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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Woo Audio 6 Review

My desk at school, the woo audio is the silver one

The following will be my review of the Woo Audio 6 headphone amplifier. I've never written a review about anything, so I guess I should start this off by briefly describing the amps construction and set up. The Woo Audio weighs in at a surprisingly heavy 13.5lbs, so as you would guess, it definitely feels extremely solid. This is a clear step-up from my older amp. Jack Woo has dont an excellant job designing the chassis as it has a very clean looking polished silver finish, which is complimented perfectly by laser engravings and sharp angles.

The front of the amplifier has a 1/4" headphone jack (Which is very smooth during insertion lulz), an aluminum volume knob, a simply on/off button, and a blue led indicator light. The rear side has a standard power cable socket, gold rca jacks, a voltage switch (115/230), and toggle switch for 8-99 ohms, and 100-600 ohms (I'm using the 8-99 for my Grados). And finally, the top side houses 3 tubes (two 6DE7 drive tubes, and one 5U4G rectifier tube), and a transformer enclosure directly behind the tubes.

As hit the button turning on the amp, the led lights up, the tubes begin to warm up and emit their infamous soft glow and you're ready to rock. Without music playing, there is no sound to be heard, which is generally a pretty rare thing among tube amps as there's almost always a soft hum at the very least. 

Equipment used:

  • Macbook Pro (running songbird, about 75% 16 bit, 25% 24 bit)
  • Musical Fidelity "V-DAC", connected to macbook via fiberoptic toslink w/ external regulated power supply
  • Woo Audio 6
  • Grado 325is Headphones

Cliffs:

Silky smooth, but doesn't color the sound much allowing it to sound natural
Greatly improved bass extension compared to my older amp (little dot 1+)
Amazing soundstage, especially considering that SR series grados are known for more of an "on the stage" sound, rather than an open Sennheiser-esque sound.

Songs Used:

  • No Boundries - Michael Angelo Batio
  • Blues At Sunrise - Albert King w/ Stevie Ray Vaughan 
  • Take Five - Arne Domnérus Band (SACD)
  • Buggin' Out - A Tribe Called Quest

Bass: The bass on the Woo Audio is not exactly that of a car audio subwoofer focused on pure spl, but that's not what I was looking for. Rather, the Woo Audio 6 produces a wonderfully dynamic, rich level of bass. It has no problem hitting those low notes, yet remains tight and quick the entire time. The track that allowed the bass to stand out the most was "Buggin' Out" by A Tribe Called Quest. 

Midrange: For my money, I don't think there's a song with a more astoundingly emotional guitar tone than "Blues At Sunrise" (In Session 1983). Each minute detail of the guitar playing is heard loudly and VERY clearly. The best way to describe the guitar tone in "Blues At Sunrise" played through the Woo Audio 6, would say that its sound is exactly how it would be if we were in a room listening to the two blues masters jam. Anyone who plays blues guitar could easily attest to this. Additionally, Michael Angelo Batio's tone in "No Boundries" is very "creamy" sounding, at times even overwhelmingly so. However, I don't consider this a flaw, as the Grado 325is headphones are inherently harsh and fatiguing at times- the Woo amp does an excellant job smoothing this out. That's why I chose to get an all tube amp rather than a solid state or hybrid in the first place.

Treble: In "Blues At Sunrise", both Albert and Stevie's famous "screaming"guitar  tones are heard in all of their glory. I really don't have much to say about this, but apart from an actual guitar and amp, I've never heard a more real and raw sounding tone. The amp breakup is exactly how it'd sound coming out of a vintage Bassmaster, this pairs excellently with the tubes of the Woo Audio. My favorite rendition of Dave Brubecks "Take Five", is from the Arne Domnérus Band and others recorded at the Stockholm jazz club Stampen ("The Pawnshop"). This is probably one of the most masterfully recorded live albums that I have and the Woo Audio sure solidified my opinion. The thing that stands out the most to me in this track would definitely be the soundstage and strong drumming. The Woo Audio 6 is far from a treble heavy amp, however the treble that it does output is very warm and non-fatiguing. 

Overall: The creamy natural sound coupled with fast imaging and deep yet refined bass makes the Woo Audio 6 a must have for anyone serious about their music looking for an amp in this price range. I strongly recommend it and am very pleased with my purchase :)

I know this was a pretty random post, but at least it's better than a dead blog. If you're into music, enjoy.

Here's a better picture from the Woo Audio site:




7 comments:

  1. cool setup man


    http://benny-lava.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  2. good stuff. BTW Hendrix is THE MAN!

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  3. awesome review man. when are you gonna update again?? been a while

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  4. But it looks like a small time machine :> are you hiding some information? ;)

    ReplyDelete