Missed USPS delivery on Saturday, that made me lost some sleep on Sunday as well. 1st thing in the morning on Monday (today), I went to post office in parjamas with my hair stood up like unicorn, but I did not give sh*t.
My Ninja black WA22 arrived with a well packed box, with "fragile" , "this side up" , "handle with care", and "keep dry" sticker all over the place. The amp is very well packed.
The finish of the amp is very nice, but I have seen better. These sockets are superb indeed. WA22 looks better in person than internet pictures. It weights 23.8 Lbs with 0 tube. An another best feature is the selector switch between 115v / 220v. Mine somes with no stock tubes. The preamp section looks like after thought, which sure they were, haha. The screws in the back which holding XLR connectors are not perfectly fulsh with pannel (all of them). But those connectors are frim in place. The feet of the amp could be better. But this is $2300 full banlanced head amp + preamp. I could not complain.
The amp have soft start-up funtion, really nice. After I hook everything up, put tubes in, turn it on waited for 2 hours. I couldn't resist anymore. My inner evil me whispers, " put the headphone onnnnnnnnnnnnnn..." Not for long I went to the dark side.
Zu Varial MKII XLR
HD650 with Cardas XLR and SE cable
Grado RS-1 stock
Cardas Goldan Reference power cord
2x Russian 6AS7G (I will roll later)
2x Brimar 6SN7GT tall black glass
2x Raytheon VT-99
1x Mullard 5AS4
Sting, fields of gold / moon over bourbon street
Ray Charles, genius loves company
Metallica, the unforgiven II
Marilyn Manson, bitch party
Bojrok, army of me / shi
4 none Blond, what's up
Stone Temple Piolt, creep
Sade Lovers Rock, King of sorrow
Blind Melon, no rain
No Doubt, don't speak
Radka Toneff and Steve Dobrogosz, fairy tales
Video Game Genji original sound track
WA22 is a very easy amp to live with, doing very well with most music, exception of badly recorded hard rock. It showed me a lot of information was was not noticed before. No Doubt, don't speak, in the begainning I could hear her lips touched the micphone. noise between track on some CD become obvious, but WA22 is pretty forgiving with bad CD than other amp. With good CD, WA22 shows great dynamic, attack, and seperation. Marilyn Manson, bitch party. This is a very busy song with a lot different elements, voice, and bass. At this time I am able to pick all the different element out. The words from Marilyn Manson did not get mix in to a chao, was very clear as same time the bass is rocking. Mid range, femle vocal, string, piano no doubt are the greatest strength of this amp. Sting, moon over bourbon street, the presentation of amp was so musical and romantic, I feel it was myself waking down under soft street lamp and moon light. Radka Toneff and Steve Dobrogosz, fairy tales, the piano just beautiful, fast, crisp, soild, without sound fatigue and thin. It's Mid range is kind forward with great vividness, very romantic, I am easily lost in the sound track. This Amp can do some bass! Very quick, deep, clean for tube amp (while no match for best soild state amp) , but it has trick on its own, is the density of the bass. tubey punchy compare to soild state. Well, I like it anyway. Sade Lovers Rock's CD could have too much bass for some people, I could feel the heaphone push the air in and out, my brain feel the thump, just like speaker do to your chest. Now I will leave the treble, sound stage, and imaging alone since the amp only have 5 hours on it so far. I wil wait for 200 hours to see how things go.
Sum up, WA22 kick my "fatman" amp out of water straight form hour 1. If I rate WA22 "9" right now, I only can give 4 to fatman even it has all mullard tubes. WA22 is not a super neurtal amp, clearly it is a tube amp, just with more muscle, dynamic and agility compare with other tube amp. It has sweeter mid range and treble, and more dense in sound than solid state amp. So far the amp lack little bit treble exdension and soild state LIKE dynamic.
Note: Compare with RSA amps, WA22 is warmer.
Update as 1/13/2017, I don't believe this thread is still going after 8 years. I sold my WA22 and moved on to better amps and headphones. I did have fun with my WA22 that taught me many things in my audiophile life and I am still benefited from the knowledge I gained. My WA22 quickly got very expensive with all the tubes, but SQ wise, the investment to performance ratio was very very poor with WA22. Now, I am enjoying an ALO Audio continental dual mono amp with Mullard tubes much better than my maxed out WA22 at 1/3 of the total price. So, time to move on guys, there are many fishes in the sea......
Edited by Seamaster - 1/13/17 at 5:44pm