Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphone Amps (full-size) › Solid state amps that are on par with the WA2?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Solid state amps that are on par with the WA2?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I got an Asgard 2 about a week ago to compliment my WA2 figuring I would have the benefit of tubes and solid state amplification at my disposal. Well my initial impressions of the Asgard were that it was faster then my WA2 and maybe a bit more "clinical" but after finally getting to have some long listening time with the Asgard vs. the WA2 it seems the Asgard is maybe just being outclassed altogether.

 

Now before an uproar starts here with the Schiit crew I will state that...

1. This is my first solid state headphone amp, so maybe its more the solid state sound that I am referring to overall?

2. The Asgard 2 is a GREAT amp for its price, it trumps my LD2++ no matter which tubes I use and I suspect that it would be hard to beat in the sub $500 class.

 

The WA2 has a much larger soundstage with deeper bass, and surprisingly seems to seperate and define each layer of the music better, I thought that the Asgard would be better at this. It almost feels as though the Asgards presentation is small and while I can hear all the music it feels slightly compressed and not as big.

 

One thing I really do like about the Asgard is how well it handles older recordings or recordings that are not mixed well. In that area I would pick the Schiit over the WOO every time.

 

So I am now starting to think am I expecting too much from a $250 amp?  Maybe try some different cans to compliment the Asgard? Or is it just the solid state sound that I dont like?

 

Ugh.......  my wallet is really starting to hate this place. LOL!!

post #2 of 15

Bump. Interesting question.

post #3 of 15
What tubes are you running? It's hard to compare a $1200+ tube OTL amp to a $250 discrete solid state amp....they are going to sound different. The Woo puts out almost twice the power at 300 ohms (into HD650). The HPA V200 is what I plan to graduate to: http://www.violectric.de/Pages/en/products/hpav200.php
post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
I am running stock tubes on the WA2, I will start down the tube rolling path AFTER these are fully burned in.

I was under the impression that the Asgard 2 was capable of keeping up with amps two to three times its price, maybe I just bought into the hype? LOL.

Maybe I don't care for the solid state sound?
post #5 of 15

So it seems that a cheap solid state can't compete with the WA2. No surprise.

 

But how does the WA2 stack up against something in it's price class like HPA? Or better yet, how does it compare to solid state amps well above it, such as the GSX or Apache? They are obviously totally different amp designs. Interested in thoughts from anyone who has compared the WA2 OTL sound to a dual mono balanced SS ...

post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 

I don't consider the Asgard a "cheap" amp, I actually think its worth more then its priced but I don't believe its a giant killer, and again it may very well be the solid state sound that I don't like. I would have no problem rec. the Asgard to anyone looking in its price range, its a well built nice piece of equipment. I wasn't sure what to expect from it, and I didn't think it would outperform my WA2 but I did think it would be closer then it is.

 

I am more then willing to venture into one more amp purchase but this time I am gonna do more research. One thing though, I have zero interest in going balanced.

post #7 of 15
It certainly is competitive with amps three times its price...but not five. Not caring for solid state sound is one way of looking at it. The SS amps in the Asgard class are very good. They have black backgrounds, can drive pretty complex loads without distortion, and are for the most part neutral. One might argue that is what the music is supposed to sound like. On the other end of the spectrum are the OTL tube amps....which do have a 'sound'. The simple circuit designs like the WA3 and WA2 may not have a completely black background, don't drive low impedance loads well,, and add 'color' to the sound through the interstage and output capacitors. From these two starting points, cost becomes a factor in better performance. Better supply filtering, higher voltage swings, dual mono designs, separate power supplies, balanced circuits, higher dynamic range, better channel isolation, and low noise all come at a cost...and contributes to sound stage, presence, and all those other audiophile terms equated with good.
Quote:
Originally Posted by walls View Post

I am running stock tubes on the WA2, I will start down the tube rolling path AFTER these are fully burned in.

I was under the impression that the Asgard 2 was capable of keeping up with amps two to three times its price, maybe I just bought into the hype? LOL.

Maybe I don't care for the solid state sound?
post #8 of 15

I would think to get a SS amp that sounded as good as, but different from your Woo, you would probably be looking at something like a Burson Soloist at about 3-4 times the cost of the Asgard. I think it comes down to some people like SS and some like tubes. I didn't think I would ever get a tube amp and now I have 3 of em. This hobby leads you into some areas you never thought you would visit. I have come to think maybe a hybrid would be the best of both worlds, but there aren't that many hybrid amps out there.

post #9 of 15
I'm in a similar place...defiled my WA3 with constant current sources (sacrilege I know...but it sounds great). Now I'm looking at the solid states.
Quote:
Originally Posted by HPiper View Post

I would think to get a SS amp that sounded as good as, but different from your Woo, you would probably be looking at something like a Burson Soloist at about 3-4 times the cost of the Asgard. I think it comes down to some people like SS and some like tubes. I didn't think I would ever get a tube amp and now I have 3 of em. This hobby leads you into some areas you never thought you would visit. I have come to think maybe a hybrid would be the best of both worlds, but there aren't that many hybrid amps out there.
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 

I thought the "diminishing returns" theory would play more into this comparison but in reality I guess the WA2 sounds like a $1200 amp and the Asgard like  $300 amp then? 

 

I do have a Bottlehead Crack on the way so I will be able to compare it to the Asgard soon, more apples to apples next time.

 

Was thinking maybe the Soloist or maybe a used Concerto, anything else?

post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by walls View Post

I thought the "diminishing returns" theory would play more into this comparison but in reality I guess the WA2 sounds like a $1200 amp and the Asgard like  $300 amp then? 

 

I do have a Bottlehead Crack on the way so I will be able to compare it to the Asgard soon, more apples to apples next time.

 

Was thinking maybe the Soloist or maybe a used Concerto, anything else?


I would think you are going to find that you would really like one of those 3, soloist, Concerto, or Crack. All very good amps especially with the HD650's.

post #12 of 15
Take a look at the Audio-GD SA-31SE with diamond diff.


http://www.audio-gd.com/Pro/SA/SA31/SA31EN.htm


Sent from my ARCHOS 80G9 using Xparent BlueTapatalk 2
Edited by HeatFan12 - 7/30/13 at 2:20pm
post #13 of 15

There are several other amps in the $250 range which are comparable/better/worse than Asgard 2 including Matrix M Stage, Lovely Cube, Graham Lee, Little Dot V etc. All these come in the same league and anything more than $300 for Asgard 2 would mean it is overpriced. $200-300 is the sweet spot for Asgard 2. I doubt it comes in the same league as Burson or Lehmann amps which are available for 3-4 times the price. It won't really even be a contest.

post #14 of 15

Apologies with the pejorative. I meant inexpensive, not cheap. Yes, I would go with a Burson amp if you want to avoid balanced amps. Also, I've been considering portable amps from ALO or Ray Samuels as an interesting option to complement a desktop tube amp, since battery power is much cleaner, and you get the added bonus of portability.
 

post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 

Oddly enough I have also heard good things about the XM6, although I have a hard time believing that a portable packed with so many features can truly perform.

 

I am going to bring home my HD598's today and see what the Bifrost/Asgard2 can do with them.
 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Headphone Amps (full-size)
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphone Amps (full-size) › Solid state amps that are on par with the WA2?