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The All-New WA7 Fireflies from Woo Audio - Page 13

post #181 of 595
Use on whichever sounds best. It won't be anything to worry about unless you are pushing power levels close to the WA7 limits for the given setting, in which case you are going to go deaf quickly. Currently I think I like the low impedance setting best for Beyer T90 which are 250 ohm.
post #182 of 595

IIRC Jack said 70 Ohms to me. I didn't write it down. It's not a big issue though. You could use the low setting with high impedance headphones with no problems.

post #183 of 595

Haven't been to head-fi land in several years now. I've been focusing on my big-rig for the last few years and love it and enjoy listening through it a heck of a lot.

But I still enjoy listening with headphones.

 

I stopped of at a local dealer yesterday as I was nearby doing some other work. Guess what I saw and came home with?

Why the WA7 of course. cool.gif

Paid full Canadian price for it.

I had no idea my local dealer is a Woo dealer!

Talk about impulse purchases!

 

It's very nice. I am not very discerning with DACs, but I think I slightly prefer my DAC1 USB feeding the WA7, but the differences are small and with my normal listening sessions I probably wouldn't notice the difference.

I may end up selling the DAC1 USB.

I do enjoy the headphone amp section of the WA7 compared to the DAC1 with my HD800. It's more pleasing for sure.

 

I've always wanted a Woo. The only thing I am wondering though is if I should instead get the WA6SE then I can use a DAC of my own choice.

Still this definitely looks way snazzier and is a simpler all in one solution.

 

-- Sanjay

post #184 of 595

So after a few days with my WA7, some impressions:

 

- the amp section is great, as expected from Woo. Answering my own question I did not find answered (or missed) in the manual or here: the 3.5mm jack has noticeably lower gain than the 1/4" one, so if you have a headphone that can be used in either via adapter (in my case the Ed8) you have access to a different volume range (independently of the Hi-Z/Lo-Z setting in the back)

 

- I haven't heard a difference worth mentioning between the standard Sovtek tubes and the EH Gold Pins to be honest, but more listening may change that. Regardless, if you're on a budget, don't worry, the EH are not a "must-buy" to enjoy this amp.

 

- but the DAC section is not so great... actually, only after listening to my favourite tracks through my M-DAC (admittedly another ballgame altogether) via the RCA in was I able to get the enjoyment I expected. People who have read some of my posts know that I'm not one hung up on the finest subtleties, but in this case, the difference is pretty notable (i.e. I'm confident I can tell the difference reliably myself) The WA7 DAC has a surprisingly bright sound signature and at louder level can become downright unpleasant on some tracks... I did not expect that.

 

Yes, the Ed8s don't exactly help in this scenario, but it was universally noticeable on other headphones too. And yes, some burn-in (of my brain mostly) may help, but with all the gear I've been through, I know for myself it won't make an initial perception go away, at least once that reaches a certain level.

 

- But definitely not a matter of SQ taste is the fact that a few times already, I suddenly started getting a white noise/sizzle-like effect almost completely drowning out the music for several seconds. This has not happened on any other DAC I own (the rest of the chain being the same) It also seems completely random in relation to track, duration, bit-rate or depth... and scrubbing back and playing the same section again, it then works fine. Fortunately, it's pretty rare, but still...

 

- It seems it can't handle 176.4 for now anyway, my Mac goes into overdrive on those tracks as BitPerfect tries to transcodes it to 192 on the fly (with occasionally some stutter) I have not found any indication that the TI PCM5102A chip isn't capable of handling it (TI says "accepts industry-standard audio data formats with 16- to 32-bit data. Sample rates up to 384kHz are supported.") Maybe the C-Media 6631 USB chip? Again, I have very few tracks in that format, so not a biggie, but still. (Small Update: TI's specs confirm that the 5102A is indeed the highest-end of their PCM510x series with best dynamic range, THD & SNR)

 

Probably all that could be fixed in a firmware update, but what worries me is that Woo didn't even bother to factory-install the most bare-bones, basic firmware update, disabling all the unused inputs & outputs and replacing the generic "Speaker" text with "Woo Audio WA7". It seems they are a true hardware shop and may not have (much) access to a soft/firmware engineer for these circumstances. Never followed anything WDS-1, so I don't know how that one's been handled.

 

Either way, I wanted a compact all-in-one "audiophile" solution for the office, to be used with properly-closed headphones, and the WA7 delivers that with some compromises I'm willing to accept, and potentially getting even better in the future...

 

If you are picky about your source gear, and patient enough, it might be worth waiting for the amp-only version that Woo is apparently planning, and add a compact DAC solution more to your taste...


Edited by TheGrumpyOldMan - 3/3/13 at 10:43pm
post #185 of 595

Excellent impressions, thanks for the read.

post #186 of 595
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheGrumpyOldMan View Post

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

 

So after a few days with my WA7, some impressions:

 

- the amp section is great, as expected from Woo. Answering my own question I did not find answered (or missed) in the manual or here: the 3.5mm jack has noticeably lower gain than the 1/4" one, so if you have a headphone that can be used in either via adapter (in my case the Ed8) you have access to a different volume range (independently of the Hi-Z/Lo-Z setting in the back)

 

- I haven't heard a difference worth mentioning between the standard Sovtek tubes and the EH Gold Pins to be honest, but more listening may change that. Regardless, if you're on a budget, don't worry, the EH are not a "must-buy" to enjoy this amp.

 

- but the DAC section is not so great... actually, only after listening to my favourite tracks through my M-DAC (admittedly another ballgame altogether) via the RCA in was I able to get the enjoyment I expected. People who have read some of my posts know that I'm not one hung up on the finest subtleties, but in this case, the difference is pretty notable (i.e. I'm confident I can tell the difference reliably myself) The WA7 DAC has a surprisingly bright sound signature and at louder level can become downright unpleasant on some tracks... I did not expect that.

 

Yes, the Ed8s don't exactly help in this scenario, but it was universally noticeable on other headphones too. And yes, some burn-in (of my brain mostly) may help, but with all the gear I've been through, I know for myself it won't make an initial perception go away, at least once that reaches a certain level.

 

- But definitely not a matter of SQ taste is the fact that a few times already, I suddenly started getting a white noise/sizzle-like effect almost completely drowning out the music for several seconds. This has not happened on any other DAC I own (the rest of the chain being the same) It also seems completely random in relation to track, duration, bit-rate or depth... and scrubbing back and playing the same section again, it then works fine. Fortunately, it's pretty rare, but still...

 

- It seems it can't handle 176.4 for now anyway, my Mac goes into overdrive on those tracks as BitPerfect tries to transcodes it to 192 on the fly (with occasionally some stutter) I have not found any indication that the TI PCM5102A chip isn't capable of handling it (TI says "accepts industry-standard audio data formats with 16- to 32-bit data. Sample rates up to 384kHz are supported.") Maybe the C-Media 6631 USB chip? Again, I have very few tracks in that format, so not a biggie, but still. (Small Update: TI's specs confirm that the 5102A is indeed the highest-end of their PCM510x series with best dynamic range, THD & SNR)

 

Probably all that could be fixed in a firmware update, but what worries me is that Woo didn't even bother to factory-install the most bare-bones, basic firmware update, disabling all the unused inputs & outputs and replacing the generic "Speaker" text with "Woo Audio WA7". It seems they are a true hardware shop and may not have (much) access to a soft/firmware engineer for these circumstances. Never followed anything WDS-1, so I don't know how that one's been handled.

 

Either way, I wanted a compact all-in-one "audiophile" solution for the office, to be used with properly-closed headphones, and the WA7 delivers that with some compromises I'm willing to accept, and potentially getting even better in the future...

 

If you are picky about your source gear, and patient enough, it might be worth waiting for the amp-only version that Woo is apparently planning, and add a compact DAC solution more to your taste...

 

 

 


most of your points i agree with

i just discovered as well that the 3.5mm has different gain to the 1/4 jack.

as i have the sigpro, they were noticeably better with the EH gold pins than the stock tubes.

but yea, gotta fix all unused input/outputs, i manually named mine.

 

oh btw i've been doing some comparisons on the TH900 and SigPro using the WA7 EH gold pins, not really too much difference between these guys, the TH900 has a tad more air/space? i wanna experiment more.


Edited by belisk - 3/5/13 at 6:19am
post #187 of 595
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheGrumpyOldMan View Post

 

(Text hidden in spoiler tag to save space) (Click to show)

 

So after a few days with my WA7, some impressions:

 

- the amp section is great, as expected from Woo. Answering my own question I did not find answered (or missed) in the manual or here: the 3.5mm jack has noticeably lower gain than the 1/4" one, so if you have a headphone that can be used in either via adapter (in my case the Ed8) you have access to a different volume range (independently of the Hi-Z/Lo-Z setting in the back)

 

- I haven't heard a difference worth mentioning between the standard Sovtek tubes and the EH Gold Pins to be honest, but more listening may change that. Regardless, if you're on a budget, don't worry, the EH are not a "must-buy" to enjoy this amp.

 

- but the DAC section is not so great... actually, only after listening to my favourite tracks through my M-DAC (admittedly another ballgame altogether) via the RCA in was I able to get the enjoyment I expected. People who have read some of my posts know that I'm not one hung up on the finest subtleties, but in this case, the difference is pretty notable (i.e. I'm confident I can tell the difference reliably myself) The WA7 DAC has a surprisingly bright sound signature and at louder level can become downright unpleasant on some tracks... I did not expect that.

 

Yes, the Ed8s don't exactly help in this scenario, but it was universally noticeable on other headphones too. And yes, some burn-in (of my brain mostly) may help, but with all the gear I've been through, I know for myself it won't make an initial perception go away, at least once that reaches a certain level.

 

- But definitely not a matter of SQ taste is the fact that a few times already, I suddenly started getting a white noise/sizzle-like effect almost completely drowning out the music for several seconds. This has not happened on any other DAC I own (the rest of the chain being the same) It also seems completely random in relation to track, duration, bit-rate or depth... and scrubbing back and playing the same section again, it then works fine. Fortunately, it's pretty rare, but still...

 

- It seems it can't handle 176.4 for now anyway, my Mac goes into overdrive on those tracks as BitPerfect tries to transcodes it to 192 on the fly (with occasionally some stutter) I have not found any indication that the TI PCM5102A chip isn't capable of handling it (TI says "accepts industry-standard audio data formats with 16- to 32-bit data. Sample rates up to 384kHz are supported.") Maybe the C-Media 6631 USB chip? Again, I have very few tracks in that format, so not a biggie, but still. (Small Update: TI's specs confirm that the 5102A is indeed the highest-end of their PCM510x series with best dynamic range, THD & SNR)

 

Probably all that could be fixed in a firmware update, but what worries me is that Woo didn't even bother to factory-install the most bare-bones, basic firmware update, disabling all the unused inputs & outputs and replacing the generic "Speaker" text with "Woo Audio WA7". It seems they are a true hardware shop and may not have (much) access to a soft/firmware engineer for these circumstances. Never followed anything WDS-1, so I don't know how that one's been handled.

 

Either way, I wanted a compact all-in-one "audiophile" solution for the office, to be used with properly-closed headphones, and the WA7 delivers that with some compromises I'm willing to accept, and potentially getting even better in the future...

 

If you are picky about your source gear, and patient enough, it might be worth waiting for the amp-only version that Woo is apparently planning, and add a compact DAC solution more to your taste...

 

 

 

Good summary. Interesting to have someone with different impressions to my own (ie: I thought the Gold Pin tubes were noticeably brighter and less "tube like" in sound). The USB receiver, FYI, is a C-Media one and that is what doesn't want to handle 176.4 not the 5102. I've talked to Jack about it already. The other outputs of the C-Media chip, which aren't connected to anything, can handle it so it could just be a firmware setting.

post #188 of 595

Like I wrote, I didn't spend many hours listening yet, more a matter of running the tubes for a few hours to make sure they're OK (sputters, pops etc.) Especially since one of them was black, not chrome like the other o_O ... I actually went to read up on it to make sure they're safe before installing them.

 

I certainly found the overall brightness of the DAC for example more immediately noticeable, so maybe the SovTeks may work out better in that context (for me). But I'll have plenty of opportunity to try the tubes at my leisure over the next weeks/months.

 

Thanks for clarifying my suspicion about the C-Media chip. Thankfully I only have 1 album and a couple of test tracks in that format, and frankly from my listening experience I doubt I'll ever bother buying anything over 96kHz anymore unless there's no other choice.

post #189 of 595

Follow-up: so after a day's worth of listening in the intended setting:

 

The combined brightness of the WA7's DAC with the Ed8s is just too much for me, right into sibilance territory in some cases, on tracks that I'm not used to experiencing that... So I had to EQ down 1-2 frequency bands, but that also meant disabling BitPerfect since it doesn't do EQing... and that meant no auto-switching of sample depth & frequency, thus I set the output to 24/96 so the HD tracks will play back as intended and everything else gets up-sampled.

 

So I had to give up "pure" audiophile aspirations but this still sounds more enjoyable to me in the long run. Some of my headphones were good on the default setup, but not really appropriate for the workplace. The LCDs in particular, but until Audeze releases their closed ones (and they are in a somewhat sane price range...), compromises have to be made. (The Ed8s were OK in non-WA7 setups, the Momentums were OK on the WA7 in the mids/treble but much, boomy bass for my taste, so would also require some EQ... I think I'll give them another try though)

post #190 of 595
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheGrumpyOldMan View Post

Follow-up: so after a day's worth of listening in the intended setting:

 

The combined brightness of the WA7's DAC with the Ed8s is just too much for me, right into sibilance territory in some cases, on tracks that I'm not used to experiencing that... So I had to EQ down 1-2 frequency bands, but that also meant disabling BitPerfect since it doesn't do EQing... and that meant no auto-switching of sample depth & frequency, thus I set the output to 24/96 so the HD tracks will play back as intended and everything else gets up-sampled.

 

So I had to give up "pure" audiophile aspirations but this still sounds more enjoyable to me in the long run. Some of my headphones were good on the default setup, but not really appropriate for the workplace. The LCDs in particular, but until Audeze releases their closed ones (and they are in a somewhat sane price range...), compromises have to be made. (The Ed8s were OK in non-WA7 setups, the Momentums were OK on the WA7 in the mids/treble but much, boomy bass for my taste, so would also require some EQ... I think I'll give them another try though)

 

I find the Ed8's brightness is actually quite easily "tickled" with the "wrong" amp combined. So far playing around with the WA7 from Currawong on the TH-600/900 and Signature DJ, I've not experienced any sibilance issues. I'm still quite new at tubes and haven't been able to discern the differences of the Sovtek vs the EH's (although something keeps pulling me towards the EH more but I haven't pinpointed what).

 

The Momentums to my ears were boomy anyway irrespective of setups. I used to use it with the Go-DAP 4.0 & DX100 and had it in my hands for less than a month before selling t hem off. Not including the electrostats setups, of the desktop DAC/amp setups I have with me at the moment (Benchmark DAC1 Pre, Fostex HP-A8, & Pan Am loaner from Currawong), I find the WA7 to be the most favourite of all out of the 4. However, again I've not had much tube experience.

post #191 of 595

@grumpy

sounds like its a case of the Ultrasone quality control, each pair of the same model is different, seems like its a issue across all their lines, you either got a pair which is too sibilant, a really forgiving pair lacking treble, or a just right pair.

post #192 of 595
Quote:
Originally Posted by belisk View Post

@grumpy

sounds like its a case of the Ultrasone quality control, each pair of the same model is different, seems like its a issue across all their lines, you either got a pair which is too sibilant, a really forgiving pair lacking treble, or a just right pair.

 

+1 - their QC is all over the place. However, the Ed8 is known to be pretty bright, and it was too bright for me. I like the Sig Pro/DJ much more. 

post #193 of 595

Quote:

Originally Posted by AnakChan View Post

I find the Ed8's brightness is actually quite easily "tickled" with the "wrong" amp combined. <snip>

 

The Momentums to my ears were boomy anyway irrespective of setups. <snip>

Yeah, my comment on the Momentums was irrespective of the WA7, that's how they are on all my amps... but their shelved treble is a good match for the WA7, the mids are great, as long as that bass is dialed down... admittedly another compromise.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by belisk View Post

@grumpy: sounds like its a case of the Ultrasone quality control, each pair of the same model is different, seems like its a issue across all their lines, you either got a pair which is too sibilant, a really forgiving pair lacking treble, or a just right pair.Quote:

Originally Posted by SoundFreaq View Post

+1 - their QC is all over the place. However, the Ed8 is known to be pretty bright, and it was too bright for me. I like the Sig Pro/DJ much more. 

Thanks all, for letting me know about that. Of course I was aware they were bright, but it wasn't quite as bad as with the WA7, and actually using the HP out on the M-DAC, with the right filter they were pretty nice (esp. compared to the almost muffled boominess of the Momentums) so I was hoping it would be close to that.

 

Alas, I also can't really try/buy pair after pair to find the "right one", and shouldn't have to. I considered the Sig Pros, but they also have a strange treble spike on their frequency response, are relatively pricey (I got a deal on the Ed8s, otherwise I would never have considered giving them a try) and a bit hard to find these days... Since I really need good isolation, it limits my choices. I also considered the B&W P5, but the sound sig seems very similar to the Momentums, and Tyll seemed to have a clear preference for the Momentums so I went with them... see comment above.

 

I welcome any other suggestions for closed, isolating headphones, esp. for the WA7.


Edited by TheGrumpyOldMan - 3/8/13 at 12:37am
post #194 of 595

bit of a brocken record im sorry, but i HIGHLY suggest the soundmagic HP100 (more so), and the Fischer FA-002W. Im not overly sure about the synergy with this amp, as in my experience it hasnt  changed the inherit characteristics of any headphone, they all sound like they should. But I have had an overwhelmingly positive experience with this relatively cheap headphone, awesome buy!

post #195 of 595
Is the soundmagic hp100 a closed back circumaural? If so, how does it compare with an ATH-M50?
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