YBA Design WA202 AM/FM Receiver, WM202
CD player, WD202 D/A converter, and iDW1 iPod Dock
All prices in US dollars.
We looked at this new series of components from YBA and
fell in love with their elegant styling, were impressed by their build quality and
features, and initially thought them far more expensive than they actually are. We predict
this series will be a big, big hit.
The WA202 AM/FM receiver (top) and WM202 CD player each
cost $1095 and can be used separately or together. The receiver has a discrete output
stage and is rated at 50Wpc into 8 ohms. The CD player has a 24-bit/192kHz DAC and
variable output (0-2V). Both models come with a "unified remote control" that
presumably will control every component in the Design series, and their chassis are made
of thick aluminum with a brushed-black finish.
The rear panel of the WA202 receiver has four single-ended
inputs, a preamplifier output, an iPod power port, and connectors for AM and FM antennas.
The WM202 CD player has a coaxial digital output as well as optical and USB digital
inputs. Both models have detachable power cords, IR input and output, and an Upgrade Port
(although were not clear how that final feature works).
The rear panel of each model bears a label that states
"Made in PRC" (Peoples Republic of China), which obviously contributes to
their low price. YBA says that they still make their more expensive components in their
native France, but must go to the Far East for manufacturing of the Design components to
sell them at these prices.
The WD202 ($879) D/A converter is packed with features and
is made to the same standard as the other Design components. It has a 24-bit/192kHz DAC as
well as a reclocking circuit for reducing jitter. Like the WM202 CD player, the WD202 has
variable output (0-2V) and comes with the unified remote control.
The WD202 DAC has single-ended and balanced analog outputs;
optical, coaxial, USB, and AES/EBU digital inputs; and a coaxial digital output.
Theres also an IR input, the mysterious Upgrade Port, and a detachable power cord.
Consumers who rely on a computer for a music source will
likely buy the WD202 DAC, while those who still play CDs will opt for the WM202 CD player,
though the latter will still be able to play music from a computer through the
players digital inputs. We cant see anyone needing both.
We got our hands on some YBA literature that says that the
iDW1 ($219) is "The best-ever designed iPod docking station." Were not
sure if thats true, but it does seem like a good one. Like the other YBA Design
components, the iDW1s construction is all aluminum -- no flimsy plastic parts. There
are gold-plated RCA outputs, an IR input, and remote control of the Play, Pause, and Track
Skip functions of certain iPod models. Power is delivered to the iDW1 via a USB connection
to the WA202.
We had a long talk about these products with Daniel
Jacques, owner of Plurison, YBAs North American distributor. Jacques is well aware
of their potential, and equally aware of how to price them right. Daniel said that he
worked with YBA closely to ensure that customers could buy these components at prices as
attractive as their appearance. In our opinion, they hit it just right. Such a blend of
styling, build quality, and features is rare at these prices, which is why well say
it again -- this series from YBA is going to be a big, big hit.