Every time I write the word ‘SabrinaX’ it looks funny. I want to pronounce it ‘sab-rine-inks’ even though it is actually ‘Sabrina-X’. I’m getting this out of the way first because it’s the only bit of criticism I can level at the Wilson Audio SabrinaX. Really... that’s it. I’m down to discussing the spelling of the product name in critical terms. I may as well be grumbling about the font in the brochure for all the relevance it has to the product. It should mean I have failed you, dear reader... I have failed in my responsibility to act as audio critic by not finding anything constructive to criticise.
The problem is to find something critical about the sonic performance of the SabrinaX would be, basically, making stuff up. And that doesn’t seem to be a better option.
SabrinaX is the present entry-point to Wilson Audio’s floorstanding loudspeaker range, with just the TuneTot beneath it (sadly, the Duette Series 2 – which I still use daily – is no more). It replaces the popular Sabrina as a part of Wilson Audio’s rolling development of its product lines. In truth, improving on the Sabrina was going to be a tough call. It was hugely popular for a reason. Several reasons, in fact; it played nice with more down-to-earth electronics, it wasn’t particularly room fussy (although the more time you spent setting it up, the better it got), it went nice and loud when called upon, but wasn’t just some shouty brute-force design, it looked good... and you almost had to try hard to make it sound bad.
Big shoes, SabrinaX. Big shoes to fill.
As the name might suggest, one of the big changes between Sabrina and SabrinaX was the cabinet material. The Sabrina used Wilson’s own X-Material (a proprietary high-pressure composite of mineral, polymer, carbon and paper) only in its baffle and lower spike plate. Now, SabrinaX’s outer enclosure is constructed entirely from X-Material. A quick knuckle-rapping test shows just how dead that makes the cabinet, and that lack of resonance or, well, anything from the cabinet pushes the SabrinaX cabinet toward the notional non-intrusive/silent box ideal every speaker brand wants and that Wilson has systematically pursued for decades.
SabrinaX also features the brand’s Mk5 tweeter (the one that comes from the cost-no-object Chronosonic XVX), an ultra-low distortion 25.4mm soft dome built and selected to uncompromising standards even by the standard of audio’s obsessive compulsives. Couple this to new woofers made specifically for the SabrinaX (and designed to take advantage of that new inert SabrinaX cabinet) and the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ previous iteration’s midrange unit and you have a compact package that might look superficially like its predecessor, but has moved ahead in almost every manner.
In fact, in so many respects, it’s more apt to consider the SabrinaX less like an updated Sabrina, and more ‘Honey, I Shrunk The Chronosonic XVX’ because there are so many parts of that mighty loudspeaker that have directly trickled down to the SabrinaX; right down to the latest hardware (more important than people think; not only does this make the SabrinaX one of the first Wilson designs to accept the 4mm banana plug, the quality and direct access to the knurled rings around the speaker spikes makes for an easier and ultimately more precise installation).
The biggest beneficiary, however, remains hidden to the naked eye. It’s the AudioCapX capacitor technology that is — at present — unique to this model and Chronosonic XVX. Of course, the Chronosonic XVX was itself the first beneficiary of this technology, the first design to benefit from Wilson’s recent integration of capacitor design and manufacturer into the factory in Provo, Utah. To design this, Wilson’s in-house lab developed a proprietary multi-wound capacitor specifically for the XVX, which the engineers dubbed Wilson AudioCapX-WA. The team took a similar approach with the SabrinaX’s crossover, which benefits from a version of the Wilson AudioCapX specific to its needs. It is said the new capacitor technology, “significantly lowers the noise floor to even greater extremes, allowing the listener to hear more detail and resolution.” I normally don’t like to quote manufacturers opinions on their own products, but I’ll give Wilson that as there is a lot of detail and resolution with the SabrinaX, and it’s a very, very noise-free design too.