Audiophiles looking to invest in state-of-the-art sound probably know about the painstaking detail and dedication behind every Wilson audio product. Built into the DNA of the company by its founder, Dave Wilson, is a passion for a natural, purist approach — replicating sound as you hear it live in the studio. Perfection in groundbreaking design was first evident in Dave Wilson’s original take on the classics with his WAMM design from 1981, and other loudspeakers came along over time. Not only have materials science and aesthetics evolved and advanced since then, but each unique loudspeaker system has a purpose, beyond simply serving various price points.
Today, Daryl Wilson and his amazing team have kept to the meticulous brand standard set in motion by the founder. A lot of companies in the high-end audio world use a top-down approach to advancing their products, starting with a new technology or component then applying those elements from their flagship piece on down.
When you look at the full suite of Wilson Audio products, you may be surprised to learn that the majority of their development effort differs from the standard approach, instead focusing on things that will be used in all, or at least several, of their loudspeaker models. The reason it works, Daryl Wilson said, is because everything they do is “based on three sonic objectives: dynamics, harmonic expression, and — more recently — micro-detail. The objectives haven't changed since the company's founding.”
Brian Damkroger of Stereophile recently reviewed the SabrinaX. Damkroger says, “Wilson Audio knows how they want their speakers to sound and, to the extent possible, they want all their speakers to sound that way. The most expensive models use the same components as the least expensive ones — just more of those components plus additional technologies and a far more optimized design. The SabrinaX is a very special product, and I wouldn't be surprised if history looks back on it fondly. It's Wilson's smallest, least expensive floor-standing speaker, yet it's full of Wilson's latest and greatest everything.” Let’s take a look at the highlights of his detailed review:
“The SabrinaX is a product of Wilson’s unique approach, to capitalize on common elements they do REALLY well,” he notes. The cabinet is unique to the SabrinaX, of course — although it shares a good deal of tech with other Wilson cabinets — and nearly everything else is shared. The SabrinaX's tweeter is the Mark V version of the 1" Convergent Synergy silk-dome tweeter, also common to the new flagship XVX, the Sasha DAW, the WAMM Master Chronosonic. The 8" woofer is used in the Sasha DAW. One component created uniquely for each model is the crossover. SabrinaX sports capacitors of the same construction as the one’s used in the XVX — which was actually the first speaker to use an in-house-produced capacitor after Wilson bought Reliable Capacitor. Capacitors made in-house can achieve a custom value, allowing one capacitor to be used in the crossover rather than several, which shortens the signal path along a simpler circuit.
Even those experienced in setting up speakers are best to consult a professional when it comes to getting your perfect system set up. Wilson Audio recommends that you have an experienced dealer help you out, and Damkroger agrees, recommending that you have a dealer set up your speakers for the best outcome, ease, and convenience.
Damkroger documents his listening experience with several different albums spanning different genres. “The soundstage was huge, well beyond anything I’d heard before,” he describes. “It stretched to waaaaay outside the speakers and created detailed, tangible images to the very edges. It was deep as well, though not quite as deep as it was wide. It didn't shrink or lose detail or focus, even at the farthest corners. I absolutely love the 1957 Decca recording of Rafael Kubelik and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra performing Dvorák's From the New World at the Sofiensaal. It oozes lush detail.” He continues, “Wow, I was floored by the clarity and intensity of the SabrinaX's presentation . . . The SabrinaX's aced the test: The note was rock-solid and had all the power it should. The round, warm resonance that's so characteristic of Ray Brown's playing was even more so with the SabrinaX's. The warm and round aspects might or might not have been more pervasive, but the sound of the body itself just popped out. There was dramatically more detail, the sort of thing you don't know exists until you hear it, at which point it becomes so obvious you wonder why you never heard it before. It wasn't so much the presence of more spatial detail as it was the harmonic structure and choral nature of the notes.” His high praise for the listening experience with the Wilson flagship loudspeaker abounds. “After hearing this and feeling how I was affected, I found it impossible to recall other speakers to use in a comparison. Listening told me everything I needed to know.”
Sterophile’s Damkroger concludes with more praise for the Wilson loudspeaker: “With the SabrinaX's in the house, I smiled whenever I thought about the last time I'd listened to music and looked forward to the next time I'd be able to. . . The SabrinaX is a wonderful speaker. I can't imagine someone hearing it and coming to any other conclusion. Very highly recommended!” If you’re looking for a loudspeaker that delivers microdetail and tonal texture that’s unmatched, with a budget to accommodate the best in hi-fi sound, take a look at SabrinaX. As Wilson's Peter McGrath said, "Daryl's a perfectionist, and he went kind of nuts on the SabrinaX." Read Brian Damkroger’s full review here.