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Woo Audio Electrostatic Energizer !! new product from Woo Audio - Page 4

post #46 of 79

Impressions from the NJ Micro Meet -- WEE vs. (Kerry's Build) Blue Hawaii vs. Lundahl-by-audiocats vs. SRD-7 Pro

 

Several listeners, all agreed.  We tested with Stax Omega 2 Mk 2 (007a) Spritzer mod.  Source was balanced analog out from SACDs spun in a Wadia 781i, a Goldpoint balanced attenuator, and a PS Audio A100 100-Watt solid state balanced Class D amp.  Installed by nikongod (Ari), so you know it's done right.  BJS balanced audio cable (Belden 1800F wire, Neutrik Gold XLRs), Zu Birth Power cables, Tara Power Conditioner with Furutech Power Distributors, QED speaker switch, Anti-cable speaker cables.  (SACDS: Diana Krall; Janis Joplin BB&THC.  CDs: Re-Mastered Beatles Box Set; Paul Simon Box Set)

 

The WEE sounds fine, better than the stock Stax SRD-7 Pro, not quite as good as audiocats' custom Lundahl box.  The WEE does not match the BH dedicated amp; Kevin's box comes close.  Soundstage was a bit constricted, freq response constrained. 

 

(I was the only one to listen to the SRD-7 Pro; the WEE vs audiocats vs BH was done by several people).

 

If you own O2's I think you should get an amp to reveal the magic in these phones.

 

Tonight I am listening with 404s, and here the WEE holds its own against the amps. 

 

So does the SRD-7 Pro in fact, but I give the edge to the WEE.  audiocats has modded an SRD-7 Pro, and it equals the WEE, maybe slightly better, hard to tell.  The audiocats Lundahl box actually sounded better than the BH on some CDs!  ... something about 404s I guess.  All are very close.

 

The WEE has not been broken in, and I think it needs to be ... transformer cores do physically change over time, I have been told.

 

Also, I think the Class D amp is a poor match.  I liked it with the SRD-7 Pro, but I think it is too tame for the WEE.  I am looking for a real Class A balanced solid state amp to drive the WEE ... stay tuned.

 

I will have the WEE and the stock SRD-7 Pro at the NYC meet for anyone who wants to listen ... I will bring the 404s.

 

The build quality on the WEE is exceptional, and of course commercial interaction and support from Woo Audio is superb.  All my non-headphone audio friends need to send Woo Audio $1000 + change, to buy the WEE ($495) and hook it in-line with their speakers and incredible amps, plus new 404s ($490), along with Woo's great HP stands.  A power cable and some short speaker cables to do the in-line installation, and they are set.

 

This will, IMHO, beat any other $1000 purchase in headphone land for SQ, build appeal, human factors, footprint, ease of installation, no-hassle buying.  These audiophiles all have amazing amps, and don't need to listen to speakers and HPs at the same time, so this is a perfect -- PERFECT -- addition to their sound rooms.  Yea, some have HP jacks on their pre-amps and dusty 701s somewhere, which is why they dis headphones (I have invited them to my listening room, but they never come).  When they get their box from Woo and hook this up, in under 10 minutes, they will understand.  And their wives will thank them, since they don't have to listen to Mahler thru the walls anymore.

 

The WEE is an important new product for just this reason.

 

PS: It looks like I have Serial #1 !!


Edited by wavoman - 10/31/10 at 8:31pm

Gear mentioned in this thread:

post #47 of 79

"Also, I think the Class D amp is a poor match."

 

I think this is crucial. To hear the possibilities of the WEE you need to team it up with an excellent amp and Class D is probably not the best way to go. This is similar to using the O2 with the Blue Hawaii to really show what it can do.  Using lesser amps is fine for one's personal use, as budget allows, but when evaluating the WEE, or any item, I think one should start at the top and see what the possibilities are. Then one knows if it can deliver under desirable circumstances. If it can't, then it is not likely it will deliver with lesser amps.

 

This was a similar problem we had when evaluating the HE-6 headphone. Some people didn't use really good amplification for testing purposes and thus were left with a poor impression of the headphones. I guess what I am saying is that I want to know what a product can do under ideal circumstances and if it performs well then I know it is not the limiting factor. The rest is trial and error as far as good synergy with other equipment.

post #48 of 79

Danny -- I agree!  Looking for a better alternative now.

post #49 of 79

Thank you for sharing your experience with us wavoman. Do you happen to know if audiocat's box came with the LL1630 or the LL1627? In my own experience with energizers, they do sound different with different amps. Having said that I too believe that the Wee should be no different.


Edited by Victor Chew - 11/1/10 at 7:24pm
post #50 of 79

i heard and agree. the WEE/O2 paired with the PS Audio power amp was very average. the WEE itself is of superb build quality and i'm sure once a good matching power amp is found, it will be a great alterative and new avenue for O2 owners.

post #51 of 79

Thanks for the notes wavo'.. I agree with the better amp - better sound approach with this. The WEE will impart some sound, but when I had the proto for a while. Going from the very good WA5 to my SS Exposure speaker amp, changed the sound a lot. Both are good amps and sounded really good with the WEE but very different flavors. 

 

Would like to have some time with the new WEE to see how it would play into my long term setup plans. Still trying to reduce the number of dedicated amps in my house. :-)

 

Cheers,

post #52 of 79

Thanks for the impressions Larry!  I look forward to hearing your WEE+404 setup at the NY meet.  Just out of curiosity, have you narrowed down a few amps to pair with the WEE?   And with the PS Audio A100, with the 100W of power, where did you have the volume when using the 404 and O2?  

post #53 of 79

Would also be interesting and informative to know the difference between powering the WEE with tubes or solid state amps or hybrid amps. Hopefully, those that have the experience can share their views.

post #54 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Victor Chew View Post

Would also be interesting and informative to know the difference between powering the WEE with tubes or solid state amps or hybrid amps. Hopefully, those that have the experience can share their views.

 

I'm running mine with a 25wpc class A amp from Monarchy Audio, the SM70 Pro.  Sounds fabulous.  Pre-amp is a mere Nuforce HDP.   I'm eager to try putting a real pre-amp in the system and maybe a better DAC.
 

post #55 of 79

I've tried four different amps with the WEE.   They all sound very good with it, the Monarchy is still far and away the best sounding amp I've heard running my 507's.

 

 

P1010814.JPG

post #56 of 79

Yesterday we got the WEE that my son won at the 2010 RMAF raffle.  He set it up in his room to try with my Smegma Pro (woodied Gamma Pro), because all he owns are normal bias SR-Lambda or SR-80 and SR-30 electrets. He can use his electrets with the pro bias but it wouldn't be fair to the WEE for him to evaluate it with those.  Plus the SR-30 has a mild channel imbalance.  For the SR-Lambda he's been happy with a Nuforce Icon 12-watt > SRD-7, while the eXStatA hybrid sat around needing the PSU to be set up and adjusted.

 

He says he likes it a lot, but I haven't gotten to listen to it yet.  I have only heard the prototype WEE on my ZDT at the Colorado meet back in August, which Jack says was not as good as the production version we have.  While the prototype was better than my SRD-7 Pro, it was not as good as my SS eXStatA or WES.   I'd like to try this WEE with my ZDT and HE-60 / O2 Mk1 and see how it stacks up now that it's not a prototype.   If he decides to stick with the WEE, I'd like to get him a pro bias Lambda of some kind, and get my Smegma Pro back.  I could sell one of the two eXStatA or the SR-Lambda to fund that.

post #57 of 79

I've been off Head-Fi for awhile ... let me try to catch-up.

 

I continue to be impressed with the WEE + 404 combo, and indeed will bring this to the NY meet next week.  Of course the O2 + Kerry's BHSE is better, but we knew that.  Still, I have been looking for the perfect way to drive the 404's, and this is it.

 

I have switched to my vintage B&O 5500 amp.  This is still solid state, but a classic Class AB design with very good parts, and I like it better than the PS Audio (which is based on B&O's later Class D ICEPower module) for this application.  The 5500 is 50 wpc.

 

With the PS Audio I used a Goldpoint attenuator and had no problems (to answer one poster's question).

 

All the new balanced Class A amps I looked at buying are pretty pricey, I think I won't bother.

 

I'll bring the SRD-7 Pro stock, and we can directly compare.  Especially if Kerry beings his 404's (I'll ask him), we can use my speaker box to have both units going at the same time, and we can quick-switch.

 

Anyway, the WEE + 404 is now going to be a permanent part of the headphone room here.  I am going to put in on the open table, not in the racks, so that you can see the back (and my Serial #1 !).

post #58 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by wavoman View Post

I've been off Head-Fi for awhile ... let me try to catch-up.

 

I continue to be impressed with the WEE + 404 combo, and indeed will bring this to the NY meet next week.  Of course the O2 + Kerry's BHSE is better, but we knew that.  Still, I have been looking for the perfect way to drive the 404's, and this is it.

 

I have switched to my vintage B&O 5500 amp.  This is still solid state, but a classic Class AB design with very good parts, and I like it better than the PS Audio (which is based on B&O's later Class D ICEPower module) for this application.  The 5500 is 50 wpc.

 

With the PS Audio I used a Goldpoint attenuator and had no problems (to answer one poster's question).

 

All the new balanced Class A amps I looked at buying are pretty pricey, I think I won't bother.

 

I'll bring the SRD-7 Pro stock, and we can directly compare.  Especially if Kerry beings his 404's (I'll ask him), we can use my speaker box to have both units going at the same time, and we can quick-switch.

 

Anyway, the WEE + 404 is now going to be a permanent part of the headphone room here.  I am going to put in on the open table, not in the racks, so that you can see the back (and my Serial #1 !).


Cool, my son's WEE is the one that was built right before yours!

post #59 of 79

Hi wavoman,

 

I can't wait to hear it back to back between WEE and SRD-7.  Let me know if Kerry can't bring his pair of SR-404, I can bring mine to do the comparison at the meet.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wavoman View Post

I've been off Head-Fi for awhile ... let me try to catch-up.

 

I continue to be impressed with the WEE + 404 combo, and indeed will bring this to the NY meet next week.  Of course the O2 + Kerry's BHSE is better, but we knew that.  Still, I have been looking for the perfect way to drive the 404's, and this is it.

 

I have switched to my vintage B&O 5500 amp.  This is still solid state, but a classic Class AB design with very good parts, and I like it better than the PS Audio (which is based on B&O's later Class D ICEPower module) for this application.  The 5500 is 50 wpc.

 

With the PS Audio I used a Goldpoint attenuator and had no problems (to answer one poster's question).

 

All the new balanced Class A amps I looked at buying are pretty pricey, I think I won't bother.

 

I'll bring the SRD-7 Pro stock, and we can directly compare.  Especially if Kerry beings his 404's (I'll ask him), we can use my speaker box to have both units going at the same time, and we can quick-switch.

 

Anyway, the WEE + 404 is now going to be a permanent part of the headphone room here.  I am going to put in on the open table, not in the racks, so that you can see the back (and my Serial #1 !).

post #60 of 79

WEE IMPRESSIONS AND COMPARISONS:

 

Tonight I compared my son's WEE to my (a) SRD-7 Mk2 and (b) my audiocats modded pro bias SRD-7 SB, and I wanted to share my thoughts.  

 

I used my PS Audio Perfectwave DAC and Bridge as source, plus Eddie Current ZDT amp (not in photo).  I used Yacoo cables silver speaker wires and silver interconnects.  I also played with a few budget amps like a Muse T-amp, Nuforce Icon (not in photo), and Travagans Red - using an HM-801 and 24/96 bit-rate music in FLAC format.  The audiocats transformer is an SRD-7 SB that was converted to have a pro and normal bias jack, plus a 5-pin XLR for Jade where the speaker selector switch used to be.  The inputs are via Vampire RCA banana jacks directly wired to the transformers, losing the stock cable.

 

I thought that the Red with OPA627 > WEE was closest to the ZDT > WEE in sonic balance, but not on the same level in most areas, including but not limited to refinement, depth and soundstage, micro-detail and power.  However, any of the amps had enough power to drive the O2 Mk1 with the WEE.  The Muse T-amp was a little bright for the SR-Lambda, but gave the O2 some extra sparkle.  Unfortunately the Muse sound quality was what you expect from a $40 T-amp and the soundstage was a little small and it had a slightly grainy texture to the sound.  At higher volumes it began to sound harsh.  The Icon 12-watt amp was still a good choice, with good bass impact, but it added to the mids of the WEE bringing the sound a little more forward than I liked.  The ZDT was simply the best of the bunch for driving these transformers.  I also suspect changing the opamps in the Red to my AD743 would be a further improvement in micro-detail, air ambience and space with the O2 Mk1.

 

photo 2.JPG

 

 

The WEE is pro bias only so I didn't try the SR-Lambda, but with O2 Mk1 the WEE was better than either of the two Stax pro-bias transformers above.  The WEE bass impact was a little better, as well as efficiency, micro-detail, transparency, air and ambience all being better.  It sounded closer to what I would expect from a dedicated stat amp for the O2, although it's still below that of my WES.  Nevertheless, this is clearly a noticeable improvement over the original prototype WEE that I borrowed for the Colorado meet in August.  That prototype was also more efficient than the Stax boxes, but it seemed more mids-centric and less extended in the bass and treble than the Stax transformers.

 

In comparison, with O2 Mk1 my audiocats modded SRD-7 came in behind the WEE but ahead of the SRD-7 Mk2 Pro, demonstrating better transparency and clarity while the Mk2 seemed slightly veiled in the micro-details in comparison.  However, the audiocats box was a little bright with normal bias SR-Lambda, where the SRD-7 Mk2 was a better match for the Lambdas.  The Lambda sounded warmer and more refined out of the stock Mk2, especially with the ZDT or Travagans amps.  The SRD-6 was also a better match for the Lambda than the audiocats box, for the same reasons.  But, with the O2 the audiocats modded SRD-7 SB still had the edge over the Mk2.

 

My son took the WEE back to his room before I could try my Sennheiser HE-60, but I did briefly try the Smegma Pro with these transformers, and the ZDT > WEE was still the best match for these pro bias woodied Gamma Pro made by Smeggy.  The stock SRD-7 Mk2 was also a little smoother with the Smegma Pro than the audiocats box.  Since the SRD-7 Mk2 was only slightly behind the audiocats box with O2, and better with brighter SR-Lambda, if I wanted to use both phones regularly I might pick the stock Mk2.  But if I only wanted to drive an O2 as best as I could on a very tight budget, then the WEE is my first choice with the audiocats box right behind that (if you can even find one).  

 

The HEV70 in the photos is a modified HEV70 pro-bias amp on loan from Ray Samuels.  It sounds better than my stock HEV70, and can actually drive the O2 Mk1 decently.  It did a better job than the Stax SRD-7 Mk2 or audiocats modded SRD-7.  I can't say yet whether it's as good as the ZDT > WEE, but I do enjoy it a lot more than my own stock HEV70.  I'll need to steal the WEE from my son again for more comparisons later.

 

photo 5.JPG

 

web.jpg?ver=12828891870001

 

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