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Woo Audio WA22 Amp Owner Unite

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by leftside, Nov 20, 2016.
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  1. leftside
    Let's see if this thread takes off. I've tried many different headphone amps in a similar price range (both solid state and tube) and the WA22 is by far my favorite headphone amplifier. I run mine with a 53KU Cossor Fat Bottle, 4 * 6BL7's and ECC32's. There are a number of other rectifiers, power tubes and driver tubes that I like with this amp that I might talk about at a later date. Here are a few pics of my setup.
    Let's talk WA22! What headphones do you use? Do you have a preamp? What DAC do you find pairs with this amp? What tubes do you like? Do you use a turntable? I personally love the sound of vinyl + tubes.
    WA234 and WA5 owners go elsewhere :)
    attmci and swspiers like this.
  2. leftside
    Post good and bad experiences. We all know these amps are not perfect and can be a little temperamental sometimes. But, with the right tube combo (there are many...) these amps sound mighty sweet!  
  3. SP Wild
    I was suspicious of output transformers. This amp proves my suspicions were unfounded.
  4. SP Wild
    Very tight bass. Goes low. Open around middle C. Open in the uppermids. Treble is extended, transients are sharp. Very detailed everwhere. Absolutely have no more interest in solid state.

    The output transformers inject a better layering of the big soundstage that tubes deliver. My OTLs are less 3d. Electric guitars... FINALLY correct.
    leftside likes this.
  5. DejanM
    I do not have any experience with Woo Audio amps. They seem though to be very interesting. Can you please put some comments how this Woo compares with some other well known amps that you tried in your system ?
  6. DejanM
    I do not have any experience with Woo Audio amps. They seem though to be very interesting. Can you please put some comments how this Woo compares with some other well known amps that you tried in your system ?
  7. leftside
    Here's a comparison to the Allnic HPA-3000.
    "Amazingly quiet with no music playing. Also packs a punch! Delivers a lot of power.
    As I mainly listen to vinyl with a tube phono preamp, I really appreciated the extra power and extra quietness with no music playing that this amp has over the Woo. With a "regular" set of tubes in the Woo, I might prefer this amp over the Woo. But, with a "top end" set of tubes, I have to give my preference to the Woo. There isn't much in it, but the Woo just seemed to make any harshness coming from the music a little smoother.
    If you are not interested in tube rolling, want a very good head amp with lot's of power and that is very quiet, then I can strongly recommend this amp. Also looks very good."
    As mentioned above I give the nod to the WA22 in regard to that smooth/lush sound. There is a noticeable difference with the highs. The WA22 just seems to smooth them out and make them more enjoyable. Still, I've kept both amps (I got a great deal on the Allnic) and the Allnic is used in my other room.
  8. Badas
    Hi Guys,
    I thought I better chime in.
    Thanks Leftside for setting up the thread. Great idea.
    I've had the WA22 for about 18 months now. I'm kinda polarizing (a few lovers and haters) however I've also done a lot of experimenting. So I will share a few discoveries. I've discovered a few gems and also a few frustrations (to be expected with tube amps).
    My few gems.

    I discovered the Brimar 5Z4GY early on and reported how great it was. From there it proved popular with Woo users. Langrex in the UK has at great prices and seems to have plenty of stock. Contact James.
    SS rectification was very nice. Especially the Weber copper caps (WU4G). If I didn't have a state of the art SS amp (Violectric V281) I would run the WU4G in my amp permanently. WU4G provides a very clean detailed sound. More than most rectifier tubes. Very good bang for the $$'s.
    This was discovered purely by accident. 6C8g tubes work fine as drivers. I had purchased 6F8G and was supplied 6C8G. It had been in my amp for two weeks when I noticed it was a different tube. I contacted Jack from Woo and he confirmed it was fine to use. So I stocked up on Tung-Sol roundplate and National Union 6C8G's. They are lot cheaper than the 6F8g. I now have 16 sets of TS and 8 sets of NU. NU doesn't play nicely (noise) with some power tubes. It does work nice with my favorite power tube (GE6AS7GA) so I stock a few.
    TAK274B is a damn nice tube (it may be worth the $$'s). I stock a couple of these. I've recently got the 596. That competes with the TAK274B however you can't use any other tubes with wire grids like the 6C8G/6F8G mention above. They create a buzz sound.
    6BL7 power tubes are real nice. Very holographic. Runs the amps very cool. You can use singles as a direct drop in or buy adapters to run two per socket.
    DeOxit is great and it should be in every tube amp owners care kit.
    My few frustrations.
    Some power tubes don't play nice in the WA22. They produce a background noise when mixed with the wrong type of driver. Occasionally the rectifier can cause issue as well. Basically synergy. WA22 is unforgiving with a number of power tubes.

    The power tubes I've discovered that can be of issue are:
    Sylvania 6080 (can be a hit or miss (out of 4 tubes 3 were noisy)).
    RCA 6AS7
    Sventlana 6N13
    Mullard 6080 (can be a hit or miss (out of 6 tubes 2 were noisy)).
    Like I said sometimes changing the rectifier or drivers can help. My experience is that RCA 6AS7 and Sventlana are a lost cause. If you get a noisy set nothing can keep them quiet. RCA6AS7 can be labeled up (I've owned all of these versions) Raytheon, Sylvania, Tung-Sol and GE. So be careful to look at construction. Out of 6 sets of RCA6AS7 none were quiet. I would not recommend RCA6AS7G for the WA22. These same tubes were dead quiet in the Woo WA2. So there is some circuit differences between the WA2 and WA22.
    I've never totally drank the tube amp kool-aid. My WA22 (my first and only tube amp) has been fun and for a long while been my best sounding amp. However it is now beaten by my Violectric V281 SS amp. Probably my most polarizing point. This is not the place for any discussion. I just point it out as I may be biased. WA22 is staying as it does produce something different to the V281. Different is good.
    I will leave you with a few images of tubes I have tried:
    My system. Woo WA22, Violectric V281, Auralic Vega DAC (huge improvement) and I use AudiQuest NightHawks and the Audeze LCD-3C headphones. I don't use vinyl on HP's. I can't get past the crackling sound.
    Brimar 5Z4GY used with twin 6BL7 power tubes. Like Leftside has mentioned I have used 6BL7 as well. Fantastic power tubes.
    Weber copper cap WU4G. A really nice combo. Very clean sound. A lot of hum left my system after using SS rectification.
    Probably my favorite combo. TAK 274B, Tung-Sol 6C8G and GE6AS7GA.
    Right now this is what I'm using. 596 rectifier, RCA 6SN7 and GE6AS7GA. Purely experimental at this stage. However early listening is very positive. I'm surprised how well the RCA are doing in this combination. Usually RCA6SN7 is a little treble rolled. At the moment I'm hearing a little roll off but better than I've heard before. It could be a good on-going combo.
    That's all for now. Peace.
    leftside likes this.
  9. Badas
    What drive tubes are these? They look interesting.
    If I have to use drive tubes with no wire grids with the 596 I may look into them.
  10. Arcamera
    After enjoying the WA3, WA6, and WA2 for a long while, I've now ordered the WA22. Looking forward to joining the club. I'll chime in more after I get some listening time in. Not that I have any expert thoughts or technical advice-- far from it. I'm still learning. Just a passionate listener.
    leftside and Badas like this.
  11. leftside
    Osram B65's in the first photo. The others are TungSol 6SN7GTB's (Tallboys I think). 
  12. leftside
    I haven't had much luck with any tubes that have wires sticking out of them and require an adapter. I always get a slight hum with them - even with the Glenn adapters.
  13. davehg
    Using the WA22 with Mullard 6080s, Brimar and Sophia 274b, and Sylvania 6SN7S. Feeding it from a Sony HAPZ1es in balanced mode, and a highly modded Squeezebox with an outboard power supply streaming Tidal through a Musical Fidelity TriVista DAC, and VPI Prime with an EAR834p phono stage.

    The amp loves the HD650 but does ok with the LCD3. I have a WA5 on the way that may outclass this amp, but it does so well with Sennheisers it is worth keeping. Really hoping to find the right tubes to tame glare.
  14. jhljhl

    How are the b65?
  15. ghhf

    Having my WA22 for about a year, very satisfied result for most of my headphones after some tube rolling, no hum so far. It drives pretty nice if not great the AKG-K1000 via the XLR outputs.
    I also prefer a Vibb Eaters Mini like this always sitting on the WA22 power transformer, that seems turning WA22 into a more clear, peace & consistent sonic (vs temperamental?).
    Btw, my WA5 is on the way too, perhaps there should be a thread WA5 Amp Owner Unite ..... LOL
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