Ken Micallef  |  Mar 06, 2022  |  4 comments

Woo Audio’s Jack Wu was in person to debut his new Woo Audio WA23 Luna amp ($9000), which he paired with Abyss's new semiopen-back Diana TC planar headphones ($4495).

Only minimal information was available on Wu’s new amp, but he revealed the following: The WA23 Luna is an single-ended triode design that can serve as a headphone amp or a preamplifier. Power ratings remain a secret, but Wu said the Luna is a high-gain, point-to-point design. It draws watts from a pair of Electro Harmonix 2A3 power tubes; also on board are two 6C45 driver tubes and a 5U4G rectifier tube. It can drive a variety of headphone designs, Wu said.

Ken Micallef  |  Mar 05, 2022  |  0 comments
As I walked by the Centrance booth, Centrance owner Michael Goodman waved. I waved back, walked over, and listened to his HiFi-M8 V2 Portable Reference DAC/Amp ($749) and Ampersand Balanced Portable Reference Headphone Power Amplifier ($749), connected to a pair of HEDDphone Air Motion Transformer headphones.
Julie Mullins  |  Mar 05, 2022  |  2 comments

Woo Audio, makers of tube electronics, are known for designing great-sounding and great-looking amplifiers intended especially for driving headphones. At an AXPONA a few years back, I became fond of their smaller-scale products, such as their WA7 Firefly, a cube-shaped headphone amp/DAC/preamp now in its third generation.

Ken Micallef  |  Mar 05, 2022  |  7 comments

Justin Weber's Ampsandsound was showing the Agartha ($6300), the Nautilus ($9200), and the new Red October ($12,000) tubed amplifiers.

Julie Mullins  |  Mar 04, 2022  |  2 comments
I've been on a Kim Gordon kick lately. It began a few months ago with rediscovering some Sonic Youth albums and picking up Gordon's solo record, No Home Record. I recently finished reading her memoir, Girl in a Band, about her life, art, and musical career. I tend to read books rather than listen to them, but this time I listened with the Audible app, and I found the experience compelling. Gordon's delivery is direct, her voice even-keeled, almost deadpan. She's giving us the straight dope. Subtle inflections are detectable: moments when she felt strong and proud; leftover cobwebs of postbreakup pain. Her humanity came through.
Ken Micallef  |  Mar 03, 2022  |  1 comments

Why do the names of some headphone brands sound like they originated with marketing flacks or PR hacks? Some brands have natural, fuzzy sounding names, others a sci-fi bent.

Julie Mullins  |  Mar 03, 2022  |  0 comments
There’s a new audio company in the headphone/IEM category: Grell Audio. German audio designer Axel Grell recently formed his eponymous company in tandem with Icelandic product manager Gisli Gudmundsson.
Rogier van Bakel  |  Mar 03, 2022  |  17 comments
The advantage of a highly resolving music system is that you can hear deeper into recordings. The disadvantage is that you can hear deeper into recordings.
Ken Micallef  |  Mar 02, 2022  |  1 comments
Dekoni is another small company with solid products, I thought.

Bergenfeld New Jersey’s Dekoni Audio was showing headphone accessories at CanJam, including replacement earpads for major headphone brands, eartips, sprays, wipes, cleaners, and the like. They were also auditioning their new headphones, a reworking of the Fostex T50RP MK3 planar magnetics called the Dekoni Blue.

Ken Micallef  |  Mar 02, 2022  |  0 comments

The buzz was palpable as I stepped off the escalator onto the conference floor at the Marriot Marquis hotel, where CANJAM New York City 2022 was revving up within shouting (or at least screaming) distance of Times Square.