Musical Triumph

Nothing convinces more than a fabulous recording wonderfully reproduced. Wilson Audio scored big time when it engaged recording engineer Peter McGrath as its marketing VP. McGrath's recordings are legendary. When sourced from master hi-res computer files, played back using the superior Amarra Music Server software, they're pretty riveting.

A case in point was the final movement of Beethoven's Hammerklavier Piano Sonata, played by Valentina Lisitsa, and recorded live in Miami's Wertheim Hall on July 7. Although the nearfield recording didn't sound anything like my farfield memories of sitting through the entire finals of the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth last June, the forcefulness and clarity of the light-framed Lisitsa's playing were astounding. Credit goes to the new Wilson Sasha WP ($26,900/pair); the Ayre MX-R analog linear class-A/B mono amplifiers ($18,500/pair), KX-R preamplifier ($18,500), DX05 Universal Blu-ray player (price TBA, probably $8k–$10k, and capable of playing CD, Blu-ray, SACD, and DVD-A, and equipped with a USB input), and the QB-9 USB DAC ($2500). Of great importance to the system's success were the Grand Prix Audio Stands and complete complement of Transparent cable, including any number of power cables ($12,600/each), Reference MM Interconnect/speaker cable combo ($50,000), and the Performance USB ($90, yes, $90).

Peter urged me to return to hear a bit of a recording of young violinist whose recording is slated for eventual release on EMI. The contrast to the sound of a piano being hammered into musical heaven should be quite exciting. If you get to the room first—I've got lots more rooms to cover before I dare indulge in repeat visits—be sure to ask Peter to play the masters for you.

Bill's picture

The new Sasha W/Ps are, simply, an incredible speaker.I have historically not liked Wilson's speakers. There just always seemed to be something missing, and the smaller ones had a tendency to sound a little boxy at times.Not the Sasha W/Ps.In fact, I'd say they're a better sounding speaker than even the MAXX 2s were.Definitely worth a listen if you're in the market.