Thiel 3.7 vs Wilson Sasha

I auditioned Thiel 3.7 and Wilson Sasha recently. The upstream for 3.7 is Bryston BCD-1+BP 26+7B SST2+Cardas Neutral Reference cables, while the upstream for Sasha is Ayre CX-7eMP+K5+V5+Tranparent Reference cables. Both speakers were driven very well. Let me compare them in each category below.
1. Treble: 3.7 is more reavling, 3.7 win.
2. Mid range: 3.7 is more reavling and transparent, while Sahsa is fuller, it all depends on your preference, a tie.
3. Bass: 3.7 is more reavling and transparent, while Sasha has an obvious deeper bass extension, and more weight. Sasha win.
4. Coherency: Both have great coherency. But from my point of view, 3.7 has an edge.
5. Color: 3.7 is very neutral and transparent. Sasha is neutral too, but it is a little bit towards warmth side.
6. Sound stage: both can produce a huge sound stage, a tie.
7. Imaging: 3.7's imaging is pin point sharp. Sasha has great imaging ability too. 3.7 win.
Overall, both are outstanding speakers. Personally, I prefer Thiel 3.7's sound signature. IMO, regarding price, Thiel 3.7 might be one of the best buy in High-End world.

What is your point?

The relevancy of your comparison is flawed. The only way to judge one vs the other is to make the comparison on exactly the same system.

Both electronics are good, but unless everything is a constant you really have no idea what is doing what.
8. Dynamic range: Both are great, a tie.
9. Transient response: Both are great. 3.7's transient response is the best I've heard in any speakers. 3.7 win.
10. Tonal balance: Both are great, 3.7 is silky smooth. I think it has an edge.
I understand your reasoning. But I don't think there is a system can drive these two speakers very well.
My point is both are great speakers, but I prefer Thiel 3.7, and it might be one of the best buy in High-End world.
Did you really mean that you don't think that there is a system that can drive them well, or did you mean that you don't think there isn't a system that can't drive them well?
(in other words, you feel that they are easy to drive)
Actuary- believe your own ears because that is what really matters. My personal experience with both Thiel and Wilson speakers (and this goes back to the 90s) is that neither impressed me that much in Audio showrooms. I heard both brands in more than two audio showrooms each and with all the right equipment, wires and software. I had two buddies, one with a Thiel system and one with the Wilson Watt/Puppy system. In their homes both systems sounded awesome. In the stores, I wouldn't have given either brand a second notice. It was my buddy's home system that prompted me to go for the Thiels. I guess what I am saying is, if you could get both pair of speakers in your home for an audition, it might well be worth your trouble.
Great post!!! These are two of my favorite brands and I like to see them compared but I do not see comparisons much because of the price difference.

It is nice to see a post like this. You may take some flack because the systems were not the same... But it is very hard to hear both back to back even it the dealer has both on the floor because of the size weight of these speakers.

My Wilsons experience:
I have heard the Wilson Duette in the same room same system back to back just a few minutes apart from the 3.7s. It was no contest the 3.7s fit my taste better in all aspects. Sounds like a dumb demo but hey the duette is $14,200 (in red) and the 3.7 were $12,900 (in cherry).

I have also heard the Sophia 2 (Mcintosh front-end 252 etc) in several systems and head a few songs on the Sashas (all Mcintosh-front end).

My Thiel Experience:
I have demoed the 3.7 two different occasions (Musical Fidelity and Mcintosh 252). I also own a pair of Thiel CS2.4 (benchmark HDR-DAC1/Wyred 4 Sound ST-500) .

My opinion:
While I like both lines of speakers very well I would choose the 3.7s over anything short of the Sasha down. I did not spend much time with the Sasha but all your points match my feelings between the two lines in general. Sound wise I could live happily ever after with the 3.7 or Sasha. But my budget ($$$) leans more toward Sophia so I will have to see how the Sophia 3 sounds.

I think if people are sensitive to upper midrange energy they may like the Wilsons better. The midrange is NOT forward on the 3.7s but it pulls out every detail (think CLX) and could be tiresome if they listen to high SPL. I keep it pretty quiet because I like my hearing so it is not an issue for me. All in all it hard not to notice the 13 thousand is price difference.

PS. I would like to hear from anyone who has compared Magico (V2 but anything would help) to the 3.7s. I do not have a dealer and I am not willing to fly for a demo.
Roxy54, sorry for confusion. I mean it's difficult to hear two speakers with exact same upstream at one spot. Even if the dealer has such equipment, they are two heavy to be switched.
Goodwins High End in Boston is very willing to switch heavy speakers around for a demo. I heard three $20K ish speakers - Magico, Rockport and Verity - all in the same system during one afternoon session. Some dealers are willing to pull out the dolly and do a bit of work for customers. Try to get this service to establish a short list and then ask for an in home demo to be sure.
James63, it seems both of us are big fans of Thiel 3.7. 3.7 is a very power hungary speaker. It require high power and high current amp. Bryston BP 26+14B SST2(or 7B SST2) amps are not very expensive, but they can drive 3.7 extremely well. I ordered one set for myself. You may audtion this combo too. Have fun.

Yeah I like Thiels pretty well. I have never heard Thiels with Bryston amps. I have been rolling amps on my CS2.4 for a little while now. I think I am going to stop with Wyred 4 Sounds. Like the Thiels I find it very hard to find a reason to move on.

But if you think the Brystons are that good a match I will look into it. I still have Pass Labs on my list and may pick one up for a good used price.The CS2.4 are a touch hollower (thinner) in the mids than the 3.7 and I thought the Brystons might move the mids in the wrong direction, thoughts?

Have you heard the CS2.4? I bought them off Audiogon (from a dealer) unheard based on how well I liked 3.7s. They turned out to be a real eye opener for price per performance.

Unfortunately, I never heard CS 2.4. When Thiel presented 3.7 on 2007 CES, they used Bryston BCD-1+BP 26+28B SST to drive 3.7. James Tanner, VP of Bryston, mentioned that James Thiel spoke to him in person, that 28B SST combo made 3.7 to produce the best sound he heard so far. Thiel used Bryston combo in another couple important shows. I believe it should be a good match for 3.7. It worth auditioning.
FWIW- I heard the 3.7 with Mac 1201's and the sound was sublime. If I was considering the 3.7's I would also want to hear them with the Mac's 2301's.

Maybe the Mac's transformers mitigate the upper mid range energy that James63 mentions.

I also agree that the 3.7's are a great bargain.
Based an a single experience walking into a showroom and listening to the Thiels (with expensive Krell electronics), I have to agree that dollar for dollar these were the best sounding speakers I ever heard (either that or this dealer had a magic setup touch). I had a somewhat similar revelation about 9 years ago with the revel studios - than 14K, which I ended up being able to afford used 8 years later. I never liked the Puppies (sounded worse than the Revels at twice the price) so I am somewhat negatively biased against Wilson.
In Korea, The thiels and WPs are imported by the same importer so we can do a side by side comp. at the importer's showroom. Anyway, both speakers are truly great, for the price Thiel does a lot, but WP Sasha definitely beats out Thiel 3.7 in the bass department hands down but not sure if you want to spend that much more. James, for your Thiel 2.4, you should definitely consider used Naim audio set as a candidate. I am not sure what the model # was but they looked pretty old, may be from 90s, but they totally tamed the 2.4 beautifully.

Thanks for the tip on the Naim. I have a dealer that carries them and I have heard them on Magnepan 1.7 and they seemed pretty good. I might give them a go some time.

Now back on topic.


I would like more detail on how the bass compared. Was the Wilson truly better or did it just have more bass quantity/output? This is a real question and I am not trying to give you a hard time. I would really like to known. My thoughts on the subject are below feel free to disagree if you heard differently...

I ask because looking at measurements and listing to the Sophia 2, the woofer start to fall quickly around 40hz and the port picks up the rest. The combined outputs bring the bass down to 29hz. The Watt Puppy 8 (I have not see measurements of the Sasha) had a similar approach the port picking up the bass where the woof left off.

My issues with the port picking up the bottom-end is it looses texture and detail compared to a larger woofer etc. My other issues is the port is almost always a good 5-10 db lower than the woofers output. Making for lumpy bass at the extremes and room placement complications. In order to have the port the same loudness as the woofer it would need to be very long and thin, causing cuffing. The last problem I have with a port is the sound coming from inside the box (let out through the port...) is colored on many speakers.

Now the Thiels use a passive radiator which has some real advantages. The 3.7s woofer also takes a dive around 40hzb but the passive radiator acts just like a driver with piston motion. The piston motion maintains detail until the radiator drops off at 30hz. Also the output of the passive radiator is tuned to the same loudness as the driver (tensioning the surround and box volume used for tuning) and the speaker measures flat till 31hz with no boundary reinforcement. The last but most important advantage of a radiator is it helps block the internal noise of the box and does not create port noise.

So again my question, is the Sasha bass better or just more prominet? I question the 20hz spec honestly. I know many people would/will say the room will add bass down low... but it just muds it up for me.

Now with all that being said I really like the bass on both speakers but I heard them at different dealers with a large amount of time between auditions. But I think the radiator is great and I am at loss as to why more bands don't use them. They are a good trade off between a sealed box and ports.

IMO, your mini review is quite stated by another, unless you are comparing with the same front end gear in the same room your review has no merit.Ive heard both speakers and the Sasha blows away the 3.7s but thats just my opinoin and its worth nothing except to me
I think 3.7's base is more revealing and transparent. Sasha just has more base, but the quality is not as good as 3.7.
CS3.7 will probably have a very long product cycle like most Thiel speakers. I think at least 10yrs and by then they will probably sell for in the $25k-$30K range. so if you can get a pr now, get it and enjoy them now, and by the time you are itching to upgrade them, you can probably sell them for what you paid for now or maybe more. Another vote!
Give me an example of one speaker hat sold at a premium over the orginal new price paid 8 years into its life cycle. Does not happen. Better strategy is to wait 8 years and pick one up used for 40% (tops) or original retail. I did the same with the Revel studio's that I first heared in 2002 and bought in 2009.

The Sasha goes down MUCH deeper than the Sophia 2. Not even close, even with the Sasha ports stuffed.
I would also consider the Vandersteen 5a as they do bass with their built in Bass amp and adjustable Room EQ
in my opinion better than both and like the thiels are Phase and time correct yet have lower baffle diffraction which allows them to disappear image off the charts are also run with a high pass/ bi amps the Bass which lowers the main amps distortion dramatically improving coherency dynamics transparency and clarity.
Cheers Johnnyr
Thanks for the sales pitch Johnny. At least a disclaimer would be nice.....

Bel canto amps are also a very good match with Thiel speakers. Heard them at a Singapore dealership 2 years ago and it sounded sublime.
I have Thiels. My favorite three brands are Thiel, Wilson and Avalons. I really don't think you can go wrong. Go with your heart

to your question, not sure if you did the comparison with Sasha, but Sasha is very different from sophia 2 or WP8. I am not a big fan of Sophia especially, and it is just not in the same league as Thiel or Sasha. Sasha's bass is not boomy as you might be suggesting due to it's ports on the back. the bass goes down deep, tight, and yes prominent but very well balanced with the rest of the freq. range. I was totally taken back by how well balanced and deep it went down while maitaining musical integrity. Having said that, I do own Thiel 3.7 because I felt it did most of what Sasha did for much lesser price tag. ;-) but as I always say, forget the measurements, reviews and all other crap and go with your ears. If you are into this price range of speakers, your ears are already very well trained and can differentiate good from bad, and best from better..
Interesting thread. I haven't heard a Thiel for 20 years and my memory of it back then was 'all midrange' (certainly no bass).

As someone who just placed an order for a pair of Sashas, hoping it will be my last speaker, the comments about the Thiel 3.7 have got my attention. Sounds like a great speaker.
Without reading any of the responses I would say 3.7's. Personally I think Wilson's are overrated and I know for a fact that the 3.7's are very very good speakers because a buddy of mine has them and they image like a bitch. They do require power but efficient enough to use tubes. I have never been a Thiel fan but do like the 3.7's.

I'm not sure from what planet you are but a Bryston 14B SST is €8.349,00, 7B SST €4.699,00 and BP-26 €2.749,00 are very expensive amplifiers. Just ask random people at the street if they thing paying over €10k for amps isn't very expensive. Most people don't earn that much a month before tax. I don't at least.
I bought BP26+7B SST2 from audiogon, and I paid $7,350 for them. I am in US, audio gears are cheaper than GB.
I set up my system on Saturday. Bryston BCD-1+Cardas Golden Reference Interconnect+MPS-2+BP26+Cardas Neutral Reference+7B SST2+Cardas Neutral Reference+Thiel 3.7. The sound quality is terrific. I like it very much. I will add details later.
I now own the Thiel CS3.7 and Parasound JC1 monoblocks and JC2 preamp for almost 2 months now. All I can say is, "AHHH....THIS IS IT!" with a big wide grin.

I, too, fully concur with Actuary's comparisons #1-10 except #3. IMO, I believe the CS3.7 wins in the bass department. I've auditioned Sasha while I was still deciding on what speakers to purchase and the bass I heard didn't come anywhere near the bass extension of the CS3.7...which was surprising. The drummer and bassist sounded as if they did not have breakfast before the recording session! The Sasha gave me a sense of listening to two-dimensional hifi whereas the CS3.7 really made me feel the musicians and musical instruments are being played right there in my living room. So James63, you're right in your post in one of my threads. I saved $15k by getting the 3.7s over the Sasha.

I've heard Magico V2 driven by Soulution 720 preamp and 710 power amp. I thought I was in for a treat but to my shock, the whole thing sounded hard and uninvolving.
Accompanying a friend in search for new speakers we recently went on an audition spree. This friend has extensively auditioned the three set of speakers for weeks before finalizing, I, however, only attended his last.

The $20k+ Revel with all Krell Evo gears, excellent top to bottom extensions, but rather uninvolving. Thiel 3.7 with Mc Intosh latest cdp, amp and pre (cool looking stuffs with windows showing off their nice glowing tubes innards--can't recall model), good holographic soundstaging, but thin bordering on clinical sounding. Sasha with ARC smaller Ref gears (210 I think it was, plus their CD8), the bass could be a bit overbearing at times in the dealer's room, but with surprisingly most inviting mids of the three, albeit a tad on the warm side of neutral--overall the most involving package. All sources were digital.

He ultimately bought the Sasha, our group of friends present conclusively agreed that he had made the right choice based on what we all heard at the different dealer demos on that decisive day. Again, synergy, rooms etc could have played a part, but aren't dealers supposed to know and show off their gears at their best.
I, too, fully concur with Actuary's comparisons #1-10 except #3. IMO, I believe the CS3.7 wins in the bass department. I've auditioned Sasha while I was still deciding on what speakers to purchase and the bass I heard didn't come anywhere near the bass extension of the CS3.7...which was surprising.

I haven't heard either, but Wes Phillips stated this about the bass in the Stereophile review:

Choose not alone a mate
I briefly auditioned the Thiels while the Avalon Indras that I reviewed in October were still here. The two speakers were essentially cut from the same cloth—both had startling clarity and detail without the in-your-face quality usually implied by "detail." Like the Thiels, the Indras lack a sock-'em bottom end. Of course, the difference in price could buy the Thiels a pretty good subwoofer system. But shipping schedules kept the Indra/Thiel comparison brief, so I trotted out the trusty Wilson Audio WATT/Puppy 8 system, because it's such a known reference point for a compact high-quality monitor.

The title track of the Dave Holland Quartet's Conference of the Birds (CD, ECM 1027) perfectly illustrated one of the W/P8's greatest strengths: The speaker propels music forward through its bottom-end impact. With Holland's big acoustic bass setting the pace, the piece loped along splendidly, with Sam Rivers and Anthony Braxton chattering away on flutes and soprano saxophones (switching from one to the other as required), while Barry Altschul supplemented the sound as needed with trap set, chimes, gongs, and marimba. The Thiels did a good job of delivering all that harmonic complexity, but the Wilsons had the nod in the slam department—which also means they had better pace.
Actuary616 and Jtein:

Congratulations on your new systems! I think you both did it right by making a short list and listening for yourself. Once your at this level in the game personal preference plays a big part.


Your comments are interesting. I agree with you on the Sasha for sure but I did not find the 3.7 thin. Does your taste lean toward the warm side?

I think the best thing about both the Sasha and 3.7s that set them apart from other brands is there transients or in the words of Dave Wilson "dynamic contrast". They are both quick and detailed and fun to listen too while staying accurate.

I do feel that the Sasha (Wilsons in general) are voiced more by ear than Thiels speakers. Jim always stated he wanted total accuracy while Dave Wilson states he wants both accuracy and beauty. I feel that both these speakers represent want there designer was shooting for.

can you give me any comments on how the 3.7 compare to the Magico line. I see you have owned Both the mini and V3.

In my quest, I value first and foremost the musicality aspect of things--in which the music, mediated through my stereo set, has to have that special ability to draw/drag me in emotionally into the performances. Neutral is more my taste, but coherency, tonal rightness, dense, organic and palpable presentations are also of top priorities. Not so big on imaging and soundstaging, but the fact that the Magicos do it well is an added bonus.

Three great speakers (in their own rights) to comment on, just so happen for my taste, Magico's balance slots in just nicely in-between the two--CS3.7 and Sasha.

During the Thiel audition, we felt its presentation to ultimately lack that organic, weighty feel, hence palpability, that, in spite of use with all tube Mcintosh 2301 (hope I got the model right) partnered with their dual 2in1 pre (tube section was used). Likewise the Krell Revel demo, albeit fuller sounding, but missing to our ears were some essential tonal harmonic richness and overtones which the ARC driven Sasha has.

Sasha is a little bit fuller and warmer than 3.7. But for tonal balance, coherence, especially flat response in bass department, 3.7 definitely beats down Sasha. I value these characters as top priority. Although Sasha is a little bit warmer, 3.7 is more involving to my taste. I mainly listen to classic and jazz. I think 3.7 perform extremely well in these two genres. I played Mozart violin concertos recently, and I don't think 3.7 lacks organic and dense at all. IMO, 3.7 is the best speakers for jazz and piano music. I prefer 3.7 to Dynaudio Evidence Temptation system which costs more than 100K in these two categories.
BTW, sorry for my bad English. My native language is not English.

Thanks a lot for the detialed responce, it is exactly what I was looking for. Sounds like the Magico are pretty nice too. I can see why you thought the 3.7 were not organic.

I find them very music dependant and hit or miss based on music choise. Not the speakers fault but actually a sign of transparency.

In all the 3.7 are the only speaker of the three in my price range but I would try a different brand if I could fine a good deal on the used market. The only real turn off of Magicos for me is the lack of dispersion (I have not heard them) in the highs. I like a wide sweet spot because my wife joins me from time to time. I also think the sound stage is better with less toe in and narrow dispersion means they will need some toe in.

Thanks again and enjoy the music.

Follow your heart.. As I have mentioned, they are all potentially good speakers, our observations were nit picking weaknesses of each upon a friend's buying decision. What we heard might also be a reflection of the dealer's taste. I suspect that that particular dealer at Thiel was dialing in for max transparency and resolution that he neglected/willingly sacrificed some of the warmth and musicality aspect of things. Which I thought could probably be mitigated with as simple as some cable and cord changes then. I did not ask what was used, but he was a dealer for Cardas and Wirewold. Anyway, congrates on your purchase and happy listening!
Having heard the Magicos at a dealership--never optimal, I would reiterate that they are not my cup of tea. The $18K Magicos (forgot model #'s), lacked detail in the upper midrange--enough to be notable and bothersome to me. The larger ones at $27K were much better, as one would expect given the price differential, but not enough to sway me into the Magico camp. The A1 Sound Labs are much more transparent, coherent, and uniformly musical.
Making a multi thousand dollar purchase in this arena gives us many choices--the Magicos would not be one of those choices. Again, IMHO.

Funny how Sound Lab was mentioned. Two of our friends who tagged along during the auditions happen to be stat lovers/owners (so was I, or at least until a few years back). One of them using Sound Lab, the other CLX +subs, I tend to prefer the latter set-up. They listen primarily to big band, classical and jazz, whilst I listen to almost all genres ranging from pop, jazz, disco, classic, r&b to country--you name it.

Although SLs are 'probably' as good as claimed in certain areas, but for some of my music, they just didn't cut it. Sure, bass was there aplenty, but I found their drives and dynamic socks/punch to be comparatively lacking. Try playing loud the likes of Sergio Mendez, Sade, UB40, Fourplay, or hard pops ala late MJ, Madonna, or even some fusion artists' (Klugh, Benson, Gruisin, Benoit, Ritenour, Carlton) you'll get what I mean.

Nothing's perfect, thus trade offs are almost always inevitable. And yes, musical preferences too play a big role on one's choice. But in the here and now, so as to be more relevant, it's simply--Thiel? or Wilson?.. I guess.
After auditioning Wilson Sasha, Sonus Faber Elipsa and Cremona M, Magico V2, Avantgarde Uno G2, this is why I purchased the Thiel 3.7.

I'm a musician and play regularly in a band. When the drummer hits the snaredrum with his drumstick, you don't just hear a sound coming from the snaredrum. You can actually feel the energy from the "whack" of the drumstick on the snaredrum. Or the energy from the "whump" of the foot pedal against the bass drum that reverberates in your body. I found that from all the abovementioned speakers I auditioned, the 3.7 gave me that. Articulately too. The same goes for other instruments and vocals too. IMO, high-end gear should have the ability to transport the listener onto the stage where the musicians are playing their instruments.
Actuary616 - as Audiofreakgeek has mentioned, you cannot compare two speakers in two different systems. This is really pointless, esp. when the associated amps sound as different as Ayre and Bryston combos !

I'm not really surprised by what you have heard, since this is EXACTLY what I would have predicted, having heard both amp cobbinations Ayre and Bryston. In general Bryston amp is much more revealing and transparent with much better control over the speaker than Ayre, while Ayre is fuller and more organic sounding. Souds familiar ?

As a sidenote - I had a chance to compare 3.7 to the older Sophia 2 in friends system (he owned Thiels 3.7 and Sophias were on loan; the rest of the system was ARC Ref 3, Ref 210 monos and EMM SE digital combo) and we BOTH preferred the Sophias 2 over 3.7, which I ended up buying. Since then I sold the Sophias and upgraded to the Sashas - which are far superior to the Sophia 2, in all areas. I cannot even imagine how big the difference would be now between the Sasha and 3.7 ...
Never compared the 2 but both speakers I could live with forever. I just wanted to tell Elbroth2 that I lust after his room evrytime I see his name! That is simply a perfect room in every way and I love the lighting in the rest of your home as well. We share taste in decor for sure!

Your reaoning is understandable. My comparison is not strict. I used to listen 3.7s driven by Ayre CD player and amps, and my feeling didn't change a lot. Sasha are definitely very good speakers, but not worthing the money. Sound quality wise, they are at the same level at 3.7s. IMO, 3.7s are comparable to any speakers below 30K. They are one of the best buys in Hi-End world.

To my ears 3.7s sound a bit uninvolving - a bit flat and just not sophisticated enough in HF ... but to each his own. They are a good buy at $13k, no doubt. At $30k ... not so much (Borat voice) ;-)

Richard - thank you !