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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. Slerpy
    Been listening to the WE 422a and 5998's with stock EH drivers.
    Getting the treble extension and sparkle I desire plus overall 3D staging via Utopia's.
    The 60 hz hum in signal chain is louder though.
    Wondering if the larger 5998's are contributing to that.
    Also concerned about rolling a higher gain driver like ecc32 contributing more noise.
    If I could keep current SQ with a silent background, WA22 would be my forever amp.
    ...until the next one.
  2. Slerpy
    Do you recommend the 6BL7's only as a quad?
  3. leftside
    For the WA22, yes. They pack a punch like the 5998's, so if you are already having "hum problems" perhaps lower gain power tubes might be the first thing to try. Finding 4 6BL7's these days that are matching can also be tricky, but I should have some spare if you decide to go that route.

    You should be able to fix that hum with your WA22. I think I mentioned a few ideas previously such as an isolation transformer, etc. It's all trial and error with tubes I'm afraid - especially with sensitive headphones like the Utopia and Stellia.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2019
    Slerpy likes this.
  4. Slerpy
    Isolated the hum to EH drivers.
    Swapped those out for Early Russian 6sn7's and achieved silent background.
    Rolled TS 5998's back in for stock RCA's and got hum back.
    Currently loving tone and timbre with WE 422a, TS 5998's, and Early Russian's.
    Got treble and bass extension, midrange clarity, and just enough roll-off across the frequencies to remind myself why the pursuit of tubes are worthwhile.
    Not sure what else to ask for from this powerful amp other than the hum.
    I have it isolated to the 5998's at this point.
    Have you had silent 5998's?
    Worthwhile to try another pair?
    Move on?
  5. leftside
    I have a few pair of 5998's and they are all silent. Some of them took an hour or two before they settled down.
    Slerpy likes this.
  6. davehg
    I scored a batch of 6SN7 tubes at a local PC recycle place - 6 Westinghouse GTBs, 4 Sylvania W/WGT/GTB, 2 Raytheon GTB, one RCA GTB, and a GE 6080. 12 tubes for $10 total! All mint.

    Listening to the Westinghouse tubes now. Good bass, forward and airy on top.
  7. davehg
    very quiet, these Westinghouse tubes. Dry but airy!
  8. Roasty
    Sorry for quoting a 3 yr old post..

    Badas.. i recently auditioned the WA22 paired with an LCD4 and it was a nice listening experience. However, the guy at the shop was recommending the (slightly cheaper) Violectric 281 over the Woo Audio 22.

    I then tied the Violectric 281, but felt it was a more forward presentation, the soundstage was a bit smaller and the highs were a bit harsher. Overall, the WA22 was a more pleasant listening experience.

    Do you have the same impressions? Which of these two amps do you prefer?

    I'm actually torn between the WA22 and a Headamp GSX-MK2, but unfortunately i've no chance to demo the GSX... so am trying to read up on what other people who own these amps say about them.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2019
    Badas likes this.
  9. Pharmaboy
    I own the WA22 (currently F.S. here w/all NOS tubes mentioned) & the V281. These are very different, but equally good amps IMO.

    The V281 is powerful. It sounds very good on all the headphones I've tried with it. I don't hear harshness. Instead I hear effortless, strong dynamics (top to bottom); deep, impactful bass; large soundstage for a SS device; slight warmth, not tiresome or spitty. I've heard several Headamp products--excellent, refined sound, but more neutral, detailed, w/higher apparent resolution than the V281. To me that's risky...all that resolution can become brightness w/less than ideal matching of DAC & headphone.

    The WA22 sounds totally different because of the tubes. It does things no SS amp can manage:
    • Sound that changes in many ways depending on the specific tubes used. People say the WA22's stock tubes aren't very good. I have no idea if that's true--I never used them. I have a complete/alternate set of NOS tubes (plus another alternate set of power tubes) and get excellent sound with those tubes.
    • BIG midrange, layered, dense, complex.
    • That typical 3-D quality to notes that many tube amps have. Notes seem more distinct, textured, solid, and real.
    • Instrumental color & timbre are complex & very realistic. Music sounds more like it does IRL
    • Soundstaging is big & palpable (like many tube amps).
    • Some people say this is a warm amp. It is slightly warm, but I can't focus on that. Warmth is intertwined w/other good qualities
    I wouldn't want to choose between the V281 & a tube amp. I want to have both (I do have another tube amp, an OTL).
    thecrow likes this.
  10. Roasty
    Thank you for the reply and the insight into the Wa22. It sounds like you really enjoy the Wa22!

    I'm quite close to pulling the trigger...
    Pharmaboy likes this.
  11. Pharmaboy
    I do enjoy it...it's an excellent amp. But for various reasons, I just put it up F.S. here.
  12. davehg
    I’ve got a a WA5 which is the bees knees but I’ve kept the WA22 for several reasons:

    1. As a balanced design, it compliments my balanced source gear very nicely.
    2. Its performance with various NOS tubes is great and makes tube rolling fun. You don’t have to spend a small fortune like on the WA5 to experiment.
    3. Mine has upgraded Jupiter copper caps which adds some additional speed and slam without removing the WA22’s inherent musical tone.
    4. A used WA22 is still a great bargain.
    I’ve not enjoyed the stock tubes, but have currently a Brimar Rectifier, Mullard 6080s, and Sylvania, RCA black tops, and Westinghouse 6SN7s, which represent less than $200 in tubes and produce a nice sound.

    The V281 has interested me but not enough to part with the WA22. Would rather put the money in improving my sources.
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2019
  13. daverich4
    I used the WA22 for many years (still have it in fact) but after hearing my LCD 3’s with a Headamp GSX-MK2 at a local show I ended up buying one. It seems to control the music in a way the WA22 doesn’t, has deeper bass and a dead silent background. All of the tubes for my WA22 are NOS and it takes 15-20 minutes for everything to warm up and settle in. Plus, once it’s on it always feels like I should use it for a while. I’m not against tubes, my stereo is all Audio Research but I use it in a different way from my headphone rig. It’s in a location where it never gets used for background music and I usually set aside time to listen to it. But sometimes I just want to kill 20-30 minutes listening to headphones and I don’t find tubes very conducive to that. By the way, the Headamp GSX-MK2 is superb with the Focal Clear’s as well.
  14. Roasty
    Thank you, everyone, for chiming in.

    Today I pulled the trigger on a Benchmark Dac 3. I also managed to audition some cayin and auris tube amps as well as the focal utopia and Meze Empyreans.

    I will probably be pulling the trigger on the Wa22 sometime soon.

    The Meze Empyreans were simply out of this world. Makes my current cans sound terrible lol...
  15. Pharmaboy
    I also have the Empyrean and have heard it multiple times on the WA22, as well at the OTL, WA3. Very fine sound from either unit--but even larger, more layered & nuanced on WA22.

    The Empyrean sounds at least very good on most SS amps I've heard it on, but it steps up to a new level w/a good tube amp...a lot of midrange information there.

    Cost aside (Empyrean is the most expensive HP I own...got it gently used), the Empyrean doesn't shame other headphones in my system (ie, ZMF Eikon, HEX v2, pre-fazor LCD-2.1, J-Mod/Jupiter Audio Research modded HD650). Each headphone brings something different & unique to the table. I find comparing the Empyrean vs HEX v2 especially interesting. No winners/no losers...
    attmci likes this.
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