Wilson Audo Sashas invade Maui. Chapter 1: the FOB " fresh out of the box" experience

Nicholas Bedworth

WBF Founding Member
May 7, 2010
312
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Maui, where else?
In many port-of-entry locales around the world, FOB has yet another meaning, namely, Fresh Off (the) Boat, referring to the appearance and demeanor of one's plausibly-deniable and in any case, distant relatives just arrived from some teeming, steaming equatorial third-world metropolis, decked out in the latest haute-proletarian fashions of, say, 30 years ago.

Here on Maui, everything really big comes in via barge or car carrier, and the 605 pounds of the Wilson Sashas en crates definitely fell into this category. Although my past includes such stunts as shipping a 20,000 pound milling machine on a chartered 747 freighter across the Atlantic, this time we didn't have a six-figure budget...

After weeks of eager anticipation, shortly after 8 pm (under the cover of pitch black darkness in these latitudes) a truly gigaantic truck started wending its way up the 700 ft driveway, and oddly, stopped just half way to the entrance of my tropical hideaway. Uh, oh. The fellow riding shotgun yells down from the cab that the tree branches arcing overhead were way too low to allow safe passage. Ooops. And the truck must have been 14 ft high, easily 35 ft long, 12 wheels. It could move an entire neighborhood in a jiffy.

So the guy gets out to check the clearance, and he's over 6' 10" tall, perhaps 300 pounds plus of solid muscle. Hmmm. Well, this was reassuring. Looks like everything is coming in XXXL tonight.

But, it's definitely no-go with the truck and trees; taking a chain saw to said branches, 10 ft in the air, in the night, was not an option.

Next out of the truck is the driver and "helper", being trained. He's half the weight, and at least a foot shorter than the boss. Guess who's going to do the heavy lifting? For future reference, two of the Sasha boxes weigh over 200 pounds each, which means (1) many air frieght companies won't take them and (2) union rules may require two men, plus the driver, which can run up quite a bill when transferring the boxes from the port and paying by the hour, portal to portal, liberally-interpreted and in any event, rounded up to the next whole hour (times, say, $250 an hour, total).

Moral of this story: Hire your own crew. Pay them by the job, fixed rate, plus tip and liquid refreshments.

Up goes the sliding door, and inside the internal vastness of this truck were, incongruously, just the three crates containing the Sashas. They're on skids, banded once around. The helper hopped aboard, unlashed a large refrigerator dolly, and with the assistance of the gigantic liftgate, got all three crates up the final 300 ft of the crushed-gravel driveway, up six stairs, around a 90 degree corner, and onto the blankets over the floor, in just over half an hour.

Fortunately the crates are marked (one hopes, accurately) which end is up. And even a 220 pound, rough-surfaced crate can be slid around with just one hand tugging on the aforementioned blanket. Using one's trusty high-torque, low-rpm drill, zrrrrp, zrrrrp, zrrrrrp, the crates are quicikly open, and le voila, the two bass sections, on large, sturdy, high-quality casters, are ready to be rolled, but not rocked, across the carpet to their initial resting places. One could not possibly open these crates without power tools, and the steel band was quite thick, required sturdy diagonals to snap through it (watch your face in the process).

Friends, with the right tools and prepartion, one reasonably able-bodied man or woman can easily uncrate and handle the basic set up and initial positioning. Those who know me will appreciate that physical strength is not high on my list of personal attributes :) The top portions, containing the treble and midrange driver, are quite light, perhaps 30 pounds each side, and are not hard to lift up and position on top of the bass modules.

Wison provides the key tools which make assembly a snap. Manoeuvering the top parts onto the bass cabinets is described in a general way in the user's manual, but with a steady hand the front slides into metal tracks, and the rear can then be slowly lowered into place. This is a bit tricky because a rather sharply-pointed spike, of varying length, must be threaded into the rear of the top prior to assembly, and could ruin the finish in the event of clumsy handling. Trampeltieren need not apply.

The Wilson Audio extra-cost "Imola" bright red color (see, Imola is the racing circuit around the towns where Ferrari is located, and thus creates the allusion to Ferrari red without having to pay the royalties) looked a little orange, under the plastic, and smelled very, very fresh, and also, felt very soft... barely dry and still outgassing like crazy.

In a retail setting, the Sashas can look kinda small, disappointing in a way, not much bigger than the Sophia, especially in a dark color. They can disappear around MAXXs and X-2s. But, in the reasonably-sized living rooms one often finds in tropical jungle settings, overlooking a ravine with the usual complement of paradisical waterfalls, they're just about right. And bright red is most definitely the color for me, rather than the Darth Vader-esque medium black, dark black and light black colors that are also available. And avocado, shown in the truly lavish and beautifully-printed brochures, was definitely not high on my list.

Total time from opening crates, enjoying the latest household deities playing (reasonably) beautiful music, albeit on casters, 1 hour. This feat does not, however, include the task, rather involved, of taking the frisking (plastic protective covering off), a description of which will have to wait for another day.

While walking around with power tools, wrenches and other potentially surface-dinging devices, it seemed like a good idea to leave the plastic on. Children, and other animals, should be banished to a remote corner of the house, or, preferably, locked in the basement. And while leaving the grilles off reveals the impressive array of drivers, after a while, the joys of hex-head nuts wears off, and putting the grilles back on offers a first line of defense against damaging agents and objects.

And don't even think about getting within 6 ft of these speakers wearing a wristwatch, belt, ring, jewerly, or anything that hard (plastic, metal, wood, paper towels) could come in contact with the paint. And forget blue jeans (they have copper rivets in them, remember?); same for cargo shorts with their sharp-fanged Velcro fasteners and zippers. Same for shirts with buttons. No.

Silk pajamas, sir, would be an excellent choice :)

Next up, moving the Sashas into position and starting the conditioning process.
 

MadFloyd

Member Sponsor
May 31, 2010
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Boy, you have more patience than me, I'd have set them up by now!
 

DaveyF

Well-Known Member
Aug 1, 2010
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La Jolla, Calif USA
Nicholas. here on the mainland, it is my understanding that when you throw down the long for the Wilson's, that the dealer/rep sets them up at your abode:)
Is that not the case on the Islands:confused: Maybe your dealer should fly out to the island and enjoy the surf as well as the set-up:cool:
 

Chizzap30

New Member
Jun 23, 2010
32
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Jackson, MI
Nicholas. here on the mainland, it is my understanding that when you throw down the long for the Wilson's, that the dealer/rep sets them up at your abode:)
Is that not the case on the Islands:confused: Maybe your dealer should fly out to the island and enjoy the surf as well as the set-up:cool:

Exactly, my understanding as working for a Wilson Audio dealer is that Wilson requires the dealer to indeed do the set up of the speakers for the warranty to be in effect.

Regardless though, I am jealous. The Sasha's are one of my favorite speakers in the store. You might also want to try playing with the speaker with a .5db gain on the midrange and see what you think after you have them for some time.
 

Nicholas Bedworth

WBF Founding Member
May 7, 2010
312
0
0
Maui, where else?
And a full review of the Sashas is coming up on 6moons, in partnership with Ed Kramer, probably around Christmas. He's using low-power tubes, I'm using high-power solid state. We're both really happy with the results :)
 

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