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Old 12-31-2016, 08:37 AM
bruno2009 bruno2009 is online now
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Default Comparing Wilson Audio to Focal to B&W

Anyone ever compared these three brands? At the time I`m listening with my 802Diamonds. Wilsons have always interested me, but I auditioned the Sophia against the 802 Diamond and did not find it to be much better - never came round to listening to the bigger models though. My history with Focal goes back to JmLab - I had the Electra and after the first 927 BE - could never get used to the treble back then. What stuck in mind was a spectacular bass though. The aggressive treble made me move away from JmLab and on to B&W, where I moved through the passt 15 years with 803/802D and now 802Diamond.

Recently I thought to upgrade sometime in the next years and I wondered if Focal got the treble adjusted, further how Wilson Audio - as they seem to use the same tweeter, I think they even buy it from Focal and give it some kind of special treatment - compares to Focal and last but not least - as I have been happy with the B&W 800 Series over the past years - how these compare to the others.

I`ll start with some listening sessions next year - but I know of no dealer that has all three brands and obviously listening/comparing in my own 4 walls is out of the question due to the weight of the speakers in mind.

I will probably move away from B&W as the new D3 Series does still not convince me. To make a serious step up from the 802 Diamonds we`re probably talking the bigger Utopia models and the midrange Wilson Audio models...

So this is basically my starting point to determine if an upgrade really makes sense, what invest we`re talking about and which direction to head in... (next to upgrading the phono section finding out about this will be my major HiFi-project for the next year). It`d be great to hear if anyone has already done any comparing between these brands and would like to share experience...

All the best,
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Last edited by bruno2009; 12-31-2016 at 09:00 AM.
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Old 12-31-2016, 12:28 PM
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Wilson doesn't use that tweeter anymore. Their silk Dome is much better than the titanium one IMHO. So when you go back to compare, you'll be buying a Wilson. Go for Yvette if you can. Not sure what your budget is.
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Old 12-31-2016, 12:32 PM
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I personally own Marten to it's my top pick but from there I like the B&W sound better than the Wilson and the Wilson better than the Focal.
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Old 12-31-2016, 12:57 PM
bruno2009 bruno2009 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2fastdriving View Post
Wilson doesn't use that tweeter anymore. Their silk Dome is much better than the titanium one IMHO. So when you go back to compare, you'll be buying a Wilson. Go for Yvette if you can. Not sure what your budget is.
Ah - that`s good to know, thanx.
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Old 12-31-2016, 01:00 PM
jpgr4blu jpgr4blu is online now
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Hi Bruno 2009:
I have heard B&W's lines together with Focal's many times in NYC at Sound By Singer (Focal) and B&W (a number of dealers). B&W's high end offerings always left me cold as I always thought the crossovers were not properly implemented and the sound was always a bit disjointed to me. When paired with warmer electronics like McIntosh, these anomalies were glossed over to the point where I actually considered purchasing that combo. It is a match made in heaven--beautiful--but not very transparent. Furthermore, I have always thought that the mid and lower level B&W speakers were among the best on the market for their price. As a counter, I note that HiFi News and Record Review recently gave B&W's new flagship an outstanding review so maybe they have improved, maybe they disagree with me or maybe it's a sound better understood and appreciated in Britain. I'll have to give them a listen to see what's new under the sun in the UK.

Re Focal, I have liked virtually every speaker I have ever heard from them, the weakness being implementation of the Be tweeter which can be seamless or annoying.I'm not sure if the annoying part was based on an annoying source (I've always heard with cds and streaming--never vinyl) or the tweeter itself. I have also gone through listening sessions where the tweeter did not bother me and was, in fact, superb.
As for Wilson, years back, I thought they made flashy speakers with a cavernous presentation of highly analytical but nonmusical sound. That is because I had only heard the Watt Puppy 6s that apparently were not properly set up. With the advent of the Sophias and WP 7s, the sound to me became very musical with all of the attributes I sought in a speaker. Things have only improved at Wilson since then. But, proper set up (very necessary for Sashas and higher priced speakers--not so much for Yvette and Sabrina) and electronics (low powered ss sounds terrible on anything other than Yvette and Sabrina) are required. Once those elements are in place, Wilson's take the overall sound to a level that IMHO can not be surpassed at their respective prices.
There is nothing like hearing these speaker brands side by side with appropriate electronics which I have done only with Wilson and B&W. But that was at least 5 years ago. In that contest, it was not even close.
I note your concern re Wilson tweeters. Wilson now uses a silk dome and not the older titanium Focal. As for your comment on bass reproduction, I have always found Wilson's to be the best of these 3 brands at accurate and deep bass reproduction and indeed overall dynamic contrast in all aspects.
Listen to Sasha2 or Alexias if you can. I think you will be impressed.
This, of course is one man's opinion. Others no less familiar with these brands may disagree and they would not be wrong.
Happy New Year to all.
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Last edited by jpgr4blu; 12-31-2016 at 01:03 PM.
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Old 12-31-2016, 01:26 PM
bruno2009 bruno2009 is online now
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Default Comparing Wilson Audio to Focal to B&W

Hi - thanx for sharing your experience. I actually feed my 802Diamonds with McIntosh (C52 & MC452). I do like the sound I get out of the System at the time - just giving a few thoughts to moving on... I'll listen to some Wilson Speakers next year - note they are almost twice the price of my 802Diamonds, so I'm not really sure what improvement (not just difference) to expect...

I'm not sure Wilson even has a speaker at 15k - so it's probably not really a fair comparison anyway... think 802Diamonds are hard to beat at the price... so I`ll probably have to stretch quite a bit to make a big step.
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Last edited by bruno2009; 12-31-2016 at 03:36 PM.
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Old 12-31-2016, 02:20 PM
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I have as well as adding Revel into that mix. While I truly enjoyed the sound produced by Wilson to me the lineup is visually unattractive (I stated before that some of them remind me of trash cans at an amusement park from the fifties) although the newest offerings are starting to come around.
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Old 01-01-2017, 01:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bruno2009 View Post
Hi - thanx for sharing your experience. I actually feed my 802Diamonds with McIntosh (C52 & MC452). I do like the sound I get out of the System at the time - just giving a few thoughts to moving on... I'll listen to some Wilson Speakers next year - note they are almost twice the price of my 802Diamonds, so I'm not really sure what improvement (not just difference) to expect...

I'm not sure Wilson even has a speaker at 15k - so it's probably not really a fair comparison anyway... think 802Diamonds are hard to beat at the price... so I`ll probably have to stretch quite a bit to make a big step.
Sabrina is 15k. Yvette is the next up.
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Old 01-01-2017, 01:42 PM
bruno2009 bruno2009 is online now
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Hi - that`s in the States, not over here in Europe. The Sophia 3 goes for 27k (Euros!) and the Sabrina for 20k over here (Yvette for 31k). And I have already auditioned the Sophia and I did not find it to be far "better" sounding to my 802Diamonds, "different" - yes, but better... no. Thus my question for the bigger models... and the comparison to Focal/B&W...

It`s not like I`m not satisfied with what I get out of my system at the moment - but as for the hobby, I`m just trying to figure out how much it will cost to make a real step forward and if that`s actually worth the invest... Wilsons have interested me for quite a while... they`re just really expensive over here...
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Last edited by bruno2009; 01-01-2017 at 01:55 PM.
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Old 01-01-2017, 03:23 PM
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Christoph, you are right.
The price setting is different here.
That makes that certain brands are much more accessible than others.
Wilson is indeed quite expensive compared to B&W.
While in the US, the 800D3 now plays in the same league as the Sasha, it is cheaper than the Yvette here.
Don't forget to audition Sonus Faber, Vivid Audio, KEF (Blade II), Magico (S1), YG Acoustics. And there are more interesting brands.
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Last edited by bart; 01-01-2017 at 05:01 PM.
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