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Woo Audio Amp Owner Unite

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by dannie01, Jun 9, 2009.
  1. TontNZ
    My wallet definitely can't stand the assault!  I started out a few months ago with the intention of spending $500 on an amp for my HD600's.  That's really where the trouble started, I discovered the WA7's, then the WA5-LE's!  I used to have some savings - not any more [​IMG]
    Have you heard any of the others and when you listened to the Hugo, were you using it to drive your headphones?
  2. jc9394

    Don't get the benchmark, too clinical. I have success with PS Audio PWD and like Wyred for Sound DAC2 when my friend got one.
  3. bpcans
    The Hugo is definitely one of those gotta haves that requires forethought when it comes to procurement. I used it to drive hp's just like mine with my iPhone 5s as the source. I compared it to the DACit, the Regal DAC, and the Benchmark DAC 1. Honestly, there was no comparison. How do you like the WA5-LE?
  4. TontNZ
    Thanks for the response.  I see the Wyred for sound is a tad more affordable than the PS Audio PWD.  I'll investigate the latter and add it to my list if it's a good fit.  I guess like of whole lot of other valve amp owners I favour musicality over straight accuracy if there's a trade-off.
  5. TontNZ
    I'm still waiting on them.  I've not heard anything from Woo as to when it will be built and shipped since I placed the order.  My only criticism of Woo Audio is that the only emails answered by them are the ones where I order something!!  Any email I send them asking them a question just gets ignored!  Still, I'm looking forward to having a tube amp again.  My rationale for buying the WA5-LE was that I wanted an amplifier that I would not have to replace because I outgrew it.  I don't imagine that I'll outgrow the WA5-LE, if I did I'd never be able to afford anything better anyway!  So I've bought the best that I can afford.
    When you say "The Hugo is definitely one of those gotta haves that requires forethought when it comes to procurement.", is this purely on cost grounds or did you find the sound polarising - in the love it or hate it way?
  6. punit

    JC have you heard the Lampizator ?
  7. bpcans
    Dear sir, my response is not solely based on the Hugo's cost, though its price is definitely a consideration. I'm trying to say that everyone hears things differently. What sounds good to me might not sound the same to you. Audiophile quality amps, dacs, hp's, and cables can cost a lot of cake. I just think it's prudent to research things thoroughly, thats all.
  8. TontNZ
    Thanks for the clarification.  You're dead right the cost of high(ish) end audio equipment (especially imported into NZ , which generally adds another 22% in addition to shipping), is ruinous!  That's why I'm trying to solicit opinions of those that have had exposure to equipment I've only read about. Again, especially those that I have (or hope to have) equipment in common with, ears and personal preferences not withstanding.
    At the end of the day it all helps me form impressions and opinions about equipment that I'd like in my system.
    So thanks for chipping in, all the best - Peter
  9. lojay

    Speaking from experience, I doubt that this would be the end of your quest. I can tell you that my WA5 sounded quite terrible with stock tubes. Well not terrible terrible but definitely disappointing as it was not much better than my $500 Little Dot Mk-IV. Some gurus on this forum have reported in the earlier days that the WA5 did not sound impressive during meets. This is because I think Woo designed the WA5 expecting you to tube-roll and these Headfiers were listening to it stock or with poor tube combinations. To some, including myself, tube rolling can be an engaging and fun exercise, hearing your amp grow or sound like different amps. The WA5-LE provides hundreds of combinations of tubes. Unfortunately (and some are put off for this), each of the driver, rectifier and power tubes costs an arm and a leg (check out the prices of Western Electric 300B NOS from eBay, 1950s vintage, they are more expensive than the amp itself), and even when you upgrade all the tubes (see my signature for my pairing, which I admit is really quite sublime), you will live in fear that the competition sounds better with much less fuss in arriving at that result.

    Right now, I am looking at the Eddie Current offerings and I have already placed my order for the BHSE. I am holding on to the WA5 because it sounds very nice now after the tube rolling and because it is such a good all rounder, ie it can drive high efficiency speakers, HE-6 and SR009 as well as or arguably better than the HD800.

    Some of its sonic characteristics with the premium tubes include a slightly warm tone while remaining transparent, detailed, fast dynamics and transients, and stunning soundstage and imaging. It's tonality depends heavily on the driver tubes (night and day difference!) and its soundstage on mainly the 300B and rectifiers. I think is not particularly musical or euphonic but the tubes may add some of that tubieness if desired. It is quite weak on bass and you will be more satisfied with an SS amp if you are a bass head. Its treble can sound etched at times if you pair it with a Sabre type of digital DAC or something like the Benchmark.

    Unless you have the desire and the means to continue your lifelong journey of upgrades and sidegrades, the only solution is to buy whatever you can afford in your budget and live happily with it. Most sane people end up doing just that, knowing that the increase in sound quality from a $500 amp to a $6000 amp is probably only 30% at best. I am happily in the borderline insane category.

    As usual, the greatest improvement in sound comes from your headphones.

  10. bpcans
    Your welcome sir, not a problem.
  11. lojay
    You can try the Emotiva DC-1 for great performance, at less than $1K shipped it is the ultimate bargain. You can check out GaryinMD's excellent midrange DAC shoot out for details. I surmise it will be better than the Wyred4Sound DAC for less than a fraction of the cost. I have done blind AB tests with the Naim DAC V1 which in turn was ABed with the Benchmark DAC2. The Emotiva had better imaging, details, tonality and a more delicate sound but was slightly more edgy on the vocals. Neither Naim nor Emotiva were too harsh or clinical sounding. The Benchmark was but it could do DSD very well.

    The Emotiva has rather sub-par USB implementation so it is prone to dirty USB power. You will need a dedicated PC or even better, clean USB power via a top end USB cable or the Audiophellio2 with pure power / Off Ramp 5 as transport.

    Ps I have found that Jack usually replies my questions within a day or two. Not too bad for a family company.
  12. jc9394
  13. wongtonypr
    Can anyone compare the WA5-le and the studio six to drive the hd800?
    I only tried the studio six before, can they consider to be the 'same level'?
  14. Dubstep Girl
    all woo amps are like this I think.
    the WA6-SE is veiled and congested with grain with stock tubes, the WA2 is too muddy with stock tubes, the WA22 is colored and has a weird treble bite to it with stock tubes, a somewhat shouty midrange similar to WA6-SE, and the WA5 stock sounded pretty bad too, the detail and presence was there, but the sound was still unrefined, especially the treble.
    woos are meant to be tube rolled and upgraded. I really wish jack would put decent/semi-premium tubes at least when he displays his amps at the meets. As you said, I think many of these bad impressions people have are partly due to this.
    kazsud likes this.
  15. kazsud


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