It's time to replace my 2009 factory-modded Wadia S7i with a current R2R DAC.

Having finally emerged from the rabbit hole of review leading on to review (doubting I'd ever come back),  I found that most  assess their DAC's performance based on source input from computers or servers. 

But I have a collection of cd's that I wouldn't live long enough to load  into a server, nor do I foresee streaming from commercial libraries or using USB/HDMI connectivity.

So, my question:: do present-day machines perform equally as well using native mode PCM hard discs played from a transport ?

Oh and ..have any lovers of the Wadia house sound found  equivalent sound in a R2R DAC ?


- John
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I'm a Wadia guy. Still use my Model 8 transport on a daily basis with no issues after 15+ years. Dacs I  combined with it were a Wadia X-32 upgraded with at&t glass input option. Then moved up to the X-64 which I liked better. But like you, I wondered what current dacs would sound like in comparison to the Wadia. Acquired an Electrocompaniet ECD-1 with the Turbo mod from Empirical Audio ( Steve Nugent) fame.It upsamples all inputs to 24/192. Very analog sounding and made the Wadia which I was comfortable with for years sound terrible harsh. So sold the Wadia. Still own the Electro companiet, but moved to an older Mcintosh MDA-1000 using Burr Brown vintage chips. This is my last dac ever. It does everything I could ever ask for and then some. I tried it with its matching MCD-1000 transport, But the Wadia is far superior, and will be a keeper till it dies. The ECD-1 has a lot of  the Mac sound for a lot less money. Mine is currently for sale if you're interested. Hope this helps.

I may not be on point here, but I had a Hegel HD20 DAC and moved to an old Theta Pro Basic 3 R2R ladder for $500.

The Theta gives a lot of detail and is the best DAC I have had in my system.

Thanks for listening,


If you like me, cherish your PCM Redbook cd collection, then yes stay with an R2R dac. As nothing does PCM like an R2R ladder dac.
The only trouble is now the major audio dac converter chip manufactures don’t make them anymore, way too expensive to manufacturer a R2R dac chips compared to today's DSD Delta Sigma dac chips.
Hopefully the manufactures will wake up and see that now R2R lovers are buying today's discrete R2R dacs, then maybe they’ll start making them again.

If you search, I have listed somewhere a list of hiend discrete R2R dacs.
Here’s just a couple of many out there, I suggest you look at these very good sounding R2R dacs, which will make your DC’s sound the best. And you have a great transport in that Wadia S7i, maybe use it?
MSB "The Discrete DAC"
Denafrips "Terminator" (level 2 or 3)

Cheers George

FWIW, just wanted to would add a comment to this older thread.

I was using an eight year CD player with a Phillips Transport connected to my old Theta ProBasic III DAC.

I upgraded to a PS Audio Perfectwave transport about six weeks ago connected to the same Theta DAC.  

The improvement is amazing. Much more detail across the audio band with a lot more PRAT and presence.

EVERY CD is sounding better.

Thanks for listening,


Mojo Audio. Ben’s unit destroyed my Exogal Comet Plus in about four notes. 
+3 on the Mojo Mystique.  I have the v3 and love it.  Other R2R dacs I was considering:  SW1X and Audio Note
Holo Springs 2 Kitsune edition. You will love it. Read the reviews