March 2, 2010

King of Resolution - Wadia 381 CD Player

We all know from Big E's last post that he was mighty impressed with the Wadia 381 cd player. I was equally impressed too when the Wadia came over to stay in my system for a week.

The Wadia distinguished itself from all the other players that had come through my system, and I do mean all. The 381 was the highest resolution cdp among the lot. I was totally bowled over by the details dug up by the 381 from the cd medium. Please listen to the Wadia 381, it will impress on you in no uncertain terms that red book is a high resolution format.

With its high resolution, imaging from the 381 was wide open, the soundscape was clean, there was no grittiness or roughness. Image separation was again the best that I have heard, the excellent separation was not just in the left-right dimension, but also front-back. Each instrument, each voice was presented in its own space without any smearing effect. Compared to the Wadia 381, I have to say every other cd player I have heard in my system could sound slightly lumpy, fuzzy and congealed.

I found that with the 381 I derived musical enjoyment differently from the past. The enjoyment came from me listening 'into' the music, rather that letting the music washed over me. Listening into the music, the 381 always without fail captivated me with the musical information it portrayed. I gained insight into how the instruments were played, how the singing was done. The feeling was uncanny.

With piano music, I could heard better than ever how the keys were struck, even had a sense of the hammer hitting the string. With vocal, the singer's phrasing, control and breathing was ever more apparent. It was an enjoyable experience totally in a different direction from my past experience.

Yes, the Wadia 381 pulled in the different direction than my past cd listening experience. Many would think that cd was better with a sound that is slightly warm and smooth, or probably one would use the subjective term 'musical'. However, the Wadia 381 proved that music enjoyment could be had also by upping the resolution, laying bare all the details in the music making, letting the music making process speak for itself. This was, in no uncertain term, excellent music too.

The Wadia 381 was also dynamic, in both the macro and micro sense. Its frequency ranges were balanced, it did not have the 'bass is the only supreme being' mentality, I'd say that its midrange was even slightly lush.

Its build was the most solid of all players that came through my place - battleship build indeed. Its 26kg weight and the chunky macho industrial design inspired confidence. It also had a whole host of features - selection of decoding algorithms, volume control, balance control, phase inversion, balanced and single ended output. The only thing lacking was a digital output, but I wouldn't miss it.

I understand now why the savvy Mr. John Yew of CMY, Wadia's distributor, brought in the Wadia while they are already representing the also excellent Metronome. The 2 marques represent 2 schools of cd music thoughts. Metronome is beautiful and organic. Wadia is highly resolved and clear. Both are valid musically, both are enjoyable.

It is like 2 girls. One is so beautiful that your legs buckled at the sight of her. The other whose company is so enjoyable that you'd just love to be by her side at all time and talk to her from night till dawn (which one is Metronome, which one is Wadia is up to you to assign).

If you don't fall for one, you will fall for the other.

The Wadia 381 CD Player is listed for RM29,500.
Wadia is represented by CMY Audio & Visual, contact John, Ph: 03-21439206


mikelau.2 said...

I fall for both erh..girls I mean. So how ? heh heh

OdioSleuth said...

Err...Mike, that might be a little greedy. :-)

Big E said...


Nice detailed pics! Looks like your new cam investment is paying off big time in terms of quality.

OdioSleuth said...

Big E,

Can still be better. :-)