Woo Audio has one of many most interesting alternatives of tube amps round. They’ve been an acquired style for tube amp lovers and common audiophiles which have the the cash to spend on this type of gear. What we have now right here right this moment would possibly match a distinct sort of crowd. The brand new Tube Mini from Woo Audio is a transportable USB DAC/Amp to prices $499. This nonetheless may be a steep worth for some, but when the Tube Mini can include Woo Audio’s high quality sound copy it may very well be a pressure to be reckoned with. Let’s see if it succeeded.
What You Get
- Tube Mini USB DAC/Amp
- Zipper case
- USB-A feminine to USB sort C male cable
- Lightning adapter
I’d examine the general design of the Tube Mini to Audioquest’s Dragonfly collection of USB DAC/amps. The Tube Mini is far greater than these, however nonetheless sufficiently small to hold round as simple as every other DAC dongle. You additionally get a balanced 4.4mm headphone output, which is already a significant benefit over the Dragonfly amps. With the Tube Mini you’ll want to pick between balanced and single-ended although, as each cannout run directly. Woo Audio offers the Tube Mini a small swap on the aspect for this, in addition to a play/pause button.
After all, the primary draw of the Tube Mini is the tube itself, which you’ll bodily see in all of its glory by means of a window on the face of the system. This comes with minor disturbances although, which Woo Audio is totally conscious of. These aware of tube amps are greater than doubtless conscious of microphonics. The Tube Mini is simply as liable to noise as every other tube amp. It leads to a ringing sound that may be heard when no music is enjoying. That is attributable to common dealing with of the system whereas it’s lively.
So, this ringing will be prevented by leaving the Tube Mini stationary whereas in use, which sort of devalues its portability a bit. Mobile information additionally additionally interferes with the vacuum tubes on account of excessive EMI. It makes the Tube Mini more durable to make use of when linked to you telephone, except you’re planning on downloading your entire music to make use of when out and about. Even then you definitely would nonetheless have to keep away from dealing with, so perhaps the Tube Mini isn’t greatest to make use of in public areas. The complete potential of the Tube Mini is greatest skilled with over-ear headphones anyway, so one of the best ways to make use of it may be when plugged right into a laptop computer or pill at residence.
Should you observe the directions on the correct technique to deal with the Tube Mini with out disturbances, the sound you get from it’s in contrast to something a transportable DAC/Amp is able to. For the worth, that’s sort of what you’d ask for, however it’s nonetheless a spectacular presentation nonetheless. With the Tube Mini, Woo Audio offers some of the potent transportable adapters. Simple-to-drive headphones and IEMs are virtually explosive, and you must take further precaution about the place you’re quantity is earlier than you hit play in your first monitor.
Grado headphones just like the Hemp felt large, with expanded imaging and further physique. The Sundara, additionally had extra of a kick to it, and added extra form to the devices as properly. I attempted the Tube Mini with the Ananda and Arya as properly, they usually each benefited by providing elevated tallness and scope. Due to their decrease impedance, you’ll have extra headroom then you definitely’ll ever want kind these particular alternatives. You’ll by no means have any bother getting your headphones or IEMs to a cushty acquire. Nonetheless, you must begin at zero quantity and work your method up it doesn’t matter what you’re listening to only to be protected.
Larger impedance headphones just like the Fiio FT3 and Sennheiser HD 660S2, work virtually the identical with only a bit extra juice. There’s loads of room for adjustmjent, even moreso than most desktop amps across the similar worth. I’ve by no means heard the 660S2 sound so large and tall than when utilizing the Tube Mini. Some treble components pushed by means of extra aggressively than with every other amp, however in any other case the highs gave me extra top and crisper element. It nonetheless has its mid-bass groove, however the response feels roomier normally. The identical goes for the FT3, which gave me even bigger imaging and separation between the sound components whereas utilizing the Tube Mini.
Timbral components simply felt cleaner all through, it doesn’t matter what pair of headphones I used to be utilizing. Typically these tremendous highly effective DAC/amps discover problem with presenting your music as too pushed out and inflated. Fortunately, the Tube Mini doesn’t fall into the sort of response. Your tracks are at all times introduced articulately. You by no means get any undesirable bloat from the tube both. The entire heat that the Tube Mini can add to your headphones is at all times properly managed and splendidly textured.
With an extremely giant output that is ready to reveal a pristine sound, the Tube Mini is well among the best sounding transportable DAC/amps I’ve heard. It takes much more care and precaution than most merchandise like this. The really transportable facet of this transportable USB amp is lessened on account of all the noise that may be attributable to dealing with. That is the trade-off to having an actual vacuum tube in your pocket. Utilizing the Tube Mini on your pill or laptop computer is one of the best ways to make use of it. You’ll additionally get probably the most out of its output when listening to high-impedance over-ear headphones. It actually makes the Tube Mini extra of an entry level for tube amps, slightly than an amp dongle.
Take a look at extra from Woo Audio right here.