Wilson Sophia 1 vs vandersteen 2ce


Hi, this may be a no-brainer but I'm looking for some reassurance. I'm looking for a substantial speaker upgrade over my 2ce's. I'm looking at used Sophia 1s. I also have the vandy sub. The rest of by system is :
vtl preamp
belles 150 v2
vpi Classic 1 with dynavector karat.
thanks!!!!
Convert?fit=crop&h=128&rotate=exif&w=128sinewave93
sinewave93-

much will depend on your budget. Are you prepared to step up to a VTL amp? Transparent cabling is a must to really bring out the Wilson speakers. Happy Listening!
Well I really like my vtl/belles combo... I probably don't have the budget to buy an amp right now....
Never liked those Wilsons...and always liked Vandersteens....You really should listen for yourself.
Thanks... It seems near impossible to really demo something like this unless I literally had a side by side comparison. Listening at a dealer's showroom will always make them sound better and they will always have higher end components. Maybe I am making a false assumption that 5x the cost speakers by a reputable speaker company should be a dramatic upgrade. Thanks anyways y'all 
While I do like those Wilsons, I think the setup that you have now is really well-balanced, and might not sound much (if at all) better merely substituting the Wilsons.  What is it about the Vandys that you don't like?
I am a Vandersteen user (3a sigs), and I heard the Wilson Sabrina's at a local dealer. I never heard of Wilson before, but I was really impressed by the sound they produced, so much so, that if a pair of Sophias or WattPuppy7/8's at the right price come up, I would buy them.
The Belles should have enough power (125 watt/channel, I think) to drive the Wilson's-unless you have a huge room/or like you music super loud.
Rcprince - I absolutely adore the vandys but I've had them about 9 years and I'm just looking for that sought after upgrade...

gdnrbob - that is the rumor I've heard. That the sophias would vastly outperform the vandys and thus the reason for my opinion gathering mission here

thanks!
I've heard both speakers but not in direct comparison. If you find the used Sophias for what you consider a good deal I'd go for it. You have a nice system that would match well with these speakers IMO.
Charles, 
Given the Sophia 1 is an older model I'm assuming you are looking at used ones.  The Wilsons are nice speakers, I heard them at a show a few years back and liked them.  On the other hand, I've had Vandersteen 2Ci, 3A Signature and now 5's.  The 2Ci to 3A was a moderate jump, but the 3A to 5 was a big jump.  I really like the 5's.  So I would give consideration to a used pair of original model 5 which should be comparable in price (about $5k) and performance to the Sophia 1.  I really like the adjustable built-in subwoofer of the 5.  It can be tuned to your room.  The trouble might be finding a pair, not too many have come up in the last couple of years.
Wilsons are polarizing and you certainly wont get any consensus opinion here.  While they may be better, they will also highlight any issues or deficiencies and consequently put you on the upgrade merry-go-round hence Jafant's suggestion above.
I have the Sophia 1s in my system and have had them for 7 years now, everything else has changed several times from really good solid state amps, CJ 2250A, Pass XA30.5 to several different tube amps, the Canary CA306 triode, VTL ST85, Audio Research 100 amp and settled on the VTL MB125s 6 years ago and the Sophias sounded great with all of them but really was surprised how good they sounded with a 27 year old B&K ST140 when I sent my VTLs in to be reworked it was really an eye opening experience. I also had a pair of Sophia 2s but liked the ones better, might be in the minority on that though. Always used a good tube preamp with them but have seen the light with the Lamm LL2.1 paired with an Allnic H1500 SE II phono. I would say that the Sophias really sound like music and you just forget about them and listen to music and that is what it is about. 

Well, I think the Wilsons will be a touch more clear and revealing than the Vandersteens, but not as much as with other Wilson speakers, as the Sophia 1s were, IMHO, Wilson's most forgiving speaker--they even sounded good with a decent receiver driving them, so Tooblue's observation about the B&K is not that surprising to me.  I think your electronics will sound fine with them, they are excellent.  I do like Pmotz's idea of possibly listening to a pair of Vandersteen 5s as well, given that you like the Vandersteen sound.  I agree that they would be on a similar level with the Sophias in terms of sound quality.  Not easy to find, though.
You folks are all absolute champs. I can't thank you enough for your time and opinions!
Hi Tooblue,
I must say that the Wilson Sophia paired with the Canary amplifier is intriguing. I imagine that was pretty nice. 
Charles, 
Yeah Charles the Canary was a hard one to give up and move on from with the Sophias at 24 watts triode it was a monster, just came to the conclusion I could not live without what el 34 tubes bring to the dance. The Pass Labs XA 30.5 was a real sweet amp in my system also but like the Canary weighs in at 80 pounds and was hard for me to handle so monos were a must, my VTLs are 40 pounds a side and really compact.

Just to throw another thought out there.... Check out the new Vandersteen. Treo CT... Could be very compelling, depending on room size. The Sabrina's even though smaller may also be really nice too, with both having more recent driver technology. Both not cheap but an option in size depending on what you plan to invest. Like others have said, it is gonna take close to 20 large to have better resolution and even more extension than in your present rig. Older Vandy Quattro's should also be on your very short list of must hear in mid sized to small rooms. 

I question your amp driving 5's with that amp....I have 5A's driven by 200 watts channel Ayre and sometimes I feel its not enough (although I have a very large room)
Well there you go, Stringreen just made it easy, the Sophias really sound good with every amp I tried with them and they really are special.
Why the question?  If you actually LISTEN, there is no comparison.  Period.  Wilsons, hands down.  If you want a second opinion, I'll be happy to give you one.
OP-

keep us posted on your decision. Happy Listening!
My only recommendation would be,  don't sell the Vandersteen 2ce for at least a year if you decide to buy the Sophia.  If you can't afford both then you need to wait.  It's too easy to get seduced by something different in your new system and then a few months later really miss something else from your old system. Also the way speakers interact with a room makes home audition critical.  The 2ce are excellent speakers giving wonderful transparency and imaging. If the sub is working well in your room and integrated well, the Sophia might not improve in the bass department. Personally I would look into trying different amps (maybe a VTL, pass or BAT) with your vandersteens. Really depends on what type of improvement you are hoping for (imaging? dynamics? transparency? loudness? bass?) and what kind of music you mainly enjoy.
Based on my memory of hearing the 2ce many times and the original Sophia once (room and system caveats noted), my sense is that the Wilson will have substantially more energy through the presence region than your 2ce.  You may hear this as improved detail, dynamics and "jump" factor or you may hear it as aggressive and "forward" sounding.  No one is going to know that except you, and you won't know til you hear them.

Just MHO and one more data point for you.
Well said Jessica,
I was a ML fan for 30 years and 2 years ago bought Wilson Maxx used.
Kept my Prodigy's for over a year before selling to make sure I was where I wanted to be with the Wilsons, I am:-)

Best of luck sinewave.
Bob
To answer a few comments/questions-

I plan to keep the 2ce's. They are going into my basement to replace some Linn speakers (hooked up to a rega integrated amp and dj setup).

I did take the plunge and bought the sophias. I'll have them in a few weeks and will report back. Too good of a deal to pass up. Now I need to figure out the cables!

I listen to a lot of electronic/synth/techno and experimental music.

I'm very excited!
Congrats sinewave!
Let us know what you think about the Wilson's. I, myself, would like to buy a pair, should an opportunity to buy a pair at a reasonable cost come up.
As far as cables, I think Transparent has been high on the Wilson list.
Sinewave93 the Acoustic Zen Hologram II are the speaker cables that I settled on and the Satorie by Acoustic Zen seem to be a good match also, just remember that the Sophias do not accept bannana pins just spades.
Sinewave congratulations !
I was using 3a Sigs & 2 2W subs when I purchased Sophia 1's, it was a huge improvement all the way around! The inner detail and stronger bass still put a smile on my face as I'm writing and remembering that first secession !!

"System edited: Added Wilson Sophia 1's these are just amazing!!!! All those CD's I thought sucked don't!!!! Classical is .....it will make you tear up it's so beautiful!!! I'm shocked by how good the Quicksilver V-4's are performing, the combo is a very pleasurable, more detail than I expected! The soundstage is wide, holographic and airy with precise imaging. You can hear the strike at the beginning of a note the harmonics are............!..........!..........! A huge step!!!
samhar November 14, 2008 19:02

Remember set up is a work in progress and can yield big improvements. Please post your journey on your page & here !


Nice to hear you are liking the Sophia's. Have almost the same gear as you did, and was thinking about a Wilson upgrade route.

Post removed 
russmaleartist, I don't think this post should be part of this discussion. If you feel the need to express your opinions regarding the transient nature of 'the best', you should create a new thread.
Sinewave asked for our opinions regarding the Wilson's, and we gave it.
I am glad he is happy with his choice- And, I envy him not only for having the money to buy the Wilson's, but also for having such good taste in speakers.
Gdnrbob,
Agree, Russmaleartist you raise some valid points but I feel you should just initiate a separate thread and see where it goes. 
Charles, 
sinewave93 have you received the Sophia 1's? If you have how's the set up going and what are your impressions ?

Thanks Samhar, for reviving the thread.
I, too, would like to know how those Sophia's sound compared to the Vandersteen.
Hi, yes I have them! I have been so incredibly busy that I have not had time to properly research calculated placement, etc. It is next on my agenda. Anyway... Right out the crate, the difference from the 2ce's is striking. I previously had the vandy sub which is completely unnecessary with these Wilsons. The sound is fantastic. Much more "aggressive" and powerful compared to the 2ce's. I'm not good with the eloquent technical jargon, but let's just say it was a phenomenal and obvious difference and a completely meaningful upgrade! I couldn't be happier. 

Thanks! for the update sinewave93


it is going to be an easy transition for you. Simply audition Transparent cabling and you will be set!

Ooohh, I am jealous....
Perhaps those Wilson's will be my next move.
I've owned 3 versions of the 2s and have heard Wilson Sophias
on multiple occasions, although they were always 2 or 3s,
not the 1s.....

With the Belles, I would stay with Vandersteen........

The only significant upgrade you could make over the Vandys would
be to go to Magnepan.......they absolutely are magic with Belles.....

Audio Connection in NJ carries both brands.......

I really don't think Wilson will make you happy long term unless
you went up to Sabrina, which would be 7x as much as 2CESIGs


Here’s why I cannot accept Wilson’s design philosophy (and yes, I have listened to number of Wilson models over the years and, except for an early Watt/Puppy combo, they have never grabbed my attention):

Vandersteen are time and phase coherent; their drivers are in the same acoustic polarity with first order crossovers that do minimum damage to phase/time based components of timbre.

Wilson Sophia, on the other hand (according to Stereophile):

"In the time domain, the Sophia’s step response (fig.7) reveals that its tweeter and woofer are connected in positive acoustic polarity, the midrange in inverted polarity—which is what is needed, in conjunction with the phase shift provided by the crossover, to ensure that the outputs of the drive-units add to give a flat response in the farfield in the crossover regions."
Read more at http://www.stereophile.com/content/wilson-audio-specialties-sophia-loudspeaker-measurements#rl7vxTdM...

Wilson is not, and never will be, a viable speaker option for me; their approach and designs (and prices!) make absolutely no sense to me.
Guys!
Will you please let sinewave enjoy his purchase?
We all have our preferences, but why go out of your way to throw a monkey wrench into someone else's choice.
I, for one, hopes he enjoys the Wilson's. 
BTW, I have the Vandy's, and enjoy them. I have heard the Sabrina's- which made me think Wilson's might be a future purchase-(used, of course).
Gdnrbob,
Reading the comments above, I must agree with you. Sinewave93 owned the Vandersteen (and presumably enjoyed them). He unequivocally states that the Wilson Sophia is a "major " improvement compared to his former Vandersteens. He used the term "phenomenal", pretty definitive I'd  say. That is his direct and honest opinion, why not accept it as such as? Whatever design flaw some may believe the Wilsons possess it appparently isn’t borne out based on sinewave93’s comparison with listening to both speakers in his Audio system.
Charles,
Just for reference sake and to demonstrate that the OP’s assessment isn’t an isolated perspective read samhar’s post from 05/03/2016. He compared the Wilson Sophia to his Vandersteen 3a Signatures with two Vandersteen subwoofers. His impression mirrors the OP’s. The obvious point, It is pure subjectivity when making decisions regarding audio component based on actual listening sessions. .
Charles,
It is quite possible (and is the case w/ my post) that people are NOT trying to throw a monkey wrench in his purchase, but simply read his original question and hit respond without reading every single post between the original and their reply.......
His comparison between the two speakers is about what would be expected considering we're talking about a speaker approx the same vintage that new was 7x the cost of what he had.......and the truth is that in some cases you do get what you pay for........His impression makes me think back when I went from 2s to Revel Studio 2's......going back to the Vandys literally HURT........but over time the Revels made it clear that all that extra resolution resulted in fatique, at least for me........The real question is for him, over a very long period of evaluation, is:  Is that "agressiveness" actually going to result in listener fatique over time, or not............If it doesn't, it sounds like he has found a match......and he should have a lot of enjoyment over the 2CE's which again is not surprising considering they exist in two very different realms on the speaker food chain.....
Stewart, I now understand what you were driving at.
And, I can understand the disappointment you must have felt having to go back to the Vandy's. 
But, I want Sinewave to have a honeymoon with his new speakers. Should time reveal any shortcomings, then you and any others with similar experiences should comment.
I say this because I have been in the same situation. 
gdnrbob,

me and any others can comment on anything we want, anytime we want, irregardless of someone’s purchase or lack thereof......be exact, we can even post on things people haven't asked about at all LOL
sinewave93,
Thanks for the update I've been wondering what your reaction was.  Your experience sounds very similar to my going from 3a Sigs to the Sophias. Keep us posted on your system page and here.
 Sam 

Really, Stewart, 'me and any others',  'irregardless'?
Sure, you can comment.
Though perhaps by using such phrases and that non-existant 'word', the OP will, hopefully, give your comments the weight they deserve.


Original poster will probably give it as much weight as people will give to your posts instructing people on when and when it is not a proper time to post.......How long should the honeymoon be in your estimation?  A month?  A year?   Please tell us so we can remain in compliance......as to your non existent word jab: ir·re·gard·lessˌiriˈɡärdlis/adjective & adverbinformaladjective: irregardless; adverb: irregardless
Stewart, perhaps you should read Merriam-Webster:
Usage Discussion of irregardless

Irregardless originated in dialectal American speech in the early 20th century. Its fairly widespread use in speech called it to the attention of usage commentators as early as 1927. The most frequently repeated remark about it is that “there is no such word.” There is such a word, however. It is still used primarily in speech, although it can be found from time to time in edited prose. Its reputation has not risen over the years, and it is still a long way from general acceptance. Use regardless instead.

As far as 'the honeymoon' goes, 
being kind and letting others enjoy their purchases/decisions shouldn't have a time limit. Sure, you have your opinion. But, when it comes to negativity, we should all think before writing.