Musical examples abound. Chamber music is especially expressive, and the Sabrina gets right to the musical marrow: the late string quartets of Beethoven played by the Takacs Quartet [Decca] is the finest example I heard, as the Sabrina didn’t just extract the musical information well, it got ‘behind the notes’ and portrayed the lyricism of the playing and the intent of a composer at the height of his powers and the end of his life. It should be a work of passion, but through the Sabrinas that passion boils over. You’ll sit enthralled and end the disc emotionally drained, yet uplifted. Good audio should expand your musical experience and tastes, and the Sabrina is the perfect vehicle for such explorations; you’ll get the fire and excitement of opera, the technical exactitude of Bach, the perfection of Duke Ellington, and even the wry humour of Belle & Sebastian. Lo-fi recordings will not challenge you, but hi-fi recordings will astound you. Put simply, listening to the Sabrinas is like restarting your audio journey anew!
So, where is the shortcoming, the limitation that stops the Sabrina from being the £100,000 giant killer speaker of doom? Well, aside from it not being a full-range loudspeaker, there isn’t one. And, truth to tell, I would far rather have the Sabrina with all its poise, integration, and downright enjoyable presentation, than a loudspeaker that sacrifices just one of those elements in order to reach the last few bass notes. So, no… the Sabrina isn’t a giant killer in the bandwidth sense, but when it comes to the important fundamentals of musical replay, I’d take the Sabrina over a less well ‘sorted’ loudspeaker with that bandwidth in an eyeblink. And if you listen to music instead of the sound it makes, you would too. Between the Sabrina and the Duette I use, the Duette wins out, but primarily because my room and boundary loudspeakers work seriously well together. For most people, the Sabrina is the sweet-spot. And it might even be the sweet-spot in the whole Wilson range. In fairness, if you like what the Sabrina does, you probably have to skip over a lot of other speakers until you find something that is sonically superior – you might need to think Alexias as your next step. And, the true joy of the Sabrina is that might never happen – I can see the Sabrina as many people’s first Wilson and their last loudspeaker.
Like the Duette before it, the Sabrina is the Wilson loudspeaker for those who want the Wilson sound, but lack the wherewithal to achieve that goal. That doesn’t just mean the listener’s bank balance, but an honest appraisal of room sizes in the wider world. There will always be those who want to shoe-horn vast loudspeakers into tiny rooms, but for the rest of us, there is a need for a loudspeaker that delivers what Wilsons do best, in a package sized and designed for typical modern living spaces. Where the Sophia is for those able to house the Sasha, but can’t quite afford a pair at the moment, the Sabrina is designed and voiced for those who are a house move away from being able to house Sashas. That is an important distinction, and a fundamentally correct reading of the wider audiophile and audiophile-in-waiting world.