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Woo Audio WA7 Fireflies DAC Headphone Amplifier Review

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The Fireflies delivered big time. It allowed me to concentrate on the performance as if I were in the concert hall. The amplifier and headphones disappeared. Again, the Fireflies’s midrange was exceptionally clean and musical. The tone of the instruments was accurate and sounded like what I heard when I was listening to live music.

Late night listening with the Fireflies was a special treat. I turned the lights off and the glow of the tubes through the glass top of the amplifier made me feel like I was sitting in front of my fireplace all snuggled up. I listened to album after album, and the results were always outstanding. The Audeze LCD2 put me in a jazz club. I could feel the passion of Tiger Okoshi’s trumpet in his a tribute to Louis ” Pops” Armstrong. The session players included Bela Fleck with his acoustic banjo. Doug Mcleod’s There a Time album, recorded live to two-track with no overdubs is a super disc. Listening to Doug’s voice was inspirational. His music has meaning, and in many instances, the album dug deep into my emotions. I could feel the spirituality of the recording.

WooFireflies3

The Fireflies produced similar results using other headphones. The amplifier let me get consumed with the music. The bass was tuneful and textured, and the treble was extended. I heard no electronic glare with the Fireflies; it never got harsh. It was dead quiet, there was no hiss. Even when I used the Ultimate Ears IEM Triple Fi 10 the sound was dead quiet. The UE6000 produced similar results. The WA7 also was good at inner detail. I could easily hear drummers using a brush on their cymbals.

On Patricia Barber’s Cafe Blue, the “Nardis” track let me hear how dynamic a component can be and also how fast and explosive it needs to be to in order to reproduce the track. The Fireflies was up to the task, and delivered. The explosive drums and cymbals came through with an accurate and focused realism. The inner stroke of Patricia’s piano came through with clarity. The Fireflies was fast and delivered the dynamics necessary to make this track believable. Copland’s Third Symphony on the Reference Recording label will challenge any system. It has made many amplifiers clip with its extended dynamic range on “Fanfare for the Common Man.” It is my ultimate test for evaluating the speed and dynamics of any component. The Fireflies buzzed right through the track with all the explosive dynamics intact. I could hear the timpani whack exploding. The sheer force and dynamics of the Minnesota Orchestra were all there. There was no sign of any stress on the amplifier and it sailed through very complex passages. The Fireflies was very impressive during such large scale, demanding recordings; it was a very versatile amplifier.

Utilizing the Woo WA7 Fireflies’ USB port meant accessing the 32-bit 192kHz internal DAC in the Fireflies. It is an excellent DAC. The Texas Instruments D/A converter is not as transparent as the Sabre DAC in the Oppo BDP95, but it was very good nonetheless. I used iTunes’ lossless files that were on the IMAC, and the music was enjoyable. I also watched a few live concerts that were well recorded. The BBC concert by Van Morrison available on YouTube and recorded in St. Luke’s Church in London in 2008 was excellent. The recording quality was outstanding, and I got a good sense of what the church acoustics were like. The Fireflies brought me to London to watch Van Morrison live in a small intimate setting, and I watched the entire concert. I also watched some of the Rolling Stones on their 50th anniversary tour. The performance was outstanding, especially in “Sympathy for the Devil” with Mick Taylor joining the band.

The Woo WA7 Fireflies’ built-in 32-bit DAC let me hear well into the recordings and made the experience involving. This was my first time using an amplifier with a built-in DAC, and listening to concert videos and music off my IMAC computer. The Fireflies delivered and lets me hear the performance as it was recorded. I spent many hours every night and early in to the morning watching and listening to concerts. The Fireflies was not only outstanding, but it was also very addictive. It performed flawlessly, and I could hardly get enough.

Woo Audio WA7 Fireflies Hube DAC Headphone Amplifier Back Panel

Conclusion

The Woo WA7 Fireflies is priced at $999 factory direct. It is well worth the asking price. It is innovative, the design is flawless, and it is also a super-attractive piece of audio eye candy. It will work with almost any headphone traducer, whether it is a portable in-ear monitor or any full-size headphone. It makes all the music come to life.

The many hours spent with the Fireflies made me realize how good Woo Audio builds their gear. The design and sound coming from the WA7 played well above the retail price. It was an amplifier that for many will be their last amplifier. The design team at Woo Audio came up with a real winner with the WA7. I suspect many will use this as their centerpiece on their desktops and won’t feel the urge to upgrade their gear. The Fireflies is a can’t-miss recommendation for anyone who wants a small amplifier that sounds much bigger than its size. It will play any type of music or headphone you throw at it and perform like a reference amplifier. The Fireflies is very highly recommended for anyone buying their first, or even possibly their last, reference amplifier. It is that good. This little Woo is a shining star that can play with the big boys. It is a super value and a product that anyone would be proud to own. If you are in the market for a amplifier and a built-in DAC for your desktop do not overlook the Fireflies. It brought many hours of sheer musical bliss.

31 Responses to Woo Audio WA7 Fireflies DAC Headphone Amplifier Review


  1. MacedonianHero says:

    Brilliant review Frank! Looks like one killer amp/dac solution in a small footprint.

  2. Frank Iacone says:

    Thanks Peter. Jack did a fantastic job with the amplifier

  3. Clayton SF says:

    Great review, Frank. I am always at a loss of descriptive words when I am trying to describe sound to someone and you did a very good job in capturing in words the essence of the Fireflies sound stage. It is also great that Woo Audio choose to use an external power supply for the Fireflies.

    • Frank Iacone says:

      Thanks Clayton. The design choices Jack made with the WA7 were well thought out. The separate power supply was a very good choice and the amplifier also sounded much more powerful than it stated 1W power.

  4. Dubstep Girl says:

    great review! it looks like you really enjoyed the WA7 and that Jack really did a good job with this amp!!!

  5. Lee Shelly says:

    Well written and considered review, Frank! My brief time with the WA7 left me with a similarly positive impression. Great photos too!

  6. Frank Iacone says:

    Thanks Lee and your pictures for Woo Audio are terrific,

  7. Wow, now I wanna go find some of the tracks and albums you mentioned. I think I have most of them… The fun will be finding them and playing them! Good read, Frank.

    • Frank Iacone says:

      Hi John,
      Thanks for the comments. The Reference Reordings Doug Mcleod album is a very special recording and the music is stellar.

  8. rosgr63 says:

    Great review Frank. Thanks for sharing. The WA7 looks very nice and your review confirms it sounds very good too.

  9. pegamush says:

    i don’t get what’s the third position of the source switch for (d/a), or did i miss something in the review?

    • Frank Iacone says:

      The switch covers switching between USB,RCA and the third switch allows for the WA7 to be used as a dac.

  10. moodyrn says:

    Great review Frank! Seems that this amp/dac sounds as good as it looks. Great job at conveying the emotional connection it was able to achieve.

  11. Frank Iacone says:

    Thank You. I am glad you enjoyed the review.

  12. Great job Frank! Killer read – you’re really finding your stride

  13. rattesp says:

    Excellent review Frank ! I had the chance to hear the WA7 at the SSI in Montreal and it’s really a terrific amp. And you are absolutly right about the incredible synergy between the T90 and the WA7.

  14. Frank Iacone says:

    Thanks Simon. The T90 is a special headphone with the WA7. I am glad you liked the review.

  15. Warren Chi says:

    I’ve been lusting after this ever since I first laid eyes on it. I think that just about the only flaw is that it’s not in my budget atm. Pity, I would have shown it the lovin’ it deserves.

  16. Frank Iacone says:

    I enjoyed my time with the WA7. Nice product.

  17. Paul says:

    I hope your on commission as you just sold one. Very nice review and I will be looking for some of those recording to try it out too. Thanks for taking the time to do the review

  18. Frank iacone says:

    Hi Paul,

    Glad you liked the review. It was a great amp and one I highly recommend it. It was one of my favorite reviews this year. Congratulation on your purchase,

  19. Warren Chi says:

    Frank, so I’ve finally got my paws on a WA7 (as you no doubt know from the headphone meet at CAS4). Got a quick question for you as my impressions differ ever-so-slightly from yours… do you happen to remember which tubes you used for the review? Thanks! 🙂

  20. Francesco says:

    Hi Frank, can you give me some other detail on sinergy of WA7 with Senn HD 700?
    Thanks

    • Frank Iacone says:

      The HD700 played well on the WA7. The WA7 played every headphone i tried with well. it is a good match for most any headphone except the AKG 1000 or HE6

  21. Dudley says:

    I’m thinking of pairing this amp with my Oppo PM1’s – any reason why that wouldn’t be a good idea?
    Cheers!

  22. Rick says:

    Great review! I’m in the market and I have been looking at the WA7d with the WA7tp, together they run $1600 or the WA6-se with a Schiit Bifrost DAC which together cost $1600. Which of these two combos would you recommend?

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