Wadia Digital 850 CD Players

4.92/5 (13 Reviews) MSRP : $4950.00


Product Description



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Reviews 1 - 5 (13 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Terry Davis a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: December 12, 2001

Bottom Line:   
This is the best sounding, all in one CD player that I have ever heard, the 850 does everything well. While the 850 is somewhat pricey, using the 850 allows you to skip the expense of adding a preamplifier. In my opinion, the 850 is the best sounding CD player Wadia makes. I know, I know that the 861 is supposed to be soo much better. Unfortunately, I do not see that big of a difference that I could justify the added expense of the 861. Buy an 850 and send it to Steve Huntley for an upgrade. You will be very satisfied.

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Used product for:   3 months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2000

Price Paid:    $2970.00

Purchased At:   Reference Audio Video



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Paul Birkeland a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: July 16, 2001

Bottom Line:   
I want to say first, that LCBIII rates the product lower because the digital volume control works best at 75 and over, well obivously he didn't keep reading his manual because there are dip switches inside to tailor the gain to your liking.
On to why I like this piece:

1. The company... Wadia was the first company to admit that vinyl sounds better than CD, they developed the first outboard DAC, they were the first to recognize jitter as a cause of degredation, they were the first to create a clock syncronization between a transport and a DAC. Even if you don't understand any of this jargon, I am just mentioning a few of the notable contributions of Wadia to digital technology which all other companies have built off of (except maybe Naim who still insists that the key to digital is in the power supply? Keep trying guys!). The founders of the company were so dedicated, they left their positions at 3M to create Wadia and make digital equipment that bettered its analougue counterparts.

2. The sound... The Wadia 850 uses an oversampling DAC (digimaster) which greatly enhances the resolution. In fact, its quite an improvement over 24/96 or 24/192 by a long shot. With their technology the signal is oversampled to 20/2800 improving the high frequency resolution and the low frequency extention. Adding this CD player to your system feels like adding a large subwoofer with a 35hz cut-off point, it's amazing.

3. The build... Before I even plugged in the 850, I took the top off to have a look inside. There is obvious attention to detail, and a great portion of the electronics are shielded in a separate enclosure. The power supply is generous, and I couldn't keep track of how many Burr Brown parts I saw inside. The thick chassis walls keep resonance to a minimum and the built in metal cones anchor the unit properly.

Overall, give Wadia a try if you can afford it, and even if you are thinking of buying Forsell, or a CD-12, or even an Oracle CD turntable, you may be surprised. Also, consider the advantages of using the digital inputs, you can have Vinyl at 20 bits 2.8 mhz (comparable to SACD, only the data that is oversampled is actually present on an SACD).

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1999

Price Paid:    $2450.00

Purchased At:   Audiogon



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Bernardo a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: June 21, 2000

Bottom Line:   
It's hard to believe the improvement in sound this excellent CD player made in my system. The sound is both sweet, detailed and just right. It is as close to hearing the real thing as I have heard. Of course, my other components are excellent as well and contribute to the overall sound of the system. However, I tried 4 other top notch CD players and the Wadia was the most musical and involving. Highly recommended.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1998



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by LCBIII a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: December 20, 1999

Bottom Line:   
After owning a Levinson 36/37, an Audio Research CD-2 and DAC-3, a Wadia 830......the Wadia 850 fulfills all I am looking for in a one box CD player, with the optional digital inputs and using a Pioneer DV-09 as a transport, it can also play the Chesky 24/96 DVD-A's.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   2000



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Randy a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: December 19, 1999

Bottom Line:   
First, my associated equipment--CJ MV55 amp, CJ PV10 pre-amp, Klipsch Kg4 speakers (soon to be replaced), AudioQuest cabling. Based upon reviews and price, I was most interested in the Wadia 830. Thanks to a great deal, I ended up with the 850 (which I'm now listening through some Transparent MusicLink Supers).

Second, the audio shop's listening equipment--McIntosh integrated amp (I don't recall the model), JMLabs Electra 920 speakers, Tara Labs cabeling.

Third, my listening music--Dave Matthews (Live at Red Rocks & acoustic Luther College), Brubeck & Rushing (the only one out there), Armstrong & Fitzgerald (taken from a compliation), Diana Krall (the latest one) and some Greatful Dead (One from the Vault), Eric Clapton (live) and Smashing Pumpkins (Adore) thrown in for good measure.

Now, a few thoughts:

Classe. About $3,200. Nice machine, good looking and good sounding. However, the CDP.1 lacks the overall musicality the 850 provides--the 850 provided deeper and tighter low levels, crisper highs and was less punchy. The 850 did a better job with more complex musical arrangements--greater definition and differentiation. Given the price, the Classe did not seem a great value, especially in light of the 830.

Copeland. Another nice machine. Seemed pretty acurate and having HDCD (the Classe has this too) would be nice but is/was not an imperative for me. Lacked the depth and imaging of the Krell & Wadias.

Krell. About $4,500. Incredibly accurate and detailed. There was not a bit of information or sound that got past the Krell. Still, bright and a bit cold. I suspect a fatigue-inducing machine.

Wadia 830. About $2,800. I started my testing with a comparison of the Krell & 830. Pound for pound, the 830 was a better machine (and an infinately better value). The 830 produced a much warmer, richer sound. Setting aside the 850, this was the most "musical" of the machines that I tested; while the Krell was a bit more detailed (and only a bit), the 830 provided a more balanced sound. It shares many of the positive attributes listed for the 850.

Wadia 850. Incredible. Crowd noise on the Dave Matthews live discs was richer and showed more movement through the 850. Complex hard musical bursts and pops were bloomy rather than punchy. This machine really ran away from the pack when playing jazz. Bass was deep, round and better balanced. And both Rushing and Armstrong sounded richer and warmer than on any other machine. When listening to Clapton, I swear the 850 picked up sounds that the Classe and Copland just did not. Muscial notes started and stopped with percision. Great imaging and spacing between instruments and sounds. Guitar string plucks and strums are crisper and more separate than I've ever heard them.

Since I've taken the 850 home I've listened both through my pre-amp and directly through my amp. I've yet to make up my mind as to my preference.

A side note--the JMLabs Electras are really nice sounding. I'm going to listen to 915's and the Meadowlark (Hot Rod) Herons, the Audio Physics Virgos and the Theil 3.6's. Any suggestions?

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1998




Reviews 1 - 5 (13 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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