What can cause noise with my Wadia 381? HELP

My new Wadia 381 CD player (modified by a well known company in Minnesota) has exhibited a reproducible noise problem since it was new. There is a ridiculously high noise floor that sounds like hiss, louder in the left channel. But ALSO, there is static noise that sounds much like scratches on a vinyl disc that are NOT constant but recur with regularity. I can e-mail a QuickTime video to anyone who is interested that demonstrates the noises quite clearly. Just to rule out various causes, I have swapped out interconnects, amplifiers (solid state and tube), and speaker systems. In addition, I took the Wadia to a different house with no cable TV, all appliances unplugged, all fluorescent lighting turned off and the NOISES ARE STILL THERE! I SENT THE 381 in for service and they claim that the unit functioned perfectly--no noise. I am at my wits end because a very expensive Wadia 381 with mods has a very reproducible set of noises that everybody on the planet that has been in my house can hear with any system equipment that I own. But I am getting nowhere with the dealer regarding this problem--I am told that the unit checks out and it is my problem. I fear that when I send the unit back in again for service for another $100 shipping, I will once again get the "no problem" diagnosis. The dealer had the unit running for hours and claim they NEVER HEARD A SINGLE NOISE. For whatever reason, the burden of proof of what is clearly a Wadia sourced issue seems to be placed squarely on my shoulders. Any input from the community will be appreciated.
Seriously, thank you for sharing this painful experience. I
love the look and feel of Wadia products, especially the WT-2000 transport. What keeps me from buying one is the fear that I'll repeat the experience you have just described. None of their products are inexpensive and it would drive me crazy to have an intermittent problem that even the dealer can't cure. Sorry I couldn't be more help.
(modified by a well known company in Minnesota)

Maybe this is the problem?
I agree with Tpreaves, those modifications are unique to the company that designs them. Years later when something goes wrong, it's nearly impossible to find someone to fix it. If you're lucky the company that did the original mods is still in business (and they still do mods). However, then you are at their mercy to get it fixed at a reasonable price. Personally, I steer clear of modded components. This comment won't help you now, but it might later.
It sounds like you've done alot to diagnose the problem. There are so many environmental/component/cable interactions that can happen. Did you try lifting the grounds on the CD player and then the rest of the equipment. There may also be a loose or improper interconnect connection. Can you reproduce the sound by moving the cable around?

Did you send the quicktime video to your dealer? Personally, I would continue the diagnostic process with your dealer from afar. If no progress is made, you'll need to send it back in. That's all you can really do. Good luck.
Hi' Cathealer

* Have you tried with another cd player in your setup (same problem)?
* Get power to your Wadia from another switch
* If you swap around the signal cables from your Wadia (L->R and R->L), does the noise also move to the other side?
* Try some other signal cables
I have tried grounding the Wadia using the usual techniques to no avail. I have done all sorts of interconnect changes but the noise follows: for example, if I switch the interconnects to a different input, the noise shows up there. Here is the link to a youtube video--turn up your volume as the conversion from my QuickTime file lost some of the audio in the translation
The dealer offered to reexamine the unit but clearly there is some gremlin at work here and I would rather start with a new UNMODIFIED unit. Frankly, if I was warned ahead of time that the modification would nullify my Wadia warranty, I would never gone for the mod, but the owner of the dealership who has a longstanding good relationship with Wadia did not disclose this rather pertinent information up front. The owner has not returned any of my recent e-mails or phone calls for reasons only he knows.
In addition, I have used 3 other CD players and there is dead silence--no noise whatsoever using any inputs for these players, including another Wadia. Switching from left to right--the noise follows whatever input I plug into using the affected Wadia.
I asked the dealer in Minnesota to replace the unit with a brand new unmodified wadia 381, but was told that this was DEFINITELY NOT AN OPTION. Partially out of respect for the dealership, I have left their name out of this thread. This company that performed the mods has been doing this service for a number of years; they had previously done a repair on another Wadia (transport)of mine that went on to work beautifully for many more additional years. That is why I did not think twice about allowing the mods on a brand new 381. Clearly that was a big mistake. I am honestly shocked at the horrendous treatment I am now getting from this dealer. I would love to believe that they heard no problems, but find this difficult considering that I can reproduce the noise with a multiplicity of playback systems and building locations. Here is the youtube video of the noise: Partially out of respect for the dealership, I have left their name out of this thread. Check of the youtube video of the noise: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-x0h-2rj34&feature=youtu.be
May i say a thing here!
Have you contacted Brett from Wadia?
I suspect that this is one of your two current conveyors.
If this is the case, they change both. It is quite alot of work. I suggest you call Brett at Wadia and explain this.
It really sounds from how you describe this, that it is the current conveyors that needs to be replaced.
They are actually updated so you'd probably get new better ones and this do affect the sound you hear (i do not talk of noise compaired to noiseless.)

Let me know when you called.

Hope it works out now, just keep calm it'll be solved;-)
Hi all ! So , the unit had noise problems when it was new and you still sent it to be modified ? I dont think I would blame Wadia or the guy who modified it . Too late in the game . Should have sent it back in the first place . Sorry not helping but this is nobodys fault but yours .
Why do you think the dealer owes you a new unit? As Brad stated above, this one's on you my man. You take the hit when you have non factory modifications done, that's just the way it is. I hope you can get the unit fixed but it's going to be on your dime.
THE DEALER MENTIONED THAT HE SUSPECTED that there could be issues with the current conveyors but he never followed through with a repair. The reason: he claims he could not reproduce the problem, which is absurd. At the very least, the hiss or noise floor is very obvious--just turn up the volume on the amp without playing any media and there it is, and much louder in the left channel. Sometimes there is the static noise as recorded and posted in the youtube video, but it is not always present. But when it is, you can easily hear it, even during playback of low volume material. I can contact Wadia again, but they insisted that the Dealer, with whom they have a "working" relationship, should perform the repair; Wadia will supply the parts needed under warranty under those circumstances. Remember, I NEVER actually RECEIVED and used this 381 BEFORE it was modified. Perhaps that was my biggest mistake--it was probably good enough without the mods. But the fact is that the seller/dealer recommended these mods. I have had a positive experience with this dealer before when he repaired/modded a Wadia 8, so, I agreed to allow him to mod the new 381 before I every used it. After modding the new 381, he shipped it to me. The noises that are still there (static, hiss, noise floor issues) where there from day one. However, I attributed the noises to my old tube amps which I eventually sent in for "repair"/adjustment. Weeks later, when I received my amps back, the NOISES WERE STILL THERE. It turns out my equipment was fine IN THE FIRST PLACE--the Wadia was the source of the noise since it first arrived on my doorstep. All the rest is history. I cannot even get a phone call or e-mail back from the dealer at this point. Many people in this forum have used this dealer. Unbelievable.
Ridiculous as it sounds, I did not know that a certified Wadia dealer would knowingly void my warranty without at least disclosing or discussing that possibility. I guess that I was naive in assuming that the seller would have properly educated his customer regarding this vital bit of information. The dealer provides a 3 year "store" warranty, but if he is unable or unwilling to repair the unit he modded, what good is this warranty? It is only as good as his skill set in diagnosing the problem. By all rights, he should fix whatever is causing the malfunction (noise) under the warranty he has provided. In short, the dealer/seller is the only one that knows the full details of the modifications. As such, he is the only one qualified to fix it, and under the warranty with his name stamped on it.
You don't have to shout. You never said the dealer you bought the unit from was the modifier. This changes the game,some what. Contact Wadia and let them know one of their dealers is possibly doing unauthorized mods and and see if they can help you. Please for other would be buyers sake, divulge this dealers name.
Sorry to shout. This is so frustrating. The mods performed are commonly done by this dealer and are frequently discussed in this forum. And I accepted a modded, new 381. But I got more--and less-- than I expected (with the noise issue and my voided factory warranty) and, for whatever reason that only the seller/dealer/modder knows, I cannot seem to get any traction in a positive direction. I will eventually provide the dealer's name. I just thought that by being discrete, at least I would take the high road. At such time that he does the right thing, I will give full disclosure. The seller is one of the "full line dealers" in Minnesota,
OK. I spoke with WADIA today and they are going to help me out---not sure what it will cost. BUT HERE IS THE MAIN CAUSE OF THE DEALER'S POOR SERVICE--HE IS OUT OF BUSINESS!!!
The dealer is, or should I say WAS: The Great Northern Sound Company--owner: Steve Huntley. I heard this straight from Wadia. Best guess why my unit never was repaired: Steve was in the process of closing his doors and he just did not want to deal with me or my problems.....)-: So there you have it! I will eventually report back the diagnosis after Wadia examines my 381.
I just saw on another forum that GNSC has closed. If you go to their website, Steve lists three recommended dealers for servicing any of the products that they've upgraded.

I understood directly, strange that some above here did not!?
What is expensive with new current conveyors (update)is mostly labour time. It certainly sounds as it is the current conveyor which is damaged. I find it strange that this happened and even stranger that Steve did not took it under warranty. Steve told me they have full warranty at these units, same as Wadia original.
I have always thought of Steve as really nice. This was all but nice. I understand and i am 100% on the same page as you. Ofcourse he should repair this unit, no question and absolutely no costs what so ever. Well, enough of this. Better see it on the brighter side. Wadia knows what they do. Probably you'll get the newest versions now (better and you'll hear that:-)
If you are unlucky, Wadia deassemble all GNSC modifications.
Good luck and take it easy now...
Thank you, Inpieces, for your support in this matter. Yes, hopefully, Wadia won't remove all the mods, though Brett did say that this may be necessary, at least in part. Brett indicated that once he goes through the rig, he will develop an evidence based plan....Hopefully, the current conveyors are bad.....I will get them replaced, and then life will be good (-: I'll keep you posted.
I think Brett & Co feel for you in a way.
I think it sounds interesting, but not at all pleasing from your point. I would be furious, but it won't help though.
Yes please, let me know how it develops and resolves and let's hope it isn't that bad.

If the noise is coming from the left balanced output, please try the left unbalanced output to see if the noise is there too.

Please let me know if it is, or which specific output or outputs it is coming from.


The reason that I'm asking is that if the problem is with the left balanced output but the left unbalanced output is alright, Steve may not have seen the problem.

Please email me at: [email protected]

The noise was present whilst using balanced or unbalanced interconnect.
I have heard noise from both right and left channels, balanced and unbalanced. Brett will have the beast tomorrow; I hope that he finds the problem quickly and won't have to dismantle the machine in the process.....
Thanks Gary, would you please keep us informed with what Brett finds out?


I reside in New Zealand,I purchased a Wadia 861 w/ GNSC statement from Steve Huntly and can relate to the static noise that sound similiar to scratches on a vinyl disc that are not constant but recur with regularity. The other issue I encountered was the cd drawer opening and closing on its own and not reading cds, which was diagnosed as the burn in procedure. It was agreed between Steve and myself that the repair take place here in NZ due to shipping costs involved. The technican was unable to replicate the static noise again but did clean and lube the sled rod as suggested by Steve and in the end the technican resolved the burn in procedure issue. Since its return I have not encountered either issues again. If you like I could email you the actual emails to and from Steve and the Technican(including his actual invoice with a description of the work that took place)who were very professional in their approach. My email address is [email protected]

Have you heard anything from Wadia?

I think that You have gremlins biting wires on the left
Sorry that I have not responded until now....there was nothing to report until today as I finally received my 381 back from repair. Needless to say, I never heard back from Steve H. So much for that. So I turned to my only logical choice: I talked with Brett at Wadia and he took my 381 in for repair. Brett was of the opinion that the current conveyor modules were the source of my gremlins--so he installed the new modules (the repair order says "WS7i Swift Current). He also replaced the electronics associated with the front panel display to an updated, more reliable version (I was having sporadic issues with the unit not responding to remote or direct front panel button commands--the front panel repair is supposed to fix this annoyance). Finally, he secured a loose pad associated with the DAC that Steve had installed as part of his mod. ALL of Steve's mods were left in the unit--I guess that may be a good thing--or not--who knows. So far, no static sounds and or any of the previously noted extraneous and inappropriate noise--just a silent background--finally! It is too soon to say how my "new" 381 compares with the original modded unit before new current conveyors as far as improvements in sound quality--but so far so very, very good!!

Thanks for getting back with us. I hope that everything is fine now.

It was the current conveyors, i could have placed a bet at that. I recognized what you described well. I guess it is more difficult to understand if you haven't had same issue.
I have the same current conveyors as you got now. Mine was replaced 2011 in the end of summer, for the exact same issue you experienced yourself. I think not even all S7i has these modules. They don't even look as the old ones's at all. I was told, before i got them, they were all new from Wadia.
Now enjoy amigo, no more anxiety :-)
The system is sounding quite fantastic now as the Wadia appears to be fully broken in. A musician/engineer friend was over yesterday and remarked that this was absolutely the best he has ever heard Bob Dylan sound on a music system. (I was playing the 2004 remastered version of Freewheelin'".
Someone on WhatsBestForum asked this morning if Wadia had moved to Minnesota yet. I just visited Wadia yesterday in Michigan.

I live about 5 hours from Wadia's current location in Saline, Michigan. I have one of the early S7i players that have the old current conveyors, the current ones are supposed to be noticeably better and currently available as an upgrade option for those who have the older players.

I drove up this weekend so that I could take my S7i in to have the current conveyors switched out. It was much easier and safer than sending it to them, and it was a nice three day trip for my wife and me. We drove up to Kid Rock's hometown in Clarkson Sunday afternoon and ate at the Union Wood Shop that Kid Rock took Guy Fieri to on the TV show "Diners, Drive Ins and Dives". They buy and process the meat onsite, and it was ones one the best meals my wife and I have ever had. They even make their own ice cream there, individually at the time of order.

I arrived at Wadia Monday morning at 7:00 with my S7i, and met with Brett, who started working on my S7i right away. About eight o'clock everyone else came in, including John Schaffer. I'd originally met John at the Detroit Audio Fest two or three years ago.

I spent the morning with all of them, and everyone one was extremely nice and helpful as Brett and one of his fellow servicemen swapped out my current conveyors and serviced my player. They thoroughly went through my S7i to make sure that everything was just right. It is one of the first S7i players sold, so they wanted to make sure that it was still performing to the original specs, which it was.

John told me that the current conveyor upgrade would be immediately obvious when I put the S7i back in my system. He said that he was surprised that I hadn't gotten them sooner since they are such a good upgrade. I told him that I hadn't even heard about them until the post by CatHealer on Audiogon when Egidius and Inpieces mentioned them. John said that Wadia wasn't really promoting or pushing them, but he thought that word of mouth was spreading the word. The current conveyor upgrade, if you have an older S7i the original current conveyors, is $600.00 ($300.00 each) plus labor.

I didn't put the S7i back in my system last night when we got home because it was too late. The five hour drive was tiring with the road construction going on now that the weather is nice. I set it up this morning and turned it on. I'll sit down and listen to it tonight after work.

As far as the original question: where is Wadia right now? Wadia has been relocated to Minnesota for almost all functions including production of new products and back office support. They are still retaining the facility in Saline for some service work, and for some of their engineering needs. The building in Saline, Michigan is for sale, and some are still there right now like I stated. No one said when they'd all be moving permanently, and I didn't think to ask since I was there with my S7i and enjoying my time with everyone.