Woo WA8 Eclipse... Portable tube amp

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by Mikoss, Mar 12, 2016.

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  1. Mikoss

    Mikoss Friend

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    Looks like the Woo WA8 is now for sale. It's a portable DAC/transformer output tube amp.

    Here are some specs from
    http://wooaudio.com/products/wa8eclipse.html

    Class A amp, using two or three tubes (6S31B x 2, 6021 x 1)

    In house transformer... Nickel core, OCC single crystal copper

    Max headamp power out 350mW

    Sabre ESS9018K2M chip for the DAC

    XMOS USB input, and an analog input

    3400mAh li-ion battery (up to 4 hours usage)

    Comes with a Pelican case

    Priced around $1800

    Jude says he anticipates using it as his main rig for HD-800S... I question who wants/needs a portable rig for open dynamic headphones. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't see the appeal myself.

    I think it might be smart for Woo to be custom winding the transformers in house, but I also question their ability to produce the quality of manufacturers like Cinemag.

    I also think $1800 is ridiculous. $800 maybe it would be worthwhile. Idk. Those are all just speculative thoughts based on what I've seen. Haven't heard it myself, but I posted on HF that $1800 could be spent on sound quality vs portability.

    Seems gimmicky in the way the WA7 had that glass top around the tubes. It looked cool, but I wasn't blown away by the sound quality.
     
  2. Cos

    Cos Acquaintance

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    I am sure its a good product and there is a market for it (perhaps the Emirates, China, Russia etc and even closer to home). At more than 1kg, its not quite as portable and for the money they are asking there are lots of alternatives (think Vorzuge for a what seems to be a song in the context), not that I am looking there. As far as I am concerned it can not beat my Vali (1) for desk usage or Iphone solo for in the go.
     
  3. meloman

    meloman Acquaintance

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    Asking price reminds me of Chord Hugo.
     
  4. Mikoss

    Mikoss Friend

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    I want to punch this guy in the face. So many times.

    This might be the most annoying reviewer I've ever heard in my life.
     
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  5. Riotvan

    Riotvan Got lost for three weeks at Delft City Hall

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    And wait if you order now you'll get this free kitchenknive set.
     
  6. Priidik

    Priidik Friend

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    Not sure about that. Overpriced, yes. But not 8x. More like 2x.
    A niche product that has a some work put inside. At least it looks good. And it has tubes.
     
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  7. dubiousmike

    dubiousmike Friend

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    I don't get it. 6S31B is a pretty low voltage tube, but still supposed to have 50V DC on the plate. The 6021 is supposed to have 100V. How does this possibly run off a li-ion?
     
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  8. Dr. Higgs

    Dr. Higgs Boson - Member

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    This thing should come with a cool fanny pack for storage so you can rock out with your HD800's on the go! :D

    Since when was a 2.4lb amp that's the size of a brick "portable"?
     
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  9. Pyruvate

    Pyruvate Friend

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    Great deal, especially since it'll double as a weapon.
     
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  10. Dr. Higgs

    Dr. Higgs Boson - Member

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    That's why it uses "Military Grade" tubes
     
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  11. therealjay

    therealjay Rando

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    Can you imagine being the dude at the airport carrying this thing around listening to HD 800s.

    They'd toss you off the plane.
     
  12. Dr. Higgs

    Dr. Higgs Boson - Member

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    I'm interested to read some listening impressions against the ALO Continental Dual Mono, which seemed to accomplish the same goal for less money months ago in a slightly more portable form factor (and even has a balanced output)...
     
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  13. Griffon

    Griffon 2nd biggest asshole on SBAF

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    FWIW several months ago I tried Continental Dual Mono and felt underwhelmed. I used UERM and on high gain I felt Lyr 2 was better in almost every respect and the CDM hissed A LOT with UERM, while Lyr 2 was dead silent. On low gain it was basically a smoother, better-powered new Rx. I'd just live with a iPod touch instead of buying such little sonic improvement with this big money.
     
  14. dubiousmike

    dubiousmike Friend

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    So I raised my above question in the WA8 thread on head-fi, as well as a second question about whether there are any solid state devices in the signal path of this "all tube" portable. http://www.head-fi.org/t/801369/woo-audio-wa8-review-head-fi-tv/75#post_12424496

    Very interesting that Woo responded a couple hours later to various questions from other posters but totally ignored mine.

    I'm increasingly curious whether Woo is actually using the 6S31B's as a gain stage or whether they are actually in some sort of hybrid config, as cathode followers (gain < 1x), like the tubeclinic aquavite: http://web12491.serv4.spacequadrat.de/html/aquavite.pdf
     
  15. Colgin

    Colgin Friend

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    Stereo Exchange is having a Woo Audio/HifiMan event tomorrow. I hope to make it over and if so will try to ask Jack directly.

    I did hear a prototype of the WA8 a while ago and quite liked it during my brief listen but had no idea it would be anywhere near this price point.
     
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  16. dubiousmike

    dubiousmike Friend

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    Thanks Colgin! Perhaps the answer is simply that Woo tried and discovered that these sub-mini tubes still sound good when run at very low voltage, even if that isn't the intended operating point per the spec sheets. I've since stumbled on a passing reference by macandmar (a trusted regular on various diy sites), noting that he tried running 6021's in a headphone amp at "a whopping 12v" and they sounded "surprisingly good." http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/tube...ure-tube-gain-stage-question.html#post4010455 My understanding was that li-ion's were more like 4-5v though.

    In any event, any info Jack is willing to share would be great. Even if it is a low powered device, kudos to them if they really pulled off a non-hybrid transportable. Hopefully, they will post more measurements over time. The price is up there, but when compared to a hugo, for example, it is probably within the right range to cater to that market.
     
  17. T.Rainman

    T.Rainman Acquaintance

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    It is VERY easy to make any (high) voltage you want even from 3V.
    It's called a DCDC converter.
     
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  18. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    Heard one at RMAF. Looks great in person. Actually made the Ether sound kinda good (though who knows if it was a cherry picked Ether). Then I heard the $1800 price and noped my way out of there.
     
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  19. dubiousmike

    dubiousmike Friend

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    Wow - had no idea you could step up dc voltage to that degree with boost converters. @T.Rainman thanks for pointing me in the right direction here! Probably becomes a very fine balance in maintaining adequate current for the cathodes, which would have to divide between the tubes, since Pin still has to = Pout though. Seems like a fascinating circuit all in all. Would love to know the exact specs on the battery they are using.
     
  20. T.Rainman

    T.Rainman Acquaintance

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    A DCDC converter generally has a max efficiency of 80%.
    As the currents at higher (tube) voltages are low the drawn power also isn't that high.

    "Up to 4 hours of battery playtime, 3400mAh rechargeable Lithium-ion battery" with a 12V battery (at least that's what it looks like) is 10W/h
    Most power will go into the heaters most likely.
    As the output is transformer coupled there aren't any high currents at the high voltage rails.
     
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