Yes, the 581se is a marvelous piece. It is the best Wadia product I have heard, and I've owned several (16, 270i,27, 861se). We discussed this extensively on another thread, but site admin has removed most of the posts and moved the thread it to the "Wadia Owners Club", and I have yet to discover the direct navigation to it.
I hope you enjoy your new 581se. Just like you, I tried to gather as much information as possible before making the decision. I was delighted with mine from the moment I played the first disc. The 581se sounded great right out of the box. The only downside I can think of is the cost of all the SACDs you'll now want to buy ;)
I own a Wadia 581se with Great Northern Sound Statement upgrade. Unfortunately, I've never heard the unit as a stock unit. My player is the best digital playback that I've had in my system. Previous players are: Emm Labs CDSA-SE, Wadia 861se with (and without) Great Northern Sound Statement upgrade, and Meridian 508.24. My Wadia 581se's biggest strengths in cd mode are: soundstaging, texture to voice & instruments and it's live sounding clarity and imaging. In sacd, the Wadia is even better. Sounstage size in all dimensions, for both cd and sacd, is the biggest that I have heard. Texture and pinpoint imaging is wonderful, as is attack and decay. After trying several players, this is my last stop. I have over 1000 hours on it and have never had a problem. It's built like a tank. Like Droberson, I wonder what happened to the December thread that covered all this. It disappeared from Audiogon about a month ago.
Anyone, please try to compare:
Wadia 861SE vs. Wadia 850 vs. Wadia 581SE vs. DcS P8i vs. Cary 306/200
Interested in opinions on Wadias both - with or without GNSC mods.
The areas for comparisons -
1. Bass (depth, tightness, speed, and dynamics of the double bass pedal)
2.Midrange (clarity, natural-sounding, vocal performance, timbre)
3.Treble (extension, smoothnes, and non-etched)
5.Non-digital (but without losing clarity,resolution and frequency extremes)
I will connect my player to 320B XLS SET(15 W/ch) thru Gabriel Gold Revelation IC cables, and both are extremely natural, relaxed and analog-like.Also are the speakers (Silverline Sinfonia, 96 Db, 18Hz-28kHz).I don't want a player that sacrifices dynamics or bass output.If my system is going to be weak anywhere, it could only be those areas.That's why dynamics and bass speed and impact are very important.
I'm interesting only in the 581se, why don't you open a new thread?
I thought it doesn't hurt to compare one player to another.A little input from a person who has heard many players also says a lot about 581 se.Someone who heard many Wadias can say "581se is better in this or that area, etc."That's why i put it in this topic.I didn't mean to change your topic in any way.I think these two topics have some points where they can connect.
And my thread was opened few days ago.There were some comments on 581 se.This is the title
"CDP with volume and digital input...Which one?"
Talon4, I am very curious to know what specific changes did GNSC do to your new 581se?
Hello Jppenn, There are over a dozen modifications done during a Statement upgrade, which includes damping the interior of the box, installing blackgate caps and installing a new board. I used to have a file of the breakdown from Great Northern Sound in a computer file, but I can't find it on my computer. All you have to do is contact Steve @ Great Northern Sound and request the modification file for upgrading a Wadia 581se. There are three mods: Standard, Reference and Statement. Good luck! Steve does very good work. Stan
Hi I actually own the Wadia 581Se and it is a wonderful player. The bass is very controlled and the stereo image is very wide. I had all the Wadia players since the 850 and must say that this one is two steps above all the other ones.
The new Wadia has better stereo image than the older ones and is also very lively and musical. You do not need to upgrade your player to get worldclass sound.
However never listen to a player that is not fully played in. It takes about 1000 (YES) hours to be played in. I put my one on repeat for 6 weeks day and night before even do a good listening. Before that it did not sound good.
Stan, Hal, and I put a lot of posts on that other thread that would've helped here, but I suspect Stan is reluctant to invest the time if this thread will only be pruned too. Stan and I both had 861se's, and we both agree this unit is substantially better. The only caveat about the GNSC mod is a possible obstacle in the upgrade path to the 781 (if and when that happens).
About upgrading a 581 version to a 781 version. I got the confirmation today from Wadia. Just wait another month or two...
"...The 581se will be upgradeable to the 781 or 781i...
When you talked to Wadia did they mention what transport they were going to use in the 781. I thought I heard a rumor that they were trying to secure the Esoteric transport.
No, I didnt get any technical information about the 781 version. I was told to contact my local distributor a await further information.
Nope, no Esoteric; it'll be the same transport as the 581. The 781 should be shipping towards the end of next month if all goes according to plan.