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woo audio wa2, wa6 or asus xonar essence one for hd800

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by sonic boom, Apr 17, 2012.
    The title says it all what amp would be better for hd800, the wa2 and a dac thats ~$300 mac $499, the wa6 with a amp that cost $500 or less or a asus xonar essence one? (I posted a thread in the amps section but I only got 1 reply on it.) 
                                                                                  Thanks in advance
                                                                                         SONIC BOOM
    shameless bump
  3. obzilla


    Wait more than an hour. People will chime in.


    all righty 
  5. obobskivich
    What are you plugging the amplifier/HD 800 into? (What plays your music?). 
    Do you subscribe to the school of thought that all gear is explicitly different sounding and that price correlates to sound quality, or do you subscribe to the school of thought that there isn't really much of a difference after you surpass some quantifiable boundary? 
    No matter what you say to that question, the Woo amps will very likely be inherently less linear than the Asus (on a scope), so they should produce some audible differences. The WA2 is generally reviewed as better, but "how much better" is probably open for debate. 
    Within your price range, I would probably 86 the Asus simply because it's a $600 TPA6120 amplifier (at least TMK) - sure, it has more features than some *other* $600 TPA6120 amplifiers that I can name, but you can get a TPA6120 amplifier for around $100 on Amazon (and it's called the Fiio E9, it works great). There's more exotic amplifiers available on the solid-state side within that price range, or within the price range of the WA2 (which is the most expensive of the three, by far), if you subscribe to the first school of thought. Otherwise, I would suggest finding something with good channel tracking and sufficient output power to handle the HD 800 (they're not the most demanding thing in the history of time, but they're not DT48A.00s or Beats Pros either). If you want a 6120, Music Hall has a nice model with two outputs, there's also the CIA (but that gets into the price range of the Asus...and lacks a DAC). There's also some other absurdly over-powered SS amps out there, like the Musical Fidelity M1. 
    Oh yeah, and Sennheiser is releasing an amplifier to match up with the HD800, it's supposed to cost around $2000 (and honestly when it makes the m903 look like a value alternative, I'm very skeptical). 


    Thank you for the reply, It would be hooked up too my computer playing flac (I still dont know what dac too pick) but thanks for telling me about the asus as im a noobie when it comes too knowing about amps, I think I am going too go with the wa2 because I listened too it before and I was impressed with it, do you have any ideas what dac would work good with it? 
  7. obobskivich

    Regarding a DAC, it really depends on your personal feeling on things. If your computer has a good soundcard inside (or outside, or wherever), that is technically good enough (and there is no science that supports you being able to reliably pick that apart from some mega-buck outboard box assuming both devices work right). However, if you want to buy something fancier, buy something fancier. At the inexpensive level, there's the FUBAR and Spitfire (both Firestone), moving up a bit, the VDA-2 (CI Audio), or Schiit Bifrost. At the even more expensive level, there's stuff like DACMagic and the Benchmark. The WA2 doesn't take XLR in though, so much of the benefit of a DAC with XLR outputs is lost imho. 
    If you aren't married to the WA2, there are other amplifiers that have built-in DtoA conversion (the FUBAR is one of them), like the Musical Fidelity M1 and Grace m903 (it's not *a lot* more than the WA2, depending on how you look at things). 




    well I liked the wa2 because I liked the way it sounds with the hd800, how dose the m1 and grace m903 sound with them as I have never herd them? and I don't have a good sound card at all
  9. MattTCG
    I would certainly avoid the Asus product. The high end sound cards that they make an very nice for what they are. I owned the stx for a while. I've read lots of unfavorable reviews on the essence one though. The wa2 gets a lot of love around here.
  10. stv014

    It is not a TPA6120 amplifier actually, but rather LME49600. The TPA6120 is on the ST/STX sound cards.
  11. obobskivich

    Learn something new every day!
    Thanks for that info. Figured it was the 6120, like most other SS headphone amps in it's price range with similar specs. 

    Ok so I am going ahead with the wa2 because I like the way the hd800/wa2 combo sounds a lot, now I need too pick a dac, "obobskicich" had some great ideas but Is there a dac that works good with it for ~$300 to $500, I can go a little higher and it would be much easier too be able too buy it in a store in the nyc area? thanks alot for everyones help :)
  13. obobskivich
    I have no idea what's available at BnM retail in NYC (I'm not in NYC), but in that price range and assuming you're going from S/PDIF, the CIA VDA-2 is what comes to mind. For less, the Firestone. The Asus you mentioned would actually be a viable candidate as well. Alternately, a really good soundcard (plug in however, USB, FW, PCI, etc) would be a good choice - Asus again (you can go internal and save like $400). 
    So would something like this be good?
  15. obobskivich
    Very much so. Make sure you've got an available PCI slot for that card as well (they have PCIe cards as well, I don't know if that card is available in both versions though). 


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