Wilson Sabrina X ... oh my God! and Jadis... or?

Well, I’ve been a sucker for high efficiency and low powered tube amps, but the other day was visiting a good store and they had several Wilson speakers; the man offered me to sit and relax enjoying the Sabrina X, with a Jadis DA-50s and... BIG MISTAKE! Cannot stop thinking in such beautiful, full, complete, non fatiguing sound, I had 2 hours of pure enjoyment, seriously Didn’t want to leave room.

So here I am sending all my stuff and getting what I really think is the final game? At the end, I’ve never listened to such expensive and fantastic speakers. Fed by the aforementioned Jadis, a Prima Luna DAC and a Innuos Zenith, a shame I couldn’t play some records, but He said He was even better with vinyl reproduction.

I started with Isaac Hayes - Close to You from Black Moses... the voice was spread everywhere the room and just came from the amp, which was in the middle of the rack, just amazing, also played some flamenco, funk, classical, Jazz, Blues, Bossanova, Samba, everything was just spot on and sounded far beyond the speakers, without losing presence in front of me, hard to explain.

Now that I’m in, and pulled the trigger for an Ivory ones, need a proper amp for a few months till my wallet recover or sell the stuff I have.

I have a Goldmund Telos 7, which is beautiful Swiss made small amp, 175wpc Class AB with a fantastic DAC inside. But wondering if going Tube path is the right thing, cause I heard such airiness, full bodied, non fatiguing and relaxed sound with Jadis that was awesome!

Thought about these ones:

-Jadis DA-50S
-Mastersound Duetrenta
-Audio Research GSI75 (someone sells to me at good price)
-VAC Sigma iq170
-EAR Yoshino 834
-Lyric Ti200
-Octave V70 Class A
-Any of RAVEN tube amps?

Solid State: (Thinking from the "most analog sound"):
-Pass Labs INT-60
-Mark Levinson 5805 
-Krell k-300i
-Boulder 866
-Coda (dunno much)
-ModWright (dunno much)
-Moon (dunno much)
-Kinki EX-M1PLUS

Not sure going Class D, although reading lately a lot about GanFet Class D amps like AGD, Java, Gato, Aavik...

I’m going integrated for now and for a few years, if it got a DAC or Phono inside, better, but can live without them inside.

What I don’t want to lose is that 3D, great body sound that valves used to give me, more into musical pure joy than High End nowadays.

Btw, speakers cables were Nordost and Crystal Cable, being the later one maybe more open and higher volume but maybe less controlled if I remember well.

Much appreciated, these Wilson left me in shock.


Well, since you got the sound that really floored you with the Jadis it’s hard to think of not going with that.  I’d go through the break-in process with your current amp and just see how that goes — maybe you’ll be pleasantly surprised and save yourself a lotta $$$/hassle.  Frankly, Wilson speakers seem to really like/need some power so I’m pretty surprised a 30 Wpc tube integrated got the job done, but there it is (if you’ve got a bigger room this may be a consideration).  In any event, congrats on purchasing some excellent speakers that really seem to be your soul mate.  That’s a great thing!

Thanks for your advice!

Well, volume pot didn’t pass 11 o clock, and filled the room, I was also shocked, but You know, Class A and Huge transformers...

I can sell my Goldmund Telos 7 for good money and invest in other, I think even tho is natural sounding, is not tubes.

Room was 28sqm or so, maybe 30, like mine.

You have a great list of tube and ss products.  I am sure your Goldmund will work well with the Wilsons, if not try  a nice tube amp.  Btw I own a Boulder 866 and I am

sure it would work superbly.


If you liked what you heard at the dealers so much, and if you can afford it, why not shoot for that very same combination of gear?  Seems simple enough to me (if you can afford it). 

I was really surprised by the Jadis DA-50S, always was against push pull, but know what? Sounded wonderful and had control over the SabrinaX, will try my Goldmund, but I suspect I won’t leave tubes. ARC didn’t sound too tubey and for that better stay with a nice SS.

I say this because I really like the GSi75 (specs wise), and nice DAC and phono stage inside, what I’m sacred is it sound solid state.

I realize this is the amps/preamps thread. But you should confirm with the dealer what source (digital/dac) he was using. And the cabling as well - power cords, interconnects, speaker cable, which add to system strengths and provide offset to weaknesses, as well as giving balance, detail, warmth, cohesion, etc.

Interesting. Because the Sabrinas are not exactly an easy load for a 50w amp. I guess the push pull produces enough current. 
I’m driving my Sabrinas with Pass X260.8. Yes non fatiguing realistic and natural sound. 


Another vote for the Boulder 866! Fantastic with a superb DAC. I have Rockport Avior ii speakers and the Boulder is amazing with them! Good luck in your search! 


What sort of sound levels were you listening at?  With the Sabrina’s being 87 db sensitivity, I really think you are going to want more than 30;watts.

@superelmar the front end components are not in the same class as the price of the speakers and amp.  Seems too good to be true, and you know what that means.

Have you ever gone wine tasting and were having fun and the wine was great.  you bought a case, got it home and it tasted like crap?  A lot depends on the environment and your mental state.   I wouldn't make big decisions without more research.

Best of luck,


Don't sell the Goldmund amp until you use it for awhile with the Sabrina's. You might find it perfectly satisfying!

I was looking for new speakers and an amp last year. I also was in the high efficiency speaker, low powered amp camp. The first speakers I listened to were the Sabrina X. I knew the D’Agostino amps were a popular match, but I told the dealer I couldn’t afford them. He insisted on demoing them with Audio Research Ref equipment and it sounded amazing. I asked him to let me hear them with electronics I could afford so he set them up with Naim electronics, and much of the magic was gone. I wanted to hear them with the Audio Research i50 but he wouldn’t set that up for me. In the end I bought Devore O96’s with a Leben CS600 amp that I’ve been very happy with. I’m glad to hear you found a less expensive tube amp that works well with the Sabrinas. With limited dealers who carry limited products I never had a chance to hear the Sabrinas with a tube amp that I could afford. I wondered if the VAC integrated amp would be good match.

Thank U all, I suspect the same.

Maybe if I like the Telos 7, can replace it for the 590 II NextGen or GSI75, also Lyric Ti200 more or less same level than SabrinaX.

I’m afraid if I’m missing something going Solid State, all those ethereal sound, 3D, that kind of… You can touch music.

Why are you attributing so much of the sound quality to the amplifier?  From your description I would think it has more to do with the loudspeakers, their setup and room acoustics.

Aavik and Gato use the Pascal module.... if you can pickup a used Aavik U-150 integrated with the world class DAC and MC Phono amp built in for under 10K....DO IT...

Jadis make some of the best tube amps money can buy. I recently listened to a pair of Sabrina X’s, which were being driven by an Air Tight 30 watt/ch integrated ( another amp manufacturer that uses excellent transformers). The sound was stellar. What you heard was also probably connected to the superb quality of the Jadis’s transformers. If budget allows, the Jadis JA80 mk2’s would be a great match up with your new Sabrina’s.

@superelmar I'm very happy w Aesthetix Mimas and Sabrina X. Aesthetix Mimas new is a few thousands cheaper than Jadis. The pre section is tube.


Brooks Berdan Ltd. sold Jadis when Brooks was still living, as well as Wilson speakers. But he also sold Music Reference electronics, which he held in very high regard. Brooks had some customers who bought with their eyes, others with their ears. He carried Music Reference for the latter group. Sure, he would happily sell you a Jadis if you wanted one, but he recommended Music Reference to his friends (one of which I was proud to be. His wife Sheila hired my band to play at his 50th birthday party).


The thing about mating a Wilson with a Jadis is:

1- Jadis amps (in fact most tube amps in general) don’t "like" low impedance loads. Tube amps produce their highest distortion at low frequencies.

2- Wilson speakers present amplifiers with a very low impedance load, especially at some frequencies.

3- Perhaps worst of all, Jadis amps have a pretty high output impedance (low damping factor), which makes the frequency response of the amp react to the varying impedance of the speaker load. The Result? The amp changes the sound of the speaker in terms of frequency response. John Atkinson’s Stereophile test bench results on this issue are included in all his amplifier reports.


The above is why---contrary to the common wisdom that an OTL amp is the best for use with the original QUAD ESL, the exact opposite is true. The QUAD has one of the most wildly-varying modulus-of-impedance curves in the history of hi-fi (from below 2 ohms to over 100, depending on frequency!). Used with a high output impedance amp like all OTL’s, the frequency response of the QUAD is drastically effected. Not good, obviously. I originally used a Bedini 25/25 (solid state) with my QUADS, a classic combination.


Roger Modjeski was a big fan of the QUAD ESL, and used that classic speaker in the development process of designing his RM-10 amplifier, which is THE amp for driving the QUAD. I replaced my pair of OTL’s with an RM-10 Mk.2, and learned first hand that Roger was correct and the common wisdom was not.


But the 35w/ch RM-10 is certainly not appropriate for a Wilson loudspeaker. Roger had already designed and marketed a classic 100w/ch tube amp using EL34 tubes (four per channel)---the RM-9, still in use in many fine systems. But he knew there was a need for a tube amp designed to be a better match for low impedance speakers.

His answer was the RM-200. You can read the review by Michael Fremer of both the original version and the revised Mk.2 in Stereophile. Fremer declared the RM-200 to be his choice for the best "reasonably-priced" tube amp available, keeping it in his reference system and giving it an A grade in the mag’s recommended components list, where it remained for twenty years. Twenty years!

But Roger didn’t stop there. He was (RIP) a tube expert, and came up with a way of using just a single pair of KT-88’s and/or 6550’s to produce 100 watts. EVERYONE else uses a quartet of those tubes to produce 100 watts. So what, he runs the tubes hard to produce more power (a common tactic)? No, with clever design. The pair of output tubes (in each channel) last between 5,000 and 10,000 hours!

Atkinson’s tests revealed that the RM-200 produces more power at 4 ohms that at 8---unique amongst tube amps, and that it has an unusually low output impedance (for a tube amp). These two facts make the RM-200 an excellent choice for use with Wilson’s. No, the amp doesn’t carry the cache of a Jadis, but you can’t hear cache.

Roger left Music Reference in the hands of a trusted and knowledgeable associate, who continues to provide product support. If I just had to have a Wilson speaker (or one like it), and wanted to run a pair with a tube power amp, my first choice would be a Music Reference RM-200 Mk.2. They occasionally appear used for around $3,000, a true bargain.



@mbmi tha ja for advice.

@daveyf many thanks, That’s why I wonder also Mastersound Duetrenta, but is PSE not push pull, maybe lacks dynamics. 

@quattr0  looking at it now!

@bdp24 pretty interesting, gonna have a look, thanks so much!

Would You take GSi75 over Jadis or BAT for a few bucks more?

Ok, dealer just tell me: GSi75 not enough power, like if I want ARC going separates, what I suspect, and he also likes much more Jadis with its power Push Pull Class A. Basically I will do either Jadis, Mastersound or Goldmund Telos for a year until I recover, guess is a good match in the meantime I look for an endgame amplifier. BTW, the the Mimas is winning my heart? Looks absolutely stunning.

@superelmar You could find, used to be one, an used Mimas for around 6k. I would not get the DAC card if you'll buy it new. I use Weiss DAC w my setup. The Mimas seems underrated among forums.  If you look at wifi shows, like the one recently in Munich, there are quite a few vendors using their setups at these events using Mimas.

I know it's not the Sabrina, but I drive my Wilson Alexia's with a pair of Conrad Johnson's big LP275M monoblocks fitted with ST120 tubes (8 per amp) and vintage Siemens ECC88's. The sound is as wide and dynamic as I could ever hope it to be. As others have said, Wilson's dip down below 2 ohms in low frequencies. That was too demanding for a pair of Primaluna EVO 400 mono's fitted with KT88's. They lacked the bass extension and overall dynamics I was looking for. I also have a pair of the big Bryston 28B SST mono's which are reported to put out 1.4KW into a 4 ohm load, But, with the success I'm having with the CJ's, I almost never use them now. I would love to hear how a pair of CJ ART300's would sound, but again I'm happy with what I have now.

Conrad was also another pretty good brand that intrigued me, at the end just order the MIMAS, with DAC and Phono, let’s see how good it is, reviewer used it with Wilson as far as I’ve read!!!

@bdp24 While I agree with you that Jadis amps typically don’t fare well with low impedance loads ( almost no tube amps do), I would never recommend a MF over any of the Jadis models. I owned a MF amp for a few months, driving Acoustat speakers, it was not to my liking at all, YMMV.

Yeah when I listened no more than 11 o clock, Jadis was superb! But I really like hybrid design, (having a Holborne Passion and Acoustic Plan Mantra), and they deliver plenty of great sound. Also having a DAC and good phono stage makes life easier (wife is not happy seeing more than 2-3 boxes).

Does the Mimas gives nice “bloom and body” to mids, or is in the cold side?


@daveyf: Did you mean to say "MF" (which to me means Musical Fidelity), or rather "MR" (for Music Reference)? If MR, do you remember which model? The RM-9 is pure tube, the RM-200 a hybrid (solid state input stage, tube output). The RM-9 is a classic unbalanced tube amp, the RM-200 balanced, with only XLR input jacks. Both are push-pull designs, though Roger also made single ended tube amps, which at the end of his life he was quite enthusiastic about. He also offered his own version of an OTL amp.

Modjeski thought highly of the Acoustat ESL panels themselves (I recently learned that Roger Sanders was involved in their design), but not their transformers. He actually deigned a replacement for them, and iirc even a tube version to replace the stock ss one.

Roger’s death was a great loss to hi-fi, but his talks at the annual Burning Amp Festival in San Francisco are available for viewing on YouTube.


Here’s his 2015 talk, misspelled name and all:



The first viewer comment below the video is well worth reading.



@bdp24   My bad, it was indeed an MF..Musical Fidelity, and not a RM. I like Roger's designs ( a lot better than the MF's), but still think that the Jadis models are, at least to my ears, superior. 

Axxess Forte is better than all the tubes or midfi pass labs you mentioned here for $5500 that is a giant killer at $5500. It is next gen class D with a fantastic DAC and streamer built in 1

box. You just need to supply an Ethernet cable and get a power cable that is decent from Ansuz like

an X2 or A2.

and yes, you are better off using just an Ansuz power cable

If you use the Sabrina X with a tube amp you will not hear the frequency response the speaker was designed to give. You may like the distorted response you will hear but it is not what Darrel Wilson intended. I would suggest trying the Sabrina with a beefy solid state amp such as a D'Agostino so you can hear the speaker as it is supposed to sound and see if you like that better than the presentation from a tube amp.

Using a tube amp with a speaker that has a demanding impedance curve is introducing a tone control into your system. Assuming that flat frequency response is probably the single most important factor in high end audio, you are defeating the design goals of the speaker you are buying. It would be like putting a Hyundai 4 cyllinder engine into a Mustang GT. Yes, it will run, and maybe you like the way a 4 cyllinder engine feels, but it is not going to give you the performance that Ford intended when they designed the car.

This is exactly how I felt when I heard Wilson Sasha DAW few years ago at Axpona. It was really a magical experience. I used to be big fan of B&W 802 with McIntosh gear. When I heard Wilson, everything had changed. A month later, I had a pair with Hegel 590. I am very happy with that combo. Hegel has this incredible black background, also has excellent base control. I am very happy with that combo. Jadis is excellent tube amp, and I know they pair very well with Wilson speakers. I am not so much fan of Prima Luna. They never gave me excitement when I listened to them. I think choice depends on you music choice, you can be very satisfied with Jadis for Jazz and Classical music. For base heavy music there could be some short comings. Hegel 590/600 me better in that sense. 
congratulations on your new Wilsons. 

Congratulations on the Sabrina X's.  I have a pair, powered by a Pass Labs 250.8, with an ARC REF6 and an MSB Discrete DAC.  I think that the sound is phenomenal -- just the way I like it.  I think that the tube pre and a powerful Pass Labs amp is a great combo for the Sabrina X's.

riche569 -   On another board a Wilson Audio principal mentioned that the Audio Research i50 is a very special (read excellent) match with the SabrinaX.

@newton which principal was this as I tried it for 3 weeks and returned. Didn't have enough meat. Mimas is much better. 

I own SabrinaX speakers and use VTL tube amp and pre-amp. Have a Ayre CD player w a card to use it's DAC for streaming. I've been listening to high end systems since the early 60s when my dad had BIG Bozak speakers and Marantz tubes. I prefer listening not-loud, but loud enough that my ears start ringing after 2+ hour sessions that take me out of this world. To quote my friend (who owns SashaDAW's w a ConradJohnson amp) my system sounds "F---ing glorious" and I agree. My room is decent sized, but not big - about 15'x16' with a funky ceiling. I auditioned lots of solid state amps and none were remotely close to the VTLs. The amp has a switch in back to toggle between lower and higher power modes. Honestly, I think I could fool experienced listeners with an A-B comparsion, it's hard to differentiate. Surprised these can sound great w/o the power you'd think is necessary. BTW, speaker placement and sound treatments are very important. 

For a limited budget, my Wilson dealer recommends the Michi amps (Rotel's high-end amps). The list includes the S5 (500 wpc) and the X5 and X3. I heard the X3 with the Sabrinas last week and it sounded very nice. 

Just to make everyone jealous, I had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear the SabrinaX at the Wilson factory last week -- driven by D'Agostino mono blocks, dCS Streamer, and dCS DAC. I've heard many systems and have been to several audio shows, but that was the most spectacular sound I have ever heard. Period! If you have $200k for electronics (wink, wink), I highly recommend this gear!

riche569 -   On another board a Wilson Audio principal mentioned that the Audio Research i50 is a very special (read excellent) match with the SabrinaX.


Riche569 - it was Bill (who posts as Metaphacts on Audioaficionado.org. Here is his quote(dated 3/16/21):

A little birdie tells me that SabrinaX and the new ARC i50 Integrated is a match made in heaven.


Looking at the comments above, VAC does not sound solid state.  It is a modern tube sound so it won't sound flabby, but is not sterile.  Bigger concern is the miserable impedance values based on the measurements I have seen for Sabrina X. Min impedance is 2.43 ohms in a beefy part of the frequency range. This is not a good profile for most tube amps.  

I would look at amps that can deliver current which will give you the cleanest, clearest bass response.  This tends to be SS but some tube designs will work.  

I have no idea what your budget is but the AVM Ovation 8.3 is amazing with a tube input stage and oodles of power.  I have people driving a lot of great speakers and it is a GOOD match for the Sabrina X.   

Naim is a nice match.  Top line power isn't huge but Naim products basically thrive at 2 ohms and will handle the impedance issues well.  You would need separates but at least they have stopped with the stupid DIN connectors and moved to XLRs.

AGD would be brilliant as it is capped more by your home breaker in terms of current draw than by the amps power supply.  Efficient and sweet sounding, this is my go to when folks are moving away from tubes but want to maintain a liquid sound.  Separates again though but all extremely small components.    

The other really interesting integrated would be the Riviera Levante.  30w in Class A, 150w Class AB and a tube input stage.  I had someone move from a VAC Master Preamp and Allnic Monos and they did not feel this was a step back as they downsized.  

Octave with the Super Black Box will do the job well.  Tube choice really matters though and I would need to check with my rep to be reminded of what he suggested.  

@verdataudio thanks so much for your help. 

Will start with my Duetrenta in Pentode mode, then will try to test the AGD which really appeals to me. Tempo di Gan, good choice?

The Tempo is their entry level and best value IMO.  It delivers a solid 100w into 8ohms and doubles down till you trip the breaker on your outlet or I think you hit 20 amps.  Point is, impedance is a non-issue.  Tempo will also probably be more resolving and detailed than a pentode based tube amp.  

That said, the Duets with 150w of power into 8ohms would probably be my first choice but quite understand if you don't have 2x the money lying around.  It is easy for us dealers to talk about better options but budget practicalities certainly matter

The above is why---contrary to the common wisdom that an OTL amp is the best for use with the original QUAD ESL, the exact opposite is true. The QUAD has one of the most wildly-varying modulus-of-impedance curves in the history of hi-fi (from below 2 ohms to over 100, depending on frequency!). Used with a high output impedance amp like all OTL’s, the frequency response of the QUAD is drastically effected. Not good, obviously. I originally used a Bedini 25/25 (solid state) with my QUADS, a classic combination.

@bdp24 Quad ESL57s and 63s word great with OTLs! Neither drops below 4 Ohms in the highs so no worries. We have lots of Quad ESL customers.

@superelmar As you seem to have noted, there are class D amps now that have the same smooth mids and highs of the best tube amps and no problems driving lower impedances.

FWIW other than impedance the Sabrinas have always been a fairly easy speaker to drive. Most tube amps on the 4 Ohm taps should drive them just fine. But since class D amps have made such advances I don't see why to do tubes at this point.

I’d love to get top notch AGD or Java, or Aavik, etc but most of the cash went for SabrinaX, and now need at least to wait at least one year for a nice amplifier, these ones been offered, second hand or ex-demo, ideally with a good phono or dac inside, or both!

Audio Research GSi75 6.500€
Audio Research I/50 3.000€ with phono stage
Pass Labs INT-25 6.500€
Jadis DA-50S 4.000€
Aesthetix Mimas 4.600€
VTL INT-85 3.500€
Mastersound Duetrenta 2.500€

Regarding the i/50, I got it paired with Zu’s Omen I wasn’t impressed, better than the Pass Labs INT-25 (what a disappointment), but a toy compared with the Mastersound Dueventi which is Pure Class A either SET (10wpc) or SEP (20wpc), what bothered me that having 50wpc and with all the bells and whistles , it sounded less powerful than the Mastersound. On the other hand, at dealers with demanding TAD ME1 sounded so nice…that’s why not sure about GSi75, at the end dealers told me that if ARC, much better separates, even the Jadis according to him, sounded nicer and powerful than either i/50 and GSi75, but damn it, would love an American amp, after tried many stuff, I really miss always American Bold big sound, but those Wilson Oh my God, not a single frequency was out, all super balanced and coherent filling the room.