Holy cow.......it is the first class tease. Thank you for nothing. I will get mine by the time you will post your impressions. Come on.......my man, give us something to talk about.
49 responses Add your response
I'm listening to mine as I write this through my primary system and I am very impressed. I am running the iTransport through an Audio Aero Prestige STARS DAC/SACD player and the sound is really phenomenal.
They even included a digital coax cable and small remote.
You can set it up in less than 10 minutes.
While it may not have every bit of detail and weight that my Audio Aero conveys, you will have to remind yourself that the sound is coming from an iPod. And at this price point, its a great achievement. Wadia certainly knows what they are doing wit digital audio. (For Wadia owners, this probably comes as no surprise.)
No, it doesnt support the iPhone (at least it doesn't mention it as one that Apple products that it is made for,it may work but in my experience with products not made for the iPhone, there may be a humming sound created through your speakers) and it doesnt provide an on-screen navigation menu. You must use the iPod's screen to make your music selections. This must not be an issue for Gerryn.
Got mine yesterday, and ran it for a few hours, and I am impressed. I cued up some music that I ripped to the iPod and went between my Cambridge Audio 340C and the iTransport/Keces Da-131 DAC and it sounded just as good. The remote sucks and it would be nice to be able to see the menu through the component video jacks, but other than that, its a nice piece
I've been doing preliminary listening to my i170 over the past couple days, connected by both the digital and analong outputs to a B&K Ref50 processor for DAC. Milen007, to answer your question, it sounds better in my set-up when listening via the digital connection.
Other things to note as far as performance/features go is that the i170 has fixed level output, so the volume control on your iPod does not affect level (this is the case in both digital and analog connection). The click-wheel does not function while iPod is docked if you have an iPod Video when using the digital connection (I think the Nano may be the same case). iPod Classic is your best bet with the i170.
Overall, it appears and sounds to be a great product with little monetary investment ($350) and without having to get overly invested in PCs or music servers if you are not ready to go in that direction. I'm sure several post will be forthcoming, myself included after doing some critical A/B listening...it'll be interesting to hear what people have to say because it is difficult for people like us to admit a cheap product sounds close to our big ticket investments.....Steve
Alright, I've finally been able to sit down and listen. I'm running the Wadia into a benschmark Dac1 into a Threshold Fet 10E which feeds a Threshold 350E at the moment and NHT 3.3 speakers. I thought the sound was quite good, I directly compared an apple lossless ripped song with the same song on CD on my Theta Miles and could not tell much difference. The Theta had a slight, very slightly fuller sound. I wish I had ripped everything in wave format now!!!! My one problem that I'm having is the loss of the digital stream. It just stops producing music. Ipod continues to play, but no music. I have to re-dock. I have the current software on the ipod, which is a 160 classic, but just to make sure I reset the Wadia, reset factory settings on the ipod and am now waiting to finish syncing some music. Anyone else have this problem? I've emailed Wadia, but haven't receive a response.
I have been enjoying my iTransport for two weeks now. For a DAC it is mated to a PS Audio Digital Link III with level 4 Cullen mods. When comparing to my CDP, I am able to level match the volume of each input on my preamp and I am using the same model interconnects. Neither I or a friend could tell which source was playing when switching back and forth, which can be done with a push of a button on my remote. The majority of my music is copied via Apple Lossless, I have copied some stuff lately in WAV format.
I have had mine for about 3 weeks now. See my comments on July 1 thread. I am using a LessLoss PC (with adaptor to iTransport and a Kharma Grand Ref digicable from iTransport to Dodson 218 DAC. On CD's ripped in Apple Lossless format, it is very difficult to tell differnce from CD. I am chalking up any differences to different digicable (Stealth Sextet) and PC (Nordost Valhalla) running from my usual transport (CEC TL-1x) to DAC. Music downloads also sound very good.
I think the iTransport is a terrific product and would be worth 3-4x the price charged. I have had no trouble changing menus while iPod is in iTransport.
Hi Jpainter 236
I am having a similar problem. I get a data lock but no music with either one of my DAC's. I have updated firmware etc. The weird thing is when the unit is plugged in, I can get analog out for a few seconds, then no music, ipod is still playing. When I unplug the i170, the music comes back. Have you heard from Wadia yet about this issue?
I received my Wadia iTransport yesterday and thought Id give you my impressions. First of all, keep in mind that Im new to all this audio stuff, so I not sporting the high quality audio gear you all seem to have. I have a very low budget starter system (Marantz SR3001 HT Receiver, Paradigm Studio 20 fronts, Paradigm Studio CC470 center, PDR10 subwoofer and Atom rears), using my iPhone. (Im looking now at Rotel separate components to replace my Marantz and iPod Classic to replace my iPhone ... any thoughts?)
The iTransport is easy to set up, just plug in the digital connection, power and was playing music in just a few minutes. One note on using an iPhone, it has to set to Airplane Mode on to work.
The sound quality was about CD quality. It seems that a CD my be slightly better, sounding just a little fuller, slightly more refined. Im sure the sound quality could be improved with better components. Anyway, the benefits of having an entire CD collection at my fingertip far outweigh the slight quality loss. Also, creating custom playlists, etc. So, is the iTransport would the $379.00 price tag? Id say yes.
My 170 iTransport was working fine with my iPhone, until I got the new 3G iPhone. Now it doesn't work properly. It keeps disconnecting at random times. Airplane mode shuts off, and the little chime sounds like when you are plugging it in to charge it. Then the message displays again (as normal) about airplane mode blah blah. So I'm thinking there is a connection issue with the plug, perhaps some slight difference in pins?
As there is still not one single reply to:
"can anyone compare this transport to computer based USB output to DAC?"
I am beginning to suspect a conspiracy.
Did Starbucks acquire Wadia or something?
In the meantime, I felt a fleeting sense of good fortune to receive one of these backordered devices.
But with this thread, I haven't been brave enough to even open it, since I might just decide to return it for a refund.
Aside from technical glitches, the convenience of docking, whatever, how does this thing really SOUND?
OK then?!?!? I GIVE UP!!!
FYI, I have just received my RETURN AUTHORIZATION for the Wadia.
Fortunately, Music Direct was very cooperative.
Some of you might also be interested to note that when pressed, Music Direct couldn't really defend the iTransport above and beyond a computer, other than to say, as I suspected:
* that the iTransport offered the convenience of docking and recharging
* certain Windows kernel streaming software might not be as clean and straightforward as an iTunes handshake....
So as I suspected, this thing - in the end - is really no big deal.
As silly as it may sound.......it makes perfect sense.
Would you be willing to take it even farther??????????
If the answer is yes, follow this link to get the most out of your iTransporeter. I believe Audio Tone will have this version up for review.
Wadia iTransporter - extreme mods
Mrjstark, thx for recommendation. The digital output of the Wadia is indeed very flimsy and not worthy of the Wadia name. This way Wadia gets also a bit of a "midfi" status. Also the external power supply/wall wart is just adequate but not very oldskool Wadia like. In short, we need a "signature" version of the 170i.
Yeah, thanks Mrstark. Have you heard the mods?
I wish they'd moved to a high quality digital output rather than going to the Vampire RCAs. The other mods make sense to me, but I'll be using it purely to get a digital signal to my Playback Design's DAC, so I might not really need to full mod.
I worry a little when they say that maple is the best wood for damping, when archtop guitar builders say it's the best for resonating with a sharp edge to the tone. Oh well... ;-) There's got to be better damping materials than maple!!!
Still it may be worth giving them a call. First I need to buy my 170i.
Chris is right:
"In short, we need a "signature" version of the 170i. "
I'll be willing to pay extra for "all out assault" Wadia iPod transport (iTransporter).
No I have not. I suppose to get my iTransporter a while back but I have not heard from the dealer yet. I will get it in a week or two one way or the other and hope to try it with my build-in Isabellina DAC (RWA).
Jeff Dorgay of "Tone Audio" pub. might be the one who will review the modded Wadia iTransporter in the near future.
I will wait for his comments and try to draw my own conclusions.
Modification might make audible improvements in Wadia's budget offering - considering the target price, you can not expect high quality parts and finish........can iTransporter be improve ? I think so.
It is relatively new product and only time will tell the whole story of Wadia's budget wonder and how far it can be taken - performance wise.
I'm viewing it as a device used merely to extra a digital signal from my iPod and get it to my DAC; however, I assume there must be a conversion in there, otherwise we'd only need a simple wire.
I guess that I need to order one. It'll be interesting to compare the Lossless files to the original software through the same DAC.
Dave , you have probably heard the buzz about those computer base player that cost an arm and a leg...
If iPod , together with Wadia can accomplish pretty much the same results - why not at least try that.
Since the iPod is basically a transport, the most important aspect of its design must be the truthful reproduction of "data" and minimum interference from anomalies like:
power supply, jitter or poor component quality.
If all of the above can be address and optimized, IMO - iTransporter/iPod will not only be thought of as another digital source but a World Class digital transport, capable of quite high music reproduction.
Some may be disappointed or in doubt about its performance but please keep in mind that it is only as good as you make it to be.....meaning:
To get the most out of this combination one will have to pair it with capable DAC and if possible - find the ways to improve the iTransporter's weak spots and possibly get it "of the grid" (battery powered).
Of coarse , I am only speculating on this matter and only the person who actually tried all of the above can tell if it makes sense or NOT.
IMHO, it is worth a shot.
For about $600 (including iPod and iTransporter) you have a good start in high quality digital reproduction. Add a quality DAC and apply mods that will take this combo to the level on par with the best.
Please do not quote me on this , since best is a very broad statement. What I meant is very capable.
I suspect that within the next two years I'll be building a Mac-based server system. There's a program called Waasoo, or something like that, that'll work with the Mac a true hi-rez sampling rates. If I can store my hi-rez at hi-rez rates and then play them through this Playback Designs DAC, then I'll be very happy.
Meantime, I'm going to get a Wadia and run it through the PD. That should be "pretty good", just not as good as it can be with a higher sampling rate.
Dudi, Dudi, Dudi........that is exactly what I thought about (originally) the digital playback.
Hi-rez or not it is in the eyes of the beholder.
I have heard top notch Hi-rez playback and plain old school non-oversampling/non-sampling DACs and they both had their pluses and minuses.
I am not sure if you are going to gain anything over the Playback Design performance with Wadia iTransporter or NOT.
IMO it is not a replacement of highly respected and well thought out designs but an alternative that is worth a shot.
If iTransporter (with or without mods) and quality DAC could compete with those expensive machines ......I would be shocked.
I have the Sonos, Isabellina (RWA) DAC, Consonance Droplet CDP (also as the transport), analog source (X3) and planing on using iTransporter or Mac based system in the near future.
Is one better then the other? Yes and NO. It all depends on the point of view.
I enjoy them all.
Having your whole library within your finger tips is very appealing and if the quality of reproduction was without the compromises......count me in , I am on board.
But without going of the topic, yes iTransporter can be an alternative for someone looking for quality and ease of use.
time will tell the whole story and I can not wait to hear it.
Why spend a lot of money modding the iTransport? It is a perfectly good mechnism for delivering the data intact, just like the AirPort Express, Squeezebox, Sonos or Duet are. The money spent on mods is wasted as soon as the next best device comes out anyway, and you will never get your money back selling it on Audiogon. This is my advice, and I have been a professional modder for 8 years.
Instead, add a good quality reclocker with multiple outputs that will deliver really low jitter, can be used with future generations of devices, and has upgradability for higher sample-rates etc.. This will retain it's value and you can apply it to whatever you are using in the future.
Read this review for instance:
what is your take on taking the iTransporter "off the grid" ?
(keep in mind that we are only speculating on this thread about options and such. Non of this is the rule or solid advise.)
I met you and heard your gear at CES - it was top notch.
However, you've never answered my question:
When we are going to see entry level product from your stable? - reasonably priced.
:) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)
It is obvious that the "hardcore" proponents of megabuck super transports aren't eager to give their response to this thread. I think they are afraid that their super expensive transport might not be superior to this "poor man's" CD solution. Has any of you also compared the Ipod/Wadia 170 combination with the top of the line Esoteric or CEC transports? What is your experience? Some of those transports cost 10-20 times the Ipod/Wadia --> so they should be better!! Heheh.
Chris - a good transport will crush a stock iTransport. It uses the PCM270X part from TI to generate the S/PDIF output and reportedly has high jitter. This is not surprising since the AirPort Express uses the same part and has high jitter as well. I used to mod the crap out of the AE (called it the Off-Ramp WiFi), Superclock4, new power supply etc., and it still was not very good, so I discontinued this product. This chip is beyond help IMO.
Steve, I have an off topic question for you: Why don't you team up with guys like Keith Johnson or Alex Peychev (APL Audio) or Dan Lavry so you can design together a no compromise digital playback system that is truly state of the art? In my opinion the knowledge about digital audio technology is pretty much scattered among the experts around the world and there is little co-working between the different experts. That is a pity because it slows down the speed of progress.
Sorry to ask a question that's not on the original topic, but since Steve brought it up, FWIW, John Atkinson measured the jitter level of the Airport Express' digital output to be 258ps, which in absolute terms is not high.
Steve, in at least one of your past posts, you've said that you do not use jitter measuring equipment, so how can you conclude that the AE has high jitter and that jitter is the reason why it didn't sound good to you? I'm not saying that you didn't hear *something* that you found to be wrong with the AE, but I am just doubting that jitter was the reason behind it.
Dazzdax - As a matter of fact, I am currently selling OEM USB interface modules to several companies, including Ultra-Fi (the iRoc DAC). The new version iRoc will debut at RMAF in Oct. Larry of Ultra-FI and I are tentatively talking about a collaboration too. Nothing serious yet. He does analog design and tubes really well and I do digital design really well and Larry does not have the usual giant ego that comes with most audio designers so there is potential there. I know Lavry and Peychev pretty well, but never met Keith Johnson, or at least I dont remember. Getting pretty old and the solder fumes are having their effect....
The problem with these types of collaborations is the business end of things. I have seen so many audio companies that have partnerships end-up in ruins or litigation etc. I'm too old to deal with that, and it's really no fun. I already have patent infringement on my cable products....
I love mine i had it modded by steve and the guys at great northern sound co. I dont know how i lived with a cd transport. I have all my cds in lossless formate and the sound is really good better than my old transport bel canto cd-2. I have people over and they cant believe thats music from my ipod. The dac iam using is the ensemble hi dac its a great dac however you can you any dac and the sound will blow your mind. I am very happy for now, asi has a mod for the wadia i170 with battery supply and other opt for around 1800. I think i will send a new wadia to them to mod it is alot more money than the gns mod will see which one is better.
Oxia - I believe I can easily hear jitter in the 300psec range and so can you, depending on the spectra. (This is very difficult to measure accurately BTW). Here's why:
I had a mod for the AE some time ago, including power supply improvements, new S/PDIF output circuit and upgraded clock. It was called the Off-Ramp WiFi. The power and S/PDIF output mods improved the sound, but changing from the stock oscillator to a Superclock made the largest improvement. The only thing changing here is the clock and the jitter associated with the clock. The improvement in detail and image focus due to ONLY changing the clock was obvious in my system. Changing only the clock has no other effect than jitter.
Changes to the clock and other things that ONLY affect jitter is what leads me to the conclusion that jitter is the problem with the AE. I ultimately discontinued making the Off-Ramp WiFi because the jitter even with the Superclock, power supply and S/PDIF mods was still worse than even my USB converters. It is obviously audible in comparison.
Besides, with the AE, technically there is nothing else except jitter. With AE Toslink output, there is no RFI, no ground-loops, no other mechanisms. The data is bit-perfect.
The Toslink output from the AE can also be reclocked through a Pace-Car reclocker and this makes an even bigger improvement. One only has to listen for a few seconds to "get it".
Wanted to add my experience with the iTransport and ask a couple questions.
Have had mine for a month and used it with my 80 Gb iPod. Compared the same music from a Marantz SA11S1 or sometimes a MF A5 CDP, with the iPod/iTransport, and finally with my HP PC (using iTunes) through a HagTech USB/SPDIF converter to a Benchmark DAC-1. Other gear: battery Dodd preamp; Pass Aleph J amp, and Merlin TSM-MMe monitors.
I have to admit...I am not sure I could tell the difference between the music of the Marantz CDP and the iTransport, if I were just casually listening. Switching back and forth with the same music playing, I could detect some difference (I THINK), but it wasn't much. I plan to continue this A/B (as it were) to get a better grasp on what may lack with the iPod.
I had used Apple Lossless when ripping...what do others recommend? I am also suspect about the USB and other cabling used with this source. The battery powered iTransport would be great. Any other comments?
A better compare is using your CDP, either the Marantz or MF, as a transport connected to the DAC-1 and then comparing that to the 170iTransport/DAC-1.
How you chose to rip your files is a personal choice. There is so much debate about it and no single right answer. After researching it for myself, I chose to use Apple Lossless and have error correction on, which I would use error correction no matter what choice I used to rip.