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Woo Audio Amp Owner Unite - Page 1356

post #20326 of 30805

Congratulations! Lucky you to have such a shorter wait than I had had. Looking forwarding to initial pics and impressions.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by roadster-s View Post

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, I just received shipping confirmation for my WA6SE! 3 weeks minus one day since I placed my order. Will post some picks when I receive it, including the loop out option and integration in my audio rack.

 

o2smile.gif



 

post #20327 of 30805

Congrats!  Let us know what you think of it when it arrives.............

post #20328 of 30805

OH.....eek.gif

 

I missed this gem!!! i also want to get this!tongue_smile.gif

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jc9394 View Post


Good luck, I was lucky to pick up "panamared" gec 6as7g few days ago. I have not tried them yet, just picked them up from th PO but was busy at the office, will give them some love tomorrow as I will be working from home.
They will be my backup since I was regretting selling my backup pair few weeks ago.


 

post #20329 of 30805

I should be getting my WA6SE in about week. It's going to replace my e9, I am very excited. 

post #20330 of 30805
Quote:
Originally Posted by Earrat View Post

I should be getting my WA6SE in about week. It's going to replace my e9, I am very excited. 



You certainly arrived at the right destination...:thumb: welcome!

post #20331 of 30805
Quote:
Originally Posted by Earrat View Post

I should be getting my WA6SE in about week. It's going to replace my e9, I am very excited. 



Post pics once the amp arrives. I'm very interested in seeing what it looks like. What headphones will you be using, if I must ask?

post #20332 of 30805

I'll be using Grado GS1K's as my primary headphone. I actually just upgraded DAC as well, went from the e7 to the Cary Xciter DAC. 

 

I will definitely take some pictures when it arrives, especially some glowy night photos.

post #20333 of 30805

Wow. I just rolled in the tubes I had picked up for my WA22 - the Mullard GZ37 rectifier, Sylvania 7236 power, and Sylvania chrome dome 6sn7. Immediate improvement. I probably still only have about 40 hours on my WA22 so far, but even then with the upgraded tubes this thing is really starting to impress.

 

It has a lot more power now and I get good satisfying volumes very low on the dial even with low gain while having quieter background, very black and satisfying. Sound staging and placement drastically improved. Everything sounds much more resolving and precise. It has a very effortless and musical sound now. The word refined keeps coming to mind. I was just listening to my HDTracks binaural 24/96 Ottmar Lieber album. Wow. Amazing 360 degree sound staging with pinpoint placement.

 

This thing rocks. :)

post #20334 of 30805

+1 Welcome and congrats!
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silent One View Post



You certainly arrived at the right destination...:thumb: welcome!



 

post #20335 of 30805



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sid-Fi View Post

Wow. I just rolled in the tubes I had picked up for my WA22 - the Mullard GZ37 rectifier, Sylvania 7236 power, and Sylvania chrome dome 6sn7. Immediate improvement. I probably still only have about 40 hours on my WA22 so far, but even then with the upgraded tubes this thing is really starting to impress.

 

It has a lot more power now and I get good satisfying volumes very low on the dial even with low gain while having quieter background, very black and satisfying. Sound staging and placement drastically improved. Everything sounds much more resolving and precise. It has a very effortless and musical sound now. The word refined keeps coming to mind. I was just listening to my HDTracks binaural 24/96 Ottmar Lieber album. Wow. Amazing 360 degree sound staging with pinpoint placement.

 

This thing rocks. :)


If you ever get a chance to purchase the Tung Sol 6SN7 BGRP's go for it. That will bring your system up another notch.  I enjoyed the GZ37 as much as the EML 5U4G (I thought it was at least 90% of the performance of EML with my system). For the WA22, I felt the Sylvania 7236 was the best price/performance ratio given how expensive the other driver tubes are. Other than the TS BGRP, I also enjoyed the USF-596 rectifier, but it seems they're getting hard to find now. Nice to see you're enjoying the WA22. I was the same as you when I got mine - couldn't keep the smile off my face!

 

post #20336 of 30805
It's been a very long while, but I've finally completed my shootout of seven rectifiers!

Seven rectifiers

From left to right: Mullard GZ34 metal base, Mullard GZ37, Mullard GZ37 fat bottle, EML 5U4G, United Electronics 596, Brimar 5R4GY and Mullard GZ34 black base. Together with the Tung Sol 6SN7GT round plate round mica and GEC 6AS7, each rectifier spent three days in my WA22 before evaluation with an HD800 with Whiplash TWag cable. Source is a modded Cambridge Audio 840c CDP. I'll split this review into three - one for the Mullard GZ series indirected-heated tubes, one for the 5x series direct-heated rectifiers, and the last for some afterthoughts.

Mullard GZ34 black base

Mullard GZ34 black base

This particular tube has factory/date code X8H, indicating manufacture at the Philips plant at Sittard, UK, in August 1958. It is not the fat base version despite being one of the earlier batches made. After being used to large rectifiers, this tiny tube came as somewhat of a shock when I received it. I had bought it NOS, and after 200+ hours a dark deposit had gathered on the glass below the bottom mica. So if you see GZ34s with such dark deposits, it doesn't mean it's at the end of its lifespan, but might still have a long life ahead.

The first thing that struck me when listening with it was a bright, cool-sounding sound signature, followed by a closed, narrow soundstage. The upper bass/lower midrange seems to be toned down, and treble extends high and bites hard. Bass punches decently enough, but does not extend very low. Of the seven rectifiers, this is the brightest sounding. Soundstage width is the narrowest as well, but not exactly unpleasant. Soundstage depth is not its strong suit as well, reigning in the HD800's expansive presentation. For those who feel that the HD800 is too wide and diffused in soundstaging, this tube can cure that.

However, this tiny tube has an upfront, aggressive presentation with great speed and attack. Trumpet fanfares sound exhilarating, and it seems to suit rock pretty well. Still, the black base GZ34 is not my cup of tea and I would personally rank it bottom on my list.


Mullard GZ34 metal base

GZ34 metal base

I got this tube used and it showed; the base had lots of oxidation and the glass had lots of dark deposits inside below the bottom mica. No matter, some brasso on the base made it shine again, and my experience with the black base version meant I wasn't too worried about how much life it had left. Date and factory code indicated manufacture in December 1956 at the Philips plant in Holland.

So how different is it from the regular black base version, and is it worth the premium? Happily, it sounds like an upgrade. Treble is silker, making it less fatiguing with the HD800. Soundstage is slightly wider, but just slightly. There's a hint more bass volume as well. Overall, it is an improvement, but still not to my liking. I got mine for USD200, which is a good price if you like its signature. But these days they can go for over $500, which is pretty ridiculous when the regular version doesn't perform that much worse at a much more affordable price. If you want one, be patient and wait for a good deal instead of paying horrendous sums for the mystique and rarity.


Mullard GZ37

Mullard GZ37

The GZ37 (or CV378) came in two versions, an earlier fat bottle version and a later skinnier version. This is the later skinnier version, manufactured in Blackburn, UK, in March 1967. I bought it NOS, and after about 600+ hours, a silver ring formed on the glass between the top two mica, and "getter" deposits appeared above the heater elements.

Putting the GZ37 in was a relief after the GZ34, as the warmer sound signature was very welcome. In fact, it seems to be a polar opposite of the GZ34; it's warmer sounding, the treble is reigned in, and the soundstage is quite wide. Also, it is more laid back and not aggressive at all. If the GZ34 were a rocker at a mini concert, the GZ37 would be a jazz crooner at a casual bar.

However, the GZ37 is noticeably more sluggish than the GZ34. Attack is not as fast, and the bass is more bloated. Soundstage depth is also similar to the GZ34. For those craving tight bass or snappiness in rock and techno, this rectifier is not for you. But those looking for something laid back can give this a try, and it is often cheaper than the GZ34.


Mullard GZ37 fat bottle

Mullard GZ37 fat bottle

Is this really the same type of rectifier as the later GZ37? The glass shape is different, the plates are different, even the place of manufacture seems to be different (High Wycombe vs Blackburn). And despite being used and putting in 200+ hours, the glass remained clean and spotless with no deposits. Is the older tube really better?

Indeed. Gone is the sluggish response of the newer tube, the fat bottle sounds more agile and dynamic. Not as fast as the GZ34, but it doesn't lose out too much. Bass punches harder, tighter and deeper, it just might be my favourite tube when it comes to the lower regions. Soundstage width is the widest of the GZ series here, with slightly improved.

One thing that strikes me about this tube is how smooth everything sounds. Perhaps it's the treble roll-off as compared to the other three and the sweeter midrange, but the big bottle sounds very relaxed and refined in its presentation despite being more dynamic that the skinny GZ37. Pair this tube with soothing jazz or slow ballads and you can just kick back and relax. Of the four GZ series tubes, this is my firm favourite.

To be continued...
Edited by kchew - 4/15/12 at 2:38am
post #20337 of 30805

Continuing with the 5x rectifiers...

 

Brimar 5R4GY

 

Brimar 5R4GY

Thanks to Xcalibur255's tip, I decided to try this rectifier as well after hearing all the good things about it. I was not disappointed. The first thing that hit me was how expansive, how deep the soundstage was. The GZ37 was no slouch here, but the 5R4GY takes it up another level. Full-sized orchestras sound very impressive, and some sound effects in trance spin all around your head. With respect to soundstaging width and depth, this tube shares top spot with another tube.

Bass performance is very similar to the GZ37 big bottle, with punch and depth. Combine the soundstage and bass performance with a very affordable price and it would seem like a winner. However, it has the most treble roll-off and the upper midrange is not as engaging as the rest. Together with a very laid back presentation, this Brimar didn't move me as much as the others in rock, pop and female vocals. Otherwise, it's a great performer for the price.


EML 5U4G mesh plate

 

EML 5U4G mesh plate


Much has been written about this tube, so much so that I ordered it together with my WA22 through Jack. Aesthetically, this tube is gorgeous.Fine mesh grid housed in a big bottle with lettering and pins plated in gold, it sure looks like its worth its price tag. Even more so when thelights are off and the filaments give that lovely glow.

This big tube has a very nice dynamic, fast sound signature that almost matches the GZ34, and while it too has a somewhat toned down lower midrange, it does not sound as cold as the Mullards. Treble performance is similar to the metal base GZ34, and bass goes very deep with pretty good punch. Soundstaging-wise, it takes second place being just a little narrower in width, but retaining the depth and 3D imaging of the Brimar. Overall, it's more a "technical" sounding tube rather than a "tubey" sounding one, but it does have a nice upfront presentation that can get you toe-tapping. With some NOS rectifiers becoming increasingly rarer, it's good to know that there is still a current-production tube that can still hang around with some of the best.


United Electronics 596

 

United Electronics 596


It caused a flurry when it first appeared in this thread, was sold out at many places soon after and requires and adaptor that makes it look like a science experiment. Indeed the 596 has caused such a storm here that some have already labelled it "Mighty". With all that fuss, who couldn't resist contacting Glenn for an adaptor and picking it up as well?

Well, resistance is futile and this high-altitude tube for the USAF does seem to live up to the hype. Soundstaging shares top spot with the Brimar 5R4GY, bass performance and smoothness is similar to the Mullard GZ37 big bottle, and dynamically it's on par with the EML 5U4G mesh plate, with a hair less treble. While the EML is upfront and engaging with a slightly technical flavour, the 596 is more laid back and spacious while sounding a little lusher and smoother. This rectifier is a winner with jazz, blues and instrumentals. And for less that $50 a tube, it really is a no brainer.

The only issue with this tube is, where to get it? From what I've heard, Glenn has exhausted his stock, vacuumtubes.net (where I got mine) is sold out, it hardly shows up on ebay, and your local tube dealer will probably have never heard of it. For those of you who already have this tube, congratulations and consider yourselves very lucky.


Edited by kchew - 4/14/12 at 9:22am
post #20338 of 30805

Afterthoughts

One small warning for the GZ series rectifiers: when paired with 6080 and 6AS7 power tubes, the amp gets really hot! In fact, my WA22 power knob feels warm after an hour, and the top plate can get scorching hot. Even when using 7236 and 5998 power tubes, the amp is noticeably warmer. I try to limit my amp to 5 hours max with these rectifiers, and while I have exceeded that limit a few times with no ill effects, I don't really recommend it. Especially if you live in a hot environment like me.

I guess that's one reason why I like the EML 5U4G so much. No matter the tube combination, the amp just stays slightly warm, even with CV181 and 6AS7 tubes. I confess to having a soft spot for the EML, it being my first rectifier and all, and I've tried to stay objective when reviewing it here. It is an impressive and elegant looking tube, but after 800+ hours, carbon deposits form inside the glass as seen here:
 

Carbonised EML 5U4G, front

Carbonised EML 5U4G, side

If you've taken college physics, the deposits in the second picture would look like a diffraction grating due to the mesh plate. tongue.gif

I've seen many GZ34 tubes on ebay with plenty of white and silvery deposits inside the glass. This is not an indication of a well-worn tube, my black base version developed such deposits after just 200 hours. And oxidised metal bases can always be polished for a new tube look. Usually such "ugly" tubes are cheaper than unused ones, so you might pick up a bargain on a tube that's still strong.

Now for some rankings, from best to worst (= being equal):

Bass extension:
EML 5U4G > 596 = GZ37 fat = 5R4GY > GZ37 > GZ34 metal > GZ34 black

Bass punch:
GZ37 fat = 5R4GY = 596 > GZ37 > EML 5U4G > GZ34 metal > GZ34 black

Midrange:
GZ37 fat > GZ37 = GZ34 metal = GZ34 black = EML 5U4G = 596 > 5R4GY

Treble extension:
GZ34 black > GZ34 metal = EML 5U4G > 596 > GZ37 fat > GZ37 > 5R4GY

Speed/Dynamics
GZ34 black = GZ34 metal > EML 5U4G = 596 > GZ37 fat > GZ37 > 5R4GY

Soundstage width:
5R4GY = 596 > EML 5U4g > GZ37 fat > GZ37 > GZ34 metal > GZ34 black

Soundstage depth:
5R4GY = 596 > EML 5U4g > GZ37 fat > GZ37 > GZ34 metal = GZ34 black

From upfront to laid back:
GZ34 black = GZ34 metal > EML 5U4G > 596 > GZ37 > GZ37 fat > 5R4GY

From warm to cold:
5R4GY > GZ37 fat > GZ37 > 596 > EML 5U4G > GZ34 metal > GZ34 black

Personal ranking, from favourite to least favourite:
596 > EML 5U4G > GZ37 fat = 5R4GY > GZ37 > GZ34 metal > GZ34 black

I'll end off with a reminder that this shootout was performed on my own equipment, on a particular tube combination and my own ears with my own musical preferences, so it should not be treated as an absolute guide, but rather an additional view on these tubes. In fact, I'm pretty sure some would disagree with my impressions, which is fine with me. I hope you've enjoyed reading!


Edited by kchew - 4/14/12 at 9:25am
post #20339 of 30805

Outstanding kchew! This no doubt required a lot of effort on your part and should be commended by all of us on these pages... highly! One small note, did you not intend to write "From Left to Right" when listing the rectifiers for description? I just woke up blink.gif, so maybe I don't quite got it right yet. biggrin.gif Will pour over your well thought out review after brunch.

beerchug.gif

post #20340 of 30805

So just got back from NYAAV, it was my first meet/show and thought I'd share.  Got to meet Jack who was very friendly and knowledgeable.  Tried the WA-234 which although imo sounded best in room, was questionable in the price:performance difference between that and the WA-5.  Saw the new DAC and CDP, can't really comment on performance though aesthetically they go nice with the mono blocks.  Also got to try out a bunch of headphones and other Woo amps.

 

Mixed feelings about these meets and shows.  It's nice trying out new equipment first hand, but at the same time there's no way to really compare it to your own audio chain.  I can listen and have a general sense if something sounds better, worse, or plain different.  But what exactly accounts for it?  Is it the amp?  the phones?  the tubes?  the burn-in time?  the actual recording?  etc..  Just not sure what you can really get out of them unless you bring your own tubes, phones, and music with you..

 

Also, trying to decide on the next upgrade.  Not replacing my WA-5 anytime soon, so trying to decide between an LCD-3 or tube roll.  Any thoughts / opinions?  Think there's a bit much bloom on my system atm.  Looking at below choices:

 

1.  T1 -> LCD3

2.  EML 300B Mesh -> 300B Black Glass;  Brimar CV1988 -> RCA VTA231 Grey Glass

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