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I have a pair of Fostex TH-x00 Purplehearts with an 02+ODAC. I've been thinking about this drop. Any guidance on whether moving to the Fireflies is a significant jump in quality? Also, I've never had a tube amp -- only SS. Would I be better of with the Grace next time it is dropped here? What is the lifespan of the Firefly stock tubes?
It will be a huge improvement over O2+ODAC or O2+SDAC. For many people, this is simply the dream integrated DAC/Amp @ even the MSRP of $799. I wouldn't get the tube power supply upgrade though, the extra you have to pay for the tube power supply would make it poor value compared to the WA6SE which is a far better amp for less price (but then I guess you would need a separate DAC with the WA6SE).
If this is your first tube amp, know that tube amps have a hidden cost, and that is tube rolling. It's not that they break, I've only ever needed to replace 1 tube in the past 5 years in all my tube amps combined. They can last you up to tens of thousands of hours or more. It's more to do with wanting to try out other tubes. I've spent more money on tubes than on amps themselves.
Thanks for the info. I have been wanting to try a decent tube amp to pair with ny hd 800 and lcd 2. Currently using the jotunheim and i am hoping i can hear a difference and not just flush 700 down the toilet
I wouldn't have picked the Jot as first choice for the HD800 but it's probably decent enough for the LCD2. The WA7 will be better, you should hear a difference easily but I don't know your hearing so don't quote me :) If you're going to pair it with a HD800, you might want the tube power supply upgrade, and like I said the WA6SE will be better at that price point, but only if you have another DAC lying around - if your Jot has a built-in DAC, you could use that, but I'm not sure it will do justice with the WA6SE. Again, don't quote me!
Thanks for the advice. This WA7 looks really nice and a decent intro into tubes.You seem like a dedicated tube guy . . . have you listened to a good SS amp like the Grace m9xx to compare? Also, I read on Head-Fi regarding the WA7 that excessive heat is a problem as well, and that (I guess with any tube amp) you can't leave it turned on when not listening to it (as I do with my SS amp). Is that your experience? Finally, I wonder how the WA7 would pair up with my Fostex phones?
Thanks for your advice. I was reading that the Jot didn't pair well with the HD800 when I bought it, but it was a fairly budget all in one DAC/amp as a first purchase. It has treated me well so far, and it's time to try some tubey goodness. Honestly I think if I were to buy the tube power supply I might as well get a WA22 lol. Between this hobby and watch collecting, I'm having a hard to keeping my priorities straight with retirement and investments first! The rabbit hole just never ends.
I think I will be picking up the standard wa7 first and if I do enjoy it, then down the rabbit hole I go for a WA22!
and @motoman , I haven't listened to a Grace m9xx but I have listened to many good SS amps, but usually at much higher price points. One of my favorite SS DAC/Amp at the same price point as the Grace would be the Matrix M-Stage, but it wouldn't touch the WA7. OTOH the WA7 isn't that good an DAC/Amp compared to separates, a similarly priced SS Aune T1 DAC and a Violectric V90 headamp will sound better.
Wa22 is a good amp, but you really need a fully balanced source for it, otherwise the Wa6SE is still better. Something like a balanced DAC the Audio-GD Master 7 ($2.2k), and a wall conditioner like the Isotek Aquarius ($2k) would make it better than the Wa6SE. It's a lot of money to get balanced with slight improvement over SE, the Wa22 is more meant for people who have spare gear lying around.
Problem with Woo gear in general is they are not that tubey sounding, if you're after tubey and don't need balanced, a better choice would be an Eddie Current Zana Deux S. For something that gives you a good taste of tubey goodness at more affordable price ranges, try a Bottlehead Crack (without Speedball mod) or the La Figaro 339.
Ahh the la fagaro was dropped here not lojg ago, will snatch one up next time
Your X00 has an impedance of 25 ohms. On the 1/4" this unit has an output impedance of 35 ohms on low impedance, and 100 ohms on high impedance. On the 1/8", this unit's output impedance is 20 ohms.
1) If you don't know what this is telling you, i.e. basics of amp and can pairing, please read up on it before you drop hundreds of dollars buying stuff. Don't follow blind!
2) If you do know the basics, the answer is obvious whether this amp fits your X00.
Thanks Junki. I have no idea what this is telling me. Without having to get into a dissertation on electrical engineering, can you clue me in to what that means in terms of (1) matching and (2) sound quality compared to the 02+ODAC? :) After reading your post, I started to look into impedance of the phones vs. amp and now my head hurts from it. so if you could dumb it down for a tube newbie . . . Thanks!
The short of it is that this tube amp and most tube amps will make your x00 sound flabby and bad.
Thanks. Sad, since I was getting all psyched to drop some $$$ on this cool drop! Is this the consensus? From what I've read on Head-Fi, it seems like people love the combo. However, its all so subjective that its hard to rely on any opinion. I only wish that there was a return policy. On the other hand, I also have a pair of HD650's, but with my current O2+ODAC setup, I prefer the Purplehearts easily over them . . . Can others weigh in on the THX00 with the Fireflies?
Your HD650 will sound better with this amp. That's not only because it has 300 ohm impedance, but because as a dynamic driver, its impedance is partially inductive in nature and fluctuates with FR, shooting up to 500-600 ohm around the mid-bass region. A tube amp with its characteristically high output impedance will augment (more voltage) and better control the HD650's bass response, which is what people mean when they say "tubey", which is a specific quantifiable effect.
The audio hobby is full of expensive pitfalls and traps. The vast majority of the consumer base is uninformed and underinformed, and this willful ignorance is magnified in the echo chambers of forums discussions and such, in which people just repeat what they've read elsewhere as gospel. On the back of this ignorance, the audio enthusiast industry has gotten away with murder, i.e. the entire audiophile cabling industry for instance.
It's hilarious that Woo Audio would advertise this amp as appropriate for headphones down to 8 ohms, which suggests it'd be appropriate for some of the most sensitive IEMs, i.e. Andromeda, while for SOME reason not listing this amp's output impedance, which is arguably one of the most important pieces of information for amp/can pairing. Fortunately, we have a few enthusiasts who measure all this stuff.