How Low Can Glow Go?

In the Audiowood/Glow room, I again made the acquaintance of the diminutive, low-priced amps that were playing across the hall with Sonist speakers. This time, I had the opportunity to hear the story behind them.

Patrick Tang of Hercules, CA, designer of the Glow amps, speaker and subwoofer, explained that he was initially a "transistor guy." Then he moved his living quarters, and his wife nixed taking all his large components along for the ride. In their place, he designed his own, considerably smaller components. He went into business two years ago.

Teng certainly designed with ecological consciousness. His wood and other parts are recycled, the new speaker stands made from non-formaldehyde bamboo. Even the speaker drivers, made in China, are sourced from bamboo and hemp. Together with his Audiowood design partner Joel Scilley, who has recently fled California for 20 acres in Florida, the two seem committed to leaving a small footprint on Terra Infirma.

Pictured are the Glow Voice One speaker ($348/pair), which has an 87dB sensitivity, and a response that extends from 90Hz to 20kHz ±3dB; the not-yet-available speaker stands (under $300/pair): the sub One subwoofer ($348), which descends to the mid '30s; and the Amp One integrated tube amp ($648). This 5W baby consumes only 52W power, includes a 16-bit DAC, uses a single EL84 output tube per channel was playing in single-ended pentode mode, and comes in a choice of five colors. Also in the photo, but not auditioned, is one of four turntables listed on the handout: either the "in progress" Audiowood M. Falcon, Arc de Triomphe prototype ($2500 up), Manta table ($2000 and up), or in progress Del Diablo (approx. $4000). Pardon my confusion, but when everything short of the soon-to-be redesigned kitchen sink is listed on the product list, and the discussion does not cover everything on it, it's hard to figure out what's what.

The display also featured an iPhone "nest" ($75–$125), and The Dragon class-D Audiowood/Red Dragon Audio amp ($3000). Many components were stacked on the side, in a system I did not audition.

As you may gather from a number of my reports, I am not a big fan of low-powered SETs and SEPs (if there is such a term). Big boned, more realistically scaled full-range sound, even on solo vocals and instrumentals, is my cup of tea. But for folks who like this very different presentation, Audiowood/Glow's products are definitely ones to check out. When I took my first listen to Glow amplification in the Sonist loudspeaker room, one man who was just finishing his listening declared it his favorite sound at the show.