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Here is a comment I posted elsewhere regarding seeing and hearing the WEE at CanFEST yesterday:
The WEE was very good. I gave Jack a check for one. Here's my take on it. The WEE, similar to "orphan drugs" is an orphan audio accessory. I think it is a no brainer for those who have electrostatic headphones, and the financial ability to afford one. It is definitely a no brainer for those who don't want, or can't afford, a dedicated stat amp. This also helps to support and encourage people like Jack to continue to develop these odd ball items which help us in our hobby. Jack is not going to get rich off this product and clearly it is a labor of love with minimal profit. So, order one if you can afford it and enjoy your stats with this great little device. Oh, and how did it sound? Under show conditions....Wonderful! I did not feel there was any disadvantage to it, that I could detect, compared to my KGSS. Am I ready to get rid of my KGSS? Maybe, but I have to spend a little more time with the WEE on my Aragons and compare it to the KGSS in my usual listening environment. I am very reluctant to give up my KGSS but if the WEE is as good as I think it is, after a little more time with it, the KGSS is a goner with no regret. I will not have my WEE for another couple of months so the final disposition will have to wait.
WOW. What a fabulous idea. I've been intrigued with Stax headphones forever, but didn't want to buy a super-expensive dedicated amp.
Now for $500 I can get Stax headphones and keep my current amp?
Damn. There goes $500. I think I am going to have to order one of these.
This and a pair of SR-507's is just about the same price as a pair of HD800's.
Originally posted on the Sponsor's forum;
Well, I finally got to open the box. Interestingly, this little unit weighs in at about 15 pounds. It's cosmetics are very nicely done; simple yet elegant. The lettering on the front is the same color as the chassis so it is a little difficult to see. On the other hand, you only have one switch to use with two positions so it shouldn't be too difficult to remember to keep it in the 12:00 position for headphones and the 11:00 position for speakers (Jack points out in an included sheet to always have speakers hooked up before you turn the dial to the speaker mode). There is also a nice little diagram of the front clearly noted on the top of the unit.
I will plan to play with it this weekend and compare it to my KGSS and STAX SRD-7/Mk2.
I do have a question; does an electrostatic energizer require burn in time?
My headphone amp is a 15wpc tube integrated from Sound Quest, the SQ84-V2. I also have a Monarch SB70 Pro 25 wpc 'Class A' amp. It might make an awesome Stax amp.
I may just give up on having a headphone setup separate from my main system and hook this up to my 'living room' stereo - a Conrad Johnson Classic driving a Musical Fidelity M6PRX.
I suspect they will all sound very good and quite similar. I'm prepared to be surprised, however.
I did a little testing. As usual YMMV but here is my two cents worth.
Jade Electrostatic Headphone ( I foolishly loaned my Stax O2Mk2 to a friend and was not able to incorporate them into the listening sessions)
Aragon Palladium Monoblocs (last version)
Stax SRD-7 Mk2 (with speaker switch bypassed)
Wright 2A3 monoblocs
Other support equipment: CARY 306 SACD player, Sonic Euphoria passive preamp, Acoustic Zen balanced cables except with the Wright 2A3 then single ended used.
Musical selections used: Bela Fleck-Flight of the Cosmic Hippo, Tom Waits-Saving All My Love For You, Lyle Lovitt-I've Been to Memphis, Eva Cassidy-Over the Rainbow.
Basically, I ABed everything to compare different setups. I compared the K1K with and without the WEE and the Jades in different configurations as noted below.The results are as follows:
First Place Winner: Jades with the WEE connected to the Palladiums. This gave the best overall presentation with excellent bottom end and midrange, very good soundstaging, and the wonderful detail. The upper range was ever so slightly edgy but I think that was more of a function of my Jades not being completely burned in. I think it would have been perfect with the STAX headphones that I didn't have.
Second Best: Jade with the KGSS. Slightly less detail and perhaps a little congested on complex parts. Actually, this was a great combination but I can help but think that the Aragons gave the edge to the WEE by a reasonable amount. If one doesn't have a fairly good amp/monoblocs then the KGSS is a wonderful headphone amp to have.
Third Place: Jade with the SRD-7/MK2. More congested, less detail. The SRD-7/MK2 is a good starting place for use with the electrostatic headphone as is dictated by one's budget. Once one has a fairly good amplifier the WEE is a no brainer.
Last place: The Jade with the WEE and the Wright 2A3. I only tried this combination to see if the 2A3 (3.5 watts/channel) had enough power to drive the Jades. The volume had to be at about 3:00 for reasonable listening. It wasn't bad but definitely underpowered. What this tells me is that the 300B may work reasonably well with the WEE, or even extremely well and especially with a higher output EL34/KT88 etc amp.
AKG K1000 Headphones:
It was great to be able to use my electrostatic headphones and then with the flick of a switch on the WEE, use my AKG K1Ks by hooking them up to the speaker terminals on the WEE.
I was curious as to if the WEE would impart a sonic signature to the K1Ks so I tried the headphones with the WEE and then direct to monoblocs.
I did not detect any obvious contribution of the WEE to the sound and would be hard pressed to tell if there was a difference.
So, there you have it as far as my initial impressions. The WEE does what Jack intended and does it very well. If you do not care, or your budget does not allow you, to have a dedicated electrostatic amp AND you have a good stereo amplifier or monoblocs I see no reason not to seriously consider the WEE. It delivers!
Thanks for the impressions DannyB. Please let u sknow how they sound with the O2 when you get them back. From your testing, it seems the biggest rewards of using the WEE come from using rather expensive amplification. But like you said, if you already have a good stereo amps, it makes sense to dive into the electrostats without having a dedicated amp. I wonder what the return would be when using the WEE on something like a modest NAD, Emotiva, Cambridge Audio or other budget friendly stereo amps.