Songer Audio/Whammerdyne Audio

Two relative newcomers from Oregon made me ponder the question: Does West Coast-based audio differ from its East-Coast brethren? That's definitely the case with East- vs West-Coast jazz and hip-hop. I don't know the answer. What say you?

Ken Songer's two-way, open-baffle, dipole, S2 loudspeaker (specified as 30Hz–20kHz, ±6dB, and 93dB) ($37,000/pair) features a front baffle constructed of 1.7" thick solid hardwood. Its handmade 10" field-coil driver with a cone made of washi paper is "magnet mounted" via an electromagnet housing to a 2.5" thick hardwood and glass-filled nylon support. The field-coil driver incorporates a rear-firing whizzer, which Songer claims "contributes to superb overall tonal balance and energy."

Below 130Hz, the speaker's Type D field coil is supported by an Acoustic Elegance LO15 woofer, "port constrained" in the front, employing an open, folded-baffle design round back.

Songer's S1 loudspeaker (29Hz–20kHz, ±6dB, 93dB; $37,000/pair) uses the same field-coil driver as the S2 in a ported enclosure constructed from 100% kiln-dried hardwoods.

Playing the S2, Songer streamed Qobuz via a Topping D90SE DAC to a direct-coupled, two-stage Whammerdyne 2A3 SET DGA Ultra amplifier ($5995), which uses 6DJ8/6922 input gain/drive tubes that are DC-coupled to two 2A3 output tubes for 6.5Wpc, and Whammerdyne power supplies for the field coils.

Streaming Boz Scaggs's "Thanks to You," and Emerson, Lake and Palmer's Tarkus, the sound was relaxed and misty, given the source material. But Ella Fitzgerald's "When Your Alone" and Kraftwerk's Tour de France had surprising depth, girth, and sensuality. I longed to hear this capable rig playing vinyl, but no turntable manufacturer had yet teamed up with Ken Songer. What are you waiting for?