Wadia 170 iTransport

Wadia 170 iTransport

The best sounding iPod dock we’ve heard – but it isn’t cheap once a decent DAC is factored in

Price: $699
> Pricing info
Player type Apple 3.5mm input No Charging Yes Radio No Phono out Yes S-Video out Yes HDMI out No Subwoofer out No Headphone out Yes Remote control Yes Detachable speakers Yes Battery No Finishes 1 Claimed power (w) 6 Dimensions (hwd, cm) 7x20x20

While it works as a conventional dock, the 170 iTransport has a claim to fame: it’s the first dock to gain access the iPod’s digital data stream – so the internal DAC and audio stages can be bypassed for something more exotic.

You’ll need an outboard digital-to-analogue converter – or one of the company’s costly CD players, which have digital inputs – and, in theory, you have a top class audiophile sound. Except you don’t. Even using an iPod with WAV and Apple lossless files, the results aren’t up to that of an equivalently priced CD player.

Don’t forget to factor in a decent outboard DAC – we used Cyrus’s $3400 DAC X and the number-crunching section of Wadia’s 581 SE CD player ($16,999).

However, to criticise it for not being as good as a dedicated CD player is missing the point. Using our revealing reference system – Bryston pre/power and ATC SCM 50 speakers – the 170 delivers greater dynamics and insight than we thought possible from an iPod, whatever the music.

It can stream video too, yet we can’t recommend it unreservedly: the remote feels flimsy and through its analogue inputs sound is no better than the $398 Arcam rDock.

The 170 doesn’t turn the iPod into a high-end source, but it does produce the best sound we’ve heard from an iPod dock. If that’s for you, start saving.

Produces a great sound (for an iPod dock) from its digital output; good build

You'll need a high -quality external DAC; rubbish remote; with older iPods, you don't get full functionality in digital mode

Source: Copyright © 2010 What HiFi?

See more about:  wadia  |  170  |  itransport

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