Wadia Digital 23 CD Players

23

CD player, proprietary filter, 16x oversampling

User Reviews (11)

Showing 1-10 of 11  
Dr. Guzman   AudioPhile [Apr 24, 2009]

The Wadia 23 was the model that really started it all for Wadia in the 90's! Very well constructed, incredible big soundstage with a lot of presence in the mids. Unfortunately, it tends to be a little bit over-bright so you have to be careful with the ancillary equipment you'll connect it for. Excellent matching for tubes. The Pioneer stable platter transport is a little odd and sometimes "fragile" but it shouldn't give you trouble if you don't mess with it. High resale value and a very high esteemed reputation. Only problem is that the price is way too high. I mean, Wadia spend more on the cabinet itself than in the electronics inside. At $3,000 is not cheap, no matter what the "golden ears" tells you. Today, 2009, these models are old and you have to consider it when buying one at second hand market because it's almost sure that the laser is ready to go. Believe me...it happened to me!

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
karstdj   AudioPhile [Oct 14, 2008]
Strength:

Dynamics, soundstage, liveliness, beautiful bass, depicts strong and realistic tonal characteriscs of instruments and voices

Weakness:

Not so much ambient information, slightly dry and rigid, missing some fluidity

After purchasing the Wadia 23 blind on recommendation, I was not the least dissapointed with the sound. The soundstage is huge: deep, wide and high. The sound tends to be a bit forward, but one is rewarded with lots of detail and dynamics. The player is the absolute opposite of dull. Replaying old discs is a joy, as one finds lots of new experiences, unknown to have existed on the disc before. I agree with other reviewers that if you have a chance to get this player, do so, it's a steal...

Customer Service

no experience with customer service

Similar Products Used: Meridian 507
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Tadman   AudioPhile [Apr 12, 2007]
Strength:

Very "natural" "analog" sound, huge sound. Tone! Prefer it over the 830!

Weakness:

Not the last word in resolution, miss the deep and wide soundstage from very highend, treble can be a bit stessed compared to the very best. The 861 treble is huge, unstressed and uncompressed in comparison. The 270/27ix however is way better than the 861 and actually the 23 has some of the same tonal qualities as this combo!

Hi.

I heard quite a lot "high end" audio during the years. I prefer to bild my own stuff due to I can not buy better sound - wherefore I build my own stuff. However, I play on a Krell KRS-2 preamp which I find fab. I also owned the Krell KRS in six parts, but prefered the "single ended" version. Okay, now for the topic, reviewing an old cdp from 94 entry lewel wadia 23. How does such performs? Well, I was not to optimistic due to I just owned the 861 and only sold this due to a new car. I was wrong, very wrong indeed. The Wadia 23 is a fantastic player in order to age, technology and entry level model. Soundstage is huge, smooth and has great texture. This player is awesome! I owned the Wadia 26 dac as well, and this is a better dac alone, but at that time I needed a fair transport to support it and at last I gave up and sold it. In fact, the sound has that tone I like. Is it perfect? No, not at all, it has some fault especially in the treble when pushed - after all it's not the fastest dsp anymore. Soundstage could be deeper and wider as well. Background quiter with instruments more clear. Treble, midrange and bass is not as big as the 861 - but I like the tone! Very natural tone, not uncolored compared to the 861 which sounds more like a mastertape, but the 23 has that "analog" sound. I recommend this player for anyone if you can get one for a fair price. The most comic and striking issue is really, that most modern "high end" cdp are very poor made and are far from this old player in performance. I'm impressed, a bass line from an acoustic bass is just right - wood, strings made of tarms etc. Voices - yes, just has that tonal caracter. Rating is due to age and price. You can get better as the 270/27is, but still, this is a giant killer to a small price! Highly recommened! thanks

Similar Products Used: Wadia 861, 26, 830, CEC trans and integrated, Parasound cdp 2000, Krell KPS heavily modified kps 30i and a lot more.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Mark   AudioPhile [Jul 19, 2002]
Strength:

If ANYTHING in digital audio qualifies as a giant-killer, the Wadia 23 is it!

Weakness:

None!

It is hard to believe that Wadia could extract such excellent sound quality from a Pioneer Stable Platter-based machine. I have high-end separates that cost $6700, and the Wadia competes favorably with them. I cannot imagine at this point how their more expensive CD players could be any better. The Wadia 23 is simply the best-kept secret (and bargain) I have ever heard in digital.

Similar Products Used: Theta Miles, Audio Research CD-1, Audio Research DAC-2, Sony CDP 707ES (with and without Theta DAC), etc.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
taegeon park   Audio Enthusiast [Sep 04, 2001]
Strength:

Huge sound stage

Weakness:

I can't see exact # of cd tracks.(display is too small and blurred)
cd upside down..it's turn table style.

It was a totally different sound just after changing my cd player to this beauty. It seemed like to change a pipe from running water pipe to big concrete pipe to my amplifier.
everything was change for listening especially vocal and orchestral music. the singer come closer and I could find out each part of orchestra. It was dramatical change for me because I couldn't feel such a huge differance when I changed my amplifier from integrated to separate 200W. most of all it is the cheapest Wadia:)

Similar Products Used: n/a
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
J. Kulk   Audiophile [Oct 31, 2001]
Strength:

Dynamics, dynamics and dynamics. Incredible dynamic if compared to other sources (Tuner etc.) and Transparent.

Weakness:

No volume control.

Everything is already said.
Of course, compared to SACD it's competitive, but bare in mind, how many SACD's are there around ?
So, grep one if you can, solid mechanics, good design.

Similar Products Used: Marantz, Philips, Cambridge
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Frank van der Wal   an Audio Enthusiast [Dec 14, 1997]

For years I've listened to CD-players but none of them came near to myanalog source (LP12 plus Lingo) until I heard the Wadia 23.
The details and soundstage are superb. The depth of the soundstage is
overwhelming and the instrumental clarity is one to never forget.
In the final contest was the new Marantz CD14 with sounded a bit 'tight' In comparison with the Marantz, the Wadia was all over the place. Very open sound totally transparent. A very good player for a reasonably price.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
Fernando Lezama   an Audiophile [Dec 13, 1998]

I owned a Wadia 6 for almost 3 years, then chamged to an all JADIS setup including the Jadis Integrated CD player. I missed a lot of the magic of the Wadia 6. I decided to sell everything and bought the 23.
After comming to this conclusion I tried the Rega Planet, but it did not resolved or created the sound of the 23.

PROS: Dynamics, Tonal balance and build quality
CONS: Needs good cables (I am using Magnan Vi), un-ortodox CD placement, No variable output control.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
J. Haikio   an Audiophile [Jul 30, 1999]

I'm very sensitive to the "digital sound". I was looking for a player with which I could leave the "vinyl era". I managed to buy my Wadia 23 used at a reasonable price. It turned out to be the best audio bargain I've ever made! Most inportant aspect in every CD player is the DAC. And the most important part of the DAC is the digital filter. The best digital filters in the market are Pasific Microsonics PCM100 and Wadia Digimaster (there could be some others too). From the two I think the Digimaster is better. To my understanding it's the digital filter that makes the "Wadia sound". I've listened to Wadia 23, 21 and 850 and they all seem to have the same kind of excellent sound. IMHO even the older Wadias beat many new high-end CD players hands down. While the newer Wadia models might be better I can easily recommend any Wadia player.
Well how to describe the Wadia sound? It has the huge and precise stereo image and it's very three dimensional too. But many other players too have these qualities. Where the Wadia stands out from the crowd is the naturalness of the sound and the rythm. Especially acoustic and classical recordings benefit from the "Wadia sound". Acoustic guitars and violins sound better than anything except the real ones.
The biggest minus in W23 is that it lacks the digital volume control. If it had the volume control I would drive a power amp directly. I'm planning to buy a Wadia 830 in the future. Too bad the cheaper models don't share the tank like chassis of their more expensive siblings...
While there are many technological innovations in digital audio, only few has made such a big audible advancement as Wadia Digimaster. Because I know something about the digital technology I can say there's a lot of hype going on at the digital audio market nowadays. Wadia has made everything right from the techical point of view and the results are clearly audible!
This was supposed to be a Wadia 23 review but I strongly recommend any Wadia player. Some older models are upgradable with the newer technology which makes your investment even better. I wish there were a upgrade for W23 because I think it looks better than W830.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Eric Bowman   an Audio Enthusiast [Apr 01, 1997]

When I upgraded my digital source, I decided to stay away from separates andstick with a solid, high-quality "one-box" player. The candidates for the
final cut, all carried by local dealers, were the Meridian 508-20 ($3k), the
Micromega Stage 3 ($1500), and the Wadia 23 ($3k). The Micromega was a quick
DQ, sounding "small" and lifeless in this company (3 non-audiophilic friends
also weeded it out within seconds.) It was a very tough call between the
Wadia and the Meridian - both had great resolution and guts, and both were
musical and all those buzzwords. Probably the biggest factor was that the
semi-local Meridian dealer was a real d***head. (Plus, the Wadia was a demo
model.) Seriously, it is a beautiful piece that sounds great. I have not
heard much better, especially not at this (volatile though it may be) price.

Note that the Wadia has a pretty high output level - good for passive preamps.
Also, it has almost no controls on the face panel; remote is included.

(FYI: matching system is AI Modulus 3 pre-amp, Rowland Model 1 amp,
Totem Model 1 speakers, and Kimber wire.)

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
Showing 1-10 of 11  

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