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Woo Audio WA7TP (tube power supply) Impressions Thread

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by warrenpchi, Apr 20, 2014.
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  1. warrenpchi Administrator
    I'd be happy to post measurements, but I doubt I'll want to trade as I have a pretty good match right now, in terms of both size and finish.  [​IMG]
  2. JoelT
    While I haven't measured my black WA7tp, it visually matches my WA7 in both height and finish (and the improvement in sound is stellar). It's not going anywhere.
  3. Maxx134
    I didn't know your wa7 finish is matttle. That would be a huge difference as my unit they are both sparkly on front and top, but the sides of my wa7 are flat or mattle paint finish.

    I have idea for height solution.
    Inquire if you can order replacement feet for either unit to get same height.

    Also ask if you can return your unit to get it finish replaced.

    Nothing is impossible if you just inquire.. Maybe cost you some more though :p
  4. groovyd
    I think I just got a unit on the low end of the tolerances on one hand and the top end on the other.  The tolerance is not really tight enough to consider these a pair.  On their own sure you would never notice but together exact symmetry really matters, especially considering the average audio enthusiast is already focused on the details.  Def not an easy market to keep happy unless your tolerances are tight.
  5. groovyd
    I'd be fine returning it for a replacement even if it cost me something.  But since they are sold as an intended pair I really think it shouldn't cost me any more then it has.  At least that was my expectation, that they would look nice together.  Don't get me wrong, they sound great together.
  6. olegausany
    To those who interested in tubes rolling i would suggest to try Westinghouse 12AU7 black plates labeled CONN from '50
  7. JoelT
    Any further thoughts as to why that might be a good option? I saw the Genalex Gold Lion's mentioned earlier as well.  
  8. Dogmatrix
    Black plates , grey plates , long plates , short plates , box plates , wrinkled plates , smooth plates , double mica , triple mica , support rods , side getter , square getter , round getter , solid getter , dimple getter , foil getter, clear top , gold pin , cryo , 12au7 , ECC82 , 5814 , 5963 , 6067 , 6189 , 6680 , 7730 , B329 , B749 , E82CC , ECC802S , M8136 , 13D5 , CV4003 , 7489 , 7316
  9. olegausany
    The whole idea that many people, me included hear difference between them
  10. groovyd
    usually tubes with unobtanium plates sound the best [​IMG]
  11. karzai
    I received my WA7 and WA7tp yesterday. They came in two separate boxes that are housed in one big box. When I opened the boxes, I thought some items were missing and that the customs stole them. My bad. I came to realize that they just used the old WA7 styrofoams and that some slots did not need to be filled.
    Since I am one of the earliest birds, same as groovyd, who had a terrible mismatch, the first thing I did was to have them stand side by side on an even surface and see whether there are any differences in height. I scrutinized them carefully and observed that there is about a 200-micron difference: hardly noticeably from about 2 feet. To me it wouldn't really matter but a 2-mm difference is unforgivable. Sorry groovyd.
    But let me take a breath there for a while, because, oh boy! They are absolutely gorgeous. It really is quite a sight to behold seeing them light up like angry twin imps whose red glowing eyes  illuminate the deepest bowels of a malicious forest with authority and malfeasance.
    Now, let's get down to business.
    I have never owned nor heard anything from a headphone amplifier before so I cannot really relate a convincing comparison between or among amplifiers. But compared to the phone-out of computers, the difference is starking as night and day. Now, talking about the $1,400 price tag just to hear those differences... I honestly don't know. Being new to audiophile headphones, my opinion about price and good music is somewhat ambiguous and at times vague. But I know this is a treacherous path to take and I am now on the first flight going down.
    I have an excellent speaker system and I can immediately compare the sound coming from a headphone and the one coming from the speakers. I must say that headphones can provide the greatest detail in treble and mid range but the speakers are unbeatable when it comes to bass. Sure, bass in headphone is detailed but the visceral effect is entirely absent. I have a Hsu VTF-3 MK4 subwoofer so you probably know what I mean.
    To compare whether WA7 + WA7tp made a marked difference from a generic computer out, I had to compare several tracks across different genres.
    Headphone - Shure SRH840
    Player - Jriver Media Center 19
    DAC -  generic computer on-board DAC / WA7 DAC
    Amplfiers - generic computer on-board Amp / WA7 + WA7tp
    Test tracks:
    1. "She believes in me" by Kenny Rogers
    2. "Love moves in mysterious ways" by Nina from "Nina Live!"
    3. "Love of Butterfly" from "Poems with Flowers" by Asia Records
    4. "When the day breaks" by a-Pav from Dulcet Summer Series
    5. "Entering Twin Falls" by Nicholas Gunn from "The Music of the Grand Canyon"
    6. "Carmina Burana O Fortuna" by The London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus from "100 der Klassik"
    7. "Time to say Goodbye (Solo version)" by Sarah Brightman from Voce: Beautiful Songs
    8. "Tequila Sunrise" by Eagles from "Desperado" 24/192 track.
    9. "Auld Lang Syne" by Sissel
    10. "(-) Ions" by Tool from "Aenima"
    11. "Du hast" by Rammstein
    12. "Elevator" by Flo Rida
    13. "The New Canon Rock" by Mattrach
    14.  "If you could see me now" by Strata Institute
    I will post my observations after I have properly listened to them.
    My purpose in doing this test is to establish a baseline for my future comparisons. For now, the most important thing is that I would be able to differentiate what a good amp can do in terms of detail and response from a generic setup. I have observed upon using the amp that soundstage is heavily dependent on detail. That's why, as what I have read here, the HD800 is unbeatable in terms of soundstage because of its incredible ability to resolve details.
  12. Maxx134
    Initial impressions of using the JJ ECC802S Tubes are that they seem to make the amp more linear and strike somewhere in between the Sylvania 5814A and the stock Electro-Harmonix ECC82 tubes.
    They keep bass extension without increasing the amount slightly like the Sylvania.
    So it seems more a linear output.
    This are just preliminary impressions but I know for sure they don't run as hot or heat up quickly so I left on for a while before I tested.
    These could be a nice safe solution for upgrade.

    Still , all those other tubes makes the ttask of best tube pretty monumental. .

    The tubes took longer to heat up and now my unit is just as hot as the amp so now they don't run as cool as stock electro, but I still feel a better linear sound so I
    Still I like this sound more than either.
  13. Dogmatrix
    I think tube rolling the WA7tp will be a process of fine tuning to achieve a sound that best matches you're equipment and preference .
    So "best tube " may be an impossible dream
    You're feedback on the ECC802S is a valuable piece of a data base we must build over the coming months
    Only another thousand or so to go
  14. Maxx134
    I had to update my initial impressions but end result is same I like these JJ tubes and feel now that most replacement has chance at being better than stock :p
  15. JoelT
    An Early WA7tp Mini Review
    When I initially read about the WA7tp, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. An upgraded tube power supply that commands a significant chunk of the original asking price of the WA7? Seriously? Wasn’t the stock, solid state supply already designed specifically with the WA7 in mind? Despite my misgivings, the possibilities intrigued me. Why would Woo offer a new PSU if the difference in sound quality was marginal? After all, tube psu’s are common with their other models. To further fan the flames, early meet impressions proved very positive. So, like many here, I jumped at the opportunity to purchase an early production unit when Woo posted their early bird offer.

    I ordered a black unit to match my WA7, and I have no complaints about the aesthetics. Placed directly alongside my WA7, the unit’s visually match in finish and height. Unfortunately, the “push” power-button feels quite loose compared to the tight and beautifully dampened volume knob on the WA7. While I understand the desire to visually match the two units, I would have personally preferred a different style of power switch, even at the expense of visual appeal. I suspect Woo was in a difficult position here, with no perfect answer. You can’t please everyone, as the cliche goes. Gripes aside, the bottom line is that the power-button works just fine in practice. It’s far from deal-breaker, but those who anticipate the same sensation of quality found in interacting with the WA7 will be disappointed. Also, if you’ve been following this thread, some users have experienced quality control issues with their units. Hopefully Woo gets this addressed. I suspect we’ll get a better sense of where the chips fall as more folks receive their WA7tp’s.

    All impressions made with: WA7 w/ EH Gold Tubes, WA7 internal DAC, Audeze LCD-2 (current rev. with fazor & M.A. Silver Dragon cable), Sennheiser HD-600, Stock Electro Harmonix Tubes & Sylvania JAN 5814A Tubes with the WA7tp (20+ hrs of burn time on each).
    So the real question: What does the WA7/WAtp sound like? I think the short answer is, “Like a higher class amp”. This is not to say that it no longer sounds like the WA7 (the WA7’s smooth charm is left intact, if that happens to be a concern), but rather that it is now significantly improved, especially in regards to technicalities. How, you may ask, do you improve on the WA7? The WA7tp’s answer is to expand the soundstage in width and depth, add a sense of layering and holographic imaging that wasn’t originally present, throw in a liberal dose of “air”, clarify the upper mid range, significantly tighten and texture the bass, increase overall transparency, kick up dynamics and open up the possibility of further enhancing the sound presentation with tube rolling. Whew. Did I miss anything? Oh yeah. It sounds amazing.
    Let me frame it from another angle. The stock PSU sounds smaller, comparatively congested and a bit woolly in both the bass and the upper mids. There is also a very noticeable difference in transparency - leaving one with the impression that the stock psu sounds slightly veiled. With the stock tubes, I found the WA7tp’s bass to have a touch less punch and body than with the solid state psu. Regardless, I still preferred the presentation as it felt more natural, textured and controlled. In complex passages, the amp is now able to maintain a far better “grip” on the sound.
    All this said, if you have concerns about bass body, extension and impact, throw them out the window. Tube rolling the WA7tp will address this concern. While I greatly prefer the stock tube WA7tp to the solid state psu, I’ve found that I prefer the Sylvania JAN 5814A’s over the stock tubes (thanks to Maxx134 for the recommendation), as they are a bit more “forward” sounding, more dynamic, and the bass is absolutely delicious. Think controlled, textured, extended and punching like a heavy weight. I look forward to hearing other user’s impressions of the various tubes in the coming days. In terms of tubes, given the almost overwhelming options available, I suspect there are even greener pastures to be found.
    In short, the WA7tp is a great product - sonically far better than I anticipated. It effectively converts the WA7 in to an upgradable system that is both aesthetically appealing and most importantly, provides a tremendous listening experience. If you own a WA7, purchasing the “TP” is a no-brainer. If you want to extend the sound quality if your current setup, especially if the WA7 is your primary amplifier, I would recommend making the switch. Thanks to Woo Audio for further extending the value of the WA7.
    - Sound quality is a significant step up in virtually all regards
    - While certainly not free, the price feels more than justified for the difference in sound quality
    - Looks good placed next to the WA7
    - Enables more tube rolling options and further customization
    - Some early build quality issues being reported
    - Power push-button isn’t on par with the volume knob on the WA7
    - Stock tubes do not reveal the full potential of the WA7tp (expect to roll tubes)​
    mediumraresteak likes this.
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