When I first heard the name Songer Audio at a high-end audio show earlier in the year, I thought it might have been a typo. (You know, Sonner.) But when I saw the name Songer at the 2023 Pacific Audio Fest, combined with a company called Whammerdyne, I had to go in and confirm. Turns out, that was one of the best decisions I made at PAF this weekend.
Words and Photos by Marc Phillips
This has been a busy year for audio shows, and I’ve covered more of them in 2023 than usual. That also means I tend to see the same rooms over and over, with the same exact systems. So I was jonesin’ for something new to get me excited, and I found it in the Songer Audio room. Turns out I was in terrible need of listening to a high-efficiency single-driver field coil speaker driven by a monstrous SET amp with 4.2 watts per channel.
When I first sat down in this room, the thought was “I used to be into these systems a few years ago, and I never had a good reason for moving on.” After a few minutes, I remembered why I loved single-ended triode amps. The sound coming from the Songer Audio field coil speakers (two different models) and the Whammerdyne amps (two different models), with help from Mola Mola digital, was absolutely gorgeous. It was lush and romantic, and yet the frequency extremes were well represented.
In fact, I made them play “Chocolate Chip Trip” just to see what would happen, and it sounded great. There was plenty of texture and dynamics, even though we had the volume just a little bit lower than usual.
The Songer Audio S1 ($37K/pair) combines the traditional whizzer cone with a field coil design. The whizzer cone is unusual because there are whizzers on both the front and back of the driver. (That’s what you’re seeing in the first photo above.) The S1 is 93 dB efficient, and goes down to 29 Hz and is made primarily from hardwood and brass. The S2 ($49k/pr with power supplies) differs in that it features an open baffle design. While I loved both models, the spell cast by the S2 was slightly more powerful and persuasive.
Whammerdyne makes six different models of 2A3 amplifiers–the Ultimate Truth and the DGA-1 (Damn Good Amp) were the ones represented in this room. I thought the prices, again, were a typo–Whammerdyne amps start at about $6,000. These are beautiful amplifiers, which match both the sound of the Songer speakers as well as the look. This room looked like I had stepped back into an era where these designs were brand new.
But the sound was so seductive and alluring that I had to come back for a second listen. Both of these companies are also local to me in Portland, which means I’ll be banging on their door asking to hear more. For me, Songer and Whammerdyne were the greatest surprise at PAF 2023.