Head-Fi.org › Forums › Help and Getting Started › Introductions, Help and Recommendations › End-game Amp Decision CALG vs ECBA/2A3 vs WA5
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

End-game Amp Decision CALG vs ECBA/2A3 vs WA5

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hello Head-Fi,

 

Looking for some help.

 

After years with my current solid state amp, the Headroom Ultra Desktop, I have decided to do a full rig upgrade. About 6 months ago I purchased a PS Audio PerfectWave DAC II from a kind gentleman on audiogon and have been loving it ever since. Now it is time to replace my amp. 

 

I have been doing research on the Woo WA5, Cavalli LG, and the Eddie Current BA or 2A3mkIV. All of these amps are highly rated within the community and I have read as much about them as I can so far. I initially had planned to go to RMAF CanJam this year to hear them but, for whatever reason, one of my professors decided it was a brilliant idea to schedule a midterm on the Saturday of the event. =/ yeah sad day for me. My personal preferences tend to lean towards a dynamic and fun signature vs a dead-flat analytic sound. The headphones I currently use are the HD800s, TH900s, and LCD-3s. All have aftermarket cables terminated in SE 1/4 in jacks. (I can get balanced cables if I find it necessary.) 

 

I am looking for opinions on which one would best suit my headphones. Any help is much appreciated!

 

Cheers!

Josh

post #2 of 11

Hey Josh,

 

Have owned or extensively auditioned all 3.  All lovely amps.  In short:

 

The EC will absolutely kill with the HD800 and TH900, however it won't be as dynamic with the LCD-3.  Its actually going to be even better now that he's upgraded transformers to cinemags with better bandwidth.  I'd call it closer to neutral than the other two.

 

The Woo is more similar to the EC than the Cavalli, especially if you run both with 300B's.  It packs more oomph with the Audeze (only had the LCD-2 at the time to be fair) but is not up to the level of the BA with the other two headphones (actually didn't have the Fostex at the same time as this amp, had a lawton denon headphone which is fairly similar.)  Its less neutral and solid statey, more of what you'd think of classically with tubes in terms of more euphonics, lushness, etc.

 

The LG is great with all these headphones after the star ground scheme implemented midway through the first run (early units had some hum.)  It has plenty of grunt with the Audeze, and really brings out the best in the HD800.  Very roll-able and the only one box solution here, so more transportable and can be used on a desk etc.  The newest run looks really nice.  

 

[EC 2A3x4 - Only rumours on this, never heard it.  If it manages to accomplish a similar sound to the BA with power for orthos, it would be my personal pick, as it would also be great for high efficiency speakers.  It will probably be big, heavy, and 4 good 2A3's aren't exactly cheap, so those are all things to keep in mind, as is it being in its infancy.  I'm sure Craig thinks it will be ready for the holidays but I'd be surprised if the first run ships in the next 6 months.]

 

PS - there is a BA owner nearby in Chicago who may let you check it out if you're willing to travel, and a local milwaukee-an who owns an LG who I'm sure would let you try out.  We may have a micro meet soon, if timing works out you could join us.  All my dynamic amps right now are ECP which are great for TH900/HD800 but don't have the power for the LCD's or I'd lend you my amps.  I'll have a leviathan which will be similar to the 2A3x4 but who knows when that will be ready  I can't think of anyone nearby with a WA5 for audition.


Edited by Radio_head - 10/24/13 at 8:30am
post #3 of 11

Hey Josh.

Get the Woo Monoblocks and don't look back.

Skeet skeet.

post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 

Radio_head,

 

Thanks for all the info. I was also very curions on the 2A3x4 model. WIll probably contact Craig for some more info in about a week or so. I always tell myself to wait for reviews before buying but that never works. I blindly purchased the LCD3s and the TH900s day 1 of release haha. I just don't know if I want to wait for half a year to get the amp. Really interesting design so far. I really liked the idea of the speaker taps as well. It might be one of the other reasons I was looking at the WA5 over the WA5 LE model.

 

The Woo sounds like it would be quite exciting. In what way would you say it fails for the TH900s and the HD800s over the BA? The other advantage I see with the Woo is I won't need to spend the cash to recable and can purchase some tubes to roll. The LG really doesn't really have too much info on a per headphone basis so that is probably in the #3 spot right now.

 

I will keep researching. I won't be ending up purchasing till mid November anyway.

 

P.S. I would absolutely love to attend a small meet if it is close. Keep me updated! I have been trying to get to a headphone meet for some time now. :D

 

En_r,

 

I would love to get the 234's but being a college student who is paying through school out-of-pocket without loans, my budget isn't quite that high... yet. :P


Edited by Joshhh - 10/24/13 at 9:22am
post #5 of 11

Yes, it will be a while no matter what Craig says.  He will make sure to not release something inferior though.

 

Here's a preliminary shot of the 2A3X4 (PS not included in shot):

 

 

The WA5 is dynamic in that it has power to handle peaks with all three headphones.  However, it can sound slow compared to the other two amps, and this is noticeable with both the HD800 and TH900 (or lawton denons).  Detail retrieval is also not quite on par with the other two.  On the plus side, build will be quick and solid, its a behemoth if you're into that, 300B's are plentiful, speaker capabilities... its definitely a solid option. The add-on prices are hard to stomach though. 

 

Recabling shouldn't be an issue with the BA, has all three main types.  LG has 4 pin and 1/4.  If you have dual 3 pins, adapters are cheap and easy, I wouldn't let it factor too heavily into your amp decision, better to buy an amp you really enjoy.

post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joshhh View Post
 

Radio_head,

 

Thanks for all the info. I was also very curions on the 2A3x4 model. WIll probably contact Craig for some more info in about a week or so. I always tell myself to wait for reviews before buying but that never works. I blindly purchased the LCD3s and the TH900s day 1 of release haha. I just don't know if I want to wait for half a year to get the amp. Really interesting design so far. I really liked the idea of the speaker taps as well. It might be one of the other reasons I was looking at the WA5 over the WA5 LE model.

 

The Woo sounds like it would be quite exciting. In what way would you say it fails for the TH900s and the HD800s over the BA? The other advantage I see with the Woo is I won't need to spend the cash to recable and can purchase some tubes to roll. The LG really doesn't really have too much info on a per headphone basis so that is probably in the #3 spot right now.

 

I will keep researching. I won't be ending up purchasing till mid November anyway.

 

En_r,

 

I would love to get the 234's but being a college student who is paying through school out-of-pocket without loans, my budget isn't quite that high... yet. :P

 

Aww. . didn't even get my hunter reference =(.

 

I was kidding (sup breh?). Though If you do end up buying those make sure you take a picture of yourself playing NS2 with them.

 

The WA5 lacks speed and details when compared to the BA... much warmer sounding. Then again since you've waited this long, EC is coming out with a new amp that looks to be a game changer.

 

I'd take Radio_head up on his offer. I'd bring backup though.. I heard he's in a pirate gang.

post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks again Radio,

 

That was one of my worries. Since I am so used to listening to a solid state amp with the two dynamic cans, I feel that a slower amp might bother me a bit. So now it really comes down to the already excellent BA or take a leap of faith and pre-order the 2A3x4 model. (That prototype pic looks awesome btw.) I asked craig his thoughts on how it's sound would compare to the BA in regards to my dynamic cans. The speaker ports on the 2A3 are another plus.

 

Ill be doing some more reaserch in the mean time. Decisions, decisions haha.

 

En_R.

 

You may have been kidding but I would absolutely love to get myself a pair. :D Is the new amp you were refering to the 2A3mk4 model we were talking about or is there something else brewing behind the scene? Also, you know me from NS2? O_O Do I know you sir? haha

 

P.S. I would only have understood that reference if I knew you were refering to L4D. hahaha

 

-Josh


Edited by Joshhh - 10/24/13 at 9:47am
post #8 of 11

A big reason he wanted to do the 2A3X4 is to cater to orthos, so it should definitely punch harder in that regard.  I am in a pirate gang, we do street theater and re-enact the muppets treasure island, but more importantly have allegiance to the crips, so if you show up wearing red I will get pissed and not let you try my homemade crepes.  

post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

Rgr, I'll make sure to wear bright red :P jk Keep me updated if this micro-meet does happen. I don't get to nerd out with any of my current friends here. I talk about buying new multi thousand dollar amps and their head's explode.

 

...then they go and drop 5 grand on new rims and a paint job for their cars. X_X hahaha

post #10 of 11

Take my comments with the necessary reserve. I will limit to the LG. 

 

I have said this before but the attraction of the LG is the large SET like sound without having to buy a large SET amp. Right from the very early inception of this amp, its ability to accurately represent the tube sound  and create the illusion of listening to a well engineered SET amp has been its greatest attraction to me. The limiting factor of the amp is the gain which is set by the mu of the tube being used. But the tube rolling ability has got to be one of its greatest strengths. The lowest gain is thus about 7 which if still pretty high for very sensitive headphones. That said, I auditioned Radio_Head's Grado HP1000 and I had never heard them sound better to my ears ( extreme limit to use the volume control ) but enough to be in the well balanced range of the pot. I actually regained a whole lot of respect for Joe Grado, I had pretty much discounted Grado from any consideration aside from the occassional, rare, vintage RS1 ( JPnums's pair in particular ) . I am a card carrying orthohead and the LG shines with any planar magnetic headphone I have used on it. Toss in all of the necessary audio speak and it is there. The LG  does not have the final say in neutrality and this is by virtue of its design. Tube's impart a sonic signature of their own, the LG allows you to hear this for various tubes but this does not mean it is slow or muddy, it is everybit as detailed and accurate as the best tube amps out there. I had a similar experience with the HD800 that I did with most grado's = listened to it on numerous occasions at meets and it felt like it was a poor fit for my listening preferences. I finally heard it on a BA and the virtues of the headphone were finally revealed, I then heard it on the LG and knew that there was a problem with all the other set ups I had heard previously as they are fantastic headphones and the LG is very well suited to bringing out the best in them. I do not have experience with the TH900 and the LG. 

 

 will look into dates that might work for a small meet. This would ultimately be the best way to ascertain your own opinions. 

 

..dB

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

O_O Looks like I really am going to have to try and get a listen to these amps before I can make a decision. Thanks for your impressions of the LG dBel. If the LG has a sound that I like, having a single unit that can act as well as a full tube set amp would be wonderful.

 

Decisions, decisions. Anyway, Craig got back to be and they are currently starting to build the batch of MKIV 2A3s. That doesn't really tell me when a end date would be but its still promising. :P

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Help and Getting Started › Introductions, Help and Recommendations › End-game Amp Decision CALG vs ECBA/2A3 vs WA5