CanJam at RAMF 2014: Woo Audio W8 Prototype Transportable Amp

Woo Audio brought a prototype of their upcoming W8 portable headphone amp/DAC. Boy, this thing is heavy! I'd call it transportable, the sort of thing you put in your bags and use in your hotel room. Well, that's fine, I sat down for a little listen....which turned into a rather longer listen than I had expected. This is a lush and yummy amp.

Once done listening, I doffed the headphones and had a chat with Mike Liang. The W8 uses the same DAC as the WA7 Firefly capable of decoding USB digital audio to 32/192. The amp has three as yet undisclosed tubes capable of running in two modes: one with two tubes running and one with three active.

Availability is still some 6-8 months away, and price is not set but expected to be in the $1500 neighborhood. No info up at the Woo website yet, lots of other good stuff though. I'm partial to the WA3 as a bargain starter headphone amp, and the WA7d as a killer executive desktop rig.


thune's picture

I see they're submitting to using the proper word: 'transportable'. 3lbs(4?) does not really make for 'portable' (which they were calling it when I dropped by).

The WA8 seems attractive to me as something one can take off the work desk and lock in a drawer. Sounds nice. I heard the WA8-proto on the HD800 and it had me mostly listening-in instead of bracing for lashes.

I saw one of the Skubinsky boys bringing over an Abyss to the WA8 station after show hours. Seemed like a power test: I wonder how it worked out.

Tyll Hertsens's picture
I don't know if they're officially changing their terminology, but when Mike said portable, I shook my head and said it felt more transportable to me. He agreed and used the term a bit. We'll see. Don't know about the Abyss, but after hearing it I sure would be curious about how an 800 sounded on it.
amudhen's picture

Love my Woo WA6SE with a Sophia Princess rectifier tube for home listening, Will have to give the W8 a listen next year at Canjam.

bronson's picture

So this runs off internal rechargeable battery or takes replaceable batteries as well as mains power?

Pretty hardcore audiophile who carries that brick around with them, so I get the "transportable" side rather than "portable" claim.

sszorin's picture

Still portable, at least for me. All you need is a good professional photographer's bag / beltpack [small to medium size] with two or three compartments that can be attached to one's waist belt / goes around one's waist. WA8 would comfortably fit inside. The bonus is the bag also serves as a safe storage for big headphones and for the music source / player. I already use this setup for my portable music therapy.
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