Woo's New Flagship WA33

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  1. headr
    Unfortunately $8000 headphone amplifiers tend not to generate a lot of reviews. It's the same with things like the Fostex HP-V8 and Audio Technica HA5050H.
  2. watchdog507
    Better yet if you go for the Elite Edition you're on the hook for $14,999 so even fewer people will be exposed to it. But at $14,999 I would consider the WA234. It has to be the true statement/performance piece.
  3. ahmadfaizadnan
    Well I guess that's true. Probably need to wait a little while before the reviews up on the web.
  4. matthewhypolite
    Hey Guys,

    I've noticed on some tubes there are 2 external wires with caps attached to the tubes, can anyone tell me what are those?
    They can be seen in this video:

  5. watchdog507
    United 596 Rectifiers. My favourite rectifiers. I have several pairs and I swear by them. They are built like tanks and will last a lifetime. WA5_482017.jpg
  6. matthewhypolite
    Ouu, pretttyyy.

    So it's just a Type of rectifier?
  7. watchdog507
    Yes you can use them in place of 5U4G in Woo Amps possibly 274B depending on the application. The adapters are Woo. They're expensive but built well and look great.

    This will give you detailed information:

    Last edited: Nov 16, 2017
  8. andyschaub
    OK, I'll never sell mine even though I own other amps by Woo (and others) that are equal or better in other ways. The WA6-LE is classic, and a bargain to say the least.
  9. andyschaub
    For the most part, the tubes the Woo offers for their amps are solid choices; but don't assume that more expensive always means better. It's all about system, and vacuum tube, matching; also, Woo--somewhat uniquely--makes their own tube sockets and tube adapters from Teflon, an industry standard that even makers of extremely high-end audio products don't necessarily provide.
  10. drbobbybones

    My WA33 impressions, after owning it for two months or so:

    To start, no one needs one of these. It is a superfluous item to some degree, and it probably measures worse than the Chord DAVE that I feed it with. Doesn’t matter. This is easily the BEST sounding amplifier I have ever heard. I have been auditioning high end amplifiers over the last year or so and this is, to my ears, the pinnacle of amplifier design and sound quality. If you are a solid state purist, or believe that tubes “muddy” what the sound engineer intended, I urge you to put your preconceptions aside and take a listen to this amplifier. There is very little “tubeyness” to the sound, especially compared to most tube amplfiers you have probably heard or even the Woo house sound.

    This is one beast of an amplifier, in every possible way. It measures 17.5” width x 10.25” length x 7.25” height without tubes, and 14” height with tubes. It is incredibly heavy, at about 50lbs, and every thing about it just feels solid. The tactile feel of the knobs is impressive, with each turn of the selector knobs providing a pleasing thunk with each use. The volume knob is non-stepped, which is what I personally prefer, and it provides satisfying resistance to make sure it is not inadvertently turned. The amplifier will put about 10 watts of power out, which will power any headphone out there. I also use it as a preamplifier for my speaker setup (KEF LS50, NuForce STA200), and it works great for that setup as well. You can order it with direct speaker outputs for an additional $1500, but I didn’t want to limit my speaker choices to only very high efficiency ones.

    It uses four 2A3 power tubes, four 6C45 driver tubes, and 1 5U4G rectifier tube. My current preferred setup is with vintage RCA JAN-2A3 black plates (bought from eBay), Electro-Harmonix Gold Pin 6C45 tubes (bought from Woo), and a USAF 596 rectifier tube (eBay) with a Woo Audio custom 596à5U4G adapter. The stock tubes that come with the amplifier are just fine as well, but the upgraded tubes create a bigger sense of space and tighter imaging.

    And the sound… it’s GLORIOUS. The biggest thing I notice with my Focal Utopias is a much bigger soundstage than with the WA22 or my Chord DAVE. The term I use is holographic, even though that may be a bit trite. It shines with all genres, but it really shines with rock. The biggest issue that I had with the DAVE as a headphone amplifier is that it can make rock sound a touch dry. The WA33 is the perfect cure for this, and it allows for guitars to crunch appropriately and singers to seem like they’re actually singing in front of you, not in a studio. With other genres like jazz and acoustic, it makes you feel like you’re sitting in the best seat in an amphitheater, watching the musicians play in real life. EDM takes on new life as well—I have never heard Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories sound so tight and nuanced. “Lose Yourself To Dance” becomes a wide spectrum of sound coming at you from all directions with each instrument and note being positioned perfectly in its own space.

    Compared to the WA22, the WA33 has a larger soundstage and better detail retrieval. The WA22 is warmer though, so I actually prefer the HD800 on the WA22 than on the WA33. My Utopias, HE1000 V2’s, LCD-3F’s, and my MDR-Z1R’s sound better on the WA33 though. The ability to change output impedance and level is critical to getting the sound right on these very different headphones.

    It all comes down to value. To reiterate: no one needs one of these. This is a luxury item that gives unparalleled audio enjoyment but also costs as much as a used car. I can’t tell you if the benefit in sound is worth it for you, but it is definitely worth it for me. Thanks for reading and happy listening!
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2017
  11. Sonic77
    Excellent review drbobbybones! I have been listening to my WA33 with a Mirus Pro dac being fed by an ultrarendu on my server, the headphones used were the Abyss Phi. I haven't got around to it yet, but I want to hook it up to my Blu Dave using a apple mac mini using Audirvana Plus 3, which I have been enjoying with my speakers. I agree the WA33 is a very clean sounding tube amp, when the music fades out, I can hear people in some songs, saying things at the very end that I just never heard before, really revealing, little details like that make owning high end stuff special.
    drbobbybones likes this.
  12. dawktah2
    I really enjoyed reading your review. On the one hand it heightens my sense of anticipation for acquiring my own. At the same time I feel like I'm buying a Ferrari after just buying my first car. I'd have to do some research to see if the ROI is high enough on some of the other Woo amps to buy, sell and upgrade. I cannot fathom what an improvement to the WA33 could possibly be so no worries about it being the penultimate of my purchases! I guess this could allow focus on cans and DACs...
  13. drbobbybones
    I'm not sure I would include ROI on any high end audio purchase. The ROI on almost any high end purchase will be poor. That said, the amount of sonic bliss you get from such purchases cannot be overestimated. I am hearing my music collection all over again with what seems like new ears. And I love it!
  14. Sonic77
    Return on investment in terms of enjoyment is up to the purchaser, what you can resale it for will be a lot less then what you paid for it. The best policy is to try it for yourself and you be the judge as everyone has different subjective tastes. I would be looking at getting the best source I could afford, before getting an amp, but that's just my opinion.
  15. dawktah2
    I'm planning on the 2Qute2 or 3Qute whichever it is called. At least this way a DAVE would be an improvement to the WA33 pairing.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2017
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