AVS Forum banner
1 - 20 of 26 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
69 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking for your input on what would be the best upgrade as far as dramatic improvement to imaging and overall sound.


My upgrade options:

Classe MC-400 monoblocks

Wilson Sasha (trade in my Sophias and get full price I paid put towards the Sashas)

Maybe: Classe SSP-800, but I would pay full price at ~$8k.



I just got back from listening to the Wilson Sashas as a potential upgrade. The speakers were powered by Audio Research 210 Monoblock tube amps ($20k Pair) and the rest of the gear was also Audio Research. Cabling was top of the line Transparent (with the big ass networks, kind of silly).


The imaging was from floor to ceiling, absolutely amazing. I'm not an audiophile so unfortunately I can't relay what I heard in detail, but what I walked away with was the room sucked bass and some dynamics out but the imaging was fantastic.


The highs, mids and bass were better than my Sophias but not strikingly so in that room. There was a good sense of airiness around the instruments as well.


The dynamics were not as good as what I have at home, but this is because of the room. It is way over sound-deadened (excuse terminology) so the dynamics and bass were sucked out.


I listened to my sophies in this room at one point. When I had the sophies broken in and re-positioned in my room, the sound was way better, especially the bass.


So what I'm saying is its really hard to compare these speakers due to the amps and room being different, but Sashas will sound better in my room than they did in the demo room. On the other hand, the Audio Research $20k amps had something to do with the really good imaging.


I know there aren't many who have heard the Sashas yet, but what do you think will give me the most dramatic affect, the classe amps over the macs or the Sasha over the Sophia? Or buy a SSP-800 (no discount)?


My Gear:

Wilson Sohpia 2's

McIntosh MC501 monoblocks

Classe SSP-600 (doubles for home theater)

Marantz DV9500 Universal Disk Player
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
234 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joelz /forum/post/17046696


I'm looking for your input on what would be the best upgrade as far as dramatic improvement to imaging and overall sound.


My upgrade options:

Classe MC-400 monoblocks

Wilson Sasha (trade in my Sophias and get full price I paid put towards the Sashas)

Maybe: Classe SSP-800, but I would pay full price at ~$8k.



I just got back from listening to the Wilson Sashas as a potential upgrade. The speakers were powered by Audio Research 210 Monoblock tube amps ($20k Pair) and the rest of the gear was also Audio Research. Cabling was top of the line Transparent (with the big ass networks, kind of silly).


The imaging was from floor to ceiling, absolutely amazing. I'm not an audiophile so unfortunately I can't relay what I heard in detail, but what I walked away with was the room sucked bass and some dynamics out but the imaging was fantastic.


The highs, mids and bass were better than my Sophias but not strikingly so in that room. There was a good sense of airiness around the instruments as well.


The dynamics were not as good as what I have at home, but this is because of the room. It is way over sound-deadened (excuse terminology) so the dynamics and bass were sucked out.


I listened to my sophies in this room at one point. When I had the sophies broken in and re-positioned in my room, the sound was way better, especially the bass.


So what I'm saying is its really hard to compare these speakers due to the amps and room being different, but Sashas will sound better in my room than they did in the demo room. On the other hand, the Audio Research $20k amps had something to do with the really good imaging.


I know there aren't many who have heard the Sashas yet, but what do you think will give me the most dramatic affect, the classe amps over the macs or the Sasha over the Sophia? Or buy a SSP-800 (no discount)?


My Gear:

Wilson Sohpia 2's

McIntosh MC501 monoblocks

Classe SSP-600 (doubles for home theater)

Marantz DV9500 Universal Disk Player

Hi there,


I listened to the exact same setup in Bellevue. The Wilson Sasha's with the Audio Research Preamp, AR Mono, and AR-7 DAC. I thought the sound was incredible. Then again, the preamp alone is 12,000 I believe. I'm not sure if you had the chance but before they setup the Meridian speakers, they had the Sasha's paired with the SSP-800 and the Sophia's prior to the Sasha's arrival. I auditioned both for a good 30-45 minutes in both setups. I did notice the Sasha was better. Night and day... definitely not. But noticeable which is significant when you get to the level of equipment you are looking at. I also had the SSP-600 for awhile and think the SSP-800 in 2 channel is much better. I have a hard time distinguishing a difference for HT playback.


I tested many amplifiers and to be honest, I've never noticed a very big difference. I tried the Classe CA-2200, Emotiva, Stellavox, and host of other amplifiers and ended up preferring the Parasound JC-1's.


You equipment is already fairly high end so it's hard to say which would yield the biggest upgrade. I would tend to favor the SSP-800 just for the convenience of HDMI, the increase in performance of 2-channel playback and movies (presumably). Then again, big new speakers are always fun. Sorry I can't be much more help.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,281 Posts
wow thats quite a setup for someone not considering himself an audiophile



i think for sound upgrade teh speakers are your best bet but the ssp will give you the best upgrade in features and simplicity if you are using hdmi. congrats dude you won the game of life!

cheers
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
69 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by chjo100 /forum/post/17047132


Hi there,


I listened to the exact same setup in Bellevue. The Wilson Sasha's with the Audio Research Preamp, AR Mono, and AR-7 DAC. I thought the sound was incredible. Then again, the preamp alone is 12,000 I believe. I'm not sure if you had the chance but before they setup the Meridian speakers, they had the Sasha's paired with the SSP-800 and the Sophia's prior to the Sasha's arrival. I auditioned both for a good 30-45 minutes in both setups. I did notice the Sasha was better. Night and day... definitely not. But noticeable which is significant when you get to the level of equipment you are looking at. I also had the SSP-600 for awhile and think the SSP-800 in 2 channel is much better. I have a hard time distinguishing a difference for HT playback.


I tested many amplifiers and to be honest, I've never noticed a very big difference. I tried the Classe CA-2200, Emotiva, Stellavox, and host of other amplifiers and ended up preferring the Parasound JC-1's.


You equipment is already fairly high end so it's hard to say which would yield the biggest upgrade. I would tend to favor the SSP-800 just for the convenience of HDMI, the increase in performance of 2-channel playback and movies (presumably). Then again, big new speakers are always fun. Sorry I can't be much more help.

wow, no that was a big help. You've pretty much validated what I was thinking and afraid to say due to my inexpereince and lack of back to back auditions.


I was hesitant to say there was not a night and day "in your face" difference between the Sophia 2's and the Sashas in that room.


They are willing to take my Sophias back on their 1 year trade up program then I'd pay the difference. I'm thinking the difference between the Sasha and Sophia is not worth the difference.


However, I honestly didn't know where I was at in terms of gain in sound per dollar. Sounds like I"m at the point where I must pay dearly to gain a lot.


The imaging was so fantastic, that I didn't want to get the Sashas into my room and be dissapointed because I don't have such high end AR gear. So I came up with the idea to bring in my amps which they said was fine when its not busy.


But it sounds like that could be a waste of time because they still have the $12K pre-amp connected and the crappy room.


It seems like they are hyping up the speakers. While the Sasha is pretty much all new, I'm dissapointed that there wasn't a dramatic increase in dynamics and bass, but then again there could be its just that room that sux or would there be a big change and the room is not to blame?


So it sounds like you have the Sophia 2's as well since you talked about testing many amps with them. Is that correct? Boy, is that a Speaker with some value in the Wilson line!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
69 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Denophile /forum/post/17047247


wow thats quite a setup for someone not considering himself an audiophile



i think for sound upgrade teh speakers are your best bet but the ssp will give you the best upgrade in features and simplicity if you are using hdmi. congrats dude you won the game of life!

cheers

Thanks for the input!


My definition of an audiophile is someone who is well educated in music, electronics, sound and has experience, which is not me.


Its like calling someone a drag racer who went out and bought a fast car then runs it down the strip a hand full of times. He is not a true drag racer, but instead, runs his car down the strip to have fun



Likewise, I went out and bought some gear (or rather been upgrading) and just love to rock out to good sound! I love my AC/DC loud and clear
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,733 Posts
I call that, and have been one for decades now, a "music lover with an audiophile moon rising".


Life's too short to not have things as you enjoy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,655 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joelz /forum/post/17046696


I'm looking for your input on what would be the best upgrade as far as dramatic improvement to imaging and overall sound.


My upgrade options:

Classe MC-400 monoblocks

Wilson Sasha (trade in my Sophias and get full price I paid put towards the Sashas)

Maybe: Classe SSP-800, but I would pay full price at ~$8k.


IMO (note: *IMO*), for electronics, source (disc player), and pre/pre-pro generally come before spending more on amp(s).


Also, "dramatic improvement to imaging and overall sound" is a worrisome comment.


BTW, that's an expensive set of "upgrade" options (above).



IMO and experience, for "dramatic" you're going to have to do something dramatic, with the added note that even the best move that you make is more likely to provide a noticeable improvement and not a dramatic improvement.


For "dramatic" 2 channel consider: 1) move to tube pre and stereo tube amp.


Or 2) consider doing what I did and buy a used Bel Canto Pre6 MC pre. I use mine in a single music/HT setup, mostly for 2 channel sound (~65%), with MC sound (~10%), and movie sound for the remaining ~25%.


Needless to say, I run a lot of 5.1 RCA interconnects, given that I run 6 MC disc players, as well as 2 or 3 dedicated 2 channel disc players.


Anyway, for 2 channel sound, there are surely less expensive options for you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joelz /forum/post/17046696


I just got back from listening to the Wilson Sashas as a potential upgrade.


Can't help with choosing between those very high end speakers. FWIW my own speakers cost less than your current speakers, not to mention the ones you're considering as an upgrade.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joelz /forum/post/17046696


The speakers were powered by Audio Research 210 Monoblock tube amps ($20k Pair) and the rest of the gear was also Audio Research. Cabling was top of the line Transparent (with the big ass networks, kind of silly).


The imaging was from floor to ceiling, absolutely amazing. I'm not an audiophile so unfortunately I can't relay what I heard in detail, but what I walked away with was the room sucked bass and some dynamics out but the imaging was fantastic.


The highs, mids and bass were better than my Sophias but not strikingly so in that room. There was a good sense of airiness around the instruments as well.


The dynamics were not as good as what I have at home, but this is because of the room. It is way over sound-deadened (excuse terminology) so the dynamics and bass were sucked out.


I listened to my sophies in this room at one point. When I had the sophies broken in and re-positioned in my room, the sound was way better, especially the bass.


So what I'm saying is its really hard to compare these speakers due to the amps and room being different, but Sashas will sound better in my room than they did in the demo room. On the other hand, the Audio Research $20k amps had something to do with the really good imaging.


I know there aren't many who have heard the Sashas yet, but what do you think will give me the most dramatic affect, the classe amps over the macs or the Sasha over the Sophia? Or buy a SSP-800 (no discount)?


My Gear:

Wilson Sohpia 2's

McIntosh MC501 monoblocks

Classe SSP-600 (doubles for home theater)

Marantz DV9500 Universal Disk Player


Since your thread title mentions 2 channel, why are you considering a Classe SSP-800, which as far as I know is a MC pre-pro (with HDMI in/out)?


Cheers
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,281 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by OtherSongs /forum/post/17049479



Since your thread title mentions 2 channel, why are you considering a Classe SSP-800, which as far as I know is a MC pre-pro (with HDMI in/out)?


Cheers

hmmm good point-for about the same price (esp on the pre owned market) you could get the audio research reference 3--2 ch preamp or a number of others--even the ls 26 looks really nice! just something else to consider...
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
375 Posts
"Need feedback on 2 channel upgrade options"


I'm looking for your input on what would be the best upgrade as far as dramatic improvement to imaging and overall sound.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------



Talking about reaching the point of diminishing returns! Reading the small amount of info you wrote " dramatic improvement to imaging and overall sound",


why don't you bring in a professional audio calibrator and let him help you.

http://www.bobhodas.com/


His name is Bob Hodas and he travels all over the world. He even has a company modify equalizers to his own specs. He charges according to a set rate plus the equalizers.


At the level of your upgrades this would be money well spent instead of fighting the losing battle of great equipment VS room acoustics.


Of course I'm presupposing you haven't had this done.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
234 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joelz /forum/post/17047314


wow, no that was a big help. You've pretty much validated what I was thinking and afraid to say due to my inexpereince and lack of back to back auditions.


I was hesitant to say there was not a night and day "in your face" difference between the Sophia 2's and the Sashas in that room.


They are willing to take my Sophias back on their 1 year trade up program then I'd pay the difference. I'm thinking the difference between the Sasha and Sophia is not worth the difference.


However, I honestly didn't know where I was at in terms of gain in sound per dollar. Sounds like I"m at the point where I must pay dearly to gain a lot.


The imaging was so fantastic, that I didn't want to get the Sashas into my room and be dissapointed because I don't have such high end AR gear. So I came up with the idea to bring in my amps which they said was fine when its not busy.


But it sounds like that could be a waste of time because they still have the $12K pre-amp connected and the crappy room.


It seems like they are hyping up the speakers. While the Sasha is pretty much all new, I'm dissapointed that there wasn't a dramatic increase in dynamics and bass, but then again there could be its just that room that sux or would there be a big change and the room is not to blame?


So it sounds like you have the Sophia 2's as well since you talked about testing many amps with them. Is that correct? Boy, is that a Speaker with some value in the Wilson line!

Actually I don't have the Wilson Sophia's. The Bass output on the both the Sophia's and Sasha's are incredible. I remember seeing a demo of the Thor's hammer subwoofer. They played U-571 torpedo scene and everyone was like "wow!" until we found out the sub was not turned on. Of course once the sub was on, we pretty much flew back.


I was close to purchasing them as I thought they were amazing all around, but I ended up with the Eficion F300 ( http://www.eficion.com ). They are local and I found them in a store after auditioning them in Redmond Town center and was blown away. Looks like the Sophia's actually but uses and Oscar Heil AMT tweeter and a ribbon super tweeter on the back. You are right about the room the Sasha's are in but I think that's the nature of having all that acoustic treatments. I do have a SSP-800 on the way though.


I do agree with the previous post. I think you could get a nice step up in fidelity by having an acoustician come in and help with speaker placements, treatments, etc... Probably a more significant gain than through equipment upgrades, which as you mention would be very costly for the "next level". I haven't done this yet, but hope to once we settle on a house.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,445 Posts
your best upgrade for imaging and soundstage is spending your dollars on proper room treatment---and not the overly absorbed room you heard.


you have great equipment, so that would probably give you the best bang for your buck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
69 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for all the feedback and responses!


My room sounds fine, its actually prett good and not square.


The dealer says they will do an in home audition (I complained about the room) but it will cost me money.


I know from experience the Wilsons have to be setup perfect and once they are setup, the sound is fantastic.


These speakers weigh a couple hundred pounds, so its not like I can throw them in my Z06 and set them up at home.


And because of the time involved with the setup, the labor to transport them and place them, they want $500. If I purchase the speakers this money goes towards the speakers.


I would feel awefully guilty if they did this work (and I've seen them do this already with my Sophias) and I didn't want the speakers.


On the other hand, it seems like that is a steep price. But on the other hand (now left hand), they aren't going to ask me to leave a deposit to cover the cost of the speakers which is some serious money.


So I'm thinking about doing the audition now to hear what the Sashas are like in my environment....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
69 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
For a price



I'm like the waves of the ocean, going back and forth on what I want to do. I should probably not buy anything.


But, then there is an option for a Wilson Watch 2 Center. That would be a fine piece as well. Right now I don't have a matching center for my Sophias for watching TV and Movies.


See what I mean....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
537 Posts
I would try a better preamp. I think what you might have liked in what you heard are tubes in the ARC set-up. Keep the 501's and get a state of the art tube pre. Might think about upgrading ypur source also. I think your speakers are fine as they are, unless you get a killer deal in exchange. Just my 2 cents from a high end 2 channel HT guy.



50" Fujitsu

BAT 52SE

Hegel H10 (only one in USA)

JM LABS/Focal Alto Be's

Terrasonic cables

Naim CDX2

Denon A1
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,115 Posts
JoelZ


Differences in Electronics are real but they are several order of magnitudes smaller than differences in speakers. The best money you can spend on an Audio system is on optimizing the room-speaker interface. If your room is very good get a better speaker. if it is not , get room treatments. As an aside the Wilson Sasha from all accounts is much better than the Sophia .. I also must say that the Wilson Watch center is a decent but underwhelming center channel.. A Wilson in voicing not much else...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
71 Posts
JoelZ, I would have to go with i30krab on this one. I have been working in the audio industry for 36 years. There are a number of things not mentioned in your equipment profile that could help with your current system. Do you have any type of acoustical treatment in your room? You say your room sounds great. In your post you said the one thing you heard that most impressed you was the imaging of the system. Well in my experience imaging is the area most improved with some type of control of the points of first refection. It is very easy and inexpensive to test the effect eliminating the point of first reflection all you need is a mirror you can move and a couple of couch cushions. Sit in your chair have someone move the mirror along the left side walls until you can see the left speaker in the mirror place the cushion on something like a dining room chair so that it blocks the view of the speaker in the mirror. Do the same thing for the right side. Now sit and listen to the imaging with the cushions in place and removed. If this makes a difference in imaging as I believe it will in many cases some type of treatment will cost way less then an equipment upgrade and usually give you way more bang for the buck. I also didn't see what type of power conditioning you have in your system.


Thomas James
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
69 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks for all the suggestions!


I decieded the speakers were more than I was willing to pay.


So I will do room optimizations after I get my new McIntosh C2300 tube pre-amp hooked up and burnt in!!


I'm exicted about this as I will be able to have good HT from the Classe and good 2 channel (that is the hope).


McIntosh also has a deal going on where you can trade up your amps and get 75% of the value towards new gear. However, my MC501's are nice and I'm not sure if any of the Mac tube amps will be enough power for me, except the $11k monoblocks (300w each).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
537 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joelz /forum/post/17079496


Thanks for all the suggestions!


I decieded the speakers were more than I was willing to pay.


So I will do room optimizations after I get my new McIntosh C2300 tube pre-amp hooked up and burnt in!!


I'm exicted about this as I will be able to have good HT from the Classe and good 2 channel (that is the hope).


McIntosh also has a deal going on where you can trade up your amps and get 75% of the value towards new gear. However, my MC501's are nice and I'm not sure if any of the Mac tube amps will be enough power for me, except the $11k monoblocks (300w each).

I just did a 24hr audition with the C2300. It is a very nice preamp in a McIntosh system ( which I do not have). I kind of chuckled though, when they call it a tube pre, because it only has 2 little tubes for the line stage- it is more a hybrid preamp. Which can be a good thing with Mc amps. And the 300 watt tube mono's are $11k each.Good luck!
 
1 - 20 of 26 Posts
Top