Wadia ITransport

Just purchased Wadia IPod dock for use with my IPod Touch. I am using Canare 75ohm cable as an interface with my Cambridge 840C AZURE CD player. Reading reviews about the IDock and importing Apple Lossless files, I noticed a difference (small)but noteworthy, where the Dock seems a bit compressed and lacking the resolution and dynamics when compared to the CD. I'm not quite sure, but I thought I remembered with lossless files, the Dock could actually sound better than the CD.

Thank you, I look forward to your thoughts and comments.
I have a 170 and enjoy it very much. I dont believe that it was intended as a replacement for a CD player nor it is intended to be a high end product. As a convientent music server it cant be beat.
As far as it sounding better than the source how could that be?
Thank you very much for your response. I agree, how can it sound better than the original source. I know from the Stereophile review, they verified, (I think in WAV) rip, that the data output was exactly bit for bit perfect, so, the question is, why the subtle difference? Might it be my interface cable? As far as better sounding than the source, Music Direct magazine states "As a result of retrieving a direct digital signal from the IPod, unadulterated, with high resolution files, better than CD quality is obtained" (note this is not an exact quote but conveys the message). As I've said, it's close to CD, but how to better it? Thanks.
the dac in the wadia is to blame. use a better dac.
Are you positive you are listing to the same mastering? You might be listing to the same song, but maybe the CD is a digital remaster and the Apple version is not...something like that.

I had this occur when listing at a dealer. He played a song that I am very familiar with, and I thought everything sounded like crap. Later, while at home, I realized I have a digital remastered version and the store was playing a downloaded crap older version...make since?
You might want to get an adaptor (Voodoo Cable) and use a first class PC instead of the stock. Made a large difference on my iTransport. I also use a first class digicable -- Kharma Grand Ref -- which also makes a huge difference. With these upgrades, I find little difference from CD to Apple Lossless songs on iPod Classic.

the dac in the wadia is to blame. use a better dac.
There is no DAC in the iTransport.

I am confused how you are using the iTransport, what do you have it connected to? Are you using the DAC in your Cambridge CDP?

It has been reported that the iTransport has a fair amount of jitter, so it is important to use a DAC that reclocks the signal. If the Cambridge does not do so, or do it well, this could be the difference.

People will argue endlessly about hearing differences in the formats, such as Apple Lossless vs, WAV, which is what CD's are; I have yet to dicern a difference, but that can simply be the way my gear does the conversion. All things being done right, I do not see why there should be a sonic difference.

As for "how can it be better than the CD", well there can be more than one reason and those smarter than I may chime in. But for one, a CD transport isn't always a stable platform and it reads once, as I understand it. A server based platform, like an iPod, "can" be more stable, plus when I copy my music to my iPod I use error correction, so it may take several reads to get it right, This may be overkill, but it doesn't take that much longer.
Brian, first, I looked at your system, very nice! As far as how I have the Dock integrated in my system, I am using Canare 75ohm digital interface cable connected to one of two digital inputs on my Cambridge Audio Azure 840C. The 840C then re-clocks the data to reduce jitter then upsamples the data to 24/384. Again, the "slight" improvement when comparing the sound quality to the disk leads me to believe it may be somthing small I can do to get that last bit of sound quality out of the Dock. I am by the way, importing using the Lossless feature with error correction. I wonder about my interface cable, but it has been well reviewed. RPG
Dear Nglazer, Forgive me, but I could not quite understand your suggestion inserting a computer in the system with some kind of adapter. Would you be so kind as to bring it down a notch? Also, your interface cable suggestion, do you have a dealer name I can talk to about the cable? I'm not quick to jump around with cables. Corey Greenburg (sp?) of Stereophile past claimed my inexpensive Canare was one of the best he had heard. Thanks! RPG
I might as well chine in here too. When Corey Greenberg spoke about the Canare, I believe, that was a few years ago. Your best bet is to sample as many coax digital cables as possible and, one of the most important but overlooked pieces from the cable is the connectors themselves. Neutrik is a good brand but overall, I had to sample 20 cables over a period of three years to find the one that really works with my system: Wadia 521, B&W, Pass Labs, Wadia 20, Wadia ipod dock, AES/EBU and balanced throughout.
Dear D, Thank you. I know there are system dependencies, but I would be interested in knowing the cable you finally selected for your Wadia ipod dock. Perhaps you could save me years of time and as I think this is where the weak point exists with the Wadia.

Thank you very much!

PC = Power Cable. The idea that aftermarket Power Cable using Voodoo adapter will improve the sound. Hope this helps clarify things.
On the Canare, I read that same review, and unfortunately stuck with Canare for some time. When I tried something different (yes, more expensive too), what a difference. May be more important when transferring signals from jitter prone devices... so something to consider.

To elaborate, the iTransport PC (power cord) has what is known as a C14 two-pin connector which plugs in to the iTransport; on the other end are the prongs for the connection to the wall of power conditioner. I was suggesting getting a Voodoo Cable C7 IEC to C14 two-prong connector (go to Voodoo Cable website and look under Power Products), which will allow you to use a high-end PC (power cord). I now use either a LessLoss Sig PC or Nordost Brahma to run the iTransport into my Audience AR6 power conditioner and changing PC's has made a huge difference in performance compared to the stock iTransport PC.

I cannot comment on the Canare digicable as I have never heard it. You will find wildly varying opinions on digital cables. I bought my Kharma Grand ref used many years ago. They are expensive, big and fat and unwieldly. The Canare may be great; there are also other reasonably priced alternatives. My point was if you replace the stock PC and use a first class digicable, and have ripped music to iPod using Apple Lossless or equivalent, you can get very close to the sound of the original CD.

Hope this helps.

Hi. I was researching cables, specifically the newer Canare offerings. When reading reviews, one writer claimed a huge improvement when inserting a ferrite bead on the interface cable. What I know (little) about ferrite beads is that they alter the characteristic impedance of the cable (75 Ohms)and may be counterproductive. However, since this was so easy to try i did. Two things; the sound improved and the strange distortion that was affecting my Luxman T-117 was gone. So, bottom line, I need a new, well shielded cable. It seems, and I'm not sure why, my IDock is very noisy at it's output. Is it in need of service? Thanks! Rpg
Dear Neal,

Though not broken in yet, I purchased a high quality PC that had the same termination configuration that plugged directly into the power supply, (no adapters required). I can tell you i was not expecting much, boy I was wrong. The new PC cable made a significant difference. Lastly, as I mentioned, it is clear i need a higher quality interface cable. I found my old Canare to emit noise. I installed chokes at each end of my current old Canare cable while waiting for two new cables. The noise imposed on my tuner has been eliminated due to the chokes, however, little impact with the sound from the dock. It will be interesting to try the new cables as I am sure this is where the opportunity lies. Thanks! the power cable made a notable difference! Rpg

Good work. Curious which high grade PC you have which has two-pin connector.

Now on to better digicable and you'll be good to go.


The power cable I purchased is from Audioquest. They have two cables with the exact configuration required for the power supply. The cables are the NRG-1 and NRG-1.5.

Thanks again for your suggestions, I'm getting closer.

I think you probably need to try an external dac w/ that wadia.
which PC did you buy? NRG 1 or NRG 1.5? awesome that it made such a difference!
To all who have helped so much. I have managed to exceed (not huge, but notable)the sound quality of the original CD's with my Wadia transportusing starting with WAV or Apple Loss-Less files to my IPod. Next, I introduced a New power cord, Audioquest NRG-1.5, a new Digital IC, the superb Harmonic Technology Digital Platinum. The last tweak I did was take my Fluke meter and measure the AC ripple present in the unit and, since the PC is two prong of the same size, I oriented the cable for the lowest AC ripple. You know, as I sit here writing, listening to Eagles "Alive", it without a doubt, that it sounds better then the source CD. Thanks again to all who have helped!
Well done. iTransport one of major reasons I have not moved to computer audio. If Wadia developed a remote where you could see and control iPod menu, I would never move.

I called Wadia and talked to one of their technicians about the IDock. I was interested about a certain magazines measure of high jitter and if they ever addressed it. I learned that Wadia was taken back by these claimes and I was told that 1, they did not measure in the right area and 2, in their design they actually address jitter to lower it. One thing of interest to me and perhaps you as well, is that in the next couple of months they will be shipping a higher quality remote with the Dock. As I understand, it will be oval in shape and feel much more robust, price is not set yet, (probably around $30). For their new Dock, which will be out around the same time, it will have a substantial aluminum remote for around $100 that has more functionality. It was not quite clear to me if it offers more functionality to my current dock, but it will work with it. Lastly, I learned that all their remotes are actually TEAC remotes, which may open the door to untapped functionality. Thanks for you response! Rpg
wadia itransport is a bitperfect transport with high levels of jitter.
with a dac capable of eliminating it the results are equal to a good cd.
but always the high levels of incoming jitter affects the sound quality in even the best dacs.
I have a nonos dac that is very sensitive to jitter and I am not happy with itransport. I can easily hear the difference between the wadia and my esoteric transport. I have order a m2tech hiface for a direct comparison.
Perhaps the next generation of the Wadia dock will have improved performance in the area of jitter. One noteworthy comment I received from Wadia about this first generation Dock, is that though measured performance is important, the technician said their release criteria for the dock came after extensive listening sessions. I think in the world of high end products, a manufacturer caring not only about spec's but more so about the sound is admirable. Lastly, my DAC does a good job of re-clocking, and using the loss-less option when I import leaves me with sound quality very close if not equal to the source CD. Good luck and thank you.
One last thing worth mentioning about the transports sound quality. It can sound better than your source CD depending on it's condition. I have a well recorded artist but about half way through the disk I get an almost static like noise, the disk has always been this way. Importing the disk using the Apple Loss-Less with error checking selected resulted in the problem being eliminated when played back with the IPod and Dock. So, yes, in this case the IPod sounded better than the disk.
i just added a 170i and am very impressed. followed this thread's advise regarding tweeks and couldn't be happier. picked up a used audioquest nrg-1 pc and a vdm-5 rca on the cheap. feeding the i170 to my ps audio perfect wave dac. the pw dac is doing a fine job of sorting things out. can't even begin to describe all of the improvements compared to the crap $59 doc i'd been using =). for about $600 total... i'm back to enjoying the ipod at home again.

have not had a chance to a-b compare disc's via my pw transport but judging from my current enjoyment levels, the 170i can't be too far off. we'll see.

great thread fella's!. thanks for turning me on to the 170i + tweeks.
thank you for your comment.
My post was just an alert for people with non oversampling dacs without jitter reducing circuits. itransport is not for them!
There is a big discussion about jitter all around the net. There are many people who prefer transports without a lot of jitter instead of using the dac or reclocker to eliminate it.
Levy03, congratulations! I find myself using the transports about 3/4 of the time, great music server. In terms of A/B I am going to go out on a limb here and say the sound quality of the transport when importing via Apple Loss-Less with error correction selected might just best the sound quality of the played back disk (I'll take my lumps here)at least in my system.
It will be interesting to see what Wadia offers in their soon to be released high-end Dock. The 170i is going to be a real hard act to follow.
I talked to Wadia, They are going to to eliminate the passive outputs, keep the vidio out's and use higher-end discreet components, and lastly, a very nice aluminum remote which you can purchase for around $100. The current offering, the 170i I think will also loose the passive outputs, but include a higher end remote, which again can be purchased for around $30? This remote will again be made of the white plastic, but be oval in shape, much more ergonomic, and substantial. Again you can purchase this remote,I intend too as my teenagers will certainly loose the one I have then I'm hosed. Check the Wadia website as these products should be available very soon.
I'm using a Wadia i170 transport coupled with a MF V-Dac
with great results. It sounds as good as my Oppo 970 CD player. The only problem I'm having is that it locks up my Ipod Touch about every two hours. Wadia says send it back to them, I just hate sending components back to the factory.
The Wadia iTransport is an inexpensive way to add convenience to a system, as it functions similarly to a computer-based system. Let's face it, it is a pain to have to get up and change CDs all the time if you only want to hear one or two songs per CD and the iTransport offers the easiest way around that inconvenience. That said, it does not deliver the resolution of a good dedicated CD player. It does sound as good as my Oppo, for example, but not as good as my Perfect Wave Transport.
Markeetaux, I have never encountered the problem you described. If you still have the time, can you return it to your place of purchase for an exchange?

Mcondon, one area of performance where the iTransport is very sensitive is the interface cable, too sensitive in my opinion. I went through a number of cables where some produced poor sound quality. With the right cable and good DAC the sound, at least for me, sounds extremely close to the CD. As you mentioned, sitting down in your sweet spot with remote in hand, it's a good, musical little server. I'm lazy and just love it. And the price; I think this little device is a bargan.
had a chance to do a little A-B comparo last night. the 170i is an very nice sounding piece of gear but could not best my perfect wave transport. given their price points ($400 vs $3000)....i would have been shocked if it had.

the PWT provided better detail and imaging. i also noticed better extension up high and down low. sound-stage sounded deeper as well with the PWT.

that being said, i don't mean to imply the 170i sounds bad in any way. it sounds great!. i think it's more to do with just how good the PWT is.

regardless....i really like this 170i. had a krell s-300i for while, which had a pretty good ipod interface. it was much better sounding then any run of the mill doc hook-up i've tried. have not been able to enjoy my pod tunes since getting rid of the krell. until now that is. this 170i smokes the krell's ipod performance and can not even be compared to a standard doc system. great sound quality along with features/convenience make this little box a keeper in my book.

great piece of equipment imho and a slam dunk value wise.

thanks again for turning me on to this thing.
I have not Wadia 170 dock yet but hope to buy soon,I would like to know one thing about this dock,are the broadcastings (Last FM, Rhapsody,internet radio)playing while its digital out in use?
I thank you in advance
Dear Ben,

I'm not sure, but I believe if you contact a dealer, they should be able to answer your questions. If you go to the Wadia home page I think there is a link for a dealer locater.

Good luck and happy listening.

Thank you Rpg, but I still hope at least one person might be tried any internet radio broadcasting with digital connection of Wadia and let me know
I have an IPod touch, I just loaded the free application "PANDORA", it's completely free for download from the ITunes store, and yes, it works great. For the app to work, of course, your IPod must have an interconnect connection. I'm delighted you asked this question, I'm emjoying commercial free streaming audio off my Ipod now and would not have without your question.

Hi Everyone, can you download high resolution music from the itunes store, such as 24/96 or higher and play it on the iPod through the Wadia?
No. only 44/16
High Res files are not yet available through ITunes, however I heard they are thinking about it. To load high res files you must use a CD and import it, selecting a high res option. I highly suggest in your import settings you select Apple LossLess with error correction. This option provides you with high res and corrects minor errors on the disk. This option does not take as much space as importing straigh WAV files, but it is a bit for bit copy, how it works I'm not sure but it sounds great. Enjoy.
Okay, thanks guys. Sandra
Rpg,do you use Wadia dock digital (coaxial or optical)out while you are listening pandora or itunes radio?

With Pandora on my Ipod, I use the coaxial output on the Wadia to my D/A converter and it sounds great. By the way, the Wadia does not have an optical out. I hope this helps. It sounds based on some of your questions you may not have purchased one yet. For the price, I think the Wadia is a great product. However, the Wadia is sensitive, it requires high quality cables to get the most out of it. You can read through this to see.
i agree Rpg. the 170i is very cable sensitive. had been running an audioquest vdm-5 co-ax for a while and enjoying it. hooked up a wireworld silver starlight co-ax last week and could tell an immediate difference. can't say it sounded "better" but the difference was obvious. richer/fuller bass and smoother midrange jumped out at me. so did slightly less detail up high and a somewhat shallower soundstage.

if you're gonna hook it up to a decent DAC, it's worth trying some different cables. depending on your gear, you could be one cable away from outstanding sound from an ipod.

still not sure which cable i'll be using. after hearing such a dramatic difference between the 3 i've tried, my search may slowly/leisurely continue. no hurry really. when hooked up to a decent DAC with a decent cable.....the 170i sounds fantastic.

i do believe "the right cable" could trigger great synergy with ones system and the 170i. this of course will depend on "ones system" and what "one" likes their music to sound like

Though somewhere out there is a better combination of cables than what I have finally settled with, you could spend a lifetime and crazy amounts of $$ in your quest. I have finally settled on the Audioquest NRG 1 power cable (you MUST upgrade the stock power cable) and the lesser known Harmonic Technology Digital Platinum. I am now quite satisfied and just take pleasure in the music.

i did get the nrg-1 on your recommendation. thank you for the good advise.

would still like to hear a pure copper co-ax connection before i settle on one. cables i've used have been silver core and silver clad. if a nice used 100% copper line pops up for sale cheap....i''ll give it a listen. have flipped many cables in the past so selling a couple more won't be a big deal.

i too refuse to hunt endlessly, looking for the perfect line. spent many month working on the primary ic's and won't go there again. just want a feel for a few major types of digital lines and how the interact with my gear.


Found a Digital IC that goes against the grain of everything I know about Digital IC's. The cable is made by Harmonic Technology. From the spec's and configuration it should sound terrible, however, this cable blew me away, I have never heard better, and I've had some pretty good cables in the past. The cable uses 7 nine's silver and 7 nine's copper in the same run and is double shielded. This cable is not a coax, is not impedance matched, and is 110 Ohm. You would think it to sound terrible. Check out their website, I purchased their Digital Platinum for around $230, you can't beat the price for the sound quality.
All digital connections in my Home Theater system are Canare. The Canare cables these days are about $48.00 per meter and are all copper, 75Ohm coax configuration with excellent true 75Ohm connections. The cable I'm using now only slightly edged out the Canare. A well engineered and realistically priced cable. You can return the cable within 30 days if not satisfied. For just $48 I would suggest you give it a try. :)
Talked to Wadia about very slight distortion in the sound of my 170iTransport, (very slight distortion but distortion all the same). Wadia said to keep the price of the product as low as possible, they used a lower quality power supply and suggested upgrading. Wadia did not have a upgraded supply, but Music Direct has for $279 a supply specifically designed for the Dock. I'll follow-up after receipt and post to see if it made a difference. One note; I replaced the system first as it was under warranty and it made no difference, hence, the upgraded supply.
Now there is an honest company! Rather than trying to BS the customer or blaming the customer, they were straightforward. Very refreshing!