>> 02-28-07: The_smokester
>> I have a Wadia 861xi. My experience is the same as
>> yours: it looses coherence without a very good pre to
>> match it with the rest of the system.
I have an 861SE modified by GNSC & I also had the very same experience as you have had re. the Wadia losing it w/o a decent preamp. At that time I was using TARA Labs Master Gen 2 cables. I love the TARA Labs cables - no complaints whatsoever.
However, I got the upgrade bug & switched over to Virtual Dynamics cables. I use their entry level type interconnects - David & Nite 2.
I can tell you that I've now had to eat my words!!
The sound of the Wadia with the Virtual Dynamics David or Nite 2 interconnects from the Wadia DIRECTLY to power amp is simply fantastic. The Wadia preamp does not sound shitty anymore. You can search the A'gon archives & see for yourself several posts of mine wherein I stated the Wadia preamp was shitty sounding. With these David & Nite 2 cables, that is no more the case. There is something about these cables that allows the Wadia preamp to drive the power amp input much more effectively.
From my experience, thus, what I concluded was that most cables are unable to effectively drive the power amp input & that it was less of the Wadia preamp quality & more of the interconnect ability. I know that it is just data point BUT all I did was change the interconnect. I used the same TARA Labs Master Gen 2 speaker cables, I had exactly the same electronics in the entire chain & exactly the same speakers.