There is almost a hint of sadness about the Wilson Audio Sasha DAW. The suffix is short for ‘David A Wilson’, the founder of Wilson Audio and father of Wilson Audio’s President and CEO, Daryl Wilson. Dave Wilson passed away in 2018, and the Sasha DAW acts both as tribute and legacy.
The Sasha loudspeaker project was developed from the most successful high-end loudspeaker project in history; the Wilson Audio WATT/Puppy. First launched in 1985, the Wilson Audio Tiny Tot (WATT) was a two-way stand-mount monitor loudspeaker that set new standards in performance (and price; it was more than twice the cost of its closest rival) and was quickly joined by the Puppy subwoofer. This combination went through several iterations in its 24-year lifespan, becoming ever more a combination in name only until its replacement Sasha W/P in 2009. The Sasha W/P still relied on the separate mid-top and bass cabinets, and the familial resemblance could be seen, but this was a very different animal. The Series 2 replaced the original Sasha W/P five years later. And now, five years after that, the Series 2 gets replaced by the Sasha DAW. Looking at it from a distance, this is simply another churn of the product life cycle.
In fact, a surface check of the Sasha DAW might conclude it’s more ‘evolution’ than ‘revolution’, as that basic product roll-out (two-way top box sitting on a twin-driver bass cabinet) is the same and the dimensions appear ostensibly similar to what went before.
Looks can be deceptive. Apart from that familial resemblance, there is almost no point of contact between what went before and the Sasha DAW. Well, not entirely, but aside from the upper module that’s more than 13% larger than its predecessor, a new lower module that’s over 10% larger than its predecessor, a revisit of the materials that go into the cabinet, the way the group delay mechanism works, resistor access panel, and even the binding posts... it’s the same loudspeaker!
Given the significance of the Sasha in the Wilson line, this is as close as it gets to a clean-sheet design; it retains the basic parameters that explain why a loudspeaker system can remain at the top of the tree for 35 years, but it looks at every aspect of the design to re-evaluate the concept from first principles. In the process, the loudspeaker needs to appeal both to potential newcomers who hear Wilson Audio for the first time, and to those who have been there from the get-go. It needs to fit into the Wilson Audio ecosystem (both in terms of physical placement and equipment compatibility – more on that later – and in hierarchy of product line). And most importantly, it needs to sound damn good.
The drive unit roll-out is always the Cliff Notes version of loudspeaker description, but here that almost says the least about the loudspeaker. Wilson has used a 25mm soft dome tweeter and a 178mm mid-woofer in the top box, and a pair of 200mm bass units in the cabinet for the longest time in this design. In fairness, these have been subject to a range of changes (a quick look at the original WATT shows an inverted metal dome where the fabric dome sits). And while we are staying on the ‘in fairness’ part of the review, those drive units saw some extremely profound revisions in the last iteration, so this isn’t the first place to go looking for changes.
The crossover, too, remains the subject of evolution rather than revolution, although the resistor changes used to help the speaker match the unique bass characteristics of different rooms are now accessed through an easier to open panel. This is not some form of tailoring or DSP, but instead a very slight change in loading to suit different sized rooms. This helps a lot; someone buying a pair of Sasha DAWs in a ranch in America has a very different room load to someone doing the same in an apartment in Hong Kong.