Sabrina X Amp Suggestions

I recently upgraded from an old book shelf speaker (Proac 1SC) that I have been using for 10 years to a newly acquired Wilson Audio Sabrina X. I have a small listening space (around 200 square feet) so a small floorstander like Sabrina X is perfect for me. I would love to get some suggestions on what would be considered a typical amplifier match for a Wilson - I am sticking to the big popular brands and nothing too obscure due to resell value.

I am now using an old integrated amplifier Goldmund 390.2. I am indifferent whether the upgrade path is a better integrated amplifier or moving to a amp / preamp set up. I listen to mostly vocal, jazz and small to medium scale classical music and would hope to obtain a sound that is airy, detailed with good resolution and clean bass and a bit of sweetness (not overly so to make the make music too dark or muddy) to make music involving and engaging. 

I have been reading a lot of posts here and it seems that many people with Wilson use ARC Ref 6 or Ref 5SE paired with Pass X250.8 or X250.5 to good results. I have not heard of the results but the descriptions seem to deliver a good engaging soundstage (attributable to the ARC preamp) with detailed, neutral and clean sound from the Pass. Sounds close to what I look for. 

Would love to hear your views on this set up with the Sabrina X, or any other amp suggestions. Thank you in advance!
Stereophile tested measurments:
The minimum magnitude is 2.44 ohms at 135Hz. However, there is also a combination of 4.44 ohms and a capacitive phase angle of –58° at 72Hz, a frequency where music can have considerable energy; this will place a significant demand for current on the partnering amplifier.
This is a very hard speaker to drive, especially around 70hz, low bass where big current will be needed, and also from 100hz to 200hz. 88db is not overly inefficient though.
So an amp at >100w into 8ohms will suffice. But that 100w should double into 4ohm give almost 200w and again into 2ohm almost 400w, this means it gives good current.
I suggest BJT amps, (not tube, Clas-D, or Mosfet), like John Curl’s Halo JC1 monos or the Gryphon Diablo 300 or 100 integrated, Krells etc etc.

Cheers George

I just picked up a new pair of Sabrina X's that I am running with a Pass Labs x250.8 and they sound fantastic.  My dedicated music room is 11x11x11.  Great amp for those speakers.  As for this rumor that' based on the published impedance curve, the Sabrina X's are a "very hard speaker to drive," I have to respectfully disagree.  They may not be a "flea watt" candidate, but they seem to be an easier speaker to drive than my JA Pulsars, or the Focal Diablo Utopia III's.  I use an MSB Discrete DAC with its preamp module, and for the same volume setting, the Sabrina X's get significantly louder than either the Pulsars or the Focals.  Not only am I very pleased with the Sabrina X's, even right out of the box (they are still breaking in), but the Pass Labs is a great match for them.

The best I have ever heard Wilson speakers sound is with Ayre gear paired with an Esoteric DAC featuring the MX-R Twenty mono-blocks.  I am not sure what your exact budget is but a VX-R Twenty would be incredible with a decent preamp like an ARC would be jaw droppingly good.  Even a VX-5 Twenty with a first rate preamp would do very well.  

I have no relationship with Ayre.  Just have heard them paired very well together.

I've heard D'Agostino, Boulder and Moon integrateds used with Wilson and all of them sounded very good.


My local dealer where I go to dream has the Wilsons hooked up with the Dagostino integrated and a Luxman CD player, and it sounded heavenly. He also has Ayre and AR. I’m not familiar with Wilsons speakers, but they were $19K retail. I don’t play in that league, but it was a sound I would aspire to having at home!

My experience with Sabrina is similar to @moto_man experience. I drove them with 40 watts of Pure Class A in a giant space for well over an hour and they never clipped or faded, volume was more than enough. 

I am not saying more power wouldn't wring more out of this speaker but I am saying something similar in the sense the published spec looks scarier than actual reality of them being "hard to drive". 

You might take a look at Coda amps, I have the #8 and would say it has a sweet, airy sound. I think the reviews say the same. They will also give you the necessary current and a good amount of Class A performance. The Coda site is unexplainably out of date, and I recommend you read reviews and visit reseller sites for up to date info.   

I shopped in reverse in that I purchased a McIntosh MA12000 first and then shopped speakers at McIntosh dealers. I went McIntosh because I wanted good resale value.  I liked the idea of an integrated, but after buying what was, for me, a very big purchase, another &19K for a speaker was a stretch, but after hearing the Sabrina X, I realized that the purchase of the MA12000 would go to waste without a good speaker. Well, that rational pushed me further down the rabbit hole. I soon realized that I much preferred vinyl over streaming, so purchased a great turntable.  Then I reasoned that a separate phono amp was probably a better way to go, power cords, interconnect, power outlets, a very comfortable low back couch and room treatment.  I also wanted what I'm missing, so picked up a pair of REL s/812. That’s the problem with the small Wilsons...everything counts.  Now, five months out, I'm still waiting for the Sabrina X to arrive.  I hear that Wilson is having issues with delivery of one of the speaker drivers.  Any more delays and I'll have to sell some of my cars to feed this obsession.

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vonhelmholtz - Hope your happy with your MA12000 and the rest of your system... I take it the Wilson Sabrina X set has been delivered? If it is all set-up in a good room... then it should sound glorious! 👌


I received them and my dealer set them up.

The first thing that I noticed was that the sitting position was overly far away from the speakers and when I brought them closer the soundstage improved. Also, when I slumped in my chair, the soundstage, with some music, greatly expanded. So, the speakers need to be raised, or tilted back a bit.

Since posting, I have upgraded most of my system. I’m sure that there is some improvement to be had, but I believe that would involve a substantial outlay of cash.

I now use an external phono preamp. For the price, it had better best the built in phono section of the MA12000. Secondly, I have added an external DAC and upgraded my streamer. The DAC2 is very good, but the upgrade did improve the musicality, but to be honest, once I moved to the external DAC, I upgraded my interconnects and my digital out from the Aurender streamer isn’t long enough to reach the MA12000, so I haven’t gone back to A/B.

To my ears my system has much tube character. Everything is musical, detailed and voice is just amazing. I suspect that the McIntosh lacks the last bit of micro detail, but I haven’t been left wanting. I’m old and have spent a lifetime with poor hearing. Like most older men, my high frequency falloff is pretty alarming. I have never been a fan of equalizers, but I am now using the built in equalizer with a boost at 10K and this really made things come alive. I’m not sure if there is a penalty for using the equalizer, perhaps a very small collapse of the sound field in really well recorded classic music..perhaps. So, to answer your question, I’m really happy with the MA12000 and it drives my small Wilson speakers with ease.

@vonhelmholtz - That is Fantastic news to know! For an Integrated, the MA12000 definitely is a Beast in many ways and like you, I prefer musicality over micro details. Having an upgrade spree in gear to go along with it certainly can't hurt either... Kudos and Enjoy!

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Another +vote for AYRE or D' Agostino gear with a Luxman Player.


Happy Listening!



Second - Esoteric player. Nice suggestion.


Happy Listening!

Like many of you, I find the SabrinaX great even for smallish rooms. I’ve heard these at home with a D’Agostino Progression Integrated, Pass Labs XP-10/XP-22/Ayre V-5xe, and Pass Labs XP-22/X250.8. Any of those combinations have plenty of drive and musicality for these Wilson’s. We settled on the XP-22/X250.8 pair after multiple listening sessions. It just sounds right with our other equipment, our room, and current acoustic treatments. Now we just enjoy the music!