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BGLeduc
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Joined: Sep 1 2005 - 9:46am
Wadia iPod Dock

I am having a tough time understanding the target audience for this device. OK, it provides a bit accurate digital output from the iPod. Fair enough, and that is a feature worthy of applause.

But who is going to buy it?

Let's say you have an iPod. It's better than even money that you are using iTunes to rip and otherwise acquire your music. There are 3rd party apps that I suppose could also put files on an iPod, but I have to think that the majority of users, even among audiophiles, are using iTunes.

And correctly configured, iTunes is also capable of bit perfect output via USB, Optical, or streamed to optical via an Airport Express.

And therein lies my point.

If I have iTunes, and I have a wireless connection on my Mac, I can spend $99 on an Airport Express, and I can use Airtunes to stream a bit perfect (as measured by JA) stream to the DAC of my choice. If I happen to have a computer in the same room, great. I can control it from there.

If not, I can use an iPod Touch running the new Remote App, and I can not only stream my music, but I can control it from the comfort of my listening chair. Think about that....for the cost of an AE and an iPod Touch (refurbs are now about $180) , I can remotely control my entire iTunes library of lossless and uncompressed files and stream a bit perfect signal to any DAC I choose to use. And I would wager that there are PC based solutions that will do the same.

So, what do I gain with the Wadia? I would probably place it close to my equipment rack, and unless you have eagle eyes, you are not really going to be able to see what is on the iPod's display from the listening chair in order to effectively use its remote. And while it has a video output, how many audiophiles would choose to defile(!) their 2 Channel system with a video display. But let's say for arguments sake that they did.

If that were the case, an Apple TV can also stream with Airtunes from iTunes (unknown at present if it too is bit perfect), and it is also remotely controllable via its own remote or an iPod Touch. Doesn't that make more sense then the Wadia?

The only thing I read about the Wadia that seemed to be a selling point versus other options was that your friends could come over and plug their iPods in to your dock. OK, I will buy that, but how many of your friends are also audiophiles such that they have iPods full of lossless or uncompressed files? Be honest ;-)

So, while it is cool that the music on our iPods can now deliver a bit perfect digital output, there are other, arguably better ways to accomplish a similar result, IMHO.

Brian

dbowker
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Re: Wadia iPod Dock

My computer(s) are at the other end of my house, and reception is spotty at best due to overbuilt walls from 1857 so my Airport is useless for streaming to my primary stereo. Plus, I'm not so sure my laptop doesn't introduce some noisy junk into the usb output (can't prove it). Anyway, the Wadia would be great for people with high-end DACs already and don't want to (or can't) use the wireless option. It's built a lot better than the Airport for sure and overall I'd just assume have it go via a wire to my DAC. That being said, as a vinyl guy first, my iPod is for parties or background and the analogue output is fine for those applications for me. The Wadia might be in my future at some point but then I'd want a better DAC and...you get the idea.

I do like that with your newer ipods you could still see artwork etc without having big computer screen. It'd be cool to have a little 6" touch-screen that could be hooked up to the Wadia!

dcstep
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Re: Wadia iPod Dock

I've ordered one. My two-channel is now separate from my computer. I'll run my iPod Classic/160 into Wadia and the digital-out from the Wadia into the exceptional DAC of my Playback Designs MPS-5 CD/SACD player. From there the signal goes to my Rowland/Vienna Acoustic two-channel system. I'll still use the MPS-5 as a transport of SACSs and CDs not ripped to my iPod.

I'll be very curious to compare RBCD and SACD performance to the iPod/Wadia. If that holds up, then it'll move me closer to a real server-based sysem, with wireless.

Dave

kana813
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Joined: Sep 9 2005 - 2:45pm
Re: Wadia iPod Dock

I agree with Brian that an Apple TV/iTouch combo makes more sense.

Paul McGowan uses this combo, see:

http://www.psaudio.com/newsletters/7-08.asp

Dan

Ajani
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Joined: Mar 19 2008 - 7:07pm
Re: Wadia iPod Dock


Quote:
I am having a tough time understanding the target audience for this device. OK, it provides a bit accurate digital output from the iPod. Fair enough, and that is a feature worthy of applause.

But who is going to buy it?

Let's say you have an iPod. It's better than even money that you are using iTunes to rip and otherwise acquire your music. There are 3rd party apps that I suppose could also put files on an iPod, but I have to think that the majority of users, even among audiophiles, are using iTunes.

And correctly configured, iTunes is also capable of bit perfect output via USB, Optical, or streamed to optical via an Airport Express.

And therein lies my point.

If I have iTunes, and I have a wireless connection on my Mac, I can spend $99 on an Airport Express, and I can use Airtunes to stream a bit perfect (as measured by JA) stream to the DAC of my choice. If I happen to have a computer in the same room, great. I can control it from there.

If not, I can use an iPod Touch running the new Remote App, and I can not only stream my music, but I can control it from the comfort of my listening chair. Think about that....for the cost of an AE and an iPod Touch (refurbs are now about $180) , I can remotely control my entire iTunes library of lossless and uncompressed files and stream a bit perfect signal to any DAC I choose to use. And I would wager that there are PC based solutions that will do the same.

So, what do I gain with the Wadia? I would probably place it close to my equipment rack, and unless you have eagle eyes, you are not really going to be able to see what is on the iPod's display from the listening chair in order to effectively use its remote. And while it has a video output, how many audiophiles would choose to defile(!) their 2 Channel system with a video display. But let's say for arguments sake that they did.

If that were the case, an Apple TV can also stream with Airtunes from iTunes (unknown at present if it too is bit perfect), and it is also remotely controllable via its own remote or an iPod Touch. Doesn't that make more sense then the Wadia?

The only thing I read about the Wadia that seemed to be a selling point versus other options was that your friends could come over and plug their iPods in to your dock. OK, I will buy that, but how many of your friends are also audiophiles such that they have iPods full of lossless or uncompressed files? Be honest ;-)

So, while it is cool that the music on our iPods can now deliver a bit perfect digital output, there are other, arguably better ways to accomplish a similar result, IMHO.

Brian

I agree... it seems like a product with rather limited appeal (but I suppose we should take into account that it is really just an upscale ipod dock... and ipod docks seem to be selling like hotcakes).... Much like the Krell KID (another even more expensive ipod dock), it really must be used with a TV (unless you plan to walk up close to the little ipod screen, so you can see your music)... If you plan to use it with a TV, then the AppleTV is a much cheaper option ($230 for the 40gb and $330 for the 160gb version) versus Wadia ($375) + iPod (120gb classic $250)OR if you already own an ipod ($0)...

jazzfan
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Re: Wadia iPod Dock

While I agree that the Wadia iPod Dock as a very limited potential customer base, the fact that Wadia is selling a device which is not a computer and still be able to access the digital output of an iPod is note worthy. Now the question is how long do we have to wait before somebody makes a portable device which can do the same?

iPod, filled with lossless digital files -> portable digital output device -> portable DAC -> portable headphone amp -> good headphones

Now that would be one sweet portable system. As for the Wadia iPod Dock, one would be much better served by several of the other music servers presently on the market.

CharlyD
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Joined: Jul 20 2006 - 4:01pm
Re: Wadia iPod Dock


Quote:
While I agree that the Wadia iPod Dock as a very limited potential customer base, the fact that Wadia is selling a device which is not a computer and still be able to access the digital output of an iPod is note worthy. Now the question is how long do we have to wait before somebody makes a portable device which can do the same?


How about a single portable device that can play back digital audio with reference quality - a Portable Music Player for Audiophiles? The incremental costs over existing PMP's would not be that substantial - I'd guess under $50 to add a DAC that supported 192kHz/24-bit with associated componentry plus a decent headphone amp. It could include the FLAC codec for lossless files as well as MP3 just because there is so much content available in that format. And forget DRM which would add substantially to the costs and would have little appeal with audiophiles. It could have balanced line out on its docking connector and even balanced headphones. I'd bet a high-end vendor could find a decent market offering these at less than $1000. There are many Chinese contract manufacturers who could produce the device with very attractive margins.

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