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Old 01-20-2008, 12:40 PM
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Default Woo Audio 6 Review

The following is my review of the WooAudio 6 tube amp. First and foremost, I am not an audiophile or in the business, just a discerning listener. I was attracted to this tube amplifier after a friend, Martin Sägmüller from abi >>, described it to me over #anythingbutipod irc which prompted me to begin reading about it on the net and on Head-Fi. The views expressed here are mine and I came to these conclusions using my own purchased equipment, listening while taking notes and enjoying every minute of it.

I did all my testing with my Sennheiser HD650’s, but I don’t want to turn this into a HD650 review, as I also used other phones and canalphones. Besides, so much has already been written about the HD 650’s, let me just say that they are by far the most comfortable headphones I’ve ever tried and at the bottom of my observations I’ve posted spec’s from Sennheiser’s web site for interested parties.

When the amp first arrived at my door, I noticed that the packaging job was phenomenal, no short cuts taken to protect your new investment, well thought out. No dings/dents and everything worked perfect as intended out of the box. Since this is my first tube amp, as I opened the package containing the WA6 I thought I was looking at some Star Trek transporter or a beam/particle generator device, heh … too much Sci-Fi … only joking. When it is plugged in and the tubes are lit up (glowing) the only description is …

“The Woo6 Looks Intense.”

Its overall look has a classic fundamental form with a clean ageless design; the chassis with the tubes erecting out of it is stunning to say the least. Although it may appear to be very complicated, trust me it’s functional and once you dive in, it's not intimidating to a new user. The only set up is to plug in the tubes, power cord & source ... now your ready to rock. The WA6 has a very durable build quality, although it may appear heavy at 13 ½ pounds but in my opinion this only adds further testament to the overall build quality & durability. It’s available in silver or black; naturally I chose black, my favorite color.

The front side of the amp follows the same overall clean design with a ¼ inch headphone jack (that’s smooth as silk when plugging in/out), a whole aluminum volume knob, power button and power indicator light (easy enough). Both the volume knob and power button have a very smooth operation. Her rear side houses a 115/230 volt switch, the power receptacle (power cord and interconnection cables are not included), a toggle switch for 100 – 600 Ohms (up) or 8 – 99 Ohms (down) and gold-plated right & left RCA jacks. The lower Ohms setting is nice as it allowed me to test all my canalphones. The underside belly has chassis feet, which helps the vented design along the bottom as well as the rounded edges of what I call the high hat on the back of the top side. Our boys say it looks like the engineers cabin on an antique locomotive, heh. The top side houses 3 tubes with the transformer in the enclosure right behind them. On the front of the top are two Sylvania 6DE7 drive/power tubes and one 5U4G rectifier tube.

As you turn it on, you can see the tubes turn on and begin their heating process. I let it warm up for about 5 minutes before I began to listen on my HD650’s. Before starting the music and during play time I attempted to pause and listen for any sound and to my delight … nothing but puro silence \0/ … I tried this same test on each source: CD deck, iAudio7, Sansa Clip, Sansa e260 and my PC (Creative Sound Card). The only source that I had issue with was my sound card from my pc, bad hum at full volume, now I know for sure I need a new sound card

Equipment Used
  • Source: SONY CD Deck
  • Headphones: Sennheiser HD-650
  • Headphone amp: WooAudio 6

My Listening Opinion: Finally the fun part and the only reason you would invest your hard earned dollars into a tube amp … strictly for the listening pleasure. I really don’t want to bore you with my take on each track so I’ll stick to my main or most notable observations.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but this amplifier is completely noiseless with 2 headphones and 4 iem’s I tested as well as various sources, various music formats (CD, Mp3 VBR 192 kbps & CBR 320kbps). The warm sound fulfills your hearing sensations as smooth as a 15 year old bottle of Añejo Reserva Excllusiva fulfills your taste buds.

Music I Used: from Reggae, Progressive Rock, Rock & Roll, Mellow Rock to Classic Cuban music the woo preformed like a true title holder. Across the spectrum the range of sound and clarity are very natural, thrilling and delightful to hear.
  • Black Uhuru – Red
  • Pink Floyd – Animals
  • Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band – Live Bullet
  • Eric Clapton – 461 Ocean Boulevard
  • Cuba Es Música 1

Bass: The woo6 delivers as I would say a basso profondo or in English - a wide dynamic deep down bass, a respectable full body of rich unfathomable sound like the lower harmonics of Tuvan throat singing . Artists that particularly stood out to me and help me form my opinion were Black Uhuru, Pink Floyd & Bob Seger.

Midrange: I could be wrong, but from all that I’ve read midrange is supposed to handle the most significant part of the audible sound spectrum the many basics emitted by musical instruments and human voice. Midrange contains most sounds which are the most familiar to the human ear, and any discrepancies from the woo6’s faithful reproduction would be easy to observe. Here the woo6 did not disappoint, while listening to Eric Clapton and Cuba Es Música 1 the sound was precise and clear. I could hear instruments, sounds and voices in the background, for example: musicians talking with each other, claps, cow bells, and percussion instruments like congas & bongos.

Treble: I would not say that the woo6 is a treble mammoth but in my opinion this is fine as I do not like too much treble any way. But what it can do is fabricate a clear detailed definition of highs on a more natural level to heighten the overall listening experience. With the wind instruments used in Cuba Es Música 1, I closed my eyes and felt the music as if I was really there. No high or acute pitch only an unpretentious reproduction of what we normally hear.

Final thoughts: the soundstage or spatial placement of sound is excellent, but in my opinion this is also dependant on the music, recording quality and headphones used. Overall clarity is excellent, it sounds natural and the sound is clean/undistorted without a morsel of off sound or graininess.

Closing:Rather than getting into a Pluses and Minuses tally, I rather end with my overall impression saying that I truly enjoy my listening experience on the woo6 and I would highly recommend this amp to any discerning listener






Quote:
From WooAudio Technical Specifications
  • Headphones impedance : 8-600 Ohms
  • Input impedance: 100 Kilo-Ohms
  • Frequency response: 10 Hz - 50 KHz, -3dB
  • Signal/Noise: 93 dB
  • THD: <= 0.3%
  • Pre-amp Gain: 10 dB
  • Power output: 2 Watts
  • Voltage: AC 110/220 V, 50/60 Hz
  • External dimensions 6” (H), 5 ½” (W), 13” (D)
  • Weight 13.5 lbs.

Standard Features:
  • Point-to-Point wiring
  • One 5AR4 rectifier tube. Direct substitute: 5U4G
  • Two 6DE7 drive/power tubes
  • All tubes, no semi-conductors in the entire circuitry
  • High or low headphone impedance switch
  • One ¼" headphone jack
  • 80 watts specially made toroidal power transformer.
  • Full aluminum die-cast chassis, alodinze finished
  • Whole aluminum volume knob and power switch button
  • Gold-plate RCA
  • Alps potentiometer and power switch
  • Dale and Vishay high precision resistors
  • Teflon wires
  • Power cord and interconnection cables are not included.


See WooAudio for more details

Quote:
From Sennheiser’s web site:

Features
  • Systems with narrow tolerances (± 1 dB), hand-picked in pairs
  • High-quality titanium/silver finish
  • Specially developed acoustic silk for precise, uniform attenuation over the entire area
  • Specially modulated connecting cable (detachable) made from highly conductive OFC copper, Kevlar-reinforced, with very low handling noise, i.e. low structure-borne sound sensitivity
  • Extremely lightweight aluminium voice coils ensure excellent transient response
  • Exceptionally comfortable to wear due to elliptical design adapted to the shape of the ears
  • Can be directly connected to stationary hi-fi components of the highest quality, in particular SACD, DVD-A and CD players

General Specs
  • Frequency Response - 10 - 39,500 Hz (-10dB)
  • Nominal Impedance - 300ohms
  • Weight - 260g
  • Contact Pressure - approx. 3.4N( ±0.3N)
  • Transducer Principle - Dynamic, open

Headphones Specs
  • Transducer Principle - Dynamic, open
  • Weight w/o Cable - 260g
  • Ear Coupling – Circumaural
  • Distortion - less or equal to 0.05%
  • Connector - 6.3mm stereo jack with 3.5mm adapter
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Last edited by WalkGood; 03-21-2009 at 03:40 PM.
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  #2  
Old 01-20-2008, 12:44 PM
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Glad you enjoy the Woo6/HD650 as much as I do.
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Old 01-20-2008, 09:15 PM
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Can I borrow?
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Old 01-20-2008, 09:53 PM
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tubes are so badass...nothing like a nice glowing tube...no new tech can replace it...there's a reason the world's best guitarists like a nice rack-mount of glowing tubes behind em...
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Old 01-21-2008, 05:04 AM
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Yeah, certainly the most pleasing kind of distortion/saturation for the human ear. It sure might be possible to "fake" that kind of harmonic structure with digital technology, but as you said... nothing beats the looks of a glowing tube.
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Old 01-24-2008, 02:21 PM
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Top review WalkGood, you woz gettin all poetic on us there.

A darned fine read......................me wants
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Old 01-24-2008, 04:33 PM
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Old 01-24-2008, 07:21 PM
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Just wondering, I was under the impression that tube amps weren't as good as digital amps for techno and stuff-- Might be a rumor, its just what I was told... but is that true? I don't really know what tube amps do to the sound they amplify... I was also told it was most simply just raised mids and lowered/slightly distorted highs.

I had an unbreakable view of the quality of tube amps before I heard that. Not that SQ for techno would matter to me, it makes me gag ^.^

lol@ almoxil
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Old 01-24-2008, 07:48 PM
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I can imagine solid-state or digital amps being better for techno and other purely-electronic types of music, since this type of music seems to thrive on the subharmonics generated by transistor-switching circuits. Music which is more acoustic in nature seems to benefit more from the subharmonics generated from tube amps. Something about odd vs. even ordered subharmonics... Other than that, I have no clue.
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Old 01-24-2008, 07:54 PM
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for rock music...nature tube distortion is unparalleled in solid state tech...there's just nothing like it...
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Old 01-24-2008, 09:55 PM
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Great review. Tubes rock!

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Old 01-25-2008, 11:38 AM
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Nice choice on the Black, enjoy!!!
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Old 01-26-2008, 03:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xenodius View Post
......I had an unbreakable view of the quality of tube amps before I heard that. Not that SQ for techno would matter to me, it makes me gag ^.^

Agreed on the techno

While it may sound cliché, “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder?” A tube advocate favors the sound of tube amps for various reasons and will defend passionately his view, while the solid state believer may do the same. Why not listen and you decide


Edit #1: I had a chance to listen to some rock music with violins over the weekend and wow what a beautiful sound. Within the context of the music they sounded mysterious, with a pleasant dark tone, but still powerful and bright. All this with a seductive element to them, I have to say it’s the woo6 & the HD650’s as I have heard the music before, but never like this

Edit #2: Woo6 Cover ... A little hood for the Woo, story here.

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Old 08-16-2008, 08:43 AM
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Default Sophia Princess Mesh Plate 274B Rectifier

Update to the woo thread … Don’t know if you had the chance to see the pictures of Sophia Princess, but beyond that sexy look and beautiful glow she packs a nice rich punch. Descriptive words that come to mind while listening to this rectifier tube are: rich, warm, liquid and a cleaner/smoother sound quality.

By looking at the pictures below, you can see she’s bigger and appears to be very well made. But only time will tell and I’ll update as needed, as I did read on headfi that one members darkened in appearance although he said that she is still producing great sound quality.

Last night I spent some quality time listening to music with her and IMO, I noticed the biggest difference in the high and midrange reproduction. The sound spectrum seems richer across the board … more extended or prominent and definitely smoother, without any hint of fatiguing nuances … only nice clean transitions. While the rich beautiful bass is as great as before and who knows, maybe better. I notice the greater degree of difference in the mids and highs, where the; vocals, piano, acoustic guitars, horns and cymbals tend to shine. If I was pressed for a one word description, I’d have to say “clear” … I guess increases in the higher tones are reached and chords seem to have a clearer, resonant sound quality.

Here are some compare pics:









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Old 08-18-2008, 01:17 PM
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Default Sophia Princess Rectifier, Updated Thoughts

I know that I only have 25 to 30 hours so far on Sophia not counting today, but I am standing by my assessments so far. Furthermore, I think that Sophia is the way to go vs. the premium parts upgrade package available for the woo 6, which saves you some substantial money ($360 + $215 = $575 VS. tube of $150), a $425 savings. Plus, IMHO, I’m not sure if I could tell the difference with coupling caps, capacitors, voltage filter, decoupling caps, bypass caps and a DACT CT2 stepped attenuator. I guess if I were ordering a new headphone amp and had the money, I might start out with the upgraded package or the new SE version. Sure I would love to try the upgrades but that’s a substantial investment.

Yes, I know that most people would say that a new tube is a placebo effect on your ears, heh, but trust me if my ears can tell the difference most peeps could too. One thing is for sure … if you don’t have cash, the ability or do not want to be without your amp while Jack performs surgical upgrades, I strongly recommend the Sophia rector tube as a great way to change the spectrum of sound being produced.
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Old 10-15-2009, 07:19 AM
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Over a year now and yes Sophia does darken, not to the point it detracts from her sexy look in a dark room while she is glowing, but certainly noticeable while in a well light room while she’s in her dormant state

No changes in sound quality, still sounds great and for all the naysayers I don’t disagree on the placebo effect, which I have discussed with Jack Wu and he also notes a difference.

Too busy now, but I'll try to add some pictures by the weekend.
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Old 11-23-2009, 10:26 AM
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Sorry to bump an old thread but damn, that is nice. I just hope she has a good life span which is probably my biggest concern with tubes.

Man, I wish I can get into tube amps.
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Old 11-23-2009, 10:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by H+D View Post
Sorry to bump an old thread but damn, that is nice. I just hope she has a good life span which is probably my biggest concern with tubes.

Man, I wish I can get into tube amps.
Well tubes can easily be replace and the internals are very well laid out. No problems and I've owned her since December 07, she's still in perfect condition and gets used almost every day for a few hours. Have only upgraded the rectifier tube, but still have the origional rectifier in perfect shape that works fine. She's truely a well built amp that sounds great
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:36 PM
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Very good and not expensive headphone amp, a true gem when used with the upgraded Sophia Princess. For the price the competition better hide, people have not heard their headphones unless they have heard quality amplification and...a quality DAC deliver music.
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Old 02-18-2012, 05:41 PM
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I read on woo's website that the AC power cord and interconnect are not included
Just wondering if you picked up any special power cord or interconnects for it or just some normal cables that you can find off ebay or your local electronic shop?
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