Impressions of the Sonja 1.3

I had the privilege of hearing the YG Sonja 1.3 system at my local dealer just a few days ago and was thoroughly impressed by these towering imposing looking speakers. The gentlemen who I will call 'R' was firstly extremely inviting and very knowledgeable. What I really appreciated about him is his kindness, preparedness (he prepared my playlist of songs ahead of time) and his very easy going personality. I really enjoyed asking him questions not only about this amazing system but about audio in general.

His system consists of the following:

YG Sonja 1.3
PS Audio BHK Amplifiers
PS Audio Direct Stream DAC (and streaming with built in bridge)
AudioQuest Firebird Speaker Cables
Audioquest Firebird Power Cables on Amps
Audioquest Dragon Power Cable on DAC
Audioquest Fire Interconnects
Audioquest 20 Amp Wall Sockets
Audioquest Vodka CAT Cables
Audioquest Niagara 1200 Power Conditioning
Audioquest PowerQuest 2 Power Bar
His room was approximately 16 feet by 22 feet by 8.5 feet and heavily treated with absorption material. I walked up to the towers and felt the finish.. it was beautiful black smooth aluminum... proding the towers I could see these were basically 'speaker tanks'. I really appreciate well built indestructible metal build quality in speakers. My prior experience with such build quality is with magico speakers and while those go further with exotic carbon fiber side panels (magico m2)... these feels no less well made and solid.

I was first treated to a selection of his own favorite tracks. What immediately impressed me about the Sonja was the clarity of the sound. Somewhat reminescent of the amazing transparency of the Contriva G2 I heard just 2 months earlier but with a more relaxed character... yet it seemed like none of the detail was missing. Where the CG2 sometimes was a bit hot and illicited a momentary wince... the YG was musical but never lacking detail or smoothing things over. The sound stage was vast extending far beyond the speakers and presented a very realistic and tall image. I was sitting about 14 feet away and all the tweeter axis was high it didn't feel like I was below the sweet spot of the upper frequencies.

One of the great strengths of this system... female vocals. Simply put the best I ever heard: Il Cammello E Il Dromedario- Petra Magoni & Ferruccio Spinetti presented a crystalline emotional sound with incredible vibrato and room trailing reverberation of the female voice. It was quite simply real and the speakers did a fantastic job disappearing leaving you with nothing but an intoxicating pure feminine sound. Fast, clear, detailed and engaging are the few short words I'd use to describe the female vocals in addition to my overall listening experience.

You look good to me by the Oscar peterson trio evoked a smokey lounge with realistically sized and portrayed instruments. Drum snares and cymbals were crisp, dynamic, the piano was center stage again realistically portrayed, crisp and did justice to oscar peterson's legendary speed. The double bass was tall and precise... closing your eyes its as if the players were there... again the tall image and wide soundstage afforded me an incredible immersive experience. One minor nitpick would be the bass... although its very tight and precise I wouldn't have minded more... I think this is just probably because I tend to prefer more bass than the typical listener of high end audio... in my room I have 2x 18 inch subs... so ya.. these towers are not lacking probably by most user's metrics.

Muddy Waters - Good Morning Little School Girl did well to highlight the system's capability with acoustics. String slides, plucks and the male vocals in this song were extremely precisely placed but had a nice trailing decay that helped the system sound both precise and musical. It was at this point the notion of a system that presents all the details to you but in a more relaxed way was reinforced. As I talked to 'R' he pointed out that despite the music being quite loud we were easily able to converse (at times... not through the entirety of the music of course)... which to me highlights just how black the background is on this system. I did notice a faint hum when the speakers were not playing but that was only when standing directly next to the tweeter (R pointed out that was just due to the electrical lines that may not have been fully grounded) regardless I did not hear it from the listening position and indeed the background was quite inky.

Finally R showed me differences that can be made from changing something simple like the DAC power cable. Going back to the same oscar peterson song he played the song and I listened.. it sounded great as before... he changed the cable with a generic power cable (that actually came with the dac) and I was quite surprised to hear the shrinking of the soundstage and the flattening of the overall instrumental image. Replacing the audioquest power cable (I believe it costs around $3000-4000 CAD) again restored the soundstage, instrumental layering and provided me a stronger emotional connection to the music. This was quite the eye opening experience... I never would have thought a single DAC power cable would make that much difference. I do wonder how much difference would be present in a more affordable 'audiophile' grade cable.

Thank you R.. it was a pleasure, look forward to hearing the system again when you upgrade to 2.3 status (which he plans to do). I am seriously considering these towers for my own listening space! Perhaps 2.3 will push me over the edge.


Some bonus pictures were courtesy of R. Thank you so much. A true gentlemen. I wish all dealers were this great.
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