Wisdom Audio Sage Series Speakers Reviewed

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Wisdom Audio Sage Series Speakers Reviewed

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Performance

The Wisdom speakers throw a massively wide soundstage that is deep and tall and images very well. Whether I was listening to audiophile recordings like Ray Charles Genius Loves Company (Monster Music) or garage rock like Morphine's Like Swimming (Dreamworks), I was simply enveloped in the music. The small bass drivers put out seriously deep and powerful bass in my room and were flat to just under 40 Hz. Looking at the Wisdom system, you might not think the drivers could go that low, but they can and with power, while not taking up too much real estate in your living room.

The stand-up basses like those in Ray Charles' "Fever" sounded accurate and authentic, as did the sax and bass in Morphine's "French Fries With Pepper." The L75is were amazingly dynamic and delivered a depth of bass I wasn't expecting, thanks to the digital amplifiers specifically designed to power their proprietary bass drivers. The first time I listened to my music with them, I had to check whether my sub was on. It wasn't. That is a huge compliment for a speaker based on small drivers, much less an in-wall speaker. Given the in-room response I heard from my Audyssey plots, being flat to less than 40 Hz, you could easily live without a subwoofer. For larger rooms like mine and for movies, Wisdom recommends a subwoofer.

While the bottom end was impressive, the top planar magnetic driver panel was downright amazing. The ultra-light weight of the panel, combined with the super-strong magnets, allow the drivers to move far faster than conventional drivers, making the top end open and exciting while allowing huge swings in dynamics. Horns jumped from the speakers with an attack that was like nothing I have ever heard outside of actual live horns (the instruments, not horn speakers). This set-up could play with this excitement at seemingly any level, be it quiet background listening or 100-plus decibels, without flinching.

Movies also benefited from the huge soundstage of the Wisdom system making them more absorbing. Whether it was the racing engines of Death Race (Universal Studios Home Video) twirling around me in the room or the more subtle details of birds in Miss Potter (Weinstein Company), the Wisdom system gave an incredibly open presentation of quiet nature sounds to powerful roars without missing a beat. The transition between the speakers was perfect. Despite the small size of the C20 center, it kept up with its bigger siblings, keeping vocals clear and focused. Despite its size and installation advantages, the Wisdom Audio Sage system tested here did things that I have never heard a Wilson, Revel, B&W or top-end MartinLogan do. The speakers' speed is impressive. Their openness is unlike that of any speaker you could put in your wall. This is not your father's audiophile speaker.

I find some of the best surround effects to be from my PS3 games and, once again, the Wisdom system shone. Resistance 2 (Insomniac Games) really utilizes the surround channels, sending them the full gamut of grunts and subtle cues needed to react to the game.  The Wisdom system clearly portrayed them all and fully involved me in the game environment. With the accuracy of this system, I was able to play better and live longer, as it was clear where my enemies were coming from.

Low Points

Wisdom is a bi-amplified system, so it is far more complicated to set up than a standard system; it is something you should let your dealer handle. You will need two channels of amplifiers for each speaker, and twice the wire to connect them, adding to the cost of such a system. Installation will add to the price of a system and needs to be factored in when budgeting for a high-end in-wall system. However, if you have read this far, you know this is an expensive in-wall speaker system. A Wisdom Audio system is for somebody looking for top performance and modern form. It delivers in spades.

Conclusion
Wisdom has made the best-sounding in-wall speakers I have ever heard with the L75i and, unless I missed something somewhere, they are flat-out the best in-wall speakers built to date, at any price. They reproduce solid, tight and deep bass with amazingly fast and accurate mids and highs. Their work with Audyssey will make their speakers sound as good in your room as they did in mine. Wisdom Audio allows you to retrofit their speakers into any home, adding top of the line sonics to a room without any loss of floor space. Should you not want to build such a system into your home, Wisdom makes every speaker except their top of the line L150i as in-wall, on-wall and free-standing models that are equally compelling. To me, the idea of a Runco 103-inch plasma or a projector with a masking screen framed by a Wisdom system neatly installed behind a high-end fabric wall is the image of the new standard for a reference system. The ability to run my Krell Evolution amps, EMM Labs audiophile SACD player and other goodies only makes the system more fun for me. It's a whole new way of looking at audiophila. It's less of a hobby and more of a lifestyle. Gone forever are those sawhorse things for the speaker cables on the floor. Wisdom Audio provides audiophile-level (or higher) speaker performance in a package that fits in homes without spoiling the décor. There are no complaints from the wife when you are having Wisdom Audio speakers installed, thank God.

For those who need the best sound but can't sacrifice floor space, I can honestly say Wisdom provides the answer. These speakers are fast and accurate and can show you every detail in whatever your source is, be it two-channel or home theater. They offer a coherent reproduction of sound across the entire musical spectrum and will leave you amazed that they are, in fact, in your walls. Even more impressive is that they can do this from casual listening levels to extreme 100-plus dB levels. I have even heard the L150is output 120-plus dB levels and still sound amazing.

Wisdom Audio speakers aren't cheap, but when you consider the cost of square footage these days, I think you will find rescuing six or more feet off the front wall of your home theater will be well-rewarded and in fact be a huge bonus with this system. When you factor in the sound you want with the room appeal your wife will die for, the Wisdom Sage system is an absolute bargain. I have listened to many terrible in-wall speakers and countless audiophile grade speakers, and can honestly say the Wisdom L75i in-wall speakers are the finest speakers in their genre I have had the pleasure of hearing.

Additional Resources
• Read more high end audiophile in-wall speaker reviews from Wisdom Audio, PSB, Paradigm, B&W and many others.

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HTR Product Rating for Wisdom Audio Sage Series Speakers

Criteria Rating

Performance

5

Value

4

Overall

4.5

Disagree with our product rating? Email us and tell us why you think this product should receive a higher rating.


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