New York City-based Woo Audio has been producing some of the most eye-catching, coolest-looking products available since it was founded in 2004. However, their latest product is somewhat unlike anything they’ve produced so far. While their previous DAC/AMP products used vacuum tube circuitry, making it a signature item for them, their new product, the WA11 Passport, is their first truly portable solid-state headphone amp.
“It all started when we were developing the WA8 Eclipse. We learned that in order to reduce the size greatly, it needs to be with transistors. Introducing the WA11, an ultra-compact high-performance headphone amplifier and DAC. Over the course of 3-years of intensive research and 9 working prototypes deployed in real-world applications,” says Woo Audio.
WA11 delivers an audiophile sound quality that rivals many desktop systems and with the features users dream of. Weighing at 413g and 24mm thick, the WA11 Topaz is a battery-powered, fully-balanced headphone amplifier and DAC running in a Class-A topology. It is capable of driving the most demanding full-size headphones while maintaining an ultra-low noise floor for reference in-ear monitors. There is also a 4.4mm balanced input for use with balanced sources such as a modern digital-audio-player (DAP), home CD player or DAC.
For charging and data, WA11 Topaz has two USB Type-C ports. Separating the two allows the user to listen and recharge the internal battery simultaneously. This feature extends the industry leading 7 hrs. of playtime immensely.
“Even without the aid of tubes the WA11 ($1,400) sounds velvety-rich, powerful and refined. Instruments and vocals surely have a lot more body and substance than what I hear from my iPhone 6S’ headphone jack,” writes CNET’s Steve Guttenberg, who tried out the headphone amplifier.
“The Woo Audio WA11 Topaz demonstrates extreme high-end sound in a portable size is possible. At least for audiophiles who’ve already invested in top-quality headphones they would like to enjoy on-the-go, at home or office. Wherever you go, the WA11 will bring out the best in your headphones.”