Wilson Audio Sasha V Loudspeaker Page 2

What it takes to make a system with dynamic drivers vanish, I have been informed countless times, is an absence of resonance, correct time alignment and the usual (if obvious) requirements of low distortion or coloration, wide frequency response and superb dispersion. Wilson Audio – like Allison, Bose for the 901, Quad's ESLs and others as obsessive about precise positioning – has championed time alignment for as long as I have known the brand.

An opening sensation was enough to tell me that I might need to repeat the term 'majestic' as a mantra for the Sasha V. Lou Rawls' At Last [Blue Note CDP 7 91937 2] is not the first album chosen for matters of scale or soundstage recreation, as it's mainly recorded with small ensembles. More apt would be applying it to orchestral works, bombastic rock, or live recordings. In this case, the inherent illustriousness of both Rawls' and Dianne Reeves' vocals were amplified and showcased, but even that really doesn't cover it.

Space Race
Rather, it was the way the Sasha V redefined what a system can do for the recreation of space. Spatial presentation is a separate matter from, say, bass extension or vocal authenticity, but it is a sonic artefact which cannot exist without accurate reproduction: transparency, clarity, detail, neutrality, tonal balance and other elements all play their parts. I will never forget what the late Arnie Nudell of Infinity told me when I asked why he was so focused on spatial concerns: 'If the soundstage and imaging are correct, then the rest will be, too'.

Because these latest Wilsons seem to evaporate, leaving only the sound and no clues as to their points of origin, it was a case of the (musical) truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth with Rawls' title track. All of those clichés about 'lifting veils' and 'opening the windows' flooded back, but they were insufficient in conveying how comprehensively the Sasha Vs both filled the room and gave the impression of the walls disappearing.


User-replaceable tweeter and midrange resistors (2.4ohm/1.6ohm, respectively), designed for both level matching and 'fuse' protection, are mounted onto a carbon fibre back plate behind an aluminium-framed glass cover

But what of muddier, more cluttered CDs, such as the tribute to Buffalo Springfield, Five Way Street [Not Lame Recording Company NL-121]? The fact that 21 different artists in the same number of different studios assembled Five Way Street warned me of, at the very least, inconsistency. But what proved useful was the very clutter: the waves of jangly guitars, the ferocity of the vocals, the undeniable passion in the performances.

Given that the Sasha V is a creator of a massive, open, unobstructed playground for the music, this disc would challenge its retrieval of detail, and its ability to 'de-clutter' the layers of sound. All it took was Byrds Of A Feather's reimagining of 'Bluebird', with the requisite guitar smorgasbord, to appreciate that the Sasha V could untangle those layers, so even in the stringed onslaught a keen ear could tell which were the makes of the guitars. It was an exemplary case of juggling tonal accuracy, detail and attack.

Pump It Up!
Ah, the hunger for fast transients and bass slam! Although I am not a head-banger by any measure, PM was shocked at the levels I was playing the Sasha Vs – as was I on reflection. The dearth of any distortion and coloration as often brought on by too-high a volume simply didn't happen. If anything, the Sasha V was proving rather naughty, encouraging indecent playback levels that would have caused complaints in most circumstances. The stomping on The Dave Clark Five's 'Bits And Pieces' [All The Hits; BMG BMGCAT408CD) could be felt even through a ground floor of utter solidity. 'Glad All Over' exhibited its anthemic qualities with concert-level force.

But that's just decibels. What proved so memorable was the amount of detail I was uncovering in 60-year-old, mono recordings which I have heard so many times that they are indelibly engrained in my psyche. And yet there were nuances in Denis Payton's sax playing, aspects of Mike Smith's keyboards, and especially the sound of Dave Clark's drumheads stretching under his pounding which created a visceral quality which could only have existed when the tracks were new and heard live. (Which, by the way, I did manage in '65.)


Rear view shows lower-to-upper cabinet connections, rear-firing port, midrange vent and access to 'protection' resistors. As the crossover is in the main cabinet, it does not support bi-wiring

Disc followed disc. Mickey Thomas' Marauder [Gigatone GCD 303], like Five Way Street, turned out to be an even finer recording than I had previously judged. This is a vocals extravaganza, and those of you who know his power from the Elvin Bishop Band's 'Fooled Around And Fell In Love' will appreciate why I was floored by his rendition of 'Tempted'. The Sasha Vs allowed Thomas's voice to soar, again begging the use of 'majestic' as the only suitable description.

Masterful Command
There was no choice but to turn to the torture test that is Kodō's Warabe [Sony SRCL4671]. I had already been captivated by the Sasha V's transparency, clarity, openness, speed, imaging capabilities and freedom from artifice. What I needed more of was the sheer command imparted only by deep, extended, rock-solid bass. For the life of me, I cannot think of anything which betters Kodō drumming, especially when those rich, stygian notes are heard in contrast with flutes.

'Majestic' had to make way for 'incomparable'. The Sasha Vs delivered the most convincing recreation of the Kodō experience I have ever heard. It was – and I say this hopefully without hyperbole or melodrama – truly humbling. Never have those drums appeared so genuinely palpable.

In my recent review of DeVore's O/baby [HFN Aug '23], I wrote that only four speakers had moved me to tears: that speaker, Apogee's Scintilla, the Wilson Sasha DAW, and LS3/5As. Better make that five.

Hi-Fi News Verdict
After 30-plus years living with the WATT Puppy and its descendants, I am delighted to say the form has evolved beyond even what creator David Wilson might have imagined. His son has disproven the adage, 'The first generation makes it, the second generation spends it'. Instead, Daryl Wilson has enriched it. This is my bucket-list speaker. For once, I'll employ that oft-abused adjective: The Sasha V is 'awesome'.

Wilson Audio Specialties
Utah, USA
Supplied by: Absolute Sounds Ltd
0208 971 3909