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WOO Audio 3+ experience - Page 5

post #61 of 190
Thread Starter 
Reporting day 8: Tube rolling continued

Burn in time so far: do not recall anymore - but "sufficient" in any case

Before I comment on the tube rolling - I will let you know about the test of two gadgets I tried: 1. The use of a termination plug for the digital input on my source and 2. An "audiophile fuse" which I put into the source as well. For 1: Using a termination plug does absolutely not yield any results in my setup - but I do not recall if I disabled the digital input via the config of the Yamaha anyway. For 2: Well this may be a psychological thing since it is hard to A-B that sort of thing. But I imagine that the use of a PADIS Audio Grade Fuse has contributed to a more "firm" refined sound. At least you would not make something wrong by using it (exept for - maybe - spending money, although little - for nearly nothing).

To be absolutely sure what the differences for the tube combinations are I changed first back from combination 5 to 2 again and then back again. The result is clear: Combination 5 is superior to combination 2 in the way described already.

So the remaining combos are:
3. 7326 Cetron 1983 NOS with Amperex Bugle Boy ECC88 Holland "D" getter 1959 NOS
5. 5998 Tungsol 1963 NOS with Philips ECC88 Holland "A" frame getter 1975 NOS
6. 5998 Tungsol 1963 NOS with Amperex Bugle Boy ECC88 Holland "D" getter 1959 NOS


Now it goes into the shooutout of Combo 5 vs. 6: I have not been reporting new results so far because I did use the combo 6 quite for a long time - this alone shows that there is nothing wrong with this one. Exchanging the Amperex then with the Philips (going to combo 5) clearly revealed the airy sound character of the combo 6 but its lack of bass definition as well. I now have to listen for some time to combo 5 again - but it seams that this is a winner - better to say: a favourite. If I say "seams" that reveals how difficult a final judgement is. Both combos, 5 and 6 posess their own strengths and weaknesses (?). I would describe combo 5 as having "tube characteristics with a "transistor typical" firm bass definition" - a combination that would appeal to many I suppose. Combo 6 just gives you probably too much of that "tube characteristic" (using this term for the lack of a better expression) - but this is as well a matter of taste and it depends on the style of music you are listening to.

I may say that combo 6 is surely nothing for dance floor music, but might be more appropriate for orchestra classical styles - but then again - combo 5 will do that very very well, too. Reporting day 9 will then contain soon the final shooutout results with only one "favourite" recommendation and a summary of everything concerning my "WA3+ experience".

Gear mentioned in this thread:

post #62 of 190
My God, this must be the most detailed and informative review I have ever read anywhere. What is really amazing is it starts from moment one, kind of like The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, LOL. I purchased a standard Woo 3, later when it didn't workout for my preamp needs I found out it was very hard to make it into a 3+. I love my amp and look forward to seeing your final outcome in the field of rolling. I will look forward to your recomendations as, as far as I know this has never been done to this level. Thank-you for your hardwork and documentation.
post #63 of 190
Excellent thread! Thanks for keeping it updated.

While I haven't rolled nearly the same number of tubes, my (limited) results are very close. For me, I've happily settled into a Sylvania 7236 with Amparex Bugle Boy combo (though admitted don't know the years). I've rolled a Sylvania 5998, but preferred the smoothness of 7236. Maybe I'll have to find a "better" 5998 to try.
post #64 of 190
This thread is good reading. Getting me psych'd up for mine coming in about 2 weeks or so. Enough time to get some tubes.
post #65 of 190
Thread Starter 
Reporting day 9: Tube rolling decision and summary

First of all let me summarize the last tube rolling shootout: This was really a difficult one. I did concentrate on combination 3 vs. combination 5 (see last post). To cut it short: combination 3 has a more overall balanced sound with better mids (vocals !) and a very good lowend, but nevertheless combination 5 has definitely a better resolution (example: better definition of the shimmering of cymbals etc.): But the winner is:

5998 Tungsol 1963 with 2 Philips ECC88 Holland "A" frame getter 1975

Since I did experiment now for months, I did refrain to exchange the Philips for the Amperex Budgle Boys again - I may do that some time later - but I am just too tired of rolling for the moment.

However here is the summary:


Summary:

Before ordering the amp:

Is it worth having a headphone amp at all ? I would definitely say yes. Does it need to be a tube amp ? I don’t know - this may depend on the overall configuration you have and the style of music you listen to. But a tube amp has the advantage that it lets you alter the sound by tube rolling - and this may alter the sound characteristics significantly. It is a nice hobby, too. As every hobby it needs some dedication and (in this case) some money, too - see below under "tube rolling". A tube amp is a nice piece of equipment by the way - place it in the sleeping room and let it glow.


Upon arrival of the amp:

1. Don’t hesitate if the result is not breathtaking out of the box - it will be later. There is no doubt that you will achieve a phantastic sound with the WA3+.
2. You should not have any mechanical hum from the WA3+. This unit is as quiet as can be.
3. The stock 6AS7GA is most likely to produce some electrical hum if new - as I have read, this might go away later, but I did not try that myself so I cannot confirm this. I recommend to exchange the stock tubes anyway because of the sound itself - see below under "Tube rolling".
4. When installing the tubes first, do not touch the glass with the fingers, use a cloth instead. For the tuberolling to come your way you would need one anyway.
5. As every component, the WA3+ will benefit from a good power source - but I personally believe that this does not need to be overdone spending hundreds or even more on power cables. I suggest to get a good cable with large cross section leads, keep the cable as short as possible and solder the cablejoints to the connectors. It goes without saying that the power should be kept away from any interconnects or at least cross them only at a more or less right angle. If you happen to have a PS Audio Power Plant around that would of course help ;-)
6. If a PADIS Audio Grade Fuse in the source does not help - it surely does not harm and it is perhaps worth a try given the low cost involved.


Operations:

1. For maximum sound quality allow about 2 hours of warmup . This remarkable length of time I did determine for the amp to unleash its full potential. This is not a new discovery though. My larger solid state based system does need these 2 hours, too. Don’t forget to warm up the source as well.
2. The WA3+ does not have a standby switch as does my tube guitar amp. On/Off cycles should be kept to a minimum then I have learned. I close the volume before I switch the amp on or off as a preventive measure (to prevent what actually ?) but I am not sure if this is really of any benefit. If it isn't it surely does not do any harm also.
3. Listening on Sundays is of benefit: First, because the power situation is beneficial and second because the listener itself is in a better relaxed shape


Tube rolling:

The amp sounds better if you do exchange the stock tubes. However, to determine the tube combo which is "best" is really very very difficult. Every combination out of the last 4 possibilities I tried extensively has its strengths and lets you enjoy the music. However, given the musicality and homogeneity and given that I do mostly listen to acoustic and jazz music - and given my HD650 with Moon Audio Silver Dragon cable and the Yamaha DVD S-2700 source - I would recommend combination 5: 5998 Tungsol 1963 with Philips ECC88 Holland "A" frame getter 1975. But the combination 3. 7326 Cetron 1983 with Amperex Bugle Boy ECC88 Holland "D" getter 1959 has its advantages (higher resolution), too. After all I am happy to posess now both combinations. In fact I did order another set of combination 5 as a backup (in case those tubes might be not redily available in the future, and one might break etc.).

I noticed that the tube sockets will loose quite of its "grip" after extensive tube rolling - but I am not sure though if this effects the sound very much. The tube sockets will also get loose a bit.

One last word on tube rolling: this rolling was more expensive than the amp itself. I therefore hope to have saved some a significant amount of money with the recommendations I made.


In case you are using a Sennheiser HD600 and thinking of a HD650

I only own a HD600 and a HD650 - so I may only comment on those. To cut it short, the HD650 is superior to the HD600 in my opinion. I exchanged the stock cable of the HD650 to a Moon Audio Silver Dragon - which I may really recommend. I tried a Cardas Cable, too, but the Moon Audio sounds much more detailed. "Veil" of HD 650 ? That’s a mystery to me. This combination sounds very much detailed and has lots of resolution - even to my old ears (I am 54 years old).


Music recommendations:

Some were already posted in previous posts in this thread. But I have a general recommendation to add: Look at the K2HD - Discs from FIM or the DXD-Discs from FIM - really stunning quality that is. (FIM = First Impression Music).


Future planning:

I tried the HD800 on a small high end fair - with a Lehmann Black Cube transistor headphone amp and a swiss made (I think) CD player. The first impression I had was the very huge soundstage - almost as if you would not wear a headphone at all in a sense - but with some kind of "hollow" feeling. I would love to A-B it with the HD650 in my setup but would never buy it without A-B-ing first.

I would like to get a better source with SACD playback capabilities if ever possible. Theoretical candidates might be: EMM labs CDSA SE, Teac X-05 or 03, McIntosh 301 AC, T&A SACD 1260R or I would even be looking at audio streaming, Linn has some nice streaming players, but the high quality servers are still too expensive.

Prerequisite for acquiring one of the above seems to be unfortunately winning in the lottery anyway. Possibly a better DAC ? than the one included in my Yamaha might be another option - although this "DVD" player is somewhat optimized for audio only playback - but on a lower to mid-level I guess. But how to convert the SACD-output with a separate DAC (or streaming ?) - I guess I can forget that.

After that I would perhaps be thinking of having an even better headphone amp. A difficult task since many of those may not be auditioned first. One consideration would be to keep tuberolling to a minimum, too. All WooAudio models above WA6 have so many different tubes ! However I would never sell the WA3+. A WA6SE maxxed to the fullest might be the maximum for me I suppose.

Now I wish everyone much pleasure with their own systems and with their music.

This post concludes the thread "Woo Audio 3+ experience". I hope my small contribution was and will be at least a bit helpful to some future users of a Woo Audio 3+, although it seems that many are going for the WA6 and its siblings. My sincere thanks go to everyone who has helped me with their valuable advice.

During the next months I will be posting some of my own music (resp. music played by myself) on http://www.myspace.com/moobinguitar Maybe you might have a look one time.
post #66 of 190
Cool reading, you have to try a GEC A1834 (6AS7) for a lush sound and a Bendix 6080WB for detail and clarity. For now I use the Bendix. With the MS2's it just rocks.
post #67 of 190

Thanks for all the tube rolling details. I received my 3+ a few months ago and have been playing along, to some extent.

 

I haven't acquired a 5998, yet. I will try one when I get a chance. However, I found a very nice 1964 Tung Sol 7236 that I am fairly happy with.

 

While I didn't test exactly the same tubes as you, I did try a Phillips Miniwatt Holland ECC88 A frame, It has a very pleasing sound. I also tried a Siemens E188CC. I found it to be very accurate; but a bit harsh for my taste.

 

My "go to" set is now the Tung Sol 7236 with a pair of 1967 Mazda France (RT) E88CC. I find the Mazda tubes to be a very nice cross between Siemens clarity and Phillips Holland warmth.

post #68 of 190
Thread Starter 

No doubt that the Tungsol 7236 is really good if paired correctly. Although I did not try the Miniwatt, I may imagine from what I have heard that those are a good match. If you are then saying that the Mazda (??) adds some sort of clarity then you should give the 5998 definitely a chance to pair with the Mazda as well - for I predict that it will bring some pleasing touch compared to the 7236 without compromising too much on precision.

 

You might as well consult tubeworld.com, a lot of interesting info there. Just search for your type of tube there. And Brendan Biever is a knowledgeable nice guy as well.

 

Happy listening with your WA3+ ! Amazing how this one may be tuned with different tubes and how good it may sound. I really wonder if a WA6 - even in its most sophisticated version - might significantly be "better".

post #69 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by MooBin View Post

No doubt that the Tungsol 7236 is really good if paired correctly. Although I did not try the Miniwatt, I may imagine from what I have heard that those are a good match. If you are then saying that the Mazda (??) adds some sort of clarity then you should give the 5998 definitely a chance to pair with the Mazda as well - for I predict that it will bring some pleasing touch compared to the 7236 without compromising too much on precision.

 

You might as well consult tubeworld.com, a lot of interesting info there. Just search for your type of tube there. And Brendan Biever is a knowledgeable nice guy as well.

 

Happy listening with your WA3+ ! Amazing how this one may be tuned with different tubes and how good it may sound. I really wonder if a WA6 - even in its most sophisticated version - might significantly be "better".

 

I've been following this thread for a while and listening to the WA3+ and WA2 at the CanJam meet in Chicago moved me to buy a used WA3+ on Audiogon last week.  The amp arrived on Saturday and I've been rediscovering my music collection.  The amp came with a Cetron/ JAN 7236 power tube and a pair of Philips/ JAN 6922 drivers.  Seller included the stock GE 6AS7 power tube, but the Cetron has better sonics.

 

I've ordered a pair of matched 6DJ8 / ECC88 JAN Sylvania tubes from TubeDepot to start my tube rolling experience.
 

I'm like a kid in a candy store with this amp.  Thanks for all the suggestions for other tubes to try out.  I haven't been able to locate a Tug-Sol yet, but I'll keep looking.

post #70 of 190

I did this exact same thing and have been extremely pleased.  Great tubes.  Very liquid with huge soundstage. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nbourbaki View Post

 

I've ordered a pair of matched 6DJ8 / ECC88 JAN Sylvania tubes from TubeDepot to start my tube rolling experience.
 

 

post #71 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by hodgjy View Post

I did this exact same thing and have been extremely pleased.  Great tubes.  Very liquid with huge soundstage. 
 


 


New tubes will arrive tomorrow and I'm looking forward to compare my Philips/ JAN 6922 drivers to the Sylvania's.  I haven't been able to locate a Tungsol 5998 yet, but I keep looking

post #72 of 190

Tubeworld has them at decent prices.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nbourbaki View Post




New tubes will arrive tomorrow and I'm looking forward to compare my Philips/ JAN 6922 drivers to the Sylvania's.  I haven't been able to locate a Tungsol 5998 yet, but I keep looking

post #73 of 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by hodgjy View Post

Tubeworld has them at decent prices.
 


 


Thanks for the heads up on Tubeworld.  I received a rebranded Heintz and Kaufman with TOP GETTER  from the 50's today.  It's been too hot to let it warm up and give it a listen, but I'm hoping tomorrow will be a little cooler.

post #74 of 190

Over the weekend I was able to listen extensively to the Woo 3+ with the 6DJ8 JAN Sylvania drivers and the rebranded Tungsol (Heintz and Kaufman) power tube.  All I can say is wow!  This little amp is fantastic.  The new tubes really brought out the best with this amp.  The Phillips drivers were a little too hard.  The Sylvania are perfect, great weight and warm.  The Tungsol added weight on the bottom end and really allowed the Sylvania drivers to shine.

 

Thanks for everyone for sharing your recommendations.  It's allowed me to skip some lesser choices and zero in on a really sweet combination. 

post #75 of 190

Just curious, has anyone tried the Western Electric 421A as a power tube in the WA3+?  Is this tube compatible with the WA3+?

 

Thanks

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