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Amp for Grado PS1000 - Page 2

post #16 of 53
Originally Posted by vinyllp33 View Post

I'll second that on the WA6SE, it is a hypnotic combination with the PS1000's.


This is what I've been wanting to see. Someone who has actually heard the two together and approves. It will be hard not to get this combination now.

post #17 of 53

I'll third the WA6SE/PS1000 combo.  I'm listening to that as I type this (Manu Katche - Third Round)  and it is excellent.  I also have a Grace 901 I've been trading off with and it powers the PS1000 with plenty of clean power, very good with low impedance phones........but there is something magical about tubes and the WA6SE in particular.  

post #18 of 53

I swear that I've been searching these forums up and down for the last month trying to find people who use the ps1000/wa6se combo, but with absolutely no luck. Since I am planning on purchasing next week I was becoming a little nervous.


Then boom, in one day I finally come across others who enjoy the combo. Thanks a ton for your input!


I will probably get stock tubes initially then eventually try to acquire what jack recommended (6dr7 driver/power tubes with the princess or eml 5u4g rectifier).


Not counting tubes...now for the decade old question: WA6SE with upgrades or not?


I know there are threads dedicated specifically to this topic, but it always seems like its inconclusive after I get done reading.

Edited by dmac03 - 7/11/10 at 6:37pm
post #19 of 53
Originally Posted by 88Sound View Post

I'll third the WA6SE/PS1000 combo.  I'm listening to that as I type this (Manu Katche - Third Round)  and it is excellent.  I also have a Grace 901 I've been trading off with and it powers the PS1000 with plenty of clean power, very good with low impedance phones........but there is something magical about tubes and the WA6SE in particular.  

Just curious, how well does the WA6SE control the bass with the PS1000s compared to the Grace?  Are you using the stock rectifier tube or the Princess?

post #20 of 53

Yes, the upgrade certainly makes a difference with the WA6SE, however it is really hard to quantify in terms of actual money spent in that it is almost half the cost of the amp itself and does not make it sound 50% better.


However with that being said I would say yes, go for the parts upgrades; It will be much less expensive to have it done while the amp is being built then having to pay shipping both ways coupled with the additional labor that Jack will have to charge if you decide to install later.


With a high quality source and the resolving power of the PS1000's you will be rewarded with blacker backgrounds, increased layering and dimensionality and a generally more open and transparent presentation across the frequency spectrum. Of course with a less exotic pair of phones these differences may not be as prominent which I think contributes to the lack of a definitive answer about the sonic contribution of the parts upgrade in general.


I find the drive tubes will certainly give you a different presentation (and gain) depending on the type used but once you find the right "fit" with your system I wouldn't  worry too much about changing them out. 


But yes, add a Sophia 274b or EML 5U4G as soon as possible and get some hours on both new phones and amp you will be in sonic bliss. 


BTW, I had a WA6 stock and then a WA6 with all upgrades before the WA6SE and as good as the 6 is/was the 6SE is just that much better. 


And as far as power into the Grados, at their 32ohm rating I think the 6SE is putting out like 1.2 watts which will give you lots of headroom and drive. 


Have Fun! 


post #21 of 53

How about the MAD Ear+ HD. 

post #22 of 53

 Originally posted by purrin:

 Just curious, how well does the WA6SE control the bass with the PS1000s compared to the Grace?  Are you using the stock rectifier tube or the Princess?

 I just did a comparison starting with the Grace.....It controls everything exactly...just like it was designed.  Every reverb decay to silence, bass is completly tight, controlled, and everything is separated precisely.  I have nothing but admiration for the Grace and it's purpose, for use in the Studio to check a mix and a very pleasant solid state amp that controls low impedance cans very well.


My WA6SE is upgraded with everything I know of (except it has standard tube sockets)  Black Gates, Stepped Attenuator.  I initially used a Princess, which was excellent, but seemed to get darker (looking not sounding) by the listening session so I switched to an EML and have been listening to that ever since.  This is really personal preference but I love the Woo with the PS1000, all the best tubes have to offer, liquid, 3D, and all into a 32 Ohm load.....really nice.  If you're a solid state person, or need to listen for reasons of pure precision I would go with the Grace.  But if you've grown to love tubes and the magic they impart the WA6SE is hard to beat. Oh yeah you asked specifically about bass control.......Grace=precise, WA6SE=organic.


One more note.....Black Gate caps take forever to break in, I bought the WA6SE used and they weren't even close to being broken in, they are now and it makes a difference.  This was the same Black Gate experience I had with the Blue Hawaii Electrostatic amp which has been broken in for several years now....worth the extra in my opinion.  

post #23 of 53

At this point I feel like the WA6SE with parts upgrades seems like it would be a great purchase. Thanks again for you guys' help!


I just took my pharmacy licensure exam yesterday. If I find out that I passed, then this will by my present/reward to myself. If I don't pass, then I may crawl in a corner somewhere and never show myself on here again haha.



Originally Posted by sh00t4par View Post

How about the MAD Ear+ HD. 


I have read good things about these amps with Grado headphones, but plain and simple I can get a package price from Woo audio since they also sell Grado products. Thanks for the recommendation though.

Edited by dmac03 - 7/13/10 at 6:08pm
post #24 of 53

If space is not a concern - I'd recommend a used WA-5-LE ... it is in another league altogether ... in my experience




post #25 of 53
Originally Posted by saisunil View Post

If space is not a concern - I'd recommend a used WA-5-LE ... it is in another league altogether ... in my experience





The WA5LE would be a dream amp.


Space is not a concern at the moment.


However, after my wife would see the credit card statement (especially after new tubes) then she would likely kick me out and I would probably have to find some small apartment - then space might be an issue.

post #26 of 53

I would agree the WA5 and WA5-LE are incredible amps, I now have a WA5 which was an evolutionary upgrade from previously owning a WA6 and then WA6SE.


However it is not only about the space consideration, these amps, much like owning a fine sports car, are a commitment. I don't mean to imply that they are finicky or unreliable in any way, in fact just the contrary, they are rock solid just like any piece form Woo Audio in terms of build and performance.


But here is where the similarities end; the WA5 series are big heavy beasts, crated they are around 50lbs per chassis, this has to be taken into consideration if they ever need to be shipped for any reason. In addition the tube costs are much higher as compared to the the WA6SE. Sure you can use the stock tubes but you really won't experience the full magic. So once one factors in two Sophia 274b or EML 5U4G's, proper NOS 6SN7 and improved 300B's the tab rises quickly. In comparison once you invest in a good rectifier for the WA6SE the other two tubes can typically be found for under $20 per pair.


I really wish I could have kept my WA6SE in addition to the WA5 but I really couldn't justify two full size amps. However I will tell you this, as revelatory the improvement was on many levels it in no way embarrassed the WA6SE, just improved on its virtues. And I still maintain that a WA6SE with parts upgrade will hold its own among many much higher priced amps and among the best I have heard with the PS1000's. 

post #27 of 53

very well said ...

post #28 of 53

vinyllp33, I really appreciate your description of the woo line. As confused as the rest of this post sounds, you have honestly gave me some sense of clarity.


Since day 1 of me wanting the ps1000's I've imagined it paired with the wa6se. However, I emailed Jack, from woo audio, about a month ago just to see what he thought and told him my budget (less than 2k). He recommended the the wa6se and the wa22.


After all these great comments I was sure I had it narrowed down to the wa6se with parts upgrades (and eventually tubes), so just to cover all bases I sent him another email asking for a little more detail on the differences between the WA6SE (with upgrades) vs the WA22. His response was as follows.



My advise is that you should get a higher model rather than a upgraded lower model. For PS1000's, I recommend both WA6-SE and WA22. The WA22, undoubtedly offer greater performance than the 6SE. To drive this amp in optimum performance, a balanced source is needed, but balanced headphone cable is not (you can use the 1/4" output with the PS1000 and get almost the same results). Also, the 7236 power tubes upgrade is higher recommended.


This is all fine and dandy, but to take it one step further the wa5le isn't a ton more expensive the the wa22. And honestly...even though wa22 is "undoubtedly" better than the wa6se, its hard for me to justify that much more without hearing it.  I'm afraid that I'm just gonna have to draw the line somewhere. The head spinning never ends....



vinyllp33, have you had an opportunity to use the ps1000's with your wa5 amp?

Edited by dmac03 - 7/15/10 at 9:06pm
post #29 of 53


Yes, one can drive themselves insane with this hobby; In light of that I totally agree that you do have to "draw the line", but most importantly you must realize that the amp and the phones are only parts of the equation, the quality of the signal source is paramount to the sounds that eventually gets to your ears. 
I have a friend with a WA22, it is a most excellent sounding amp and Jack is totally correct in that one needs a balanced source for optimum performance. What many audiophiles do not realize is that just because a given piece has XLR outputs does not necessarily mean that it is "true" balanced design.
Anyway while I had my WA6SE my friend offered to let me try his WA22 in my system, as appreciative as I was I did not take him up on the offer. Why? Not because I felt there was not some possible changes to be heard but that the fact we use nearly identical DAC's I was able to hear all I needed at his place with my various phones over the course of a few visits. I did not feel the overall sound was such a magnitude of difference that I had to do a "shootout" as I would with two completely dissimilar amps.
I actually contemplated a WA22 as my DAC is indeed fully balanced, but as I spin lots of vinyl my phono-stage is single-ended so therein lies the dilemma. And to me the whole point of a balanced headphone amp is to use balanced phones! I have heard the HD800 with the WA22 both balanced and unbalanced and there was quite a bit of difference. But with most headphones the cables are captive so one must enter into the realm of the aftermarket and often expensive re-cabling process....is your head still spinning? 
The other item to note is that there is not a parts upgrade package available for the WA22, if one was offered the amp would actually cost MORE than a stock WA5-LE. In this theoretical situation I would agree with Jack and go for the higher end model sans parts upgrade. In the real world however, the WA22 is still $400 more expensive than a WA6SE with upgrades and the tubes costs/requirements aren't that much different than a WA5. 
So that was my reasoning in purchasing a WA5. Have I heard the PS1000's with it? Every night that it is possible, the sound is quite divine, they have been my "go-to" phones for about a year and still continue to amaze me with their musicality. But treat the WA6SE like a WA5 as far as ancillary components go and it is crazy good, unfortunately I feel many owners have not heard its full potential.

Edited by vinyllp33 - 7/16/10 at 12:02am
post #30 of 53

After long and hard consideration, I have decided on the WA22. The first step in the process was ruling out the WA5LE. And trust me, this was hard (especially after reading vinyllp33's comments). I would surely enjoy this amp, but just can't afford it at this time. This brings me to one of the reasons why I decided to go with the woo line - because the have great resale if I ever do decide to upgrade (to the WA5).


I picked the WA22 over the WA6SE due to 2 reasons. The first being that jack recommended it over the WA6SE. The second is because the WA22 has more tube rolling versatility over its less expensive sibling. Although I won't utilize the balanced output of the WA22 initially, but it is comforting to know that I can go that route in the future.


The only thing left for me to do is sort out my paypal accout and lift the limit before I can cut Jack a check. I was about inches away from purchasing the Sonett, but I always seem to come back to the woo products. Does anyone have any last words of warning before I pull the trigger?

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