- Sep 8, 2014
i actually preferred the HD650 on the WA22 to the LCD3, mostly because the synergy between the two was so enjoyable that it changed my perception of the HD650 - those headphones on the right amp are really magic. When I can get them away from my son, I love to hear what they can do. In many ways they are just as enjoyable than the Clear and the LCD. I decided to keep the two mainly because the pairing is so special.Given they both cost quite a bit more, I would hope they outperform the 6SE. At their price points, they’re competing against DNAs and ECs. I’d also argue if you’re going to spend that kind of money on an amp, you may want to upgrade your HD650.
The competition in the 6SE price range is quite different and I can’t think of much that outperforms it if you like SETs and don’t feel like chasing high dollar tubes.
For my Verite C the 6SE is an outstanding match. I’ve thought about getting a 5LE but honestly I just don’t see the need.
I’ve bought both the WA22 and WA5 used, so the cost difference was not that bad. A WA22 can be had around $1600 and the WA5 in the mid $3k range, used. Tubes aren’t crazy if you do your research - Brimar 5U4G instead of the pricey Sophia 274b, 6080s are cheap, and I was able to amass a score of NOS Sylvania and Raytheon 6SN7s for a dollar per tube. The 300b on the WA5 is the pricey tube, but Genelex and PSVane make decent tubes for not too much, and they last a good long time.
In the 6SE range, I’d probably also look hard at the Violectric 280 or 281 (MassDrop version) or a used Burson. The Violectric has a lot of power and presence. Don’t get me wrong - the 6SE is a great ticket onto the Woo train, but for not too much more, a WA22 with NOS tubes really shines. The WA5 was a splurge to be sure, but you get wonderful integrated amp, not merely a headphone amp, and the WA5 sounds magnificent with headphones and efficient speakers.
The great feedback in this thread convinced me to continue the journey beyond the 6SE, and I was able to sell the 6SE for near what I paid. That’s my main point - there’s more up the Woo food chain if you’re wallet is game, especially in the used market.