"F" Minus for pricing.
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Regarding Tpreaves comments--my wife said exactly the same thing when she saw them at RMAF 2008. Every once in awhile I casually comment that I am thinking of getting a pair of those garbage can speakers just to tweak her a little. Personally I am a Wilson fan, but agree the price is a little prohibitive unless you buy "pre-owned".
Wow I am truly amazed at some of the opinions, but I guess thats what makes us all different. I trust a Bugatti Veyron will look like a larger trash disposal unit to some. The price of these things are not cheap by all means but its actually less compared to its predecessor the Puppy 8's and that is usually not a common occurance in this industry. Prices of newer replacement models usually go up.
Regarding wifes, thats a funny thing since my wife dont ask me about my speakers unless they sound horrible and I dont ask them about their designer handbags since they successfully carry funds either way.
Anyways I still think they look fantastic!
Thanks for the interesting responses.
I've had Sophia 1s for a little over 4 years now. I love them, but I am thinking about replacing them with the Sashas.
I have listened to the Sasha's a few times at my dealer's store. I have heard them with Ayre MXRs, big Krell mono blocks and one of the more modestly priced tube Mac mono blocks.
I have not been very favorably impressed. But the room the dealer has them in small and the dealer says that they don't breathe well in that room.
Can you describe what you heard with them and what equipment was being used with them.
The room was big and lost and lots of air for breathing. I find the Sophia's can benifit a great deal with this as well compared to my smaller listening room. Krell FPB 600 / Audio Research Monos at long listening sessions some shorter demos which was difficult to say but still impressive, Full BAT system and Audio Research System in those condition. All very positive impressions even at a first glance. They do sound closer to the Sophia's "style" compared to the original Puppy 8's but only in a steroid version. They go much lower and much more air on the very top end compared to the Sophia's. Compared to the original Puppys... much more balanced IMO. Faster sound in the bottom end with better control. I still like these things with transistors, they sound wonderful with the bigger Krells. Those Puppy 8 owners will notice a difference in the mids for sure, that was one of the reasons why I went with the Sophias compared to the older Puppy 8's. The only thing that I was going to say about the original Puppys that I would like to tweek if possible but looks like Wilson took care of that in this new design.
They sound and look just astonishing. The built quality that I have inspected inch by inch is just something you have to experience. Even the size compared to its predecessor is vast. Another thing to add is I have listen to both analog and digital front ends and this one is a real thrill with digital sources as well. Some who have said in the past about the original Puppys being bright, brittle or forward sounding to some point on the very top end of the spectrum.... go give this a good listen from a reputable Wilson dealer and you be the judge.
I like this pair very much.
I listened to a set of Sashas at a friend's house (also a well-known reviewer). We brought over a set of our amps (MA-1s) to play- I have to say I was quite interested to see how the two worked together. The MA-1s replaced a transistor amp of twice their power.
It turns out that the Sashas are very easy to drive, the meters on the MA-1s barely moved at all, yet we were getting a very satisfying volume from the speakers- I was worried we might disturb the neighbors. Very fast speaker, very articulate, good cohesion between drivers, spot on imaging, good lack of signature, quick, articulate bass that was extended without boominess but nevertheless easily conveying weight as the program material required. In a nutshell :)
Its obvious that Wilson likes tube amps, so far every single speaker he has ever made has worked with our amps and most every tube amp that can make any power.
Well if you put the Pass mono amps or the Krell amps with Wilson they play fine. I tried many amps with Wilson and although a lot of people get good results with tube amps I never thought the Wilson speakers sounded the best with tube amps.
The strong points of Wilson speakers are the very very good bass and livelike sound. For this I found that big transistor amps like Krell work the best. Krell has good bass and the new EVO lines have also very very good mids. The match with the Wilson Sasha is absolutely perfect. I am going to try my Pass XA100.5 this weekend in the Sasha en will post the results. Now I play with the Krell EVO202 and EVO402 and the match is perfect.
I agree with Peter,
They do sound perfectly fine with reputable tube amps IMO but these things are not the easiest things to drive including all other Wilsons for that matter.
The huge VTL Monos I listen to them were pretty darn good but the the big transistor Boys, they are truly exciting and fun to listen too for sure. Rock cracking bass with one of the Krells I have heard. Unbelievable! Even with Norah Jones first track on a her new CD "Chasing Pirates", what a wallop!!!!
Well I spent tonight listening to my new Sashas using the following amps:
Pass XA100.5 + XP20
Krell EVO202 + EVO402
As is to be expected both combinations gave excellent results. I am still doubting which one I like more. You can not realy say one combination is much better than the other. The Pass combination sounds a little smoother and slightly more musical. But the Krell combination is cristal clear with amazing details both in the bass and in the highs. I could live with both combinations and did not decide yet which combination to keep.
Disadvantage for the Krell is the high power consumption even in standby and the disadvantage of the Pass is that they need minimum one hour to sound good. But this are all minor things.
I also put the Sasha on the spikes. The bass became a lot better but the highs were a little bit less. Maybe a higher spike will improve that. The spikes (I use one ring) are about 3-4 cm lower than the wheels so this could have to do with it.
One of my friends plays with Jadis on a Wilson Puppy 7 and that combination is amazing to. More than enough power and very very good mids. But of course the bass from a big transistor amp is better but the mids of the Jadis are unbeatable by any transistor amp.
Tubes or transistors; both have their friends. I hear from both good results, it just depends what is your taste and what you want to hear.
Very interesting thread. I own Sophia 2's and have been eyeing the Sashas as the logical upgrade path, but haven't had good experiences when it comes to auditions. RMAF was kind of spotty (hard to tell in those small rooms) and a recent dealer audition/comparison (Sophia 2's vs Sashas) was very inconclusive. They both sounded terrible and difficult to tell apart.
I love my Sophia 2's, I just want more articulate bass, a little more forgiving upper mids and more air. :-) I use Pass XA100.5's so it's nice to hear that the Sashas work with these. Peter, do you really find the XA100.5's need an hour to sound good? What differences do you hear? I haven't really noticed much difference...
I don' have any reservation regarding Sasha Krell or pass Sasha combination(power amps). They are both fine with Sashas.One thing is for sure Sasha is not a piece of cake load for amps. However, neither full Krell nor Pass setup will yield max. outcome. Based on my past experience, both are very good in Power amp making but only ''good'' in preamp making.
Well about the Pass XA100.5. If I just start them I feel the bass is not controlled. The difference between a cold one and one that is on for an hour is quite big. Of course cold they sound good but they realy sing after an hour.
For the preamps I agree that both Pass and Krell were not famous in preamps in the past. But both the new XP20 and the new EVO202 are world class amps. I had Spectral DMC30SL G2 and Audio Research reference 3 but the Krell and the Pass are at least as good although different sounding.
Now after 3 more days of listening I am now playing with the combination of Pass XA100.5 and Krell EVO202. The Krell power amp in combination with the EVO202 was a little on the bright side with the Sasha. However with the Wilson Maxx this was the best combination. So it depends on the set.
The EVO202 beats the XP20 in terms of openness, dynamics and bass control. Maybe the Pass is slightly more musical but for now I prefer the EVO202 with the Pass XA100.5 monos.
I am going to try an ARC Ref5 also in this set. The new ref5 should be faster than the ref3 and I might want to buy this one also.
As for the Sasha and the Sophia 2. If you like the Wilson sound just buy the Sasha without listening as I did. You will love the sound. It is the best speaker I ever had in my house. It blows away any Puppy and also my previous Maxx in my room (different rooms give different results). The voicing of both speakers should be similar but the Sasha delivers more of everything and the new mid driver is amazing in speed and details.
I am using the Pass XA.5 with a BAT Rex preamp, Jade Audio cables, and the Tripoint Troy. Very synergistic combination. Detailed, controlled, and musical. Bass is very controlled and appropriately proportioned. It does not call attention to itself at the expense of the midrange.
If you are demoing the XA.5 brand new, it takes 200-300 hours before they really transform into an effortless presentation. I also noticed a slight midrange haze when breaking them in, which is no longer present. I think you are correct in trying to pair a tube amp with a solid state. Do listen to the Ref 5, but I personally find it too tipped to higher frequencies and you will probably sacrifice bass c/w the solid state preamp. The Ref 5 is alot like a solid state amp. I have heard the Sasha, and I believe it could benefit from matching electronics which provide some textural richness in the mids.
In regards the warm-up time, I do not notice much change with the XA.5. I had the X.5 series, and this took 8-24 hours to warm-up - no joke. The XA.5 sounds great freshly powered from standby, but it probably does improve slightly over the first hour. With the X.5, I would leave them on Friday night to listen over the weekend. With the XA.5, I turn them on only when listening.
The Sasha is a winner IMO. I have had my pair for several months now. I posted last year that the difference in the Sasha vs W/P8 was huge and others poked fun of me . It now seems that others are hearing the same now. As I have stated the Sasha sounds more like a mini Maxx 3 than an upgraded W/P 8.
I was not a big wilson fan to date...i think they are very dynamic but not very cohesive (particularly surprised by the Alex Series 2 and wasn't a huge WP 8 fan)...I went to a session with Dave Wilson to hear the Sasha's in NYC last December and must say i was pleasantly surprised. Still dynamic, but much more coherent than the WP8. i agree they have a winner here and the price is trending in the right direction (down). (Note: was played with spectral front end)
I am driving my Sophias with Canary tube monoblocks. The sound is effortless and dynamic. This is a great match.
Madfloyd, I had the same concern about the upper mids. However, I found out that Wilson's comment about sitting 1.1 - 1.25 x the distance between the tweeters is NOT just a suggestion. Sitting farther away than this gives the mids a steely, sharp edge. Get in closer as recommended and you are rewarded with a natural, cohesive sound that is organic and detailed all at once.
As has been mentioned before, I found out first hand how setting up a Wilson speaker is a pain in the a$$. Which begs the question of how many times detractors have heard them set up improperly? They can go from uninvolving and/or annoying to world class in a matter of inches.
Got my Sashas last week ... still haven't got a chance to listen to them, since I sold my speaker cables and now I'm waiting for a new set, LOL.
My amps are Nagra VPA, Pass XA-30.5 and Dartzeel. I also still have the Sophia II speakers, so will be able to do a head to head comparo (instead of relying on aural memory, whcuh can be deceptive).
Well I just got a pair of Krell EVO400 mono amps and they work very well together with the Sasha. Now it is a matter of preference which amps are better, the XA100.5 or the EVO400. At this moment I slightly prefer the EVO400 which is a lot better than the stereo version. Still need more listening but the Krell power amps are more dynamical and have better imaging. The vioce of Diana Krall still sounds better on the Pass. Will need more listening.
This is a very helpful thread for the Sashas in particular but also for the Sophias and driving them with different amps. I appreciate all of the comments.
I am driving Sophia 1s with Lamm M1.2s and Ayre K-1xe preamp. Cables are Purist Anniversary. Outrageously expensive, but what a difference they have made with the Ayre-Lamm-Sophias combo. They have taken the system where I wanted to go but was unsure I would ever get there. I know Elberoth2 was disappointed with the Sophia/Lamm M1.2 combo. I must admit that I did a fair amount of tube rolling and cable rolling before I finally heard what I was looking for.
I would like to move on to the Sashas, but it will be awhile before I can afford to make that move. My next big upgrade will be replacing my Ayre C-5xeMP, Sony blu-ray and Exemplar Denon 5910 (if I can bear to part with it) with Ayre's new DX-5 and then I will rip all my CDs to a music server connected to the DX-5.