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considering buying woo audio wa7 fireflies - could use some help

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

Hello, this is my first post here, although I've done a lot of reading.  Here is my situation:

 

This is my first real foray into the hifi world.  I currently have no real equipment to speak of, other than a low/middle end home theater system, through which I play all of my music (mostly from the computer), watch all of my movies / TV, play the occasional video game, etc.  It's loud, but I want more.

 

I am, however, a college student.  I don't have tons of money to spend...  around $2500 - $3000 total.  Now, as this isn't enough to create a noteworthy hifi system (around which I could build my home theater system), I have decided to start with headphones.

 

My current plan is to buy a pair of Sennheiser HD 800 headphones, and a Woo Audio wa7 fireflies amp / dac.  I've researched both units fairly thoroughly, and feel that - based off of reviews - both are strong-performing and represent good values.  Here is the problem though...

 

As far as for use with the computer, I feel this setup would be perfect.  I could connect my laptop via USB cable to the wa7, utilize its DAC, and play lossless music files.  Great!

 

BUT!!!

 

I also watch a good deal of movies and TV shows, and play xbox occasionally.  Some of these are not connected in any way to my computer (xbox and blu ray discs, for example).  If I were to watch a Blu Ray movie, I would put it in my blu ray player, which is connected to my Denon AVR-790 receiver.  What I am trying to figure out, is HOW I could utilize my new headphone gear within this setup.  On the wa7 fireflies, the only inputs are USB, and rca L and R.  If I connected my receiver to the wa7 amp using rca L and R cables, that would mean I would be using the receivers DAC, correct?  So the audio would come through the blu ray player to the receiver over HDMI, go through the DAC, and be output in analogue to the amplifier, which would then be amplified and output to my headphones.  Now, wouldn't the audio be first amplified in the Denon receiver, and then amplified again in the wa7 amp?  If so, this is something to be avoided, right?  Is there any way around this?  Is there any way to send a direct, unamplified analogue signal from my denon receiver to the fireflies amp?  Or really, the question is: is there any way, based on the setup I've described, to achieve excellent sound quality through my blu ray player / xbox (basically anything not output from the USB of my computer)?

 

Any help with this would be much appreciated.  Even advice on other equipment options to consider.  Sorry this is such a long post.

post #2 of 26

You can build a really good hifi system in that budget. Something which you would enjoy much more than any pair of headphone you could ever buy.

 

Although HD 800 may give more detailed sound, however, you will enjoy the speakers much more and you can get excellent hifi speakers in your budget. And if you only want a stereo setup, then you can build a hifi system which most people can only dream about.

 

I would say spend $2500 on your hifi setup and $500 on your headphone setup.

post #3 of 26

I recommend you go for ADM AVI speakers, 2.0 and you will not regret going that route. It has rave reviews and very few dissatisfied users. You will enjoy this system a lot more than any headphone.

post #4 of 26

If you use, say, the "tape out" on the receiver to the WA7, you wouldn't be double-amping. 

post #5 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by techboy View Post
 

I recommend you go for ADM AVI speakers, 2.0 and you will not regret going that route. It has rave reviews and very few dissatisfied users. You will enjoy this system a lot more than any headphone.

 

I recommend audition Genelec M030/M040 speakers too, they are around the same price. These are cheaper and newer version of the studio standard 8000 series monitors, with supposedly slightly better sound quality. 

post #6 of 26
I would also look into the Audioengine speakers. They make one passive model that would make a nice match for your Denon receiver. Also, it is correct that if you use the "tape out" of your receiver to feed the WA7, you will not be double-amplifying. Lastly, I own a lot of headphones, and I might suggest the Audeze LCD-2 or LCD-3 over the HD800's. They match the WA7 nicely and a pair of LCD-2's with Moon Audio Silver Dragon cabling would likely bring you more musical enjoyment than a pair of HD800's with the stock Sennheiser cable.
Edited by andyschaub - 9/10/13 at 7:52am
post #7 of 26
Audioengine speakers are entry level. They don't compete with $500 active speakers like aktimate or adam audio leave alone $2000 setups. An audioengine setup is a deal only in $200-300, honestly they are overpriced at their current price.
post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 
thank you for the suggestions. I would like to avoid purchasing active powered speakers, if at all possible. I am leaning now towards ultimately creating both a good headphone setup, and a modest hifi system. because of my current $3000 budget, I was now thinking of purchasing something other than the wa7 fireflies.

I was considering getting the benchmark dac1 hdr, which includes a headphones amp. my rationale for this, is that when I get more money and start to build my hifi setup, the dac1 hdr could also be my dac and preamp for that purpose, as well as being an all-in-one solution for my headphones.

so for my $3000, I am thinking of getting the dac1 hdr and the sennheiser hd800's (also considering LCD-2). this should give me a respectable headphones setup. then later, when I have more money, I will construct my hifi system around the dac1 hdr, by buying an amplifier, CD player, and speakers.

does my revised plan sound good?
post #9 of 26

What do you have against active speakers may I ask? :P 

 

When the drivers and amplifiers are designed to work together, it has lots of benefits.. You have to pay alot to match the performance of active crossovers too

post #10 of 26
Thread Starter 
well I don't really have anything against active speakers. I guess I just wanted to build more of a traditional hifi system. I have been reading good things about genelec, and am considering the m040.. it's just.. they're so small! it's just hard to believe these could be as loud or more room-filling than my 80's Sony tower speakers that I'm using now. also, wouldn't using an active setup like this complicate the inclusion of a subwoofer in my stereo setup?
post #11 of 26
The dac should work out of xbox, ive done it before .

Xbox has this http://www.amazon.com/Optical-Audio-Adapter-Xbox-360-Cable/dp/B0042UQLM0/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

Just rca to the xbox for amp, or optical for dac, and then on xbox select stereo for the dac to convert correctly.
post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by techboy View Post

Audioengine speakers are entry level. They don't compete with $500 active speakers like aktimate or adam audio leave alone $2000 setups. An audioengine setup is a deal only in $200-300, honestly they are overpriced at their current price.

I disagree. I think the Audioengine speakers are remarkable sounding and I did specifically refer to their passive model, so I'm not suggesting that he buy a pair of active monitors. They're warm and engaging with a sweet treble. They may not offer the last word in terms of detail, but they're very musical sounding. I've owned two pairs and may Dad had a set of his own. We were both very happy with the sound.

post #13 of 26

My own opinion is that the HDR-1 could be a bit bright sounding particularly in combination with the HD800's. I think your original plan of using a WA7 made more sense. It has a decent DAC output and you could always upgrade later to an iDecco with a pair of Paradigm Atoms, a combination I use quite happily as my bedroom system with an Apple Airport Express and an a WireWorld Ultraviolet TOSLINK cable. The WA7 will hold its value so you could just sell it for 80% of what you paid for it in a year or two, then use the iDecco as a DAC, headphone amplifier, and speaker amplifier with the Paradigm Atoms to make a lovely sounding, compact system. Just be sure to use a warmer-sounding speaker cable (I use some inexpensive Transparent "in wall" speaker cable that I tinned myself), a decent power cable (I use the Shunyata Venom) and, if it's not too aesthetically unappealing, remove the grills from the Atoms. I think the WA7 is remarkable and you will not be happy, by comparison, with the HDR-1. Even if you want to keep your receiver and not use the iDecco, consider the Atoms. Just be sure to use decent speaker and power cables.


Edited by andyschaub - 9/13/13 at 7:19am
post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by emsupial View Post

well I don't really have anything against active speakers. I guess I just wanted to build more of a traditional hifi system. I have been reading good things about genelec, and am considering the m040.. it's just.. they're so small! it's just hard to believe these could be as loud or more room-filling than my 80's Sony tower speakers that I'm using now. also, wouldn't using an active setup like this complicate the inclusion of a subwoofer in my stereo setup?

I'd say go to a shop and ask for an audition of Genelec 8040 (similar to M040) and see how loud and low they can go, you might be surprised. Prepare with good source material too, though, because they will reveal all the flaws of your recording..

 

M040:

Quote:
  • Maximum peak SPL output per pair 107dB at 1 meter

 

And you can always add subwoofer later, if you want to go even louder/need the lower bass.

post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by andyschaub View Post
 

I disagree. I think the Audioengine speakers are remarkable sounding and I did specifically refer to their passive model, so I'm not suggesting that he buy a pair of active monitors. They're warm and engaging with a sweet treble. They may not offer the last word in terms of detail, but they're very musical sounding. I've owned two pairs and may Dad had a set of his own. We were both very happy with the sound.

 

Because if you haven't heard anything else, then you don;t know better.

 

AE doesn't even come close to Aktimates which cost just a bit more. AE are stomped by Hivi Swan speakers which cost half as much, and I am not even exaggerating but Swan are overperformers for their price while AE is a bit over rated. And I have owned multiple speakers from these brands, at least 1+ speaker from each brand.

 

There are lots of other lesser known speakers which are better than AE for the same price. AE isn't the worst out there, but for its price you can often do much better.

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