Las Vegas 2013: Woo, MA Recordings and Korg

Jack Wu was showing off the new Woo Audio WA7 Firefly down in the free-for-all area at the Flamingo.

The WOO Audio WA7 “Fireflies” Amp/DAC is a combination of high performance vacuum tube headphone amplifier with a built-in USB Digital-to-Analog Converter. It is a pure tube design, utilizing 6C45 tubes in a class-A, single-ended topology, with transformer coupled outputs. There are no semiconductors used in the entire signal path. The D-A converter is designed to be capable of up to 32-bit/192k sampling rates. This maintains pure data integrity, which is transmitted via standard high speed USB 2.0 interface operating in asynchronous mode.

The high quality construction features include a pair of Nickel Alloy core output transformers, all-aluminum chassis with no screws visible from any viewing angles, a linear external power supply for amplification circuitries, a custom built toroidal power transformer, and multi-layer military grade PCBs.

Prices start at $999 — $155 more snags some posh upgraded tubes. There are two finishes, silver chassis with a clear glass tube-protector/top, and black with a smoked glass top. The smoked glass is hot. I want one of these and not for review. I just want to look at it.

Sitting adjacent to Woo Audio was a big table with stacks of CDs from my favorite “indie” audiophile label, M-A Recordings. Todd Garfinkle, the ham with the little Korg DAC, below, does amazing work finding and capturing beautiful music in live spaces, all over the world. I have about a half-dozen albums and I’m in awe of the sound quality. It’s astounding. Anyway, Todd tells me that he’s going to start offering his music as downloadable DSD files — that’s how he records them, so there won’t be any question of unnecessary and potentially destructive DSD-to-PCM mastering. Very exciting stuff — now I just need a DSD-capable DAC ….

Which brings me back to Korg. Not available in the US, yet, is the DS-DAC-10 from Korg. All sampling rates, up to 24/192, are supported — as is DSD at 2.8MHz and 5.6MHz. Price is, obviously, TBD, but Korg is a huge name in A-to-D on the DSD side, so hopefully we’ll not only see this dedicated D-to-A converter here in the US, but that it’ll be reasonably priced. More soon (I hope).


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