Chord Cutest or Wadia 321

Has anyone here had a chance or spent some time with either of these DACs? I currently have the Chord Cutest and have the opportunity to trade for the Wadia 321 which I haven’t heard. The Wadia is an older DAC released in 2014 vs the Chord which I believe was released 2018. The Wadia does not support DSD. However, most of what I listen to is 24/192 or lower. I’m curious if the older Wadia might out perform the new Chord. Or, should I stick with the Chord? I am currently using Magnepan LRS Plus or Martin Logan CLS depending on the mood. Thank you for any input or advice.

I am using a Ifi Zen Stream to the Chord DAC using a Audioquest Diamond USB. 


I have 2 Wadia 321. Been running in my system for years without a hitch.


On occasion I run the one in my main system directly to my amp as a pre amp/dac because i can use XLR. But I always fall back to using my tubed pre but have to use COAX as it does not support XLR. I often wonder what it would sound like with a Tubed Pre that support balanced connections.

Mcintosh group shelved Wadia but you can still get service from a company in CA. but I have never had an issue with either of mine.


I dont know if you got a manual?  But if you running it into an integrated or pre the manual indicates to set the volume at 88





Congratulations. I have been. Wadia fan since back in the 1990’s. Chord is very popular but it’s emphasis on detail can loose track of musical reality.

The 321 sound is what you get when you know your way a around an ESS Sabre chip.

I am pretty blown away by this DAC and it’s an older DAC. I know it’s good because I listen to a whole song/album vs playing a track for 10-15 seconds and then on to the next track. It’s very musical. Do any Wadia 321 owners find a preference on digital connections? I am using the USB and that seems better than Coax. However, I just have a generic digital coax cable vs the Audioquest Diamond USB cable. Thanks for any feedback. 

It certainly does not hurt to get opinions on interconnects, but which will sound best will be strongly dependent on the rest of your system and your values in sound. So generalities can be helpful.


In general Cardas will add a touch of warmth… the lower level the interconnect the more warmth. Transparent dead on neutral to get the most of detail and dead quiet background. DHLabs excellent neutral to bring out details for a budget price. Power cords will have similar effects.