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Noob goes WA7/HD800 - needs help for mobile setup

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

So i made the jump..coming from nowhere (iphone + sony MDR-1R) to a WooAudio WA7 + Sennheiser HD800.

I still cannot believe the quality this setup delivers vs what i was used to. The detail of the music, the separation vocals/instruments etc. Wow, i was not expecting so much of an improvement - I am baffled.


Now, of course, i am trouble because my original mobile setup sounds pretty lame.

What would be the best upgrade for me:

- just an amp to drive my Sony MDR-1R (I am NOT going to carry around the HD800)

- An amp/DAC + same headphone

- or a new headphone for my mobile needs. I mostly spend my time in cars (i don't drive while listening) and planes.

Any help much appreciated!

post #2 of 11

What is the format/types of your music files/sources?  If they are not of high quality, that is the place to start.


If you don't need active noise cancellation, the Sony MDR 7520 is an excellent closed can that can be driven directly from an iphone.  It has a detachable cable and you can find after market short cords (e.g. from Monoprice) that will plug in just fine.  Beyond that you can add a portable dac/amp.  Fiio and others have products that you can consider--either now or later.

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

I use 256kbps files minimum all the way up to lossless.


I don't need noise cancellation as I find they have way too much interference with mobile phones.


thank you for the recommendation - I will look it up.

I found the 2 following to be good closed headphones:

- sennheiser momentum

- beyerdynamic t5p

For DAC/Amp, I had in mind the Theorem 720

post #4 of 11

Many folks like the Momentum.  I find its sound signature to be too colored for my taste.


The T5p is fine, except that it one of the most overpriced cans on the market.


I am not familiar with the Theorem.

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

I tried different configuration and ended up buying the Theorem 720. I found this is the best upgrade on my current iphone + Sony MDR-1R.

The momentum just don't fit my ears so I did not even try to listen to them...and I could not

The Theorem is really nice and drives the Sennheiser HD800 really well from a laptop (using bitperfect and some 24/192 tracks)...and at the same time it is portable, has plenty of juice for the iphone on the road.

My only gripe is that it is a bit sensitive to phone interference....

post #6 of 11
Replace the MDR-1R with a Focal Spirit One. It's a little bass heavy but that is what's best for a portable headphone. It doesn't need amping and overall it has a balanced sound, with no obvious flaws like the upper mid boost and lack of bass extension on the 1r.
Edited by eugenius - 10/6/13 at 6:58am
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 

...thank you, will look them up!

post #8 of 11

I know there's a huge difference in amplification power, but can you possibly describe how different the HD800 sounds from the Theorem compared to the WA7?


I'm actually looking into both of those since I haven't decided whether I want to go with a portable setup or not.

post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

You are correct. I have those two for different uses.


Woo Audio: used at home with the HD800. Source: MacBook with BitPerfect and mostly 24/96 tracks from highresaudio - mostly Classical.


Cypherlabs: used on the road with Sony MDR-1R. Source iPhone 5, itTunes tracks -  mostly Pop.


But since, you asked and since today is a day off in he country I live in, I made a back to back test - using the HD800 & MacBook/Bitperfect as a source.


  1. Hélène Grimaud & Sol Gabetta 

Sonata for Violoncello and Piano in D minor - highresaudio purchased 24/92 file


The Cypher is a bit more electronic sounding, the fireflies is softer. The soundstage is also noticeably wider. The violoncello sounds better on the fireflies


  1. Lana Del Rey - National Anthem - itunes purchased 256kbps file


Same comment - also prefer the fireflies for the exact same reason. Lana’s voice comes out better on the fireflies.


  1. Muse - Isolated System - itunes purchased 256kbps file


Perhaps the track where difference between the two is less obvious.


So - actually thanks for asking - I probably would not have done this test myself. There IS a difference and I personally prefer the softer & wider sound of the fireflies. But for a portable device, I am really pleased with the Theorem, it does what I expected.


Final note: I have the EH 6C45Pi gold pin tubes in the fireflies.

post #10 of 11

Thank you!

post #11 of 11

I too have made the jump... I currently have an ath m-50 hooked up with my Alienware laptop sound card. Now I'm eagerly waiting for my HD800s and WA7s to arrive in the mail. There can't be a better way to start a new hobby. :D 

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