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WA3 vs WA6

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by lamitchell, Oct 30, 2010.
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  1. LAmitchell
    I can't seem to find a SOLID ANSWER to this question after reading 4+ hours of forum messages,
    so I hope you don't mind if I ask you myself:
    With my HD650's should I get the WA3 or WA6. There's a $125 price difference.
    It will be my first headphone amp, so please don't send me through a maze of tube-rolling options [​IMG]
  2. LAmitchell
    Oh by the way,
    I bought the HD650's thinking I would be able to "enjoy" them for a few weeks
    before buying a proper headphone amp....
    man, not having an amp for these things is.... well, it's not a whole lot of fun
    (their plugged into an APOGEE ONE which is plugged into my MAC AIR).
    So, yeah, I need to get a HEADPHONE AMP.....asap!
  3. realmassy
    I love (I really do) my HD650s with Woo3, but I had no chance to listen to the Woo6 so I can't compare.
    Many seem to agree the Woo3 is a better match with high impedance cans, and the only headphones I can see in my future are the T1s.
  4. Golden Monkey

    Pretty much this, in a nutshell!
    My rig started off the same as the OP...I wanted to build around HD650s, and I love my Woo 3+.  That said, I've never heard the 6, but you really can't go wrong with the 650/WA3 combo by any stretch.  My first amp was a Little Dot MKV, and I was happy.  Then my friend loaned me his (soon to be mine at the time) Woo, and it was game over for the LD.  Those Senns really do need the juice tube amplification provides for them to shine, and lose that supposed "veil".  I think the Woo/Senn combo is pretty much a perfect match.  Mind you, even so, I wasn't totally satisfied (but that's my failing, not the amp's) and I had it recapped with Black Gates, and went through a bunch of tube combos, and even went as far as upgrading the fuse, lol...  None of that is necessary though for you to REALLY enjoy your 650's.  I am right now, at nearly 3 AM...listening to Nightwish on the rig, and I just can't pull myself away.
  5. realmassy
    Cool Golden Monkey, we even shared the first headphone amp! The LD MKV was a nice little amp, and good match with the K701.
    You're totally right about the Senn's veil: with the right amplification (and a good after-market cable) it simply goes away.
  6. LAmitchell

    okay, so Golden Monkey, when you say you were not "totally satisfied" with the WA3, that makes my brain think
    I should save up s'more cash and get something that WILL satisfy me and really make me
    glad I invested(?) all this time/money into this head-fi subculture.
    so, will i reeeeallllly like the wa3 or should i DOUBLE UP and get something that costs TWICE as much?
    i guess i'm just worried that i'll be sitting there wondering "hey, this sounds good, but what if i had gotten the 6SE,etc"
    without an AMP, these HD650's aren't good
    for very much!
  7. Golden Monkey
    No, I meant that I'M hard to satisfy, because I always, ALWAYS wonder if something could be better.  I could have the best of the best, and I'd probably find something I didn't like about it, lol.  The WA3 outperformed any expectation I had for it in every way, and still does amaze me constantly...
    Email Jack, and ask him if he can build you one with the Black Gates, and you'll probably save some dough...it cost me $200 to have mine upgraded.
    If you're sitting there wondering "hey, this sounds good, but what if i had gotten the 6SE,etc"  then I can't really help you , because you're just too damn hard headed, lol...the WA3/HD650 combo is perfect.  If you want to do the WA6 properly, you'll want the 6SE, so you'll need to also get the premium parts upgrade ($450), the DACT attenuator ($215), and the Sophia Princess rectifier ($150), so you're looking at $1,850 plus shipping.  Will that outperform the WA3?  Sure, but $1,200 more for that last little percentage?  Keep in mind the 6 series is output transformer coupled, whereas the 3 is an OTL design.  Search the forums, and you'll see a trend...HD650 + OTL = heaven.
  8. forbigger
    i thought wa3 is an otl tube amp which supposedly not very good synergy with hd650 which is high impedance headphone ?
    OP, if I were you and can afford it, go for wa6 se, this headphone amp will be able to power most of the headphone out there to glory. Unless you want to go balanced. skip all the premium upgrade. you only need the sophia princess.
    If not, go for wa6, this amp is also good enough for most of headphones out there but lack power to drive a fussier headphone
  9. Golden Monkey
    Um...no. Read Uncle Erik's post in this thread...it's technical, but makes perfect sense, and shows exactly why you'd want an OTL design in a tube amp for high impedance cans: http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/388373/can-someone-explain-what-otl-means
  10. LAmitchell
    Hey Golden Monkey,
    I just read your post from Sept/2008 about when you first got your WA3. 
    The fact that you still love it is good enough for me to go ahead and get it.
    (wish payday would hurry up and get here... it sucks having to wait!)
    quick question: i keep seeing people talk about how great the SOPHIA PRINCESS tube is,
    does it fit/work in the 3??
    yes, i do realize that i am quite the goofball.
  11. matthewh133
    No I believe the WA3 does not support the Sophia Princess.
  12. Golden Monkey
    Correct, the Sophia Princess won't work in the 3.  It's a rectifier tube, something the 3 doesn't need.  For my money, the best/most enjoyable tubes for the Woo3 are either a Tung-Sol 5998, 6520, or 7236 for the power tube, and late 1960's Amperex (US made) PQ 6922s, Amperex (Holland) 50's-early 60's 6DJ8s or 6922s, mid-1960's Mullard 6DJ8s, or Siemens 6922's (various eras of production) for preamp pairs.  Some of these are pricey, some can be had at reasonable expense.  I'll tell you this though, you'll be MUCH happier from the get-go with the stock tubes over what you've got now, that's for sure.
    ...and I appreciate your goofballity.  Sometimes people take themselves WAY too seriously around here.  "Audiophilia iz srs biznus!"
    ...and I can't believe you dug up that old post, lol...man, was I exuberant back then!  If you liked that one, you should check out: http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/375119/woo-3-adventures-in-tuberolling-update-page-6.  I'm kinda funny, lol.
    Also, this is a great read all about the WA3+, in case you haven't read it: http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/410791/woo-audio-3-experience. I come in around page 10 or so, lol.
  13. GreatDane Contributor
    Nice choice with the WA3. I've been happy with mine for nearly 5 years. I bought my WA3 originally for a Beyerdynamic 2003 DT-880(250 Ohm). Later I bought Senn HD 650 which sounded great also. Now it's all about the Beyer T1. I also use the preamp function with a Rotel speaker amp. I estimate over 11,000 hours of use so far with my WA3.
    This is the thread that started it for me: http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/94853/woo3-modified
  14. skeptic
    Thought I'd chime in as another satisfied WA3 / HD650 owner.  First, I'll echo that it is a great combo, particularly if you get your hands on a decent set of tubes.  As Golden Monkey mentioned, 6dj8/6922/7308's can get pretty pricey, but there are a lot of options out there (and tons of info posted on the matter on head-fi and audio asylum) that you can turn to when you want to upgrade from stock.  For the power tube, I definitely second the suggestion of a Tung-Sol 5998. 
    As to the difference between the WA3 and WA6 - sonically, the WA6 is a bit more euphonic (or "tubey") sounding.  This is fairly typical of the divide between OTL (WA3) vs. transformer-coupled tube amps (WA6).  OTL amps tend to be a little closer to a solid state sound, often described as being a little faster sounding (although I haven't spend enough time comparing the WA3 and WA6 to really opine on this characteristic), and with a little bit less of the "lush mids" tube enthusiasts often rave about.  OTL amps, however, do not generally pair well with low impedance headphones.        
    Hope you find as much enjoyment in your Woo amp as I have.
  15. avsBuddy
    Interesting, Skeptic.
    I've heard just an opposite when it comes to tube OTL amps vs OT coupled amp. I was told that transformer coupled is exactly what makes amps like WA6 sound more solid state vs pure tube powered design of output transformerless design.
    keeferdog likes this.
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