I have been a member of the W5000 family for awhile now.
Bought mine the day MaloS ordered his first pair. The wallet hasn't
recovered sufficiently from the W5000 purchase to buy a "real" amp....
It does sound very good with the Portaphile V2^2, my first and only amp.
Once my wallet recovers, I am lusting over several amps...
A Woo 6, an AT-HA5000, a Yammamoto HA-02, or maybe a HR Desktop balanced
with a Home module and Home DAC in it.
...... Real curious how that last one might sound.
Probably will end up with the Woo 6, as it seems the most likely monetary goal to hit for me.
I used to have a Headroom Home (10 year version... maybe like an older version of Desktop as the Homes were only ~1k and under then). and my W5000 sounded surprisingly good out of it. However, now that I have a Yamamoto I don't think it can touch this ;p Let alone the much more expensive Zana Deux. Of course if you get the desktop with the headroom home modules then that is a whole different beast.... still. I believe that a w5000 needs tubes or the HA5000.
I hate to tell you this but in regard to power transformers, I have never used a step-up/down transformer. This is from experience; I have been using electronics back and forth between Canada and Japan for a long long long time now. Countless smaller electronic gizmos and larger more sensitive stuff. Never have I had the slightest problem with the electronics. Considering some of this stuff has been plugged in for 10 years that is quite remarkable. From my understanding, 110V to 120V is a pretty small jump. However, be very wary of 120V to 220V; that will definately fry electronics (R.I.P. portable Panasonic CDP).
Ok, I think I'm now confident enough about my impression to share it here.
I use W5000 as my main can for over a year now (also have CD3k, K1000, Lambda Pros, HD600 and US2200ULE in my collection, just to name big cans)
Until recently I used it on tube-MOSFET hybrid amp G&W t-2.6f with Amperex tubes and loved it to death.
Bought an HA5000 2 months ago, tried to like it, but I couldn't - W5000 sounded cold and dead on HA5000. Very transparent and clean, but absolutely uninvolving.
To mitigate this small 'problem', I bought a tube enhancer Phonic T8300 (cheap as dirt in Germany). Switched Enhancer/Exciter section off and am only using the tube section of this unit to warm-up the sound.
Result - I slightly prefer my W5000 on the T8300-HA5000 combo over my old good G&W. But not at all by a large margin.
Conclusion: G&W T-2.6f with proper tubes is a steal!
I agree the W5000+HA5000 combination can sometimes be cold and uninvolving, which is one reason why I also list the Raptor along with the AT-HA5000 as a "well-matching" amp for the W5000. I assume some people might prefer a fuller-bodied, more weighty sound for their W5000, closer to the HD650 or L3000 type of sound.
I've found the W5000+HA5000 to be sensitive to the source material (recording/mastering), to the source and to associated gear in the chain. The combo can be warm, smooth and full-bodied when matched with a non-oversampling DAC such as the Mhdt Lab Constantine. However, there's some loss of soundstage, imaging, details and air compared to the Chord DAC64, my main source.
I don't want to sound defensive about the W5000+HA5000, but it is one of the most source material and source-sensitive headphone+amp combinations I've heard. There have been instances where I would play a song I like and think it sounds horrible, then I'll switch to another headphone and it sounds OK and more enjoyable. But there are the many times when everything clicks and the W5000+HA5000 produces an exquisite, detailed, vivid, realistic and wholly immersive musical experience that makes it one of my favorite combos.
Depending on your priorities, you might prefer other amps over the AT-HA5000. Obviously, I also like the W5000+Raptor, though I still think the HA5000 is a better match.
yes, finally I've made it back to the forum Thanks a lot again for your help a while back!
Yes, I absolutely agree with you. HA5000 is probably a best matching amp for the W5000. Maybe it's a long-time conditioning with tubes, but I just seem to need tubes somewhere in the chain with W5000 though.
I actually use an Aqvox and Denon's higher-end SACD as sources, no plans to upgrade them. That's the reason for my purchase of Phonic T8300, which I integrated between Aqvox and HA5000 to add some tube coloration. Sounds great to my ears, I doubt there is much improvement possible in SQ at all over this set-up (for W5000). And I do prefer it over any other Amp I tried with W5000
Nevertheless, I just wanted to point out how incredible value the G&W is in combination with the W5000. The only drawback I see - G&W's gain is 10 dB higher than that of HA5000, and thus you can hear a slight tubey noise when no music is playing, no big deal...
Would you have a bit more info on this G&W t-2.6f? I Googled it and most of the sites that popup are asian so I can't read any of it! haha There seems to be a shop in NY that sells it for $399 (nysound.com). Thanks
Well, there should be some information on this apm on the forum, but sure, why not:
It's a chinese hybrid amp (6922 input tubes and Hitachi MOSFET output), nicely built, about 15 pounds in weight. It has been designed mainly for Senns, but the amp is very versatile and pairs nicely with both high- and low-impedance phones. You can use all kinds of 6dj8,6922...
Personally I prefer it with Amperex tubes, cureently I'm using Philips pcc88 which the amp happily accepts and which have been manufactured at the Amperex plant in Holland in the mid-60th.
This amp is usually highly regarded in the chinese countries, but there was some controversy here because of the international distributors.
One of the main distributors for US/EU is www.ornec.com . Some people here do not like them, I actually bought 2 peices of gear from them withou any troubles. Their price is usually cheapest what you can get...