Originally Posted by monsieurguzel
I used to have a WA5 (fully maxed out with tubes upgrades) and it's a really bad match for orthos, particularly the HE-6. LCD-2 was too muddy on the amp. You'd be a lot better off with a much cheaper amp that is more suitable for orthos than $4000+ on a WA5. The amp is a lot better on HD800s and Beyer T1.
I might add that the Headphonia review said the WA5 isn't alone in this respect; that a couple of highly regarded tube amps don't excel with orthos. They mentioned the Manley 300B, Zana Deux, and Minute 45. I would think the Cary 300 SEI might also fall in that category. Not bad company at all.
On a side note, I'd heard skeptics bash the WA5 as a speaker amp, and a lot of audiophiles pooh-pooh Klipsch as PA speakers, but I've been listening the last two weeks on my WA5SE hooked up to Klipsch Heresy III speakers, and darn if I might forego using headphones anymore! Because I'm getting incredible detail, clarity, and resolution at low volumes. I've been testing these speakers out by trying out the worse Redbook CDs I have, and the tracks sound terrific. In fact, my Beyerdynamic T1s arrived the same time as my Heresy speakers, but I've only spent 3 hours on the headphones. The Heresy IIIs are highly efficient speakers at 99 dBA, and if I can get this kind of listening pleasure at low volumes, I can forego headphones. I think what helps is the WA5SE being, as Headphonia put it, wired for gain, with zero grain. I'm using an Oppo BDP-95 universal player for my DACs, hooked directly up to the WA5SE. The Oppo is known for a low noise floor, and to skeptics, well, it has been rated A+ by Stereophile mag as an SACD player. Since I'm so happy with the WA5SE as a speaker amp, I won't bother to own several sets of headphones. I can always switch between headphones and speakers for variety, or if I get bored with one or the other.