BOW ZZ8 mk3 vs. WADIA S7i
I feel strongly i should write about those two players, as I have used both of them for a bit more than a year.
But first: I am a musician, who as much likes to listen as to perform, and I actually like recording, even though at the same time I know it is never the same as actually standing on stage.
I have no financial or other hidden connection to either of those companies.
I use two systems: A studio system with Stella opus/novus speakers driven by Audio Consulting Battery gear, and a home Merlin VSM MXM driven by Berning ZH230 and an Audiopax Pre M5.
(The speed of the Berning and the colours of the Audiopax go well with the very exquisitely straightforward Merlin)
As sources I have used the Bow ZZ 8 for many years. A few years ago, it had its day, and the transport failed. I happened to get a good offer on a Wadia 781i.
I later changed this to a S7i, both had come from GNSC; I still commend Steve Huntley for his support, even though he does not need the credit, him working for RA now ;-)
As it was possible, I had updated the Bow ZZ to the very most recent Mark III state. And now it gets very interesting:
The Bow is somewhat a non nonsense (is that the equivalent of non-oversampling ;-) design, whereas the Wadia is cutting edge digital.
First the sonic advantages of the Wadia: It is a real window, you seem to hear everything, very colourful, bass, treble, piano attack, you name it all there. I like it very much.
Enter Bow: Here you feel sound is heavier, maybe slower, but you are being carried, it never looses the physical touch.
For me very interesting, as one seems to allow you to hear through right to the other side, the other allows you to feel the sound from within.
My fortunate choice: keep them both!!!
As aside: My Metric Halo ULN2 is somewhere in between, but right up there with those two as well.
I feel the Wadia is really impressive, whereas the Bow is unique. Utterly useless, I know, but there it is.
PS I don't know which one is more Analog (I use very happily a Thorens TD124), but it is not the Wadia ;-)