Wadia di122 DAC

As one of the original purveyors of high end digital, Wadia has been connected to the rarefied ending of the market. Lately, but at least a few of its products has moved back into territory that was more affordable and dispensed with optical drive products.

The di122 sits towards the low end of Wadia's product lineup and is yours for GBP1,499. The good news is the fact that this competitive asking price does not seem to undermine the spec.

The di122 is fitted with two coaxial, two optical, five digital inputs and a USB-B connection. The coaxial and optical sockets are both 24-bit/192kHz-capable, while the USB implementation can pass 24/384kHz as well as DSD and DXD. This ticks pretty much all the format cartons one might expect and ought to imply that the Wadia is pretty much futureproof. Some rivals offer an AES input or Bluetooth functionality only at that amount, but I Had personally not wish to trade a useful number off of 'regular' input signals for either of them.

The di122 is built across the popular and increasingly omnipresent ESS Sabre processor, in this case a ES9016S. This allows to behave as a preamp, which while every one of the fury in the moment is actually something that it has been doing with products for time. Upsampling the incoming signal and after that dropping advice that was superfluous performs the volume correction rather than via the more primitive bit reduction system, which augers well for use as a preamp. The decoded output signal can be acquired via a front headphone socket and XLR and RCA. In use, the volume adjustment does mean when you set the volume the output signal is somewhat high compared with a traditional line level component and I discover that backing off the volume improves the performance significantly.

This really is an impressive amount of functionality, but fitting it into a chassis that is refined and somewhat little has resulted in some quirks that are functional. They also double as the volume down and up controls, however just as soon as they are put in volume mode. A final quirk of the layout is on connecting a pair of headphones, which is not the end of the world, but is a little peculiar the back panel output signals do not mute.

The remaining portion of the news is somewhat better, however. As well as the remote looking and feeling somewhat bright, the di122 is a really nice bit of industrial design. Using a glass top really sets off the look to the chassis that gives a sense of visual definition. A A small but perfectly legible display shows volume, input signal that is selected and incoming sample rate. Everything feels extremely well thought out and gathered and while some Wadia calling cards just like the interesting locking optical connectors have been dispensed with, the result is a product with a lot of shelf appeal and nothing that's prone to put off people.

Wadia has place the USB driver in the bottom of the di122 web page and barring the strop that is obligatory from my antivirus, it installs on my laptop. The USB input signal also functions without a driver when connected to the fearsomely clever Linux-based output of the Melco N1A NAS, which functions as one of the evaluation inputs. Beyond the marginally congested management interface, Wadia has done a fine job of ensuring the di122 is no more demanding to use than its competitors.

Sound quality

This user friendliness is balanced having a sound that is somewhat distinct to rivals in the price point. The Wadia is something completely focussed and forensic recent digital products have an almost analogue heat to the way that they make music. There's a large amount of info that's expressed from material and it shows it all in an exceptionally vivid and energetic manner.

The most noticeable facet with this is when you listen to it to something having a little drive. The Wadia is committed to producing every last facet of the operation in a manner which is startlingly graphic, where some elements seem almost content to allow the music happen. Neither is this the preserve of quicker, more competitive stuff.

If all of the seems a bit aggressive, the intelligent element of the demo is that it manages to balance this notable awareness of get up and choose a refinement that makes it an extremely pleasing long-term listen. With a Naim Supernait 2 and Musical Fidelity M6si, the Wadia is a partner that is very civilised. I'm convinced that really careless system matching might serve to exacerbate this, but a cursory demonstration ahead must be enough to avert it.

A 24/96kHz variant of Fleetwood the is of Mac's exceptionally. There's really a awareness of the performers, their relationship to one another and also the space they inhabit. That is fit an impressive sense of decay and by believable tonality to notes tonally comprehensive and all underpinned by bass which is deep, quick. My DSD substance stays restricted, but the Wadia does not have any issue playing any of it and save to get a slightly long pause when changing sample rate or format, it makes for a compelling high-resolution companion.

Utilizing it as a preamp and headphone amplifier doesn't alter the fundamentals of the functionality significantly. The slight lack of fine adaptation to the volume favours competing products with a rotary dial, but there isn't any actual sense that it is anything besides a quite linear performer at each increment.

The news is rather better using the di122.


And it's also this balance of convenience and capacity that produces the di122 a very remarkable proposal at the price. There are a number of operational niggles and careless system matching may not reveal it at its best, but the di122 is a seriously skilled performer that must be on the shortlist of anyone at the price point.

Wadia di122 DAC photo

Review price £1500 / $2250