Newport 2015: Whammerdyne Heavy Industries

This is why you go to an audio show.

We all say that we’re curious about the industry. We all say that we’re looking to hear a bunch of different systems. We make excuses about how good it is to see everybody. We talk about how good a happy hour the hotel bar runs. That’s all bull. We really go to audio shows in the hope that you get to hear something so totally insane that it makes us smile for days.

Whammerdyne Heavy Industries new “Truth” 2a3 integrated amp is totally insane. It sports NOS tubes, three watts of power, autoformer volume controls, Simpson meters, a $15,000 price tag, and industrial design that looks like they stole it out of a late Tom Waits song. Just seeing it glow in the darkness is enough to make you smile. Listening to it just makes everything better. Paired here with a pair of Zu Druids ($5,400) and fed signal from a fully loaded MSB Analog DAC (north of $14,000 as configured), this little monster made my weekend.

This was one of those times when Zu was the perfect match. The Whammerdyne powered them to the best performance I’ve yet heard from a Druid. Tone and detail were right on — not that you would have cared, because this little amp is fast. We threw four or five songs at it. All the usual fare was handled so perfectly that we even tossed the execrably recorded, instantly alienating, made-to-get-speeding-tickets, “Cowboy of Tchernobyl” by King Automatic into the system. This is a spiky, punkabilly, surftastic, one man wall of sound that makes “tubey” tube amps scream for mercy. The Whammer nailed it.

I shouldn’t be surprised. Whammerdyne may be a new company, but the folks behind it are anything but newbies. Pat Hickman is leading the charge. Matt Kamna is doing the circuit design. Dave Slagle is winding autoformers. They tell me that they’ve even dragged in Lynn Olson to write their manuals. That’s a deep bench.

I’m still smiling. I keep wondering what that amp would sound like on my Altecs. I just wish I’d spent more time here.

Proud to sponsor Part-Time Audiophile and The Audio Traveler at THE Show in Newport 2015!