AA capitole mk2 VS. Wadia 861

I'm in the process of downsizing to a single box player!
Seems it's down to two units!?
So, is there anyone out there which has compaired these two units head to head?
I've read many things, and as it seems it's leaning towards the capitole going off as the winner...!!?
But, is it really the better of these two ?
Anyone able to pin down what is the different,
talking sound-characteristics and philosphy between these two combatants?

Most thankful for every avaible info
The Wadia is more compressed sounding. The AA is a MUCH better sounding player. I've had both.
The audio aero wins hands down, there is no listening fatigue. Very few cd players at any price range can offer the musical enjoyment that can be had from the AA cap. MKII, I have never owned wadia, but have auditioned them many many times and always leave feeling very dissapointed.
I've had both and the Audio Aero is a lot better to my ear. I'd say the Wadia sounds electronic or digital compared to the natural sound of the Capitole.
Well, I have the Wadia 861 im my system. It does NOT sound "electronic" or "compressed" or "disappointing" at all. Not by a long shot. I have not heard the AA Capitole Mk 2.
The Wadia 861 is NOT a player you can buy, place on your rack shelf & begin listening. You might consider this a flaw. If so, so be it!
It takes some work to get the best out of the Wadia 861: choice of algorithm, power cord, rack & shelf dampening, dedicated lines to name a few.
I think that the Audio Aero Capitole Mk2 will, most likely, be similar 'cuz there is hardly any product out there that doesn't need to be optimized for its sound.
Great Northern Sound offers mods for both the Wadia & the AA Capitole! So, what does that tell you - for one thing, both players can do w/ a mod & will sound much better.
The Wadia does seem to need a mod to improve its sound & this is disappointing for such an expensive player BUT it can be made to sound excellent in its stock form. I have taken this player to 2 friends' house & compared it to the stock Sony 777ES & stock Sim Audio Nova. The stock Wadia 861 with stock power cord was better each time by the resp. owner's admission. In fact, the Wadia 861 sound way better in redbook mode than the 777ES in SACD mode. This, again, by that owner's admission.

Also, REMEMBER: the Audio Aero is French & will have a European sound signature. The Wadia 861 is American & will have a US sound signature.
Additionally, the AA is tube based while the Wadia is solid-state.
Some mental calibration for these 2 major factors must be made by the listener.
It is NOT an apples-apples comparison!

The best is to audition the players - a friend or a dealer - to find out what floats your boat. If you cannot, do take into consideration what I have written.
Well, thanks for Your input!
Of course i've had taken the differences between solid state and the tube output of the AA in to mind and thought!
That is my major concern also, i am not really a tube kind of guy and i lean strongly towards US signature of reproduction.
I have never been especially found of any French products, not even the later JM Lab speakers.
To my ear they are strongly towards highlighting the mid and high frequency reproduction.
Bass (attack) is sometimes to smooth/withdrawn also authority and body is lacking a bit for my taste.

Well back to the players!
What has been 100% Wadia has becomn more of 40/60, still i feel stronger for the 861..but far to many is raving about the CAP mk2 to leave it ignored.

Though i still wonder, if it is close in the speed and bass attack/impact?
Or is it losing big against the Wadia?

Money is of course a big issue and the second hand AA CAP mk2 is almost 50% against 2hand Wadia 861.

Thanks for the input guys!
Bombaywalla's comments seem too wordy, very defensive and less than helpful.
-The three people who made comments about the sound of the Wadia have heard or OWNED both and said that's what they heard upon comparison.
-He hasn't heard the Audio Aero, where others posting have heard both.
-From what he says himself, it sounds like the Wadia needs to be modded to compete...?
-Bombaywalla only compares it to a Sony 777ES and SimAudio Nova - hardly a valid comparison against good competition...
-US vs. French "signature"? Huh? Tube vs. solid state, fine, but nationality?
- no, they're not both "apples" but they're both CD players and can be compared easily and.....
- the Capitole is better!
- I've heard both and the Capitole wins. Inpieces, you needn't worry about response at any part of the frequency range. If there's a deficiency heard, you'd be better-off looking at your cables, amp, speakers and room placement.
- I will agree with one thing Bombaywalla contributed: "The best is to audition the players - a friend or a dealer - to find out what floats your boat."
ok the 861 is better than the capitol 2 in my opinion and in my system definitely the Wadia gets the timing correct to me the capitol 2 bass is little bit thicker than reality especially the upper bass if your speakers lack upper bass the capitol may be a better choice for you. the 861 can be made to sound absolutely astonishing at Great Northern sound specifically the statement upgrade

looks like you are making an attack! I tried very hard not to attack the 3 people (who posted before me) who said that the Capitole is better. There's no point in attacking these people as choice of CD player is personal (along w/ most other audio gear). Looks like you might be looking for a "fight"??

All-the-same, my post was NOT intended to be defensive at all even tho I own the Wadia 861. If it is considered to be the worse of the 2 CD players mentioned, so be it. I'm *not* going to defend my purchase of it. In my system it performs well & that's what's important to me. The AA Capitole Mk2 might be ANOTHER player that might perform well in my system? I don't know that as yet. I was trying to tow a middle line & was trying to be a bit objective on the matter by telling Inpieces what it might take to get the best out of the Wadia 861. Therein I insinuated that the people who posted before me might not have done all what it took to get the best out of the Wadia. (Sorry guys! Golden_ears dragged me into this sh**!). Pure speculation on my part as I don't know under what conditions these guys heard the 861. They haven't posted anything further so I still don't know. Very possible that they heard the 861 in an optimized setup & still preferred the Cap Mk2. So be it.

From whatever I have read, heard & communicated w/ people, I have noticed that very people have put the effort in getting the best out of the Wadia 861. Thus, most people who reject this player don't even know what it is capable of!

Golden_ears: can you share with this forum in what kind of setup you heard the Wadia 861 & compared it to the AA Cap Mk2??
Can you tell us why you preferred the AA Cap Mk2 over the Wadia 861??

2ndly: I N-E-V-E-R said "French sound"! Read my orig. post again. I said "European sound signature". Anyone who is in the hobby knows that the European gear has a different sound signature compared to US-based sound.
The comment on this leads me to believe that your ears are far from golden!

Lastly: you talk about my comments being less than helpful. Yours are worse off than mine. You provide absolutely no data re. why you consider the AA Cap mk2 to be better than the 861. No data on the setup & no data on what music you played on both machines. Just a
"I've heard both and the Capitole wins" - yeah, right!
I have owned a Wadia 301 and Audio Aero Cap MkII. Admittedly, the 861 will be a better player than the 301, but to the extent they share the same sonic signature, I prefered the Cap.

The Wadia was fast, articulate and transparent. Its problem is upper frequencies, especially on less than pristine recordings -- they are bright and aggressive, and exhibit quite a bit of smearing to my ears. I could not, for example, listen for any length of time to Joni Mitchell's voice or Coltrane's soprano sax on the Wadia. Some people don't share my view on this. As always, YMMV. In any case, Great Northern Sound Mods are supposed to eliminate these problems.

The Cap is warmer, smoother, and generally more listenable than the Wadia, but slower, with less bass impact and softer highs. It's an excellent player, and not a bad deal for the $4k or so they're going for used. On the other hand, you may want to consider even cheaper players, like the new Arcam or the Ayre CX-7. I haven't heard these players but their reviews are excellent. I'd be surprised if the 861 or the Cap is twice as good.

Of course, a $2000 analogue set up will blow them all away . . .
The 301 isn't close sounding to an 861. Drawing a conclusion from that isn't fair.

From what i've read, the AA can be more natural, the Wadia more accurate (and I owned an 861 and won't speculate on the AA despite hearing it at shows/demos numerous times).

It really is a system synergy thing.

I preferred the Linn Unidisk 1.1 to the Wadia btw...it costs a lot more as well :)
The bottom line is that you should really audition both. And frankly the auditions could go either way, based on the auditioning system and source material.

In a system well beyond what most sane people would consider, i prefered the GNSC Wadia 861se. But that's just me and my ears.

You should really audition both. There's good reason why both of these players still command $$ used. And a used "se" is even more. In that price range, I'd consider the newest offering from SimAudio Moon.
Thank You for the inputs!!
I can see some of You blow (and still blowing!!?)
off some heat here!
Cool off guys!
Friendly advices is a great thing,
leave it that way, please!

My setup is Krell FPB 600C and a small serie speaker close to Kharma Midi Grand or Avalon Eidolon.
Bass module; 10' TC sounds bass driver.
83kg each + External crossover 10kg.
Monitor; Thiel & Partner 7' mid/bass, 1' tweeter added bybee purifier.
39kg each + External crossover 7kg.
83db sensivity and 4ohm nom imp/min 3ohm.
Speaker isolation from Sound Design.
Exactly matched for weight of speakers.
Under bassmodule one set, also between monitor and module.
The isolation feets do this; No smear, higher resolution, tighter bass, better impact and attack, highten control from highest high to lowest low.
Speakers Sound is; very open and airy, extremely resolute, deep super dry bass and speakers reacts very much to what is in the system.
I have had Meridian 588 and Classe CP 47.5mk2.
Powerconditioner for pre and cd.
Highgrade powercords.
I will never use others than cd, therefore wishing a singelbox player.
I mainly search more attack, speed, impact -
Let's say an allover livelier performance!
I do NOT search a soft, over polished/ tired and
overly well mannered evolution!
That is not how i want my music.
Do not mistake me for the disco dude now!?

Speaker is tri wired and cables are fixed (silver wire)
They share some of the philosophy of Kimber trifocal!
As interconnects i've been using a Norwegian cable named Silk mk2 XLR. It is very detailed and neutral.
Though i have a newcommer, a silver-cable never used,
here too.

If the AA CAP mk2 risks to sound fat/wet (or become) in (high)bass (lower)mid and/or a little slow in bass attack!?
I will not go for it!
Some claim the mid and high has more air than Wadia though!
I can say, i auditioned the Gryphon Adagio at home.
Very controlled dynamics. Very resolute. Pleasing and impressive some ways. Downside is that it was to relaxed and well mannered. Ultimately it gave music a far to soft and almost "sleepy" feel to it.
That is my subjective thought, in this system and room.
Meridian 588 and Gryphon TABU cdp1 was for compairson.

I can say, i would gladly compair Wadia 861 and AA CAP mk2 head to head... - but that will be completely impossible from how the scene is in this country.
Therefore the many questions!
you see, this will all be down to intuition and hear say in the end!
That's why i try to get most avaible info from You guys!

Once again,
Keep posting!!

>>I can say, i would gladly compair Wadia 861 and AA CAP mk2 head to head... - but that >>will be completely impossible from how the scene is in this country.

Just curious - which country are you located in. (doesn't seem like it is the USA).
I had a GNSC moded Wadia and loved it, but have never heard the AA. You might want to call Great Northern Sound Company, as they mod both (or at least used too). They are truthful, and very nice to talk to (and deal with). Give then a ring. They will give you an honest opinion. My take is this. Wadia has great resolution, inner detail, and bass. However, the highs are rolled off just a touch, and if you run it direct, you will loose some dynamics. It is also a tad on the dry side of netural. I liked running it direct, but could see how some would prefer it with a pre-amp. In the end though, I very much liked the player. I felt its inner detail and the way it held an image stable dead center in the midle of your speakers was so good that you could almost ignore any of its faults (Again, I am refering to a modded unit). I hope that helps a little. Feel free to e-mail me directly and we can talk on the phone if you like.
Inpieces the musical presentation tastes your describing would tell you to choose the Wadia 861
After reading all the comments on wadia and AA Cap. II, I wonder why nobody mentionned the Ayre D1-X player. I own one and I´m extremely satisfied - before and after modification. I listened to Wadia 861b in my home system and was very stisfied with the sound, although I choosed the D-1X as it is superior in areas such as musical flow, speed, transparency and sound stage whereas the Wadia wins in the lower frequencies. I don´t know the AA Cap II but I once had the AA Cap. MK I in my system. Very relaxed listening, impressive performance but my modified D-1X blew it away. But at US $ 5k for a used unit I would recommend the AA Cap. II strongly. Can´t comment on the 861 SE or the modified versions. Hope this helps - by the way an extremely good cdp is the Lindemann 820 SACD in Germany regarded by many as the final one box cdp. A friend of mine let his AA Cap MK I go for this machine without thinking twice.
Easy listening, Frank
I owned the AA Cap. II, and now own the APL 3910, which is much more extended, and holgraphic, with much better bass, definition, and soundstage. JMO
Inpieces: judging by the way you like yr music ("passionate"), I thoroughly recommend you try to listen to the following cdp's (one box):
*Lindemann 8?? mentioned above
*Symphonic Line (whichever model EXCEPT the cheapest)

HOWEVER, regarding dynamics, your spkrs' low sensitivity MAY restrict headroom somewhat; you must have a very heavy/lossy xover in the system. To remain on the safe side, you should restrict yourself to ~94-99 db peaks that gives you, roughly speaking, a ~20db headroom (which is excellent). The Thiel tweet is very good (I assume yr using the 12-6) but the midbass (92-6?) could increase distortion @50W.
The sonic preferences you describe sounds a lot like a a very high sensitivity single driver spkr... Cheers
On the "High-end Audio" web-site Arthur Salvatore indicates that that,according to his group of experienced audio pals,they far preffered the Wadia to the Audio Aero.Further,they felt that the Capitole was not overly reliable,in long term use.I can't understand why the LEVINSON 390's is not taken into consideration.It too has a fine pedigree,and sounds great!Any thoughts?I have heard all of the above units.They,to me,all are superb choices.