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Emmeline HR-2 vs WooAudio 2

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Has anyone actually heard/used both of these amps.  Any helpful thoughts? 

I know one is tubed, the other SS.  Markl reviewed the HR-2 a while ago and thought it was not a harsh SS. 

Please feel free to be as detailed as you are able.

Thanks for your time..........Lori

post #2 of 10

Having owned the HR-2 in the past, I never got its characterization as smooth or even "slightly dark", as in that review. I enjoyed mine while I had it; used it with a Meridian G08 and HD650/Zu. However, it was definitely SS sounding - clearly the sonic polar opposite of the Audio Valve RKV Mk II (which is notoriously lush and warm sounding). Both amps were enjoyable with the HD650, but sounded like obvious colorations on different sides of the fence. That's no longer the sound I go for, so I've moved on. Either a maxed PPA or a good dynalo implementation (especially the Headamp Gilmore Reference) sounded smoother, and more neutral. 


Never heard the Woo2, but I have a good local friend (better ears than mine) who owned one briefly. He preferred my Zana Deux - it' a seriously nice amp that's super neutral/natural and doesn't sound like either tube or SS. 


What headphones will you be using?

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your response. and your experienced thoughts.  Re:  headphones.  We will be choosing between the 650's w/ Silver Dragon and the 600's w/ (copper) Blue Dragon.  I could see how the silver might not work favorably w/ this SS amp (my cable concept.)  'Twould be interesting to compare the sound characteristics with the stock 650. the Silver D. 650, and the Blue D. copper 600.  Some have observed the stock 650's to be quite warm, if not dark.  We'll see if that tames and/or veils the HR-2.  I appreciate the relaxed and relaxing sonic signature of my old 580's.  I anticipate this to be an interesting and enjoyable highly educational experience.  I'm excited about that part. 


I can get a screaming deal from a friend on a 3yr old, well cared for, HR-2.  Would you believe $125?!!!?  Why not, eh?  Ain't got no dedicated headphone amp now.  I will be looking into the Zana Deux.  Tubes are our preference.


Thank you again, mulveling


post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

Zana Deux is 2x what we were hoping to pay.  Like Amadeus...too many choices, too many choices.  But y'all know that already....Gracias.

post #5 of 10

Wow, have to say that is a screaming bargain - no reason not to start your journey there, then!


You're right that the HD650 is slightly on the dark side. Some would call them too dark (not me; I rather like their balance). The HD600 is brighter. Lots of combinations to play with between cans, cables and amps! The HD650 w/ HR-2 will indeed hit the right balance for some folks. I really did like them with the Zu cable (silver/copper alloy), which improved bass response and livened up the mids/highs WITHOUT sounding bright or analytical - a tough trick to manage, and I felt it did this better than the Silver Dragon (though this cable is nice, too). On the other hand, I liked the Cardas cable (all copper) with the HD600, to help smooth them out some. 


Yep, I should have warned you about the sticker shock on the Zana Deux - sorry. On the plus side - while they represent a large cash outlay up front - they're held their value REALLY well on the used market :)

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 

Bargain indeed.  I can imagine your 650 Zu Ag/Cu would be just right w/ the HR-2.  And probably just the ticket for those 650's in many applications.  Argh...makes me wish I'd looked into those.  But then again, if we do get our preferred tube headphone w/ pre-amp, like the WA2(or?...,) maybe, just maybe, the Silver D.'s w/ 650 will be just right--detailed, resolving, extended, tight, but still warm, involving and singing.  I will now look into the Zu's...oy vey!  My friend's going to flip...but probably just for a minute :)


The cables and phones will all be here by Thurs.  I'll burn them in (yes, I believe in that.)  Drew knows the plan and expects to receive something back w/in the 30 days.  Very handy return policy Drew, of Moon Audio, has.


It would be ideal if my friend can decide on one of the billion tube amps out there so we can do some synergistic matching w/in the 30 days.  I don't think he'll want to just stick w/ the HR-2.  That's just kind of a serendipitous find.  Right now he's got his, well, both eyes set on the WA2.  Likely a pretty darn good amp for $1K.  Great features; great looks.  Something to be proud about owning...in a good way.


But in any case, I still look forward to demonstrating the various combinations of Senns and cables, hopefully w/ 2 amps.  I'm expecting it to be verrry educational.  A good exercise for my ear-balls.  Oh hek...how 'bout some silver/copper to through in the mix?  Too bad you don't live in the LA area !  Well, probably not too bad for you ;)


I'll get back to you, if you like, and we'll see what sense I can make of all this.


Thank you. I am enjoying this dialogue.



post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

Oh, and, is there a recommended place to purchase returnable Zu's?

post #8 of 10

Yeah, the Woo amps do have super build quality. Thinking back, my friend had his 2 decked out pretty much to the max with parts upgrades and premium NOS tubes, which put it into the Zana Deux's price ballpark - hence the comparison. He needed the dual headamp/preamp functionality at that time. I kinda forgot those 2's could be had in a more standard configuration for only $1K - nice. 


The tech guy in me doesn't want to believe in cables, and it certainly doesn't want to believe in cable burn-in. However, after hearing the kind of resolution certain high-end systems are capable of, and how tube/cable swaps affect things - eh, whatever :) I'm keeping the nice cables in my main system. 


Sorry - I've been out of the headphone loop for a while and I'm not sure what the deal is with the Zu Mobius anymore. Bought my first one direct from Zu, years ago (2003/4?). Not sure they do that anymore. They used to post cables up for good deals on ebay - again, not sure they do that anymore, too. Heck, do they even make it anymore? I see that their new website is incredibly annoying to navigate. That might leave just the used market. I've had generally good luck buying used, but I did unfortunately buy a used Zu Mobius that immediately developed a loose connector pin - ended up giving it away. My 3rd Zu Mobius, I purchased used for a bargain price, and it was perfect.


Good luck, have fun doing the comparisons, and don't let it get too stressful/frustrating!


post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 

Found the Zu silver coated copper 12' for, can't remember. $699 or $799. 


I received the Moon Silver Dragon's today.  "Out of the box" sound difference from HD650's w/stock cable 1. SD's thinner.  2. Certainly less bass presence.  3. Strident/screechy trebles (listening to a classical "scherzo"/fast violin passage.  4. Hazey throughout freq range.  I only listened quite briefly.  Won't listen to them again until after Drew's recommended 40 hr burn-in time.  "Twill be interesting to hear again in 2-3 days.


I appreciate your apparently humble attitude re: cable differences, burn in, etc.  I've stumbled upon a couple of threads that showed me that there's a deep & wide chasm between the 2 opinions.  Heated rebuttals would be a euphemistic description.  I appreciated one intrepid poster.  He was a tech guy.  The only one whose input seemed to bridge across the great divide.  He quite respectfully re-iterated the point that current measurements "might not" include particular parameters that actually would be able to measure and document certain characteristics that some folks claim to hear.  I was surprised that none of the tech/scientists would accept that, as even a possibility, in their dialog w/ him. They seemed to be closed to the idea.  That did not sound like the kind of response the professional scientists that hang out with would give.  What was happening with their objectivity?  The credibility of their process came into question for me.  The ugly name calling.  The conclusive moniker: "placebo group" meaning, "none of you are hearing what you think you're hearing."  What's really going on here?


Anyway, it seems it's just you and me here.  I don't believe I have anything at stake.  I hope to simply listen as closely as I can and tell you what I hear.  It's all just for fun anyway.


Regards, Lori

post #10 of 10

$700 for the Zu Mobius now? That just won't do. It was far and away the best cable I'd heard with the 650, but I suppose times have changed and it's no longer easy to acquire. Also, I was under the impression that the Mobius's conductors were a silver/copper alloy like the rest of their cables - rather than just silver plate over copper. 


First one I bought direct from Zu for ~$245. Second I bought used a few years later for $165, and it was ugly (kinks) and turned up with a bad pin. Third I bought used just 3 years ago for just $125; it was pristine and sounded awesome - a killer deal. Keep an eye on the used market for a clean one under $180. I've moved on to the speaker world, but I'll always have a soft spot for the HD650/Zu Mobius combo, among and even beyond some of the elite headphones (L3000, R10, Qualia etc).


The Silver Dragon always sounded a touch analytical to me, next to the Mobius, but keep listening... ;)


There may be only 2 participants in this thread, but rest assured there are plenty of lurkers looking forward to learn from your upcoming impressions - hell, I lurk most of the time now. Enjoy!

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