Wadia 861 Great Northern Sound Statement Upgrade

I sent my Wadia 861 to Great Northern Sound for their
Statment Upgrade. The improvments of this upgrade was in my
opinion bigger than the leap I got when I replaced my Wadia
830 with the 861. The keywords are a relaxed, easy
presentation with a DEEP soundstage and really
explosive dynamics against a background as black as I have
never heard from digital (I haven`t heard SACD or DVD-A)
playback. Most importantly the slight sibilance and digital
artifacts in the upper frequencies are now gone and
replaced with a smooth, extended top. This improvment makes
the sonic picture more coherent and seem more of one piece
(is this what HP calls continuesness?).
Questions please:

- What was the cost of this upgrade?
- Which other CD players did you have a chance to thoroughly audition before deciding on the Wadia?
- What other CD players have you had a chance to compare with your upgraded 861? I am particularly curious about the current crop of the $5-6000 players (Capitole MkI, Sim Audio Eclipse, MephistoII, EMC 24/192, used NAIM CDX/XPS). Heck, for the amount of money you are in for, did you have a chance to audition a Linn CD12 (used this is about the price of your setup).

All of their modifications are individually quoted because
they are all done to meet your needs. My mod included some
extras which is not included in the Statment modification

As I am from Norway, I have had the chance to auditon
the EMC 24/192 many times both compared to the Wadia 830
and the Wadia 861. In Norway the price of this player is
about the same as the Wadia 830 was in the US and I
believe this is the about the right value of this player.
In my opinion the Wadia 830 is better than the EMC 24/192.
Its bass is toughter and more articulate. Soundstaging
is deeper and most of all I think its presentation is
smoother and more relaxed with bigger dynamic swings.

Before I decided on the Statment upgrade, I had the chance
to compare the Wadia 861 to the Krell KPS-25Sc and in
my opinion the original Wadia 861 bests the Krell in all
areas except when the Krell is CAST connected to a Krell
poweramp. In this configuration the Krell was more relaxed
and produced a bigger soundstage and were more dynamic.

I have never had the oportunity to compare my Wadia 861
pre nor post upgrade to the Linn Sondek CD-12, but I have
heard the Linn on several occations. To me it sounds a bit
lean compared to the more natural articulation and timbres
of the Wadia 861. To me the Wadia 861 sounds like the
better player. It is more analog-like. The German magazine
Audio has tested both of these players. They keep a ranking
list of all tested components and they agree with my
findings and rate the Wadia 861 as their top performer with
the same score as the Accuphase DP-85. Also Accuphase DP-
75V, Krell KPS-25Sc and Wadia 860x is ranked better than
the Linn Sondek CD-12 on this list. Even the Marantz SA-1
is ranked equal to the Linn Sondek CD-12 on CD playback.
They haven`t tested the others on your list.

When considering this keep in mind that these
considerations were done with the Wadia 861 without the
statment upgrade. On top of this comes the improvment
mentioned in my inital post. So I almost can`t image what
a better player than this could sound like on Redbook CD.

I bought the Wadia 861 used for $5k, so the price including
the statment upgrade is about the same as a new Wadia 861.
Hi Rhagen. Thank you for your observations. I have a Wadia 830. I have been thinking about upgrading to an 860 or 861, but perhaps I should consider having it modified.

Would you please list the rest of your system? Also, have you found that a particular power cord or interconnect works particularly well with Wadia?

My system is:
Wadia 861 w/Graet Northern Sound Statment Upgrade
Conrad Johnson ART Series 2 w/Telefunken CCa (I will have it modified by Great Northern Sound soon too)
Mark Levinson No.33H (removed captive power cords)
Audio Physic Medea Mk.II
2 x Audio Physic Rhea

I use Siltech Signature G5 Compass Lake between
Wadia CDP and CJ ART. I have tried several others
among them the Nordost Valhalla. In my opinion there
was no competition. The characteristics of these cables
can be compared to my considerations of the Linn and
Wadia CDPs. The Nordost is leaner while the Siltech
is more articulate and relaxed.

As powercord I use the Shunyata King Cobra v2.
It was used while fine tuning the modification at
Great Northern Sound. So it is part of the sound
I described earlier. I have also tried the Electra
Glide Genghis Khan with it and to me it sounded better
than the Shunyata, but the improvment of this powercord
is even bigger on my poweramps. So I use it there. I have
ordered two Shunyata Anaconda Vx and are excited about
what they might do to the sound of the Wadia.

Concerning the Wadia 830 and wether to upgrade or buy
860x/861, I would contact Steve Huntley at Great Northern
Sound (www.greatnorthernsound.com) and ask him. He is
a real gentleman. Keep in mind however that a major
improvment of the 860x/861 over the 830 is the transport.
This transport upgrade will not be part of the GNSC upgrade.