Wadia 861se with GNS vs Esoteric or Emm players

Hello, I'm ready to send my Wadia 861se to Great Northern Sound in the next month for their Reference upgrade. Would I be better off selling the 861se and finding a used Esoteric X-01 or Emm Labs transport&dac. Having SACD might be kind of nice. Has anyone compared these three? Thanks! Stan
Why not try the new Wadia 581 it is SACD.
Steve at GNS told me last week that it is the best player Wadia has made to date.
Also there is a Statement upgrade above that of the reference.
Hi Btstrg. I'm trying to stay away from new buys. I figure that, if I sell my Wadia 861se and add 2-3k cash, I should have about 7-9k to work with. The Reference upgrade for the Wadia is $1850. Although, I could get the 581 and get the upgrade later... a lot of possibilities to think about. Thanks! Stan
Talon, Go with your gut instinct, choosing an upgrade from Steve is a no brainer. I would be hard pressed to believe that any stock machine could compete with the Wadia, upgraded by GNSC... The statement upgrade IMHO makes SACD a moot point...
"The statement upgrade IMHO makes SACD a moot point..."

dsd and pcm sourced material sound different regardless of how well the player is built...
I think Steve said that the stock 581 is better than the Ref grade 861SE.
If I am not mistaken the Wadia 581 with either the Ref. mods or Statement is 7-8,000. You mentioned you did not want to buy new, but if you can get a better player with the 581 than what you have I would consider it.
Once I get my system situated the Wadai 581 with Statement mods is on my short list to purchase.
Goatwuss, I feel that since the availability of sacd soft-ware is limited (in the type of music I care for) and the quality of the sound that I"am getting from Steve's statement upgrade, that sacd in "my" musical world is moot.....8^)
Thanks for all your responses. After weighing everything out and talking to Steve @ GNS, I've decided to send my 861se in for the Statement upgrade in early January. Steve said that the 581 is a better cd player in some ways, but the 861se with Statement upgrade will have better bass authority and the SE transport mechanism and tray are built like a tank. Since I listen to alot of music from the early 1970's--(Hendrix, Yes, Pink Floyd, Clapton), I feel that this is a better direction to go. Thanks again for taking the time to answer my question. Best wishes. Stan
>> 12-11-06: Talon4
>> Steve said that the 581 is a better cd player in some
>> ways, but the 861se with Statement upgrade will have
>> better bass authority and the SE transport mechanism
>> and tray are built like a tank.

Talon4, I have the 861SE with the GNSC Reference upgrade. it's a great sounding player even more so w/ the upgrade. I can vouch for the drive mechanism being built like a tank.
I wonder how the 861SE with Ref upgrade stacks up against the stock 581 & the 581 with Ref upgrade?
I hope that Steve from GNSC will chime in here OR any other member who has this experience. Thanks!
Talon4, Congrats on your decision to send your 861se to Steve for the statement upgrade, you are going to be one happy camper upon its return..8^) Give the unit a little time to burn in, then its off on a musical journey par excellence...
what does the GNS upgrade entail?
Rhyno, Contact Steve at Great Northern Sound concerning the differences. He'll send you a breakdown as to what is done for each upgrade--Basic, Reference, Statement--and also what to expect as to the improvement in sound. Steve emailed all this to me as a file. Stan

okay, my response is only regarding sacd, that I find to be a BIG MISTAKE! Maybe the new Wadia is a tad better than a 861, but sacd, who would ever consider this option with a Wadia player? SACD media has no texture, I'm amazed how bad this media sounds - ex. play an acoustic guitar with metal strings and you hear strings, but the body often made of pine (I think this is the word?) you can not tell. I can not tell if it's a Martin D28 or a dobro! And when I know the player uses a Martin, this is not good. I heard one of the big new Accuphase players played both redbook and sacd a while ago, and I must say that sacd is for deft people only, here I use Sugdens words for this media!

Good luck, tadman
SACD media has no texture, I'm amazed how bad this media sounds

Really? Maybe you need to do better than an Accuphase - and I don't mean more money either.

and I must say that sacd is for deft people only

I'm probably daft, but not deaf. ;-)

For that money you can buy also a Meridian 808. We recently comparred the Esoteric X-01 with the Meridian 808. The Meridian was of an other leage and superior in many ways to the X-01. Just listen to it and you'll understand....
Leonx: I'm not at all surprised that you found the 808 to be better than the X-01. The X-01 Limited might be a different story, however; and then of course there is the APL NWO 2.5 to consider as well. I wonder if anyone has actually directly compared these four: EMM, X-01 Limited, APL NWO, 808. Now THAT's something I'd be very interested in.
I also did a lot of testing sacd comparred to redbook and dvd-a. I bought many sacd's and also the same records on dvd-a for my work. All the dvda's where a lot better than the sacd recordings. I did a lot of blind testing for our customers. People where not that enthousiastic about sacd. The media lied to all the audio fans. Many people of the studio's said to me that a master recording is way beyond comparred to a sacd recording. I hope at the end there will be a new system what brings us closer to a master tape.
Listen to EMMLabs with SACD and you will be very happy!!!!!
Sacd is a system what is incorrect and not natural sounding. I hope there will be a system what will sound more natural. But until now we have to wait for it ....
Leonx SACD is incorrect and not natural sounding?What
cd player are you using?
IIRC Leonx has a Meridian 800. I don't think it can play
SACD. I know him and he thinks that the 800 is the best player in the world.
It is not correct because the proportions of an instrument and also voices are many times to big. Pcm gives a better individual focus and the right proportion. I am using a Meridian 800 Dax v4 ( and no I am not pro dvd-a ) I talked to people who make recordings in studio's and they also don't take sacd seriously, me either. The only thing I like from sacd are the low freq. All the studio people say: sacd recordings are still a big distance from a master.
I don't think the 800 is the best player in the world and I am either not a dvd-a fan. I am a fan of music and I prefer music as natural as possible. And that means also the right proportions and a natural sound. And sacd can't do this, that is a fact. There is no person in the studio world who will dissagree.
Leonx, a lot of recordings studio's are using the Meitner Dacs.
Alsoo for SACD recordings,and they are very very good.
For Metralla. I know people who claims the same as you. I just quoted Sugdens words regarding SACD (the deaf thing). He gave up SACD very fast. I've heard SACD on the Sony 777 many times as well, and both the owner and I hate SACD. Another friend of mine who is really into digital and build his own stuff (he is quite a talent) told me, that he hated SACD too and claimed that this media is low technology even compared to red books. This statement I can not tell anything about, since I know very little about digital in general. However, we are some guys here in Copenhagen who actually have some pretty nice stuff, ex. we all play at beryllium and build most of our gear ourself and all of us think that SACD sucks. Stuff we are playing at is TAD, GOTO, WADIA, Krell Reference series, AN Kondo, EMT, SP10, Garrard, home made hyper triode amps and more. Hope this list gives you an idea about my words. thanks, Tadman
A friend of mine had a small concert room with a Steynway. It didn't matter where I was in the room. A voice of a woman or an instrument was always focused and small.This had become a very important part for me to judge. When you listen to SACD you will hear that it is out of proportion. I had exactely the same results when I bought recordings on both sacd and dvd-a. The dvd-a where a lot better in individual focus, the sound was more natural and there was more depth information and resolution. The media never wrote articles about the difference of the same recordings on dvd-a and sacd. Why? Because the get money for there advertisements. That is the only reason why. When you have enough knowledge you'll understand how big an instrument should sound normally on a recording and also the natural sound of an instrument should be. So just enjoy music and hopen there will be a system what really comes close to a master.
Tadman, thanks for the reply. Your list was interesting, and does provide perspective. Cheers to Copenhagen - one of my favourite cities.

I have heard others claim that SACD is flawed, and I don't just mean technically. The fellow who modified my Sony XA777ES over four years ago (Ric Schutlz - EVS) did not much like the rising ultrasonic noise pattern from a purist point of view, but can you hear it?

I'd like it if the superiority of SACD over Redbook was a fact - so much more 16/44.1 material available and a lot cheaper.

I've just never had that demonstrated to me.

Hi Metralla. Next time you're in Copenhagen, I'll pick you up and we can do some listening at my home center of Copenhagen. Have a beer or two as well. Best regards, tadman