Opus 21

I need to replace a Wadia unit that needs a new drive that is no longer available. Would appreciate any comments on the Resolution Audio Opus 21.
I have an Opus 21 that I bought from Great Northern Sound / Steve Huntley in Minnesota. The Opus 21 was for use in a second system, my first system featuring a fully tricked out Wadia 861 SE with the GNSC Statement modification.

When I first got the Opus 21, I listened to it without modification in a system with a Hovland HP100, Luxman MB3045's and Harbeth SHL5s. The Opus 21 sounded great in that system. The Opus is not "digital" sounding for a unit at its price. It is full and relaxing and I enjoyed it. When listening to my second system, I did not pine for the big rig. It was very enjoyable and the errors were those of omission relative to my 861.

After about a year, I asked Steve to upgrade the Opus 21 to the Reference level. The mod seemed to improve the low end weight and dynamics most prominently. I think that there are other things, too, like noise (decreases) and imaging (improves as soundstage deepens and musicians become more focused). The mod makes the Opus 21 omit less than the stock version.

Overall, I really liked the stock version and had no problems with it. I like even more the GNSC Reference mod version but do not think that it is necessary to begin to enjoy the player. It's just a nice improvement to make if the funds allow.

One more thing: If you get the chance, you can use the DNM DIN to RCA cable from the back of the Opus 21 and it makes a subtle but nice improvement. This does not allow you to use the Opus 21 volume control but is worth considering for the nominal cost ($125 or so) if you have a preamp you intend to use anyway.

The Opus 21 is a great unit and can be made better if you want (but it is not necessary to begin enjoying it). I now use mine with a Wadia 170i iPod dock and enjoy it for that application, too.
Thanks for taking time to respond. I have been away from the audio high-end for a very long time but then got a reality check when the Wadia became inoperable.

Any other units that I should consider?
I've bought and sold 2 Resolution Audio Opus 21's here on AudiogoN. I wish I had kept one. They are really good CD players for the price and they are backed by an excellent company. Also, I think the Opus 21 uses a CD-ROM drive for transport, so a new drive could likely by specified by RA if the current drive becomes unavailable. Check with RA regarding the type of transport used if it concerns you. They are good folks and will likely be happy to answer your questions.



I agree with the comments made by Casaross. I've owned and demoed many of the top digital front-ends on the market. As far as I'm concerned, the Opus 21 is a "Giant-Killer". I initially owned a Opus 21 and sold it to purchase an Audionote transport and DAC. It was a huge mistake. Even though the Audionote front-end was five times more expensive, it just was not as musically satisfying as the Opus 21. I currently own the Great Northern Sound Company Referenced modded Opus 21 unit and it is fantastic. The modded unit took a great player and made it even better. Dynamics are significantly improved with GNSC modded player.
The transports, should you need one, are readily available from RA at a cost of about $100-you could buy one as a spare if you are concerned about a repeat performance of your Wadia experience.
The drive used is DVS DSL-710A
I have to agree with Brawny but most of my experience has been with the stock Opus 21. It sounds smoother and more analog than any player I have heard under $6000. The Opus competes with extremely expensive players and is a clear bargain for the price. It is a rare Cd player that can do a great job involving the listener with classical music as well as rock and jazz.