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NuForce Icon HDP v. WooAudio6 SE (or both)

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

So, I have an HDP for DAC from my Macbook Pro (USB, 16 or 24 bit FLAC).

 

I'm using it as an amp as well right now, and my primary headphones are Sennheiser HD650's.

 

 

Has anyone used both, and if so have you also used them together?  (HDP > WA6SE).  Was one noticeably better than the other, and/or was both together a better combo than one or the other?

 

I love the pretty look of the WA6SE with the tubes, but since I already have the HDP and it was cheaper, if I don't need to spend the money for the same-ish sound, I guess I'd prefer not to.

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 15

the solid state amp section of the HDP is okay.  not spectacular.

there's no way it compares to the woo audio wa6se.

i have the wa6, and it is in another league to my HDP.

 

besides, they are different enough in so many ways that you would not be making the HDP obsolete when buying a tube amp like the wa6se.

the hdp can be used as a dac, and as a nice SS amp for lower impedance cans.

 

post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 

Interesting.  I've heard a few people on here say doing blind tests between the WA6 and HDP, it was hard to tell the difference and sometimes they preferred the HDP - but in most cases it was negligible.  However, I don't believe this was commented about the SE - I hadn't heard anyone mention a comparison of that one.

post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 

or would the WA6 with the Princess tube be a better comparison with the HDP?  Closer price-wise too.

post #5 of 15

well.  they're just so different.

i honestly think that the amp section of the HDP is a little bright.  and somewhat analytical sounding.

i think the dac section is pretty nice.

so, pairing that up with a tube amp, i think you'll be surpised how much richer and warmer things can sound...

 

post #6 of 15

I've owned 2 different wa6's that I've paired with my HDP.  One had PDPS, heavily modified (blackgate caps super e config etc.), with sophia princess and the other was stock PDPS with a sophia princess.  Honestly speaking I wouldn't say that it was a league ahead of the HDP headphone out.  For one the HDP out is more powerful than the WA6 so it'll drive your headphones to a higher volume.  I did however want to keep the WA6 around because it looks cool with the sophia princess but from an economical standpoint I didn't feel that it was worth it to have the WA6 when it just seemed more like a novelty to me than an upgrade.

 

They both are different types of amps so it's like comparing the crunchyness of an apple compared to the softness of an orange if you get what I mean.  Each person has their own ears and whatever sounds good to them is all preference.

 

Also the HDP headphone out shouldn't compare to a WA6SE as that amp is definitely in another league than the HDP. With that amp alone and a sophia princess you could nearly afford 3 HDP's.


Edited by Poetik - 8/17/10 at 6:25pm
post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 

haha true.  so if it's just between HDP and WA6, maybe just stick with the HDP.  But if I can afford a WA6SE and use my HDP as the DAC, that would be ideal?

post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 

Analytical as in true to the recording?  Isn't that usually better, or is it "ok" with audiophiles to change the EQ/tone to suit personal tastes, even if it isn't true to the original sound?

 

I wish I could hear a tube in person without buying it.  They're just so pretty :)
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWuss View Post

well.  they're just so different.

i honestly think that the amp section of the HDP is a little bright.  and somewhat analytical sounding.

i think the dac section is pretty nice.

so, pairing that up with a tube amp, i think you'll be surpised how much richer and warmer things can sound...

 

post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by bscott View Post

Analytical as in true to the recording?  Isn't that usually better, or is it "ok" with audiophiles to change the EQ/tone to suit personal tastes, even if it isn't true to the original sound?

 

I wish I could hear a tube in person without buying it.  They're just so pretty :)
 


 

Changing the EQ is mandatory if you're an audiphile, because headphones have a very colored non-flat response, even the best of them.
 

post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 

how do you know what to change it to?  I thought the Senn 650's were about as flat as they come.

post #11 of 15


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Poetik View Post

I've owned 2 different wa6's that I've paired with my HDP.  One had PDPS, heavily modified (blackgate caps super e config etc.), with sophia princess and the other was stock PDPS with a sophia princess.  Honestly speaking I wouldn't say that it was a league ahead of the HDP headphone out.  For one the HDP out is more powerful than the WA6 so it'll drive your headphones to a higher volume.  I did however want to keep the WA6 around because it looks cool with the sophia princess but from an economical standpoint I didn't feel that it was worth it to have the WA6 when it just seemed more like a novelty to me than an upgrade.

 

They both are different types of amps so it's like comparing the crunchyness of an apple compared to the softness of an orange if you get what I mean.  Each person has their own ears and whatever sounds good to them is all preference.

 

Also the HDP headphone out shouldn't compare to a WA6SE as that amp is definitely in another league than the HDP. With that amp alone and a sophia princess you could nearly afford 3 HDP's.

 

So, even though you say the HDP and WA6 shouldn't be compared, you go on to not only compare the two and even state that the headphone output of the HDP is more powerful than that of a dedicated tube headphone amp?

 

Is that right?

 

 

Common sense would tell me that a dedicated headphone amp is going to be better than the output of a DAC who's main function is to convert a digital signal to analog, with the headphone output being a "nice-to-have".
 

post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 

if I read it right, one section was comparing the WA6 and the other was mentioning the WA6SE
 

I don't think that common sense enters into what sounds better, especially in this day in age.  Even price doesn't really enter into it as much as it used to.  There's no reason a solid state can't sound as good as a tube under certain circumstances, from what I understand.  And it's all subjective anyway, really.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thaddy View Post


 

 

So, even though you say the HDP and WA6 shouldn't be compared, you go on to not only compare the two and even state that the headphone output of the HDP is more powerful than that of a dedicated tube headphone amp?

 

Is that right?

 

 

Common sense would tell me that a dedicated headphone amp is going to be better than the output of a DAC who's main function is to convert a digital signal to analog, with the headphone output being a "nice-to-have".
 


Edited by bscott - 8/18/10 at 8:27am
post #13 of 15

Either way, a dedicated headphone amp should be able to drive the power hungry HD650's much better than a  DAC.

post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 

have you used the HDP?  It's a DAC/AMP, not just a DAC.  It's pretty powerful.  If you haven't used both, then you really don't know.  I haven't used the WA, so that's why I'm asking those who have used both.  Poetik has, and has an opinion based off of that.

 

Not trying to be argumentative, just trying to get a true opinion on both.


Edited by bscott - 8/18/10 at 8:41am
post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thaddy View Post


 

 

So, even though you say the HDP and WA6 shouldn't be compared, you go on to not only compare the two and even state that the headphone output of the HDP is more powerful than that of a dedicated tube headphone amp?

 

Is that right?

 

 

Common sense would tell me that a dedicated headphone amp is going to be better than the output of a DAC who's main function is to convert a digital signal to analog, with the headphone output being a "nice-to-have".
 


Lol seriously?

 

Read it again and actually take the time to comprehend it like bscott instead of trying to call me out like that (and looking rather foolish while doing so).  Common sense also does tell me that a dedicated headphone amp would sound better too but you have to factor in people's preferences of sound.  My pair of HD800's are technically a superior headphone and "common sense" would tell me they sound better than my pair of LA7000's but when I listen to both of them that's not the case. 

 

It's all preference and with my "opinion" I don't really feel that the WA6 is a substantial upgrade to me.  Maybe you should try both units first and then tell us about how your common sense stacks up.  Also If I remember correctly HeadphoneAddict stated that the HDP headphone out was more powerful than his WA6 as well. 

 

Actually I did the research and found the specific post where he said that it's more powerful: http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/469767/review-in-progress-nuforce-hdp-24-96-usb-optical-24-192-coax-dac-preamp-and-headphone-amp/540#post_6502203

 

So yea, there's 2 qualified opinions from people that have actually owned both said products being discussed.  Thaddy, If you have any further information that would actually help out this discussion then by all means please do post it.

 

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