Wadia 581SE versus Esoteric UX-3Pi

CD sound comparison?
I have owned Wadia (830i) and Esoteric X-03 SE, as well as other pretty respectable digital sources/components. Personally, I prefer the Esoteric over the Wadia (based on my owned products, which may not be completely fair as the X-03 is more expensive by a good amount than the 830 by Wadia). I find the Esoteric products smoother in general in the upper frequency ranges. I find that the Wadia can be a bit dry for my tastes (not so much bright, but just a tad dry). The 581 SE is in another league compared to the 830; however, my general feeling on the Wadia vs. the Esoteric remains a similar feeling. I think the GNSC Wadia units improve on this my only "issue" with the Wadia sound. This being said, both units are terrific and it will really be a matter of personal taste and system synergy.
I listened to the X-03 SE when I was in the process of upgrading my speakers at a dealer and found that it sounded plain for my taste compared to the Wadia 861SE that a friend of mine owns. I ended up getting the Wadia 581se 2 months after I got my new speakers in place of my Wadia 302. It is a great unit.
It's tough to draw conclusions about digital sources, heard in completely different rooms with different systems on different days...
Goatwuss said it accurately. In the past couple of months I have had the following digital components through my system/my room/my purchases: Resolution Audio Opus 21 with GNSC mods, EMM Labs CDSE/DAC6, Esoteric X-03-SE and arriving tomorrow a DCS Delius DAC (which I have listened to outside of my system, but not yet in my system - so my opinions may change). I have listened to Wadia and owned Wadia, but at a fairly significant lower level than what you are refering to.

All of these systems/units are terrific and there are really more similarities than differences. Typically, the differences are not huge or significant, but audible and sometimes requiring significant attention and reflection to separate them. In the end, it comes down to your personal flavor preferences and system to determine which one is best for you.

I could live with any of these units as could most people. This being said, they are all sort of in the same sound family - highly resolving systems.

I also own an Audio Aero Capitole (presently out of commission) - this is a different story. While also a very good/enjoyable piece, you would recognize the difference between it and all of the above immediately - totally different type of sound. Perhaps you should also listen to a player from this type of sound family as well before jumping into an ultra high resolution piece.
Why is the Capitole out of commission?
There is a cracked soder (or is it solder) on the board and I need to find which soder is cracked and have it re-done. At least this is my understanding. Wanna buy it? Great deal, just came back from France with new tubes and completely gone over and up to same spec as new! FYI, I am heading out of town for a one week vacation so I won't have access to e-mails after tomorrow (Wed.) at noon. After I get it repaired I am going to sell it most likely anyway. I already have gone through my digital and know what I am keeping. Esoteric X03 SE and a Slim Devices to a DCS Delius - no longer need the Capitole so it has just sat for several months now.
Do not want to buy thanks. Interesting that you are keeping the Esoteric as it seems to me you can afford to buy what you want.
A: I cannot afford to buy whatever I want - though I sure wish I could.

B: I really like the Esoteric (others above commented that it is plain vs. the Wadia). Perhaps it is my active system (Krell amp/Wilson/Jeff Rowland pre) that does not produce the "dull" or "plain" performance with the Esoteric. Additionally, I don't believe there is better build quality and longevity than with the Esoteric brand!

The DCS (just an older Delius, not even the firewire version - aka 1394) is terrific and I am just using a computer to a Slim Devices Duet to run it. The only thing that would make it better would be a 6 channel analog output! Then I would run my Esoteric into for both clock and the DSD out via digital into an upgrade for the 1394 to get full 5.1 channel SACD.

Again, I think the Esoteric V. Wadia comparison on comparable priced models is going to be a matter of personal preference and system matching more so than one being better than the other.
I like the Esoteric for SACD playback only.
I find its rbcd reproduction too dry for my taste. Happy Listening!