The Wadia Intuition 01 PowerDAC dresses your iPod up in an Armani suit of sound

WadiaIntuition_0071EditWhen Italian private equity firm Quadrivio SGR went shopping a few years ago, it wasn’t clear to everyone why they were acquiring some of the biggest names in audio during a recession. The new parent holding company, Fine Sounds SpA, which is based in Milan , now owns Audio Research Corp., Sonus Faber, Sumiko, McIntosh Labs, and Wadia Digital – some of the biggest names in high-end audio.

Rather than gut the assets, Fine Sounds SpA infused these five stalwarts with cash, and more importantly, human capital. Italian designers and American engineers met halfway (hope they had a boat) and there has been nothing but praise for the quality of the products and even the pricing which, considering the brands, has remained fairly stable. 

Sonus Faber designer, Livio Cucuzza, who has designed some of the most beautiful loudspeakers in the world, went to work with his U.S. counterparts, and the first child of this new marriage, the Intuition 01 PowerDAC, has everyone feeling that twinkle up and down their legs.

Wadia, which is based in Saline, Michigan, has been cranking out some of the best digital products in the world under the steady hand of John Schaffer for many years. Schaffer, unlike many in the high-end world of audio refusing to see the apple about to crush the orchard, had an “intuition” from the very beginning about the significance of the iPod and how it would change digital audio forever. 

Wadia understood that a business model dependent on selling $10,000 CD players and DACs was never going to be sustainable in the long run. So when Schaffer brought the first 170i transport to a CES show – which was designed to turn your iPod into a music server – people began getting nervous. His instincts were correct, and the subsequent 171i transport ($600), 151 PowerDAC, and 121 decoding computer ($1,300) were home runs and continue to sell like crazy to this day.

If you use an iPod as your main source, you have never really heard just how good it can sound unless you connect it to an audio system using a high-end component like that of Wadia’s. While not inexpensive, this gear is capable of transforming your entire system. 

The Intuition 01 is an extension of the Wadia PowerDAC concept, but in a very sleek-looking chassis, and with far more sophisticated circuitry. The Intuition 01 combines a 350 watts-per-channel Class D+ power amplifier, 32-bit AD/DA digital preamplifier, and a 32/384 DSD-capable USB DAC. There are 6 digital inputs (2 Coax S/PDIF, 1 AES/EBU, 2 Wdialink/I2S, and 1 Toslink) and two analog RCA inputs, which means that you can connect a turntable and analog tuner as well.

WadiaIntuition_0085EditThe design is one of the most gorgeous looking pieces of industrial design to come out of the audio industry in years, and is very light. The entire package weighs less than thirteen pounds, and sounds utterly remarkable. Connect it to a great pair of loudspeakers like the KEF LS50s, Dynaudio Focus 260s, or Sonus Faber Venere 3.0s and you will have as good an audio system as you will ever need.

While not inexpensive at $8,000 (depending on finish choices of silver, anodized black, anodized brushed chrome, nickel), the Intuition 01 may be the more forward-thinking one-box solutions to ever come out of the industry, and certainly utilizes some of the most sophisticated digital converters available.

A comparable collection of components of this quality could easily run you $15,000 or more, and that doesn’t even include the loudspeakers.

It’s pretty clear from the Intuition 01 that Fine Sounds SpA knew exactly what it was getting when it brought Wadia Digital into the fold: a wolverine tired of wearing flannel, but utterly dashing in the finest Italian wool.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Gaming

Get the most life out of your Xbox One controller with these tips

The Xbox One controller has fantastic battery life, but eventually your batteries will still die. To make it even better and ensure you never have to stop gaming, follow these tips.
Home Theater

Still listening on tinny, muffled TV speakers? Try one of our favorite soundbars

You no longer have to sacrifice sound for size when selecting home audio equipment. Check out our picks for the best soundbars, whether you're looking for budget options, pure power, smarts, or tons of features.
Home Theater

Throw away those EarPods -- we dug up the best headphones in every style

Trolling the internet for hours to find headphones is no way to live. Instead, leverage our expertise and experience to find the best headphones for you. Here are our 10 favorites.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Norsemen’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in December, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to 'Roma'

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Deals

Take a gander at the best deals on 4K TVs for February 2019

There's no doubt that a good 4K smart TV is the best way to take your home entertainment setup to the next level to enjoy all your favorite shows, movies, and games in glorious Ultra HD. We've got the best 4K TV deals right here.
Computing

Don't know what to do with all your old DVDs? Here's how to convert them to MP4

Given today's rapid technological advancements, physical discs are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Check out our guide on how to convert a DVD to MP4, so you can ditch discs for digital files.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this winter with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Legion'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

The best movies you’ll find on Hulu right now (February 2019)

From dramas to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.
Home Theater

They were robbed! From Crowe to Pacino, 10 times Oscar voters got it wrong

With the 91st Oscars rapidly approaching, now is a fine time to look back at several Oscar-worthy performances that were completely ignored by the Academy, as well as others that were nominated and astoundingly denied the little naked…
Movies & TV

The best new movie trailers: Yesterday, Tolkien, Triple Frontier, and more

Everyone loves a good trailer, but keeping up with what's new isn't easy. That's why we round up the best ones for you. This week, it's trailers for Yesterday, Tolkien, Aladdin, Frozen 2, and Triple Frontier.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Movies & TV

Best new shows and movies to stream: Deadpool 2, The Umbrella Academy, and more

Need something to watch this weekend? Check out our list of the best new shows and movies to stream right now. On the list this week: Deadpool 2, The Umbrella Academy, Lorena, and more.