The Nails Are In The Coffin

October 21, 2010

I had a chat with a guy recently who told me what could be a horror story or a happy tale depending on your point of view.

He’s a bloke who likes his music, so much so that his source of choice is the, shall we say “high-end” Wadia 861SE CD player. Turns out that the Wadia is gone. Not stolen or died but sold. As he put it “I’d never have sold it unless I found something significantly better”.

He didn’t go with a new CD player or even a turntable, instead he’s using a PC based solution which according to him is all over the Wadia sonically. It’s a very high end DAC with room correction functionality and he’s put a great deal of time into getting it to sound as good as it possibly can.

He tells me that every tiny little thing makes a difference in the computer based solution, so attention to detail is required to hear it at its best. Even the speed and latency of the RAM in the PC matters as does the type of Solid State Drive that’s implemented. Software is critical too and he urged me to abandon iTunes with alacrity as it’s the worst sounding of the lot.

I’ll try and write up a feature on this system soon if I can talk him into it but much like a certain someone’s Musical Fidelity CD player being replaced by an Olive HD streamer, when people are flogging their cherished Wadia silver disk spinners in favour of PC streamers, you know the time’s a’coming when there will be no reason to own or to make CD players. They’re very strong now, still the de facto choice but they won’t last.


  1. Interesting, in all the reading I’ve done online, I’ve never read a review that said that computer-based music server output to a DAC sounds better than a high end CD player. They sound different, but not better…and not always worse! Just different. It’s complicated.

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