Woo Audio WA-234 Monoblock Headphone Amplifier

This may well be the most regal headphone amp you’ll ever lay eyes on. Make that amps, as in a pair of Class A monoblocks—one per channel—which is how the WA-234 is sold. But its majestic looks and meticulous industrial design (60 sheets of aluminum are used to create those wavy side panels) tell only part of the story.

Unlike a typical tube amplifier that uses one type of power tube (or its comparably rated substitute), the WA-234 is designed to work with three different tubes thanks to a clever key system that reconfigures the amp for the triode you select. “You can change the sound signature of the amp by simply using a different power tube,” explains Jack Wu, president of Woo Audio. Select one of three popular tubes—2A3, 300B, or 45—plug the corresponding tube switching key into the top of the amp, pop in the tube, and get ready for what Wu calls “magical sound” with imaging that’s “in front of your head, not inside of it.”

For even greater flexibility, you can use the WA-234 to drive high-efficiency speakers by swapping out the headphone output switching key (also on top of the amp) for a speaker output switching key. Would you like to trade your favorite high-impedance headphone for a low-impedance model every now and then? No problem. Woo’s bag of tricks also includes cathode and plate output keys to accommodate both.

The royal theme continues inside each of the 60-pound monoblocks, which use a two-level compartment to isolate the amp section from the power supply, point-to-point wiring to minimize signal loss and interference, and top-shelf components, including a Seiden 46-position stepped volume control, V-Can input capacitors, Mundorf TubeCap output capacitors, and a custom-built nickel alloy output transformer. Power output is 8 watts with a 2A3 tube, 4 watts with a 300B, or 2 watts with a 45. Available with a gold or silver finish, a pair of WA-234s will set you back $13,000 to $15,000, which includes tube and output keys and a headphone adapter cable.

Woo Audio • (872) 222-9667 • wooaudio.com