Product: Woo Audio 6 Tube Headphone Amp
Headphone amps aren't everyone's cup of tea, but while they may cost you an arm and a leg, in an audiophile's world, the difference in sound is worth every penny. So, when we had the opportunity to review New York-based Woo Audio's 6 tube-licious headphone amp, we couldn't pass it up. Our final impressions are pretty much in line with our initial reaction: "Man, this thing is intense!"
INITIAL IMPRESSIONS: Weighing in at nearly 14 pounds, you can immediately understand that the Woo Audio 6 is no toy. Not even close. From the polished silver finish to the extra-large tubes, you quickly realize that the build quality is downright industrial, something not to be reckoned with nor set near children or flying projectiles.
In the front, you have a 1/4" headphone jack, a heavy volume knob, and on/off button with a bright blue LED light (blue seems to be a very popular choice these days for some reason). The back has a power socket, golden RCA jacks, and an impedance switch (8-99ohms or 100-600ohms, depending on your headphones). It's pretty much as basic as you can get with a headphone amp - no bells or whistles, just pure audio awesomeness.
Turning it on, you get a sweet glow from the tubes that let you know that you're in business. After plugging in our Denon D2000's (we're also using the Grado SR225), we were ready to rock. But first, geek sharing geek information:
- PC Audigy2 Soundcard Digital Out
- Music Hall dac25.2 (Digital to Analog converter)
- DH Labs White Lightning Interconnects
Pretty basic, but the setup essentially allows for direct feed of digital audio (Flac, 320kbs or lossless MP3s) into a separate DAC (which also has tubes) that feeds into the headphone amp.
SOUND TEST: First off, let me tell you - this thing is quiet. No, not the playback part, but you know the background 'hum' that most audio equipment tends to have? Completely gone. Nothing. It's astounding how clear it is. Anyway...
We decided to throw on some rock right from the get-go. We went from The Smiths to Joy Division to Pink Floyd. Every time, the mids were darned near perfect, the highs/treble sounded natural and felt 'raw.' This is highly favorable if you plan on long listening sessions and don't wish to worry about your ears tiring out a couple hours in.
Next up, bass time. We began with hip-hop; an array of ripped vinyls consisting of recently goods like Childish Gambino to more old school jams by Common and Talib Kweli. Again, consistency is king here and the WA6 delivers a slick, dynamic level of bass that smoothens out any crappy performance issues your headphones might've suffered from overbloated bass design. Not sure how they managed to pull it off, but it is truly an amazing experience to hear the magic happen before our very ears.
On the other hand, we also tried some electro/dubstep (ie: James Blake, Rusko) and more popular music choices (ie: Ellie Goulding), in which case the Woo Audio 6 actually performed slightly less admirably. While it's hard to describe, it felt like a small layer of bass was being sifted out from the sound. Intentionally or not, we couldn't help but ponder how the sound was so consistently impressive up until these particular genres.
But overall, the Woo Audio 6 is still one heck of an amazing package. With a creamy, natural sound and tight bass response, along with pro-grade build quality to match, we're sure any serious music lover would enjoy this fabulous piece of audio bliss.
Pros: Excellent, natural sound with refined bass, superb build quality
Cons: Amp tends to smooth the bass out too much at times
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did loan us the product for testing and review purposes.