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High End 2015: Wilson Audio’s Sabrina

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HE15_Logo_GB_01Wilson Audio finally brought their latest speaker, the Sabrina, to Europe. The debut did not happen within the walls of Munich’s High End show, but in a dealer’s show room. Actually not just any show room, My Sound near Munich is one of the most elegant places I have seen; it resembles more an art gallery than your typical brick n’ mortar audio shop. From what I understood, the owner is also a photographer and one of great talent too. Our hosts were amazing, the wine was exquisite and the company was excellent. There were speakers too.

A pair of Alexandria XLFs were sitting comfortably in the last room, Sasha 2 and Alexias were driven by Spectral amps and Devialets, and of course there was a pair of Sabrinas, playing together with a Pass INT-60 and EMM Labs XDS1 CD/SACD player. You might have expected something more, or should I say bigger, for such an important debut in front of a crowd of well-known European and US journalists, but Wilson probably felt there was no need for separate pre-power amps or stacks of DACs, upsamplers and transports. Actually, many of the guests were not paying particular attention to the new speakers, the wine and gourmet dinner seemed to grab their attention, in primis.

After giving a try to the Italian secco bubblies, I supposed that I should at least listen to the speakers, for a bit, and so I took the sweet spot. After listening to the (awful) CD sampler, some random guy sitting next to me asked “Would you care to play some of my vinyl rips? It is all good stuff, made the CD myself”.

There was no analog front-end, so the idea of quality analog rips was extremely inviting, especially when “that guy” does happen to be somewhat notorious for his analog rig. So I took the silver disc, put it on the XDS1 and passed the remote control. We heard maybe 15 tracks, including several classic swing and rock-n-roll pieces, all rigorously ripped with a Lyra Etna cartridge on a 4 point Kuzma tonearm and Caliburn Continuum reference turntable.

Several of the tracks were familiar, and this helped me sketch at least an initial idea of what the Sabrinas are capable of. The trait that stood out was coherence. The blending among the three drivers was seamless, a single piece of fabric with no patches in the upper or lower octaves. The room was moderately treated, but there was no sign of booming, and I trust this is going to be an easy-to-fit-in speaker, and this despite the bass reflex port placed on the rear of the cabinet. Highs were smooth and punch was appropriate for the relatively small cabinet. For a company such as Wilson Audio, the Sabrina represents a first on compact floorstanders and while not being cheap at $15.900, it is not all that pricey either.

The performance? Enough to get Mr Analog to flip his lid.

 

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About Panagiotis Karavitis (180 Articles)

Doctor and Editor @ Part-Time Audiophile
Publisher @ Audiohub.gr

2 Comments on High End 2015: Wilson Audio’s Sabrina

  1. Great writing Panagiotis, loved this piece. I echo your sentiments on the Wilson sound from my experience with the Sasha II.

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