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The Computer Audiophile

Article: Wadia 121 Decoding Computer DAC Review

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Chris, nice review, as is expected. :) Quick shout out to using Headshots!! Yes, it's been one of my demo tracks for years. I love Suzanne Vega, but especially her years with her husband/producer, Mitchell Froom. His and Tchad Blake's production/engineering of her stuff is a lot of fun.

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Hi Chris,

thanks for the review, I had a try also, but still I could not get any better feeling and dynamics, specially the sound presence (even more if using one of the different power improvements that exist on the market today) when compared to the Italian YOUNG 32bit,...I feel wadia is nice, but costs more than the YOUNG and offers not more for that... I better invest that difference on improving my USB cable.

cheers!

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Hi Chris,

thanks for the review, I had a try also, but still I could not get any better feeling and dynamics, specially the sound presence (even more if using one of the different power improvements that exist on the market today) when compared to the Italian YOUNG 32bit,...I feel wadia is nice, but costs more than the YOUNG and offers not more for that... I better invest that difference on improving my USB cable.

cheers!

 

In my understanding, all m2Tech products (except the HiFace 2) operates in bulk mode. Thus, USB cable shouldn't have any effect on the sound. The HiFace 2, which is based on the XMOS interface, might lead to another story then. I've been using the M2Tech for more than 6 months and I would suggest you to be careful in your investment into different USB cables.

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Under "Listening to the Wadia 121 Decoding Computer", second sentence:

 

"Most listening was done using my C.A.P.S. v2.0 server running JRiver Media Center v18"

 

Is that a typo? I did jump to the JRMC website to look for a beta release!

 

This item looks interesting, especially the volume control. The one item that drives me crazy on my system is low volume listening, I am forced to use digital volume control via JRMC.


Roon Rock running on a Gen 7 i5, Akasa Plao X7 fanless case. Schiit Lyr 2, Schiit Bifrost upgraded with Uber Analog and USB Gen 2, Grado RS1s, ADAM A3x Nearfield Monitors.

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Under "Listening to the Wadia 121 Decoding Computer", second sentence:

 

"Most listening was done using my C.A.P.S. v2.0 server running JRiver Media Center v18"

 

Is that a typo? I did jump to the JRMC website to look for a beta release!

 

This item looks interesting, especially the volume control. The one item that drives me crazy on my system is low volume listening, I am forced to use digital volume control via JRMC.

 

 

No typos here :~)

 

You should try a 121 in your system. The volume control is really neat.

 

jrmc18.png


Founder of Audiophile Style

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Thanks for the review Chris. I liked that fact that you were able to test it with some of the highest level components money can buy and give us a sense of perspective- what we get and don't get with the 121 compared to the very best, playing the best recordings available. Of course, as you mention, everything is relative. The 121 will not compete against the very best DAC's in the world but within its price range, I feel the 121 is worthy strong consideration.

 

I am using a Wadia 121 direct to a Bel Canto REF500S via USB in my main system and I absolutely love it. So much so, that my terminal "upgrade-itis" disease is in full remission. All my time and attention these days is devoted to finding and obtaining great music, without a thought toward my gear, which for me is nirvana.


Home: EtherRegen | UltraRendu + LPS 1.2 | Berkeley Alpha USB | Denafrips Terminator | Jeff Rowland Coherence II Series 2 | Blue Circle Audio BC-202 | Raidho XT-1 | 2 x Revel Performa3 B112 subwoofers  

 

Desktop: Iso Regen + LPS 1 | Eitr | Chord Qutest  | Aesthetix Calypso pre | Blue Circle Audio BC-28 amp | Scansonic MK-5 monitors | Elac S10 sub

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Great to hear Blake. That's what this wonderful hobby is all about.

 

Thanks for the review, Chris. Thorough and well-written.

 

I really enjoy my 121 and for me, it will likely be the point where I stop for quite a while. I don't know how much run-in time you had on your evaluation unit, but I will say that the Wadia continues to improve considerably over 3-4 months of continuous use (300-400 hours), much like the Schiit Bifrost, which I also hope you will review at some point in the near future.


Digital: Mac Mini/Roon Core/Optical Module->long run of fiber->EtherREGEN->SOtM UltraNeo->Schiit Gumby DAC. Shunyata Sigma Ethernet/Alpha USB Amplification: Conrad-Johnson CT-5 preamp, LP70S amp Speakers: Harbeth 30.2/Power/Cables: Shunyata Denali 6000/S V2, Shunyata Delta NR & EF, NR-V10, NR-V12, & Venom 14 Digital PCs, Venom ICs, Delta SPs. 

 

 

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Agreed, usually when individual tracks sound less than the Full Monty, polarity is wrong. Chris, did you try to swith polarity in Audirvana on Diane Krall? The Wadia doesn't seem to offer the feature which for a company boasting about Digital Done Right is a bit of a let-down.

 

Chris, nice review, as is expected. :) Quick shout out to using Headshots!! Yes, it's been one of my demo tracks for years. I love Suzanne Vega, but especially her years with her husband/producer, Mitchell Froom. His and Tchad Blake's production/engineering of her stuff is a lot of fun.

Antigrunge

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Agreed, usually when individual tracks sound less than the Full Monty, polarity is wrong. Chris, did you try to swith polarity in Audirvana on Diane Krall? The Wadia doesn't seem to offer the feature which for a company boasting about Digital Done Right is a bit of a let-down.

 

The 121 has a phase button right on the remote and a phase indicator on the front panel.

 

As part of my routine when reviewing components I check phase right away.


Founder of Audiophile Style

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Chris, are you saying that you tried switching the polarity for the individual recordings as you played them ?

 

I seem to recall reading ,on more than a few occasions ,that there can be a pretty wide variance as to how the polarity is set on recordings even from the same label.

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In my understanding, all m2Tech products (except the HiFace 2) operates in bulk mode. Thus, USB cable shouldn't have any effect on the sound. The HiFace 2, which is based on the XMOS interface, might lead to another story then. I've been using the M2Tech for more than 6 months and I would suggest you to be careful in your investment into different USB cables.

 

REGARDING THE USB CABLE:

Theoretically, USB cable shouldn't affect the sound quality when transmission is bulk mode. BUT... USB also makes a ground connection which could inject noise in the system if the cable is poor quality.

And we know all about how important the noise and the power supply is...and the BAD effects that can have on sound.

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REGARDING THE USB CABLE:

Theoretically, USB cable shouldn't affect the sound quality when transmission is bulk mode. BUT... USB also makes a ground connection which could inject noise in the system if the cable is poor quality.

And we know all about how important the noise and the power supply is...and the BAD effects that can have on sound.

 

Please stay on topic. If you want to discuss USB cables start a thread in the forum.

 

Thanks.


Founder of Audiophile Style

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My 121 has burned 400 hours plus and my nowadays "critic listening" is through a Stax earspeaker powered by its own amp. And? It's fantastic!

I am very happy with this marriage and it doesn't matters if I was listening the powerful "The Kennedy Experience", the classy Patricia Barber "Mythologies" or the dynamic Boulez "Pli Selon Pli", my system gives me all those little orgasmic pleasures so well-known to music lovers.

I am a Wadia addicted and this DAC doesn't disappointed me - specially for that price.


Dalton

______________________________________________________________________

 

"Si vous avez compris, vous avez sûrement tort." (Lacan)

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Chris, one question the volume if this unit is not connected to a pre-amp is only controlled by the remote ? no volume adjustments are on the unit correct ?


The Truth Is Out There

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Thanks for the review Chris. I have been waiting to hear your take on it. I am another owner who is very pleased with the DAC after coming from a Rega Apollo. For me the direct connection was better then going through my Parasound P3 preamp so I encourage people to try it both ways especially if they have a more modest preamp.

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Is the output voltage the same for both the single ended and balanced outputs? I don't see how they could be if this is truly a balanced dac.

 

Which output are they referring to for the adjustable output? For example, if the settings are set to 1V output does that mean balanced is 2v and RCA is 1v or is the balanced 1v and RCA .5v?

 

Thanks

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Hi Chris,

thanks for the review.

you can cancel the pre-amp section and volume of this DAC Wadia 121?

I ask because I want to connect it to my preamp Jeff Rowland Concerto

Thank you.

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