Woo Audio Amp Owner Unite
Nov 3, 2021 at 12:13 PM Post #41,356 of 41,809

jonathan c

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Tube prices are going crazy and, unless good new production starts, this will ultimately lead to the end of such amps like wa2, 22, feliks euforia and many others.
If good / holy grail tube prices keep rising / stay elevated, inducement to produce (reproduce) ‘classic’ tubes may also rise - thus alleviating supply and tube amplifier survival fears…
 
Nov 3, 2021 at 12:30 PM Post #41,357 of 41,809

bpiotrow13

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If good / holy grail tube prices keep rising / stay elevated, inducement to produce (reproduce) ‘classic’ tubes may also rise - thus alleviating supply and tube amplifier survival fears…
Let's hope so. Has anybody heard anything on plans for reissuing 6as7/6080 family? I gues none of these tubes are produced nowadays. I wonder who could reissue such tues and what would be the quality...
 
Nov 3, 2021 at 3:06 PM Post #41,358 of 41,809

vlach

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In nutshell the wa2 is a silky smooth amp and is best suited to high impedance hps. It’s great with my hd800 - i consider those two as one unit.
imho
Agreed.
 
Nov 4, 2021 at 10:16 AM Post #41,359 of 41,809

hodgjy

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If those tubes work for you you’re in good shape. For me though I don’t think I’d be happy with my WA22 if I couldn’t use NOS European and US tubes. Fortunately I’ve got a pretty good hoard supply of the tubes I really like.
I've owned various tube amps over the years and I've rolled the hell out of them. I've used everything from the cheapest tubes to the unobtanium tubes blessed by frozen unicorn tears.

My opinion of tubes has changed over the years.

Are there difference between tubes? Absolutely. Some are noisy. Some are quiet. Some have different timbre. Some have treble roll off or show the opposite peaky extension. Some have flabby bass or show the opposite tight and dry lower registers.

Can different complements of tubes have synergistic effects on the overall sound qualities of an amp? Also, absolutely yes.

However, while there are noticeable changes, I'd say that we greatly exaggerate the sonic differences between tubes. Maybe it's due to expectation bias. I'm not an audiologist or psychologist, so I can't tell for sure. But, I can say that when I remove my expectation bias and do some blind listening, I'm more likely to not notice large differences in tubes and have been known to get incorrect answers when asked to identify certain tubes.

Where am I going with this? I think amps retain their basic DNA no matter what tubes you roll into them. I think this is why makers like Jack Wu have no problem selling amps with the most basic Russian or Chinese tubes as stock because the amp sounds well within its intended sonic flavor. These makers rely on word of mouth advertising, so they can't afford missteps by putting out amps that sound bad. In other words, not only do they not care that you roll tubes or not, they are betting their bottom line on the end user not rolling tubes.

If one has the financial means to buy exotic unobtanium, I hope they do so and enjoy their amps to the highest possible levels. But, not being able to find or afford such exotic tubes doesn't diminish the quality of the amps or their overall ability to sing. Their makers know this, they will continue to make and sell these amps without any regard for the supply of unobtanium tubes, and I propose that more of us could be a bit more realistic in our own expectations as I have very stubbornly learned to do over the years. I'm perfectly happy with a $150 Schiit Vali 2+ with a $15 Russian tube. It's not all that different from my $2000 Trafomatic with rare 1970s Russian tubes and a snobby rectifier.
 
Nov 4, 2021 at 10:22 AM Post #41,360 of 41,809

hodgjy

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Let's hope so. Has anybody heard anything on plans for reissuing 6as7/6080 family? I gues none of these tubes are produced nowadays. I wonder who could reissue such tues and what would be the quality...
The Russian equivalents are pretty darn good. I'd have no problem running these tubes in my amps. Plus, they are usually very quiet, which is another bonus. RCA and Chatham 6AS7G tubes tend to be quite noisy.
 
Nov 4, 2021 at 2:05 PM Post #41,361 of 41,809

mordy

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I've owned various tube amps over the years and I've rolled the hell out of them. I've used everything from the cheapest tubes to the unobtanium tubes blessed by frozen unicorn tears.

My opinion of tubes has changed over the years.

Are there difference between tubes? Absolutely. Some are noisy. Some are quiet. Some have different timbre. Some have treble roll off or show the opposite peaky extension. Some have flabby bass or show the opposite tight and dry lower registers.

Can different complements of tubes have synergistic effects on the overall sound qualities of an amp? Also, absolutely yes.

However, while there are noticeable changes, I'd say that we greatly exaggerate the sonic differences between tubes. Maybe it's due to expectation bias. I'm not an audiologist or psychologist, so I can't tell for sure. But, I can say that when I remove my expectation bias and do some blind listening, I'm more likely to not notice large differences in tubes and have been known to get incorrect answers when asked to identify certain tubes.

Where am I going with this? I think amps retain their basic DNA no matter what tubes you roll into them. I think this is why makers like Jack Wu have no problem selling amps with the most basic Russian or Chinese tubes as stock because the amp sounds well within its intended sonic flavor. These makers rely on word of mouth advertising, so they can't afford missteps by putting out amps that sound bad. In other words, not only do they not care that you roll tubes or not, they are betting their bottom line on the end user not rolling tubes.

If one has the financial means to buy exotic unobtanium, I hope they do so and enjoy their amps to the highest possible levels. But, not being able to find or afford such exotic tubes doesn't diminish the quality of the amps or their overall ability to sing. Their makers know this, they will continue to make and sell these amps without any regard for the supply of unobtanium tubes, and I propose that more of us could be a bit more realistic in our own expectations as I have very stubbornly learned to do over the years. I'm perfectly happy with a $150 Schiit Vali 2+ with a $15 Russian tube. It's not all that different from my $2000 Trafomatic with rare 1970s Russian tubes and a snobby rectifier.
I've owned various tube amps over the years and I've rolled the hell out of them. I've used everything from the cheapest tubes to the unobtanium tubes blessed by frozen unicorn tears.

My opinion of tubes has changed over the years.

Are there difference between tubes? Absolutely. Some are noisy. Some are quiet. Some have different timbre. Some have treble roll off or show the opposite peaky extension. Some have flabby bass or show the opposite tight and dry lower registers.

Can different complements of tubes have synergistic effects on the overall sound qualities of an amp? Also, absolutely yes.

However, while there are noticeable changes, I'd say that we greatly exaggerate the sonic differences between tubes. Maybe it's due to expectation bias. I'm not an audiologist or psychologist, so I can't tell for sure. But, I can say that when I remove my expectation bias and do some blind listening, I'm more likely to not notice large differences in tubes and have been known to get incorrect answers when asked to identify certain tubes.

Where am I going with this? I think amps retain their basic DNA no matter what tubes you roll into them. I think this is why makers like Jack Wu have no problem selling amps with the most basic Russian or Chinese tubes as stock because the amp sounds well within its intended sonic flavor. These makers rely on word of mouth advertising, so they can't afford missteps by putting out amps that sound bad. In other words, not only do they not care that you roll tubes or not, they are betting their bottom line on the end user not rolling tubes.

If one has the financial means to buy exotic unobtanium, I hope they do so and enjoy their amps to the highest possible levels. But, not being able to find or afford such exotic tubes doesn't diminish the quality of the amps or their overall ability to sing. Their makers know this, they will continue to make and sell these amps without any regard for the supply of unobtanium tubes, and I propose that more of us could be a bit more realistic in our own expectations as I have very stubbornly learned to do over the years. I'm perfectly happy with a $150 Schiit Vali 2+ with a $15 Russian tube. It's not all that different from my $2000 Trafomatic with rare 1970s Russian tubes and a snobby rectifier.
Agree completely that you can get very good sound from inexpensive tubes. At the same time, you will find that most people on these threads end up using different tubes than the factory supplied ones. The tubes the amps come with are good, and selected with care by the amp manufacturers, but IMHO the majority of people end up with different tubes because to many people they sound better. It does not mean expensive tubes necessarily.

The real reason why manufacturers use certain new production tubes instead of NOS is because they need a reliable large supply of tubes for their production, and the NOS tubes many end up with are not available in the quantities required. As an individual owner you just need a pair or so, whereas the manufacturer needs hundreds.

I have a sub $400 Russian hybrid tube amp that uses $2-5 tubes and it sounds almost as good as my US boutique $2000 tube amp - it certainly is just as enjoyable.

Everybody listens differently - some people listen to their amps and others to the music. I do both (at different times) and cannot say that one way is better than the other. After spending a lot of time with certain tube combinations I just know that this combination ends up grating on my nerves in the long run, even if it sounded great initially, and other tube combinations continue to please without any irritations.
Certainly there is expectation bias, but that goes away after spending a lot of time with the equipment.
Another thought: For a novice the tubes look pretty much the same (except for size), and I think that the prices on certain tubes have been jacked up by unscrupulous sellers because they are easy to identify for an inexperienced person:
Examples are red base, smoked glass, curved base or a very prominent getter flashing etc. Obviously, the bigger the tube, the better the sound (not true). And even though older tubes many times sound better than new production, it is not always the case. Then there are dishonest sellers that advertise tubes at fantasy prices in the thousands....
In summary: When it comes to tubes, price and sound have very little correlation. And remember:
TRUST YOUR EARS!
 
Nov 4, 2021 at 2:35 PM Post #41,362 of 41,809

hodgjy

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Agree completely that you can get very good sound from inexpensive tubes. At the same time, you will find that most people on these threads end up using different tubes than the factory supplied ones. The tubes the amps come with are good, and selected with care by the amp manufacturers, but IMHO the majority of people end up with different tubes because to many people they sound better. It does not mean expensive tubes necessarily.

The real reason why manufacturers use certain new production tubes instead of NOS is because they need a reliable large supply of tubes for their production, and the NOS tubes many end up with are not available in the quantities required. As an individual owner you just need a pair or so, whereas the manufacturer needs hundreds.

I have a sub $400 Russian hybrid tube amp that uses $2-5 tubes and it sounds almost as good as my US boutique $2000 tube amp - it certainly is just as enjoyable.

Everybody listens differently - some people listen to their amps and others to the music. I do both (at different times) and cannot say that one way is better than the other. After spending a lot of time with certain tube combinations I just know that this combination ends up grating on my nerves in the long run, even if it sounded great initially, and other tube combinations continue to please without any irritations.
Certainly there is expectation bias, but that goes away after spending a lot of time with the equipment.
Another thought: For a novice the tubes look pretty much the same (except for size), and I think that the prices on certain tubes have been jacked up by unscrupulous sellers because they are easy to identify for an inexperienced person:
Examples are red base, smoked glass, curved base or a very prominent getter flashing etc. Obviously, the bigger the tube, the better the sound (not true). And even though older tubes many times sound better than new production, it is not always the case. Then there are dishonest sellers that advertise tubes at fantasy prices in the thousands....
In summary: When it comes to tubes, price and sound have very little correlation. And remember:
TRUST YOUR EARS!
Very well said!

I'll also add that Jack Wu seems to supply his amps with various collections of stock tubes that vary from manufacturing run to run. To me, this means he trusts his amp designs to portray the sonic characteristics fairly consistently regardless of which tubes you roll into them.
 
Nov 4, 2021 at 2:59 PM Post #41,363 of 41,809

bpiotrow13

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In summary: When it comes to tubes, price and sound have very little correlation. And remember:
TRUST YOUR EARS!
Very true, but coming to this conclusion may be expensive:)

Sometimes it is difficult to admit that much cheaper tubes sound better than very expensive ones that You have just bought. Also many people do not want to choose based on what they hear and prefer to follow recommendations. Sometimes (or often) trying expensive tubes is not poasible without buying them.
 
Nov 4, 2021 at 6:59 PM Post #41,364 of 41,809

grokit

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Tubes! Gotta love 'em in this thread. And tubes are a big reason I decided to migrate to my Woo 3ES. I started my 'Woorney' with a used WA22; it had a rough ride and I became impressed with Woo's service department enough to eventually convert the SE input to balanced, and also made it into a preamp. I added a SS electrostatic amp, driven by the WA22's pre out. Then the electrostatic amp started to have issues, perhaps intractable. My old WA22 also seemed to be developing issues as well.

Woo seemed more interested in getting me to trade it in than to service my WA22 again. So I bought a new WA22 Gen 2, but I took notice. Woo's new 3ES was (still is) on introductory sale. I had my old WA22 to trade in. But what really caught my interest is that my WA22 rectifier and driver tube inventory would transfer over to the 3ES. Not only that, but the other tubes that the SA3 needs are the holy grail of tubes, the 300B. And here's the real kicker; the WA300B is undergoing a true renaissance.

I remember not so long ago the pickings were pretty slim in 300B land. Either you gave up way too much skin for a (matched quad!) of the OG tubes, if you could even locate them, or you went with lesser quality sound by popular consensus. Now there's a whole bunch of high end new issue 300B's available, led by the WE re-issue, which was very well received, and the current king of the hill the Takatsuki TA-300B. There's a whole crop of Sophia 300B varieties right behind them, among others.

So I believe that the state of tube amplifiers is better than ever, and that if the 300B tubes can have a successful comeback in high-end audio I don't see why other tube varieties can't follow suit. Heck the new the Takatsuki TA-274B may be the best tube of that variety ever made, from new issue to NOS. Arguably, anyways.
 
Nov 4, 2021 at 7:06 PM Post #41,365 of 41,809

ThanatosVI

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Tubes! Gotta love 'em in this thread. And tubes are a big reason I decided to migrate to my Woo 3ES. I started my 'Woorney' with a used WA22; it had a rough ride and I became impressed with Woo's service department enough to eventually convert the SE input to balanced, and also made it into a preamp. I added a SS electrostatic amp, driven by the WA22's pre out. Then the electrostatic amp started to have issues, perhaps intractable. My old WA22 also seemed to be developing issues as well.

Woo seemed more interested in getting me to trade it in than to service my WA22 again. So I bought a new WA22 Gen 2, but I took notice. Woo's new 3ES was (still is) on introductory sale. I had my old WA22 to trade in. But what really caught my interest is that my WA22 rectifier and driver tube inventory would transfer over to the 3ES. Not only that, but the other tubes that the SA3 needs are the holy grail of tubes, the 300B. And here's the real kicker; the WA300B is undergoing a true renaissance.

I remember not so long ago the pickings were pretty slim in 300B land. Either you gave up way too much skin for a (matched quad!) of the OG tubes, if you could even locate them, or you went with lesser quality sound by popular consensus. Now there's a whole bunch of high end new issue 300B's available, led by the WE re-issue, which was very well received, and the current king of the hill the Takatsuki TA-300B. There's a whole crop of Sophia 300B varieties right behind them, among others.

So I believe that the state of tube amplifiers is better than ever, and that if the 300B tubes can have a successful comeback in high-end audio I don't see why other tube varieties can't follow suit. Heck the new the Takatsuki TA-274B may be the best tube of that variety ever made, from new issue to NOS. Arguably, anyways.
If the Wa33 would use the tube complement of the 3ES I would have bought one long ago.
I even inquired about a custom amp (basically a 3ES for regular headphones) but to no avail.

Now that the CRBN is on order the 3ES became more interesting again, but only if I feel my Octave V16 + Mjölnir SRD-7 lacking.

How is he 3ES as preamp?
 
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Nov 4, 2021 at 8:59 PM Post #41,366 of 41,809

grokit

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If the Wa33 would use the tube complement of the 3ES I would have bought one long ago.
I even inquired about a custom amp (basically a 3ES for regular headphones) but to no avail.

Now that the CRBN is on order the 3ES became more interesting again, but only if I feel my Octave V16 + Mjölnir SRD-7 lacking.

How is he 3ES as preamp?
I am very happy with the 3ES. I can't recommend it highly enough, as both an electrostatic headamp or as a balanced preamp. I'm going out to a Wells Headtrip II with the pre circuit, which is a fantastic solid state dynamic headamp. I feel like these headphone amplifiers are as good as I will ever get, because they both honestly leave me wanting nothing. Tweaks, cables and perhaps some source upgrades are all I'm interested in (except for every top headphone ever NO! I'm not a collector lol) now.

Speaking of top headphones; since you mentioned the CRBN (top of my list after some WA 300B re-issues!); Mike at Woo and I have been corresponding off and on. He told me that the CRBN was voiced with the 3ES, later I asked what the tube compliment was and he said stock. He recommends the stock tubes during the 3ES break-in as well. I rode with the stock tubes for a few weeks, then I rolled in a few old tubes from my WA22 days to keep the stock 300B's company, notably the USAF 690.

iKz0jdxl.jpg

Not a great pic but these are 100% of my tubes that require adapters lol. I'll roll the stock tubes back in pretty soon to see if I can tell the difference.

I do have an extra USAF 690 or two. I figure the WA re-issues can live pretty comfortably with the tubes I have on hand. If I ever get uber sources I can see investing in a set of Takatsuki 300B + 274B (not sure what SN7) tubes, but probably not as those may be more appropriate for the Elite Edition 3ES (also on sale!). The WA re-issues have a 5-year warranty, which is also a selling point for me. I'm also still using my WA22 v.2 as a bedroom amp these days so lots of rolling possibilities.

I edited the picture.
 
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Nov 5, 2021 at 5:35 PM Post #41,368 of 41,809

hodgjy

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I have just received my wa2. Comparing to wa3 it seems to be more airy, instruments are more separated and soundstage is wider. But this is just first impression and i am using a bit different tubes than with wa3. Wa3 is not bad at all though. Apart from that wa2 looks awesome:)

20211105_200306.jpg
Not surprising at all since it’s dual mono and therefore has a lot less crosstalk.
 
Nov 5, 2021 at 6:07 PM Post #41,370 of 41,809

hodgjy

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I am not an expert at all. So You are saying dual mono is better? ( at least that would seem so).
Better is subjective, but in dual mono, L and R channels are completely independent amplification pathways so you get fewer issues. Many issues are inaudible, but some are audible, including crosstalk. Also, independent channels have their own “pools” to draw power from and aren’t bogged down when they are required to “share” from a common pool.
 

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