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  1. #1

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    Default New Wadia 171 iTransport versus Wadia 170

    About two years ago I purchased the Wadia 170 iTransport, and an iPod Classic with a 120GB hard-drive. At the time, the idea of a music server was floating in my brain since I had an unused laptop computer, but was unsure how to actually implement a music server on it. Fortunately, stereophile, and the absolute sound, both reviewed the iTransport at the same time, and both were knocked out by it. One of the two named it Product Of The Year, since it turned an inexpensive iPod into an audiophile music server.

    Anyway, like everything else, the original iTransport had some flaws. For example, stereophile measured a relatively high level of jitter, the remote control sucked (it was like a plastic stick of gum), the external power supply was just an inexpensive wall-wart (is that the right phrase?), and the S/PDIF connector was cheap aluminum. Yet, with these flaws, it still played great sounding music.

    The new 171 addresses the above weaknesses, and the end result is a better sounding iTransport. The new 171 seems to be a bit clearer, precise, and more detailed. The dynamics seem wider and deeper, and everything is a bit better. Overall, it is hard to quantify with objective terms, but I am very happy with the sound.

    There is one thing I was disappointed in though. When I ordered this from Music Direct their ad said the new 171 has an improved internal power supply. This is not true. It still is an external cheapo power supply, but it does look different from the other power supply. However, I did not try it. I upgraded the original power supply over a year ago with a much better power supply from CIAudio, and that works quite well with the new iTransport.

    The remote is a much nicer metal remote with more features. However, it is not reliable. It appears the battery compartment allows the battery to not make a solid electrical contact, and that prevents the remote from being useful. Tuesday, I will contact Music Direct for both my $150 trade-in allowance for the 170, and to get a new remote. I have made a kludge fix by putting small pieces of electrical tape on the inside battery cover to push down on the battery. If the kludge is still working Tuesday, I might let it slide.

    On a positive note, the iPod seems more secure/solid in the dock, the gold plated S/PDIF connector is better, the blue light on the front is a nice touch, the better clocking and reduced jitter seems to work, and it is still a great music server.

    I added 10 more classical CDs to the iPod today, so tonight I will be giving it an extended test (currently in progress). As a side note, these CDs bring my classical playlist to 2,842 ‘songs’, and I still have 33GB left on the drive. Using Apple Lossless to store music almost doubles the size of the iPod hard-drive. Since classical songs range from 3 to 30 minutes I am quite impressed.

    As I have said in past posts on this subject, the Wadia/iPod has been the best music device I have ever owned. Because of it I have been on a CD buying spree, upgraded my Benchmark DAC1 to a Bryston BDA-1 DAC, and upgraded the digital IC to an MIT Magnum. All of these changes, along with IC, speaker, and power cord upgrades over the past year, have made my iPod an absolutely fabulous, first-rate music source. I cannot give enough praise to this device, and if anybody is on the fence about buying a Wadia/iPod I have to say do it.

  2. #2

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    Default

    Great write up.It's good to see they have addressed the major shortcomings in the first gen. units.
    Last edited by FTGV; 01-15-2011 at 10:30 PM.

  3. #3

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    Some pictures, and the Music Direct Wadia ad.


    "Wadia has upped the ante for 2011 with the new 171 iTransport. This new model receives some serious performance enhancements. Upgraded internal power supply, higher quality circuit boards and a superior clock for vanishingly low jitter, audiophile grade capacitors and resistors, a beefy 24K gold chassis mount RCA connector for the coax digital out and by popular request, a Toslink output.

    Sonic Improvement
    Wadia unleashed their creativity, delivering an outstanding upgrade to the iTransport concept. Like a veil has been removed from the music, the 171 is vastly more open, transparent and dynamic with a broader sonic palette. Timbre is smoother and richer and the bass is finally Wadia-class. The 171 is a tremendous sonic upgrade, one we think is worth every penny of the premium over the 170. "


    http://www.musicdirect.com/product/89605
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  4. #4

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    BLUefox, I think the 170 goes for more than that trade in credit, if anything hit me up and I will match it plus shipping.:)

  5. #5

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    Where's the tubes?
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

  6. #6

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    Where's the tubes?
    I don't think Wadia makes any tube gear. Of course, if they made a tube version of the iTransport it would be similar to those room size computers in the 50s.

  7. #7

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    No, they don't. Just a joking 'round with ya.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

  8. #8

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    Bud,

    I got the 170 yesterday, the unit looks brand new! I spent last night listening to a few different music genres with the Mrs. I switched between the two without letting her know which was which. Initially she favored the streaming via iTunes, she heard the vocals a little more clearly and sharply via the AppleTV and I concur, but after a few different songs she and I both realized that the the emphasis was on sharper and more forward versus overall quality. Music via the Wadia moved the soundstage back and the speakers disappeared more. I think the overall music was fuller and a little softer via the Wadia. I am not sure what would cause these experiences, but overall we both agreed that the Wadia/Ipod was the better source and more enjoyable for extended listening, especially on acoustics and female vocals.

    I am assuming the compressed file via streaming caused the vocals to take center stage more, maybe a bit more over-processed or compressed? The Wadia/Ipod into the receiver via the digital coax and allowing the built in DACs seemed to smooth out everything while offering a fuller listening experience. Not sure if you had the same experience initially, but I am definitely looking forward to more listening, adding a DAC, and maybe moving up the Wadia product line. Can't thank you enough for the opportunity to try it out. :)

  9. #9

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    Great. That's good news. I really love the Wadia/iPod. As I have said before, it is the best music device I have ever owned. A good external DAC is probably the first thing you should get. After that I would recommend the power supply upgrade, and later a better digital IC. But, as you are hearing, even stock it works great.

    Also, this is the first thing I have ever sold. I have a dining room and garage full of old gear. I'm glad the sale worked out well for us both.

  10. #10

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    You are going to have to start up a for sale thread in order to get you your first sales rating. :)

    On another note, I realized that my quest in another speaker setup might be misguided (but you all know I am going to do it anyways), the small little tweaks here and there are really getting my Mythos ST closer to what I am looking for. Pairing them with NAD was a huge improvement musically, adjusting their setup in terms of toe in and wall distance, MIT cables, etc... are all slowly adding up to a nicer and nicer picture.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueFox View Post
    The remote is a much nicer metal remote with more features. However, it is not reliable. It appears the battery compartment allows the battery to not make a solid electrical contact, and that prevents the remote from being useful. Tuesday, I will contact Music Direct for both my $150 trade-in allowance for the 170, and to get a new remote. I have made a kludge fix by putting small pieces of electrical tape on the inside battery cover to push down on the battery. If the kludge is still working Tuesday, I might let it slide.
    So, last night I get home, and I have a letter from Wadia. “Great”, I thought, Wadia is telling me I have won their best CD player. Wrong.

    They explained the battery shipped in the remote was the wrong physical size. While the voltage is okay, it does not properly fit, and makes the remote operate erratically. They enclosed the correct battery, and gave a $10 gift certificate to use at Music Direct.

    Well, since I fixed the remote to work fine with the wrong battery, I will save this battery for the future, and buy the new Oppo BD-95 Bluray player with my gift certificate (and another $990).

  12. #12

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    Just a follow up to this thread. After three months I am really impressed at how well the Wadia 171 performs compared to the Wadia 170. Before, my Sony XA5400ES SACD/CD player had a very slight edge in sound quality compared the Wadia 170/Bryston BDA-1 DAC. Now the Wadia 171/Bryston DAC combo has the edge over the Sony.


    Without a doubt, the Wadia/iPod is my all time favorite music device. I currently have about 3100 classical 'songs' on the iPod Classic in Apple Lossless format. Being classical, the songs range from 3 minutes to 30 minutes in length, and I still have about 30GB left on the iPod.

  13. #13

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    Can someone explain to me the difference between the Wadia 171i and the Wadia 381i? Thank you.

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