The Wadia equipment was very good in it's day, but digital, more than anything else currently in audio, does not stand still.
I have compared the Audio Aero, Audiomeca directly with the Wadia 7/9 and 27ix/270 and the Wadia cannot compare anymore.
The Wadia transports are still terrific, but the DAC's are outdated.
I think getting Cambridge D500SE demo $325 from audioadvisor(30 days free trial!) is much better deal nowdays. DACs chips become cheaper and cheaper so as computers do. Newer DACs are easier to filter and they're more precise than previous ones.
The only thing is not clear how player with CD-rom drive and DAC-chips $50 each can cost $25...27k or even than reduced to $5k??
I directly compared Cambridge D500SE with Capitole II and found differences only in output level Capitole had a-bit higher than Cambrige(hence the distortions might be less but not to the level to spend $7k instead of $300 for sure).
Jtinn are you saying that Audio Aero, Audiomeca better separates from Wadia?
Would you care to expand a litle, how much better in what areas etc etc.
I would really appreciate :)
Prior to me buying my capitole mkII(which I recently sold btw, so I think my opinion is unbias seeing as I don't have to justify my purchase) I listened to the high end Wadia player the 860 or 861 perhaps there was an X after the model number too, it was a while ago and the exact model has slipped my mind, how ever the sound has not, it was DIGITAL. I was looking to upgrade my accuphase seperates at the time which were pretty darn good(just not a good value) and the wadia was a step back wards heading towards digititis I was looking for a more analog sounding player. Many players manage to be analog sounding how ever most tend to become overly warm(to my ears) a prime example is the Electrocompaniet cd player- incredibly analog sounding, how ever too warm for my ears and seemed to be a little rolled off on the top end. But I digress.
The Capitole MkII is NOT a wow player, it doesn't instill that wow factor that a lot of components do. It never grows tiresome, and it gets a lot better after break-in. In the sub $10k price I can not think of a player I would rather own. Wadia digital never really blew me away, its very edgy and sterile. I think a lot is said about a component based on its resale value, anything that sells for less then 50% probably isn't that great of a deal to begin with.
Sorlowski: Both players are more musically correct to my ears than the Wadia. There is a naturalness that is not evident with the Wadia when compared with either of the other players, especially the Audio Aero. The Wadia is dry and thread bare in comparison.
Tireguy- why the sale of the Cap, and what have you moved to?
Sorlowski- Jtinn is right re: the digital stuff- I have a Spectral transport (uses similar VRDS clamping technology to Wadia), and use an Audio Note Dac. My philosophy is to get a transport that extracts the most detail/signal from the disc, then 'tune' by finding a dac that matches your listening preferences- i.e. 'warmer' or 'tubier' vs accurate, etc.- whatever sonic descriptors are appropriate.
Anyways, I owned a Capitole Mk I, and can attest to Tireguy's comments- it is easy on the ears, but in the end I realized that too many details were being masked over due to the inferior nature of the transport in that iteration of the player (although I found the Mk II better in that regard). Therefore, in the end, I found the 'two-box' solution to be ultimately more satisfying.
Sutts- I regretfully sold be little cap. MkII :( and have ordered the EMM labs(Meitner) DCC2 and transport- In other words I took the plunge into SACD(just so happens that these SACD seperates are amazing on redbook too!)
on the contrary..the biggest improvements in digital sound have come via the way software is mastered for playback...although there have been improvements in hardware, most of the changes in hardware have been operational and build improvements that don't have a tremendous impact on what you hear. with boutique hi end manufacturers, as much time and money is spent to change your perception of playback quality as is on achieving actual sonic improvements...that kind of big bucks research is the stuff of phillips,denon,sony,etc who have a major stake in both the hardware and software industries. we are in a world where 0ver 50% of music playback happens on pc's....lord have mercy.
If you like beets, and find them on sale, then by all means buy them and enjoy.
If you don't like beets, however, even a price of one cent is too high.
I don,t agree with tireguy,The aero is a great sounding unit,But it's reliability is far from acceptable,two trusted audiophiles friends of mine sold their units,because of reliability issues.I personally have the EMC1UP Electrocompaniet and feel it's the very best in price/performance ratio.The flavor of the month digital happens to be the Meinter dac At $10K,I don't think so.
If you read these forums,it's the same guys pushing this gear.I've own wadia and agree,it's digital sounding.But i can't justify spending $10k on a dac which in 3 years will be forgotten.Let your ears be the judge not your wallets.
Try the Wadia 861 with the Statement Modification from Steve Huntley at Great Northern Sound.
Tireguy- yes, the Emm Labs is the new thing and probably excellent considering the technology advance- it sounds enticing, however out of my league $$$, as Jtinn has quoted me full list @ $10k, and that's just for the dac! He wants another $5k for the matching Emm transport. Not sure if there is a money-back guarantee- I live in Canada, so can't audition this stuff- would be hard-presses to pop for $15k without even hearing it first...
It's OK though- I'm still pretty happy with the Spectral/Audio Note setup- in fact, I also use the Audio Note for home theater too (run satellite digital signal through it). The AN is very detailed dac, and I find I am getting the smallest nuances of the signal, whether it's vocals or music coming though.
Please let us know how you like the Emm Labs stuff once you get it though- I am sure it will be great. Did you actually get a chance to hear it prior to committing??
Sutts- I heard the combo at the show in Montreal, a couple of months ago and was blown away(note: I heard the DAC6, switchman mkII combo- no one has heard the DCC2 yet). I went up with a friend who was interested in speakers and amps, I was just generally curious. So the kind folks at the Kharma, tenor, Emm labs room allowed us private listening time during Friday and Saturday night; he bought the speakers and I bought the emm labs gear :)
I also have about half a dozen friends who are using the dac6, switchman combo and love it- and knowing what they have had and what there systems are I do trust there opinion.
The Wadia sound now is very Digital & dry. This is due almost entitely to the newer algorythym they were using in the last 5 years. They now offer selective modes for the user to choose. So you can sort through the menu to find the two or three newer ones, or the one older original software version. This is the one that sounds best. It is the one the Wadia #9 uses. The 7&9 combo is still very good. The 7 can be modified by Steve at Great Northern Sound for about $1500-2,0000 to put it at world class level. I know I own one ! The 9 has glass only input. There is no physical room to install an AES/EBU board. If there was......This could still be a world class contender with a few other internal parts updates. As far as the original question of "is it worth it for $5,800 bucks" Hell yes !If you haven't heard the 7&9. Don't bother ytrying to knock it.
Of the Cd players mentioned here on audiogon I only had the chance to audition Wadia Audio Aero Mark II. It is sometimes difficult to compare systems in different stores as the rooms, amp and speakers are not at all alike.
Since I knew I was going to buy here on audiogon I only asked the sales attendants if I could just listen for a bit while not interrupting normal business. Of course it would have been wrong to request a home audition.
With the above disclaimer, I bought the AA it was no contest with the Wadia. I am very happy with the unit. I did have to send it to the shop in Texas but this was not a big problem as I air freighted it on Wednesday and I had it back, fixed and working perfectly in less than ten days. The cost was not at all that much, especially considering this was the only place I could get it repaired.
I, too am a bit anxious to get Tireguy's opinion of the EMM in his home as his satisfaction with the AA has been very high. Still, I doubt I will be shelling out the big bucks as I am very happy with my AA eventhough I could at this thime probably sell my AA for more than I paid for it.
A fellow Audiophile purchased the Krell KAV 280cd for big $$$ not too long ago,and sold it for 1/2 of what he paid only after 6 months or ownership.Technology never stops moving forward,whats cutting edge today is obsolete tommorrow.Wadia makes fantastic units but the company seems to be one step behind in their ability to keep up with changing digital landscape.
Tireguy - The only DACs that I have heard that sound analog without HF rolloff are:
1) EMM labs
2) PT P-3A with Turbomod and superclock2