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Woo Audio Electrostatic Energizer !! new product from Woo Audio

post #1 of 78
Thread Starter 

This looks like a wonderful product, many people just have been waiting for!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by WooAudio View Post

 

WEE (Woo Audio Electrostatic Energizer) is an electrostatic headphone converter for dynamic speaker amp. It converts speaker amp output to be usable for electrostatic headphones. To connect this setup, basically, you will need a speaker amp, a WEE, and an electrostatic headphone such as the Stax. If you already have a speaker amp setup, the WEE is probably the most economical solution to start enjoying electrostatic headphones.

 

Standard build will have two 5-pin PRO bias Stax outputs. We can build one 5-pin PRO and one 6-pin NORMAL on request. The WEE comes with speaker output terminals, allowing speakers and headphone switching within the box. Since the WEE is highly efficient, speaker amp output requirement is as low as 3 watts. It is worth to note that your speaker amp plays a major role in this setup because it acts as a source.

 

WEE Prototype


The picture above is a prototype unit which was debuted in Chicago CanJam 2010 (WA5 -> WEE -> Stax). The knob on the faceplate is a switch between speaker and Stax output. The pre-production unit will be ready for North Carolina CanFest in August 14th, 2010. Come to see and listen to this beauty.

 

The offer price is $499, including US domestic shipping cost. Production unit will be shipped in 6 to 8 weeks from now. Pre-order is now accepted.

 

Stay tune as the pre-production unit will be published here shortly.

 

Thank you for reading,
Jack



 


Edited by Seamaster - 7/28/10 at 3:25pm

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post #2 of 78

WA5 + WEE?  Yes please!

post #3 of 78

Can anyone who listened to this at canjam comment on WA5->WEE vs WES for electrostatic headphones?

post #4 of 78
Thread Starter 

"speaker amp output requirement is as low as 3 watts" 

 

So what is the upper cap I worndering

post #5 of 78

This is an amazing product for those who want to play electrostatic but not to spent a lot for a specific amp. But want to see more impression how it sound when connected to different amp, should be very interesting.


Edited by dannie01 - 7/28/10 at 8:16pm
post #6 of 78

Sweet!


As the Stax SRD-7 Pro and MK2 become more rare it is great to have an in-production alternative. Will definitely look out for impressions/reviews of this one, especially if they compare it to the mentioned Stax units.

post #7 of 78

Holy crap, this is awesome.  If I wasn't so married to my tube setup right now, I'd seriously consider getting this.  Although, my power amp kinda sucks....

post #8 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by dmac03 View Post

Can anyone who listened to this at canjam comment on WA5->WEE vs WES for electrostatic headphones?


I did this audition at CanJam Chicago, and heard no difference with Jack's Omega 2's.  But the room was not always quiet, and my listening times were short.  Since WES is amazing, let's assume that it bests WA5-->WEE, but not by a lot.  The point is: you can't go wrong with a WEE.

 

I ordered and paid at the NJ Meet last Saturday.  Does that make me the first pre-order?  I dunno. 

 

At the NJ meet I was driving Staxen with a Stax SRD-7 Energizer modded by AudioCats.  The amp was a PS Audio A100 ... a digital (Class D) ICE unit, 100 wpc.  Someone stopped by my table and said "Digital amps like that are a perfect match to transformer-based energizers for 'stats".  I don't recall who it was, or what the line of reasoning was.  I seem to recall Yikes disagreed ... I may have this all wrong.

 

Anyone want to offer some insights?

 

100 digital watts per channel sounds like overkill for the WEE, but it's the only spare speaker amp I have.  I am driving the K1K's with another digital speaker amp -- Tacit-based (Lyngdorf).  Sounds great to me.  I could switch these, but to what end?

 

Opinions?  Suggestions?  The WEE will be hear in 8 weeks.  Since packing up the KGSS for sale I have nothing to drive the 007a's.
 

post #9 of 78

.

post #10 of 78
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wavoman View Post




I did this audition at CanJam Chicago, and heard no difference with Jack's Omega 2's.  But the room was not always quiet, and my listening times were short.  Since WES is amazing, let's assume that it bests WA5-->WEE, but not by a lot. 

 

100 digital watts per channel sounds like overkill for the WEE, but it's the only spare speaker amp I have.  I am driving the K1K's with another digital speaker amp -- Tacit-based (Lyngdorf).  Sounds great to me.  I could switch these, but to what end?

  



That is big statement you made here, which sounds promising at least.

 

I have 50 wpc KT88 tube power. What do you guys think?

post #11 of 78

I heard this box in direct comparison against my own Lundahl LL1630 based box and I wasn't very impressed IMHO even after a short listen at CJ.  Even when driven off the rather poor WA5 (badly driven triodes aren't really my thing plus output transformer into a stepup transformer makes less than no sense) and the much tougher load presented by the Lundahl's they were much smoother and had better bass (cleaner) with a SR-007Mk2.  Hardly surprising (even if the LL1630's can be bought for a lot less then 500$ and the bias supply is dirt cheap to build) but the real test here would be comparisons against a fully modified SRD-7. 

 

As for the WES, it is IMO far from the high end (regardless of how much money you waste on caps) and I am sorely disapointed with it.  Dark and lifeless with not enearly enough power to show what the SR-007Mk2 can really do.  I even preferred the GES as it was more neutral and didn't suffer from the same bass boom as the WES even if they are very similar sounding.  Hardly surprising though as these are virtually the same amplifier (minor changes to the KGTT design) which makes it that much harder to see what the extra money buys you.  Then there is added benefit of the umbilical connector having exposed pins with lethal voltages which even Mikhail never did. 

post #12 of 78

My observations of the WEE proto that I shared with Jack:

 

 

 

----
 
So, a while ago I was listening to my WA5 pushing the great AT L3000's and I started to wonder 'how would the STAX O2's sound sourced with this lovely 300B sound that I have grown to really like?'  (no offence Spritzer) There are no 300B Electrostatic amps out there that I know of. Pretty much most of the third party amps are based on the same kind of design, running off the EL34's or variate. I have been running the SinglePower ES-1 for many years now with really good results in my setup.
 
Being that I have a standard WA5, there was one option available to me. Hook up an 'energizer' to the speaker outputs and see if I can get good 300B sound that way. I was able to borrow a STAX SRD from Voltron for a little bit, and it peaked my interest in using this as a way to consolidate my systems (reduce the number of amps I have). I kept my eyes out for a STAX SRD(), but they either seemed to go for more than I wanted to pay... or they were gone in minutes.
 
As a side note, I contacted Jack from WooAudio. And asked him if they would consider making a 'one off' build of an energizer that I could use with the WA5. We passed emails back and forth for a while, but it didn't seem to be in our future (for several reasons).. In the mean time, I happen to catch one of Spritzer's builds of a SRD7 with the pro board, so for a good price I snatched that up. I hooked it up and was very pleased with the resolution, and overall sound that I got.
 
Well too my surprise, just before CanJam, I got a note from Jack. They had made a prototype electrostatic converter (energizer), and it would be at CanJam.. I was sad to report that I was not able to make it to Chicago this year. But Jack offered to let me take a listen to it after the show. Well a few weeks ago the package, with the now named WEE, showed up... So, I have spent a few long weekends listening to the WEE as compared to the dedicated SP ES-1 amp. I didn't get a chance to Listen to it compared to the SRD7(mod).
 
Setups:
Marantz SA-7S1 -> AQ Sky RCA -> Woo WA5 -> Exposure cable -> Woo WEE -> STAX O2
Marantz SA-7S1 -> Virtual Dynamics Master XLR -> SinglePower ES-1 -> STAX O2
 
WA5 Tube set?:
Mullard gz34 - metal base 1955/rs1
JAN CHS 6SN7WGT
WE 300B
 
Some notes from my sessions:
 
Alison Krauss + US - Live - SACD - #9-"Stay":
 
WEE - Alison's voice is floating dead center, detail is very high, each instrument is presented in it's own space. I want to say 'crisp', but not in a bad edgy way, but more that the leading edge of the notes have impact, The presentation is close, giving about a 2nd row feel. Nothing is being done wrong here.
 
ES1 - Is giving a more open presentation - more echo of hall, slightly larger bass presence, not really more impact, just larger. This steps back away from the stage a bit to the 4-5th row. The Instruments are more smeared across the soundstage rather than given a precise location. Slight touch of shrill on one upper note that I don't get off the WEE combo. It is still a really good sound, I realize how I have lived with this sound for so long.
 
 
Imogen Heap - Speak for Yourself - #11 "Closing In" - #12 "The Moment I Said it":
 
Note: One quick observation switching back and forth, the WA5->WEE is much quieter than the ES-1 with both being at rest. This could lead to some of the results for the WEE combo. A quieter background, more inner (low level) detail, not feeling the need to turn it up as much. Just as another note, the amps are not level matched, just matched by ear (and people that know me, know that it is pretty loud).
 
 
ES1 - SP up first this time with two tracks. Getting a huge presentation, voice piercing threw the background, nice bass presence, there is a lot of movement going on in these tracks and the ES1 is presenting them very well. It is rare for me to experience, but the headphones disappear on these tracks, I only get pulled out of music when there are large bass notes that let me know that there is something on my head. Nice to listen to these tracks
 
WEE - Right out of the gate the WEE has dynamics, subtle changes in sound level that seem to be lost be the ES1. There is detail and detail here (probably will say this a lot) More of a center presentation, where as the ES1 painted sound all over the place, the WEE is putting most of the sound towards the center. Again, note impact, I guess goes along with the dynamics. Not as much bass depth, there is bass, just not as low and as big as the ES1. The WEE combo gives what I would say is an intimate presentation ... hmmm (crackle in right driver)
 
 
 
-----
That is the end of the formal listening period... The crackle had made it unfair to review it further.   I have continued to listen to the WEE for the many more hours. During the extended listening the WEE supported all the findings I had heard during critical listening. Really centered around the amount of detail and impact the WEE had over the ES-1. The ES-1 seemed to cast the larger soundstage, but it was also more defused. So the detail and precise nature of the WEE soundstage was very nice. One note on the bass, one thing that I don't know is the real source of the bass I was getting out of the ES-1 vs WEE? My feeling is that the Bass is really coming from the WA5 and the WEE is just presenting all the bass that it can find. I ran one additional test of pushing the WEE from my Exposure XVIII speaker amp (solid state). This combo running the O2's seemed to extend the bass a little lower and tighten it up compared to what I was getting from the WA5 combo. The 300B's have never been known as bass tubes? more about getting the midrange right.
 
I really enjoyed my time with the WEE proto. It is an impressive piece of kit. Pushing it with an 80w ss amp into the O2.. made the O2's really respond as a pair of speakers, not really headphones anymore. As far as the crackle, I was not really worried about it I didn't see it as a flaw in design or anything, just something loose or a component having a problem.  I will be looking forward to the production units and the options/upgrades.
 
 
-----
 
So those are my thoughts and observations.. I really Liked the WEE and I think that it does what it is suppose to do and that is present the sound that it gets from the Amp to the Headphones.. I felt that I was not really listening to the WEE as much as I was listening to the different Amps. One thing that I didn't get a chance to try was the Speaker Switch.. I never really intended to have it in the middle of my Speaker connection. Either I would listen to the speakers or the WEE not with it in between. 
 
Is it a STAX dedicated Amp killer.. No, but I don't think that it is meant to be.. But I can get very pleasurable results using it.. and maybe reduce my amp count... BTW the production unit will have better transformers acording to Jack.
 
Thanks again to Jack for the loaner...
 
 
Cheers,
 
 
post #13 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeymad View Post

pushing it with an 80w ss amp into the O2.. made the O2's really respond as a pair of speakers, not really headphones anymore. 

 
Cheers,
 
 


Hmm.  I'm not getting what you mean here...  With SS-WEE, how was the important midrange resolution, tone, and just overall musical satisfaction?  

 

I just picked up an O2 and am looking to improve upon my Stax SRD7 MkII, so the WEE looks verry interesting.  I shall be using my 2A3 SET and 5 watt single-ended pentode mostly, so the WEE must be able to pass every drop of bass and dynamics my amps can muster :)

post #14 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seamaster View Post


That is big statement you made here, which sounds promising at least.


YMMV, and obviously other posters felt differently.  But I heard what I heard, and I stand by it .. the WEE sounded as good as my (former) everyday KGSS, and on par with the WES in the room at CanJam.
 

The only time I have heard the O2's sound better is with a BH.

 

The WEE is a big deal.  It greatly enhances the value of used Stax -- if you have a good amp (and who doesn't?), pick up used Sigs or something and a WEE.

post #15 of 78

Looks like it may be useful is you have normal bias stax headphones. 

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