Wadia Digital #9 DACs



User Reviews (1)

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Jim   Audiophile [Oct 14, 1999]

Paired with the Wadia 7 transport, this is the best DAC I have heard to date period. Before I thought about making such a bold statement, I had given much considerations to what is out there today (DCS Elgar, Mark Levinson, Linn Sondek, etc) I have also listened to these components for many hours, but still come back to the Wadia 9 as the referance DAC. There are advantages to some of the other DACS as stated in several of my past reviews (i.e. Wadia 270/27ix, Linn Sondek) to name a few. But none of these other DACs have the ability to reproduce music to the level of the Wadia 9. The absolute intimacy through the Wadia 9 is astonishing. First off the technology of Wadia 9 is incredible, using 128MIP CPU to do 64 time oversampling and using three seperate over built toroidal transformers, in a seperate chassis feeding direct fully regulated DC into the DAC with its own independent Digital/Left/Right incased in a solid piece of aluminum case makes this unit absolutely top of all referance. But enough technology, lets talk music which is what it's all about. Having heard many of the best combos in the industry, the Wadia 9 does have a very tough challenge. The Wadia 9 is not HDCD, nor 24/96 nor SACD compatible, just straight 16/44, yet I would put the Wadia 9 up against all available technology today. First off, this DAC sounds better than any HDCD out there today including the DAC section of the Sondek, or 24/96 Mark Levinson. Second, there are hardly any SACD titles available so I could not even compare it fairly, then there is the 24/192 (not out at all, maybe never). So in contrast, what you have to compare against today is what I have just listed, and with so many folks who already have a serious CD collection, the question, "are you willing to rebuy all of your software again?" becomes another part of reality. Maybe for the folks who just started to get into the audio but then we are talking about the teens maybe. Also even with the latest technology, it still can not beat the top referances of yesturdays. For the 99% of the music listeners who buy CD's for thier travels, car trips, and boom box listeners, do you think they care of the better sound of SACD or 24/96?, the answer to this is not only no but #$@! no. So do you think that some teenager listening to Maria Carey is going to pay an extra $10 ($24.99) for an SACD, not unless the normal CD is not available any more or the price of SACD is down to the normal CD's. Maybe the large labels will get with SONY and drive the prices down, but it is going to be a long time before the SACD displaces the CD market, not only to mention the millions of dollars of studio equipments that will need to be replaced. Having said this, The Wadia 9 has a sense of absolute truth with ability to deliver a sense of immediacy that is nothing short of phenomenal. When I say immediacy, I am not talking about just straight dynamics. Immediacy of both soft and dynamic passages is what creates a sense of intimacy in music. Where the ability to recreate the surrondings and the focus of the instruments and singer with absolute clearity and dynamics without over doing or over masking the various aspects of music (many call this coloration). Typically after you listen for several months you grow accustomed to the sound and start to hear difficiencies in the equipments, but with the Wadia 9, there has never been a single moment that I would realize this. I can not say the same for other referance pieces that I have owned. In order to make the Wadia 7/9 sound the best you do need a special AT&T glass cable made by Aura Symphonic. The Wadia 9 compared to lets say the 270/27ix is far musical and intimate than the 70/27ix with a much more sense of involvement. Compared to the Linn Sondek, the Wadia 7/9 sounds more live and real. Maybe the use of premap has something to contribute to the $20K Linn Sondek. Try spending another $15K on a referance preamp (not a good value in my v


24/96, SACD, HDCD incompatible and no upgrade available from Wadia!!!!!

Also the volume control is too loud and requires to be listened to at low volume settings (i.e. 50 - 65) for average listening. By doing this you compromise resolution. Wadia should offer upgrade to this issue seeign that this is a $13,500 DAC, I think they owe it to thier customers to offer variable output like the Wadi 27ix and also offer 24/96, HDCD, SACD compatibility upgrades. Since Wadia is so known for the upgrade offerings, by not offering these upgrades to thier past key referance units this should really speak for themselves about the staff of Wadia. Are they out for just pure profit or for the reasons they got into high end to start with "Audiophiles".

One of the best digital of all available formats of today, but I always say listen for yourself before you commit your funds. Remember that the combination of your equipments will make all the differance in the world. Thinking that one part of the chain will solve all of your system difficiencies can be a very costly mistake. Selection of equipments from power cords, cabling, interconnections to the amps and the front end will make the deciding factor of how good your system will synergize and recreate a real live experience and involvement with your favorite music. Enjoy!

Similar Products Used: Linn Sondek, Wadia 270/27ix, Mark Levinson 31.5/30.5, DCS Elgar 24/192.
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