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Cafe Walter HA-1A review

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by dharma, Mar 31, 2006.

  1. dharma

    dharma Srubby wubbly

    Oct 14, 2005
    Monroe, Louisiana
    Think flat.

    At first, I wasn't all that impressed with this thing (famous last words). Just a little silver box with some inputs and outputs. Listening through some Sennheiser 201's, my BASS sounded semi-thin to me, and it wanted to distort when I dug in.

    Simple enough answer, dork. I've got a Sadowsky preamp running into it, which I've found has really opened up me up to the sensitivity OF that little preamp. Little increments go such a long way, especially through the Cafe Walter (not so much my SWR combo) and the versatility of a 2 band setup, albeit with the VTC roll-off, which I find I need to dull the maple of my fingerboard, has really impressed me.

    $175.00 shipped to my door brand new, with adaptor. I've since spent another ... $5 to buy a male-male input to connect my iPod, and I gotta say ... it's a killer, I could probably blow my 'phones with the level cranked on the iPod.

    I, as some of you may have observed, am a journalist and work night hours as a copy editor. I'm home at about 1-2 ish every night, and up until closer to 4:30, so after dinner, I've got an hour or two that usually gets wasted on this board.

    This little amp is tearing me away from the keyboard, thankfully, in conjunction with some learning-curving from pre-work weekly lessons I recently began.

    Maybe this is unique to me and my experience, but I've found it to be a positive investment for me so far. I mean, the whole shebang right here in a quality little box.

    Color me pimped.

    I have yet to open it up, but will soon.
  2. +1 I love mine... simple, clean... no way to overdrive the input that I've found, even with aggessive playing with an active bass. Wonderful!
  3. It's a great little thing from all I've read about it; I've been gassing for one for over three years now. tsssssssss.
  4. dharma

    dharma Srubby wubbly

    Oct 14, 2005
    Monroe, Louisiana
    No overdrive on yours, KJung?

    Hmm. Weird. It's more of a fart thing. Maybe it's my headphones!
  5. Probably yes.
  6. dunamis


    Aug 2, 2004
    It may sound weird, but I actually run an Avalon U5 into mine. It doesn't distort even with the gain cranked, but threatens to blow the headphones even with the vol pot on the Cafe just barely cracked.
  7. Definitely your headphones... I crank very high output, aggressively voiced basses (MTD, Celinder) into it, and I literally can't clip the thing... slap, pop, whatever. I have a pair of Bose Tri Port headphones (I know the audiophile guys think they are sh**, but they sound SO good with this unit.... I literally can't fart it out... just wonderful IMO.
  8. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    If you're overdriving the 201s, you should probably turn the unit down to avoid hearing damage!
  9. dharma

    dharma Srubby wubbly

    Oct 14, 2005
    Monroe, Louisiana
    Huh?! Wuzzat?!
  10. BuffaloBob4343

    BuffaloBob4343 Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
  11. RumbleBeeAL


    Jun 8, 2009
    Mobile, AL
    +1 here too...

    Old thread I know...

    After doing some research, I found it is quite difficult to find someone with negative remarks about the Cafe Walter Audio HA-1A headphone amp.

    I recently landed a used one here on TB and can't be more satisfied. Pure sweet tone and gets the job done.

    Of course upon receipt, I modded mine to change out the RED LED to a BLUE one for grins.


    It now fits right in with my Genz Benz gear - both brands of which are Top Notch in my opinion.
  12. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    Does anyone make a headphone amp similar to this but that also has a balanced (XLR) line in?
  13. RumbleBeeAL


    Jun 8, 2009
    Mobile, AL
    How about using a custom cable in conjunction with the Cafe Walter Audio HA-1A?

    Visit the link below:



    Note, you must use the unbalanced/mono 1/4" plug at the HA-1A instrument input. Do not use a 1/4" TRS (3conductor Stereo type) plug unless you bridge/tie the Tip and Ring terminations together locally in the housing at that end.
  14. MostlyBass

    MostlyBass Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Oak Park, IL

    Attached Files:

  15. Tom P

    Tom P

    Aug 19, 2004
    Interesting - I'm thinking I would miss the tuner/ metronome and recording/looping features of my Korg Toneworks.
  16. RumbleBeeAL


    Jun 8, 2009
    Mobile, AL
    The C.W.A HA-1A has a pass through Audio Out via 1/4" jack located on the back of the unit - Perfect for Tuners and Recording Gear.

    The true advantage of the HA-1A is the pure sweetness of a clean power headphone amp that is in a class of its own.
  17. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    I have made some over the years, so I guess the CW would be fine. Can the input on it handle +4 dB nominal levels?
  18. RumbleBeeAL


    Jun 8, 2009
    Mobile, AL
    Since both inputs (Mono/Instrument and Stereo/MP3) have independent volume knobs, I see no reason why you could not trim it out to your liking.
  19. LoTone

    LoTone Clean as an Entwistle... Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2010
    Quebec, Canada
  20. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    I use my Fender Bass Pak I bought for $5 at a yard sale.

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