I've never heard anything close to the amp's visceral punch...Once you experience what an uber headphone amp can do there's no going back. - Steve Guttenberg at Home Entertainment
I am completely blown away by the naturalness of the music, the realness of the sound. I listen to a lot of classical and jazz, especially small classical ensembles, piano, violin, cello, that type of music, and it is simply put, a fantastic sound coming from the W5. My K1000 have never sounded this smooth and enjoyable, with NO ear fatigue, no etched treble, and plenty of good clean bass. Not only do the K1000 sound great, but so do speakers on the W5! - by stax-i-nox at head-fi.org
The bass has more detail, impact, depth than I originally thought. During even complex jazz riffs the notes have a very distinct leading edge, sustain and decay.
Male and female vocals are presented with warmth and wonderful tone, Seal comes to mind with a lot of texture and impact.
The high end has an interesting dual effect going on. Sharp focus and detailed, but at the same time have a wonderful since of air about it. At first this seems like it isn't right... I guess the better thing to say is that each instrument (or notes) have a distinct location in a 3D soundstage, but within in that space the instrument (notes) have room to breath. So it is not edgy, just that balance of detail, and warmth.
All of this provides a quality that allows me to listen at lower levels, because the control, detail, and depth are higher.
I had never heard a SET amp before, but had read a lot about that SET magic and had an idea of what to expect- smooth fluid mid-range, a lot of low level detail, huge and detailed soundstage, and weak in the bass. To my delight I found the WA5 had all of these traits.
The amp sounded very good at the start, but has aged well. As parts and tubes have burned in the amp has changed a great deal. I've never heard these headphones sound better! This amp has so much ease and " you are there" factor.
What I can say is the 274B has a very different character from the GZ34 metal base. It is far from subtle. First there is more bass - both in terms of quantity and depth. Second, the overall sound is richer, or I should say, denser across spectrum. Some people may call it "sweet" but not syrupy. Third, the far end treble is not as detailed as the GZ34 and tends to roll off earlier. Overall, it is a very different presentation from the Metal Base GZ34. - fkclo at head-fi.org
* One year factory warranty
* AMP and PSU ship in a molded foam within a double-wall box
* Power supply umbilical cord is included.
* 1 pair of 300B, 6SN7, and 274B tubes are included.
* AC Power cord and audio cables are not included.
* Shipping charge applied to CONUS only. International shipping charge will be invoiced when your order is in our system.
Parts upgrade: $1250
Premimum parts upgrade package.
(Parts upgrade are intended for amplifier purchase, not to be sold on a standalone basis.)
Power tubes upgrade 1:
Takatsuki 300B matched pair, made in Japan. $1900 with 12-month warranty
The Takatsuki TA-300B are new production tubes and is packaged in an exquisite wooden presentation box. It’s performance and quality are verified by us to ensure our customers are getting the best of the best. These tubes rival the NOS Western Electric 300B in sonic performance.
Power tubes upgrade 2:
Sophia Royal Princess 300B matched pair
All tubes are tested by us in an actual amplifier to meet the highest quality. $1200 with 12-month warranty
Sophia Electric applied all expertise learned from the past to this new flagship Royal Princess 300B model. It has the best virtues of both Princess mesh plate and Princess carbon plate 300B tubes and sound light-years ahead of any 300B tubes made in the history including both Sophia Electric Princess Carbon Plate 300B and Princess Mesh plate 300B tubes that won worldwide praises.
The Royal 300B's come in an exquisite wooden box. Click to see details.
Power tubes upgrade 3:
Sophia Princess 300B Mesh Plate black base matched pair. $385
Comparable to Western Electric 300B. Buy and ship independently.
The result is a 300B mesh plate tube with super clarity, low distortion and out of this world mid range fullness and liquidity. High frequency extension and sweetness is the first thing you would hear. This is a true 300B tube that is 100% interchangeable with the popular Sophia Electric globe shaped 300B mesh plate tubes and Western Electric 300B tubes, as well as current production Chinese/Russian 300B tubes (with WE 300B standard).
Driver tubes upgrade:
Hand-pick matched pair
Sylvania 6SN7GT NOS tubes
We tested these tubes in an actual amplifier to ensure the highest quality. $330 (2 pcs) with 30-day warranty.
You get a clean and dense sound image with these tubes. It is very low noise, smooth and delicate in the upper frequency range, deep and solid bass, high clarity.
Rectifier tubes upgrade 1:
Takatsuki TA-274B matched pair $2090 (2 pcs) with 1-year warranty
Takatsuki 274B offer ultimate performance to any current production 274B's. Users have claimed that it exceeds the quality to NOS Western Electric 274B.
The TA-274B sold in an individual package Click to see details.
Rectifier tubes upgrade 2:
KR 274B High-Resolution, single $1295 (2 pc) with 6-month warranty
The KR Audio 274B HP rectifier tube is a perfect compliment to any tube amplifier’s high voltage power supply. Solidly made and very low in microphonics make this a no brainer to properly power the finest tube amplification. This latest high performance design better controls both electrical and vibrational resonances that blur imaging for greater clarity to the source.
Image of a KR 274B HR rectifier
Rectifier tubes upgrade 3:
Sophia Princess Mesh Plate 274B rectifier. $320 (2 pcs) with 30-day warranty
To impact WA5's sound quality or for your super backup. Buy and ship independently.
Sophia Electric™ 274B tube is a premium rectifier tube for a 5U4/5R4/5AR4 direct replacement with 3X longer plate structure, thus it has a deeper, wider sound stage and even smoothier sound than Mullard 5AR4.