Although the Sasha changes are not necessarily driven by increased competition, the days of Wilson Audio having this market more or less to itself are long gone. And the new speaker gives us a perfect opportunity to remap the high-end landscape, to see just where products like the Sasha fit in. Of course, there’s no easy way to compare large, top-grade loudspeakers. This is because it’s almost impossible to compare them side-by-side; it can take as much as five days just to install, set-up, fine-tune, bed in and repackage a pair of speakers like these, and often the best place in the room for one pair of speakers is the same place for another. But, we can draw parallels and this reasserts Wilson’s place at the acme of speaker design at this price. It was never really in doubt.
Broadly speaking, there are four equally valid ‘sounds’ at this price level; there’s ‘music as art’, ‘music as magic’, ‘music as science project’ and ‘music free from influence’ loudspeakers. Wilson has always been firmly in the last camp, and with the Sasha it digs its heels in still further. The Sasha is not a magical window on the composer’s soul, a talisman to make all music wonderful or a product that lays music bare. It does all these things, but it’s principally the studio monitor we all wish every studio used, because they’d make better music in the process. It will expose weaknesses in the recording, in the performance and in the audio system with stark clarity, but curiously these don’t detract from the enjoyment, any more than the surface noise on a good LP played through a top turntable stops you from enjoying the music.
Sasha highlights a difficult admission for reviewers. We are apt to look at incremental changes in designs as dirty great changes in sound. It comes from many of us getting our degree in Reviewology from the Centre for the Easily Impressed. The problem arises when we actually happen across a genuine large-scale change in sound and we end up like the (middle-aged, beer gutted) boy who cried wolf. And Sasha is a dirty great big change in the right direction for the W/P system. In fairness, previous W/P designs did offer distinct improvements over earlier models; however some – like System 6 – were bigger and more significant than others. Sasha is the biggest change of them all.
So, should you turn in your WATT/Puppy system for the Sasha? Not necessarily; the W/P remains one of the few legends in high-end and that reputation is still richly deserved. Just one thing though; if you aren’t planning to upgrade soon, you might want to steer clear of hearing the Sasha. Even the briefest exposure may make you change your mind about upgrading.
Le Roi est mort, vive le Roi!
Wilson Audio Sasha Loudspeaker
Type: Three-way, two cabinet floorstanding loudspeaker
Drivers: 2.54mm titanium-foil inverted dome tweeter; 178mm paper/carbon-fibre composite cone midrange, 2x 203mm poly-coated woofers
Frequency Response: 20Hz-22kHz ±3dB
Sensitivity: 91 dB/w/m at 1kHz
Impedance: 4 ohms nominal, 1.8 ohms minimum at 92 Hz
Minimum Amplifier Power: 20 watts per channel
Dimensions (WxHxD): 356x1118x539mm
System Weight: 89.36 kg
Price: £27,900 per pair
Tel: +44(0)208 971 3909