Hello, I listened to both extensively and ended up purchasing the audio aero, the Wadia isn't(in all fairness) even close to the analog smooth sound the audio aero has. The capitole II really draws you toward the music, I find myself staying up much to late just listening and listening and listening. I auditioned the 860x direct it wasn't even as good as the accuphase I was using at the time. They all have a different sound, some swear by there 860x(they must have been hearing something I wasn't) and some swear by the capitole II, if at all possible you should demo both and maybe even an accuphase DP-75v. To sum things up the audio aero is a more relaxed sound(though not boring, just no glare/brightness to it) that puts an emphasis on musicality at perhaps the cost of a little bit of resolution(the audio aero adds a lot of PRaT to the system) as where the 860x may be slightly more resolving but can be analytic and have a sharp edge to the sound. Between the accuphase and the wadia I would take the accuphase any day of the week- both of those players use digital volume compared to the audio aero's analog attenuation, so if you plan on running direct(which I recommend) the audio aero has another advantage.
The Wadia can be modded by Great Norterhn Sound. Wmail me and I can put you in touch with a guy who just got his Wadia modded there.
I just had my 861 upgraded to the Statement Level by Steve at Great Northern Sound and it is incredible. I believe he may even upgrade Audio Aero players. I would seriously check into this first, I dont think you would ever regret having this upgrade done.
I have a Wadia 850 that just came back from Great Northern Sound where it received the Statement upgrade; the highest upgrade possible for any of the higher end Wadia units. Now I can't comment on the Audio Aero MKII, because I have not personally heard it. I have had the Acuphase DP75, an Arcam FMJ23, and a YBA Blue Alpha CD1 as well as a few others. I can say that the Acuphase DP75 was better than the standard Wadia 850 and possible 860X, it was close. But after the statement upgrade to the Wadia, the Acuphase isn't even in the same ballpark, IMHO in my system. You can purchase a used 850 and add a Great Northern Sound Statement upgrade, which is not cheap by the way, $2700, all together for around the same price as an Acuphase or Aero Audio, give or take a few dollars. I switched cd players several times looking for the "right" one for my system and my tastes, and have no desire to do so anymore. After the upgrade to my Wadia I am completely satisfied. Can't help on the Audio Aero, sorry about that, wish I had heard it, but I haven't, but the Acuphase doesn't hold a candle to a upgraded Wadia, again in my opinion, since I have had both. Try listening to as many players as you can, you can also call Steve at The Great Northern Sound, which does Wadia and other players and equipment upgrades, if you have any questions about the Wadia or its upgrades. He's a very honest person to talk to, not opinionated about anything. Good luck.
Well I think I might just be the guy to answer your question. I owned prior to the Capitole Mk 2 a Wadia 860x for 2 years, I also kept the Wadia for a few months after getting the Capitole Mk 2, so I was able to do some head to head comparisons.
To put it simple in terms of sound it is not even close the Capitole is way better than the Wadia, you can tell within seconds in direct comparison. The Capitole is natural and involving where the Wadia sounds electronic and mechanical. The Capitole is a softer presentation, but overall it is so much better that there is no need to list strenghts and weaknesses of each.
Electronic stability and reliablitly as well as build quality are far superior with the Wadia. I have had many problems with the Capitole since getting it 8 months ago, and looks like I am going to have to send it in for a complete circuit board replacment. The remote is an embarassment for a 9k CD player and the build quality is pretty weak too. As you know the Wadia is built like a tank, I never had a problem in the 2 years I owned the Wadia.
Hopefully Audio Aero has sorted out their problems with the Caplitole Mk 2, (I know of a few other guys who have the Capiotle Mk 2 and had to get a circuit board replacment)if so, I don't think you can go wrong with it, and I know you will be very imrpessed by the improvment it will give you over your 860x
Ejlif was the 861 a upgraded 861 from the Great Northern Sound? It a totaly different animal than a stock than an 860X!!
Sorry Ejlif, I meant a 860X, I posted a 861 about your thread. Either way though, did the 860X have the Great Northern Sound Statement Upgrade? Sorry again, but comparing an 860X Standard with an 860X with a Statement upgrade is a totally different beast. Not sure where I got the 861, but again I apologize.
I've had the 850 and the AA mk I in my system at different times. I greatly preferred the AA. Wonderful tube harmonics and presentation. The 850 was very detailed, but not as musical to me. The AA is my favorite CD player so far.
The 860x was a stock player, no upgrade. I wonder why if the upgrade to the stock Wadia players makes them so much better Wadia doesn't just make them this way to begin with.
I really enjoy all of the opinions and component comparisons
expressed on this board. The one thing that is so important to me though, is the fact that we all have different ears, different tastes, and different goals for our home music needs. This fact is not prefaced enough.
There are great cd players but none are THE greatest. I think we should have some way of knowing what a persons system goals are and what their playback expectations are. We all seem to have differing views as to what great sound quality truly is..even amongst us 'philes.
Some folks seem to like their music slower and more melodic and sweet. Others want dramatic highs and lows with little sweetness (coloration). Some like the neautral, everything towards the middle and...keep it light, no deep base kinda sound.
The Wadia gets after the music from a very different perspective than the Capitole seems to. The Wadia (stock) is aggressive. The leading edges of music is sharp and always on time, sometimes seemingly a hair too fast. Transients are unrivaled in my opinion. The player can express subtle shades of sound and color like I have not heard before. The midrange is pure though and true, although not in a tubey way. Running direct via the stock 861 can be a little grainy and electronic sounding. It sounded this way in my set up at the time.Having said that, running direct with an 861 will give you an incredile view and feel for exactly whats on the disc! This alone prompted me to upgrade my 861 with GNS.
Lastly, the 861 seems to re-positions the musical lasdscape differently somehow than other players I have heard in other systems. When I first listed to the Wadia, the sound of this "re-positioning" was strange. I was used to the flat 2d presentation of wide and deep and thought that was all there was. Vocalists are always centered between the speakers somewhere. Background singers are right at each speaker. Bass player and piano are between the speakers also. The transparency and depth is pretty good I think. The musicians on the soundstage are all in their own space.
In any case I prefer at this stage of my audiophilia, a big system and a big sound. I do want a high level of neuance and refinement though. I feel I am getting that now that my player has been "charm-schooled" by Steve at GNS.
I would like to try other players like the AA or the Lindeman someday for the fun of it. I really want to hear the differences.
Just want to say THANK YOU ALL for the info, I really enjoy all your opinions and help me to decide what to do, I'm going with the GNS Statement upgrade, I think this is the right move, with this incredible upgrade seems to me why not, so I'm going to give a try. I'm going to give a call to Steve by Tuesday morning. I can't wait, lol. :>)
Thank You All.
I auditioned a dealer demo 860 last weekend in my system and while I've never had the opportunity to try the Audio Aero, in my system, the Wadia is a stunning box. I am considering the purchase.
I also have correspnded with Great Northern Sound and Wadia directly. These emails and conversations have given me great confidence in the reliablity of the Wadia and the opportunity to improve the 860 over time. This is an advantage that may not be available with Audio Aero.
Just my 2 cents.