Wadia Digital 7 CD Players

Wadia Digital 7 CD Players 


CD Transport


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[Jul 22, 1999]
an Audiophile

In listening to the Wadia 7 transport you almost have to wonder how this transport can sound so good after being on the market since 1991 with no upgrades since its introduction. Auditioning this transport against the Linn Sondek CD12, and Mark Levinson 31.5, and the new Wadia 270/27ix reveals that this transport is extreme in every sense of the word. This two piece unit with its seperate power supply feeding all direct fully regulated DC to the transport not only looks impressive but also perfoms at a level that still can not be beat with todays technologies.
The only draw back is that you need a DAC that can perform to the standards that the Wadia 7 is capable of producing. So I listened through the Wadia 9 DAC also 2 piece unit feeding fully regulated DC into the DAC with seperate left/right/digital isolated transformers. With Wadia 7/9 the sound was astonishing. Comparing to the new Wadia referance 270/27ix. The Wadia 7/9 clearly beats the 270/27ix in musicality, low end impact, and emotions of the recording. The only area the 270/27ix may do a little better job than any other CD combo (including the Linn CD12, ML31.5/30.5, Wadia 7/9) is in the extreme precision in imaging and focus. But I found this to also have some draw backs such as sound can be little bit drier than the Wadia 7/9 and Linn Sondek CD12.

The Wadia 7/9 will make any system sound better in a way that will elevate your entire system to the next quantum leap. The other draw back is that Wadia stopped production of this transport as well as the 9 DAC due to several reasons which I won't go into here. How does the industry top CD play back systems fair based on careful auditioning and many hours of listening. Below is the list, but before I cast my judgement based on many hours of listening I do have to say that the Wadia 7/9 still remains the best CD play back that I have heard to date. Now only if we can get Wadia to incorporate that new technology into the 7/9 and reintroduce into the market.

From best to worst here is the list from my listening experience:

1. Wadia 7/9 (Cost $26,000/no longer available)
2. Linn Sondek CD12 (Cost $20,000/just became available)
3. Wadia 270/27ix (Cost $17,000/been out since 1998 as a combo pair)
(Close enough to be a tie between the Sondek, again does some things better and some things worse than the Sondek CD12 and Sondek CD12's performance depends on the quality of the preamp, another $15K or so)
4. Mark Levinson 31.5/30.5 (Cost $25,000/been out since 1997/1998 as a combo with the refered numbers, but this combo is significant distance from the above units)

Listened through the following systems:

Linn Klymax Amplifiers
Linn Referance Preamp with full digital surround capability
Mark Levinson 33 Amplifiers
Mark Levinson 32 preamp
Tara One interconnects and speaker cables
Nordost Quatrofil interconnects
Kimber Select Balanced interconnects
Revel Salon speakers
Wilson Act 1 speakers
Linn Keltik full active system using Klymax amplifiers
Cinepro 20 Balanced AC line conditioner

[Jul 28, 1999]
an Audiophile

Well, the Wadia 7 and 9 are still available here in Singapore, and for about the same price as in the US ($26,000). I would tend to agree with most of what Jim says, except that I'll reverse the top 2 places, with the Linn in first place. I feel it's more musical and 'sweet', dare I say, almost analogue-like, but I wouldn't disagree with somebody putting the Wadia 7 and 9 combination first. However, for the money, I feel there's something even better where 44.1 Hz and 16-bit is concerned:
C.E.C TL 1 $5000
dCS 972 digital to digital converter $7000
dCS Elgar DAC $12,000

Total $24,000.

The Wadia combination on its own is extremely tempting, but unfortunately, in the ever-changing world of digital, it's not quite the best anymore. 4 stars.

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