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Wilson Audio Sasha DAW with dCS Bartók DAC | First Listen

Wilson Audio Sasha DAW with dCS Bartók DAC | First Listen

Brian Berdan, proprietor of Audio Component in Pasadena California grew up in a family crammed with music, his late father was a well-known hi-fi  vendor, so I can suspect that he had some killer classic gear to mess around with.  Brian’s first pair of Wilson Audio Audio system have been a pair of Wilson Watt 2/Pet 1 loudspeakers that started his Wilson journey and which he nonetheless owns right now.  As Brian and his spouse Jennifer geared as much as have fun Audio Factor’s fifth anniversary this month, it couldn’t have been higher timing with a debut of the Wilson Audio Sasha DAW audio system.

I used to be lucky sufficient to make a visit to Pasadena to take a look at Audio Component and provides the Wilson Audio Sasha DAW in addition to the dCS Bartók DAC an in depth pay attention.  I used to be anticipating superb issues from the gear, however what I wasn’t prepared for was a unique sort of hi-fi retailer.  The stereotypical hi-fi cease across the US often has the identical sample. Sometimes in these shops you see a lot of fancy rooms, every little thing is pristine like a museum, look however don’t touch- no fingerprints, and you’re so overwhelmed you don’t know the place to start out.  If somebody from behind the counter doesn’t come to save lots of you, you shortly flip round and exit.

What for those who took an strategy the place you blended an old style report retailer with an Apple Retailer really feel the place the surroundings encourages you to pickup and play and blend in high-end audio?  Brian has found out the recipe on the way to pull that hybrid collectively.

As you enter Audio Aspect in Pasadena, it’s brilliant, enjoyable, inviting and looks like a sweet retailer for a music lover.  As you enter the entrance door from the road, you’re greeted with a headphone bar at each worth level beginning at underneath $100 and work their approach all the best way up. They encourage you to select them up, put them on, and decide some music from the pill on the desk.

Most individuals will subsequent stream proper as they cross the headphone bar, as you do, you’re introduced with a big wall of data organized in bins like your previous favourite LP retailer attracting you to flip and discover.

Keep in mind when you might attempt before you purchase within the music retailer? Decide up your LP and stroll over to probably the most thrilling factor I’ve each skilled in a HiFi Store.. a triple-decker Turntable Bar. Three banks of turntables every sporting 4 tables, to make a complete of 12 inviting you in.

Every of the three banks has a selector knob to pick the desk you need to use. They’re all related, powered and able to drop a needle. I noticed clients all day lengthy dropping down an LP and having fun with some tunes.  The knobs are literally classic knobs from previous VTL gear. Every of the three banks feed an enter on a Musical Environment SuperNova III Phono Pre-amp that’s constructed into the third financial institution. The SuperNova III offers three phono inputs with one devoted to every financial institution. Flowing out from the Tremendous Nova is a feed by way of its two outputs to 2 techniques that ebook finish the bar.

It’s widespread for people who aren’t deep on this loopy interest to assume that they won’t hear a distinction between gear. However the bar permits clients to shortly attempt totally different configurations by merely dropping down an LP and turning the selector knob. A buyer who might are available in search of Rega P2, might simply change over to Rega P3 or Rega P6 for instance and examine.

Late within the afternoon a buyer introduced in a Rega P2 that was broken by a ladder that had fallen on it. It was deemed not repairable. After experimenting with a couple of tables on the bar, he determined to buy a brand new Rega P6 and Hana EL cartridge which worker Sean-Paul Williams started to assemble.. it was enjoyable to observe this occur within the peanut gallery.  I had a chance to spend a while with the brand new Hana SL cartridge and appreciated what I used to be listening to, however extra on that later.

You get the vibe… this place is someplace that invitations you to return, expertise music and play.

Audio Aspect Listening Room

Behind the shop is their single devoted listening room.  Brian designed the room and had a hand within the precise development.

Brian maintains very detailed documentation for the room together with a flooring grid. This enables retailer staff to shortly swap out any speaker within the retailer for listening pleasure. Simply outdoors the room you can see a pairs of Wilson Audio Alexia Collection-2, Sabrina and Yvette’s all able to rock pushed by both VTL MBL-125 or VTL Siegfried amplifiers.  The left aspect of the room sported two gear racks with VTL TL7.5 Reference Pre-amplifier, VTL TP6.5 Phono Pre-amplifier, a customized blue AMG Giro (solely 5 have been made in blue) with 9inch Turbo arm and Koetsu Black, a Grand Prix Audio Parabolica with a Lyra Delos, and a dCS Rossini DAC and clock.  Pulling all of it collectively was Clear Audio Ref XL Gen 5 and Cardas Clear Past cabling.

I used to be a bit early for the social gathering, so I had an opportunity to take part within the voicing of the Sasha DAW as they settled into the room. Invoice Peugh of Wilson Audio defined that the speaker shouldn’t be pronounced “DAW” as one phrase. It’s learn as D A W as separate letters.  This dates again to a few years in the past, when David Andrew Wilson used to write down evaluations for the Absolute Sound Journal. He would signal the underside of those evaluations D A W.  If anybody has copies of those of their archives, I’d love to offer them a learn.

I did need to tease Brian for ordering these beauties in Desert Silver when there are such a lot of enjoyable colours out there from Wilson.

As I teased Brian, he jogged my memory that for a lot of clients, having them mix in is necessary. Desert Silver is sort of a chameleon that takes on the colours from the room. My private style is to have my audio system as a bit or artwork that I need to scream out in brilliant Karrussel Orange (shiny with additional flake added in fact!).

Let’s shortly evaluate the modifications within the design of the Sasha DAW earlier than we dig into the way it sounds.  Further particulars concerning the design of the Wilson Audio Sasha DAW could be present in my earlier publish.

Principally once you examine a Sasha Collection-2 to the brand new Sasha DAW, you shortly see that each element has been modified..  Invoice Peugh pointed that out, however we all know that there are some things which are the identical corresponding to:. the material on the grills, the paint, that  X and S materials that Wilson makes use of in most of their audio system and so forth.

Woofer Cupboard

Let’s begin with the Woofer Cupboard change. The important thing design modifications are:

  1. New eight inch woofer. (taken from the Alexia Collection-2)
  2. Extra inflexible with further bracing a brand new 6 sided enclosure design. (constant with Alexia Collection-2)
  3. 13.three% extra quantity, gained by eradicating the wiring chamber on the again. (constant with Alexia Collection-2)
  4. Supersize spikes and diodes underneath the speaker.  (constant with Alexia Collection-2 & Alexx)
  5. Cupboard is tilted again three levels to enhance time alignment. (constant with Alexia Collection-2)
  6. Clear cowl for the resistors on the again. (constant with Alexia Collection-2)
  7. Centered bass port that improves efficiency and eases placement. (constant with Alexia Collection-2)
  8. Black screws for the drivers (NEW – Solely on the DAW – I would like them)
  9. Reduce-outs on wings on the prime of the woofer cupboard.  I initially thought these have been simply beauty, however additionally they present a efficiency enchancment by reliving strain between the higher and decrease cupboards. (NEW – Solely on the DAW)
  10. New binding posts for speaker cable connection (NEW – Solely the DAW)

Extra footage that embrace the entrance, middle port, fuse cowl, and new binding posts.

Tweeter / Mid-range Cupboard

Shifting as much as the Tweeter / Mid-range Cupboard the important thing design modifications are:

  1. New Wilson Synergy MK5 tweeter (Similar tweeter used within the Alexia Collection-2 and WAMM)
  2. New Wilson Mid-range driver (Similar mid-range used within the Alexia Collection-2 and WAMM)
  3. 10.2% extra quantity, gained by eradicating the wiring chamber on the again. (constant with Alexia Collection-2)
  4. New hardware that that permits you to extra simply set the time alignment without having a wrench
  5. Centered port that improves air stream and tuning  (constant with Alexia Collection-2)
  6. Black screws for the drivers (NEW – Solely on the DAW – I would like them)
  7. New cut-outs inside the cupboard to scale back standing wave / higher diffraction inside the cupboard. (constant with Alexia Collection-2)

Invoice Peugh defined that in some rooms, it is possible for you to to get the time alignment on the DAW as correct because the Alexia Collection-2. Particularly to a eight pico seconds.

As a part of the voicing in the course of the set up, it’s fascinating how a lot the smallest adjustment made with the time-alignment settings on the Wilson Audio Sasha DAW. For Brian’s room there have been two attainable settings based mostly on their place that would have been used. The higher cupboard might have both rested on step seven or eight on the alignment block. It took much less then three beats of a check monitor to inform that utilizing step seven was good and step eight tossed away the goodness we have been listening to.  Taking the time to setup these audio system with additional care can pay dividends.

I used to be itching to drop the needle and pay attention. I needed to wait a bit longer as Brian and Invoice struggled to get the audio system degree on the thick carpet / underpaid within the Audio Factor listening room. However after a bit of messing round, and a few jokes about speaker “azimuth” we have been able to roll.

My listening broke down into two periods. The official presentation after which my quiet time listening that I did the next day with my very own check tracks. 

Producers Official Presentation

Invoice Peugh kicked off the demo. I assume he hasn’t jumped on the streaming bandwagon and got here outfitted with a bunch of CDs and SACDs.  Fortuitously Brian had a dCS Scarlatti Transport mendacity round that was used that despatched its feed over twin AES cables from Clear Cable to a brand new shiny dCS Bartók DAC.

Invoice kicked off the night with a J.S. Bach performed by a trio Yo Yo Ma (Cello), Edgar Meyer (Bass), Chris Thile (Mandolin). The system demonstrated pure tonality throughout the devices and precision placement of every of the trio. You don’t anticipate to a hear a mandolin however was completely positioned identical to you have been sitting in that lovely corridor. Though performed from a CD in the course of the demo, I later found it’s out there as properly on TIDAL Masters. Give it a pay attention.

Later within the demo, in ordinary Wilson type, we listened to some dynamic chamber music from Paavo Jarvi enjoying Stravinsky (Le Histoire du Soldat). The piece has some excessive dynamics, demonstrating the methods means to maintain all the devices in place… simply the best way we would like.

Invoice closed out his demonstration with Dean Martin from the “Dream with Dean” album enjoying “If you Were the only Girl (In the World)”. Regardless of should you love or hate the monitor, the romantic copy of Dean’s voice painted on a black background, whisked you away.

Luke Manley continued and dropped the needle on some tasty LPs by means of an all VTL gear system that adopted the Giro AMG turntable.

My favourite was a particular urgent of Myung-Whun Chung. If you will discover it, I extremely advocate it. I’m completely happy to report that I bought the final copy that I might discover obtainable on 10 minutes after Luke’s demo. No its not on the market…

Listening Half 2 – Mohammed Quiet Time with Wilson Audio Sasha DAW and Bartók

The ready demo was nice as all the time. However as spectacular as it may be, its onerous to know JUST how good the Sasha DAW / dCS Bartók / VTL sounds till you will get in high quality time with music & tracks that you realize.  On Saturday morning, I managed to  arrive early previous to expertise about 2 hours of listening earlier than the mad sprint.

Since I didn’t deliver any LPs with me, my session was 100% digital utilizing Roon / TIDAL all performed via the dCS Bartók DAC. 

For dCS aficionados, the dCS Bartók was set to make use of Filter three for the whole lot I used to be listening to, and Filter 5 for DSD / DXD, since that’s what I personally want and what I’m used to listening to in my room.

My recreation plan for my two-hour window was the next, to attempt to see how a lot the Wilson Audio Sasha DAW was like its huge sister the Alexia Collection-2.  Did it have the identical sonic signature? Does it have the identical DNA?   This can be a robust activity simply listening the DAW, however I had two issues going for me to permit me to return up with some preliminary insights.  First the Alexia Collection-2 + dCS Vivaldi mixture is imprinted in my head superbly as I take heed to it day by day. Fortunately at Audio Aspect, the room was a really comparable setup.  As an alternative of Alexia Collection-2, I used to be utilizing its smaller sibling Sasha DAW. Equally as an alternative of the reference dCS Vivaldi DAC, we have been utilizing its youngest sibling the dCS Bartók DAC. The cabling in Brian’s room was additionally just like mine with Clear Reference XL Gen 5 or larger.  It was fascinating to match the 2 combos.

I’ve chosen a number of tracks that exhibit what I heard and a few insights.

One of many my favourite qualities of the Alexia Collection-2 is its capability to ship silky clean integration between the varied drivers and mid-range that ship’s male vocal in methods that’s troublesome to ship.  If not executed proper, you get this disagreeable chestiness for the male vocal.  The Alexia Collection-2 simply nails this.

A check monitor I really like is the acapella “Die Easy” By Rag ‘n’ Bone Man on the “Human” album. On most techniques, it sounds superb however isn’t tremendous partaking. When performed on the Alexia Collection-2, his voice sends a shiver by way of your physique. Each as soon as of emotion coming from deep inside him comes crashing via.

When performed on the Wilson Audio Sasha DAW + dCS Bartók DAC combo streaming from TIDAL the expertise was comparable, simply as partaking.  Did it dig as deep? no. Would you ever discover in case you had by no means heard the Alexia Collection-2? no. Would you need to take heed to this on repeat? YES!

I found an incredible artist Sevdaliza whereas on the B&W room at CEDIA 2018. I really like the monitor “Human” from the Ison album.

I’ve tried this monitor many occasions, and when it isn’t proper all the things is caught collectively.  When a system can nail it, you possibly can hear the layers throughout the digital combine. Sevdaliza’s voice ought to simply experience excessive like it’s floating in air.  When kicked by means of the Wilson Audio Sasha DAW + dCS Bartók DAC combo, it was hypnotic. My finger was jamming on the VTL quantity + to push the system more durable and more durable.  Staff attracted by the sound stored popping into the room asking, “What track is that???”.

The expertise was just like the large rig that I used to be remembering in my head – Alexia Collection-2 + Vivaldi, and that’s an unimaginable achievement. However the Wilson Audio Sasha DAW + dCS Bartók had a barely smaller soundstage and as soon as once more it didn’t dig as deep.  Actually, its an unfair comparability. The Alexia Collection-2 has considerably extra quantity within the bass cupboard and a mixture of an 8inch and 10inch woofer that work collectively in concord.  The truth that it received as shut because it did was marvelous.

My expertise listening to “Mercy Street” from Peter Gabriel’s album “So” was acquainted. Fortunately Brian had the identical DSD model that I’ve at house.

The combination was good, and Peter’s smoky voice rides over the devices and Tony’s bass. The sonic signature was simply as a remembered on the bigger Alexia Collection-2 + dCS Vivaldi mixture. Much less element and dynamics then Alexia Collection-2 + dCS Vivaldi, however simply as partaking.

I’ve a longtime love for Natalie Service provider. Though loopy Audiophiles swarm over her album Tigerlily, I’ve a fond love for her album “Ophelia”.  I want it was obtainable in hi-resolution or vinyl, however was by no means launched in these codecs.

For me, this interest is about taking you again in time. Taking you to that second the place the music was recorded.  You are feeling such as you have been there. The dynamics, tonality, and sense of area all come to collectively to create…. merely music.

When that occurs, my mind relaxes, and each ounce of emotion is transmitted via the music.  You keep in mind reminiscences, you consider family and friends, you get goose bumps (on the odd event).  I contemplate myself a delicate man, and attempt to by no means tear up anyplace besides the privateness of my listening room. It’s uncommon however it occurs to all of us.

As I pressed play on “Frozen Charlotte”, I used to be pulled in. It was good, identical to I had heard it on one of the best of techniques. As a tear shaped. Sufficient stated, DAW + Bartok wins…

I firmly consider the Wilson Audio Sasha DAW will grow to be an essential a part of Wilson Audio historical past as it’s the first speaker that was created after the passing of David Wilson. It could possibly be thought-about a ebook finish on his profession. Wilson’s rise to fame started with the unique Watt Pet loudspeaker developed by him. The Sasha DAW is an evolution (or extra like a revolution!) of that unique design and type issue. On the opposite ebook finish of the spectrum, the Sasha DAW takes infinite leanings from the WAMM and brings them nearer to the DAW.

It not solely seems good on paper inheriting quite a few elements and know-how from the Alexia Collection-2, Alexx and WAMM speaker, nevertheless it delivers a sound that I’m positive would convey a smile to David’s face if he was nonetheless with us.

After many hours of listening in Pasadena, it’s completely clear to me. The Wilson Audio Sasha DAW is not a Sasha, it’s 100% a small Alexia Collection-2 inheriting its DNA and sonic signature. The improved time alignment and integration throughout the drivers that makes the Alexia Collection-2 a speaker that we love, could be seen within the Sasha DAW.

For a lot of clients, I consider the Sasha DAW shall be a speaker they fall in love with. Shifting as much as the Alexia Collection-2 can be suited to clients who: have bigger rooms, who need further adjust-ability to get probably the most correct time alignment, who need even bigger dynamics that dig deep.  Would I commerce my Alexia Collection-2 for a Sasha DAW, completely not. Would I contemplate shopping for a Sasha DAW for my room if I used to be beginning over, completely sure, since you’re getting a loopy quantity of Alexia for a a lot lower cost.

The opposite shock for me throughout my listening was the standard of digital playback made potential by the dCS Bartok. I’m a vinyl snob, and my bar for digital is excessive. I need to get that analog feeling that’s partaking once I take heed to digital. There are far and few DACs that I might like to take heed to all day. The dCS Bartok took me unexpectedly. It wasn’t a dCS Vivaldi by any means, however for the worth, I might be completely happy to personal one and take heed to it on a regular basis.  It’s so good, that I feel dCS clients might re-consider the costlier dCS Rossini.  dCS has a software program improve coming to kick it up, however for now, the dCS Bartok is chomping on its heels.

Each the Wilson Audio Sasha DAW and dCS Bartok get my highest suggestion.

In case you are ever in Los Angeles, go go to Brian and Jennifer at Audio Factor. Price range time since it would be best to play, settle in and take heed to some nice music. 


Wilson Audio Web site.

Wilson Audio Sasha DAW product web page.


  • Enclosure Sort:
    • Enclosure Sort Higher Module: Rear Vented Midrange, X&S-Materials
    • Enclosure Sort Woofer Module: Rear Ported Woofer, X-Materials
  •  Drivers
    • Woofers: Two – eight inch (20.32 cm)
    • Midrange: One – 7 inch (17.78 cm)
    • Tweeter: One – 1 inch, Dome (2.54 cm)


  • Sensitivity: 91 dB (one watt at one meter at 1kHz)
  • Nominal Impedance: four ohms / minimal 2.48 ohms @ 85 Hz
  • Minimal Amplifier Energy: 25 watts per channel
  • Frequency Response: 20 Hz –30 kHz +/- three dB room common response [RAR]

General Dimensions

  • Peak: 44 three/four inches (113.67 cm)
  • Width: 14 half inches (36.83 cm)
  • Depth: 22 15/16inches (58.26 cm)

General Weight

  • Weight Per Channel: 236 lbs (107.05 kg)
  • System Delivery Weight (approx): 710 lbs (322.05 kg)

Full listing of A-listers on the Audio Component – 5 yr Anniversary!

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