I have heard both and my recommendation would be Wadia. Yes, we are an authorized dealer for Wadia but that is not why I am recommending them per se. On the merits of the sonics alone - the Wadia is far superior.
And, yes, the McIntosh is warmer. Only you can determine if you would prefer the most revealing, true-to-life sounding front end source or would you prefer something polite and harmonically modified.
With all do respect, the newer Mcintosh amps, preamps and digital are not like the prior generations. The newer electronics and digital are not warm, fuzzy, slow, forgiving, colored, tubby, slow in the bass, or whatever the cliches are. I have owned the older stuff and now the newer. The older models the above attributes/faults may be true, but not in the the newer amps/preamps and Mcd 1100. For the record I own the Mcd 1100, had it for sale recently because I thought it was too lean sounding and overly judgemental. Turns out if left powered on 24/7 or given a two hour warmup it becomes a whole other animal. No doubt Wadia does great digital but if the Mcintosh is warmer than the Wadia, it just may be too cool IMO.
>>Yes, we are an authorized dealer for Wadia but that is not why I am recommending them per se.<<
If you choose a Wadia, so make secure that the works 100%. It is my opinion, that Wadia unfortunately has way too many bugs in their products.
However, Wadia has in my opinion, a much better sound, and you should look at at the 381 or 381i model.
Had I been both a McIntosh & Wadia dealer - or neither (like Audiofeil) I would still direct you toward Wadia.
The 381 is a strong recommendation at $3,000 less than the MCD 1100. Even more so when you consider that, based on our phone conversation, you don't require SACD playback or integration with a computer. Sounds to me like your friend is advising you properly.
Give it up Burt. As soon as you mention you are a dealer, your opinion usually becomes worthless on here. (think back to the trust a dealer to put together a 10k system thread) Unless you recommend something you don't sell that is, which I actually do at times. I don't carry th JL home line anymore, but guess what, I still tell people they have awesome subs, and if it's in the budget, it should be on their short list. Doesn't anyone think a dealer sells a certain line because they actually believe it's a good product? I don't know Burt,(Seattlehifi) but, maybe he is just a nice guy, trying to help, and offer good advice.
1) I'll be running unbalanced direct to Mono Blocks
(So still Wadia? and is the audio out in the 381i the
same as S7i ?) I hear that analog out volume control
(mac)is normally favored over digital control (wadia)
2) Chris10an above mentioned "Bugs" in their products. Has
anyone else (fellow Audiogoners)experienced problems
All pruducts will have their problems (at some point) I
just don't want to get into a product that's known to
have problems/bugs. (I'm not saying Wadia has that
reputation It's just that Chris raised a concern)
Tnx to all for your input.
As an individual that has owned numerous Wadia units over the past 20+ years, and, as a Wadia dealer during half of that time, having sold many, many dozens of units at high volume dealerships (Listen Up, Sounds Like Music), I can assure you that Wadia products are no more or less reliable than any other well respected high end digital brand. Because they specialize in CD players, transports, and dacs - maintenance and repair of worn "moving parts" on players and transports is to be expected. The Wadia repair service process is simple and the turn around is expedient. Should you have any concerns, don't hesitate to contact Wadia directly:
service at wadia dot com
Hah - thanks for the benefit of the doubt. JL makes a great product as does Wadia.
Unfortunately, with Internet forums & threads offering users a level of anonymity, some feel quick to challenge or lash out. I remain unfazed and undeterred by such people.
Yes, it is true that The Wadia 381/381i CD Player provides attenuation while the signal is still in the digital domain. And while many prefer that this function be performed in the analog domain, Wadia uses a proprietory digital volume control. And as there are always two sides to every coin, just because something is done in the analog domain does not mean that it is perfect or correct. Many analog circuits, switches, and wires can and will cause sonic degradation.
So perhaps the better question to ask would be whether the Wadia volume control compromises resolution?
Wadia answers that as follows:
"The Wadia 381/381i CD Player uses the latest generation of Wadias proprietary digital volume control. The volume level can be varied in the digital domain by means of mathematical manipulation of the signal, eliminating the distortion and noise that are inevitable with even the best analog volume controls. While conventional thinking indicates that reducing the volume digitally can sacrifice low level resolution, Wadia has created an innovative solution. Wadias patented digital filtering algorithm produces a 24 bit output rather than the 16 bits stored on the CD. This high-resolution signal is then used in the computations which in turn reduce the volume level. This
new signal is fed directly to the DAC chips. Through this innovative method, the Wadia 381/381i CD Player maintains high resolution even at the lowest volume control settings."
I've owned a Wadia 861b since 2002, yes 10 years. It has not had one problem and it gets an average of 8 hours of play per week I'd say. In fact, for the past several weeks I've been playing it 24/7 as I've been breaking in new amplifiers and power conditioners. Thing is built like a tank and I'll be shocked if it ever dies. Obviously it must at some point, but my Muse Model 10 (also 10 years old) has already been repaired twice and meanwhile the Wadia keeps on playing without issue.