Chicago’s CanJam last June we my first one. I went there with the objective to listen to Electrostatic systems and specially the Stax SR-007MkII. I went into the Woo Audio room and got impressed by their organization and display of different amplifiers and headphones.
Since my objective was to listen to electrostatic I started listening to the WES (both of them available) with the SR-007MkII. Even that the sound was really nice I was not totally blown away by it.
I took my Zeus balanced recabled T1 with me so after listening to the WES/Stax combo I proceeded to listen to the WA22. It sounded very good but I did not think better than my Rudistor RP010B MkII.
After a little bit Jack Wu approached me and we started talking about what I was looking for in my sound and my current equipment. During the conversation he directed me to listen to the WA5-LE. I was not really convinced since it was a single ended amplifier and all my headphones are balanced. Jack insisted that I should at least take a quick listen so I did and WOW! I have never had heard the T1 sounding so good. Their sound was very dynamic, clean, and natural. I was blown away.
After leaving the Woo Audio room I went to the TTVJ room. There I listened to the $10,000 APEX Pinnacle and the $5,500 Manley Neo-Classic 330B using my same T1 headphones. IMO the WA5-LE sounded better. During the 2 days I was finding myself constantly back in the Woo Audio room listening to the WA5-LE.
By the end of Canjam I was convinced of two things. One, I am clearly not an electrostatic kind of audiophile and second the WA5-LE was death center in my sights.
So I came home, sold my Apache and in late June I placed an order for a black WA5-LE with all the upgrades.
I received my WA5-LE from Jack last Wednesday. It came in 3 packages. Two wood crates for the power supply unit and the amplification unit and a box with the upgraded tubes. Here are some pictures of the crates.
The wood crates tops are secured with screws. Inside the crates there are 2 pieces of preformed high density foam specially design to fit the units. In the upper foam piece there is a cavity area where the corresponding stock tubes are stored.
Both the power supply unit and the amplification unit are covered by a protective plastic cover as seen in these pictures
This is the first black WA5-LE I have seem other than the WA5 pictures in Woo Audio's website and it is beautiful. The amplifier has the upgraded electronic parts package, the upgraded Teflon sockets, upgraded WBT NextGen RCA jacks and all the internal wiring is using Neotech OCC copper wire and Cardas Eutonic solder.
The tubes upgrades are Emission Labs 300B Mesh, Emission Labs 5U4G Mesh and Treasure CV181. Upon opening the box with the tubes I realized the they sent me the wrong rectifier tubes. Instead of the EML I received a pair of Sophia 274B Mesh. I immediately call Jack to let him know. He asked me to use the Sophia in the meantime he sends me the EML which will take about 10 days or so.
The sources in my system are a Squeezebox connected to a Monarchy Audio DIP classic and a Teac VRDS-10 CD player modified by Great Northern Sound. The DIP and the Teac are feeding a PS Audio PerfectWave with the “Signature” upgrade from The Upgrade Company. The interconnect from the Squeezebox to the DIP is a Wireworld Eclipse 6 RCA and from the DIP to the PW is a Wireworld Gold Starlight 6 XLR.
From the Teac to the PW I am using an Acoustic Zen MC2. The analog interconnects from the PW to the WA5-LE is a pair of Vampire Wire SL (pure silver interconnects) soon to be replaced by a pair of Wireworld Eclipse 6.
After placing the units in their final destination and loading the tubes I fired up the system. I let it get stable for about 20 minutes and then started listening. The magic I heard back in Canjam was there and even better. This is the best sound I have heard out of all of the headphones in my collection ever. I can not say that I have listened to every amplifier available but some of the top end I have listened to are: RP010B MkII, Apache, APEX Pinnacle, Manley Neo-Classic 300B, Zana Deux, Phonitor, WA22, WES, Raptor, RPX-33 and Cary SLI 80. IMO the WA5-LE sound tops all of them.
Thanks to Jack and the Woo Audio family for producing a great line of products with supreme craftmanship and incredible sound that provides to all of us headphileholics tremendous pleasure. My upgradetitis disease has been cured for good after this jewel.
Edited by musicman59 - 8/9/10 at 2:25pm