Woo WA8 Eclipse... Portable tube amp

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

Tags:
  1. Colgin

    Colgin Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    641
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    93
    According to Jack, who I spoke with today at the Stereo Exchange event, the amplification stage is 100% tube and not a hybrid and the only SS circuit in the WA8 is in the DAC section.

    I like the WA8 except for the price.
     
    dubiousmike likes this.
  2. Senorx12562

    Senorx12562 Case of the mondays

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,382
    Dislikes Received:
    52
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Limbo
    I guess I define "portable" differently than most. I sold my iDSD because it was too big to lug around; the Woo is way bigger than any hp amp I own. No way.
     
  3. dubiousmike

    dubiousmike Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    186
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Los Angeles
  4. Warrior

    Warrior Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2016
    Likes Received:
    834
    Dislikes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    113
    So the general consensus is this is overpriced? I'm interested in trying a tube amp again. I had a Woo Wa6. I sold it because I wasn't using it often, I more of a portable/transportable type of guy.
     
  5. dllmsch

    dllmsch Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2016
    Likes Received:
    36
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Molvanîa
  6. dubiousmike

    dubiousmike Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    186
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    I'm not totally sure I'm following your question. I gather Hifiguy28 (on Head-Fi) is a Woo Audio representative. At the bottom of the post I linked, he states: "For USB cable, we recommend Nordost Blue Heaven or Heimdall2," to plug into an apple camera connection kit of all things... /boggle
     
  7. Senorx12562

    Senorx12562 Case of the mondays

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,382
    Dislikes Received:
    52
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Limbo
    His name is Mike, and he was working the Woo booth at Can Jam RMAF 2014, so I assume you are correct.
     
  8. Warrior

    Warrior Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2016
    Likes Received:
    834
    Dislikes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Yes, he works for them or with them.
     
  9. dllmsch

    dllmsch Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2016
    Likes Received:
    36
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Molvanîa
    The video is from the said hifiguy528's channel. He has been doing unboxing video way before he was spotted as an Woo representive. Apparently he is one of those "never say negative thing about a product" reviewer and probably receiving free stuff from manufacturers, and nordost is probably one of those, hence him recommending their cables.
    All these are just my speculation, perhaps he has nothing to do with Nordost and simply "heard" a huge improvement using their cables, who knows.o_O
     
  10. JoeDoe

    JoeDoe Acquaintance

    Executed
    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2016
    Likes Received:
    54
    Dislikes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    The Shoals, AL
    Not to necro an inactive thread, but I've just taken hold of a secondhand WA8 and this thing is legit! Tiny footprint, great sound, and quite a bit of power! Using it with my ZMF Ori and Grado PS1000 so far. I'm coming from a Cuinas DAC feeding a Maxxxed WA6 and to these ears the WA8 bests that combo in every way outside of tube roll-ability.

    I'm not the conductor of the hype train, but IME Woo stuff usually backs up it's reputation.
     
  11. Kranebrain

    Kranebrain Rando

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2016
    Likes Received:
    1
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Location:
    Oink
    I want to purchase it but I won't out of principle. That price point is ridiculous. If 500 was knocked off the price I'd feel slightly better. To me it seems the created thought "I'll take a gamble and ask for a ridiculously high price and see if users pay"
     
    Kattefjaes likes this.
  12. JoeDoe

    JoeDoe Acquaintance

    Executed
    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2016
    Likes Received:
    54
    Dislikes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    The Shoals, AL
    Do you feel that way about the Chord Hugo?
     
  13. ufospls2

    ufospls2 Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2017
    Likes Received:
    1,213
    Dislikes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Canada
    Just making a effort to try and contribute to the forums. Below are my thoughts on the WA8.

    [​IMG]

    PROS: Great sound. Great transportable solution. Tube sound, without being too “tubey” Option to use internal DAC, or analog in with a DAC of your choice.

    CONS: Price! Lack of power for the most demanding headphones, fine for most peoples needs. Short Battery Life.

    Hey Guys. I have had a week now with my WA8, and have been enjoying it thoroughly. It is the only thing I have been listening to so I think I have a pretty good idea of how it sounds now. I’ll try to keep this as objective as possible, but hey, I spent 2 grand on a fancy dac/amp, so I’m a bit of an “audiophile” potato. With that being said I’ve listened to lots of high end gear over the years, and this is an impressive bit of kit. It is “transportable” not “portable,” so you won’t be using this how you might use a chord mojo, on the go. Think more, take it with you on a trip and use it in the hotel room, rather than on the plane on the way to your destination. Make sense, sort of? Cool. On with the review.

    Headphones Used: Audeze LCD-4, Abyss AB-1266, Sennheiser HD800S, Noble Audio 3, Grado SR80. Apologies that more headphones were not used, but these are all I have tried with it so far.

    Music Used: Mostly electronic and metal, with some film scores thrown in for good measure.

    I’ve copied some technical specs from head-fi below for those of you who like that sort of thing.

    • All-tube design (not hybrid)
    • Class-A, Single-ended Triode transformer-coupled
    • Tubes 6S31B x2, 6021 x1
    • Selectable two- or three-tube operation
    • In-house Nickel core, OCC Single Crystal Copper output transformer
    • Frequency response: 20Hz – 30kHz, -3dB
    • Max headphone output 350mW
    • ESS SABRE Reference DAC (ES9018K2M)
    • XMOS xCORE-AUDIO asynchronous USB compatible with Mac, PC, Android and iOS devices
    • Hi-res music playback up to 24-bit/384kHz
    • USB (Type-B) digital input, and 1/8" (3.5mm) analog input
    • 1/4” (6.3mm) and 1/8” (3.5mm) headphone outputs (8-600 Ohms)
    • Up to 4 hours of battery playtime, 3400mAh rechargeable Lithium-ion battery
    • Five LED battery indicators
    • CNC-milled aluminum enclosure, available in anodized black, space gray, and gold
    • Dimension 6.69" (L) x 3.6" (W) x 1.69" (D) / 170mm (L) x 92mm (W) x 43mm (D)
    • Weight (amp) 2.4lbs / 1.09kg

    Ok. So. With the technical stuff out of the way. Lets get to the more important stuff. Living with it day to day.

    Build Quality: It is built like a tank. I am pretty stoked with how “high end” it feels, but for over 2 grand it had better feel “high end.” It is a substantial 1.1kg, which might turn some people off, but keep in mind this is a “transportable” amp, not a “portable” amp. I don’t get the feeling that it is flimsy and will fall apart in a month or two. I’m hoping this means that this is a piece of equipment I will own for a long time to come.

    Battery Life: Although it isn’t really a “portable” solution, it does have a battery, which supposedly lasts for up to 4 hours according to the specs. Real world? 3.5 hours. You can use the WA8 whilst the battery is charging, which is a great feature as 3.5 hours isn’t that long. I don’t know how many charge cycles the battery will run for, but it is replaceable if sent to Woo Audio, so I’m not too worried about that. It supplies clean power, and there is no humming or other noise that I can detect.

    The Tubes: Tube life is supposedly 5000 hours (I think) and they are also supposedly user replaceable. Tube rolling is a possibility in the future with kits from Woo Audio I believe, but currently I think they are just trying to get the WA8’s out into peoples hands.

    Power: Enough for most headphones, minus the Abyss, the HE6 and LCD-4 (and other similar headphones, you get the idea.) The LCD-4 starts to struggle at high volumes and loses a bit control in the low end, and starts to distort a bit. Most other headphones out there should be just fine. Apparently the Focal Utopia and Elear are amazing paired with the WA8, but I haven’t heard them yet together. The HD800S does well out of the WA8. IEMS, at least the Nobles I tried, did very well out of the WA8, especially in 2 tube mode, which I will mention later.

    Sound Quality: This is where it really matters. How does the WA8 sound? Fantastic to my ears. Warm, but not too warm. You can tell you are listening to a tube amp, but not in an overbearing way. I think the combination of the sometimes bright but very detailed sabre DAC works really well. Almost as if the tubes are knocking off any harsh edge to the sound, leaving you with this beautiful warm detailed sound. Mentioning the DAC, I think it is better used as a full unit, rather than using an external DAC. I tried it extensively with my Chord Mojo using the line in, and have come to the decision that it is better to just use it as a one box solution. It just sounds fuller, and more spacious. The Bass is super, but not exaggerated. The mids are of course warm, and ( I think) due to the DAC+tubes combo, the treble is wonderfully detailed but not harsh. The amp is full Class A, whether this affects the sound or not I don’t know, most say it does. It does get HOT though. You are able to switch between using two tubes and three tubes with a little switch on top of the amp. Two tube mode sounds a bit leaner, and outputs less power. Perfect for IEMS. There is absolutely no noise what so ever. Three tube mode is more suitable for full size headphones, and a bit warmer and fuller. The background is pitch black. I’m a big fan of the fact it is an all tube amp, not hybrid. I have always wanted to own a tube amp, and now I do. It just happens to be one I can take with me on my travels, a great bonus.

    In conclusion. Woo Audio was going for desktop performance in a battery operated, all tube, class a, transportable amp. I think they have achieved this. It has its drawbacks, and costs a pretty penny, but I’m very happy with it. If you can save up the coin, and want a transportable solution, tube or not, you could do far worse than the WA8. If you want a tube amp in general, desktop or otherwise, you could still do far worse than the WA8 (depending on the headphones you own,) it sounds that good. If only it had a little bit more power……Considering my tiny Geek Out 2A can output 1000mw, it would be nice if the WA8 could do something similar. All in all, it is a great piece of gear, and I look forward to what Woo might do with it in the future as the technology advances. More Battery Life? More Power? Optical in? Who knows. If they can make it SOUND better? I’d be impressed to say the least. Thanks for reading, any questions, just let me know.
     
    Jinxy245, jexby, slankoe and 3 others like this.
  14. Rick Russell

    Rick Russell Rando

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2017
    Likes Received:
    11
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    Santa Clarita, California
    As an owner of the WA 8, I very much agree with the opinions expressed in the review by ufospls 2. Although I have yet to make use of the DAC, I very much enjoy the sound quality of the amplifier. It does get hot, but that was known going into my acquisition of it. It does produce a warm, detailed full sound. My biggest complaint, if any, is the short battery life, although if a plug is nearby, battery life is a non-issue. It certainly has adequate power for the Hifiman HE 1000 v.2 and Fostex TH 900 that I own, listening at reasonable sound levels. If I lost it or it was damaged, I would not hesitate in purchasing it again.
     
  15. deserat

    deserat Acquaintance

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2017
    Likes Received:
    68
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Californai
    I recently switched jobs to a place where I don't have an office anymore so I had to give up my MJ2/Gungnir Multibit. I tried moving to the Chord Mojo, as nice a little amp as it is... I was really missing something that was more on the same level as my Ether C Flows. I'd heard the WA 8 at a meet so started watching Ebay. Finally found one at a decent price point.

    Wow!

    In truth, I feel bad for saying "a decent price point." I'd be hard pressed say whether the Gungnir Multibit/MJ2 or the WA 8 better. The timbre in the Gungnir Multibit/MJ2 is better as is some of the micro detail. But the dynamics out of the WA 8 blow the Schitt combo out of the water - almost approaching that of my Yggdrasil / Mainline rig. The soundstage of the WA 8 also bests the Gungnir Multibit/MJ2 combo, both in depth and accuracy. Lastly the bass and sub-bass are more present in the WA 8 and despite it being all tube, they are very tight.

    I hear alot of complaint about price point on the WA 8, but the MJ2/Gungnir Multibit rig with upgraded tubes cost about $2300. The WA 8 easily plays in that class. It's focus is different, the WA 8 is easy enough to carry in my backpack. The Gungnir Multibit/MJ2 has more input output options...

    To compare the WA 8 to the Mojo is a disservice. I simply won't do it, they aren't even close.

    In the end I'm very happy with the WA 8 and won't be missing the more expensive rig.
     
    slankoe likes this.
  16. jexby

    jexby Posole Prince

    Staff Member Friend JK47
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    5,345
    Dislikes Received:
    42
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    gone
    yah myself and a local member no longer have cushy solo offices, either.
    and his move to WA8 for portability was getting raves during his travels.

    I really want to hear/try the WA8 once he (ahem @MisterRogers ) cough stops traveling the world and gets back to Colorado for more than 3 days. :D
     
    ButtUglyJeff likes this.
  17. limesoft

    limesoft Acquaintance

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2016
    Likes Received:
    92
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    London
    I tried the WA8 today with my 64 Audio u12t. I went to the store planning to purchase the ifi idsd micro black, but once hearing the WA8 I felt like putting my feet up with a glass of whisky right there and then in the store - it was a relief from the artificial prickly treble I heard on the ifi black. So I have almost decided the WA8 should be next on my list and I should stop wasting time with all mojos, ifis, especially as I also have an HD650 which I think will play nicely with the woo. The only thing making me think twice is the ALO CDM.

    Yes it's heavy, but it's portable enough for me to take from living room to work room, or hotel. If I want to listen to something on the bus I don't need this level of quality.

    One thing that bothered me is that there is no line out as I would like to use the WA8 as preamp with my speaker system, I read somewhere the headphone out is quiet/good enough to be used as lineout, any opinions on this?
     
  18. ButtUglyJeff

    ButtUglyJeff Stunningly beautiful IRL

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,702
    Dislikes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    You should try it with a T1 if possible. Yeah seriously....
     
  19. dasman66

    dasman66 Self proclaimed lazy ass - friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2018
    Likes Received:
    489
    Dislikes Received:
    11
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    NW Pennsylvania
    It looks like this could be a demo tape that he could send in to audition as one of IF's new contributors. I sense this is exactly the type of hipster pitchman Rafe might be looking for.
     
    limesoft and Kattefjaes like this.
  20. limesoft

    limesoft Acquaintance

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2016
    Likes Received:
    92
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    London
    Haha. I watched his review of the little harbeth speakers.. it was a bit freaky when he was laughing , as if he couldn't contain his joy whilst listening to the orgasmic harbeth sound
     

Share This Page