Wilson Sabrina and 300dr

hi all,

hoping for some guidance. Am considering the sabrinas, but hear very mixed views on how difficult they are to drive. Have gone thru the forums search function and just find hard to conclude based on found postings

the lab report from hifinews review says its a tough load - sub 4ohm and large impedance angles requiring amp with high current delivery. Does this mean large krells etc?

would really appreciate first hand experience and also any dealer suggestions that know naim-wilson systems well. Both positive and negative before organizing a homedemo.

secondly, do the sabrinas do PRAT well, ie fit witht he naim house sound? 

Many thanks

lars

Original Post

It's worth looking at a Forum thread by Blownaway from late last year. The conclusion appears to be that a 272/250DR would be OK with the Sabrinas so your system should be more than up to it. The Sabrinas have had some really positive reviews particularly in terms of musical involvement, including in partnership with Naim amplifiers. One nice thing about them is that they are not too big, and come in lots of paint colours so should be easy to accommodate. You could always ask the Wilson dealer for an honest opinion - they are not going to want to ship the speakers to someone with an underpowered amplifier. I've never heard them of course, but from what I've read they sound very appealing indeed, so in your position I'd give them a go.  

Timmo1341 posted:

Does anyone else (those who played pc games back in the early 90s!) see a certain resemblance between the Sabrinas and the Day of the Tentacles baddies!!

If I don't read anything funnier today ... I will go to bed smiling ...

Day of the Tentacles...

Wilson Sabrinas...

All, many thanks for your help! Also reached a dealer who said they work together - "although 500 always better". No surprice. Seems like a viable option for me.

roberto, did consider but they did not pass the wife-filter unfortunately. Would love to have demoed them at home as am using s20 now. Thats life..

br Lars

Hi Lars,

 

my my opinion is that there are better matches out their for your Naim gear. I have heard many Wilson based systems and as a Naim fan there isn't a pair I would desire to own.

At that price you could go for a pair of Kudos Titans, Neat Ultimatums or my speaker of choice, ART. All more efficient and easier to drive than the Wilsons and IMHO, all better at playing music better than the Wilsons.

 

Also, I heard the base Marten speakers at Whittlebury, and I have to admit at £6500 they are a bit of a bargain.

Hi Polarbear, highly appreciate your thoughts. Thats exactly whats bugging me about the wilsons - how good a match with naim. I can easily homedemo in denmark as there is a dealer and they are available, so will have a listen.

I have offer for homedemo of ART alnico 8.3 compact from Derek that I will take him up on. Very compelled by the many positive comments here and that model is ok in terms of size for my household. 

Titans not accepted by wife, but heard rumours of a mini titan on the forum, so maybe that will be something.

only heard small neats, so will have a look at the ultimatums. Any model you can recommend?

again, many thanks!

Lars

Lars -

My local dealer sells Wilson, Naim, ARC, and a whole lot else.  He does not drive Wilsons with Naim.

A speaker you might consider is the Vandersteen 5.  Superb with Naim.  I don't know availability in your area, but it's one of the few American-built speaker companies that works well with Naim. 

Not wishing to second guess Mr Bear, but he helped me immensely in my settling finally on a pair of Neat MF 9's.

The sheer sense of scale they impart is quite stunning, and they're quite happy with my NAP 300 DR, though, again, he's been trying to talk me into a NAP 500 ever since I bought them. 

I can only guess that their replacement, the XL 10 is even better, and, curiously enough there's a pair of each available over on Fleabay.

 

Hi Lars,

I had Neat Ultimatum 9's for a period and I have very fond memories of them, they have since been replaced by the Ultimatum 10's and I have to admit that I have never heard them which is a real shame.

I currently use ART Deco 20's which I have had for around 10 years now. The Beauty of ART is that they are very efficient and don't require a big amp. I have a Nap 500 with mine but a NAP 300 is more then sufficient.

My worry with the Wilsons is that they do require huge currency shifts and IMHO are better suited to big Krells etc and a NAP 300 may sound a little soft around the edges. A home den with your own music would be a must with them.

ART will ship you a pair, even in Denmark and if they are not quite right they can adjust them for you. I had mine adjusted in the mid and upper frequencies as I like my speakers very fast and detailed.

Kind Regards

 

PB

Hi Lars,

I have used Wilsons System V speakers for years with Naim. They sound wonderful !

I also have used them with Krell and they sound even better.

Different people have different tastes in music and in music reproduction systems, so just because I like the sound as produced by my systems doesn't guarantee that others will be equally impressed.

Near to me in the UK is a retailer - Oxford Audio Consultants - who sell both Naim and Wilson. I don't know where you are based but i'm sure they would provide good advice and be able to demonstrate.

Dave, thanks for sharing! Dangerous with upgrade options :-) the neats look great, but with 1,5m dont pass the wife-filter

PB/Don very clear on wilson thats really helpful. Good idea with the dealer, spoke w two based in UK today (am here for work), and they both said the combo would work. Hard to say if in selling or advicing mode.

PB, its really a great homedemo model that ART has and a good direct distribution setup for them. This really makes a difference when outside UK/US like I am. Looking forward to hear them. Not sure I would dare to tweak :-)

Thanks,

Lars

 

ART do the tweaking for you Lars, don't panic 

 

Choosing speakers is very personal, take your time. Take our opinions onboard but go for the pair, YOU enjoy most. I took years finding my perfect pair of speakers which older members of the forum will remember 

Its a lot of fun and also tricky to find the right speaker. By far biggest driver of the experience, and as you say very personal.

Last time I homedemoed 8 candidates. This time, as am going for a level with physically larger candidates, I have found that the wife-filter significantly and rapidly reduces the option space. I am actually very happy with the short-list - frontrunner ART and check-out of wilson. Now if ARTs live up to expectations, its gonna be an easy journey, if not and wilsons likewise, then I am already out of options :-) i truly find this forum unique in sharing experience to help us all get the music replay we hope for. Certainly works like that for me.

Thanks, Lars

Don Atkinson posted:

Different people have different tastes in music and in music reproduction systems, so just because I like the sound as produced by my systems doesn't guarantee that others will be equally impressed.

 

That is the most refreshingly honest and accurate single sentence I have read on this forum in nearly fifteen years here.

Lars, sorry - not meaning to divert your thread.  Best wishes and looking forward to reading more about your adventure.

regards, Jeff A

Hi Lars,

Yes, Naim amps and more so, full Naim electronics systems, can very successfully partner with the Wilson Sabrina's, and other Wilson models, for what it is worth.   Both Naim and Wilson place a strong priority on dynamics in music and this commonality is one of the reasons these American high end speakers work very well with Naim's own unique British approach to electronics.    Wilson is also introducing a new model called the Yvette which might be an interesting alternative to the Sabrina in the instance that you have a larger room, and could afford the more costly new model from Wilson Audio.   When a Naim system is used with Wilson's you tend to get all of the Naim musicality carried intact for a number of reasons, not least of which is that the Wilson's aim for neutrality in their speakers.    Put another way, the style of sound and character of the amp is preserved and communicated in a Wilson system.    The Wilson's add their own unique presentation style; with an expansive soundstage, taught, defined and well controlled bass, and a tonally sophisticated full range window on the music.

As others have noted, don't rely too much on other's words, however articulate.   Try to make time to hear these things for yourself.    

Good luck,

Bruce

Hi Bob, thanks for sharing your experience. I will surely do a homedemo to make up my mind. Are you then also saying that sabrinas can easily be driven by the 300dr? Had a quick look at the yvette, seems interesting. Any sense of placement against the backwall for such a speaker, ie how close to the wall they work? Many thanks, Lars

Jeff Anderson posted:
Don Atkinson posted:

Different people have different tastes in music and in music reproduction systems, so just because I like the sound as produced by my systems doesn't guarantee that others will be equally impressed.

 

That is the most refreshingly honest and accurate single sentence I have read on this forum in nearly fifteen years here.

Lars, sorry - not meaning to divert your thread.  Best wishes and looking forward to reading more about your adventure.

regards, Jeff A

Thank you Jeff, most appreciated.

Cheers, Don

LARSDK,

Although I never heard Sabrinas with Naim but I had a chance to compare Kudos S20 and Titan 88 to Magico S3  in full Naim system (NDS/555DR/552/500).

Magico S3 was much better then both Kudos to my ears.

I would say that Magico were more coherent, more powerful, little darker but at the same time more transparent, natural and to my surprise; musical!

After a while with Magico I did not want to back to any Kudos.

S3 are also easy to drive - even olive NAP 140 can do this (but NAP 500 do this much, much better of course)

They are also much more expensive but if you consider Sabrinas ...

It is really good option for 500 series in my opinion so maybe you should also try it (300DR is not far away from 500)?

Magico will replace S3 model with S3 mkII soon (within few months) so you can expect some special price from your dealer.

 

Piotr

 

 

 

Could be some philosophical conundrum in place here !

Naim gear is never thought of being backwards when it comes to being forward. Ditto with Wilson.

provided the listening space is big enough not much can go wrong.

in a smaller Brit room all sorts can go definitely wrong. Balance is really only a thing when real estate is a compromise.

At a local show last year, they were using the Sabrinas, powered by a 272/xps/250DR combo & overall it was a pretty decent sounding setup.  Biggest issue was the bottom end was overpowering the room but all things considered the bass was still relatively tuneful.  Would think a 300DR wouldn't have any issues. 

Lars,

I add my two cents but as usual I won't be able to be concise, so please feel free to skip my post.

Contrary to what many believe – that speakers have to be as neutral as possible and, being at the end of the audio chain (which is not completely true, since the room comes after them), are only expected to transmit what they have been fed with, also depending of how they interact with space – I think that speaker systems, actually 'sounding', make the strongest connection with our psyche, establishing the closest relationship with our inner taste with sound.

So, in my opinion (and almost everybody's experience) choosing speakers is a long, demanding and costly matter, unless you let someone else (the press, a forum, a dealer, your own budget or some superficial, erroneous convictions) decide for you. I think I have listened to almost all of the speakers mentioned in this thread, some of them in my own living room: Marten Design Miles II and Monks, rega RS7s, Ovator S-400, Allaes, Credo, SBLs, n-Sats, Arivas, Acoustic Research, PMCs, maybe a few more; and to all of the current Wilsons and most Magicos, up to a Q-something, a big black aluminium coffin costing the like of €180,000, in a friend's audio store.

The fact that after a ten years' rollercoaster of experiments I have settled for my fifth pair of n-Sats doesn't tell much about their quality, but just that they work with my room and my taste. They have limits, but with them I don't get bored. So far, avoiding boredom is the best I can expect from any stereo system.

For what is worth, I would take Wilson over Magico any moment: I have heard the last Yvette with DCS front end and Dan D'Agostino pre and mono blocks, and in terms of coherence, sound stage, likelihood, I think that it is as good as it gets; and the Sabrina are extremely enjoyable, like supercharged Harbeths, with a very rich, dense, tuneful midrange coming towards you, very engaging.

The NAP300 struck me as almost almighty: I've heard it drive the Canton K3 and K7, the Sonus Faber Amati, Magico S3s, S-400s, Harbeth M30.1s and it always sounded the same: powerful, rich in deep and controlled bass, extremely coherent and with very good soundstage, never harsh; a definitive amp. The Sabrina and the 300 could do a wonderful marriage, providing the room is not too 'live' (the Sabrina are a little exuberant, but what a soundstage..) and that you simply love the sound – that that is your voice.

Quality on paper is not very significant. There must be a voice, somewhere, that you love: if that is the NAP300/Sabrina's, good for you. They are examples of splendid audio engineering.

Best with your quest

Max

Max,

I know a guy who change his Wilson Sasha to Magico S5 and never look back ....

Lars,

One of the weak point of Wilson's is that they need some space to work properly.  Please take a look how dealers presents them.

Always min. 2 m from back wall and similar from side walls. 

Magico S3 are sealed boxes so you can put them closer to walls ...

Additionally bass from S3 will be more controlled, related to a point and multilayered.

You will not get such quality bass from Wilson's.

The most will depends on your individual preferences so if your dealer has Magico and Wilson you can simply check what do you prefer.

Please let us know your opinion after such interesting comparison.

Piotr

 

 

Hi massimo and piotr

many thanks for sharing your thoughts!

massimo, i am fully with you, finding the right speaker is very personal and its an exciting journey. My own 'n-sats' had for long been humble snell e3 and only after many homedemos, did I find something better to me in kudos.

Now i am in the family lifestage, and find myself facing many know-out factors to find a speaker that really delivers great music play in our now larger home, eg

1. Wife-filter: form, height, color - many models no-go as not in white, more than 1,1, and look very weird for non-hifi people

2. Kids-filter: not too sensitive, needs grills on, good with a speaker base as a bumber for indoor biking

3. Positioning: needs to work quite close to wall and being unfuzzy, as limited placement options, ie bottom-fired ports best and supports 60 cm from wall to front baffle

4. Great with 300dr, ie load works

5. Plays wonderful music, but with larger scale than current speakers, ie very keen on 8" bass and 2/3-way and of course great built

I have been surpriced actually about how few speakers make it through these knock out factors, and currently have ART as frontrunner to try out. I would even say that price is much less of a factor, and I am willing to pay a premium, if can get wonderful replay under all of these conditions.

linking back to my "n-sats", the humble snells, i was very entrigued by a story from derek at ART that they before making speakers had a pair of snell e's gifted from snell, and it provided some early inspiration to they design approach, eg paper cones/seas drivers/wide frontbaffle. Who knows, maybe they work wonders and i will have some returning to the roots also like you.

i truly find this forum priceless in the experience sharing, and it has allowed me to get to a few real options. Naturally, I will rely on my own ears and emotional connection in the end :-)

thanks for sharing your journey!

br Lars

 

 

 

Lars,

thanks for your exhaustive reply. I have considered your factors, and I could add this (but nothing you haven't thought of already!):

Wife-filter: very difficult. My wife never had an issue with any of the speakers I brought home on aesthetic grounds but objected only to the Ovators, that I find beautiful!

Kids-filter: The only 'safe' speaker that comes to my mind is the Ovator itself, with its metal grilles; I am sure a number of other designs feature such grilles, but the only ones that come to my mind now are the piano black n-Sats... But, if I remember correctly, the ARTs too have 'special' grilles.

Positioning: again, the Ovator and, for instance, the new Canton K series, that I heard with a NAP300 (in two versions, the 3K – around €10,000 – and the 7K, around 4,800) and that sounded magnificent, as I wrote here, with bass, scale, homogeneity and a very detailed but 'relaxed' sound, never tiring. I once was interested in the ARTs myself, and even had a pleasant conversation over the phone with Derek but never got to make a decision; they must be beautiful and beautifully made, but a tad expensive for me. The Cantons have down firing ports, and apparently no issue with bass.

Points 4. and 5.: The Cantons, undoubtedly. But if you have Wilsons in mind, please consider them and try to have a demo. Wilsons seem to posses that special factor that makes an audio product stick to your memory and imagination.

Best,

Max

Thanks Max,

pulled the trigger for a pair of ARTs custom-made for above factors for trial home-demo today, so journey begins - so curious about the next experienxe :-)

its interesting with the ovators, i thought they were discontinued but still on the naim web

have a great weekend

lars

My dealer will be lending me a pair of Sabrinas to try at home next week. It'll be in a smallish room (12' by 16' - apologies for the imperial measurements) on the end of a 500 system. I think they said they use them 70cm out from the wall in their demo room. I'll let you know how it all goes.

My dealer delivered the Sabrinas yesterday evening. We set them up with only about 35cm from the back wall and toed in so that you cannot see the side wall of the speaker.

They do sound very pleasant. Vocals are particularly good and real. There are no treble nasties and you could listen to these all day. Bass is weighty but certain bass notes do boom, I'm sure related to the close proximity (nearness) to the rear wall. They also sound very good when you're listening from outside the room too. Classic FM sounded really quite tuneful.

Good dynamics with a lively sound that is not in your face. My current speakers are Tannoy TD8s so that's what I'm comparing them against. Positioning needs to be optimised yet to control the bass. All in all, they are a very pleasant listen, a very natural sound. The volume control is a bit higher than with the Tannoys as they are not so efficient. However the sound does not harden up with increasing volume. I would conclude that a 500 amp can handle them without any issues. Cannot comment on a 300.

By all accounts (well one actually) they are going up in price today from an already expensive £17,000 to who knows what. Probably related to the devaluation of the pound I'll be bound.

Best etc.,

Ghetto Yout'.

 

 

Lars when had a nap300/nac252 set up I always had this niggle that it wasn't giving my shahinian obelisk mk2 speakers the current they truley needed (drop to 2ohm at times). I eventually sort an alternative and as it happens it's a danish make.. vitus!

Since moving over to vitus I can honestly say current is not longer a problem nor is uncontrolled bass. The dynamic range has improved, Prat is still there in spades and the subtle nuances of the music that I play is more evident.

As a Dane you owe it to yourself to consider vitus.

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