys!
Yep, your last comment about bad recordings sounding bad says it all. I owned WP6's for a couple of years and with
lesser recordings they had etched vocals, scratchy strings,
jazzed-up brass. They seem to unrelentingly show flaws in
the recording or upstream equipment. To me, if I can't play
my favorite music (whose recording quality is out of my control), that is unacceptable. (I know others disagree around here, so you have to think about what you want from a system.) Some speakers may not extract all the details, but they manage to present recording flaws
in at least a pleasant way. Speaker designers walk a thin line.
I think speakers that are designed to be absolutely revealing should come with some sort of Parental Warning Sticker that says: non-audiophile-grade recordings can be hazardous to your health (or at least your hearing).
(Sorry to be so negative, but this is from the school of hard knocks...)
Ravi, be happy with the Sophia's and never second guess a decision that makes you happy. To me, the differences that you outlined in your comparison with the W/P matches my opinions. In the end, it is personal taste and preference. These are speakers that should last you many, many years if you can avoid the itch!
I have a friend who will be travelling to the US soon and is comtemplating of buying a pair of Sophia2. I am sure he is aware of all the warranty issues and additional shipping costs.
What's the best price to pay for a brand new/used pair? Require dealer contact details. I also heard that in a situation like this dealers usually sell at a much better price--is this true?
I would like to hear your thoughts. Thanks.
While I suspect that a pair can be purchased new from a dealer at a better price without requiring the in-home set-up etc. . . I don't think that the discount will be significant. I understand the Sophia's are selling fairly well and this is typically an indication that high discounts are not going to be absorbed by dealers. On the otherhand, I think finding a Wilson dealer in a more moderate market with a lower volume level of sales may be the best solution to finding a better deal. I would suggest buying used for a real savings.
Hi there and thanks Chris for your comments, I am not second guessing at all, very please and completely happy with my purchase!
For Jay461, try chatting with your local dealer for a price. Wilson dealers DO NOT give great discount but will gladly try to do their best for their clients I assure you depending on the store.
A used Sophia Mk2 goes for a shade below 10k for one that is in excellent condition. I have seen some going for around 9k depending.
I ended up buying from a dealer, it was worth paying the extra for the service and local support. Its not like cables and so on, bigger purchases...bigger trouble if any arrises.
Some stores do have demo/promo sales and its wroth grabing them then. Good luck!