Comparing Wadia vs. Meitner

I believe that this represents the pinnacle of CD playback. Jerry, a fellow audiogoner was gracious enough to allow me to audition his broken-in Meitner CDSD / DCC2. In my system, the boxes were switched with mine, so they each had the same cables, power conditioning, power cords, and stand. Both were run directly into the amp without a preamp. My CD playback system includes the Wadia 27ix / 270se with the latest software and full modifications from Great Northern Sound. Also included are Elrod Statement power cords, a Hydra conditioner, and a Mana rack.

In short, I think that these are both excellent units. They are also very different in what they do. In my system, it was easy to distinguish between the two within several minutes. It probably comes down to personal preference in deciding which is best here. I’ll just simply say that I’m keeping the Wadia because I think it is a perfect match for my musical preferences, my system, and what I appreciate in music.

What I love about the Wadia is its ability to convey an (absolutely) astonishing amount of detail without being harsh or fatiguing. Not only is the melody and rhythm imaged with speed and coherence, but you can actually appreciate the musicians technique, the weight and color of the instrument(s), and the ambience of the recording venue. It simply presents a convincing image of a live event. The emotional quality is all there. You can understand what separates a great and (justly) famous professional musician from a pretty good one. Everything is properly proportioned, the soundstage is appropriate and believable, everything is audible, and the background is silent. From complex orchestral pieces and opera, to vocals, to solo instruments, I do not believe there are any weak spots. Again, it simply convinces and fools the mind into believing that you are sitting in front of the performance. I have frequented the concert halls, and I’d hate to say it but sometimes the recording is better.

I think that just about anybody could probably be happy with either of these 2 systems. Of course, curiosity makes us wonder if the grass is greener. I am just very content with where I am right now. I'd invite Jerry to make some comments when he gets a chance.

I second you - Rtn1 - in everything you say about the Wadias - to the word.
I likewise own that combo and I don't think that anything gets better - well, that's the reason I bought them. What you say about the comparison beween live music and listening to your system is also true for me esp. in chamber music.
Good to hear that these are close in quality, I was told that the Modified Wadia was as good or better than my Meitner DCC-2. What a great opportunity you had to compare.
Maybe 1 day I will get a chance. I love my Meitner DCC-2 and the Modified Philips. Looking forward to hear what Jerry has to say.
One thing if I may make a suggestions. I would recommend for you to audition the Kubala-Sosna - "Emotion Cables", all of them the PC, IC's, and the speaker cables. I think you could be amazed from what cords you are now using. I had all the Elrods/ Harmonix Master and Valhalla's and Transparent Referrence. Just swithced in the last 6 months, it was significant. If you get a chance give them a try they have a 24/48hour break-in time and are worth the time.
thank you for the review, it was very interesting.
I must say you really left us hangin' there. You say it's easy to tell the two apart, you give a great description of the Wadia and say you prefer it, and then not a word about the Meitner. How is it different, what did you like about it, what did you not like about it? We're dying to know.
I found the Elrod was not a good match with
my Meitner setup. Anyone auditioning should have
some optional PC and IC's. If the only PC available
for the Meitner was the Elrod I would not of kept it.
I know that audiogon member fmpnd did a emm / wadia 861se with gns mods comparison on his system and the results were quite definitive. Hopefully if Frank reads this he will share the results with us.
Actually, I am the guy who took the Wadia 861 w/ GNSC statment mod to Frank P's house. As much as I loved my moded Wadia (and I did love it), the DCC2 is certainly a few steps up (I sold the Wadia for a DCC2 and have not looked back). The ease, detail, and transperency of the DCC2 is just amazing. The inner detail of the Wadia is what I loved, but it does not match the DCC2. I believe I posted on this topic before on the Asylum. If you do a search, you should be able to find them. I would strongly recomend anyone looking into a one box player to consider the Wadia, but it is not the eqivalent of the more expensive DCC2 + Transport. All five people who heard the comparison agreed on this.
Hey guys, as Frank pointed out, the owner of a Wadia 861 with the latest GNSC mods and I did an A/B with my Meitner DAC6 and modded Philips in my system (at his request). That A-Gon member is Drhst21 and he may chime in for more info.

In any event, for reference purposes, the speakers were Kharma Exquisites (w/diamond tweeters), amps were Tenor HP-300 monos and the cabling was mainly Harmonix (I/Cs and PCs) and speaker cables are Kharma Enigmas.

Drhst brought his lovely girlfriend along and I simply played them a couple of quick cuts and then told him to play his discs so he would be familiar with the source material to get an idea of the sound of the EMM gear. Then we placed the Wadia in the system with the same PCs and I/Cs and played the same cuts.

No to be facetious, Drhst's girlfirend stated immediately that the Wadia sounded "blah" "lifeless" and "dull!" Drhst said it was sad that the Wadia was so handily beaten. Myself, I have always liked Wadia digital products (and have owned them) and I honestly thought the Wadia would hold its own and be very close to the Meitner with maybe a slight nod to the Meitner. Shockingly, it wasn't even close. Now, this was the 861 NOT the 27ix/270se combo so that could be different.

Then, a few weeeks later, a few other A-Gon members came by with their modded Sony and Philips SACD players, one with his Arcam and Drhst again came with his Wadia 861 (which I believe went BACK to GNSC in the interim for more mods). The Meitner emerged the clear winner again by unanimous agreement. Now, in defense of those other players, they were much less costly (even with the mods) than the EMM stuff and they acquitted themselves quite well. Al agreed that the EMM stuff was more resolute BUT LESS BRIGHT and FATIGUING (and this includes the Wadia). The EMM had more air and transparency and simply never sounded bright, harsh or "digital."

Again though, you must take this comment in context and realize it's all system dependent and highly personal and subjective - in other words, all this is is our simple opinion which, together with $3.00 will buy you a Starbucks coffee!!

PS - Drhst now owns the DCC2 and is buying my Philips SACD 1000 (EMM Labs modded).
This is getting to be one chewy, & juicy thread! Wadia sounded "blah" "lifeless" and "dull!" Where all Hearing Aid battery levels checked prior to this audition??? Was the Wadia run though a Pre-amp, or Direct?
Another point to remember is cost involved, If I remember right the cost of the Wadia 27ix & 270se and the GNSC Mods are much higher than the DCC2 and Mod Philips.
Well Audiobugged, since you clearly have superior hearing and a golden ear, suppose you enlightened all of us hearing impaired morons what such a highly gifted expert such as yourself heard when you compared the lowly Meitner and the oh-so-much better Wadia?

FYI, after I shut off my hearing aid, adjusted my Depends and my pacemaker, we ran the Wadia BOTH direct and through the EMM Switchman and it lost badly both times - but then again, that was to us daft idiots with no sense of hearing or music - you know, all six of us who conspired to bad mouth the Wadia.

Please fill us in oh exalted Audio God!
Fmpnd, My appologies as I wasn't being sarcastic! And frankly Frank I do not appreciate such hostility in return. As I am all ears on this thread, just had a few additional questions. However since you started time to change your Depends, as the $#!+ sounds like it may be getting deep from here on?
Macallan25, please tell me a little more about the Kubala cables and what you heard with them that you liked more than the competition. I too have had the Elrods, Valhallas and Harmonix so I am very intereted in your impressions. Thanks.

PS - then again, I should just ask Audiobugged since he is the exalted golden ear and I am the one with a hearing aid - don't you think? ;-)
Fmpnd, was the Wadia portion part of this audition done prior to sending your Tenor HP-300 back in for service? :0)~
Frank (Audiobugged), am I supposed to be frightened by your reference to my amps and the tube problem? Are you so interested in my system and life that you need to let everyone know that YOU know about my amps? Gee, I had no idea my life and system or my hearing aids were so captivating to someone like you. Like I don't know about your real agenda! Maybe I am reading you wrong, but if you WEREN'T being sarcastic, then your post is even more insulting, not just to me, but to all of those who were there. If you had some reason why you disagreed with all 6 of us there, then you had every right to respond and challenge our impressions based on your own comparisons. Instead you choose a cheap shot - oh well, such is life.

I guess this is my fault though, after trying to add something of value to the post about the experiences of all of those who attended the session and admitting that it was only a simple opinion and that there are many variables involved, I then do something dumb and I actually respond to your childish post when I should have taken the high road and ignored you. So, I guess I should have expected more immature antics.

Have a nice day.
Fmpnd, Easy now you are getting too Postal over all this! I do not have the time to get into a challenge/pissing contest right now. Over the next few days when I can spend the time I will share a lengthy comparative post. So until then you try to relax, & enjoy the remainder of your day too! It's all Digital anyway!
an actual audio question, if i may... Was the Wadia 861se allowed proper time to reach operating temperature? I am told that the 861se takes 24 hrs to thermally stabilize.
Frank, your experience and comments are appreciated. I couldn't say if you have a golden ear, but you certainly have a golden stereo. That kind of rig could sustain a man through several divorces. I am sure it sounds great. However, perhaps you are being a tad too sensitive about audiobugged's remarks. After all, you were the one who chose to put the disparaging remarks about the Wadia in your comments.

Maccallan25, I paid $13k for my Wadia combination including the modifications. 'Retail' is about $22k with mods. An 861 with mods could likely be obtained for $3500 used, and I am not precisely sure that price for the mods on that unit. It may be $3400 for the mods but don't quote me on that one.
...but too many non-comparitive/informative responses- too bad...

First, thank you for the kind words on the system. I like it and have nothing but admirtaion for the designers. It did set me back a few bucks but it took YEARS to get it.

On my post, please re-read it. I didn't put any disparaging remarks about the Wadia in that thread. First, I was asked to comment about the shoot-out at my home, I didn't offer it unsolicited. Second, I was simply reporting what we heard and I thought I had done so in a very non-disparaging manner. You will note I stated I had always liked Wadia, that I have owned Wadia before, that I thought it would have been a closer comparison and then I even stated that ALL those players were less costly and acquitted themselves quite well. The comments about dull or blah were quoting someone there. Not only that, but I also CLEARLY state that the shoot-out was NOT with the Wadia 27/270 combo and that such a comparison might be different. This certainly sounds more like fair reporting than disparaging.

RTN1, I am not trying to be confrontational with you, but how can you accuse me of being too sensitive when Audiogeek was the one who disparaged all of my guests along with me with his hearing aid comment (but gave NO useful information to back up his remark) and then you say I disparage Wadia with my simple and honest remarks - all of which were verifed by others in attendance (see Drhst21's post) and for which I concede at the end was all simply opinion and subject to differing views based on all the variables???

Seriously, do any of you others reading this post see it that way? I would honestly like to know.
Frank- I sympathize with you, this is the reason I stopped posting with regularity- you share your experiences and you get jumped for it. Honestly(and I am SURE you are the same way now) I'd rather be selfish and just enjoy music and keep my experiences to my self- its not worth the agrivation. Its sad what this place has become, in particular when a few select products get mentioned.

As an aside I have heard Wadia many times and always leave dissapointed. I couldn't be happier with the Meitner gear it allows me to forget about the equipment and enjoy the music- in fact Haydn is sounding mighty good in the other room I am going to listen. You guys stay here and keep argueing about how great the wadia is :^)
rtn1, I didn't think Frank P. was making disparaging remarks about the Wadia. He simply was relating what the girl friend of the Wadia owner had stated. He had told me the same story over the phone some days ago. Maybe it came across differently in print to some wadia owners but from our previous phone conversation I don't believe that was his intent.
Regards, Frank Gortz
I'm with Sutts and Jond:
What are the comparatives or say relative differences *between* the two units as posted in the original thread ?
Just curious 2.
I have owned EMM Labs dac (unfortunately had to sell due to financial reasons), and recently heard some Wadia (a stock 860x I believe). There is NO comparison- the Wadia sounded dry and digital- not so with the Emm Labs. Mind you, that was the 860x- I can't comment on the higher-up stuff...

The adjectives of 'blah', 'lifeless', and 'dull' are desparaging. I agree with the rest of the post, and personally don't care which terms you choose. I am merely suggesting that if you care to attach such blanket terms to a piece of equipment that many do derive much enjoyment, then you should not be so sensitive when someone jokingly questions this qualitative assessment. Could we move on now?

Frank G, thanks, that is exactly right, I was simply relaying the initial impression of someone in the room.

Tim (Tireguy) for such a young buck you sure have perspective. I agree with you, I should have learned my lesson long ago. I simply won't waste any more of my time trying to respond with honest OPINIONS stated as such on this forum any longer when I have great music to listen as a much more valuable way to spend my limited spare time! Jackie Allen and Stravinsy beckon!!!

Adios and Enjoy gentlemen!
I wrote my last post right before tireguys. As a postscript I'd like to tell you what Frank P also said in our phone conversation about the several players that were compaired. He said "I wouldn't have believed it but guess which player was the closest to the EMM? It was a modded SONY SCD 1". I believe Frank left that out of this thread on purpose so as not to offend any Wadia owners.
Also it should be noted that we're not comparing apples to apples. (modded to factory stock) I've heard that Richard Kern already has low cost mods the the EMM transport that is supposed to improve it. (Here in Palm Springs it's 108 degrees and I can already feel the heat from the nuclear explosion that just went off in Portland). I heard that second hand so don't hold me to it.
Rx8man, I believe Frank P already addressed your question with the comments that caused all this controversy.
Tireguy (Tim) Please keep on posting, I learned a lot
from you, If they jump on you ,ignore them. I stop
posting also because of the same reason.Now Iam back.
Fmpnd, sorry you won't be posting...I for one have enjoyed your inputs. I'ts really too bad if some people can't take them in context.

Agree with you 100% - well almost ;-) These firefights serve no purpose in terms of enlightenment, and in truth, both the Wadia and Emms gear are exceptional. After that, to each his own. Having said that, I've done the Emms Labs/Wadia shootout and came down firmly on the side of Wadia - but hey, my ears, my system, my music, right?

A couple of things that should be noted about the Wadia: The 861 does not strike me as quite the transport that the 270 is, and Wadia equipment is not necessarily the best playmate for other DACs. Something to keep in mind - perhaps a more fair test would be a complete shootout which would switch both transports in and out of setups with both the DAC6, and the 27ix. That might give a better perspective....

In any case people, Tim is right on the nose; enjoy your tunes on your gear, and respect others' right to do the same. Y'all should feel fortunate that you are able to possess and appreciate this level of equipment.

Off to listen to some Shostakovich...
Fmpnd - You have done nothing wrong. Blah, lifeless and dull are not attacks, but an honest appraisal of your experience. It was a great thread until Audiobugged's hearing aid comment. It sounded quite insulting to me, although I think he may have been surprised at those terms in conjunction w/ Wadia (I own a GNS 850, and would never use those words to describe its sound, but I've never heard Meitner gear either). His next sentence was valid regarding pre-amp useage. Maybe he just didn't realize how offensive the hearing aid comment sounded.
Please don't stop posting honest appraisals of equipment - that's what makes this site useful. If I only wanted to hear positive things, I would subscribe to Stereophile. There is a difference betwen an attack and describing a piece of equipment as not as good as another, and people can disagree on the relative merits of a product if they say why - no piecde is perfect, and if one piece excels at bass, maybe its midrange resolution is fuzzy. Saying so is not an attack, but provides useful info to all.
Drhst20 was the Wadia you referred to the 861 SE or just 861? could anybody who has done this comparison give some specific sonic impressions of the differences between the two units please?

The Wadia was a 861 (Not SE) with the latest statement upgrades from GNSC. The differences, as I remember them, are as follows.

As Far As running direct to amps:

1. The Wadia simply did not have the resolution of the EMM Gear. This is important as resolution is what I loved about my Wadia compared to everythng else I have ever owned (If you are curiuous as to what I have owned, just check out my Virtual system).

2. The bass (which I also loved about my Wadia) sounded muddy compared to the Emm Gear.

3. Transparency and air increased substantially. This was probably the first and easiest thing we noticed.

4. When I first recieved my Wadia, I noticed it was ever so slightly rolled off. As I became accustom to its sound, I did not notice it anymore. However, every time I placed it against another player, or played a piece of music with say a high soprano, I would notice that the highs where just slightly rolled off. It never bothered me much, but when you compared it to the EMM gear, it was noticable. The EMM gear just seems to take the highs to the stratosphere without becoming eggy.

When using the Wadia thorugh the EMM Switchman preamp:

1. Bass control and Transperecny improved along with Dynamics. I actually prefered the Wadia thorugh the Switchman vs running direct to the amps. This surpirsed me as I have tried a number of preamps (Bat VK-51SE, Placette, etc)with the Wadia and prefered it direct (Although as I have stated previously, I could see how some might always prefer it thorugh a pre-amp. My taste do not always correspond to others tastes).

I hope that helps everyone. Again, I loved my Moded Wadia 861, especially with my Elrod Statement II and would not hesitate to recomend it to someone looking for a one box player, but to me, the EMM labs gear is better. The DCC2 is the first pieces of digital gear that I have no real complaints about when I listen to it.

I think (and I know, my thoughts are like golden nuggets of wisdom that shine light on all that is dark....kidding) that the hearing aid comment may have come off differently in print than what the posters intent actually was. (I could be wrong?)

But, I for one am a bit of a smart ass and sarcastic at times, which in print, can often sound offensive. So, I try to be very aware of that and save the "funny" comments for live conversations with people who know my true nature and can see my disarming charm. Of course, there may be a history in other threads between members. But from what I read in this thread, at worst, a thoughtless comment was made, and response was returned before the emotion subsided which heightened the emotion.

Moving on - I am anxious to hear the comments and opinions on the actual comparison - If I read this thread correctly, 2 digital sources were compared, but nothing has been stated about either players performance or characteristics other than: they are both excellent but different in what they do, a quote from a non-poster, and a we liked this one. What did you like? what did you not like? How were they different? That's the stuff we want to hear about. I for one may never have 2 players of this caliber in my system on the same day, so I am very intrigued. I doubt that I will be swayed in my decision to go with a stock Wadia 861 SE, but that is me for various reasons (which I'll share if anyone cares), and I still want to hear other's opinions - because? I do not know, other than the possibility that I like to drive myself nuts occasionally.

I appreciate hearing all perspectives, and pledge not to get offended or become offensive. Please understand though, that I am human, so do not be too disappointed if I too have a human moment with a thoughtless or defensive post.

I love it. A bunch of Meitner bandwagoners afraid they might not have the best. Other posts may have been just people justifying their purchase.

If you bought it then it must be the best - right?

keep the battle going this is fun.

Come on shoot some arrows at me. Let them fly.
Wow, who knew this seemingly innocent thread would ruffle so many feathers? I have to say to Tireguy and Fmpnd that Audiogon would be lessened by your absence. However perhaps everyone is being just a bit touchy here. Lets remember, we're talking about steroes, not politics or religion. So let's everybody take a deep breat and lets start over. Perhaps a good place to start would be the original poster completing his shootout by giving his impressions of the Meitner gear. As for everone else, peace.
Drhst20 thanks for your evaluations. They were very specific. saw Fmpnd's system it's quite a bit better than your system how did his system sound compared to yours? I am wondering if you could have been so amazed by his system quality that you couldn't really evaluate the differences between the Meitner and Wadia in just a short time frame? I know I have heard excellent systems before and was so shocked at the difference that it was difficult to comprehend what I was hearing let alone trying to compare two components would not have been possible at that time do to being in shock over the differences I was hearing. if you compared the Meitner in your system I'm sure if would have been easier to learn what the exact differences were over the Wadia simply because it's your system and you know what it's capable of and sounds like. I have a Wadia 861 statement it will be upgraded to SE status and latest statement specification including the new speed of light magnet modifications by GNSC in October I am hoping to do a comparison against Frankg's CDSD/DCC2 combination [hello Frank has the Meitner CDSD transport arrived yet?]. After October sometime if possible. I will post the results if it occurs. Justin Ingram
OK, so you want me to compare the Meitner to the Wadia? I think that is a fair question. After all, this forum is really here so that we could discuss different equipment and rely on others experience and opinion of this stuff. After all, not all of us have the availability or time to travel and listen. And of course, it should be fun to discuss this stuff too. I know that I relied heavily on others opinion in putting together my system.

As many have pointed-out, I have not made mention of the Meitner characteristics. This was on purpose. After all, there are countless others with far more experience who have summarized their thoughts far more eloquently than I could. What could I add to all of that? And far be it for me to give less than the highest praise for a piece of equipment that undoubtedly gives tremendous satisfaction to so many. Additionally, I didn’t want to create a firestorm of controversy. I knew that regardless of how neutral I cast things, there would be those that need to read into them and make interpretations and accusations and excuses and other rationalizations. My whole integrity would be called into question for sure.

I have to say that I went into this with an open mind. For the past year, I have read the hype. The mantra from the date of inception and the debuts at all the shows have been “the best”, “nothing comes close (and I have heard it all)”, “digital perfection”, etc. It would seem that if anything could unite the audiophile world, this would be it. I was prepared to potentially sell my current CD player if it was clearly trumped as I expected it would be. Selling my set-up wouldn’t be that big of a deal. I had read about all those that plunked down a credit card and bought a Meitner on impulse.

The whole point of the thread was just to raise the possibility that the idea of a piece of equipment that is ‘the best’, perhaps does not exist. Can’t a handful of top CD players share the limelight? Isn’t there some room for variation in personal preference?

The CD player is great. As I said before, there is no denying that this is the pinnacle of CD playback. I am sure I would be quite happy with it if I bought it. But when I listened, I have to say that my jaw didn’t drop, my eyes didn’t pop out of my head, and the clouds didn’t part the sky. Was I expecting too much? Did all the discussion perhaps set things up so that anything less than being propelled to audio nirvana would be a bit of a disappointment? After all, I was expecting a revolution. I was expecting something I had never heard before. I was expecting to be blown-away by my first taste of SACD. Surely, it would rank right up there with my wedding day and my son being born.

So in the end, I believe that both players can be placed at the top. They each have their own attributes and characteristics. Of course, everybody would like to know what they are. In the grandest sense of generality, I would put it this way. The Meitner conveys the music with smoothness and lushness, and the Wadia conveys the music with clarity and precision. That’s it. Don’t over-read into it. Don’t say that the Meitner is as detailed as the Wadia without the harshness. Don’t say this means the Meitner is like vinyl. And don’t say that this means the Wadia is unmusical. It is simply the most striking difference between the two. Neither has absolute correctness. One just has to realize what is important to them when they listen to music and recreate what they enjoy about a performance.

Here’s a general guideline for those trying to decide between the 2. If you really like much of what the Wadia 800 series does, then you will probably love the highest refinement of these characteristics. If you dislike most of what the Wadia 800 series does, then you will probably not like it even with these refinements. After all, if you don’t like the Wadia philosophy, then spending huge sums of money will probably not let you like it.

I remain open minded to hear the Meitner again. Jerry has new speakers on order, and I'd love to know how these sound. If he is willing, we could do another comparison once he get's these up and running in the next several months.

So here's to a good, civil discussion,
Welcome to the fray, Robm321- I'm surprised you've remained in the wings this long.

A little digital background. For 5+ happy years I owned a Wadia 270/27i combo, with a mid level GNSC mod performed in year 4. Next- Audio Aero Cap. Mk.II. Next- Meitner Philips SACD 1000, Switchman II, DAC 6. Current- Meitner CDSD & DCC2.

It seems reasonable to try to factor price differences into the overall performance appraisals of these components. The DCC2 is quite different than the Wadia players or seperates in that it has a full and seperate pre-amp section, in addition to the DAC. Yes, the Wadia has the built in output stage and digital volume control to drive amplifiers directly. The output stage is on a par with an average quality pre-amp ( I think I'm being fairly generous here ) and the digital volume control is quite flawed in design and practice when compared to an analog domain volume control, as might be found in say, the DCC2.

All that being said, the price of a Wadia 861 with full GNSC mods is less, I think, than the CDSD / DCC2. The 27/270ix combo with full mods is more expensive, again- I think, than the CDSD / DCC2. Based solely on my previous experience, I beleive that the performance of the CDSD / DCC2 beats any and all of the above mentioned units in CD playback AND offers SACD playback AND a truly excellent pre-amp section.

The bummer with the Wadia gear is that you MUST use a pre-amp to get the highest level, of performance possible from the units. If you add a $6k-$10k pre-amp, plus $1k-$2k interconnect, plus a $1k-$2k powercord to the modded 270 / 27ix you've WAY exceeded the cost of the CDSD / DCC2 and, IMHO, have achieved inferior performance.

The only potential hole in my argument is that- #1- that the current model fully GNSC modded 270 / 27ix or 861 is WAY better than my mid level GNSC modded 270 / 27i. I'm giving everyone a big target to nit pick at here, if anyone wants to.

I think the most salient points are- If I had an inkling that the latest and greatest that Wadia has to offer was superior to my 1st foray into the Meitner camp, I certainly wouldn't have upgraded to the CDSD / DCC2 and I would have, instead, purchased a hot-rodded 270 / 27ix, with attendant pre-amp, interconnect and power cord. That would satisfy, neither my objective of superior sonic results, nor any prudent price/performance equation.
This thread's back on the right track.
Here is the other listeners perspective on the comparison sessions involving the Meitner and Wadia equipment. Rob and I tried both playback systems in each others homes. Total listening time was about two hours in each system. In the context of this one day of comparison, there really was no "winner" or "loser" as both systems are at or near the top of what is capable in digital playback. Having said that, there were clear differences between the two systems and personal preference would dictate what sounded the "best". I like to evaluate equipment based on how musical it is and how connected it makes me feel to the performance. The Meitner gear provided a full, smooth and rich sound. The Wadia gear had a tendency to be more analytical, detailed and at times lean. The Meitner gear put the listener in the front five rows. The Wadia gear put the listener in the middle of the theater. I like intimate sounding music: jazz, small combo's and vocals. Rob likes large scale music: classical, symphonic orchestra and opera.
Because of the intimate presentation tendencies of the Meitner I preferred it to the Wadia as it gave me a greater sense of musicality and connectedness to the music. I only listen to classical music at the start of ballgames (I think the Star Spangled Banner is classical???), so I don't know if I would prefer the Meitner over the Wadia on large scale music. Rob clearly preferred the Wadia on his choice of music.
Aside from the playback, there were a few minor system differences that could make a difference to a potential buyer. The Meitner has a built-in preamp section that can accomodate other playback media ie analog or another cd player. The Wadia sounds best when used at the higher volume settings. The Meitner has no such volume setting issues. The Wadia readouts are quite small and very hard to read from across the room (at least for these old eyes). The Meitner readouts are about three times as large making distant viewing quite easy. The Wadia remote had to be pointed directly at the equipment. The Meitner remote had a wider scope of operation. The Meitner offers SACD playback and the Wadia only plays redbook cds. For anyone into or considering SACD, the Meitner is simply breathtaking.
I think anyone who owns either system should consider themselves quite fortunate. I would like to thank Rob for a very interesting day of listening!!!
Just to clarify, I am not going to stop posting here at audiogon. I said I have stopped posting with regularity, big difference, from time to time I chime in but these days I'd rather be listening then argueing who's amp will beat up mine :^) Knowing Frank P the way I do I am sure he is the same exact way. In no way are you- the fine folks here at audiogon- going to rid me that easily!

But Dvorák is calling so I must be going- enjoy the music!
Fbhifi.....I have been following this thread from the sidelines and I really enjoyed your post because you stated a lot of info there. Frank...Tim.... this hobby ROCKS! There are always others out there to crash the party but we know their intentions.

I have compared the DCC2 to the Wadia in both my system and Frank's (Although I admit that in my system, the comparison was done using a cheap DVD player as my transport for the DCC2). Even using the DVD player as the transport, I prefered the DCC2 (although, with the DVD player as the transport, I prefered the Wadia's overall body, as the DCC2 sounded a little thin). It really was not difficult discerning the differences in Frank's system. Honestly, the differences where that dramatic (as I beleive Frank stated, my girlfriend immediatly noticed the difference....and she is certainly no audiophile). As far as Frank's system compard to mine....At low levels, I often prefer my system. I do alot of casual listening so my system is designed to accomodate that. It is when it gets loud that Frank's system is simply awsome!!!! His bass is about as tight as it gets!!!
Awww LPs I love the sound. Oh wrong post.

I'm so uncivilized, a barbarian of the audio world
I think there is a troll under the bridge.....yawn.......:-O
The only thing I hate on my wadias is when the power fails, this little occurance can down my system for 3 days before the resolution and soundstaging return to normal. So when somebody brings over a cold unit and tries to compare it to a hot unit, there are some unfair advantages to be had. I also know that the Elrod is not a good p/c when compared to the Master of VD on the Wadias. So the conclusions that people arrive at may not be the most objective. Sorry if I ruffle any feathers but these little items should be noted.

Have you heard the Elrod Statement on the Wadia? I found the improvement to be not subtle. I do not have any experience with virtual dynamics.

I tend to agree with Rtnl......The Elrod Statement II on the Wadia was huge inmprovement!!!!!!! Soundstage, Transparency, and Dynamics all increased greatly. I have not though heard it with the Virtual Dynamics.
Wow, this thread is quite interesting.

I have had a number of Wadia trades both with and without the GNSC Statement mods. I am personally surprised that so many like the Wadia. I find it very mechanical and etched. I also find the loss of information when playing below 60 on the volume very disturbing.

I think there are quite a few other CD playback combos I would prefer to the Wadia Statement, if the EMM Labs were not available.
Celine, I tried to ask the same question about thermal stability days ago. Agree that the Wadia takes 48-72 hours to thermally stabilize and that such stabilization makes a significant audible difference.

Jtinn, I have found the Wadia to sound best at 100 through a very high quality pre-amp. I have never even bothered trying to listen to the Wadia with the output digitally attenuated below 80, as such "is not recommended".