Wadia iTransport

It exists; we saw it for ourselves! Wadia's $349 iTransport can take the digital signal out of an iPod before the DAC, outputting 16-bit/44.1khz resolution for uncompressed files—it doesn't upconvert lower-rez files like MP3s, but it does reformat them to 16/44.1, according to Wadia's John Schaffer.

And then we heard the iTransport driving the $13,500 Wadia 781 player/DAC/preamp and Halcro DM308 power amp and a pair of Verity Parsifals. Wow!

Big, bold, and extremely accurate sound on Van the Man and some baroque lute. We poked around he rear panel and noticed the iTransport utilizes an outboard power supply. "To make this price point, we essentially hot-rodded a wall-wart," Schaffer explained. "It does keep the AC out of the signal path, though."

"And is an obvious path for an upgrade," quipped Jon Iverson.

No comment.

XLO cables were used throughout—including Ultralink XLO's Limited Edition interconnects ($2500/1m) and speaker cables ($9500/8' pair).

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Comments
John's picture

Does the analog out on this dock = the ipod analog out?

Doug's picture

How? How does it take the signal and get it off the iPod BEFORE the internal DAC?Once the signal has made its way to the dock connector port, it's already analog, no?

Doubter's picture

It must require modifications to the iPod to get digital out of the dock connector. Looks like a great piece, and sensibly priced (For Wadia). Hopefully it comes to market asap!

Audiophilia's picture

Price point is one thing, performance another. If I know Wadia, the iTransport "could" transform my iPod into an audiophile-grade digital music source. This is a scary thought for someone like me, to think that a mass marketed hip-hugging, grocery shopping, soccer-momming, pop-tarting, yet thoughtfully designed Personal Audio Device like the iPod could somehow win my heart when it came down to serious high-fidelity. Plop this thing down next to my Meridian Reference and when I'm convinced, you'll have a believer. Can an audiophile truly appreciate personal audio? Deep down, as much as I hesitate to admit this, I've been secretly hoping that this little gadget called the iPod would find a home in my high fidelity system. My least expensive pair of interconnects costs more than the iPod/iTransport setup. This is exactly what makes the iTransport so scary, and so wonderful. Perhaps it is time I find a Wadia dealer, raise my iPod from the depths of the car seat cushions, and begin dow

Jan's picture

The unit does bypass the internal DAC and also the analog output stage of the stock i-pod. You don't need to modify your i-pod and it will work with an i-phone, i-pod-touch and the i-pod classics series. The idea is that the cradle authenticates itself in a special way to allow the i-pod to send out the digital data. It should be loaded as a WAVE or Apple Losless Coding file though as you cannot add data that has been lost due to lossy compression beforehand. I saw it in action. It is really quite nice even though the docking station is not yet finished on the cosmetic part of things. You can even use the small Apple control with it.Way cool!Jan

Sakahara's picture

Very cool. The new transport, with iPod instead of CD's. I want one. I'm sure they've compared it to their high-end CDP/CDT's too. No ones talking? High-end CDP/CDT's were destined to become obsolete, or transmogrify into music servers, or in this case a Dock. It's inevitable.Question is; why didn't KRELL do this with their $1500 KID? $349 digital output iPod dock vs $1500 analog iPod dock. hmmmmm... An easy decision, and fantastic solution for those with high-end DAC's. No wireless streaming issues either, just straight digital output to a DAC and from a storage device with minimal HW and SW compared to a computer, that's a plus. Only real downside is limited storage and a somewhat inconvenient UI since it's on the iPod (you can use the Apple Remote, like with Front Row, although the iPod screen isn't really visible across the room. iTouch/iPhone remote solution?). And with storage capacity using Apple Lossless that's 400+ albums with the 160GB Classic

Steve's picture

I'm very excited to see that cd and dvd players will be obsolete soon. The Wadia iTransport with a Wadia decoding computer would be a lot of fun if you have $7500 to burn. For me Apple TV does the trick for now. Apple TV already allows you to send the digital audio stream to whatever DAC you choose and you don't have to rely on a hack like Wadia has implemented. I'm not saying it doesn't work but certainly it might be vulnerable considering future iPod specifications.

Rob's picture

This is not a "hack" like what we saw from MSB. This is an Apple Certified Accessory. Wadia worked directly with apple to modify the firmware to allow the dac bypass. I see no reason to worry about future compatability.

Ryan's picture

Is there any other product that offers a direct digital link? Also I agree Krell seemed to have miscalculated (and I am a Krell product owner). Also is this availible yet? I have been listening to my itouch with lossless audio and the sound is very impressive...Id like to hear this on my main rig!

Antony Gravett's picture

It's great to bypass the DAC and yet the 16/44 output seems a limiting factor.On a laptop I can get from Lossless 24/96 files via Firewire to a high-grade D/A to produce pristine analog -- in fact, this is what pro audio engineers want for reviewing client projects.I wonder if a device like this could provide higher output bit rates in future, perhaps even via Firewire? That would make the iPod a viable alternative to laptops for this kind of hi-res audio.

Wilson's picture

Does anyone know if I can hook up the Itranport directly to a power amplifier and control the amplifier's volume using just the supplied remote? In effect I'd be bypassing a preamp to save a little cash.

Ryan's picture

I was looking into this but there is one big problem. With the ipod video you will not be able to access the menu/click wheel. Meaning you will have to create a play list and then navigate by memory through your songs.

Audiogeek's picture

The Wadia Dock need a HDMI and a usb , slot so you can use your monitor to view the movies , or playlist, the usb will be for future storage.

Charles's picture

Is there any benefit in using the wadia in analog mode only, instead of a cheapo Apple ipod dock? Or is the only benefit to be had if you use a DAC or have a DAC built into your receiver?

Greg K's picture

Great idea but BIG PROBLEM - At one point, the CD was read by a what is likely a PC CD transport. These are usually low quality, and will introduce lots of jitter, which is now locked in. Doesn't matter how good your D/A is at this point....

Steve's picture

C'mon people, getting the bitstream off and bypassing the DAC isn't some special magic voodoo.How do you think you are able to copy the files off an iPod? Do you think that has to "go through the DAC" before depositing the file on your computer?No, it just copies the files off and onto your computer. No magic or voodoo involved.

alex's picture

yet thoughtfully designed Personal Audio Device like the iPod could somehow win my heart when it came down to serious high-fidelity. Plop this thing down next to my Meridian Reference and when I'm convinced, you'll have a believer. Can an audiophile truly appreciate personal audio?my blog:http://www.ebuy4cheap.com/thanks

David B's picture

"Great idea but BIG PROBLEM - At one point, the CD was read by a what is likely a PC CD transport. These are usually low quality, and will introduce lots of jitter, which is now locked in. Doesn't matter how good your D/A is at this point.... "Jitter is only "lock in" as you say when sample-rate-conversion or data manipulation involves calculations that depend on sample timing. Compressing to lossless formats or leaving as WAV files is actually a way of purging the music file of upstream jitter. In other words, the bit-for-bit music data streaming off the iPod via the WADIA transport can actually sound BETTER than the original CD... even with that CD being ripped to apple lossless in a PC.When music files are compressed losslessly, the compression is not linear, and a bran-new time clock is generated upon decompression that bears no relationship to any clock jitter that may have been burned into the glass master for the CD-ROM or that may have been present in the CD-ROM when th

Eggert Vikingur's picture

It sounds to me like this thing does thing does is charge an ipod, and connect to its digital output for an out DAC. Correct me if I'm wrong, but correctly wired 30-pin plug and cable would do the same thing.If Apple chose to, They could add a digital output to their $50 dock with remote at almost no cost, so why don't they? Instead, this wadia(at $800Aust.) is presented like some sort of technological breakthrough.And what is inside that ridiculously large box?If it contains electronics, I would like to know what they do. I have a high quality DAC I wish to use wih my ipod in lossless, and I Would not dream of buying this thing.

Phil Indeblanc's picture

There is a device I just received. Its the DLO Homedock HD. I purchased it on sale for $80.It is a Super device for the price and what it does. (it is SLOW to setup), but once it is setup, it is very sweet!I have a question for all you folks with tech knowledge....The device has Optical out, and HDMI out.I am using the optical out, but the device has its own volume control (via its own remote to the dock)! I thought optical is just reading at a digital level as a data before any conversion? the receiver takes the digital/optical then DAc's it out Analog sound, right? SOOoo...So if the doc is volume controlled, does that definately mean that it is analog before it goes out?_Thanks, and those folks looking at ipod out, should look at this as it has a very nice 1080 hdmi interface with decent onscreen menu to nav the ipod.

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