I've stayed with Wadia (thru thick and thin -- for them!) since 1990. Properly set up with other high quality components, they are the most musical (Redbook) digital equipment I've heard. They even do a great job with HDCD because they employ their patented software D/A conversion rather than Burr-Brown DAC chips. And they always used the TEAC/Esoteric VRDS disc-clamping mechanism, or some version of it.
If I were primarily interested in SACD (I'm not), I would definitely consider EMM-labs, as they have carved out a great reputation with that format, and I haven't heard Wadia's new multi-format player. But it sounds like Redbook is your primary interest. I haven't had Steve Huntley @ GNSC do any mods on my 27 (yet!) but he's serviced my WT2000 transport which is an incredible machine.
Aural Symphonics makes glass (AT&T) cables for both Wadia and EMM equipment. As far as I'm concerned, that's the ONLY way to go if you have separate CDT/DAC.
I am completely satisfied with my 861 it has the GN Statement mod. I cannot think of a better player this is my third I had an 860X and a stock 861.
I have never needed service but a couple years ago I needed a box they sent me one free of charge and also picked up the shipping.
I met John Schaffer at CES and he invited me to come by the factory.
Great products and a great company.
Agree with the two previous posts. I had a Wadia 25 DAC back in '96-'97 then switched to the single-box 860 in '97. Have continually upgraded the 860 over the years to current 861es. I still haven't heard digital (one-box or separates) done better to the point of making me want to switch. I intend to keep this player for another 10 years if I can keep getting it serviced.
Wadia is great - I have owned a 302 bought new for a littele over a year. There have been worries about the company's stability in the past, but they seem to be doing pretty well right now. Given the fading market for audiophile type gear I don't know how you could predict the shelf life of anyone focused solely on the high end.
Keyword wadia, click search, scroll down bottom of page, click on discussion forums, and have a good read...
The reason why you don't see too many Wadias for sale in the Gon is that most people will never part with their Wadia gear. I am with them since the X-32 days and I am perfectly happy today with the 270/27ix. To me Wadia represents true high end and there's no need for further search once you have set them up in a likewise true high end system.
Like you, I have an 860x, which I had modified by Steve Huntley at GNSC a few months ago. Takes a while to break in (as he will tell you), but the results were superb. (I posted a mini-review of the modded 860 vs my Linn CD12, which shouldn't be hard to find.) The modded 860 is more musical/euphonic than the stock version. I thought the stock version was terrific with detail, but tended to over-emphasize problems with the program material, in a somewhat cold and lean presentation. The mod takes care of that beautifully.
I've A-B'ed the Linn CD12 (which is a great player of course) against the EMM and the Linn against the modded 860, but never did a direct comparison between the modded 860 and the EMM. However, given that my comparisons have common ground in the Linn, I will speculate that there is not much difference between the modded 860 and the EMM. Each extracted more information than the Linn, but presented the information in a manner that was not overly analytical.
Frankly, I would mod your Wadia, and forget about it for another 5 - 10 years. It ought to last...it's built like a tank.
Maxx1973: What information are you using to draw that (flawed) conclusion? Besides, high-end audio isn't a popularity contest. Wadia makes some fine products and offers outstanding customer support. And Steve at Great Northern Sound offers excellent upgrades and additional support.
I have owned a lot of digital gear (Theta, Classe, Levinson, Electrocompaniet, etc.) over the years, but my quest ended several years ago when I bought a Wadia 861 and had it modified by GNSC. I'm sure there is better stuff out there, but not for the money, and not if you're looking for high resolution and musicality. IMO.
I have owned the meitner seperates (non se) and the wadia 860x with GNSC statement mods and currently own the new meitner one box and the resolution opus 21 with GNSC reference mods with the upgraded ridge street umbilical and IMO you could not go too far wrong with any of these. I imagine different folks, with different tastes and different associated gear would choose between them differently and all would be correct in their choice.
I'm a recent Wadia owner compared to some of the others who have responded.
Used to have a stock 860 & loved it in its stock form.
Sent it to GNSC for mods & upgrade to the 861SE model. I love this CDP & do not plan to part w/ it.
No regrets being a Wadia owner no matter what the other forum members say or think!
I listened around and nothing made me even think about going another way. The Wadia 861se w/GNSC Statement Modification is everything I need in a CDP.
The reason that you don't hear more about Wadia is that they've been pretty inactive regarding new models for quite some time and the 581 has had more than its share of teething issues although as I understand it it appears that the kinks have finally been worked out.
I've got a Wadia 830 with GNSC Ref mods. Wadia is synonomous with quality and Steve at GNSC knows how to make it sing. If your simply considering two different models of Wadia, have this conversation with Steve Huntley. Know one knows Wadia and it's potential better than he does and he can work magic with his mods.
I'm a Wadia user .
I think one of the main reason you question about is that Wadia sound simpy set you apart from discussion , sorry it may sound too flat simple , but it is like that .. for me at least ..
When one discuss usually is because it is still in search of info or something , I've had a Wadia from a time and my posting on audio and related has diminuished enormously ..
sorry if my opinion seem to be too flat or stupid , it is just what I feel
I think allowances have to be made for international 'Goners who have English as their second or third language. But I agree, that's a tough one.
It seems clear to me: Boodidheadfi feels if, like him, you own a Wadia, there's really nothing to discuss. And ever since he's owned his Wadia, he's spent much less time on audio forums. So?
Hello all, I have a Wadia 581 with Great Northern Sound Statement upgrade that is still breaking in. It has 450 hours on it right now. Full breakin, I have been told, is over 750 hours playing time. It has excellent texture-(the best that I have heard), very good soundstaging-(both side-to-side and front-to-back), scary dynamics, good attack and decay, excellent bass definition and is very resolute. Backround detail is the only weakness at this point. So I'd say it's off to a very good start, as it takes a long time for blackgate capacitors to burn in. Prior to this, I owned a Wadia 861se with GNS Statement upgrade--(full breakin 1000 hours) and an EMM Labs CDSA-SE--(full breakin 950 hours). Neither player sounded this good at 450 hours use. I guess that you could say that I moved on... to my second Wadia.
Talon4, that's very interesting. I've occaisionally run across folks who had owned both EMM and Wadia, but it was always that they went from Wadia to EMM and never went back (or course I can't remember which models) but your report makes for some interesting reflection. After your previous Wadia >> EMM experience (in that order?) what prompted you to take another crack at Wadia?
Hello Nsgarch, I liked the Wadia 861se with GNS Statement upgrade very much--awesome bass and backround detail, good precision. Steve @ GNS really knows how to improve an already good player. The EMM Labs CDSA-SE was the best that I have heard in the upper treble and it was very clear. The treble dynamics were spectacular, but the rest of the presentation was just OK. There was texture to individual instruments with the CDSA-SE, but not near as good as the Wadia. Another problem with the CDSA-SE was that only my newer cds sounded very good. Older cds lost clarity and soundstaging. I don't know the reason for the difference. Maybe the reason is the way that the newer vs older cds were recorded, or the way that the EMM Labs reads cds. At any rate, I researched cd players--Esoteric, Audio Research, etc., but never had a chance to actually listen to those brands, due to being so far away from an audio dealer. I also looked into an AMR CD-77 player, but there was a two month plus wait for delivery. After talking with several Wadia 581 owners, I took the Wadia plunge again. It looks like it payed off in spades... Overall, my new Wadia 581 is the best cd playback that I have had in my system... and it's not broken in completely yet.
Wadia 581 and 581i now is upgrade 581SE do you knew.
Hello, Yes, I found out about a week ago that Wadia is now shipping the SE version. When they offer an upgrade path, I'll probably be getting it. For one thing, it's sapposed to have a larger power supply. Stan
I am moving to a Wadia 2000 w/digital volumne and a wadia 20 transport from my wadia 15i and 8 transport.Needless to say both peices are going to Steve for a GNSC special and he is also selling my old units for me! Now that is great service and I can't wait to hear the new 64x oversampling !! Take care Dennis
Somewhat off topic but is anyone using the 581 to drive amps direct?If you are do you hear any benefit?The reason I ask is that I'm thinking of going with the 581 and driving my VTL's direct.Any thoughts?
Hi Steve, I'm currently driving my amps directly with my Wadia 581, as I'm between preamps. I think that it had a better sound overall with the Audio Research Reference 3 preamp that I had. I'm waiting for my new Pass Labs X 0.2 preamp to arrive. However, my Wadia 581 isn't completely broken in. It has 680 hours on it. Full breakin is 750-800 hours and there is sapposed to be a marked change for the better around 750 hours. Also, the Wadia 581's volume control hasn't been up any higher than "73" driving the amps directly. I ran it on "100" with a preamp. The Wadia 581 sounds best between "85" and "100"-max. That said, I'm getting a low noisefloor with great dynamics and air. It is very clear with the best texture of instruments that I have heard in my system. The downside, since not having a preamp in the chain, is that bass, while being full and dynamic, isn't as controlled and precise as it was with a preamp. I'll know more once the Wadia and Pass are fully broken in. I do think that the voltage output can be adjusted. I'll post again as everything breaks in. I should receive the X 0.2 this coming Wednesday. Good luck. Best regards, Stan
I am Have a wadia 581-i I had ships back wadia upgrade to 581 SE i can't wait come back.Wadia great sound true Hi end.
Yes I am have been drive with Pass 1000.5 is great sound.but can not compare N32RF.
Wadia 581 that new what is the reasion Wadia (Mr john chaffer)offer an upgrade so quick.may some gaps of 581 how do you thing
i cannot comment on the 581, but the EMM CDSA was, on the whole, a much better player than the 861se that i owned. the 861 had better build quality, better / deeper bass, and a false leading edge; the EMM was far more detailed, better resolution / staging, more organic tone. i'll cover this in my review on dagogo.com, pub 11/1.
i would *love* to hear the 581, as the EMM is not a perfect player, regardless of what anyone says. ---nothing is.
The reason Wadia is offering the update to the 581 is because of a new and improved digital component that improves the way the signal is decoded ( I also forgot the name of the damn thing !!). I heard the latest 9 series that had the same update ( Wilson Grand speaker w/Karan 450 amp along with a Wadia 270 se w/Virtual Dynamics tweaking and cables and Sistrum 101's). It had info coming from everywhere and according to J. Shaffer it takes 2 months for the Wadia 9's to reach full potential sonically. I do know that Wadia feels that this is a major leap in the digital realm for the way information is timed and decoded. I hope this helps -Dennis
it is a current converter that is causing a stir with Wadia. R.Shultz says that the 581 SE is quite an improvement and gets some of the best leading edge dynamics that he has heard.Mr Shultz was so impressed that he sent his 9Series away for the latest upgrade from Wadia.Take care Dennis
I am have 581i I have shiper back Wadia (Mr john.Schaffer) upgrade for me, I get back a 3 week ago I have listened very carefully,581se retains the high frepuency extension and supper detail,I have a DCS P8i and Emm labs for company production labs room now I am had setup 581se for my master labs room play with N32 preamp Pass labs 1000.5 and Mttlabs speakers $152.000.00 a pair.
I am would be appreciated you done 581se