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 we’re not clear how that final feature works).

The rear panel of each model bears a label that states "Made in PRC" (People’s 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. There’s 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 player’s digital inputs. We can’t 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." We’re not sure if that’s true, but it does seem like a good one. Like the other YBA Design components, the iDW1’s 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, YBA’s 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 we’ll say it again -- this series from YBA is going to be a big, big hit.