Wadia with or without a preamp ?

Technical and Subjective experience and impressions.
In my system the Wadia 860x direct would make you scratch your own eyes out after about twenty minutes of listening to most CDs. I don't know if it was an issue with the Wadia, the quality of the recordings I listen to, or other elements of the signal chain (the Confidence 5s I use are pretty unforgiving of high frequency crap), but it sounds much better run through my preamp
Agree 100% with Ignatz. I have a Wadia 27 that run straight into my SS amp will give you a headache in about 30 minutes. I just could not figure it out but once I put my tube pre back into the loop, I could listen to my system for hours. I am not kidding when I say I would get a headache. I would simply not want to turn on my system. But Wadia swears by the direct-connect methdo. I think if I had a tube amp, perhaps things would be different. And BTW, I use BW N802 speakers which are also quite revealing.
i think it depends on you amp, cables and speakers. my 850 sounds like heaven ran direct. but i'm using vandersteen 3a sigs and a very musical ss amp.
Keep in mind that "bits are bits" and a digital volume control as used on the wadia players strips bits to digitally attenuate volume. This is why the players have the sensitivity switches inside and why wadia recommends setting them so you run the higher end of the volume control for normal listening. Regardless of any marketing hype and hoodoo, stripping bits = loss of fidelity.

My friend who had an 830, and all who listened agreed that his system was better served when the BAT VK50SE preamp was introduced between the 830 and his amp.

I had an 830 that I tried direct with a number of amps, Classe, Krell, Plinius, Music Reference and Sim Audio. I never liked it direct. It was always better with a linestage, not even close.
yes Wadias with Vandys and direct into tube amps- THE BEST!
I recently bought a Wadia 270/27ix to "upgrade" from my Sonic Frontiers T3/P3 run through a BAT VK-50SE. Having a baby in the house meant huge variations on the volume at which I listen, depending whether the baby was in the room or in another part of the house. At low volumes, the Wadia was terrible sounding so I sold the Wadia stuff and now realize how happy I am with my SF front end. If you always listen at the same level, a properly adjusted Wadia sounds unbeliveble direct. If you turn it down for conversation or other reasons, better have a preamp in there. However, that said, Wadia does upsample so that bits are not lost if you are not playing full tilt. This only becomes an issue when you have VERY discrepant listneing levels.
I run a Wadia 860x direct to tube amps with Dunlavy speakers. I have not really tried a preamp much with the Wadia. I did try an Adacom GFP 750, and I liked it better with the Wadia direct. In my system the Wadia is far from bright, I would even say that it leans toward the laid back side of things. I don't really notice that the volume setting affects audio quality either. I don't usually ever play with it less than 50. If you have a preamp try it before you sell it. It seems like the guys who think that Wadia direct is bad either have solid state amps and a tube preamp or a big dollar preamp.
Well my turn. I had a 850 direct into a Bat vk200. Great. Then bought a vk50se preamp. Much better. Not cost effective, but nothing is in the hobby!
I have run my Wadia 830 direct and I have found the music to sound thin. Disks sound better, in my opinion, when run through a decent additional stage in my system which is based on a tube preamplifier and a tube amplifier. While I am sure that theoretically I am sacraficing detail, I feel that I am gaining musicality.
I was afraid of what I would hear when I hooked my 861 directly to a Levinson amp because of the large investment made in a great tube preamp. Hooked up directly through Transparent Ultra balanced cables it has great transparency and depth but it lacks warmth. The digital volume works great and didn't seem to lose anything when kept at 80% or more. I lost very little if any image quality but gained musicality when I ran it through a preamp. Vocals and pianos gained warmth and the base seemed better as well. Experiment to see what works best for you.
I have the Wadia 861 Direct to my Pass x350. With nunlavys 4 a,s. Sometimes the sound amazes me, Yes at above 70 is when it sounds it,s best .I agree at lower levels it lost some transparency.I aqm running SG designers ref. active sheilding balanced.I have wondered on a pre. and talked to STEVE Huntley on the matter,for me,The 2000.00 on a Full Ref. upgrade would yeild better sonics overall and is cheaper than a high end pre.
Iam glad someone brought up this topic, i wonder all the time how a audio research ref.Mk 2 would sound.Both steve Huntley and Denny at Audio Video Logic,Have said the Ref MK2 would be a great Match with my sysatem.
Tuff choice funds are tight now.
A $7000 preamp as a tweak for a $3000 or $5000 cd-player? Wouldn't the 861 or 270/27ix be a better way to spend that kind of money?
I was using Wadia 27 and found them running directly to power amps sounding too direct. The sound was upfront and very clear but lacked musicality. Especially when the dynamic gets really loud, the direct drive will always sound harsher and less controlled than thru a good pre. But the key word is GOOD PRE. You will not get good result running the Wadia thru mediocre pre. Tube pres are mostly favorable.
Now I got rid of the Wadia and have Dcs Elgar/Purcell in my system. It's a different story. My Dcs drives directly into the VK 60s(4 monoblocks) with absolute quiteness and all the musicallity one can ask for. So the lesson for me is, running direct is potentially good but very expensive to do it right. If there was any pre that makes my system sounding better, I have not found it.
I think the 850 I auditioned run directly was a bit strident in the mid treble run directly into the amp. Having said that - what AMAZING soundstaging and imaging, not to mention ease of presentation and glorious midrange. Right now, it's too much $$ to pick up both the wadia and a top of the line pre (and that's what it would really need to add more flesh to each note (right now the emphasis is on the leading edge of notes, hence the imperssion of harshness)) - or perhaps an upgrade others have referred to-except I am not willing to spend $5k on a player that then needed another $2k to upgrade.... Just my $0.02.
Does anyone know how to adjust the output switches on the Wadia 850?
Yes, write me an e-mail and I will send you the settings. Or you might go to www.wadia.com and contact them for the same question.
In my system the 850 feeds into REVELS LE-1 (crossover-sub amp) which feeds the McIntosh valve amp MC 2000. In comparison to the path via my AUDIO RESEARCH SP 14 this is a MUCH better solution. I really believe it depends on your system and even on your listening room wether you use a pre or not. Any pre does something anyway that's the simple key, I guess.
OF course,WITHOUT !!!