Like any component you really need to listen and decide for yourself, Personally I am completely sold on the Wadia I am on my third a 581 sei I compared as well as I could and have been very happy with the Wadia's
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Two excellent choices. I've had both. The Capitol was modified with the bigger caps which is a must. I would run both direct to your amps. The Wadia is fully balanced and the AA is not. It uses an op amp to come up with the other end of the balanced signal. So if you have balanced amps or amp I would say the Wadia is a bit better in the power delivery dept. Although the AA is no slouch it is better on the rca's. Resolution is better on the Wadia but the AA is more forgiving. The AA has a more dependable transport (cd only) but doesn't ship well. Many stories of wrecked boards etc. after shipping. Be sure to get a newer AA with the updated output board. Considering the price difference I'd say they are even. If you can afford the extra the Wadia is worth the extra 2k. If you buy the AA I have some cryoe'd tubes I'll be putting up for sale soon. The AA also really responds to tweaks. I think both are a very good value. Good luck
I have heard both, but not in the same system, so my conclusion could be off..
However, I believe that they both offer quite different presentations.
The Wadia presenting a more technically correct sound, the AA more musical, but probably rolled off at the freq extremes.
A lot would depend on your preferred sound. Do listen to both, since they both sound SO different.
I would go with the Wadia... because that is the sound I like.
I just finally gave up on my AA Capitole Mk IISE: I'd bought it used,sent it to Globe Audio in Toronto for the SE upgrade, got it back and had nothing but constant, though different (output level freeze, lose one channel, shut down entirely, etc.): sent it back to Toronto once and to the service center in Phoenix 4 times over the next two years. You might want to pursue an inquiry into the reliability of each machine. Also, I understand that Globe is now out of business and AA is looking for a new North American distributor. Maybe I am an exception (but I don't think so), but I probably put $6,000 altogether into the AA and have nothing to show for it and no response from AA, Globe or Sedonix (repair). So now I have spent another $6k to replace it with an Audio Research LS17 and Primare 32 and they sound fantastic together- and they WORK.