Need help from Wadia and ML CD player owners


I recently sold my all Sonic Frontiers which including cd transport, dac, preamp and power amplification and got myself a Krell FPB-300c. As of now i am missing a cd player.
I am looking for a cd player that has a volume control so that i can elimate a preamp. Try to elimate all the box units and have very simple audio system. Just a cd player, amp and speakers. So far i was looking at the Wadia 850 and the Mark Levinson 39. My price range is no more then 3500.00. Prefer used. I only audit the ML 390s but know it is somewhat different from the ML 39. Can someone help me out on this or give me some suggestion some other brand of cd players that has a volume control.

My current system
Krell FPB-300c
B&W Nautilus 803
MIT Oracle W4

I had an 830 and today have an 861 directly connected to a FPB300. The 861 would be best, but I bought it used for 4500$, and it will still be above your limit. One of the advantages of the 861 is that the sound does not degrade that much with lower digital playback levels. All the older models show more significant degradation of sound if you use the digital volume control to lower the volume by 20 db or so.

Try to get an 860x to fit in your price range (may be difficult). The 860X is much better than the 850. Honestly I think that the 850 is an 830 with the chassis of the 860 + a more expensive transport, that's it. You only get the look and feel of the more expensive 860, not the sound. By the way the 830 it a great sounding unit, so is the 850 - just more expensive.

Hope that helps - Uli
Hi Jimmy,
I've owned quite a few Wadia players(23,850,860,861)and they're all fine machines. The 850 gives you the monocoque chassis of the 860 series and looks cool and it's built like a tank. When you move up to an 860 series player, there's quite a big difference, not only in circiutry, but maybe more importantly, there are two more substantial separate power supplies which allow it not only to sound more refined, but more solid sounding. The 860 can be further upgraded in the future to bring it up to the 861 level should you choose to do that later on. You should be able to buy a used 860 player for close to what you want to spend and end up with an excellent player and still have the flexibility to improve upon it if you feel the need. You might want to contact Steve Huntley at Great Northern Sound(651-436-8912 or; he has intimate knowledge of the Wadia players and he's a great guy too and will be happy to help guide you through your decision. Good luck...Skip
I like the 390s and prefer its more dynamic sound versus the 39. The volume control is analog which is better than digital. There are a number of cd players with digital controls in your price range, many from mid-fi manufacturers, but I am not aware of other hi-end units besides the ones you mentioned. The 390s is a relatively new model, and it might be hard to get a used one for $3500.
If you could stretch a bit financially, I would highly recommend the Audio Aero Capitole. There is one for sale right now and I have not heard a better CD player.

It has tremendous output and a remote controlled volume. It will really improve the sound of your Krell.

Good Luck.
The Wadia 850 is actually a lot closer in sound to the 860 than it is to the 830, so don't let the above post scare you off of an 850. It is an excellent machine and worth its price, but granted not quite as good as the 860/861. I would strongly recommend staying with Wadia over a Levinson 39.
I have owned a Wadia 850 and currently own an 860x directly connected to a ARC VT-50. The 860x is a more refined and musical player than the 850 and has a much better transport and power supplies. I have heard a CD39 in my system as well and IMO liked the the 850 and 860x much better. I would recommend with the Wadia's that you adjust the internal dip switches accordingly and always run with a balanced connection. Good luck...
Find a used Resolution Audio CD 55 or 50
Better than the ML
Much better than the Wadia
I've owned all the above and the CD 50 is still my reference player ($1500 used)
I run it direct to my Lamm monoblocks via balanced Valhalla's
Still have yet to hear a better system
I have an 860x and bought a Resolution CD50 to compare to see what all the fuss was about. Honestly I prefer the sound of the Rotel 855 (150.00 used) to the Resolution player. In my system and to my ears the Resolution Audio CD player can't touch the sound of Wadia, it has a very stale forward presentation, lots of detail, but in your face. I have only heard the #39 in other systems and they have always been disapointing. If you look hard you can probably find a 860 for the price you are willing to pay
Thanks for all the help my fellow audiophiles. I have though about getting the wadia 850 or 860 instead of the levinson 39. After audit at the dealer on the levinson and the wadia 861, i still feel the wadia has a very cleaning and clear sound points. Very smooth, soft sound and excellent detail. Maybe it could be the setup because it was connect to a Pass Labs X350 and B&W 802.

For the modification, how good is the sound quality. I was thinking of probably getting my future Wadia modified from them.