Welcome to the future, to a world of digital 1s and 0s that move around, over and through you like those spooky falling numbers in The Matrix. The Wadia 27ix Decoding Computer & Wadia 270se CD Transport combo is the most imposing digital machine I have ever had the pleasure of reviewing. Like the latest products from Krell, the Wadia pair is all about awe-inspiring soundstaging, absolute resolution, transparency, pounding dynamic and deadly accuracy. The Wadia has the ability to turn every CD you own into a new listening experience, extracting music and mega 1s and 0s that heretofore remained buried and out of reach through lesser CD players. In terms of information (in my experience), the Wadia leaves nothing to the imagination. Is it the ultimate expression of the late ’80s industry mantra, “Perfect Sound Forever”?
The Wadias feature a number of design themes that contribute to their exacting sound. The Wadia 270se CD transport upgrades the previous 270, including an aluminum and brass hybrid turntable that is stained green to “absorb undesired diffused reflections” as per Wadia’s website. The transport also uses “a composite bridge composed of machined aluminum with a maximum thickness of 20 mm, and carbon-tool steel with a thickness of 5 mm.” If maximum construction means ultimate detail retrieval, the Wadia is onto something special. The 270se uses Wadia’s ClockLink (more about that later) as well as a TEAC/Esoteric VRDS (Vibration-Free Rigid Disc-Clamping System) mechanism which clamps the CD to a high-mass turntable that has the same diameter as the disk, claimed to help eliminate distortion and vibration. Wadia applies a special damping material to all critical parts, including 30 internal pounds of clamps, brackets and chassis components. Glass fiber optic technology is used for signal transmission between transport and DAC… er, the 27ix decoding computer. Finally, “enclosed in this sealed sub-chassis, sandwiched between layers of neoprene damping material, the transformer is electrically, mechanically and acoustically isolated from other components.” If overkill is the path to ultimate vibration control, the Wadia seems in a class of its own. The transport features glass fiber, coaxial and BNC outputs, measures 7″ (H) by 17″ (W) by 16½” (D) and weighs 60 lbs.