Wells Audio - Impressions & Questions
Apr 2, 2021 at 12:40 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 372

OceanRanger

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This thread is intended to provide a location for owners and for those interested in Wells Audio to offer impressions and to ask questions about new and existing products.

There are a few of us that own Cipher DACs and are interested in purchasing the Dragon hybrid tube amp. Rather than discussing those products within the existing Headtrip or Milo threads, it seemed better to create a more general Wells Audio thread.

Has anyone auditioned the Looking Glass passive power conditioner? I don't know much about power conditioners. There seem to be a lot of varying opinions on the concept. If any head-fi folks have experience with Wells Audio's Looking Glass, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

I've have been enjoying a Headtrip II for several months now. I am super happy with this amp. Obviously it has plenty of power for the 1266 TCs. It also sounds wonderful and natural. I am thinking about replacing it with the upcoming Dragon hybrid SS/tube amp. A month or so ago I heard an early version of this product. It was early in the burn in process, but sounded impressive with my TCs. There is a bit of information on this product in the Milo Impressions thread, hopefully Jeff will post some more on the Dragon soon. One of the things that I like about this product is different gain settings. It should scale well with different headphones. HiFiMan Susvaras will be my next headphone. With a sensitivity of 83db and impedance of 60 ohms, this headphone is definitely tougher to drive than the Abyss. When I next have the chance to listen to the Dragon I hope to do so with Susvaras.
 
Apr 2, 2021 at 7:22 PM Post #2 of 372

Orlok

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Thanks for getting this thread started! I've been developing a lot of interest in the Wells Audio line of amps as a potential partner for the 1266 TC I just received. It will take a while before I fully absorb and understand the TC's characteristics through the TT2's SE and XLR outs as well as the TToby's speaker taps. Once I finish that process, I may very well look for the "ultimate" playing partner for the TC as well as my LCD-4 and whatever other headphones I may add in the future - including the Susvara, which I have tried and would love to own someday.

The Headtrip II and the upcoming Dragon are both very intriguing. I really like the fact that the amps can be upgraded in the future and that customizations are also possible to suit a listener's particular needs and wants. With amps at the highest "endgame" levels, my thought is that there is no single "best" but that it's about finding what works the absolute best for me - not anybody else. And to do that, I believe that it's ideal to go with a small builder you can develop a personal relationship with and converse about what type of tonality, response, feel, and other intangibles that I look for when listening.

It reminds me of the days when I used to order custom guitars and custom tube guitar amps from builders and talking to them for months on end about the specs and features, the materials, the components, the setup and about what kind of sound, response and feel I'm going for, etc. I'd want to do that for an amp at this level - tune the tonality, voicing and the tactile feel exactly (or at least very close to) as I envision and would like to hear in my head.

I'm not an engineer and my understanding of electronics is rudimentary but I have worked with and also for amp builders who produce guitar amps in the $3~6K range. They may ask, "So do you want a little more high-mids? Roll back the low-mids a notch and add a little more 'cut' in the low-treble?" I'd say, yeah, but how about with this and that and then they'll go inside the amp chassis and tweak it for you, sometimes while I'm waiting with the guitar plugged into the amp.

Someday, I'd like to do this with the "dream endgame" headphone amp. I'll take all my headphones and my basic rig to the amp builder's shop and compare side by side like I used to do with guitars and guitar amps. My 100w guitar tube head based on the Marshall circuits was modified to my taste. I don't flip-flop on what I'd like to hear. When I hear it, I know it and I tell the builder: "That's it! Now button it up!" Doesn't take long.

This would be my next journey, so to speak. But, before I do that, I need to learn my new "instrument" first and then start looking for the ideal amplification partner. I remember some guitar guys would order a custom guitar and matching custom amp at the same time and I'd be thinking, "But how would you know that this amp will match the guitar if you haven't even played it?" Now I need to learn the TC, compare for a good long while (say, 6 months) to my SR1a and LCD-4 and other headphones I've owned in the past or tried, and get a full understanding of where it stands and fits in and determine how it can be maximized to realize its full potential.

I look forward to seeing and hearing the current and future Wells Audio amps - and the CIPHER DAC too. Lots of possibilities here...

Regarding power, I know good power conditioning and good power cables make a difference although I do not know to what degree as I haven't tried the real good, i.e. expensive, ones. My experience with them, again, is with tube guitar amps. Here are some photos of my guitar rig at my work demo room and you can see the green power cables for the two tube amps - the big 100w head with a quartet of EL34s connected to an attenuator/amp (50w) on top of the head with two KT88s. The power cables are around $350 each. Other guitar players would see that and ask what the heck they were and how much they cost. Of course, when I tell them they gasp and shake their heads. :joy:

But they do make a noticeable difference. It's more a feel kind of thing in that everything sounds livelier. There's a "sizzle" (in feel, not sound) and more energy in the sound. That's the best way I can describe it. The power cords are plugged into a conditioner/filter with a footswitch that turns the outlets on and off in stepped order - the outlets turn on pedals and other devices turn on first and the amps last. Then when you press the footswitch, it turns the outlets for the amps off first in order and then the outlets for the pedals are turned off last. You can even program how many seconds pass between each set of two outlets. Very handy for guitar players who always forget to turn on or off everything in the correct order. :relaxed:

So, I have to say, I'm very interested in how power affects the sound quality of the amps and other components. Some audiophiles go to the extremes and you may have seen this WSJ story about some Japanese audiophiles and one guy basically asked his electric company to set up a power pole to directly tap into the power grid instead of sharing the power with his neighbors.



I've also been reading about guys here who are using batteries to power their gear. Sounds a little silly but still intriguing at the same time. Haha. How fun it all is! :)
 

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Apr 3, 2021 at 6:01 PM Post #3 of 372

Bonddam

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Jeff told me he is moving to metal and HeadTrip is getting a make over which means it will need more real estate. The amp will power all headphones with no hum. If you are looking for equipment protection I'd look at his. Ill be looking at looking glass lvl 1. I'm just looking to not loosing the important stuff in music and have protection. As far as noise my Cyan is plugged in directly to my outlet and sounds clean and amazing but scared that there's no protection.

Anyone want to give me a couple bucks for cool looking conditioner it filters everything?
 
Apr 19, 2021 at 5:28 PM Post #4 of 372

OceanRanger

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Wells Dragon Level III will be arriving on Wednesday!!
 
Apr 19, 2021 at 6:14 PM Post #6 of 372

Ciggavelli

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Wells Dragon Level III will be arriving on Wednesday!!
Where can I read about this Dragon component? I keep seeing people mention it, but I go to the Wells Audio site and see nothing. I'm curious :thinking:
 
Apr 19, 2021 at 6:18 PM Post #7 of 372

ThanatosVI

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Where can I read about this Dragon component? I keep seeing people mention it, but I go to the Wells Audio site and see nothing. I'm curious :thinking:
Only spread in between the other Wells Audio threads, mainly for the Milo and Headtrip.

It's a new Tube Hybrid amp.
Info from Jeff himself:
Edit:
Final prices were reduced(full 400$ for L1, 1250$ for L2) so to reduce confusion I will post only the final price.
"The correct price points are $1500.00 for the base Dragon amplifier, $2500.00 for the Level II and $5500.00 for the Level III. The Dragon page is active on the Wellsaudio. Com website and has quite extensive information on the 3 Dragon levels."
 
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Apr 19, 2021 at 6:32 PM Post #8 of 372

Orlok

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Where can I read about this Dragon component? I keep seeing people mention it, but I go to the Wells Audio site and see nothing. I'm curious :thinking:
You are like Genghis Khan: "What other lands are there to conquer?" :wink:
 
Apr 22, 2021 at 12:55 AM Post #9 of 372

OceanRanger

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Dragon LIII arrived today. It easily drives the 1266 TCs and doesn't seem to break a sweat. I only have a few hours listening time on it so far and am super happy. I want to soak in it for a while before posting my impressions. Stay tuned....
IMG_2753.JPG
 
Apr 22, 2021 at 2:25 PM Post #10 of 372

OceanRanger

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Apr 22, 2021 at 2:42 PM Post #11 of 372

ThanatosVI

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Apr 22, 2021 at 2:55 PM Post #12 of 372

OceanRanger

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I struggled with the decision to move from the Headtrip II to the Dragon LIII. I am very please that I did. The Dragon is certainly more spacious than the Headtrip with depth and soundstage, though there is a slight tradeoff in the high end. It feels more relaxed than the Headtrip. I had been contemplating getting a pair of Susvaras, but the Dragon is causing me to find even more joy in the 1266 TC's.
 
Apr 22, 2021 at 3:11 PM Post #13 of 372

Spawn300Z

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I struggled with the decision to move from the Headtrip II to the Dragon LIII. I am very please that I did. The Dragon is certainly more spacious than the Headtrip with depth and soundstage, though there is a slight tradeoff in the high end. It feels more relaxed than the Headtrip. I had been contemplating getting a pair of Susvaras, but the Dragon is causing me to find even more joy in the 1266 TC's.
So are you saying it sounds better than the Headtrip II.
 
Apr 22, 2021 at 3:59 PM Post #14 of 372

Bonddam

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I'm confused by the dip switches. What does the grounding switch do?
Sucks I'm only going to have .5 amp of current.

Only spread in between the other Wells Audio threads, mainly for the Milo and Headtrip.

It's a new Tube Hybrid amp.
Info from Jeff himself:
"The base model will sell for $1900.00 and the Level II version will be $3750.00. It will have the ability to use either 12bh7 or 6dj8 tubes. It will have dip switches to choose between 4 different gain setting so it should be comfortable for the most efficient to the hardest to drive headphones. It will have RCA as well as XLR inputs as standard. Outputs will be 6.3mm stereo plug as well as a stereo 4 pin"
The price you posted on level 2 should be $2500.

The 6dj8 is the same as 6922 which I have a nice set of Amperex gold pins Im going to be using.
 
Apr 22, 2021 at 5:05 PM Post #15 of 372

ThanatosVI

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The price you posted on level 2 should be $2500.
Yes and the level 1 is also only 1500 instead of 1900$

The initial prices came from a Pm from Jeff des months ago.
Final product is much more affordable now.

I really don't need another amp, but this one is tempting for sure.
 

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