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The Incomparable WAVAC 805s

I've been in this 'game' for a couple of years. I call it a game because you are always in seem to be kicking at goalposts that seem to be constantly moving. Once you think you've assembled your star team, and star passing the ball according to the pregame set pieces heading for the goal, all of a sudden another star player becomes available, and you think, maybe, just maybe if I substitute him, I might just win the game!! So here I am in Hong Kong like your typical junkie chasing the dragon of his first high salivating at the thought of shooting up on the different sounds being presented to me by PT.

I've been a Goldmund fan for some time now. I suppose I 'bought' into the hype of the adjectives always being mentioned about them.. fast, high bandwidth, expensive. In fact I had just purchased a pair of their brand new Telos monoblocks. I was quite happy with them. Until.. PT asked me to come over to HK to listen to a pair of Wavac 805s in his apartment

I happened to have some time during a business trip, and made it to the AE showroom + PT's apartment. Needless to say, those two stops changed the way I viewed music forever. I purchased the Wavacs immediately. They arrived about 2 months later, and I have had them singing in my system since. They are mated to the Zanden linestage + Orphues Zero/One SE + Kharma Grand Ceramiques with the AE house cables - Argentos. These are my impressions

1) The Look.
I am big on aesthetics, so when I initially decided on the Wavacs, I was concerned about how they would look with my current setup. I initially had an all Orpheus / Goldmund system that looked sleek, had the same silver / aluminium industrial / zen look that was in 'tune' with the decor of my apartment. Then I got the Zanden and the clean lines got all screwed up. Now with the Wavacs, what was I too expect? When I placed them on my stand, the results were great!. The Zanden 'Art Deco', against the Orpheus 'Zen modern minimalism' against the Wavac 'Retro'. The Silver against the Gold. The technical simplicity against the technical complexity. All these themes in a wonderful visual juxtaposition. See for yourself below. (Note : My wife still thinks that the Wavacs look like old Soda Pop machines and are NOT baby friendly, but she is coming around (I think))

2) The Sound
I've always been told that tubes are 'slow'. Somehow I don't understand this concept. The Wavacs were matching my Goldmunds with every beat. Everything from drum solos, to tablas (on my classical Indian recordings) sounded fantastic. On top of this was the smooth as silk and featherlike on my ears. On the Goldmunds they sounded squeezed and pinched. It definitely made listening to the Wavacs for longer periods of time easier. With the Goldmunds I sometimes found my ears getting a little tired. The bass, was the biggest surprise! How could these little 55w puppies have a more commanding bass than the 400W Goldmunds? And this was commanding in a very authoritative, i-am-in-charge kind of way. Powerful, in your gut bass when it was required, and to quote Goldmund enthusiasts... SUPER FAST! It made my Kharma Grand Ceramiques do things I never thought it could.
But to cap everything off, the mid-range was BREATHLESSLY MAGICAL... it was the ICING on the cake. I really cannot describe how it sounds, but I had my Goldmund Telos 400s for 2 months bought brand new when I decided the Wavacs were the way to go.

3) The Overall Package
I don't want to put down the Goldmunds. I have been a big fan of the Goldmunds for some time. However, I have to say the Wavacs are in a different league altogether. Some folks like obvious seperation in the music, where you can distinctly make out instruments, positions, soundstage. I feel the Goldmund does this well. The Wavac however does all this and adds more. It makes everything flow musically. AND ALL music sounds great. I kept hearing that tubes are only meant for older folks who ONLY listen to vocals, jazz and classical AND only on Audiophile recordings.
WELL... let it be known that the WAVACs sound great on House, Techno, Classic Rock, Raggae, Drum and Bass!! Music does not have to be a live recording or real instruments. Electronic music sounds wonderful too!

Oh, and one more thing. If you are using Kharmas, you HAVE to get the WAVACs. They are married at the hip!

At the price the WAVAC 805 is offered at, no other amp can compare. It is incomparable!!



  • View of all my components
  • Zanden and Wavac combination
  • Wavac with an all Argento lineup ... including the new Flow PCs
  • Katongkid,

    What a nice system! I'd suggest you replace the Orpheus suite with Zanden 2000/5000s to complete a truly musical system. Can you walk out the AE showroom without thinking the Horning speaker over there? I enjoy reading your analogy of superstar in this audio hobby. You are lucky because you listened to, at least, perhaps is the "end" in speaker in AE showroom without running circle.

    Happy Listening!

  • Yes, I was introduced to many superstars at the AE showroom. Yes, as soon as I can sell my 3 month old Kharma Grand Ceramiques, I will order the Hornings without blinking an eyelid. And the Zanden 2000/5000 is next on my shopping list. I think I know what my superstar team is right now .... But then, is it the game we love or is it scoring goals?
  • Katongkid, you are interest chap. I'd call it a game of changing gears, just like kids changing toys. Adults are the same. The Horning will put you in a position of limited hi fi wants. You have no idea what to change anymore unless you go back to the old days of broken hi fi sound. But the way I see your system has tremendous ways to go bigger and better even after the Horning. The Zanden combo, and the bigger wavac you mentioned just now.

    Still a long way to go but you know where is the goal, better than most running around like monkeys.

  • Katongkid,

    Welcome to the world of tubes.

    I was deeply into tubes myself (tube DAC, pre and power) before I moved to Hong Kong (ok, shortly after I moved to Hong Kong). I was happy with my Shindo + horn for a long time, then I was force to sell my horn (kid was almost tipping the 95kg speakers) and thus the Shindo 300B Limited. I was in audio hell for a few years, changing solid state gears every few months, from Nagra to Goldmund to FM Acoustics etc. until one day I was in AE showroom, listening to the 300B amp driving Horning. I realized that tube is the only way to go for me even though I did like FM Acoustics amps a lot. Supreme performance is not enough. I want MAGIC. Tube Magic :-)
    So now I am finally home again w/ my tube amp.... peace.....

    A couple things to add:

    I had a few email exchanges w/ the late Dr. Gizmo, Harvey Rosenberg, and I want to share one of his comments:
    "More power gives you more socks, but high efficency is anti-gravity"
    So Wavac 805 w/ Horning will blow the walls away :-)

    Finally, *some* goldmund products are very fine indeed, like the old Mimesis 36 transport and 20M DAC I am using :-) Though the Zanden combo is very very very tempting......
  • Katongkid,

    Do you know there is an advance model of 805 called the 805Mark2 which utilize the technology of the flagship SH833 (USD350,000)?

    I listened to them once and they are mind boggling. They are everything you had written but better.

    The road is long but fairly clear for you. MatthewC is right, I would go for Zanden digital.

  • 805 mk2? Isn't it just your basic 805 with an external power supply? Anyway my end game would be to eventually move to the Hornings and the Zanden duo... need to start saving now... ;)
  • Studiogrey, the review of wavac 805 is here.
  • Fresh out of the box. Cant wait until the Eufrodite Ultimate to be arrived in the next couple of weeks, I simply hook them up with my FALs with not much expectation (because FALs dont like large power amps base on my previous experience).

    Surprisingly, the twins are so resourceful that push my FALs to their limit (or at least the next level of performance). My whole listening room is filled with musical "Chi" (Air) without any rough/coarse feeling. The initial impression is very positive. Got to wait for the 2nd FMR to have a "fair" comparison with my old MD300B.

  • I would be interested in finding out how the Wavac 805s sound with the Hornings, which WILL be my next purchase (anyone wants to buy an almost new Kharma Grand Ceramique?) After listening to them at AE, I cannot get the sound out of my mind.
    On another note, I've recently biwired my Kharmas and Wavac 805s. Immediate difference was that the highs were smoother. I left it playing the whole of last night, and the highs are 'shimmering' and 'glittering' now. Wonderful Kharma-like sound. Highly advise the bi-wiring to anyone in this forum who run the Wavacs to get the full spectrum of sound.
    Shown in the photo below is the Wavac 805 with Flow PC, 2 sets of Serenity Reference speaker cables and the Serenity Reference Interconnect.
  • The Serenity References connected to my Kharmas
  • Hi Katongkid, can you share a bit more about your 805 "run-in" experience? The most significant improvement so far is the "depth", or the z-axis extension. The extension is continuous instead of discrete. I am eager to know other improvements after proper run-in.
    Thanks Bigpieice
  • MD805 with FMR, 又劲又顺!
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