Today we’re taking a preview at the WA11 – the first solid state DAC/Amp by Woo Audio.
This post is part of our Picture Sunday series where we take a first look at upcoming product reviews. To check out more of them, click here.
Woo Audio – a name that will definitely ring a bell for the tube enthusiasts out there. They have been actively making valve gear since 2004 and are operating from New York, USA. The company is run by Jack Wu, however the lead designer is his father Wei Wu. He is the one responsible for the great goodies such as the WA8, WA22, WA7 or WA33.
More Woo Audio reviews can be found here.
I have been interested in Woo Audio for a while, but they are impossible to get or even listen to in Europe. Two years ago at High End Munich I was fortunate enough to listen to the WA33 with the Abyss AB-1266, which was a very remarkable combination. The entire set up was worth over 100,000 USD and so far out of my budget that not just one kidney would have to be sold for this.
Earlier in 2018 Woo launched the WA11 Topaz, their very first solid state amplifier and D/A converter. My audio senses were tingled, but then again, impossible to audition Woo here. Now in 2019 I finally got the chance to listen to Woo products for an extended period of time. The WA11 has made its way to Austria and all I can say is, it is an excellent transportable DAC/Amp.
What makes the WA11 so interesting is that it is the first DAC/amp to use a 4.4mm Pentaconn balanced input. Digital input wise you get a USB C port, the secondary USB C is for charging. It packs quite some serious amounts of power and is best used with full sized headphones such as the Empyrean or Diana Phi. However it also pairs extremely well with IEMs and has no problem so far with hissing.
The Topaz is very well made and comes in the size of my OnePlus 5t. Of course it’s a lot thicker than my phone. I don’t know if I would walk around with it in my pants though. The WA11 is beautifully finished and to me it looks like Woo has given a lot of attention to details. Just look at that nice volume pot.
The WA11 delivers a wonderful dynamic signature, with heaps of details and a nice organic body throughout. It really brings a new meaning to what portable amplifiers can achieve. Untill now I have been mighty impressed, to say the least. Thus far I have only tested the DAC/Amp side of the Woo, soon I will get new balanced ICs to test out the amp-section of this impressive little bugger.
I will of course go much more into detail in the full review, so keep your eyes peeled for the next weeks when it’s Woo Audio review time.