Best amplification for Wilson Audio Sascha DAW

skinnyfla

Active Member
Nov 1, 2023
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Germany
Hi,
I have been through several threads here and would like to ask some advice.

I have owned the Sascha DAWs for 2 years. I have been using McIntosh C52 Mc452 with them, which have been with me for 7 years. I have nothing bad to say and I very much enjoy the sound I`m getting from the combination - especially for long term listening.

Still I am curious what improvements might be achieved by better amplification. It seems like the logical next step for me to consider upgrading.

I´m looking for amplification that will give controlled, strong and powerful bass and rather warm/smooth mids and treble with realistic vocals and good holographic soundstage. I am not looking for the most resolving amps and also really don`t like analytical sound - I also react allergic to harsh/bright sounding amps.

The price range should be reasonable with regard to the speakers - so max 40-50k.

I have narrowed options down to the following

darTZeel 8550 mk2
Dan D Agostino (progression?)
Boulder
Aries Cerat
Brinkmann

I am a little afraid the Aries Cerat and darTZeel will give me the mids and highs I`m looking for but not have enough bass control for the Saschas (which might be solved by adding a subwoofer?). I have not heard the Dan D`Agostinos yet - though I know they are paired with Wilsons very often.

I`d be happy to hear your thoughts, experience and suggestions for the next round before I start my listening sessions and start my search for dealers/retailers.

Best,

Christoph
 

2fastdriving

Active Member
Jan 19, 2023
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Given your requirements and price range, you should at least consider audio research. It will give you the warm, smooth, realistic vocals and huge soundstage in spades. The only downside is the heat. I'd recommend a Ref6SE and Ref160 stereo, which fits your price range.
 
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exupgh12

Well-Known Member
Jul 30, 2019
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Hi,
I have been through several threads here and would like to ask some advice.

I have owned the Sascha DAWs for 2 years. I have been using McIntosh C52 Mc452 with them, which have been with me for 7 years. I have nothing bad to say and I very much enjoy the sound I`m getting from the combination - especially for long term listening.

Still I am curious what improvements might be achieved by better amplification. It seems like the logical next step for me to consider upgrading.

I´m looking for amplification that will give controlled, strong and powerful bass and rather warm/smooth mids and treble with realistic vocals and good holographic soundstage. I am not looking for the most resolving amps and also really don`t like analytical sound - I also react allergic to harsh/bright sounding amps.

The price range should be reasonable with regard to the speakers - so max 40-50k.

I have narrowed options down to the following

darTZeel 8550 mk2
Dan D Agostino (progression?)
Boulder
Aries Cerat
Brinkmann

I am a little afraid the Aries Cerat and darTZeel will give me the mids and highs I`m looking for but not have enough bass control for the Saschas (which might be solved by adding a subwoofer?). I have not heard the Dan D`Agostinos yet - though I know they are paired with Wilsons very often.

I`d be happy to hear your thoughts, experience and suggestions for the next round before I start my listening sessions and start my search for dealers/retailers.

Best,

Christoph
A few years back, a friend embarked on a search for amplification to enhance his Sash DAW. He acquired the Dan D Agostino Momentum, Nagra HD mono block, and Nagra Classic Mono. Surprisingly, the Nagra Classic stood out as the favorite among us all, delivering superior sound compared to the other amplifiers when paired with the DAW.

Subsequently, when he switched his speakers to Zellaton Plural EVO, he also replaced the amplifier with the CH M stereo amplifier.
 

gadawg58

Well-Known Member
Apr 7, 2018
220
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I might add the Gryphon Diablo to your short list to audition.

George
 

skinnyfla

Active Member
Nov 1, 2023
157
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Germany
Given your requirements and price range, you should at least consider audio research. It will give you the warm, smooth, realistic vocals and huge soundstage in spades. The only downside is the heat. I'd recommend a Ref6SE and Ref160 stereo, which fits your price range.
... sounds interesting - I always thought ARS was owed by McIntosh and therefore very similar on sound...
 

skinnyfla

Active Member
Nov 1, 2023
157
80
30
49
Germany

skinnyfla

Active Member
Nov 1, 2023
157
80
30
49
Germany
I might add the Gryphon Diablo to your short list to audition.

George
... will do - had them in mind also... not sure in which direction their sound sig. goes...
 

skinnyfla

Active Member
Nov 1, 2023
157
80
30
49
Germany
A few years back, a friend embarked on a search for amplification to enhance his Sash DAW. He acquired the Dan D Agostino Momentum, Nagra HD mono block, and Nagra Classic Mono. Surprisingly, the Nagra Classic stood out as the favorite among us all, delivering superior sound compared to the other amplifiers when paired with the DAW.

Subsequently, when he switched his speakers to Zellaton Plural EVO, he also replaced the amplifier with the CH M stereo amplifier.
... sound great, might be too expensive though...
 

2fastdriving

Active Member
Jan 19, 2023
60
134
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54
... sounds interesting - I always thought ARS was owed by McIntosh and therefore very similar on sound...
Nope, that was a while ago, and I've owned both, they are definitely not similar. McIntosh has a "darker" sound to my ears, and ARC has a "lusher" sound with a bigger sound stage.

In fact, I once had a C2300/D100/MC452 combo driving Sasha 2's. I tried a Ref75 and Ref5SE at the time, and believe it or not, I thought the little Ref75 had better bass than the MC452. I was surprised myself. I ended up selling the entire Mc stack and going all ARC. I haven't looked back with regard to pre/power amps, but I like Esoteric for digital and my phono preamp now.
 
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AudioAbe

Well-Known Member
Jun 10, 2021
49
73
83
UK
I own Audio Research Ref6SE pre and 160S power and it is a wonderful match for my Sashas (had DAWs up until last month, now have Sasha Vs). Couldn’t be happier.
ARC are great for open, airy and layered sound - perfect for long listening.
Definitely worth adding to your shortlist to demo
 
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Nemal1

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Dec 9, 2018
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ARC and WILSON are an excellent combination I have used for many years from system 7 onwards.
 
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KeithR

VIP/Donor
May 7, 2010
5,173
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Encino, CA
+1 on Wilson/ARC 160s. That said the same dealer now loves Nagra Classic stack more on them

I second the WestminsterLab REI recommendation as the DAWs are an easier load than other Wilson’s.
 

sbnx

Well-Known Member
Mar 28, 2017
1,206
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Authoritative bass, smooth watm mids, not bright…Gryphon Antileon EVO fits the bill and is in your price range. Also the Gryphon will handle the wicked impedance of Wilson speakers without issue.

for Tubes…VTL Sigfried
 

skinnyfla

Active Member
Nov 1, 2023
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Germany
Thanks for alle the replys - that`s a lot of useful and helpful information. I`m still really curious about the daRTzeel 8550 mk2 - but many options here.

Do you think all of these will be not only different, but also a more or less significant improvement over the existing McIntosh - whats there to expect?

I`ll start listening to some of the options within the next weeks/months... and compare with my Macs... luckily there is no rush - cause, as said, I`m not at all unhappy with what I´m getting from the Mac combination.

Heres the list I`ll be getting into:

datTZeel 8550 mk2 (integrated)
Gryphon Diablo 300/333 (integrated) and Antilon EVO + Preamp (xy?)
Acoustic Research 160s + Preamp Ref6
Dan D Agostino Progression (integrated)

maybe

Westminster REI (never heard of them).

... maybe also Boulder?

Won`t extend the list much further, because it`ll just be too much and end in somewhat of a listening/comparison overload.

Best and thanx,

Christoph
 
Last edited:

CJmooney

Well-Known Member
Feb 5, 2021
17
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I envy your journey. I went on a similar quest this past year, doing demo's of integrated amps at shows, audio stores and at home. It was great fun, but also some work. Don't get hung up too much on perfection, it doesn't exist. Every device will have its pros and cons and in my opinion this is very much a "splitting of hairs" type of endeavor and becomes personal quickly. My advice is to develop a playlist of a half dozen or so reference songs and keep a notebook of how the new amps sound. If you can demo in your own system over a period of at least 2 weeks of listening, that is best in my opinion. They will ALL sound good, but will have different "flavors." I suspect you will connect musically or emotionally to one or two of them and then will choose based on features, looks and support from your dealer(s). Oh, and most importantly, choose what pleases YOU and ignore the reviews, blogs and opinions of others. Nothing else matters and there is no wrong choice! Just for the record, when I got to the darTZeel 8550 MKII.............I was done.
 

skinnyfla

Active Member
Nov 1, 2023
157
80
30
49
Germany
I envy your journey. I went on a similar quest this past year, doing demo's of integrated amps at shows, audio stores and at home. It was great fun, but also some work. Don't get hung up too much on perfection, it doesn't exist. Every device will have its pros and cons and in my opinion this is very much a "splitting of hairs" type of endeavor and becomes personal quickly. My advice is to develop a playlist of a half dozen or so reference songs and keep a notebook of how the new amps sound. If you can demo in your own system over a period of at least 2 weeks of listening, that is best in my opinion. They will ALL sound good, but will have different "flavors." I suspect you will connect musically or emotionally to one or two of them and then will choose based on features, looks and support from your dealer(s). Oh, and most importantly, choose what pleases YOU and ignore the reviews, blogs and opinions of others. Nothing else matters and there is no wrong choice! Just for the record, when I got to the darTZeel 8550 MKII.............I was done.
... thanks - looking forward to it!!! How does the 8550 perform on the bass - especially with higher volumes (it`s up high on my list)? Really curious to find out what will happen and especially, whether the Amps I`m going to test will not only sound different but also significantly better overall and to my personal likings.... as you say ALL sound good but have different flavors... same goes for my existing McIntosh... which I have nothing to complain about - so the bar is set rather high...
 

Bobvin

VIP/Donor
Jun 7, 2014
1,715
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www.purewatersystems.com
As someone who had Wilsons and ARC for many years, yes, the combo is very good. Certainly suggest a listen.

As I now own (and represent) Pilium I encourage you to have a listen. Pilium will have the grip needed to authoritatively control the wilson woofers, and yet not give up anything with respect to the liquid sound usually associated with tube amps. I expect, given how many different speakers sound amazing with Pilium your Wilsons would too.
 

chuck

Well-Known Member
Dec 19, 2011
364
320
968
San Diego
... maybe also Boulder?
I´m looking for amplification that will give controlled, strong and powerful bass and rather warm/smooth mids and treble with realistic vocals and good holographic soundstage.
I had Boulder/Wilson for several years. Boulder will give you everything except "warm/smooth mids and treble". If that isn't on the recording or provided by the source component(s), Boulder won't add it to the signal. The Wilsons already have that sort of sound so I found the combination worked well.
 

thedudeabides

Well-Known Member
Jan 16, 2011
2,192
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Alto, NM
same goes for my existing McIntosh... which I have nothing to complain about - so the bar is set rather high...
Excuse me for asking but you are looking to replace your Mac because?

Absent having a definitive list of desired sonic improvements with a new integrated, you may very well be wasting your time and money. FYI, I have had my Pass Labs amp for 15 years (with three different speaker systems) because I have had nothing to complain about. Just a thought.

I wish you the best in your search.
 

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