Originally Posted by QueueCumber
I wrote this for an Audiogon thread
recently to sum up my experiences with both speakers:
As per the original poster's questions:
Mid-range to mid-treble, W/P8 (this goes hand in hand with imaging). Bass and ultra high frequencies, Salon2.Nuance:
I'm not sure what you are asking for here... If you are referring to an ability to sound natural, well either one will do that with EQ, but the Salon2 has it built-in in the form of boundary compression. So, in an orchestral movement the Salon2 won't be as elevated at certain frequencies if your room has excessive modal reinforcements (as mine does...). There is an extra bit of thump in the kickdrum frequencies on the W/P8 that requires EQ of some sort. This does appear to be intentionally designed that way (something I've complained about openly before on these and other fora...).Microdynamics:
With the boundary compression and treble controls built into the speaker, the Salon2. If you buy a separate PEQ to use with the W/P8, then both... (I've tested this with a Behringer PEQ)Soundstage:
Salon2 (as per the coherence), or W/P8 (as per individuation imaging)...Imaging:
W/P8 (as per the critical range)Coherence:
Keep in mind, this is with the Salon2 boundary compression set to the middle setting, to compensate for room modes...
I've had the "being there" sensation with both of them, but there does seem to be more instrument separation with the W/P8, while more coherency with the Salon2. Like I said, it is a win/win (or lose/lose if you prefer) situation, so the best thing to do is demo them both yourself. There is no holy grail...
One important distinction I noticed is that vocals on the W/P8 tended to sound more like a live person in the room, while the Salon2 sounded more like a person singing into a microphone. So, you need to ask yourself... Do I want it to sound "lifelike," possibly at the expense of authenticity, or authentic possibly at the expense of "realism." In either case, I think you may be able to EQ that difference in or out, but perhaps not...
I found that the Salon2 was more forgiving. I listen to a lot of live Grateful Dead, Zappa and Phish recordings (among others...), which are not usually well recorded, so this was an advantage for me personally (I have every Grateful Dead Dick's Picks CD except two or three, a lot of other live Dead material, all of the Zappa Beat the Boots I and II material, other live Zappa albums, and I have every live Phish release). OTOH, the W/P8s could make a studio recording sound like a live event.
Like I said, it was a tough decision for me... A less forgiving speaker meant many of my not so well made live recordings did not sound so spectacular. The question is, is it more forgiving because it is less transparent in the critical range? My suspicion is yes, but whether that is due to intentional manipulation of the frequency response on one speaker, or not, I am not completely certain. I would guess this is so given the advertising of both companies; one speaker struggles to be completely objective, while the other strives to fulfill a vision. I think they both succeed at their goals in an enjoyable way.
Now, it is funny to make some of the distinctions I am making in this post, because both speakers are so far above a lot of other speakers I have listened to that the differences between them with PEQ used in the bass frequencies is not tremendous. With the Wilson, you get the extra building costs for the materials they use (the ones that Revel uses plastic for instead of steel...), which doesn't affect the sound, but does look nicer IMO. As people can see in my HT thread here at Audiogon, their in-room frequency responses are not so terribly different, which shows that the room itself will be the predominant factor with either speaker installation. As long as a speaker is relatively flat, it will work well with a little variation in room placement to compensate, as well as some EQ to boot.
I think that a lot of differences between the two can be manipulated with EQ of one sort or another (as per my own experimentation), so I decided to go with the cheaper speaker and buy five of them for perfect surround sound timbre matching. Unfortunately, not all the differences can be EQed out as far as I can tell, but buying five W/P8s is a little too expensive for my tastes and they have no built in tone control to compensate for the effects of an acoustically transparent screen.
Room/speaker interactions can be so radically different, that I feel comfortable saying YMMV.