Woo Audio WA8 Review - Head-Fi TV

Discussion in 'Portable Headphone Amps' started by jude, Mar 11, 2016.
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  1. Buster1679
    Hugo 2 plus WA8 get them both and use them both. Freakin awesome

    Hugo 2 has the much better DAC, much better sound. But definitely line out using WA8 as a tube AMP.

    It's expensive but way worth it.

    IEMs are incredible and so are over the earheadphones.
  2. Ike1985
    I'm most interested in the Hugo2 vs Wa8 comparison. To me, these two are at the top of the mountain. I could easily sell Hugo2 and get a Wa8 if I wanted and I assume the only real downgrade from the Wa8 would be the level of micro detail since that is what Chord is known for. Is there anyway to demo the Wa8, I really loved the tube sound of my CDM. I would also imagine the Hugo2 + Wa8 would be the pinnacle of transportable sound but if you're gonna spend that much why not just step up to an actual desktop setup and get even better sound.
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2017
  3. Buster1679
    I have them both, the only reason I didn’t step up is I’m new at this hobby. Well at least at this level.

    Anyways, H2 & Mojo way way better DAC’s. That said WAD tubes are awesome. I’ve A to B etc.. all the way around, let other people here including wife and friends etc..

    If I had to go with one I’d keep H2, but I don’t and so I use the line out feature and then WA8 as tube amp. I use Silver dragon to connect H2 to WA8 & I use Audioquest Coffee usb micro with mini USB adapter plus Apple camera adapter.

    No matter what music, ITunes, HD Tracks, Tidal including MQA tidal Chord. No matter if watching movies, sports or streaming something. I have a Chord product acting as DAC.

    I have an OPPO 205 and that has a good DAC too. Chord is better @ least to me. I don’t believe it’s better by a little I think the Chord Dacs have in matches realism and separation.

    When listening side by side to WA8 I am constantly just using the WA8 as an amp. I will say that I like having the tube amp as it adds more weight when I want it to.

    I use IEM’s mostly JH Audio and Ultrasone headphones every now and then. I don’t mean to love all over Chord but I do believe the differences between the two is more than just a little or micro. Chord has the DAC mastered again at least to me. But I would not give up my tube amp to go right along side either.
    jmpsmash and Ike1985 like this.
  4. Cognacbrown
    I’ve spent quite a bit of time comparing the between the H2 and WA8 and I prefer the sound signature of WA8. I don’t think I lose much in terms of micro detail. In fact on some tracks the tube harmonics bring out certain micro details which sounds faint on the H2. The overall additional weight of WA8 sound brings a nice balance and enhances musicality - more goosebumps or toe tapping moments. Particularly like the bass when playing EDM or bass heavy tracks. Between the 2, I find the H2 sound comparatively darker. WA8 sounds livelier without being bright. I think both are TOTL transportable DAc /Amps and I can live with either if I don’t have a choice. If one has to choose, then it’s a matter of personal preference.

    Best if you can arrange for an audition and test for yourself.

    Coincidentally, I bought the IFI IDSD Black Label as a portable amp to supplement my Chord Mojo. It’s another good amp with good driving power, flexibility to tweak the sound (without EQ) and form factor to connect to my iPhone or DAP. I use mainly the Audeze LCDi4 and the Hifiman Edition X and they sound sublime with the additional driving power.

    EagleWings and Ike1985 like this.
  5. gordec
    I just got the WA8. I installed the driver for it on Windows 10, but there is driver error. Anyone ran into this issue?
  6. Buster1679
    Yes I did, I’m not sure if it’s a windows issue or computer issue. I got it working once but it’s not worked again since.

    I can play music or stream media but my computer doesn’t pick up the USB connection.

    I’m not sure if it’s a usb driver issue or Windows 10 issue.

    Sucks regardless, I even paid my IT firm to see if they could get it corrected but they tell me these types of things happen all the time with windows.

    I’m always wondering if the sound isn’t as good as it could be based on the XMOS driver not picking up the WA8.

    To be honest of kind of given up on using my laptop and gone exclusively to iPad or iPhone.
  7. Cognacbrown
    I too use my WA8 exclusively with Ipad/ Auralic Aries Mini. No problems there..

    I had a lot of problems with my Chord Hugo previously connectiong to my PC (Win10). More recently, I tried to my IFi black label iDSD micro. Lots of intermittent dropouts. Seems like Drivers conflict - primarily between my desktop speaker driver and the iFI driver. Tidal is also unlistenable and so is Jriver. On my PC game battlefield 1, it’s better but I still get intermittent dropouts. Really frustrating with the Win10.

    Will be keen to hear if anyone has win10 issues and any good solutions to this problem.
  8. gordec
    Mike from WooAudio told me to disable driver signing, and it's worked for me. https://www.howtogeek.com/167723/ho...8.1-so-that-you-can-install-unsigned-drivers/. The Wa8 driver isn't officially signed by Microsoft.

    BTW I absolutely love the Wa8. It pairs perfectly with Utopia. Match made in heaven.
    Buster1679 likes this.
  9. Buster1679
    Yep, that’s it. That’s what my IT firm told me as well. I couldn’t remember exactly. However, they did not provide me the info to disable the driver.

    Thanks for that bit of info.
  10. deanorthk
    I was searching for a Cypher labs theorem 720 as a portable dac/amp, to power my HD 650, and sometimes my TH900 MK2, and then I remembered the WA8..ho gosh... that would be perfect it seems, considering it can drive almost anything:)
  11. gordec
    Wa8 pairs so well with Utopia. Before Utopia sounds a little too aggressive to me and with it's small sound stage very revealing nature. I was getting fatigued out. The Wa8 opens it up enough and then adds a natural and smooth quality to it. Absolutely delightful.
  12. ra990
    Wanted to chime in with my experience using the HE1000V2 with the WA8. On music that is already loud, I can do with volume being set between 6 and 7, no problems there - sounds great. But, then I've got a bunch of music where I have to turn the WA8 up to max volume and even then it's not as loud as I'd like it to be. For those, I was using software preamplification, which worked fine but I don't like doing it. So, I would say for the HE1000V2's the WA8 may do the job, but it's not ideal. The HE1000 need more power.

    I'm actually getting an Edition X V2 in today, which I believe will be a much better pairing with the WA8. I do really like the WA8 with various headphones I've tried so far, including the HD650 and HD800S.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
  13. drbobbybones
    Two questions:

    1) How is your WA8 connected to your source? Are you using it as a DAC or as an amplifier only?
    2) How loud are you listening to your music?

    I just tried a SPL meter on my HE1000 V2 with my WA8 connected directly from my PC with a USB cable. I then set the volume knob to 10. On "Roundabout" by Yes, I hit 109 dB. On La Capricciosa by Vilde Frang (classical), I got 106 dB. I couldn't even get the earpads close to my ears at that level.
  14. ra990
    Using it as dac/amp. Like I said, on most music, it's just fine at the 6-7 volume range, but others it doesn't get to where I want. For example, listen to the first track from Muddy Waters - Folk Singer (24/192), if you have it. You'll want to turn the volume up to max.
  15. meomap
    Are you using 2 tubes or 3 tubes config to listen?
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