What is the 'tubiest' tube amp under $4000

I really want to get into tubes again, it’s been a bit. My experience with them is pretty limited, honestly. I’m setting a 4k budget for myself, but the cheaper the better. And I don’t want something with ‘clarity’… I just want something that is going to F*** up the sound. Something that would make ‘ASR bros’ grit their teeth and shake their fists to the heavens.

Headphones I plan to drive with them would be
-Focal Clears (I’m okay with the bass boost from the high impedance output, I want it
-ZMF Atrium
-ZMF Bokeh
-May pick up a Senn 6xx/650 to play with.
-Also may pick up an Audeze, either the LCD2 Classic or X… so something that can drive planars would be cool.

Right now options I’m looking at based on the bit of research I’ve done…
in order of current consideration

  1. Woo Audio WA7 (3rd Gen) (The measurements posted by Amir on ASR made me very interested in this one, lol) Also curious what thoughts are on the 2nd gen vs the 3rd, given the price difference.

2.Cayin HA-3A (The selectable impedance output made me interested in this one)

I’ve looked at some others, but they are above the budget I want to set for this first tube amp. I’ve had the Dark voice in the past, it’s fine, but not enough of a difference from a solid state, IMO. Please, if you have experience with tubes, let me know your thoughts and recommendations, thank you. =)

I pulled the trigger on the WA7. :yum:


Congrats on your purchase of the WA7. I have always wanted to hear that one. Those also retain their value pretty well so if you decide it does not synergize well with your preferred headphone you have options. My only thoughts for a first time buyer of tube equipment is to let them know that it is a journey and not a destination. Synergy is key and there are a vast amount of tubes and headphones with different impedances that may change the sound (less so for hybrid tube amps). The tubiest sounding amps that I have heard have tubes on the output stage as well. Have Fun and happy listening. That WA7 Fireflies is one sexy looking piece of kit.

1 Like

Thank you Dandrac, and good to know about having them on the output stage as well.

“Blue ocean” approach: you can’t get tubier than an actual instrument amp. Has a headphone out.



whoa! That’s definitely on the bucket list now. Lol
Thanks for sharing! Looks fun!

1 Like