JS Audio's Original WAMMs at AXPONA

There was one room at AXPONA where I was too in awe to take notes. In shock is more like it. The brothers who own JS Audio have acquired and restored the very first pair of WAMM loudspeakers that the late Dave Wilson began to manufacture in 1981. It seems that after living with the model for a few months, Dave's other half in the truest sense, his beloved wife and life partner Sheryl Lee, pictured below at AXPONA, preferred a different cabinet color for their living room and encouraged him to move this pair along. (If I've got that wrong, please forgive me.)

Why was I so dumbstruck? Not because my reference speaker is the Wilson Audio Alexia 2; rather, because WAMM #1 looks very much like the strange assortment of drivers, stacked one above the other, I saw in Dave's living room when I visited his Novato home in either 1980 or early 1981.

Maybe a year after I had recorded Puccini's "O mio babbino caro" as The Voice of Woodstock in the Emmy-nominated Peanuts cartoon, "She's a Good Skate, Charlie Brown," Fisher-Price prepared to issue an illustrated children's book of the cartoon that included the soundtrack on cassette. But because producer Lee Mendelssohn only had secured rights to use the Puccini in the TV cartoon, we needed to record an entirely different piece of music.

Days after I'd completed the recording with composer Ed Bogas, he said to me, "I'd love you to whistle for my friend Dave."

"Sure," said the ever-eloquent I.

Shortly thereafter, we climbed into Ed's car and headed to Novato in Marin County. While I was shaking hands, all l I knew about this guy Dave was that he was tall, had the most winning smile and warmest way of making me feel at home, and had the strangest looking speakers I'd ever seen at one end of his living room. While I was whistling to one of my accompaniment cassettes—thank goodness this guy Dave owned a cassette recorder—Dave pulled out a sound pressure meter and declared, "My gosh, you've got a 20dB dynamic range!" As with his speakers, I didn't know what to make of Dave's comment. As far as I was concerned, I was just doing what I loved to do, which was to whistle.

Years later, when I stumbled upon a copy of Stereophile at Oakland Pro Home Systems, I read about David A. Wilson of Wilson Audio. That's when it dawned on me...

Now, at last, I could see, hear, and understand what was brewing in that suburban living room over four decades ago. Powered by D'Agostino Momentum mono amplifiers and more—the ability to hold a pen escaped me in that room—it sounded very, very good. But beyond the sound was the reality. The first pair of WAMMs ever produced, whose antecedents I'd seen many, many moons ago, was singing once again.

Glotz's picture

That story is even more bespoke than the story the JS Audio folks told! Thanks for that incredible relationship.

I really enjoyed just being in that room for posterity's sake. There was something comforting just being in there and listening to the history of this landmark product.

And I've always felt that Woodstock was one of the cutest animated characters of all time. (I also have a pretty mean mourning dove whistle!)

Allen Fant's picture

Outstanding! JVS.
I wish that the Brothers of JS Audio (visit this wonderful Audio shop when in Baltimore) had made a few Videos for YouTube. I am certain, the sound was incredible!

Jim C.'s picture

About a 45 mile drive from Baltimore.

Baltimore does have some fine brick and mortar audio shops, including Gramophone, Just Audio and Soundscape. All are worth a visit.

dashate's picture

This may have been the first pair - not for sale I assume - since I saw and heard a pair of WAMMs in a private home in Baltimore in the mid-'80s stamped serial #0001. I walked around behind the speaker just to be sure...they were.

celef's picture

those js audio wamms looks to be of a later date, look at the two satellites above and below the esl panel, early production runs looks to have square boxes (braun?) while these pair has those angle boxes of later runs

Glotz's picture

Due to age and or another compatibility issue that I do not remember. But there was indeed someone that asked that question while I was in room.

I think if you called the dealer they would more than happy to tell you the full story.