Sorry all, had to take a break as all the research was settingmy hair on fire. I read a review for the Denafrips Athena which compared it extremely favorably to the W4S stage 2. Seems that, according to 6 moons (who loves to word salad the sh*t out of everything), they are equals with the exception of their voicing and emphasis on ASD. It’s never explicitly stated but he seems to allude that the W4S emphasizes the attack of the sound where the Athena emphasizes the sustain so it’s attack is slightly rounded but with a fuller sound.
I have to admit that a fuller sound and unity gain/no gain is really peaking my interest.
the biggest knock, in my eyes, with the Sachs, Rogue, Supratek, etc is the amount of gain. My current has 18, my amp 30 and I’m driving 99db speakers (with 12db attenuators in line). Besides being hard in the tubes I feel like, and correct me if my observation is not as cut and dry as I perceive it, the gain exposes ANY noise a tube makes especially once a few hundred hours are on it. So it makes thing frustrating. When I flick it on I dread it popping on and there will be scratching/static/ etc.
Lately my current one has been flawless. And it sounds great. Admittedly the whole tube thing has just frustrated me.