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Dave Wilson once observed that, when the original Sophia was launched in 2001, it was inevitably described in the audio press as Wilson Audio’s ”entry-level” floor-standing loudspeaker. While Sophia remains Wilson’s most affordable floorstander, focusing on price obscures an important fact—which was that price was incidental to Sophia’s actual design objective. What Dave and the Wilson design team set out to create was a loudspeaker that—unlike its siblings at the time, X-1 GrandSLAMM and WATT/ Puppy— was less demanding of rooms and electronics. Sophia was designed to be a product easy to drive, easy to own, and one that invited its owner to just relax into the enjoyment of music.
Nevertheless, Sophia’s true magic is that a speaker designed to sound so good with modest electronics will still reveal the nuance and detail of state-of-the-art gear. Impressive sales aside, it is Sophia ”cult status” among audiophiles which speaks to the success of the original vision. It is not uncommon for Wilson customers who could easily afford the company’s more expensive loudspeakers to choose Sophia—just because they love the sound.
Since Sophia Series 2 was introduced, Wilson Audio has made vast improvements in driver technology. The tweeter developed for MAXX Series 3 and subsequently used in Sasha W/P features a new topology that reduces the back-wave reflections which otherwise propagate through the diaphragm, adding noise and distortion to the primary signal. By significantly reducing this source of distortion, the highs have more dynamics, air, and resolution — free of the grain nearly all other tweeters exhibit. This tweeter is now part of Sophia Series 3.
The proprietary Wilson midrange driver,which transformed the sound of Alexandria X2 Series 2, and was subsequently deployed in MAXX and Sasha now, in a simplified version, finds a home in Sophia. No single driver is more responsible for the tonal accuracy and beauty of the Wilson Audio sound.
The Sophia woofer, which debuted in the Series 1, has undergone major modifications. The Sophia Series 3 woofer features a magnet structure twice the size of its predecessor. While maintaining the tunefulness of the original design, the overall impact, speed, agility, and linearity of the bass is significantly enhanced in the new loudspeaker.
The crossover that links these drivers has been completely reworked, and the user-changeable resistors. which formerly were located on the bottom of the enclosure, now move to an easily accessed panel on the rear of Sophia.
The design of the crossover itself benefited from Wilson Audio’s proprietary software program which powerfully aids in the design of the loudspeaker by virtually modeling the enclosure, the drivers, and the component values of the crossover circuitry. As detailed in the Building a New Loudspeaker Movie, this provides the starting point for extensive listening trials, which first take place in Dave Wilson’s ”loudspeaker bootcamp” room, which can be modified by opening and closing Hemholtz resonators to create a variety of room characteristics. This room, which was first used in the development of the original Sophia, can be credited for the loudspeaker’s congenial and flexible character. It’s like the ”Broadway Stage Rule”:once you’ve made it here, you can make it anywhere.
|Woofer:||One – 10 inch (25.40 cm) Aluminum Cone|
|Midrange:||One – 7 inch (17.78 cm) Cellulose/Paper Pulp|
|Tweeter:||One – 1 inch (2.54 cm) Inverted Titanium Dome|
|Sensitivity:||87 dB @ 1 watt @ one meter @ 1 kHz|
|Nominal Impedance:||4 ohms, 3.1 ohms minimum @ 98 Hz|
|Frequency Response:||+/-3 dB 20 Hz – 22.5 kHz Room Average Response|
|Minimum Amplifier Power:||25 watts per channel|
|Overall Dimensions:||Height – 41 5/32 inches (104.45 cm) w/o spikes
Width – 13 5/8 inches (34.61 cm)
Depth – 18 15/16 inches (48.12 cm)
|System Product Weight:||165 lbs (74.84 kg)|
|Total System Shipping Weight (approx.):||485 lbs (219.99 kg)|