wilson vs competitor battle demo


Hi folks, I have red something unbelivable in the latest TAS. During the January CES in Vegas David Wilson from Wilson Audio did a "battle demo" with Sophia speakers and another (anonymous) speakers from a competitor as the contestants. The competitor's speakers were a bit more expensive than the Sophia's. He drove his Sophia's with a $1000 Parasound amplifier and used an Apple iPod as source. The competitor's speakers were driven by a $7k Krell amplifier and the source was a Krell KPS-25 CD-player/preamp. The Wilsons won the battle demo by a margin! How is this possible folks? Should we all buy Wilson speakers and make no more expensive investments into amplifiers and CD/record players? Have Wilson speakers becoming a sort of panachea? This is scary!
dazzdax
Wilson has done this more than once. In fact, I think he does it at almost every show. It's very important to point out that just because the competition with driven with 7k worth of electronics doesn't mean it was good synergy. It is quite possible to make a 300k system sound like crap if the wrong electroincs are used. Having said that, there is no doubt in my mind that Wilson produces some very nice speakers.
What is a panachea?
Are you saying panacea...A remedy for all diseases, evils, or difficulties; a cure-all.
Dave Wilson makes great speakers, but buying great sound with only speakers is iron pyrite,(fool's gold).
Balance, with the most money (generally) spent on speakers has been the answer for decades, but that is about to change.
Stay tuned...
lrsky
Yes, this has been described repeatedly in the press/internet ...

The first question I have is whether anyone was there to witness this silly exercise and can they tell us their take on the challenge.

Second, if in fact the Sophia won the challenge, what does that really tell us about the speaker/sources etc.

Third, can the iPod playing wav files really outperform a reference level CD player ????

Fourth, how much about the Sophia hype should we believe. Has Stereophile, Wes Phillips etc. all been bought by Dave Wilson ??? Is the Sophia truly a musical speaker, or is it an overly detailed, overly analytic, cold speaker that suffers from listener fatique.

My bias is that the speaker has an initial sucking in phenomenon that may be soon lost on extended listening. Sure it is detailed, focused, dynamic, paced etc. ... but could you live with it for hours on end ???? I think this initial impression works wonders in brief auditions and audio shows. Perfect, for Dave's shenanigans.
I have read about this demo over and over, TAS wrote a small blip about it in their last issue. The point of the silly little exercise is to train people into thinking they should spend upwards of 80% of their money on speakers and the remains on source and amps. Dave Wilson makes, markets and sells speakers, not source or amps. Therefore, trying to convince the audiophile to spend all allowable funds on speakers is his objective.

The problem with this demo is that in order to fairly show the Wilsons with the iPod, he should have used two different sources on the same speaker. What would the iPod sound like against the Krell on the same speakers. Suddenly there is much more of a reference point.

This same demo was done in reverse years ago with a Linn CD12 sondek, it was hooked up to an entry level intergrated amp and a set of PSB alpha speakers ($200 CDN) giving off "reference sound". Everything was covered while the demo was given. This demo was to illustrate the importance of the souce, over the speakers.

These demos must be taken with a grain of salt. They are never true science experiments, the intagibles are too many. They are designed to make the consumer think that the right path is via source, speaker, amp, (depending on what the company that performs the demo happens to sell)

Dave Wilson would probably never suggest buying an Apple iPOD as a main source to his speakers, but he might if it meant you'd buy his speakers instead of splitting half the amount to source and the other to the speakers.
By the way, does anyone know what were the competing speakers ???
in response to Tom Y comment below in quotes

"Fourth, how much about the Sophia hype should we believe. Has Stereophile, Wes Phillips etc. all been bought by Dave Wilson ??? Is the Sophia truly a musical speaker, or is it an overly detailed, overly analytic, cold speaker that suffers from listener fatique.

My bias is that the speaker has an initial sucking in phenomenon that may be soon lost on extended listening. Sure it is detailed, focused, dynamic, paced etc. ... but could you live with it for hours on end ???? I think this initial impression works wonders in brief auditions and audio shows. Perfect, for Dave's shenanigans."

The Wilson Sophia is an amazingly detailed and does require synergisty system matching just like any other component, and it will sound fatiquing, tizzing, etc if hooked up to Krell, Classe, or ML Electronics.

Put Wilson with ARC,CJ,LAMM,Theta,Rowland,VTL etc... and watch and listen to the magic!

I'm a planar guy and the Wilsons were the only (small footprint speaker) that could provide the detail and air that the big Magnepan's but with dynamics and weight! It took me 3 years of traveling and listening to dealer setups. I heard a lot of bad dealer demo setups with the electronics mentioned above to make my ears bleed.
B&W-- don't know which model.

A friend of mine went to the demo. I, unfortunately, was out eating lunch at the time.
Just drug up a thread on it over at avsforum, apparently they were Signature 800s.
If it is true that the competitor's speakers were B&W 800 Signatures then it is more surprising that the combination of B&W reference speakers with Krell electronics sounds inferior to the Wilsons with Parasound amp and an Appel iPod. This still sounds ridiculous to me. Something MUST be wrong.
I'm not going to comment on the demo showdown, although I would agree with some of the posters that system synergy is a very important variable. I have listenend extensively to the Wilson Sophia driven with quality but not outrageously expensive electronics and IMHO (and to respond to Thom y) they are most assuredly NOT detailed, analytical, etc. They are one of the most musically involving speakers I have ever heard. They don't do anything particularly well but rather just sound so right and so involving. Something like my old favorites the Spendor SP100. They didn't do anything well, either. Do not misinterpret--these are somewhat different sounding speakers--but the Wilson's have that same ability to have you forget the hifi and get drawn into the music. A really great speaker that moves the Vandy 5 off the top of my wish list--and by a healthy margin.