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ALO Amphora or Woo Wa6 SE ??

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hi all,


So I'm in the market for a headphone amp, with a budget of around $1000-1500 to power my Grado rs1i's and also my AKG k702's.


I have done quite a bit of reading and without being able to audition the amps myself have come to the conclusion that either the ALO Amphora or the Woo WA6 SE (maxed with Sophia Princess upgrade) would suit me best. 


I'm after any advice based on anyone's experience, knowledge, or opinion on which I should go for?


(Very interested in anyone who has had a chance to listen to the AKG k702's and the rs1i's on either amp)


Also if you think that there is a better amp out there in your opinion in my price range let me know. 



post #2 of 10
I don't think my answer is going to help you. I had both a wa6 with dsps and the amphora at the same time. Could not decide which is better. When I listened to the woo, it was lush warm but a bit slow. The amphora was fast nimble, but not as authortive. I think the amphora is definately more accurate. Mind you I have not tried any exotic tubes with the wa6. With grados, I do not think you need the extra output of the wa6se.
post #3 of 10
Forgot mention that I was using the gs1000i. Another point to know is that with the Amphora there us no itch to tweek or upgrade. With the woo there is tube, caps and also the other amps further up the range to distract you.
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks for you insight, I am leaning more towards the Amphora at this stage. Mainly due to the fact that many others have also said that there is small distinction between the two amps in terms of quality of sound. And so I find it hard to justify the extra cost of the wa6 if indeed there is such a small gain (if any) between the two (but I suppose that is the name of the game in the audiophile world). 

post #5 of 10

I don't know that I can add much to this thread after the above, but I'll try.  I did review the Amphora and compared it to my WA6 which is maxed with Vcaps and Blackgates, pseudo dual power supply, and Sophia Princess 274b rectifier.  The WA6 improved markedly with the PDPS and Sophia, but it does seem a little slower and thicker with a Bugle Boy GZ34 or Sovtek 5U4G rectifier than with the Sophia.  


But, as it is now the WA6 is slightly better than the Amphora, mostly in the area of treble extension/quality where the Amphora's highs seems very slightly rolled off in comparison.  Both amps have an excellent soundstage size, exceeded only by my ZDT, or a WA22 and Luxman P-1u that I have borrowed.  Then, in comparison to those the soundstage narrows and comes forward more.  But, these two amps are very competitive with the soundstage of my balanced Single Power Square Wave XL amp with the Blackgate upgrades.


Despite the WA6 being slightly better, I use the Amphora a lot, especially when I don't want to wait an hour for the WA6 to warm up - at less than 30-40 minutes of warmup the WA6 sounds worse than Amphora.  As a matter of fact, I'm using the Amphora fed via Pico DAC with my UE11Pro as I type this (Dark Knight soundtrack of all things).  With some IEM the Amphora has audible background hiss, especially with my ES3X followed by my W3 and then JH13Pro, while the WA6 is dead silent with all my IEM.  But the Amphora's hiss is not as bad with UE11Pro, IE8, Monster Turbine Pro Gold, RE252 and several others.  (with UE11Pro hiss is there but acceptable, while with IE8 it's gone completely)


In addition to IEM, the Amphora and WA6 sound good with a wide variety of full size phones, and while slightly less powerful than the WA6 the Amphora has been my most powerful battery powered amp.  If I recall correctly, it is slightly more powerful than the 3MOVE or balanced Protector with 300 ohm phones like HD600/800.  I do sometimes use the HD800 whenever I bring them up from the basement rig.  While I enjoy the inefficient HE-5 LE off the Amphora or WA6, these two amps wont pound out the bass line at high volumes with them like the EF5, SAC KH1000, HDP, SRG II, ZDT or Luxman P-1u.  Don't even think about the K1000 with these.


If I could only keep one of these I'd keep the WA6.  But I've had a couple of opportunities to part with the Amphora and said "no thanks", because my Sq Wave amp's PSU is dead and I don't have another SS amp that comes this close to the WA6. 

post #6 of 10

While it doesn't effect sound quality, the Amphora is a true one of a kind product.  With only 100 made and no two look alike.  I can tell you that while I would love to own a high end tube amp, the Amphora dose something special that no other amp does.  And say this after hearing amps like some Single Power amps and the Zana Duex.  If you weren't so far away,(and my wallet so impoverished) I'd lend you mine.  But here is what I can offer.  I did use the RS1i for several months and the combo is truly amazing.  Intoxicating is the best word for it.  

post #7 of 10

I have tried the Woo WA6 at meets and it is a nice sounding amp. However I am drawn to the Amphora which I had on loan for an extended period of time. I have also listened to the Amphora at meets and owned it as part of two RWA Isabellina HPA. As kboe stated above you will have a very special unit that sounds great.

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone for the great responses!


I am very much in a state of two minds about how I want to progress at this stage.


I am now thinking that as I am also going to need to purchase a quality DAC to go alongside the Amphora (as I will be primarily using lossless files stored on my computer as the source) that I might be better off buying an Isabellina HPA. I had the chance to listen to AudioAddiction's Isabellina (who is a new Australian distributor) and it certainly sounded amazing, however, without an amphora  with DAC available to sonically compare (with my own ears) it to I am still left wondering about the possibilities of a DAC paired with an Amphora.


I agree, the Isabellina just doesn't have the same allure, and I guess "one-of-a-kind" appeal that the amphora does which is a feeling I'm sure many of you can relate to. Ultimately however, I am after the best sounding option.


The DAC that I am considering (if I was to go down the Amphora + DAC path) is the Audio-gd DAC19DSP of which many have commented that it exceeds the performance of many other products at higher price-points. Does anyone have any experience with this DAC coupled with an Amphora?


HeadphoneAddict, I would be interested the reasoning behind the statement you made in the Isabellina HPA - Owner's Thread and Impressions Thread in regards to the Amphora and Isabellina:


  If I didn't already have a nice DAC to feed my Amphora I would have bought one of these instead.


I would also like to hear of anyone's experience of an Amphora run with a DAC, especially if you have had the chance to compare it with the Isabellina. 



post #9 of 10

Well, one option maybe to use the line out of your iPod.  ken makes these cables and sells one in a package deal for I believe only $135.00 more.  THis is what I used for 9 months and never really "wanted" more in a source.  True, just about any DAC would be better than the iPods, but not one you'll find for $135.00.  (except may the Nuforce uDAC)

post #10 of 10
Originally Posted by Treble View Post


HeadphoneAddict, I would be interested the reasoning behind the statement you made in the Isabellina HPA - Owner's Thread and Impressions Thread in regards to the Amphora and Isabellina:




The reasoning was simple, I already had several nice DAC's and the Amphora and I didn't want to do a sell-off to get the Isabellina HPA.  Plus, I use an iMod a lot and the Amphora already has the DC blocking Vcaps inside, while the Isabellina does not have any analog input at all.

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