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Wadia 121 decoding computer - Page 3

post #31 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by musicman59 View Post

Does anybody have an idea on how the 121 compares in sound to the V200?

Tom, I guess we need to get together to compare wink.gif

 

I haven't compared it with the V200 but the amp section drives my T1 quite well.  I'm actually preferring the sound to my "Cute Beyond" amp with add on power supply.  Don't know if current is sufficient to drive semi-efficient orthos though.

post #32 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by elrod-tom View Post

Push the "Display" button on the remote and they dim substantially....

Sadly that feature didn't appear until the next model year of my older samsung, approx 6 years old...

Picture isn't too hot, probably need to upgrade soon.
post #33 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by musicman59 View Post

Does anybody have an idea on how the 121 compares in sound to the V200?

Tom, I guess we need to get together to compare wink.gif

Jose, we WILL have to do that at some point.

 

I think that the headphone amp is quite good so far with the HD600's.  I've not yet tried it with the HD800's, but will make a point to do so shortly.  I will probably use it with the Bryston HP-1 when it comes in, mostly because I prefer headphones with a balanced termination.  That said, I could easily see using it by itself.

BTW - for anyone who missed my post about it:

 

If you don't like the bright LED's, you can dim them substantially by pressing the "Display" button on the remote.   

post #34 of 112

Anyone else have impressions on this DAC? I am considering this one and the M51. The M51 seems to have features I am not likely to make use of, like HDMI. And the M51 is $2000 compared to Wadia 121. 

 

Perhaps the M51 has a more refined sound, but I would love to hear more input on the Wadia 121. How is the sound signature? Bright, neutral, warm? Bass response? Do you feel the upscaling smooths out brittle highs? 

 

I feel that my current Musical Fidelity M1 DAC may be a little on the bright side. I'd rather neutral or even leaning towards warm. Thanks!

post #35 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZenErik View Post

Anyone else have impressions on this DAC? I am considering this one and the M51. The M51 seems to have features I am not likely to make use of, like HDMI. And the M51 is $2000 compared to Wadia 121. 

 

Perhaps the M51 has a more refined sound, but I would love to hear more input on the Wadia 121. How is the sound signature? Bright, neutral, warm? Bass response? Do you feel the upscaling smooths out brittle highs? 

 

I feel that my current Musical Fidelity M1 DAC may be a little on the bright side. I'd rather neutral or even leaning towards warm. Thanks!

I was also considering the M51 along with the Audiolab M-DAC but I pulled the trigger on the Wadia since the M51 is out of my budget and the MDAC is backordered for awhile.  That being said I have no regrets.  To me, the sound signature is a slightly warmish neutral without lacking detail.  

 

It seems to pull off the difficult feat of sounding smooth and analog without sounding dull.  It's difficult for me to compare it to my previous Sabre DAC (Audio-GD NFB-1) because I use the Beyerdynamic T1 now and with the old DAC I had the LCD-2 Rev. 1.   However, I am enjoying the combo of my T1 directly out of the Wadia headphone jack much more than my previous NFB-1>Schiit Lyr>LCD-2 setup.  

 

I think the analog-like quality of it is primarily due the their proprietary digital filtering algorithm that supposedly more accurately models the analog waveform.  I was really shocked how much of a difference just that can make because glancing at the internals all you see is a densely populated PCB rife with IC's and various smd components and a external switching power supply to boot.  

 

Despite the lack of the popular audiophile circuit topology (big regulated power supplies with discrete analog circuits), Wadia clearly knows what they are doing in the engineering department because the sound coming out of it seems to be far greater than the sum of it's individual components.  Not to mention the build is far lighter and more portable than my previous Audio-GD battle tank of a DAC.

 

The only thing that really bugs me the most about the Wadia is the lack of physical buttons, all control must be done through the remote.  As I mentioned, the headphone amp on the Wadia is good enough to where I would categorize it as a true all in one unit as long as your not driving current hungry orthos, or you need a balanced amp.  I still plan on getting a balanced amp eventually though, since my T1 is terminated in 4-pin XLR with adapter.

 

In the end, if the M51 is in your budget I would shoot for that but the Wadia is definitely worth a listen if you can audition it but even if you can't it still seems like a safe bet, though I got the opportunity to hear it first which is why I decided to buy it; otherwise I honestly wouldn't have considered it.

Though, after owning it for about 2 weeks now, I have no desire to move up any further in the DAC world.....for now.smily_headphones1.gif

post #36 of 112

Thanks for the opinion. Much appreciated. I'm going to try to dig up a few more before deciding. I e-mailed Moon Audio as well. They sell the Wadia 121.

 

For me, I want a good DAC, but I really do not know how far up in the chain I want to go. I am not using headphones that are known for their technical prowess. But they just sound pleasing to my ears. Something about them just seems more enjoyable than some of the more technically proficient headphones I have used. I suppose the better the source the more they will will shine.

 

I just want a DAC that doesn't have so much bite. Smooth and analog seem like desirable words to me. Along with warm. Or warm side of neutral. Bright is undesirable. The W5000 is already known to be bright. Yet I love it. It lacks in the sub bass, but I just think it sounds fantastic with the HA5000, which it is made for.

post #37 of 112

Why you don't check the Havana balanced? I auditioned it at home for some time courtesy of Aphroditecu29.com and IMO for the price is a very nice piece. It is a hybrid design so it has some warmth from the tubes. If I did not have a Wadia 27 and a PWD MkII I would buy one.

post #38 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by musicman59 View Post

Why you don't check the Havana balanced? I auditioned it at home for some time courtesy of Aphroditecu29.com and IMO for the price is a very nice piece. It is a hybrid design so it has some warmth from the tubes. If I did not have a Wadia 27 and a PWD MkII I would buy one.

Poor USB implementation. I am looking for 24/192 USB.

post #39 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZenErik View Post

Poor USB implementation. I am looking for 24/192 USB.


There isn't an OS that supports 24/192 over USB without a fairly complicated driver implementation.  Also, many experienced people in the DAC industry (Dan Lavry and the engineers at Benchmark among them) say that 24/96 sounds BETTER than 24/192, and can give technical reasons why that's the case.  So, with 24/192 you'll get less software compatibility with a possibility of worse sound.

 

But, heck, higher numbers are better than lower numbers, so whatever makes you happy.

post #40 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by barleyguy View Post


There isn't an OS that supports 24/192 over USB without a fairly complicated driver implementation.  Also, many experienced people in the DAC industry (Dan Lavry and the engineers at Benchmark among them) say that 24/96 sounds BETTER than 24/192, and can give technical reasons why that's the case.  So, with 24/192 you'll get less software compatibility with a possibility of worse sound.

 

But, heck, higher numbers are better than lower numbers, so whatever makes you happy.

Because the Wadia 121 will accept up to a 24/192 signal via USB, it is WORSE? Well, alright then.. Funny because most DACs seem to at least accept up to 24/192 via optical and coaxial. So why not USB? redface.gif The thing is, I do not even have any 24/192 audio. But I guess I am using the support for 24/192 as a sign that perhaps USB was not just an after thought.

 

I am looking for DACs where USB implementation is a priority. I will not be making use of optical or coaxial inputs at this time. Maybe not ever. This Wadia 121 seems to be one of those DACs where USB was a priority during design.

 

Also, you do realize that OS X and Linux will output 24/192 without additional drivers, right?


Edited by ZenErik - 5/21/12 at 10:25pm
post #41 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZenErik View Post

Because the Wadia 121 will accept up to a 24/192 signal via USB, it is WORSE? Well, alright then.. Funny because most DACs seem to at least accept up to 24/192 via optical and coaxial. So why not USB? redface.gif The thing is, I do not even have any 24/192 audio. But I guess I am using the support for 24/192 as a sign that perhaps USB was not just an after thought.

 

I am looking for DACs where USB implementation is a priority. I will not be making use of optical or coaxial inputs at this time. Maybe not ever. This Wadia 121 seems to be one of those DACs where USB was a priority during design.

 

Also, you do realize that OS X and Linux will output 24/192 without additional drivers, right?

 

USB Class Audio standard version 2.0, which was released in 2009, supports up to 384K.  So, yes, if you have a recent version of Linux or Mac OS, it will support the Wadia without drivers.  Windows won't however.

 

I don't contend that having 24/192 support makes it worse.  24/192 is actually considered to be a worse sampling rate than 24/96 by many reputable engineers, but just because the device has it doesn't mean you're required to use it.

post #42 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by barleyguy View Post

 

USB Class Audio standard version 2.0, which was released in 2009, supports up to 384K.  So, yes, if you have a recent version of Linux or Mac OS, it will support the Wadia without drivers.  Windows won't however.

 

I don't contend that having 24/192 support makes it worse.  24/192 is actually considered to be a worse sampling rate than 24/96 by many reputable engineers, but just because the device has it doesn't mean you're required to use it.

That is fine. Forget the bitrate then. I am just looking for good USB implementation. Some people seem to be rather happy about the Wadia 121 using an XMOS chip for USB. I do not even know what that means, but if it is good then great. As I said, I am just looking for a quality DAC where USB was a priority during design instead of an afterthought. Preferably something fairly new so it uses newer tech available. The Wadia 121 may fit that criteria. I am sure there are better DACs if I feel like spending more. But the price on the Wadia looks nice.. Assuming I do not get upgraditis soon after. If it sounds good enough then I may not.

post #43 of 112

I've followed this thread with interest since I was also set on getting the 121 as my final DAC upgrade, but as I found out today the M-DAC is finally available in the CONUS, and mine's now due to ship tomorrow. Yay.

 

I've been looking for a DAC with remote controlled digital volume since my iDevice dock(s) don't offer that (among other shortcomings in that dept.) and I'm reluctant to go down the ReplayGain/Sound Check route. And easy voltage switching in light of potential moves (I contacted Wadia about this since you never get to see its powerbrick and they don't state it specifically on their site) And plenty of inputs, w/ potential firmware upgrades. It came down to the M-DAC and the Wadia within the utmost limits of my budget (which shall include a balanced setup in the near-ish future)

 

Things I preferred with the Wadia is the smaller size, plenty of inputs (incl. AES/EBU which would allow me to use the corresponding output on the iD100) and a unique D/A conversion process.

 

Not so keen on the design though, and thought it's strange that their own corresponding transport/dock i171 doesn't offer a matching AES/EBU connector considering that Wadia themselves list it as the preferred connector after USB in first place... and the price! It's hundreds of $ more, if matched up w/ the i171 almost double.

 

Things I don't like about the M-DAC is the lack of AES/EBU, and until now simply the lack of M-DACs. It's a bit bulky, but no more than my final amp choice anyway. But on the plus side: a clearly legible and adjustable display. And more importantly a very involved developer who doesn't just acknowledge & fix bugs but bothers to explain them (ex. issues with filter-switching due to the way the ESS chipset works etc.)

 

I think either will sound splendiferous  since I now have tried several DACs within the same chain and to me, after a certain price point, the differences are truly negligible. Really. For the life of me. They all do their expected job of cleanly decoding a digital signal, maybe the analog part may have a slight impact, maybe the filtering of poorly encoded files may result in differences but I don't really have any of those left... Other components like amps and very much most importantly the actual headphones are much more influential! <snip OT elaboration on the existence (or rather lack) of differences between higher-end DACs / higher-end soundfiles>

 

Given the accolades that either one has received, I know the M-DAC will not disappoint sound-wise, and the 121 wouldn't have either and both offer the functionality and source flexibility for the future as far as I can see it. Still looking forward to reading more impressions about the 121 in this thread.

post #44 of 112

Went ahead and ordered a Wadia 121. :) Hope it is to my liking.

post #45 of 112

Keep us posted!

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