Linn vs. Wadia

I was just checking out the specs on the Linn Ikemi and Wadia 830. The head-to-head comparison of the specs are quite interesting... MSRP Price: Ikemi $3500, Wadia $3250-$4000 depending on options Transport: Ikemi - proprietary design from the $20k Sondek CD12 (regarded as best CD player in the world). Hundreds of thousands went into R&D. Constructed from machined aluminum. Value of transport alone is around $2k since the Ikemi transport doubles the price of the Genki, which is essentially the same player (chassis, DAC and power supply). Wadia - dipped into the Pioneer parts bin and modified(?) the transport that originally went into sub $1k mass-market Pioneer machines. Value of transport around $200? DAC/Digital filter: Ikemi - less sophisticated variation of the Sondek, but still a proprietary 24k delta sigma design that decodes HDCD beautifully. Wadia - no HDCD decoding, because you get Digimaster (whoopie), DAC is from the same parts bin as everyone else. Chassis: Linn - same dated but functional box as their lesser models. Wadia - not much better until you move up to the 850/860. Preamp: Linn - have to use preamp or integrated, like you are supposed to in hi-end. Wadia - digitally shreds the sound up like the volume control on my personal computer. Sound: I have not heard either so I won't comment. Guess which player I'm expecting to give better sound? :) Where's the beef? I'm rather appalled that a "leader" in digital audio technology like Wadia hasn't in their over 10 year history even bothered to develop a transport that pushes the state of the art. So where are all the R&D bucks supposed to be going? I always thought that Wadia was like a pure bred Ferrari, but now I find that this "Ferrari" has a Honda engine and a Ford transmission!
I think Fsacks has jumped the gun on this one. Wadia is going through a reorganization. See the other two other threads for details. BTW...Wadia kills the Ikemi in every area. The Linn is not nearly as well rounded and musical as the 830.
i wish all the audio nuts me included that put feeback would really know what they are talking about. i have listened to cd players for 2 years before buying one from $700 to $15,000. there is no question that the best cd player is the one that fits your ears and system matching. i fortunally have found my cd player which is the wadia 860 which is detailed clean has good imaging and sound staging. i had a hdcd player and though it sounded great the the hdcd however i was wrong the wadia player made then come alive and sounding 10 times better. i tested them side by side. stop reading all the junk in the magazine. these guys get payed for the junk they write. listed with your own equptment. i really believe if you spend well over $5 grand for a cd player if it doesnt sing. send it back fellow wadia owner for life.
I absolutely agree w/ Stang500hpaol. I too have owned a HDCD player (Classe CDP.5) and when I upgraded to a Wadia 850 everything came alive. Another fellow Wadia owner for life.
hi jla these guys that read all the junk are just listening to someone else. hey i admit when i first got into audio i knew nothing. so i read everything. got burnt when i bought some audio components from listenig to some articals hey some are good but yu just have to listed to the system in person and do an a/b comparison. my hdcds play so good with my wadia i fliped out. it felt like the room opened up with speakers all around me. any wadia player is good. hey if you want to spend 15,000 for about 5% better sound quality go right ahead. me ill spend less get the same sound quality and buy better cables or some more cds. there are so many players on the market its sick. i just listeded to the new sacd player from sony. they just droped the price from orignally 5,000 to 3,500 now crutchfields is selling it for 2,499. i guess there is another dead format. my cds sounded better on my wadia then the sacd from sony and they dont even have balanced interconnects. just rca jacks. some high end piece of equiptment. ha.
For the record, I don't subscribe to audio mags. They are mostly advertising propaganda and I only flip through them in the newsstands to get the scoop on new products coming out and check out the specs and all I am doing is stating the facts. If you guys claim that Wadia gives the best sound in your system, and you want to bow down to your 50lb shiny machined aluminum box, it's your money and your call. I'm sure they have a nice markup and profit margin since the cost of the parts they put in are so cheap and they don't have much R&D costs. The R&D is all picked up by Teac which has the same transport as the 850/860 (since they developed and built it!). Teac sells their own high end CD players for only $3k. Teac sells transports to Wadia at a marked up price, who then put it in a nicer box and add some tweaks here and there and then further mark up the price for the final consumer. I can't believe Wadia would go out of business unless it's the fact that fewer and fewer audio lovers are being fooled by the fancy box. I'll definitely give it an audition when I'm ready to upgrade, but I'm blindfolding myself so I don't get sold by the shiny metal box!
Having been in the audio biz for over twenty years and not owning either of these products I would make the following comments:1)Pioneer is a very large company and if the transport is only $200 it is because of their giant build quantities. If they were Linns size that same transport would probably cost $500-$750. 2) Pioneer and Teac probably spent as much if not much more on the R&D of their respective transports than Linn. 3)Wadia's experise has always been in the Digital to Analog domain which is where the majority of the audible difference in Digital comes from if you start with a reasonably high quality transport. All 3 of these companies have a reasonably good transport, irrespective of the cost price. 4) In the end its all about sound and I have heard great things about both Linn and Wadia. Finally, it seems to be pointless to talk about the sound quality and value of these two highly regared products and companies until you have put both units into your own system and listened!!
Hifinut604, It is always good to see someone critique a component they have never even heard! You really must be a nut(case). BTW I have to go now so I can bow down to my shiny machined aluminum box that happens to sound fantastic. Good seems like you will need it.
Without adoubt, Wadia is far better. I have a Wadia 850. Digital volume control is great. Bypassing the pre-amp gives you the best sound out there. Detail & rich.
I auditioned some Linn and Wadia players today. To be fair, the Linn Genki was average at best, but I was extremely impressed with the Ikemi. I personally feel that it bettered the 830 in most areas, including a more natural, relaxed presentation of the music. The Wadia was more lively and incisive, but it seemed to exaggerate certain frequencies, like the sound was fed through a graphic equalizer, although details seemed intact. I felt the Wadia 850 was noticably better than than the 830, but still fell a bit short of the Ikemi. Jla, I can critique the physical build quality of a component I have seen and what is listed in the spec sheets if I want. That might be the only thing OBJECTIVE that anyone can state, since sound quality is actually SUBJECTIVE, and there is no right or wrong. In keeping myself objective, I refrained from commenting on the sound until I have heard it. I understand that you are passionate and defensive about your substantial investment and I apologize to you and any Wadia lovers regarding some of the comments I made in my earlier post. If you think all happy with your investment, and the sound is good in your system, then more power to you all. I am sorry if I don't feel that way, but I believe I am entitled to my own opinion without having to be called a nutcase or requiring luck to find the player best for me, since my under 30 year old ears are just fine, thank you very much. Your blantantly personal attack has started to cross the line of being offensive, and I request that either this thread ends here, or we stop the flaming. One final point is that a direct comparison of the Wadia 850 with the Ikemi seems a bit unfair since it does cost $1500 (40%) more than the Linn Ikemi, so I think it SHOULD sound better, (which to me, it didn't) and a Wadia 860x at over $7000 should sound significantly better. I didn't bother auditioning this since player, like the Sondek CD12 would be out of my price range.
Hifinut604, Glad to see you were able to audition both players. Sorry if I came off overly defensive. I agree the personal attacks were out of line. BTW, I just turned 30 last week and have not lost my hearing yet either. Always good to see young people engaged in the hobby. Good Luck...
There is no guarantee that, best parts in the superbly bulit product, will "give" you good sound. Or the specs. Performance on the "bench", have nothing to do with "our" reality. Or, wahatever we believe we hear. So, i believe that is the reason that "Double blind" test is Audio Industry's, including magazines (which Stereophile is the leader) mortal enemy!
thanks to all who responded to this thread years ago. i have since purchased alot more audio equipment and have various cd player they all sound good if they are matched with the right equipment. something i learned from john rutan at audio connection. who is great when it comes to system matching. so this discussion is done. all cd players are good. if matched with the right stuff. have a good day gentelman.
Proud Wadia 301 owner here. Have AB'd many of these units. For $2950 the 301 is a steal, and I couldnt believe how big of a step up in SQ it was over the earlier 830 and 850 models.
Although I had a Linn Karik III for 4 years and have had a Wadia 301 for the last 9 months, I don't pretend to offer a definative comparison.
I have to concede to HiFinut604's point in that the Wadia is clearly a collection from other manufacturer's parts bins (and some fairly budget bins at that). While I'm sure Linn share similarities with other manufacturer's they clearly include much of their own design.
The transport/drawer unit of the Linn IMO is far better engineered than the Pioneer unit in the Wadia.
As for the sound, I had wondered if I'd made the right choice when I first used the Wadia. However, when I tried the Linn 8 months later when I was getting ready to sell it, I was surprised at how much better the Wadia was. It was also apparent the transport on the Linn was far slicker and more robust than the Pioneer unit.
A month after selling the Linn, I am now without a player as the Transport mech. has developed a fault (did I mention it was a pioneer?)and has been returned to the importer. This incident has undermined my confidence in Wadia especially as they only offer a 12 month warranty on the mechanicals and electronics (what's left?). When asked how long the repair would take, the dealer said he had no idea as he had never had to return one before.....A bit of a double edged sword!
When I was a Wadia(Also sold Lynn,Meridian,ML,McIntosh and Rotel) dealer, we had never seen 1 single unit come back in our store due to defect(or anything else for that matter) and we sold a good deal of them through the course of the 3 years I worked at the company. On the other hand a few Lynn's did come back for one reason or another. As for the Wadia being a "parts bin" cd player, to some degree yes it is, but I sure wouldnt call the collection all that cheap if you ask me. THe Pioneer stable platter is a good solid transport. It sure isnt the best by any means, but its still better than most realize.The TEAC transport is also a great transport and a step up from the Pioneer. The PS, circuit seperation/layout, circuit traces, component quality is also VERY GOOD to excellent depending on the model from Wadia, and the beauty of the units is that they are all modular and can be upgraded in house or from various other compaines like Great Northern etc which make an a great player even better. SO how is the Lynn different? Take apart ANY of their cd player's and 95% of the parts are sourced out or built from one company or another also(surprise! surprise!).Linn doesnt include anything more of their own "design" than does Wadia in one form or another when it all comes down to it. I do feel Linn does have a great transport, especially for the money paid, but it doesnt do the job any better of reducing jitter than either the Pioneer or the TEAC units do especially in reality. Their Delta Sigma DA conversion is also know to "wash out" the sound resulting its its "smooth" presentation(while offering less detail and microdynamics in the process). Something alot of British companies seem to key on. Some people may key in on this sound, but it doesnt make for a better cd player necessarily at all.
I also have to add that if someone wanted to give me either A Linn Sondek CD12, a Wadia 861(with a GNSC statement mod), or Wadia 270/27x Im not gonna say no by any means to ANY of them, and noone on this BB would in their right mind either. Though I personally would take the Wadia 861 with the Statement modification as my first choice. Nothing beats their monolithic chassis, its potential is incredible especially coupled with Steve Huntley's upgrades.
You may also want to check out the new transport update from Wadia. (GNSC is also doing the upgrade, on an availability basis).
Can anyone with a Wadia 301 check if thier platter wobbles at all. Mine does(the bearing seems slack)and may be the cause of the early failure of the servo module as it tries to track a wobbling CD on the platter.


I have both a 301 and an 861. What exactly are you talking about when you state wobble?