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Schiit Valhalla Vs. Woo WA6SE.

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

The name says it all, I'm torn between the two amps for my first tube amp. I know Schiit is pretty reasonable in price and I hear a lot of good things about it but I also hear a lot of good things about the WA6SE. I've tried to find any kind of comparison between the two before I started this thread but I was rather unlucky so I figured why not. So anyone out there that has heard both amps and can give me some advice on which you think would be the best. The headphones I plan on using are the Sennehisier HD650 and the Beyerdynamic DT990 600ohm, also I enjoy all types of music except for country so hopefully that will help you guys point me in the right direction.

post #2 of 17

First, I have not heard the WA6SE.

 

However ... output-transformer-coupled tube amps are more transparent than OTL's.  It may not be a small difference, either.

post #3 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomb View Post
 

First, I have not heard the WA6SE.

 

However ... output-transformer-coupled tube amps are more transparent than OTL's.  It may not be a small difference, either.

 

Interesting.  Isn't the point of going OTL to make the amp more linear?  I guess linear doesn't have to translate to transparent.

post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 

All I'm wanting is people's impressions of the two and and if they like one over the other and why.

post #5 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnalogSavior View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomb View Post
 

First, I have not heard the WA6SE.

 

However ... output-transformer-coupled tube amps are more transparent than OTL's.  It may not be a small difference, either.

 

Interesting.  Isn't the point of going OTL to make the amp more linear?  I guess linear doesn't have to translate to transparent.


Not at all.  The point of going OTL is to avoid the expense of output transformers.  Linearity has nothing to do with it, unless you consider that the only alternative is to buy transformers at the same cost as a couple of $4 non-audio-quality capacitors.  Then yeah - I guess you might say the capacitors would be more linear compared to $4 transformers.  Even the $4 transformers won't have the "fog," though. ;)

post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Themorganlett85 View Post
 

All I'm wanting is people's impressions of the two and and if they like one over the other and why.


Read more closely and you may learn something.  No one's trying to specifically trash a vendor, here.  So, it may take some effort on your part.

post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomb View Post
 


Read more closely and you may learn something.  No ones trying to specifically trash a vendor, here.  So, it may take some effort on your part.


I'm not asking anyone to talk "trash" about a vendor I'm just asking for people's opinions that have actually heard both amps not for people to be condescending for no reason at all.

post #8 of 17

Good luck.

post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomb View Post
 

First, I have not heard the WA6SE.

 

However ... output-transformer-coupled tube amps are more transparent than OTL's.  It may not be a small difference, either.

 

 

well not necessarily, lets compare WA6-SE with WA2, an OTL that compares better with WA6-SE and is priced similarly,

 

the OTL was equally transparent if not more, the WA6-SE had an aggressiveness to it and a more compressed nature, the OTL was more natural and euphonic sounding, with upgraded tubes, i felt the OTL was the winner. the WA6-SE though did have more details and a much bigger soundstage, but that was the only things better.

post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dubstep Girl View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomb View Post
 

First, I have not heard the WA6SE.

 

However ... output-transformer-coupled tube amps are more transparent than OTL's.  It may not be a small difference, either.

 

 

well not necessarily, lets compare WA6-SE with WA2, an OTL that compares better with WA6-SE and is priced similarly,

 

the OTL was equally transparent if not more, the WA6-SE had an aggressiveness to it and a more compressed nature, the OTL was more natural and euphonic sounding, with upgraded tubes, i felt the OTL was the winner. the WA6-SE though did have more details and a much bigger soundstage, but that was the only things better.

 

With respect, no argument on your experience with the Woos, but I sort of wonder how it can have more details, but not be as transparent as the other one?  Maybe there's an issue in how we define our words?  I typically think of transparency as the ability to allow details to come through.  The more transparent, the more details you are able to discern.  Whereas less transparency might be referred to as a fog - details are obscured, get smudged, or can't be discerned at all.

 

Maybe you have a different take on it, though. :)

post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomb View Post
 

 

With respect, no argument on your experience with the Woos, but I sort of wonder how it can have more details, but not be as transparent as the other one?  Maybe there's an issue in how we define our words?  I typically think of transparency as the ability to allow details to come through.  The more transparent, the more details you are able to discern.  Whereas less transparency might be referred to as a fog - details are obscured, get smudged, or can't be discerned at all.

 

Maybe you have a different take on it, though. :)

 

transparency and detail are not the same.

 

transparency is exactly what it sounds like, see through, does anything get in between you and the music? any grain, harshness, unnaturalness, or noise takes away from it. in a way, yes the way details come through, but it doesn't exactly mean you hear more details, or that there is more. details are just the resolving ability of the headphone, how nuanced is it, how much more information can you hear and how much better is it, however, it isn't necessarily transparent. for example, Beyerdynamic headphones are very detailed, much more than an Audeze, but I wouldn't say more transparent. The Audeze's tend to have a very clean sound to them, though dark, there is absolutely zero grain. The Beyers though presenting lots of detail, tend to have treble grain which takes away from their transparency, it sounds slightly more like a recording and less like the real thing due to this. 

 

The WA2 seemed to be more transparent because it sounded more natural, there was certainly less grain than the WA6-SE especially in the treble, the coherency and presentation of the music was very natural and the noise floor was quite low, almost black background, all these make it quite transparent. The WA6-SE was slightly grainier and seemed to be more aggressive with a slightly more compressed sound, it was fairly neutral despite that, with slight tube warmth, noise was a little more than the WA2. However, the WA6-SE was also more detailed, I heard more things in my music and it was easier to pick things out due to the larger soundstage.

 

the GSX MK2 for example is one of the most transparent solid-state amps out there, why? Extremely neutral and uncolored, absolutely zero grain, the transients are very liquid and theres a nice fluidity to the sound and dynamics, it sounds effortless, and the background is black. Usually transparent headphones/amps will have more detail, but this can change (like if a headphone is warm or dark, it will be slightly less detailed in the treble, but it can still be transparent if it is free of grain and has a natural tonality). 

 

In a little more extreme example, youtube videos, recordings on cheap microphones/cell phones/etc.... see how easy it is to tell that its a recording and not the real thing? its due to the grain and digital nature of the sound, as well as the sort of muffled sound, that is the best example of non-transparency i can give. take away the grain, make the sound more natural and make it feel like you're closer to the real thing, it sounds like theres nothing between you and the music, thats transparency.

 

details just means its easier to pick up subtle things in a recording, from spatial cues to notes and instruments hidden deep in the recording.

 

 

anyways, thats about as good of an explanation as i can give. DavidMahler kinda explains it as well in his battle of the flagships review, he makes it very easy to understand if you read why a headphone would or not be transparent. with an amp its the same thing, you'll know if it sounds cheap or not :D


Edited by Dubstep Girl - 5/10/14 at 11:47pm
post #12 of 17

Grain, smudges - it's all the inability to discern detail.  We'll just have to disagree. ;)

post #13 of 17
But what about the "ringing" when you plug your headphones in?
post #14 of 17

Is there a master, terminology thread anywhere?  Somewhere point to and consistently compare the difference between transparent/detail/grain/smudge/etc.  I have a feeling many of us use slightly different vocabulary  to describe the same think; and can easily lead to confusion/surprises as we try and judge equipment with different measures over the interwebs..

post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Themorganlett85 View Post
 

The name says it all, I'm torn between the two amps for my first tube amp. I know Schiit is pretty reasonable in price and I hear a lot of good things about it but I also hear a lot of good things about the WA6SE. I've tried to find any kind of comparison between the two before I started this thread but I was rather unlucky so I figured why not. So anyone out there that has heard both amps and can give me some advice on which you think would be the best. The headphones I plan on using are the Sennehisier HD650 and the Beyerdynamic DT990 600ohm, also I enjoy all types of music except for country so hopefully that will help you guys point me in the right direction.


I'm not exactly sure why you're trying to compare a $350 OTL amp to a $1200 OTC amp...? They're completely different beasts in price *and* function.

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