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Woo Audio Amp Owner Unite

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by dannie01, Jun 9, 2009.
  1. Krutsch
    Honesty, it was years ago at a meet that I had the opportunity to compare my WA3 to someone else's WA6, side-by-side. I recall preferring the WA3, but I can't remember what the sound differences were. Sorry.

    FWIW, I also did the same at that meet (and another one, a year later) with a BHC + Speedball, and had a similar reaction. So did the owner of the BHC; he asked if he could borrow a power tube (a Tung-Sol 5998, IIRC) and was impressed by the difference in sound.

    The WA3 is an under appreciated amp on Head-Fi.

    EDIT: ... with the HD-650, IMO.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2019
  2. Odin412
    Agreed. I have both the WA3 and the WA6 and I like them with different headphones. The WA3 sounds really good with high-impedance headphones like the HD 650. The WA6 can drive lower-impedance headphones and sounds wonderful with e.g. MrSpeakers Aeon Flow Closed and Focal Elear IMHO. YMMV, as always.
  3. UMN
    Can you explain why the WA3 sounds better than the WA6 with the HD 650. How does it sound better, etc. Thanks.
  4. Odin412
    I can try. I find the HD 650 to be a forgiving headphone for poor recordings. I also find that the WA6 is a pretty forgiving amplifier - somewhat depending on tubes, of course. The combination of HD 650 and WA6 becomes too much for me - so forgiving that it starts sounding a bit thick and constrained. The WA3 works with the HD 650 to enhance its already excellent musicality without any additional thickness. This is all very tube-dependent, of course - both amps respond well to tube rolling. I should also tell you that to my ears the WA3 sound especially good with a vintage Tung-Sol 5998 power tube, which isn't exactly cheap. I'm looking for the even more rare and expensive Western Electric 421A - tubes are dangerous to your wallet!

    So the quick summary is WA3/HD 650 = synergy, WA6/HD 650 = no synergy.
    Krutsch likes this.
  5. Zhanming057
    Conventional wisdom is that the HD800 and 600 benefit from the higher output impedance of OTL amps, which as you point out creates "looseness" and warmth from introducing distortions across the frequency range. I've always seen it as more of an argument about how OTL amps are not suitable for low-impedance planars because the output impedance is a much larger fraction (or even larger than) the headphone's impedance.

    For what it's worth, my gold-standard amps for the HD800 are darker, strong solid states such as the LAG, Rudistor 030 and the Pass Labs HPA1. The Woo amps are best with even brighter and faster headphones such as the Focal Utopia.
  6. SilverEars
    I recently found out Zana Deux is OTL with very small output impedance. 3 ohmish under low setting? Not entirely sure.

    The thing is, I do not know the specific values of these amps. I was under the impression bottlehead crack's is large.

    The Woo WA5 is transformer coupled and it's either 16 for low and 32 for high impedance setting, no?

    How much is WA5 and BH crack's?

    In terms of technicalities, HD800/S require precision in the chain, like a really damped, to sound technical, but there are amps that can make the 800 sound too incisive as well.

    Tonality is a preference depending on the person, that some want a bit of body since 800/S are tuned diffuse field and rather thin to my ears. And end up trying to 'fix' it's tonality, but why not just look for the right headphone?

    IMO purpose of having 800/S is the technicalities, and reducing it for tonality doesn't seem worth it.

    For example, just get a HD650 or 6XX if that's the type of tonality if one is after, and save mucho dinero.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2019
  7. UMN
    I have a WA6 together with my HD6xx (effectively a HD650) and heard the same thing.
    I decided that I need more treble emphasis, air, and sound stage. I did a lot of research here on Head-Fi and found that I should replace the small diver tubes with 6SN7's. Additional research on the web showed the 6SN7's that fit my profile seem to be the Sylvania VT-231's. So I bought the Woo adapters, a matched pair of VT-231's, and a RCA 5U4G coke bottle rectifier. No question, the tubes and adapters cost a lot. But the Woo now sounds completely different. With the Sylvania's the sound is not thick. No Sennheiser veil. Instead I hear beautiful texture, good detail, good sound stage, and lot's of PRAT. YMMV.
    OldSkool, elira and Odin412 like this.
  8. Stereolab42
    Wanted to try some different 300Bs on my WA5, aside from the SERPs and EML 300B meshes that I've been using for years. PSVane has gotten some attention for the WE replicas, so I decided to try their latest TOTL offering, the 300B Plus, which was easily available on eBay:


    (It's unclear what makes this a Plus, or what makes this a more or less faithful duplicate of the original WEs. But I'm far from an expert on that topic.) A couple weeks later they arrived, very nicely packaged, with test information and personally signed by the founder (whose name I can't translate):


    The tubes felt solid and well-made. Threw them on the WA5, with some trusty Sylvania brown 6SN7s and Sophia 274Bs, feeding an Abyss. I'm not one for elaborate descriptions of how things sound but I an very impressed. They have excellent bass response, but unlike the EMLs aren't dark and liquidly at all. I'd call them noticeably less bright than the SERPs, maybe a touch darker than neutral -- but only a touch. Very forward and expressive across the spectrum overall, excellent for rock/pop/electronic, which is my thing.

    I give these tubes two conditional thumbs up. Sonically, they are a home run. The big question that remains to be answered, of course, is reliability. Only time will tell.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2019
    Odin412 and moemoney like this.
  9. JLoud
    I am running the EML 300B's in my WA5. Could you give a little more in depth comparison between them and the Psvane?
  10. Stereolab42
    The mesh or the regular? I have the mesh. I have always found them dark and very smooth and liquid-like compared to any other 300B. While they are fine the more neutral and forward PSVANE is my preference.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2019
  11. JLoud
    I have the mesh. I really like the smooth sound and a little bit dark sound signature. Probably suit my tastes better. Thanks, saved me some cash.:smile_phones:
  12. reeltime
    I agree. Mesh. And the EMLs were superior to the PSVanes to my ears.

    Side note: I did pre-order the new Western Electric 300B. Anxious to see how good they are (and hope they don't blow up like the Elrogs!)
  13. Stereolab42
    Interesting. I'm tempted to order a pair and head-to-head them with the PSVanes. Unfortunately the IRS is saying "no". Ahh well.
    reeltime likes this.
  14. JLoud
    Post impressions of the Western Electric 300's. I have been eyeing them since I heard they were tooling up. NOS Western Electrics are just too expensive for me.
  15. davehg
    I took advantage of a recent tube vendor sale and added a pair of RCA 6SN7GTBs to swap in the WA22 for the existing Sovteks. Nice creamy tube sound, took a bit of the sparkle and lots of glare away but fat bass, warm midrange and decent air were abundantly present. To my ears the WA22 could stand to lose some glare.

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