when I went from an 860x to a 861 there was an improvment across the board. You can trust a company like Wadia not to come out with new models unless they are truly better.
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Boy, I've owned a bunch. The first was a 23, sounded good, built very well, and was my entry point into the world of Wadia(7/10). Moved up to a new 850. Wow, what a difference. Build quality excellent, sound better(8/10). Wanted more..traded up to an 860X and there was quite a bit of difference, better transport, dual power supplies, more refined in terms of its' ability to differentiate the finer nuances of complex music(9/10). Right now I own an 861. It's really very similar to the 860X, but takes that player to the next level by offering flexibilty in presentation with its' selectible algorithms. I purchased it from another Audiogon member who had had it modified by Steve Huntley of Great Northern Sound and I have since had it further modified by him and I couldn't be happier (10+/10). I know I am biased, but I don't think that you can buy a better built, better sounding player for anywhere near the investment. I'm sure there are other great players out there and everybody has their favorite, but I know of no other player that is better built and more reliable. As far as Wadia as a company, I can't speak in regard to their customer service and warranty policies, but because there's always Steve Huntley to depend on, you should always have someone to repair or improve upon an already fantastic player.