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Wadia 121 decoding computer - Page 5

post #61 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by barleyguy View Post


USB noise is usually lack of galvanic isolation, and is actually noisy voltage coming from the computer.  One solution that works really well is to put a wall-powered USB hub between the computer and the DAC.  I'm using this for a NuForce Icon (with a Mac Mini) and the background noise goes from almost unlistenable to dead silent.

 

(My particular hub is a Belkin 8-port that I got for less than $20.)

I can assure you that the issue does not stem from my computer or my USB cable. It is from the Wadia 121. No doubt in my mind.

 

How do I know? Well, by this point I have tried various outlets with and without power strips. Same issue no matter what. The Wadia 121 outputs are noisy when the USB input is selected. Does not matter whether anything is even plugged in to the USB input on the Wadia 121. Noise persists. The noise is not heightened or lessened when I do plug in my computer.

 

Wadia still has not responded to my e-mail. I will have to try calling them soon.. So far, not a great first experience with Wadia.

post #62 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZenErik View Post

I can assure you that the issue does not stem from my computer or my USB cable. It is from the Wadia 121. No doubt in my mind.

 

How do I know? Well, by this point I have tried various outlets with and without power strips. Same issue no matter what. The Wadia 121 outputs are noisy when the USB input is selected. Does not matter whether anything is even plugged in to the USB input on the Wadia 121. Noise persists. The noise is not heightened or lessened when I do plug in my computer.

 

Wadia still has not responded to my e-mail. I will have to try calling them soon.. So far, not a great first experience with Wadia.

 

see what happens if you lift the ground on your power cord to the Wadia or float your computer by running it on battery power, if its a laptop

HeadAmp Audio Electronics - home of the Pico and Gilmore amps.  Now with Audeze, Fostex, HiFiMAN, Sennheiser, and STAX.
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post #63 of 112

I have the same problem with my Wadia 121 headphone jack and JH-13s. Lots of hash. Thought this might be due to the sensitively of the JH-13s, but that might not be the case. 

 

Problem is, I can't easily test the 121 with non-USB sources, as I've shifted almost exclusively to PC audio. 

post #64 of 112
Thread Starter 

Fluorescent Light Bulb will bring noise too.

 

Maybe try turn-off lights.
 

post #65 of 112

The digital clock noise IMO is from the DAC. I sent mine back since Wadia never responded to my emails. The Woo DAC I now own is dead quiet and sounds superior to the Wadia. I had a Weiss 202 in house and Woo was very close (running coax and firewire on Weiss). No blue lights on the Woo (nice VFD readouts).

post #66 of 112

I really wanted to like this dac, really bummed about reports of noise, etc.

Is the unit able to take a software update that might remedy some of these issues?

 

I know that bryston is working on a usb tweak (hopefully software) to their BDA-1, which I love but don't utilize the USB for similar reasons....

post #67 of 112

I did a few more tests on the 121 today. 

 

First, the RCA outs to my desktop speakers are dead silent when using USB, even with the volume all the way up on the speakers and the DAC. 

 

Then I plugged in my JH-13s and connected the 121 to my Thunderbolt display via USB. The display, in turn, was connected to my Macbook Pro via Thunderbolt. I was hoping that the display would act like a powered USB hub and solve the hash problem. It did not. 

 

Then I tried running the Macbook Pro on batteries. No improvement. 

 

What I'm hearing in the headphone jack isn't a ground-loop hum but rather digital hash -- a high-frequency static-like sound. It's clearly audible when no music is playing. 

 

Not yet sure if this is a deal breaker on the DAC, but I bought it partly to use as a desktop headamp... If this doesn't work, the value proposition decreases. 

post #68 of 112

UPDATE on the Wadia 121. 

 

I contacted Wadia customer service about the noise from the headphone jack and got a prompt (same-day) response offering to replace or repair the unit. Great service. 

 

A few days later, before taking action, I received a pair of Senn HD-700 headphones and tested those with the 121. No noise whatsoever. In fact they sound pretty damn good from the Wadia's headphone jack, and I got sucked into a multi-hour session listening to Wilco's The Whole Love at 24/96 and Radiohead's King of Limbs at 24/44. Both of these albums are amazing for testing high-end headphone or speaker rigs, BTW. 

 

Still burning in both the headphones and headphone jack, but early results are quite positive. 

 

To conclude, the noise seems to be a mismatch with my JH-16s as opposed to a flaw in the Wadia headphone circuit. Since I will be using the Senns and not the JH-16s for desktop listening, all of my issues with the Wadia are obviated. I will be keeping the unit.

post #69 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by gregeas View Post

UPDATE on the Wadia 121. 

 

I contacted Wadia customer service about the noise from the headphone jack and got a prompt (same-day) response offering to replace or repair the unit. Great service. 

 

A few days later, before taking action, I received a pair of Senn HD-700 headphones and tested those with the 121. No noise whatsoever. In fact they sound pretty damn good from the Wadia's headphone jack, and I got sucked into a multi-hour session listening to Wilco's The Whole Love at 24/96 and Radiohead's King of Limbs at 24/44. Both of these albums are amazing for testing high-end headphone or speaker rigs, BTW. 

 

Still burning in both the headphones and headphone jack, but early results are quite positive. 

 

To conclude, the noise seems to be a mismatch with my JH-16s as opposed to a flaw in the Wadia headphone circuit. Since I will be using the Senns and not the JH-16s for desktop listening, all of my issues with the Wadia are obviated. I will be keeping the unit.

I'm not surprised that there isn't noise with the higher impedance HD700.

 

Will be interesting to see what the result on my Wadia 121 is. It is with their technicians right now. All of my headphones are low impedance. All of them had the noise when plugged in to the Wadia jack. And when I turned up my dedicated headphone amp loud enough the same noise was there too.

 

When I changed the setting on the Wadia 121 to the setting for high impedance headphones the amount of noise lowered. Funny because my headphones are the opposite of that.

post #70 of 112

I had a good couple of hours with the 121 today at my dealer and he said they did not like the 121 at first. After about 300+ burn in hours it was a whole new device. It sounded great to me (already burned in) Using HD650's with a MacBook Pro sourcing with Amarra for AIFF and FLAC to the 121. The we ran it into a Parasound A23 amp to some Vandersteen VLR speakers and it had an awesome soundstage and great presence acting as source and preamp. Very impressive.

post #71 of 112

I've had my Wadia 121 for about a week,  so it's had a few hours of play time on it.   I'm enjoying my system more than I have in a long time.  Anyone considering a new DAC in this price range should do themselves a favor and audition it.  

 

Mac Mini (2011) > Audirvana Beta (Integer Mode) > Wadia 121 > Classe DR10 > Focal 1007BE.  Lovely system harmony.  

 

Just a couple of nits on the Wadia;  The status lights are always on and are not exactly unobtrusive even when in dimmed mode.  Also, there is a moderately loud noise when the DAC does it's mechanical switching during sampling rate changes.   I've sent a question to Wadia on this via email and have yet to receive a response,  it's been several days.  If this is any indication of their general customer service then I'm disappointed.    

 

All that aside it is a lovely little DAC.   


Edited by tav - 7/2/12 at 8:25pm
post #72 of 112

Got my 121 a couple weeks ago. 

Sound with the Denon d5000 was fantastic. 
Also sounded good with my JH Audio 16 pro's, but with these phones, I also heard the noise. I did not hear noise with 32 ohm & higher phones. 

I also noticed that the balance control didn't work and I couldn't change the output level. 


I called Wadia and they sent a label so I could send it back. 

Turns out the balance control and the level adjustment are disabled when using headphones. The person I spoke to did not know this, and the manual didn't say anything about it. 

On the other hand, they did hear the noise with low impedance phones, and they are working to fix this. 

post #73 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd R View Post

Got my 121 a couple weeks ago. 

Sound with the Denon d5000 was fantastic. 
Also sounded good with my JH Audio 16 pro's, but with these phones, I also heard the noise. I did not hear noise with 32 ohm & higher phones. 

I also noticed that the balance control didn't work and I couldn't change the output level. 


I called Wadia and they sent a label so I could send it back. 

Turns out the balance control and the level adjustment are disabled when using headphones. The person I spoke to did not know this, and the manual didn't say anything about it. 

On the other hand, they did hear the noise with low impedance phones, and they are working to fix this. 

Wait a minute, are you telling us the headphone jack has no volume adjustment or that you could not adjust the line out level while using headphones?

post #74 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by bixby View Post

Wait a minute, are you telling us the headphone jack has no volume adjustment or that you could not adjust the line out level while using headphones?

 

Of course you can adjust the volume. What you cannot adjust for headphones is the "Optimizing the Output Level" (Pg 19 & 20 of the manual) This apparently is only for the line outputs on the rear.

 

"Optimizing the Output Level
Best performance is obtained when operating the Wadia 121Decoding Computer
Volume Control near the top of its range. If needed, the maximum output level
of your Wadia 121Decoding Computer can be adjusted to match the overall sensitivity

of your system so that critical listening will take place with the volume
control operating near the top of its range. Critical listening should be done when
the 4th or higher LED is lit. The maximum out level of the Wadia 121Decoding
Computer is adjustable by means of a series of IR commands issued from the
Wadia remote control. The Wadia 121Decoding Computer output level is factory
set to accommodate the most common range of system sensitivity. If you find
that your typical volume level during critical listening is below the 3rd LED on
the LED display, it will be advantageous to use a different setting"

post #75 of 112

I did a demo of the Wadia 121 at a dealer with my Ultimate Ears Reference Monitors (UERMs).  I heard the same electronic noise/hash with the UERMs as others have described with the JH16s.  It was simply unacceptable and I left disappointed in the Wadia.  It seems to be inappropriate for high sensitivity/low impedance IEMs.
 

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