Wadia at Music Lovers Audio

Music Lovers Audio of Berkeley and San Francisco had the big and small of the Wadia line on display. When I entered the room, the Wadia 571 CD/digital preamp/DAC ($13,950) was on standby, and Wadia's diminutive 170 Transport iPod dock ($379) and 151 PowerDACMini ($1195) were doing the iPhone.

It was quite the upscale dance, given that the associated equipment included the Luxman M801A amplifier ($16,000), and Sonus Faber Audita M speakers ($5800/pair). Cabling included Transparent's Reference MM speaker cable ($10,000/8ft pair) and balanced interconnects, and Synergistic Research's power cord T3, QLS power strip ($399), and MIG ($150). Cleaning up the hotel's unthinkably dirty power was Richard Gray's RGPC 600 ($1300). That may seem like a lot of money to spend on a relatively inexpensive front end, but my personal experience validates that the better the cabling and power source, the better the sound.

(My apologies for any omitted prices and possible misspellings. As was the case in many rooms, there was no equipment list, and I've done my best to type out what was scribbled into my notebook by Music Lovers as I listened).

I have no idea what file formats were being played while my notepad was in use. Given the quality of the sound, which diverged from every review of the Wadia I've read, I suspect 320 kpbs MP3, at best. By the time my notebook came back to me, it was clear that the music selections and I were destined to remain strangers.