Wadax Munich 2022

musicfirst1

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My friend Rick and I have attended four shows in the last year, two as exhibitors in Toronto and Montreal, and AXPONA in Chicago and Munich this year. If my memory serves, there were at least two rooms in AXPONA and three rooms in Munich that featured the Wadax gear in one form or another. I have to admit, my initial feelings about the sound in the rooms featuring Wadax in its various iterations left in Chigago, and in Munich left me relatively unimpressed. That was until late Sunday afternoon in Munich.
the
We did the infamous 'Sunday Walkabout' in the final hours of the Munich Show, where the rooms that we felt had the most potential (based on our listening sessions on Thursday, Friday and Saturday) were revisited to do a final ranking on Sunday.

One room that made our 'best of T,F&S' was special but had a serious midrange distortion that plagued the system earlier in the week was the room featuring Wadax, Robert Koda and the Kharma Grand Exquisites. Despite a serious technical issue that they had trouble sorting out, something in this room made me mark it for follow up on Sunday.

This room on Sunday was singing gloriously IMO, easily making my personal 'Munich Top Five' In fact this room impressed me so much so that it made me circle back to the other two Wadax rooms late Sunday for one final listen. (And unfortunately the no, the other Wadax rooms did not ultimately make it into my final list of favorites.)

For me, after auditioning at least five separate systems featuring Wadax at two different shows on two different continents, I finally glimpsed the Wadax magic that has caused quite a few of those with the means to change their reference digital. It would also not surprise me that there will be those that will even 'change their religion' and adopt Wadax to stand alongside their reference Analog front ends or perhaps even replace their cherished vinyl rigs. Yep, I went there..

Wadax now represents the pinnacle of Digital Audio.

And yes, I have heard virtually all, if not all, contenders for the throne.

Next week, I intend to start a thread with photos and selected comments on both the HI END and HIFI DELUXE shows in Munich, which we attended from Thursday to Sunday.

Kerry
 
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microstrip

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(...) I have now heard it in 4 different and very good systems and I tend to agree with the comments above. (...)

Just by curiosity, did these systems include tubed amplifiers?
 

Steve Vu

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Oct 26, 2020
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Not surprising, there appears to be a range of opinions on the Wadax. I have now heard it in 4 different and very good systems and I tend to agree with the comments above. It does indeed have excellent tone. It is also low in distortion and I have no quarrel with the bass I have heard (generally more so a function of the room and speakers). It is definitely euphonic, and I mean that in a good way. Very pleasing. But where I struggle is that it's just not representative of the way real music sounds. I find it somewhat flat and in that sense devoid of the sense of life that is in the real thing, especially in the upper registers. The main liability for me is its lack of proper harmonics more than the fundamentals. They are just plainly truncated (is that the lack of sparkle to which amadeus refers?). All you have to do is play a piano or a violin to appreciate that the harmonics do not float above the instrument as they do in life. There is no layering of harmonics. (I'm not referring to sound stage layering and instrument placement).

Still, my take away is that it's a damn fine piece, but it's just not sonically correct by my ears nor something I aspire to for my system. And btw, cost is irrelevant to my assessment. I'm talking SQ merits (or de-merits) only. I don't know if this makes any sense but there is something about the sound of the Wadax that reminds me of another DAC, namely the Meitner EMM DA2 which I owned for several years. Is it that I seem to prefer DACs that process recordings in their native configuration? I don't know, but there's a quality in the Wadax that is eerily reminiscent of the Meitner. Again, there's no other way to express it except to say that if you think the sound of a violin or piano is correct through a Wadax, then I'm happy for you. I do not.

And that is why I bought a Horizon (if it ever gets here). It is precisely that ability of my Golden Gate 2 to reproduce the sound of instruments in all their harmonic splendor that I adore which makes it easy to believe the sound I'm hearing is a genuine facsimile of the real thing. In short, the Lampi does not get in the way of the illusion. The Wadax does, at least for me. The Lampi GG2 simply conveys the life of real music far more convincingly, however YMMV. That the Horizon (which promises to do this even better than the GG2) costs 1/3rd of the Wadax is just gravy.
Horizon uses tubes and users can change tubes to improve SQ and taste. So I don't agree when you say you heard a genuine facsimile of the real thing. However, Horizon is also a good dac.

BTW, I can see many people are dragging Wadax down with their reviews. Unfortunately, politicians often hit below the belt to discredit their opponents :)
 

marty

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BTW, I can see many people are dragging Wadax down with their reviews. Unfortunately, politicians often hit below the belt to discredit their opponents :)
Nonsense. Is expressing an honest opinion discrediting anyone? I was clear in saying what my concerns were, in stating I thought the Wadax DAC was a good unit, but that it was not my preference. Nor did I read any one else's comments that "hit below the belt": Yours are exactly the kind of comments that are disingenuous, ill-intended and designed to foster pissing contests that are of no use to anyone.
 

Mike Lavigne

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Nonsense. Is expressing an honest opinion discrediting anyone? I was clear in saying what my concerns were, in stating I thought the Wadax DAC was a good unit, but that it was not my preference. Nor did I read any one else's comments that "hit below the belt": Yours are exactly the kind of comments that are disingenuous, ill-intended and designed to foster pissing contests that are of no use to anyone.
agree, i respect alternate listening viewpoints. people hear what they hear in the context they hear them. we are free to offer our viewpoints, or ask for clarity. discuss the what, why and how. but we should start with respect for the feedback.
 
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Bobvin

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Javier told saturday the front panel design is derived from a racecar. steering wheel
He likes cars it resembles a high performance steering wheel somewhat
Be honest, that’s a video game console right?
 

Steve Vu

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Oct 26, 2020
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Nonsense. Is expressing an honest opinion discrediting anyone? I was clear in saying what my concerns were, in stating I thought the Wadax DAC was a good unit, but that it was not my preference. Nor did I read any one else's comments that "hit below the belt": Yours are exactly the kind of comments that are disingenuous, ill-intended and designed to foster pissing contests that are of no use to anyone.
At least, you also declare your opinion clearly, not like others. Their purpose is dragging Wadax down and they are so happy when seeing bad reviews about Wadax.
 
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marty

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At least, you also declare your opinion clearly, not like others. Their purpose is dragging Wadax down and they are so happy when seeing bad reviews about Wadax.
Steve,
I'm afraid that what you don't seem to understand is that comments like yours only serve to facilitate such behavior. That you implicate "their purpose" with out having spoken them directly, or having read anything anyone has said in regard to their purpose is more than not admirable. It is unnecessarily discordant, immature and disrespectful. I would please encourage you to have more of the respect that Mike mentioned in his post, when you write your future posts.
Marty
 

Steve Vu

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Oct 26, 2020
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Steve,
I'm afraid that what you don't seem to understand is that comments like yours only serve to facilitate such behavior. That you implicate "their purpose" with out having spoken them directly, or having read anything anyone has said in regard to their purpose is more than not admirable. It is unnecessarily discordant, immature and disrespectful. I would please encourage you to have more of the respect that Mike mentioned in his post, when you write your future posts.
Marty
Ok. I don't understand and I only say what I see.
 

andromedaaudio

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Be honest, that’s a video game console right?
I m being honest here .
The pic i uploaded is just a quick example i found on the net .
I think this is actually a f1 steering wheel.
The front panel idea derived from cars .
Im not lying..
Anybody else who was at the presentation can correct me if im wrong .



Brg hj
 
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andromedaaudio

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The cost of wadax could be partly due to the fact them designing their own chipset .
Costwise one may be dependant on subcontractors for chip manufacturing , i have no idea.
Your talking a completely different design approach here
 

Audiocrack

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Aug 10, 2012
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Now the prices are only for the inner circle? :rolleyes:
Christoph, you - as well as a few other WBF members - are constantly quite/very negative about everything that concerns Wadax: the looks of the reference server and dac are awful, the components are sounding horrible, all the reference units are outrageously priced, their customer service is bad, questions / insinuations regarding their factory in Madrid, etc (and to be absolutely clear: the last two aspects were not brought up by you). I suppose that new audio products / components that (i) receive enormous praise by three professional reviewers in different parts of the world, (ii) therefore pose a ‘threat’ to existing audio manufacturers of digital components and (iii) cost a lot of money, typically draw negative comments. And that is fine (with me) as long as no false accusations or fake comments are being fabricated: after all we are very lucky to be (still) living in a free world (I refer to what is currently happening in Oekraïne) so everybody is entitled to his/her own (audio) opinion and free to express their views. That said, revealing the rrp of Wadax new products - their reference PSU and DC cables - on WBF undoubtedly will lead to additional negative comments (by the same members) and I see no reason why I should ‘contribute’ to such comments.
 
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morricab

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I never felt most agree on almost anything

i don’t think I’m explaining my point very well .
let me try it this way now
let’s say you go to an audio buds home
one that has very serious products set up very well
for me and I think others you may not get all that’s playing in front of you. Especially if its music you don’t know at all. your comment to live Events does not make sense to me in most cases no live event I ever heard sounds like a home system even the best of them
and to me a well setup home beats live pa all the time
now if you mean classical live I can see your point but to me I don’t prefer live classical unless it’s in a smaller venue not a large place and like to close then most want.
i agree I can make some kind of judgment in min but if it’s a system done well it’s very complex for me.
have you ever played a well known track on some one elses setup and it’s not the same
is there’s messed up or is yours garbage
as very few of us hear the same we each need to try to understand others views it’s how I learn
what I may like maybe very wrong and it’s easy to say oh his place was off.
i am not admitting I don’t know or have no idea what’s great or not
but I am admitting that I can’t tell all in two mins
and I don’t think anyone can do this.
even if I try a new amp or preamp one can judged fast to me it’s a fools way
a song you don’t know
on a system you don’t know is not for me.
Now i can say what I think but this is just not fair
Sounding like live, unamplified music is for me a metric. When you have heard this regularly for a long time the brain registers a pattern where it knows “this is live”. It’s unmistakable really even from far away. I was in Spain once in a town (name escapes me now) on the Southwest coast during a holiday period. I stepped out of a shop and heard brass and drums playing music far in the distance…it was immediately obvious it was live and in about 10 minutes they reached me. No (conscious) processing needed. I have heard some amplified live jazz that puts to shame any Hifi I have heard. Come to Zurich and I will take you to hear Nik Baertsch (check out on ECM records on Tidal or Qobuz if you don’t know him). He plays 2 Mondays a month in Exil Club there. The live sound there is awesome and the impact is huge.

There is a quality to live sound that makes it unmistakable and gauging how well a system gets to that, with appropriate recordings, is a key determinate for me judging success or failure of a system or component. If it takes time to get what something is doing then it is far away from that benchmark I would say , regardless of the audiophile traits one hears.
 

Gregm

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Sounding like live, unamplified music is for me a metric. When you have heard this regularly for a long time the brain registers a pattern where it knows “this is live”. It’s unmistakable really even from far away.

There is a quality to live sound that makes it unmistakable and gauging how well a system gets to that, with appropriate recordings, is a key determinate for me judging success or failure of a system or component. If it takes time to get what something is doing then it is far away from that benchmark I would say , regardless of the audiophile traits one hears.
That is indeed my case as well and, years ago, I set out to identify what triggers this involvement which is in my case, emotional... The simple answer was the very quick / immediate and wide dynamic swings, i.e. the kind of immediacy that draws you into the music (even though it's just a simulation of the live event).

That's the trait that attracted me to the Atlantis Reference & the Absolute Epsilon, the FM acoustics, Symphonic Line, horn applications, Dartzeel... etc
As we have all agreed, to each his or her own;)
 
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morricab

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That is indeed my case as well and, years ago, I set out to identify what triggers this involvement which is in my case, emotional... The simple answer was the very quick / immediate and wide dynamic swings, i.e. the kind of immediacy that draws you into the music (even though it's just a simulation of the live event).

That's the trait that attracted me to the Atlantis Reference & the Absolute Epsilon, the FM acoustics, Symphonic Line, horn applications, Dartzeel... etc
As we have all agreed, to each his or her own;)
Those don’t all do it equally well…I hope you weren’t implying they do…
 

Gregm

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Mar 14, 2019
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Those don’t all do it equally well…I hope you weren’t implying they do…
Morricab: I am not proffering ratings, just mentioned where I identified the traits.
 

amadeus

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Jan 13, 2018
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are you in market for much, much, better digital? is it seriously important?

you don't clarify where you find these attributes (powerful bass, magical midrange, sparkling open high frequencies). are they currently present in your digital, or only in your vinyl or tape?

your focus on the price of Wadax tells me that it's not so much that you don't like Wadax, but that based on your price based expectations, it falls short. Wadax has asked for these issues by chasing digital perfection without regard to cost, and having to charge enough to run a business. unless someone values digital playback high enough, the numbers are tough to get past. i do. it worked for me after i did my homework.

i'm not disagreeing with your expectations at all, only they have to be in the context of digital alternatives to be relevant to the Wadax case for potential buyers. and to my ears i hear those things from the Wadax in my system, again, relative to alternative digital i have heard. my better vinyl takes things higher for sure.

someone has to (1) be very seriously in the market for the best digital playback, and (2) get a chance to compare the Wadax to their other alternatives, or (3) use all the data points they can to make the best decision.

i hope you get the chance to do that. Wadax might just deliver in that case.

vinyl guys not seriously in the digital market are not likely to cut Wadax any slack, nor should they.


Dear Mike for me there are no Vinyl sound standards and Digital Sound Standards there are only Music standards and for proper music reproduction its a must to have powerful articulated tight and tuneful bass and natural full bodied transparent fast and adorned whit billions of tonal colors midrange and open wide band sparkling highs that doesn't make ssssssss sounds only and doesn't make the cymbals of a drum kit all types sizes and brands sounds whit only ssssssss sounds but where you clearly hear and feel the differences of cymbals and even the differences of the sticks.....
All mentioned above are not "Digital or Analog" parameters but true musical obligations!
 

Alrainbow

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Dec 12, 2013
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Sounding like live, unamplified music is for me a metric. When you have heard this regularly for a long time the brain registers a pattern where it knows “this is live”. It’s unmistakable really even from far away. I was in Spain once in a town (name escapes me now) on the Southwest coast during a holiday period. I stepped out of a shop and heard brass and drums playing music far in the distance…it was immediately obvious it was live and in about 10 minutes they reached me. No (conscious) processing needed. I have heard some amplified live jazz that puts to shame any Hifi I have heard. Come to Zurich and I will take you to hear Nik Baertsch (check out on ECM records on Tidal or Qobuz if you don’t know him). He plays 2 Mondays a month in Exil Club there. The live sound there is awesome and the impact is huge.

There is a quality to live sound that makes it unmistakable and gauging how well a system gets to that, with appropriate recordings, is a key determinate for me judging success or failure of a system or component. If it takes time to get what something is doing then it is far away from that benchmark I would say , regardless of the audiophile traits one hears.
Let me say this one little part
live outside non amped music is not balanced
especially if it’s at distance.

over all your grasping at straws to prove a point you know how music sounds

we all know but we all don’t know what’s correct in ours or any audio room.

those who claim this may have some truth but there is no system that portrays real live music perfectly

if a given system is horrible there still are some who like it
should they be excluded from the club ?
 

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