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Using Wadia CDP inputs & Wadia "U" upgrade


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Hy folks,

 

I'm a CA newbie, just getting into things on this site. Great stuff out here. Need WAY more time to read it all.. Anyway, congrads on this site!

 

Brainstorming an easy entry into the CA world I want to use my Wadia850i digital inputs & DAC to get started and not suffer from degrading sound (compared to Wadia on-board drive) in the process. Any thoughts & experiences (specifically of Wadia owners?) are welcomed. (Squeezebox, Sonos, PC, Mac, into Wadia, whatever...). I have no clue as to Wadia specifics (buffering, re-clocking or other jitter mitigation, word-length limitations, etc..). I bet there must be a CA devotee & Wadia user out there some place...

 

Other thing (topic subject): There is some minor info on the web of Wadia about to issue a USB to SPDIF/optical/other(?) digital conversion device called the "U" upgrade, specifically designed to solve part of my problem, allowing me to connect anything with USB out (seems like we have a choice there) to my Wadia CD player digital inputs. Does anyone have more info on that?

 

Thanks & keep up the good work!

Hans

 

 

 

Bits to analog: Server [i9-10850k; Win10Pro, Roon Core + HQPlayer4 >all DSD256x] -> mRendu -> Lampi GG

Analog to sound: ASR Emitter II Exclusive, Battery -> Dynaudio Confidence 20 + 2 REL G2's

Details: Audio System

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Hello Hans,

I once was a Wadia owner: Wadia 8 w/X32 then Wadia 2000 upgraded to 27 status always using AT&T I/O w/Audioquest Pro2.

Lovely sound w/Jadis and Genesis gear. Avoided using their digital volume control, as the DAC was 'losing bits'. Better sound with a real pre-amp.

I've found the 581 manual (if you haven't already got it!): http://www.drhifi.net.au/New%20Equipment/Wadia/Wadia%20581i%20CD%20Player/Wadia%20581se_781i%20CD%20Player%20Manual%20Web.pdf

Here are all the upgrades available on the Wadia site: http://wadia.com/products/upgrades/

As for the 'U upgrade': 'Content to come.'

A free tip: try re-injecting the signal out of the Wadia back into it. Sounds better!

My half €.

GM

 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

However, you're underestimating the legacy status of my gear.... or overestimating my budget.. I have an ancient 850i, not an 581...

 

Manuals of the 850 are here: http://www.wadia.com/library/manuals/w850man.pdf

I also found that it has 24 bit capability (although 21 bit processing accuracy internally).

 

The inputboard & DAC qualities recieved some feedback in the 850's Stereophile review:

[http://www.stereophile.com/cdplayers/592/index.html] - page 3:

 

Bits to analog: Server [i9-10850k; Win10Pro, Roon Core + HQPlayer4 >all DSD256x] -> mRendu -> Lampi GG

Analog to sound: ASR Emitter II Exclusive, Battery -> Dynaudio Confidence 20 + 2 REL G2's

Details: Audio System

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Why no SP/DIF from Mac Mini direct to Wadia? 3.5mm-Toslink Cable/Adaptor required only. Are you worried about jitter?

 

PS3 60bg (160GB installed + Native music Browser)-AVI ADM9.1-Klipsch SW12 Subwoofer-Belkin Power Board- Custom power cables-Supra Sub Cable- No Name Toslink Cable - PROUD NZer

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Tonto, you cought me pants-down allright. I never guessed that the 3.5 jack carried digital, I thought it was merely an analog stereo headphones jack.. thanks for the tip! Never knew toslink had a mini version.

 

Any thoughts on quality (in terms of sound) of the standard Mac mini toslink output? Wadia documentation is not raving about the format. You can buy 'mini' adapters for a little as 2 euro... And what about it's specs & limitations? Will it do / go beyond 96k/24b bandwith?

 

 

I know.. I need to get throught the "Optical-v-USB-Revisited" thread...

 

 

 

Bits to analog: Server [i9-10850k; Win10Pro, Roon Core + HQPlayer4 >all DSD256x] -> mRendu -> Lampi GG

Analog to sound: ASR Emitter II Exclusive, Battery -> Dynaudio Confidence 20 + 2 REL G2's

Details: Audio System

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BTW welcome to the forum!

Do a forum search on Optic 3.5mm leads, this has been covered before from memory. I think Chris's favourite is a Monster lead but I'm sure he or someone else will chime in soon :)

In terms of the hidden port on the Mac Mini- I've discovered here aswell! There is also one on the Airport express. It had me checking my Vaio laptop in hope but to no avail :(

 

PS3 60bg (160GB installed + Native music Browser)-AVI ADM9.1-Klipsch SW12 Subwoofer-Belkin Power Board- Custom power cables-Supra Sub Cable- No Name Toslink Cable - PROUD NZer

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Thanks for the direction.. looking into it as I type this! Will need to improve my forum searching skills though.. So bring in the cameo appearances.. :-)

 

In an attempt to do justice to this threads topic: the Wadia website finally carries some content on the "u"-upgrade..:

 

>

 

Sounds like ackowledgement that Chris is onto something & should anticipate some traffic :-)

 

Also / however... tagging the Wadia 521, 27ix and 931 as the finite list of Wadia "extensive current and legacy digital-to-analog converters" sounds çonstricted' ( a.k.a load of .... making me feel somewhat underappreceated..) Also, I have NO clue what defines "mezzanine" (not implying the Massive Attack album..).

 

I could always sell-off my 850 and get the new Bryston BDA-1....

 

Bits to analog: Server [i9-10850k; Win10Pro, Roon Core + HQPlayer4 >all DSD256x] -> mRendu -> Lampi GG

Analog to sound: ASR Emitter II Exclusive, Battery -> Dynaudio Confidence 20 + 2 REL G2's

Details: Audio System

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  • 1 month later...

really like the BDA, spent a month with it and a Benchmark and really felt the Bryston was the better of the two. Haven't used the USB on the Bryston, but have gone the Toslink route and found (when Airtunes would work properly) that it produced really excellent sound (all files are AIFF). Very happy with the Bryston and looking forward to comparing it to the Wadia's DAC capabilities. Not much help I realize, but my 2 cents.

 

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A very interesting 2 cents brucks! Please share your findings comparing the two. The BDA-1 is on my shortlist also (together with Weiss DAC2). Impressive piece of kit the 781i. I read it carries AES digital inputs. It is mighty expensive though. What made you go to a transport (again?). Do you require SACD?/ seek upgrade for the Bryston or have you not yet been converted to the likes of musicservers completely..? :-)

 

Bits to analog: Server [i9-10850k; Win10Pro, Roon Core + HQPlayer4 >all DSD256x] -> mRendu -> Lampi GG

Analog to sound: ASR Emitter II Exclusive, Battery -> Dynaudio Confidence 20 + 2 REL G2's

Details: Audio System

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Didn't have a chance this weekend to compare the two, had to plant and garden. You are correct that the 781i has an AES digital input, don't currently have anything in my system that can pass data via this, but hope to find something soon!

 

I purchased the Wadia so I had a transport in my system, I was using a borrowed Denon 3910 that a friend had loaned me. If you are interested in a good deal on a Wadia, check out Audiogon as there are some deals that could net you a 33-50% savings over the list price (I got a fantastic deal on mine). Will end up trying my Wadia 170 through it as well as trying computer based digital through it to see what all sounds good/great. I will say the reason why I want a nice transport is that even though I am going down the path towards having a digital music server, I still want the physical media in case of a drive crash (will eventually have multiple back-ups, still waiting on a good solution as my library of AIFF files is now in the 700 gb range); plus, I do have a number of SACD discs that I would hate to be relegated to being nothing more than expensive coasters!

 

Having said all of that, I am hoping that the Wadia can compare/excell versus the Bryston as I would prefer to have a single DAC in my system; but if that is not to be I am okay with that as well. I'll keep you posted on how I feel the two compare over the next few weeks.

 

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Weather (good!) prioritised my time in a similar direction.. So my room acoustics projects progress was none, zip, nada..

 

I find myself on Audiogon frequently. For used gear it's somewhat unpractical. I live in Europe (Netherlands) so I have to get round the voltage, VAT & shipping issues.

 

I get your SACD argument. Have not found good work-arounds on that on CA (besides Saracon, seen no user feedback & is not cheap).

 

On the issue of storage: I'm thinking NAS myself. If your requirement is under 1 Tb (some room to spare) there's plenty options. I would considder a 2 disk NAS in raid1. Alternatives are a 3 disk raid5, 4 disk raid5 or 4 disk raid6 (raid6 alows you to crash 2 drives in the array withour loss of data; so a 4 disk raid6 will show as 2 disks in terms of available size in Mb's, since the rest is redundancy); remember raid is not a backup, but a high availability silution; it will not protect you from your own mistakes or software error. Most NAS devices have USB port & push-button back-up functions. Just plug a $120 1.5Tb external USB drive to you NAS and press that button once a week before you go to sleep... I think I'm going for a QNAP 439 pro(4 bay), raid5 with external USB 1.5Tb drive for the real high value data only.

 

I hope you're going to report the Bryston is king....since I will not be able to afford the Wadia :-). I do not have an SACD collection anyway...so no transport requirement for me...

 

 

 

Bits to analog: Server [i9-10850k; Win10Pro, Roon Core + HQPlayer4 >all DSD256x] -> mRendu -> Lampi GG

Analog to sound: ASR Emitter II Exclusive, Battery -> Dynaudio Confidence 20 + 2 REL G2's

Details: Audio System

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  • 4 weeks later...

Brucks, don't wan't to rush you or anything, but I am sort of curious..

:-)

reg,

Hans

 

Bits to analog: Server [i9-10850k; Win10Pro, Roon Core + HQPlayer4 >all DSD256x] -> mRendu -> Lampi GG

Analog to sound: ASR Emitter II Exclusive, Battery -> Dynaudio Confidence 20 + 2 REL G2's

Details: Audio System

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So I devoted some time to listening to the two and tried to do my best to compare them (my hearing is not the best, but I tried - too many loud concerts as a kid).

 

To start off, I think they both do an excellent job of recreating music and depending on your budget, you couldn't go wrong with either. There are a few minor things to consider between the two:

1) The Bryston as it stands right now can handle the highest resolution files that you pass to it, up to 192 khz; whereas the Wadia only works with files sampled at up to 96 khz (I am certain that Wadia will eventually develop an upgrade so that it can handle files sampled up to 192 khz)

2) The Wadia (if you get the "U" upgrade), handles USB data better (up to 96 khz) than the Bryston (up to 48 khz) currently does (although I was told by Bryston that as technology improved, this could be upgraded). NOTE: I do not have the USB feature on my Wadia, so no comparison was attempted.

 

Having said all of that (plus the Bryston just received a Golden Ear award from Absolute Sound for 2009), I hooked up my Wadia directly to my pre-amp and ran a digital coax cable from the Wadia to the Bryston which I hooked up to a separate input to my pre-amp to run the comparison.

 

I listen to primarily to rock music mixed in with some jazz and country, so different music types may give different results. For this comparison I listened to the following:

Brian Eno - Another Green World (Caroline Records Japanese CD pressing - I believe this was taken from DSD master)

Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble - In Step

Luna - Penthouse

The Waterboys - A Pagan Place

Lyle Lovett - The Road to Ensenada

 

I don't really want to bore people with track by track comparisons for songs, but I will say that at the end of the first round of listening I had a difficult time discerning a difference between the two. So I went back and listened again. The second time around I just closed my eyes and tried to imagine how the musicians were set up in the recording to see if spatially I could detect things. Well this was where I was able to start to detect a difference between the two. My ears began to register that the Wadia was a little better at placing different instruments (percussion specifically on a few of the Lyle Lovett songs) into more defined locations than did the Bryston. It also seemed that the instruments came through a little cleaner to my ears and I was able to separate one from another a little easier. Again, this is to my ear and unfortunately not a blind test so there is most likely some bias in my results (as possibly would the selection of the "C" digital decoding algorithm, which was my preference of the three options available on the Wadia).

 

I really don't think you could go wrong with either. Had I not been given the opportunity to acquire the Wadia at such a ridiculously low price, I would have been extremely happy with the Bryston as my DAC (I had originally purchased a Bryson and Benchmark to do a comparison and I preferred the Bryston hands down to the Benchmark - although really liked the integrated headphone amp of the Benchmark). Now I am left with the decision of keeping both or just keeping the Wadia, not going to be an easy decision.

 

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..for the time and effort that went into sharing all this! It does indicate that the Bryston brings a lot for it's price-tag.

 

You stated you did not compare the two via USB inputs. Did you compare the two using the same (musicserver) external source via any other input (SP/DIF)? Your test suggests that the Wadia used it's internal data pathways only which is likely to not have jitter issues that the Wadia might have when fed externally... If so, the difference might even be smaller (or even reversed) when fed using an external source (such as a music server)?

 

...Although earlier in this thread Tube06 stated that re-injecting a Wadia with it's own digital output improved the sound... you might wanna give it a try.... :-)

 

Hans

 

Bits to analog: Server [i9-10850k; Win10Pro, Roon Core + HQPlayer4 >all DSD256x] -> mRendu -> Lampi GG

Analog to sound: ASR Emitter II Exclusive, Battery -> Dynaudio Confidence 20 + 2 REL G2's

Details: Audio System

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  • 3 months later...

I've recently completed my first setup, using MacMini via toslink(miniplug), VdH Optocoupler mkII into the back of my Wadia 850i cdplayer/dac.

 

First impressions (more extensive listening planned): comparing computer rip to CD original in the CD player, the MAcMini sounds NOT as good and the difference is considerable. It sounds as if a curtain (a thick one) is closed; clarity; dynamics, there's a lot taken out.... The Wadia manual does state that they (Wadia) consider toslink to be the inferior digital interface. So, part may be due to the Wadia toslink implementation, plus the fact that a Wadia850i is from the last century.. So that puts me on a quest a guess...

 

A Weiss DAC2 looks mighty tempting, for sheer simplicity and value... Wonder how it sounds & what would be wise..

 

Hans

 

NB. 96/24 works btw... not bad for a decade old piece of kit..

 

Bits to analog: Server [i9-10850k; Win10Pro, Roon Core + HQPlayer4 >all DSD256x] -> mRendu -> Lampi GG

Analog to sound: ASR Emitter II Exclusive, Battery -> Dynaudio Confidence 20 + 2 REL G2's

Details: Audio System

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Hans Hi ,I have encountered the same situation before, when using a cd player as just a dac, perhaps the 'external' connections are just not as well engineered/implemented as the internal?

Here if I rip a cd and play an 'original' cd bot through the same dac they sound identical, in fact the mac/dac/software sounds better.

Keith.

 

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No absolutes in this ... but if you like the (sound of the) Wadia 850i CD player, you may want to look at improving the output of your Mac rather than looking at a whole new DAC. Unfortunately there is quite a bit of trial and (possibly) error involved rather than an absolute answer ... the Weiss DAC2 would be better in this regard as you're not playing with combinations which may or may not work together.

 

The first suggestion I would have is to look at a FireWire to SDIF interface. The problem is that there is a vast range of products available. A good starting point is the TC Konnekt 8 and at the top end is the Weiss AFI1 or their newly announced INT202. This should give you a better SPDIF output which (should) raise the quality of the MacMini output to something close to (or even exceeding) the internal transport of your Wadia 850i. Unfortunately the only way to know which level of product you need is to demo with your own setup so you'll need to find some friendly suppliers.

 

The second step is to demo and consider Amarra. So much has been written about this that there's no point me writing any more.

 

Eloise

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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...for the rapid comments you all. And I feared my thread was in the 'sound asleep section'.

 

@Coops: Thanks for boosting my trust in computer audio.

@Eloise: I'm not hooked on my Wadia (I like it a lot but am convinced there is plenty of good sound around) and any investment I prefer to be (a bit) future proof. Good thing on buying an FW to SPDIF interface is that it IS just that of coarse.. I can hook up just about anything behind one of these.. (Bryston BDA-1?). However, they cost a large percentage of a Weiss DAC2, so I am bound to be spending more money with a converter device in the chain.. You're correct if we could only test all the options.. :-)

 

There is some quality (&money) in the audio chain behind it (Krell KAV280p, Electrocompaniet Nemo, Hales Transcendence 8) - so I am bound to at least be spending some euro's...

 

Hans

 

Bits to analog: Server [i9-10850k; Win10Pro, Roon Core + HQPlayer4 >all DSD256x] -> mRendu -> Lampi GG

Analog to sound: ASR Emitter II Exclusive, Battery -> Dynaudio Confidence 20 + 2 REL G2's

Details: Audio System

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Not sure of the situation with obtaining the Weiss DAC2 in for you ... but if you could get one to demo, you could try it both as a DAC in it's own right, and also using the DAC2 as a FireWire to SPDIF converter into your Wadia. That should give you a good idea as to the two alternatives.

 

If you prefer the converter, then look to Weiss' new INT202 as a good possible solution.

 

Eloise

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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