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.