Woo Audio had a couple of displays here at RMAF, including a table at CanJam and a room up in the Atrium. Down at CanJam, Simon showed me an absolutely fascinating upgrade to the WA7 Firefly DAC/headphone amp -- a separate tube-based power supply. Deceptively simple? Maybe. The form factor for the new PSU in the prototype was a spare WA7 chassis -- final versions may not differ much. But the result? Outstanding. Pricing and availability are still TBD.
Up in the room, Jack was showing off the now-released WA234, a techno tour-de-force of a headamp. This amp takes "dual mono" to a totally new place -- as in, each channel is housed in a completely (physical!) separate amplifier. The amps are, of course, tubed ... but those driver tubes are swappable. Got a favorite? 2a3? 300b? Like to change it up occasionally? Then the WA234 is for you -- assuming you're ready to swing the $15,000 price tag. But it's really hard to consider this amp as a "single amp" (even if it's not) -- with the swapping, this is like having 4 different kind of amps (which, I guess, would make eight -- this is making my head hurt). Seen that way, the price tag might be a bit easier to take.
Shown here with the gloriously butch Abyss headphones and the Woo Audio DAC/Transport, the sound was just incredible -- detailed, frequency-full and punchy, this was another easy Best in Show contender. Wow-eee.
Another interesting bit, if completely at right angles to the rest of the room, was the brand new LP sleeves that Todd Garfinkle of MA Recordings was showing off. Like I said, right angles. But the sleeves are cool — a synthetic blend that is both anti-static and anti-fungal (ewww), these new sleeves may be the best way to coddle your new and old record collections. Doesn’t hurt that these sleeves are soft and have a sexy look. A set of 50 will set you back $33.