Head-Fi.org › Forums › Summit-Fi (High-End Audio) › High-end Audio Forum › Woo Audio WA22 vs Eddie Current Balancing Act?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Woo Audio WA22 vs Eddie Current Balancing Act?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

My current setup uses all SS gear but I'm keen to explore what tubes can do for my listening experience!  I've got a balanced source (Audio-GD Ref 7.1) and all my headphones are equipped with 4 pin balanced plugs so I'm keen to go for a fully balanced headphone amp.  Having done some initial research, I think the WA22 and Balancing Act both look like interesting options but there isn't a huge amount of coverage on either (albeit there is a reasonable price difference)!  Does anyone have any comments as to how the two differ, which might best suit my rig and listening preferences or ideas of any other options?  (The WA5 also looks interesting but I don't think it is fully balanced?  Not sure how it would compare performance wise to the WA22?)

 

My main headphones are my Beyerdynamic T1 but I also have a set of Grado PS1000, Sennheiser HD650 and also HifiMAN HE-6 (albeit I’m not necessarily looking for an amp that can drive the HE-6 – I don’t use them that often).  I listen to a very wide range of music spanning everything from reggaeton to hard electronica to classical, but I mostly listen to acoustic/live recordings, indie [rock] and female vocals.

post #2 of 19

Couple of corrections for you.  The WA22 is a balanced amplifier into its transformer, single ended out.  The XLR connections are for convenience.  The BA is a single ended amplifier with transformers to provide balanced in and out.

 

The fair fight would be the Woo WA5 and EC 2A3.  The EC BA is in a class all to itself.

post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 

Okay - thanks for clarifying.  Sounds as though the BA is an awesome amp then!  As an aside, are there any fully balanced high end tube headphone amps out there?

 

The other thing that would be really helpful to me is any comparisons people might be able to make to my Audio-GD Master 5 (which I currently connect to my Ref 7.1 Dac using an ACSS connection).  How will the sound change between this and the BA?

post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by tashlin View Post

As an aside, are there any fully balanced high end tube headphone amps out there?

 

None that I'm aware of.

post #5 of 19

I believe the Little Dot VIIISE is a fully balanced tube amp for dynamic cans of 300 ohms +.  I recently purchased one as a cheaper option to EC Balancing Act or a Ray Samuels B52.  I was pleasently surprised by this amp.  It came standard with a compliment of decent Electro Harmonix driver and power tubes.  I quickly replaced the EH drivers with Psvanes and I was gobsmacked by the improvement.  I have not compared this amp other than against my Headroom balanced amp... I rate this Little Dot with good tubes ahead of my SS amp. 

post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solude View Post

Couple of corrections for you.  The WA22 is a balanced amplifier into its transformer, single ended out.  The XLR connections are for convenience.

If this is the case, then you're implying that there wouldn't be a difference listening to the WA22 balanced out as compared to SE?
post #7 of 19

Not implying, stating.  Yes no change.  The WA22 is balanced in though, so running the inputs single ended only runs half the amp.

post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarknightDK View Post


If this is the case, then you're implying that there wouldn't be a difference listening to the WA22 balanced out as compared to SE?

Correct with regards to outputs. With regards to inputs, then balanced is a MUST with the WA22.

post #9 of 19
Thanks for clarifying. But am I missing something here? On the woo website it does claim that the WA22 is a balanced amp through and through. I know there has been some debate over this in the past but I'm not sure if it has been proven that its not a true balanced amp.
post #10 of 19

If you can count to 4 you can prove it to yourself.  And the Woo site is right, the AMP is fully balanced.  Course if you can count and you think you can wire something balanced with only 3 cables, do tell :p

 

Doesn't change that the WA22 is a great amp.

post #11 of 19
I got one of the WA 22 amps that had the 4 pin connectors that got stuck. Needless to say, I took it apart to fix the issue and there are 4 wires going to the balanced 4 pin jack, which implies to me that the xlr outputs are indeed balanced.

I am sure that you can email Jack and he will be happy to tell you one way or the other.
Edited by Senn-Fi - 8/24/12 at 9:53pm
post #12 of 19

Then yours was special because everyone else's that has been cracked has 3 wires.  You sure you didn't just see the ground wire bridged from one post to another?

 

post #13 of 19
Getting back to the OP's question...

I own the WA22 and the EC Super 7. Admittedly, the Super 7 is a lot cheaper than the BA, but it gets you pretty close to the sound of the BA with the right tubes.

Using LCD-2s and JH16s, my main headphones, I prefer the Super 7 by a good margin to the WA22, as the Super 7 has better bass and a fuller sound. So, for most headphones, I think the Balancing Act would be better. The only caveat is that the WA22 is dead quiet with low impedance headphones, while there is some low level tube rush audible from the Super 7.

However, I borrowed T1s from the Cable Company a few months ago and with that headphone, I was surprised by how great the WA22 sounded. Better by a good margin than the Super 7. There seems to be a nice synergy between the T1s and the WA22. If the T1s are your main headphones, I think you would be happy with the Woo.

If you buy the Woo, I would not spend a lot of money on a balanced headphone cable. I have used both a balanced and a single-ended cable from Q Audio with my LCD-2s, and I cannot tell the difference between the two. I know there is a lengthy thread discussing whether the WA22 is truly balanced or not, where Jack Woo weighs in on the subject. I remember him telling me to make sure I have a balanced source, but not to spend extra money on a balanced headphone cable for the WA22.
post #14 of 19
I stand corrected. I took a 2nd peek out of cuiousity and you are right. I was more concerned about fixing the xlr connector that was stuck and only paid attention to the wiring in order to re-solder the one that broke off.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solude View Post

Then yours was special because everyone else's that has been cracked has 3 wires.  You sure you didn't just see the ground wire bridged from one post to another?

post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by minimus View Post

Getting back to the OP's question...
I own the WA22 and the EC Super 7. Admittedly, the Super 7 is a lot cheaper than the BA, but it gets you pretty close to the sound of the BA with the right tubes.
Using LCD-2s and JH16s, my main headphones, I prefer the Super 7 by a good margin to the WA22, as the Super 7 has better bass and a fuller sound. So, for most headphones, I think the Balancing Act would be better. The only caveat is that the WA22 is dead quiet with low impedance headphones, while there is some low level tube rush audible from the Super 7.
However, I borrowed T1s from the Cable Company a few months ago and with that headphone, I was surprised by how great the WA22 sounded. Better by a good margin than the Super 7. There seems to be a nice synergy between the T1s and the WA22. If the T1s are your main headphones, I think you would be happy with the Woo.
If you buy the Woo, I would not spend a lot of money on a balanced headphone cable. I have used both a balanced and a single-ended cable from Q Audio with my LCD-2s, and I cannot tell the difference between the two. I know there is a lengthy thread discussing whether the WA22 is truly balanced or not, where Jack Woo weighs in on the subject. I remember him telling me to make sure I have a balanced source, but not to spend extra money on a balanced headphone cable for the WA22.

Thanks minimus.  My T1s are already balanced for use with my Master 5 / NFB-10WM but I didn't spend a fortune on having them recabled - more like £15 on on some eutectic solder and a 4 pin XLR plug which I attached to the stock cable (which seems to be pretty good quality)!

 

That's interesting that you think the synergy is good between the T1 and the WA22.  Has anyone else heard the T1 with a BA?

 

I've also been reading about the Little Dot MkVIII and MkVI+; sounds like an impressive package at a fraction of the Woo/Eddie Current prices (albeit quite a few people seem to have experienced transformer hum issues with the VI+ and also a bit of fan noise)

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: High-end Audio Forum
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Summit-Fi (High-End Audio) › High-end Audio Forum › Woo Audio WA22 vs Eddie Current Balancing Act?