Wadia 7 and Levinson 30.5 vs Todays CD Players

Hello Everyone,

I was wondering how my Wadia 7 CD Transport and Mark Levinson 30.5 DAC compare with Todays CD Players/DACs. I am comparing redbook playback not SACD.

I'm still happy with my Levinson 31.5/30.6 combo.

I've heard lots of the newer high end digital source equipment. Most just sound different, not necessarily better. Like chocolate and vanilla ice cream...both are good, but different.....to make a comparison to the digital sources.

The Levinson reference pieces will stay with me.


I'm running a No.360S/37 combo .... even at that level I cant find a better setup. I have blown people away - even compared to SACD and DVD-A setups the Levinson (to me) is the absolute best I have heard.

The only upgrade I would even consider would be a 30.5 & 31.5 transport.

... The Levinson pieces will stay with me as well
I would consider only one dac: apogee rosetta 200. It is better -to my ears - than the highly coveted EMM dac (so it may be better than the ML), has ad conversion, and firewire connection to your computer, if you has one. Thus, it is also a port to the next period of digital music listening method. You may add Big Ben clock also to further the sonic of the dac. It is also relatively cheap,especially compared to high end prices. And if you add the functions - it is probably the best option to buy.
I think the real difference today is what you can build as server instead of using a dedicated CD transport. For less than $10K you can have a Mac Pro computer with Apogee Rosetta / Big Ben that will hold over 5,000 uncompressed CDs. The sound quality of this server equals that of my Wadia SE transport, but has the ability to instantly access any track on thousands of CDs.

As far as DACs go, I agree that the improvements have reached the level of taste as opposed to quantum leaps in performance. For me, I love the sound of Wadia DACs, so I use the AES/EBU output of the Apogee Rosetta to feed my digital front end that ends up going through Wadia 27xi DACs. If you are happy with the sound of your 30.5 (I’m not familiar with it) then I’d strongly encourage you to consider adding an uncompressed, low jitter digital server to feed it.


I understand the need for fast access to media, trust me I'm a crestron programmer and we are dealers for Audio Request and kaleidescape. But I don't want to spend more money unless the quality is going to be better. I was thinking about getting the new wadia itransport($350) that takes the digital signal from your ipod and send the digital singal into my levinson 30.5. I'd probably only use it for parties. I can put .wav files onto my ipod. I'm sure its not the quality of a Apogee Rosetta and Big Ben but its a party.

I was thinking of buying a Placette Passive Linestage, anyone using this?

I use a Wadia 7 and tweaked out Audio note 5 Dac, it rules - PERIOD. Solid state dacs are sonically the sum of their parts and it's very easy to hear that dead, dry, cold, hard, soul less sound no matter the make - therefore Wadia Dacs I'm not a fan of - but their earlier transports using the Teac VDRS system are a different matter.
All this said, don't be folded by MAC / PC / HD sources either, (the current flavor of the month etc) on paper it may make sense but as we know physics dictates that 'things' don't sound how they measure ! e.g vacuum tubes.
I've even gone to testing out more 'modern' transports that use PC floppy drives and believe me - you can hear what's missing. The Wadia 7 is like the Garrard 301, potentially dated in the eyes of many whom believe much of the audio press garbage that's put out there to keep punters neurotic and therefore buying - but partnered with the right equipment it's possibly one of the best still available. Don't take my word for it though, borrow a 7 and the best Audio Note Dac you can and see for yourself.