I have not heard the Sashas yet as they are too new. My dealer is getting some in soon. I have heard the Sophias, Duetts and the Maxx's and also the Meridians. I can tell you that my ears love the Wilson sound and was not impressed with the Meridians. I came away thinking they were "sterile" for that lack of a better word. The Wilson sound is much more musical and involving. I can't afford them yet but between these 2 brands my mind is made up. But that is just my opinion, and you will receive many opinions on speakers. You gotta please your ears in the end.
absolutely....the max threes for sure.
Kippyy, certainly a question of personal taste but here are my experiences. I am an ARC REF / WP8 owner. I heard the Sasha yesterday with ARC REF110, LS26, Ref CD8. Excellent sounding speakers. They are a little more authoritative in the bass than the WP8. The Sasha is more laid back, softer, in the upper mid and treble region when compared to the WP8. My dealer carries Wilson, ARC, Boulder, Ayre. Ayre is an excellent SS match for Wilson. There is always a music server in the mix at my local dealer, be it an ARC DAC7 being fed from a wireless network, a Soolos, etc. so adding a digital source is not a problem with Ayre / Wilson. I have never heard the Meridian line so I can't make a direct comparison.
I use a pair of Meridian DS5500s w/ my 508.24 and Squeezebox as my living room system, and I think that they sound very good. What Theo describes as "sterile" I would describe as completely neutral and colorless. These speakers can be brutally revealing of any flaws in your source material, as well as wonderfully revalling of excellent recordings.
But there are a few considerations if you select a Meridian system:
First, you are buying into a system, not just a pair of speakers. Others may disagree, but I have not been happy with my attempts to integrate Meridian and non-Meridian gear. It works, but it seems to lose some of the effortless magic that makes the Meridian system so compelling to me.
Second, you are going to be limited to digital sources if you stay inside the Meridian system. But the tradeoff is that Meridian does some fantastic things with DSP - if you get a chance to audition their Trifield mode you may never go back to two speakers again.
Third, Meridian equipment is first-rate, but very expensive. I would recommend used - most Meridian owners treat their gear very well.
My friend has the Aurum Acoustics "all in one system". For anyone considering the Meridian system, the Aurum is a "must hear". Google it and try to listen. It is the best digital I have ever heard and it has the convenience of not having to mix and match components. Derik Moss, the designer is a pleasure to deal with and really knows how to design a musical system. There are some reviews on the net.
There is a very interesting review of the 7200 in the current HIFICRITIC. I would order it if I had any interest at all. Surprisingly, the 7200 sounded better driven from other CD players than it did from the 808.2i, which is possibly the best player on the market in certain respects. Used like this "we heard the unmistakable hallmarks of a truly great loudspeaker." It has "quite exceptional performance in all respects, deserving enthusiastic recommendation". They do not carry ads and do not recommend anything they do not really believe is good. That said, they have also reviewed several Wilson speakers and liked them all. It is hard to see how you could go wrong with either.
Sounds like a good deal on the Sasha. If you don't like them you might be able to get your money back.
I have had Ayre K-1xe, Ayre C-5xe & Wilson Sophias for 3 years and have listened extensively to Wilson WP7s & 8s and Maxx 2s. Also spent an evening listening to an all-Meridian setup with DSP8000s and Meridian surrounds at my dealer.
I agree with Theo. You can't go wrong with Ayre-Wilson - a very musical and revealing synergy with them. When you change cables or anything else in the system, you can immediately hear the difference. I, too, found the all Meridian system to be not terribly emotionally involving except on the best live rock concert recordings, it had a "you are there" presence.
Hope this helps.
What are the sonic characteristics of Ayre that make them a great match with Wilson? I have Wilsons (Sophia 2's) and currently use Pass amps (which I'm happy with, but I'm curious).
Well, Pass amps are hard to beat and I can and have lived happily with Threshold Class A mono blocks. I have Lamm M1.2 hybrids, which I like a little better than the Ayre MXR mono blocks because they have a bit richer, fuller sound, and because I like the sound of pure class A amps and what an outstanding NOS 6922 type tube does for the richness and fullness of the sound and the natural decay of the notes.
I think the Ayre preamps are among the very best preamps. Very neutral, incredible dynamics, PraT, huge soundstage with very precise and anchored imaging, tonal balance and air.
Wilsons are great speakers and the Sophias are more forgiving than the speakers further up the line, but they are still so revealing that you can easily hear what a preamp does to the sound. That's why I think the Ayre preamps are a great match with Wilsons. They pass the music without adding anything and without subtracting much.
If you are ever looking for a new preamp, I think you should give the Ayre preamps an audition with your Pass amps and Wilsons.
My System consists of:
Wilson Audio W/P8
Shunyata Python and Sidewinder power cables
Shunyata Hydra 8 v2
Shunyata Guardia Pro- Used for Amps ( Ihave two power cables per amp)
Rives Level 2 Room Treatment
I bought this system in April 2009 and I just love it! I wish I could have purchased the KX-r but just couldn't swing it now.
I have not heard a full meridian system and I am sure it is quite good but I do not think you can go wrong with Wilson Audio Sasha. From what I understand the Sasha is quite good and better than the W/P 8.
I purchased my W/P in April. I was told by my dealer at that time that I could buy the W/P8 at a discounted price and trade up to the Sasha later and pay only the difference in price between the Sasha and W/P 8. That is pretty cool. I should have my Sasha in early September.
I have two suggestions for you.
1) Have your listening room acoustically treated. I used Rives for the design and the sound in my room has been transformed. It was like I upgraded everything in my system.
2) Have you auditioned the MX-r? If not I would check them out. Detailed, sweet but with some balls. I listen mostly to rock as well and I thought the mx-r made rock recordings sound more full and life like. I know they are significantly more expensive but worth checking out.
You've probably already made your decision, but I just saw this post and thought I'd add my two cents. I've owned both Meridian and Wilson speakers, so I know their strengths and weaknesses quite well.
First, anyone who hasn't heard the latest Meridian speakers with their new apodising digital filter technology simply hasn't heard what their speakers are capable of. What Theo described as a "sterile" sound was, to me, a hardness that ultimately led me to sell my DSP5000's. With the addition of their new digital filter (which is also the secret sauce in their much-lauded 808.2 CD player), that hardness is now gone.
About six months ago, I had a chance to audition the 7200's in my home. I liked them a lot, and found the hardness that had led me to swear off Meridian speakers was now completely gone. But they didn't have enough bass to energize my rather large listening room (28' X 19', opening onto a two-story entry hall), so I passed.
I later heard the MAXX3's (not in my home) and liked them quite a lot too. They were dynamic and detailed, and had none of the leanness that my old Watt/Puppy's had exhibited. Plus, I figured they'd have no problem in my room. So, I started putting money away to buy a pair.
Then I heard the new Meridian DSP 8000.2's (the 7200's big brother) connected directly to a Sooloos music server. They were fantastic, and the ease of using the Sooloos was truly remarkable. The system sounded very organic, and very transparent -- more transparent, in fact, than I remembered the MAXX3's being (driven by tube gear, anyway).
I was so impressed, in fact, that I bought the set.
I can tell you that I've never had as much musical enjoyment out of my system as I do now. Even if the 8000.2's weren't as good as the MAXX3's (and I'm not saying they're not, only that at this level it's all a matter of personal preference), the absence of a rat's nest of boxes and cables IMHO pulls the 8000.2's ahead. And the Sooloos (which admittedly can be hooked up to any system, but which I suspect has a particular synergy with Meridian products now) is such a joy to use. I can walk into my room, tap on the screen, find any piece of music I own, and immediately sit down and listen -- I don't even have to wake up the speakers, the Sooloos does that for me.
In short, if you, like me, have a digital-only system, I strongly recommend you take a long look at a Sooloos-DSP7200 system before buying anything else. It really is wonderful-sounding gear, and once you live with it and experience its ease of use, you'll realize how truly special it is. My 8-year-old daughter loves playing her Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood songs on it, and unlike with my pat rigs -- which I wouldn't let anyone else touch -- I have no qualms about letting her do it!
A new answer for al old question, Neutrality!!!!!!!!!!!