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.
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