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Wadia 151 PowerDAC Mini, a small review


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Just got the Wadia 151 PowerDAC Mini integrated amplifier and DAC yesterday and I'm already in love. The clarity of sound through my Audioengine P4 bamboo speakers and inexpensive Blue Jeans Cable speaker wires, the balance and coherence of the music, the sweet sweet sound -- it's all very compelling. And the Wadia was just set up last evening, so if there's breaking-in, burning-in to occur, I doubt it's occurred yet. (And I put this mini review in the General section because it's just as much about the amp as the DAC.)

 

Music Direct has it for $500, a closeout from its original price of $1200.

Why a closeout? Probably for the same reasons it works very well for a computer desktop near-field setup such as mine.

 

You see, the Wadia 151 is severely limited. Here are its key limits:

 

  • No analog inputs.
  • No outputs other than two-channel speakers.
  • No headphone jack.
  • Not much power, rated at 25 watts per channel at 8 ohms.
  • Truncated USB input at only 44.1, 48 and 96 kHz.

Originally, with those limits, the unit was probably over-priced.

 

But let's flip those limits. The Wadia 151's strengths seem to be:

 

  • Excellent DAC, with great resolution.
  • By using an inexpensive Bel Canto mLink USB converter, the coax input offers the full range of sample rates up to 192kHz.
  • All digital amplification that doesn't turn to analog until right before the speaker jacks, which seems to contribute to the SQ's clarity and presence.
  • Small size that's excellent for my work desktop.

You can read more in other places. But at only $500, and for someone like myself who works at a computer all day -- and at home, too, where the sound doesn't disturb others -- this near-field setup is by far the best I've heard yet.

 

Hey, I have all my music on various drives, such as the music-only systems described in my signature below. So, with the core value of the music itself usable in three different places around my home, this new Wadia 151 PowerDAC Mini has turned what was nice with Audioengine A5+ powered speakers and a small Schiit DAC into music that is far more lovely than I expected.

 

Dave, who will be auditioning Audience The One speakers in this desktop setup and still has a cross-speaker review to come that will look to compare that small pair of speakers with the Audience ClairAudient 1+1 and the KEF LS50 speakers and perhaps with the Zu Cube speakers and most likely too with the Audioengine P4 speakers that he's listening to right now as he writes

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Music is love, made audible.

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Great write up Dave. Wadia has a long history of making outstanding DAC's and at the close out price, the 151 seems like a very good option. I also look forward to your speaker comparisons.

Speakers: Melco N1A/2 | Denafrips Gaia | Denafrips Terminator Plus/Lampizator Golden Gate | Jeff Rowland Coherence II Series 2 pre | Blue Circle Audio BC-202 amp | Raidho XT-1 | Revel B112 subs  

Headphones: Lampizator Golden Atlantic/Holo Spring 3 KTE | Aesthetix Calypso pre|  Eddie Current Zana Deux Super | Hifiman HE-1000SE/Arya Stealth/Audeze LCD-4z

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  • 5 months later...
Great write up Dave. Wadia has a long history of making outstanding DAC's and at the close out price, the 151 seems like a very good option. I also look forward to your speaker comparisons.

 

I just received a Wadia 151. I wish it had audio sensing technology built in so it would automatical power on, or go to standby mode when not in use. Is there a way to do this?

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