Willsenton R8 and R800i (805) or (845) news and views

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by RachaelW, Sep 13, 2021.

  1. RachaelW

    RachaelW Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Melbourne
    Hi Couchman,

    I've been told that the basics of how one hears volume is that a typical 25W RMS (R8 in triode mode for example) amp has a maximum volume which solely depends on the efficiency of your speakers, the average impedance of your speakers, and finally, the size of your room and where you are sitting in relation to the speakers. What's more, for the ear to perceive a volume that is TWICE the volume which a 25W RMS amp can go to comfortably, an amp would need to be around 10 times more powerful - so around 250W RMS! Now that I have that out of the way, not all amps can drive all speakers at a given efficiency either, simply because some speakers are harder to drive than others. Further, I have also heard it said that out of solid state class D, A, A/B and tube A and A/B designs, that tubes are GENERALLY more capable of driving difficult loads. As your Monitor Audio speakers present a relatively easy load, I believe that you should be fine as even though your speakers are a little on the low side in respect to efficiency, in an average sized listening room, you should be able to reach quite respectable volumes. Of course the R8 also has ultra linear mode which boosts the output to 45W RMS per channel, although I find that triode mode is the more accurate mode. If you use the R8 amp to watch movies, by all means throw it into ultra linear mode where the design of the R8 gives more "presence" to the midrange area, i.e., the midrange comes forward in the soundstage. Ultra linear mode can also sound better for some genres of music too, although this is also reliant on personal preference as well.

    In respect to the R800i (805 version), you have almost 50W RMS per channel on tap with no switch between triode and ultra linear mode. This is because the R800i (either version) is a class A design, whereas the R8 is a push/pull class A/B design. So whether you choose the R8 or the R800i (either design, although specifically the 805 rather than the 845 version - 48W vs 23W), you should be fine.

    I have also heard that the Willsenton R800i (805 version) is similar in design to the Line Magnetic LM-805iA (although slightly different preamp tube compliment for the Willsenton) with the Willsenton being the much cheaper option, so if you are just getting into the world of tubes, I'd buy the Willsenton in preference to the Line Magnetic. As to what quality components are used in either amps, I cannot say, but suffice to say that with the right tubes, the cheaper Willsenton R800i is a beautiful sounding amplifier. The R8 amplifier is a wonderful sounding amplifier too, but each has it's own sound - perhaps this has more to do with one being a push/pull while the other is a single ended design. Because I own both the R8 and the R800i, I have set up the R800i as my main amp, while the R8 (my first tube amp), is in another listening room. In their own way, each is as good as the other, PROVIDING you throw the stock tubes in the bin. For example, the R8 has about $AU4,000 worth of tubes in it, while the R800i has about $AU7,000 worth of tubes in it, and I love the sound of both of them...

    CONCLUSION: It's your choice, but the R800i is my amp of choice. As to whether it's my end game amp, only the future can decide that, but bear in mind that I also own a Naim Uniti Atom, Naim Supernait 3 and a Hegel H390, and I prefer the R8 and R800i over these quite expensive solid state amps. My DAC is the Naim ND5 XS 2, Rega P6 turntable, Nagaoka MP500 mm cartridge, Wyred For Sound PH1 pre-preamp, and Q Acoustics Concept 500 speakers. Cables are a combination of Van den Hul, QED, Tchernov and Chord cables.

    I hope I've helped you decide, even if just a little bit...
     
    Haecate and Couchman like this.
  2. RachaelW

    RachaelW Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Melbourne

    Possibly, but these are the first two tube amps that I have ever owned, so I erred on the side of caution. Still, swapping out the stock tubes (they are rubbish IMHO) and installing better tubes has changed the sound from good to amazing. This applies to both the R8 and the R800i. Also, generally, more expensive tubes have always given better sound, especially after installing the amazing Takatsuki 300B's into the R800i and the NOS Mullard 6CA7 xf2 in the case of the R8. In summary, I believe that it is a tribute to both of these amps designs that one can easily hear any changes to the sound by simply changing a pair of tubes, or one tube (12AZ7/12AT7) in the case of the R800i.

    Of course, then there is the terrible addiction of tube rolling. I love it, but it can be oh so expensive.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2021 at 11:59 PM
  3. Couchman

    Couchman Member

    Location:
    New Zealand
    Thanks for the detailed answer, very helpful. Interestingly I was actually looking at a Line Magnetic 805i before I saw a review on the 800i, then saw another on the R8 so both caught my interest. Sounds like from the various answers these should all be ok for my speakers which is good to know, so it's just a matter of choice.

    As like many of you, I will be ordering from overseas, there is no way to try any of them first as nobody stocks them anywhere nearby which is a bit frustrating - although from the reviews, sounds like they are all good, just slightly different. The Line Magnetic I have a quote from a dealer in Singapore and I have friends there and he seems legit. He has offered to upgrade the amp (capacitors, resistors etc) and will run the amp for me for while to ensure everything is working fine before shipping which does offer some reassurance when ordering something from overseas. The Line Magnetic is about 20% more expensive than the Willsenston 800i which I have a price from Chinahifi. This is actually not as different as I thought - think one of the reviews referenced double the cost for the Line Magnetic? Has anybody bought their Willsenston direct from China, who from, and what was your experience like?

    Thanks
     
    RachaelW likes this.
  4. tlowe

    tlowe Life Explorer

    Location:
    Singapore
    I see that you are in NZ. IMO, unless you really need local warranty, buy directly from China authorized seller. I wont waste time and money with oversea resellers if I were you. FYI, Robert is selling LM805 for SGD4,700 in Singapore, I bought mine, LM508, for under SGD3,200 shipped. Reseller ran the amp for a day before sending it to me. Yes, I dont care whatever upgrades he is promoting. For SGD1,500, I can roll many tubes...:biglaugh: PM me if you need help with purchase from China sellers.

    P.S. Buying from China is not as scary as ppl think if you know what to look for. So far, I have bought a Yamaha AS801, Luxman DA-250, Line Magnetic 508, etc...not to mention over SGD50K spent for the last 10 years.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2021 at 4:58 AM
    RachaelW, RockAddict and Couchman like this.
  5. RockAddict

    RockAddict Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Related R8 thread: Willsenton R8 tube integrated stereo amplifier thread

    I purchased directly from China HiFi Audio. Pre-purchase comms were prompt and informative, particular with info about shipping schedules (China to UK) and a heads-up on a likely 2 month+ wait. Placing the order on the website was reasonably straight forward (R8 + extra valves) and checkout went without a glitch. Delivery happened a couple of weeks ahead of the previously stated ETD; I got an email saying the R8 was in-transit and almost before I knew it I got an email from DHL with a delivery date to the front door and that happened as notified.

    After purchase, I had a couple of minor glitches with the R8, including a prematurely blown valve (V9 - 6SN7) but didn't even receive an acknowledgement after trying to establish contact with CHA. Two things from this....

    1) I made my purchase on the basis that the stated warranty / guarantee was, in reality, not worth the website it was written on. In short, I took a (calculated) punt. So, for me, one blown valve and a minor glitch that I was able to sort out were not issues likely to have affected my original purchasing decision. Also, the technology involved means getting the R8 serviced or repaired locally would probably be cheaper than one-way shipping back to CHA.

    PS: My R8 was delivered in March 2021 and, bar those minor hiccups, has been in regular use since and worked without any other apparent issues. Fingers crossed!


    2) Another poster on the R8 thread suffered a blown resistor and, unsurprisingly, he was initially rather unhappy. However, he DID get responses from CHA and some of the info helped in getting his R8 repaired (with improved quality resistors) locally for relatively small money.


    In short, I don't think there is any concern about receiving goods from CHA, nor of the workmanship which by most accounts is (generally) of good quality. It's probably a bit more of a lottery is you have a major failure but, to date, I haven't heard or read reports of terminal failures.

    Would I purchase again from CHA? I don't know. Do I regret getting the R8? Just try taking it away from me! :tsk: :wantsome::cussing: :) :tiphat:

    Edit: typo correction
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2021 at 6:04 AM
    Couchman likes this.
  6. Couchman

    Couchman Member

    Location:
    New Zealand
    Well that's another vote for the R8. It's hard not to want to just move up the range to the R800i or the Line Magnetic equivalent, but there seems to be a lot of love for the R8 and it is a lot cheaper. Buying stuff remotely is not quite as easy or as much fun is it as going into a store and listening ...
     
  7. thomaskong

    thomaskong Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington State
    If you have enough space, it is a good idea to match your amp with Altec A7



    https://youtu.be/4L42N2Qdhqs

    Russian Song called Larrisa;s Romance



    Tender Trap by Frank Sinatra

    Source Cocktail Audio 50x d server

    EMMlab Dac2

    Freya pre fitted with Sylavania and RCA 6f8g's

    Line Magnetic 508 fitted with RCA 805, EML 300b, Melz 1578, RCA 6c8g

    Altec A7
     
  8. rockin_since_58

    rockin_since_58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Simi Valley, CA
    [QUOTE="Couchman, post: 28000280, member: 134810" Has anybody bought their Willsenston direct from China, who from, and what was your experience like?

    Thanks[/QUOTE]
    I am in the US and purchased my R8 from China HiFi. The process was very easy and the amp arrived quickly...in less than 2 weeks.
     
    Couchman likes this.
  9. Couchman

    Couchman Member

    Location:
    New Zealand
    I am in the US and purchased my R8 from China HiFi. The process was very easy and the amp arrived quickly...in less than 2 weeks.[/QUOTE]
    Thanks, that's good to know. The R8 seems to be a popular choice.
     
  10. RachaelW

    RachaelW Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Melbourne
    Hi Couchman,

    I've bought the R8, R800i and lots of tubes (valves) from China HiFi, and for me, while I did buy a pair of PSVane 805's and found that one tube was not working, they did send me a replacement tube without me even needing to return the broken tube, so my experience with them is excellent.
     
    Couchman likes this.
  11. RachaelW

    RachaelW Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Melbourne
    Hi again Couchman,

    Honestly, if this is your first journey into the world of tubes and its associated equipment, the R8 is probably a better starting point than the R800i. Either amp is amazing with the right tubes installed. It's just that the R8 has more variables for tubes, whether re-issues, NOS or boutique tubes. But be careful - tube rolling can become very addictive, not to mention very expensive.
     
    Couchman likes this.

Share This Page

molar-endocrine