CAF 2013: Woo Audio

New color scheme on the media player/DAC — BLACK

Spent some time hanging out with my pal Simon from Woo Audio, lamenting about how hard it is to set up a demo room at an audio show. All that fussing with positioning, room nodes, reflection points, optimal seating … it’s a total drag. We wept for the plight of the audio show setup dude. And then laughed. Because an all-headphone setup has absolutely none of those issues.

Simon was showing off the full suite of gear from Woo Audio. The little WA-7, nicknamed “Fireflies”, is out, shipping, and totally hot. Headamp plus DAC, with a big hunk of cut glass framing out and protecting the exposed tubes. What’s not to like? The biggest news here — no more smoked glass on the Fireflies WA-7. I expressed my disappointment and overall displeasure with an overly loud “Boo!” Apparently, reliably getting quality glass in that smoked finish was too problematic. Consider those sold to be a special, limited edition! Me? I’m totally bummed, because the black with the smoked glass was ever-so-very hot. Sigh. Another you-snooze, you-lose that slipped through my fingers ….

The WA6 ($660) and 6SE ($1,190) are sweet little numbers, but it’s the big WA22 ($1,995) is currently on my lust-list. It’s fully balanced, if that matters to you, and the tube complement includes a 6SN7, which I tend to like. Of course, the demo was paired with my current reference cans, the Sennheiser HD-800, so perhaps it was just familiar? Dunno, but I was very happy with this combo.

Okay, truth be told, it’s the WA5-LE that’s got my juices going — it uses a pair of 300b tubes, and that is just hot, but since that model’s pricing starts at $2,795, you can see where the slippery slope has gotten me by now.

And I haven’t even gotten to the ESL headamps yet. Stax? Where art thou, oh Mighty SR-009? How I long for thee …. but there’s just no way I’m ready to write that $5,200 check.

Another headphone I got to hear, and quite like, was the Beyerdynamic T1 (~$1,400). Really nice fit on my enormous melon, and an effortless, gorgeous sound. Very impressive. My understanding is that the T90, at less than half that (~$650, actually), gets pretty close. Something to explore at the next audio show!

Last note, the WDS-1 DAC and WTP-1 transport ($1,199 each) now have a new color option — all black. Check that out at the top of the page — more photos are down at the bottom of the stack.


  1. I dropped by the Woo room, what great guys. They said they were sorry they didn’t have a SR-009 available for the show, so I went home and got my own. And so I finally got a chance to head-to-head the SR-007 vs. the SR-009 (via the Woo WES, with and without my Smyth Realizer in the chain).

    Oh My God, the 007 is terrible (by comparison): I expected similarity, a family-resemblance. Instead, I got slow, thick and dark in ways and quantities that I had heretofore never known via the SR-009s. I know a lot of Stax mafiosos have opined in favor of the 007, but I just don’t get it. Listening to the 007 after the 009 is like putting on velvet ear-muffs… and then stuffing your ears with cotton.

    Talked to the Woo guys and they helpfully suggested that some people might prefer the warmer, darker and more forgiving sound of the 007 to the speed, accuracy and transparency of the 009. Whatever floats your boat, I guess. But I just don’t get it.

    I enjoyed the WES a great deal and the style and build-quality are first-rate though, I fear that I cannot say that it sounded better enough (though it DID sound better) than my discontinued Headamp KGSS to justify its significant tariff. Still, it was a terrific amp demo’ed by a some realy nice HP enthusiasts. Thanks Woo.

  2. That stax sr007 w/ woo two chassis preamp = fin awesome. Liked the 7 better vs 9 : nice hybrid electro + dynamic sound. 9 more for the electrostatic purists.

    New woo cubes super cool, but outclassed in sonics + power vs other woo gear just a bit up the chain. All at its price point of course. Tube rolling maybe?

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