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Earmax Silver vs Raptor vs WA6E

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
Suffering a very bad case of upgraditis right now, and I'm mulling my last purchase for a while. I'm powering my K701s with a LD MK IV SE right now and I'm very happy, although I'm worrying that they might still be underpowered.

Sooo... from an extensive search through the forums, I'm zeroing in on the Earmax Silver Edition, the RSA Raptor, and the Woo Audio 6E. The RSA and the Woo are coming in at broadly similar prices, with the Earmax a couple of hundred £quid less, which is of slight consideration.

What I'm looking for is lush tube warmth (but I'm not interested in tuberolling right now, just based on stock tubes), broad soundstage, and detail/accuracy. Not a basshead, so the bottom end doesn't need to be massive, just tight.

Or can anyone out there persuade me against letting go my LD and saving myself some cashola (fat chance, but hey...)?
post #2 of 30
Consider the Yamamoto HA-02, this is a tube amp that uses only on type of tube and is self biasing so you don't need to worry about what tube to use or when changing them about their balance. This is one tube amp that runs very cool, not hot.

post #3 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philski View Post
Suffering a very bad case of upgraditis right now, and I'm mulling my last purchase for a while. I'm powering my K701s with a LD MK IV SE right now and I'm very happy, although I'm worrying that they might still be underpowered.

Sooo... from an extensive search through the forums, I'm zeroing in on the Earmax Silver Edition, the RSA Raptor, and the Woo Audio 6E. The RSA and the Woo are coming in at broadly similar prices, with the Earmax a couple of hundred £quid less, which is of slight consideration.

What I'm looking for is lush tube warmth (but I'm not interested in tuberolling right now, just based on stock tubes), broad soundstage, and detail/accuracy. Not a basshead, so the bottom end doesn't need to be massive, just tight.

Or can anyone out there persuade me against letting go my LD and saving myself some cashola (fat chance, but hey...)?
When I have heard the 701/ Raptor I thought the amp was underpowered and lacked dynamic drive with the 701. Plus, the Raptor is not a lush sounding amp. I owned a stock Woo 6 and I was disappointed with the stock 6 .... rubbery bass and tiny soundstage were my two biggest complaints. Now to the point, depending whose opinion you read, there is not that much difference between the Woo 6 and Woo 6SE. I have never tried the Earmax Silver but the Earmax Pro didnt have enough power to open up the 701 compared to what I normally hear. So I would get some opinions on the Silver to see if the amp has enough power for the 701. The Earmax is a warm lush sounding amp like you want if enough power is available.

If you want a sweet little amp that drives low impedance headphones extremely well look into the Millet Starving Student amps. This amp has a nice clean, fast sound with a good dose of tube body so the amp never sounds thin or sterile. I know this amp can drive 701s and I know the amp sounds very good. As a major bonus, the Millet is a fraction of the cost of these other amps. You can pick up DIY builds in the for sale forums or go with the commercial version. The amp is so inexpensive and so good I own three.









The Commercial version of the Millet SS is sold here ....

Mini Millet DIY Tube Amplifier


Another good choice is the Millet Max builds which you frequently see for sale by DIY builders. This amp will have even more refinement and power. This one is mine and cost well under $300 shipped.

post #4 of 30
With my setup, the woo 6 doesn't suffer from rubbery bass, nor a small soundstage with the HD650's and Sony MDR- V6's. The bass is tight, powerful, and extended , and the soundstage is fairly large. I'm using RCA 6DE7's Driver/Output with Shield, and an RCA 5V4G Rectifier. To me it sounds great. Everybody hears things differently I guess.
post #5 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by atbglenn View Post
With my setup, the woo 6 doesn't suffer from rubbery bass, nor a small soundstage with the HD650's and Sony MDR- V6's. The bass is tight, powerful, and extended , and the soundstage is fairly large. I'm using RCA 6DE7's Driver/Output with Shield, and an RCA 5V4G Rectifier. To me it sounds great. Everybody hears things differently I guess.

If I could only pick from the three amps mentioned by the OP I would pick the Woo 6 dual power supply version .... and hope the DPS version sounded a lot better than the stock 6.
post #6 of 30
nice collection sacd lover!
post #7 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by sacd lover View Post
If I could only pick from the three amps mentioned by the OP I would pick the Woo 6 dual power supply version .... and hope the DPS version sounded a lot better than the stock 6.

It definitely sounds better from what I remember. It's been awhile since I heard a stock WA6 so it would be hard tell you the exact differences. I do remember the sound opened up a bit. Bass did get a little tighter and a bit more extended. Also when things got loud, I could still clearly follow little details in the music I couldn't before the mod. I personally think Woo should include the mod as standard. It does make a noticeable, maybe not dramatic difference.
post #8 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sacd lover View Post
I have never tried the Earmax Silver but the Earmax Pro didnt have enough power to open up the 701 compared to what I normally hear. So I would get some opinions on the Silver to see if the amp has enough power for the 701. The Earmax is a warm lush sounding amp like you want if enough power is available.
Thanks, guys. According to this: Earmax, the reference high end single-ended valve headphone amplifier the Silver Edition has 7 times the gain of the Pro, so perhaps that addresses the power question? It certainly appears to have the warmth I'm looking for...

I'm going to take a look at the Yamamoto, thanks for that slwiser. The Millett, hmmm... I just don't know. My gut says no, and I'm ashamed to say that it might be down to looks. I'm going to try my hardest to ignore that and have a read around. Looks like the Raptor is out due to the sound signature, and the jury's out on the Woo too! It may well sound great with Senns and Sonys, but I have K701s, you see.
post #9 of 30
I had 701's with various tube amps (not with the woo) awhile back and couldn't get the full bass I like. They were too thin sounding for my taste.
post #10 of 30
Thread Starter 
Fair enough. But as I mentioned in my first post, big fat bass isn't really a consideration for me - I'm quite happy with what I'm getting from my LD MK IV SE already!
post #11 of 30
Of the three original amps noted my pick would also be the Woo 6 dual power and maybe through in a couple of V-caps.
post #12 of 30
I will weigh in on the WA6 SE instead of the WA6. It has an external power supply with a new output transformer for better high frequency performance and direct coupling of the two sections of the 6ED7 or 6EW7, which does away with the need for a coupling capacitor. The frequency response is wider than in the standard WA6. Add a Sophia Princess 274B rectifier upgrade at some time and you have an awfully good, articulate amp.

To the OP's request for "lush tube warmth", you may want to consider A Woo Audio WA2. Jack described the WA2 and WA6 SE in an email to me...

"WA2 - bigger presentation stage, smoother, warmer, more depth, and also more choices for tube rolling.

WA6SE - higher resolution, better clarity, greater dynamic, and more neutral."

Finally, to slwiser's comments about the Yamamoto amp...I demo'ed on at CanJam 2008 and it was terrific. I eventually chose the WA6 SE in the end.
post #13 of 30
As much as I love my WA6, I think the WA2 would be my choice if I were to purchase a new amp today.
post #14 of 30
For the "OP", you may want to consider the amp with the best tube rolling options so you can decide for yourself what sounds best. Earmax Silver seems to have some rather expensive rolling options.
post #15 of 30
Thread Starter 
Thanks again, all. It looks as if my choice is now (thankfully) just the Earmax Silver Edition or the WA2, unless someone tells me that either one or the other would be a mistake with the K701s. The WA2 might be the winner as it would be about £150 cheaper!

Again, tube rolling isn't really in the equation for me, not for now anyway. I'm amazed how fast I've been consumed by Head-Fi in just two short months, and tube rolling is a whole new world I want to stay away from. For now, anyway.
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