- Written by Jason Victor Serinus
- Published on 14 February 2013
Introduction to the Wilson Audio Sophia 3 Speakers
For many audiophiles, there comes a time in our lives when we say, in so many words, enough is enough. We've worked hard enough, long enough, and with enough dedication and sacrifice to no longer have to suffer with a system that fails to satisfy. We deserve a setup that makes us happy: a system that allows us to sit back and listen for as long as we want to the music we love and want to explore and without ever feeling fatigued or short-changed.
WILSON AUDIO SOPHIA 3 SPEAKERS SPECIFICATIONS
- Design: Three-way, Ported
- Drivers: One 1" Inverted Titanium Dome, One 7" Cellulose/Paper Pulp Midrange, One 10"Aluminum Woolfer
- Sensitivity: 87 dB @ 1 Watt @ One meter @ 1 kHz
- Nominal Impedance: 4 Ohms, 3.1 Ohms Minimum @ 98 Hz
- MFR: 20 Hz - 22.5 kHz, ± 3 dB
- Minimum Amplifier Power: 25 Watts per Channel
- Dimensions: 41.2" H w/o spikes x 13.6" W x 18.9" D
- Weight: 165 Pounds/each
- MSRP: $17,900/pair USD
- Wilson Audio
- SECRETS Tags: Wilson Audio, Speakers, Audio
In my case, the biggest impediment to system enjoyment has been a succession of loudspeakers that have always come up short. After an initial loudspeaker debacle that I prefer not to think about came the Talon Khorus X, a speaker with a lot of positive attributes that I got to sound "pretty good" after at least four upgrades and I don't know how many tweaks addressed a number of its major design flaws. Then came the Eficion F-300, a well-designed loudspeaker whose AMT tweeter does a lot of things really well, and whose midrange provides the warmth and richness that the Talon lacked, but whose soundstage limitations, lack of ultimate bass control (in my room) and need for amps with a high slew rate were not an ideal fit for either my system, room, or musical preferences.
Finally, after reading any number of positive reviews of Wilson Audio Specialties' Sophia 3, I contacted company founder Dave Wilson and company spokesperson and Recording Engineer Peter Mc Grath. The essence of my message: Help! I can't stand it any longer. After attending and reporting on any number of Wilson Audio speaker debuts and demos at shows and stores, it's about time that I heard a pair of Wilsons at Casa Bellecci-Serinus.
It's not that my email was sent out of the blue. I first met Dave Wilson at his old home in Novato, CA in 1980 or 1981. Shortly after the premiere of She's a Good Skate, Charlie Brown, the Emmy-nominated Peanuts cartoon in which I whistled Puccini as "The Voice of Woodstock," Ed Bogas, who arranged the sound for the Peanuts cartoons, asked me to come whistle for his friend Dave Wilson. I didn't know who Dave was, or what the funny stack of speaker boxes in his living room was all about, but I made the drive with Ed and blew my brains out in Dave's living room.
It was only years later, when I got involved in the high-end, recorded some music with pianist Julie Steinberg (whom Dave had recorded), and began to see ads for Wilson Audio loudspeakers that I began to realize that I whistled for one extremely gifted speaker designer. When I began covering audio shows, and Dave and I renewed our acquaintance, I finally had the opportunity to hear what the successors to that funny stack of boxes in his living room could do.
I first learned of Peter Mc Grath's engineering prowess when his name began to appear on a host of critically acclaimed Harmonia Mundi recordings of artists that included Jordi Savall and Lorraine Hunt (later Lorraine Hunt Lieberson). Then I learned that he was the recording engineer for James Judd's wonderful sounding CD of Mahler's First Symphony. Eventually, when Peter began working for Wilson Audio Specialties, I had the opportunity to hear his master recordings played back on Wilson loudspeakers. Given our similar tastes in music, I soon managed to find ways to linger in his room at shows, enjoying as many of his recordings as time allowed, and then a little bit more.
These multiple decades of acquaintance with both men and product culminated in my emai. Months later, shortly after the California Audio Show in July 2012, Peter braved the wilds of the East Oakland barrio to set up a brand new pair of Sophia 3s in my living room. I found their Desert Silver color – one of four standard colors and 12 upgrade colors available – a perfect match for the blond and darker wood tones of the room, dark maroon of the rug, and my silver and black component mix.
As for their sound, I quickly fell in love. For the last six months, as I have reviewed music and equipment for multiple publications on the Sophia 3s. As I dashed home after shows to test my aural memory of the best systems I had heard against the sound of my own system, the Sophia 3s have served as my trusted reference loudspeaker. As I prepare to bid them farewell, and welcome a pair of Wilson Audio Sashas to my living room, I do so with the knowledge that the Sophia 3 is among the finest-sounding and most satisfying loudspeakers in its price range.