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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. bflat
    I forgot to mention that Noble Savant IEM sounds great with the WA7. Which is strange because with my Laylas, the sound is really dark and veiled. But with the Savant, it's a great combo imho. I think there is something in the design of the Laylas that don't mesh well with tube amps. I've tried WA7, WA8 prototype, and even a Little Dot Mk III and all produce the same bad results.
    If anyone is looking for a good IEM pairing with the WA7, Savant is fine choice and won't break the bank either. WA7 adds just enough meat to the lows and mids and smooths out the very extended treble of the Savants.
  2. hawke000
    Hello Everyone,
    Been a longtime reader of this forum but haven't signed up or posted until now. I recently went all out on the Woo Audio gear and now, in my possession, I have the following:
    - Woo Audio WA7d Firefiles
    - Woo Audio WA7tp Firefiles
    - Upgraded Electro Harmonix 6C45 Gold tubes
    - Resonessence Labs Concero HD DAC
    - Sennheiser HD800's (stock)
    - 6 hours of constant listening with TIDAL and FLAC files.
    I'm a bit new to the "audiophile," game but wanted to throw out a few impressions and idea's to see if any owners of this set up could offer a few words. 
    My first impression when first turning everything on and listening was "OUCH." I knew the HD800's were going to be a bit bright but it actually made me blink as if someone had smacked a finely tuned snare drum directly in my ear. There wasn't any warmth, there wasn't any low end, just Mid high's and high's right off the bat. Checked my Concero HD settings, did a few minutes of a troubleshooting and it looked like everything was fine. I even took the Concero out of the mix and used the onboard DAC (Jeez that thing make it worse).
    I've read online that the WA7 only makes the HD800's brighter but with the DAC it would smooth it out and it did over all but so far, nothing like what I've been reading in regards to reviews. It's tinny glass like, bright highs, no warmth, no fullness, low end isn't really there. I have a feeling I just need to let these tubes warm up to get used to the circuitry because so far I'm extremely un-impressed, there's no personality at all but I can hear the "potential."
    What do you guys think so far? Is there something I could be doing to help the process along or is it just a waiting game? I was surprised how excited everyone was as soon as they turned on their units to get audio nirvana but I guess I'm just not there yet. Could it be faulty gear? 
    Thanks for the help, look forward to hearing what the brain trust thinks.
  3. money4me247 Contributor
    @hawke000, give it a few days to let your brain adjust to the sound sig. hopefully, you find it enjoyable. if you don't, well then, whoever was giving you advice on your gear purchase really messed up.
    basically, generally the easiest way to approach this hobby is to first find a headphone that suits your personal preferences... then worry about going and getting everything else.
    sounds to me that the headphone may be a bad fit for your tastes if you are very treble adverse. the wa7 is an extremely warm sounding amplifier, so I don't think that you will hear the HD800 sound much warmer than that. wa7 is also a bit low powered for the hd800 and I don't think that is is really an ideal pairing, though other may disagree.
    sounds like you got a lot of brand name expensive stuff, but pricier doesn't always mean better in this hobby. a lot of things are more preference-based. I would strongly advise against further fiddling with dac or amp or cable or tube swaps if you are just having issues with the headphone's sound signature. just swap headphones... makes life a lot easier & lot less trouble.
    I would look into the Audeze LCD-2 or LCD-X headphones or Fostex TH900 or Oppo PM-1/PM-2 or Sony MDR-Z7 for a bit of additional warmth/darkness. Avoid the HE-560, HE-6, K812, and T1 as they are more similar to the HD800, and they are relatively brighter sounding headphones.
    Swapping out your headphones will like be the easiest way to 'fix' things imo, since you already invested so much in everything else, it would be hard to move all that gear without taking a pretty big financial hit.
    good luck & I hope you sort it out. cheeers!
  4. hawke000
    @money4me247 Thank you very much for the response it was very informative. I'll give it a few days I can already tell a lot of it is starting to perk up after about 8 hours so I have a feeling it's just the tubes. When plugging the Sennheisers into the Macbook pro (i know i know...) what little sound came out, sounded well balanced even though the top end was a bit bright. I had figured that since the amp was neutral it would have just created more "volume" to the sound. I guess I didn't factor in the tubes as well. I'll keep at it and thanks again for the suggestion!
  5. pervysage

    Just my 2 cents, I wouldn't give up on that HD800 just yet. With the right amp you can get all the HD800 glory with its massive soundstage and detailed sound but without that brightness. I picked up my HD800 after selling off my WA7 so I can't comment on the brightness of that combo but I did use the TH900 with the WA7 and bright tracks were sometimes fatiguing to listen to even with the TH900 which can be pretty bright itself IMO. In fact, contrary to what a lot of people say, I actually find the TH900 can be more bright than the HD800.

    The WA7 is still a fantastic amp though and I have quite often thought about rebuying it, this time with the tube power supply. However I am dabbling in solid state amps at the moment :)

    Sent from my SM-N920W8 using Tapatalk
  6. bflat

    You can also try one of the following 12AU7 tubes on the WA7TP to add some more low end and smoother highs. 
    1. Sylvania Jan 5814A (cheapest)
    2. Philips ECC82 Holland (mid priced)
    3. Mullard CV4003 (expensive)
  7. frankrondaniel
    I addition to the Mullard C4003's that have been mentioned, I also find that Brimar C4003 works nicely with the HD800's. Not crazy expensive either.
  8. fudgebucket27
    Uh, I've just noticed recently that I can hear a faint sound similar to this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldlh7OLIdV8 when I'm not playing anything through to my HD800s. Usually it is dead silent. . Sometimes it sounds like the sound crackle when you play vinyl.  Does anyone know whats going on?
  9. Jeb Listens

    Hi FB, 
    That doesn't sound good!  Have you done any detective work yet to try and trace the problem?  
    For example  putting the stock 12AU7s back in WA7tp or popping the Sovteks back in the WA7 amp?  Or tried using a different source (e.g. the WA7s internal DAC) instead of the Fiio or vice versa, or different RCA cables?.   Do you get any of the crackling with your HD800s out of a different amp?  Maybe you've tried all these things and the problem is consistent but if not then try those things one at a time and report back with your findings!   
  10. hawke000
    Thank you, @pervysage @bflat
    I haven't given up on these bad boys, I guess since I'm new to the game I'm looking for a really nice open sound stage with a balanced sound, maybe I'm just really sensitive even though I do have brand name gear. I'll take a look at the tubes and see if they make a better fit, I'll update everyone.
    Thanks again,
  11. fudgebucket27
    Yup just bad tubes it appears, I've put in the Sovteks and it's dead silent again! :) Looks I'll need to order some more Electro Harmonix tubes.
  12. Jeb Listens

    Cool, well at least nothing more serious than that!
    Just a thought, did you try putting the Electro Harmonix back in afterwards to see if the problem came back? just in case one of the tubes wasn't quite fully seated in the socket or a bit of gunk preventing a clean connection. 
    Also, since it's quite unlikely to have two tubes go bad at one time, don't get rid of them both! - hopefully you can trace which one is bad when you get your new ones, although I think ideally you would still want to use the complete new matched pair. 
  13. fudgebucket27
    Oh man, I feel so dumb. I cleaned off the pins a little and reseated them back and viola, as good as new. :s
  14. Jeb Listens
    happy days - no worries then!  
  15. groovyd
    recently i had an issue which was the right channel was slightly quieter then the left but by very little, had to really listen to recognize it.  Pulled both tubes out and swapped them left to right and it seems to have fixed the issue.  I think with age sometimes tubes need just a bit of attention. Just glad I stocked up and have a kit of 20 some extras in the closet to last me until the end.
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