Monday, April 04, 2005

The Mightier They Are, The Mightier They Fall - Wadia 302

Source: Haute Fidelite April 2005, Audio Video Prestige May 2004

Wadia is one of the engineering driven companies which legitimated digital sound. I, for example, got an HE-bug when I heard very first time Wadia 861x CD-player driving directly Electrocompanient Nemo mono blocks and Martin Logan Prodigy speakers. Consequently I went to become Wadia 801 owner. For me Wadias have always been musical players par exelence.

Against that background it was frustrating to read HE's review on Wadia. Although Haute Fidelite were impressed by typical audiophile idiosyncrasies (precision, dynamics, imaging), they were frustrated by non-musicality of the 302. According to review the competitors have move forward and for €6.000 the 302 doesn't anymore represent a good buy. And I agree, on that price level one should get a non-compromised player. But then, lets remember that this is an opinion of one reviewer, and as always, subjective. If 2-3 other reviews raise the same issues, then maybe there is a trend. In this context another French review of the 302 is illustrating. The Audio Prestige Video's reviewer found the 302 to be "a real Wadia", terrific sound staging and imaging, magnificient reproduction of voices etc.

Viewpoint: Nothing new here. Always trust your own earns, and take different reviews with grain of salt. Timing is also an issue, especially in digital domain. In this case a year difference can explain to large extent different outcomes: in 2004 and 2005 there has been a number of CD-player product launches which have re-defined what preformance you get for different price points between €3.000 - 6.000.

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