Warm Audio Systems Manufacturer of valve amplification based in New Zealand and run by a gent called William Pearce. Warm Audio marketed their products under the slogan "Thermionic tube technology for the audio purist" but nothing seen or heard from them since late 2001 when the company announced that they where designing now models based on the Svetlana 3CX300A1 ceramic triode, more information would be welcome.
Watts Audio A British company started by Robert Watts in 1998 or 99 after DPA Digital went bankrupt with financial backing from the former DPA distributor in Germany. The only product I have seen from the company is a high end DAC called the Watts Audio PAM16 that featured the same custom converter technology as the last DPA units shipped. The company appears to have been a very short lived concern with the initial financing cut short with the unexpected passing of the original backer, and the company allegedly shipped only a few units, possibly as few as 15 to 20, Mr. Watts however is still designing converters and the products he currently designs for Chord appear to have a direct technological lineage from the WA PAM16.
Waveform Acoustics Small Canadian high end loudspeaker manufacturer run by John Ötvös from 1984 to 2000 when he decided to retire from the audio business and focus on the manufacture of high quality furniture, the company's intellectual property is for sale (or was in late 2002). Waveforms products were extremely popular with classical recording studios and in fact apparently the only competition that Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) got in that area. Soundstage has a factory tour from 2000 that has lot of background info on the company and so has this tour from 1997, Mr. Ötvös seems to be a very hospitable gentleman.
Originally founded in 1980 in Taipei in Taiwan and acted as an OEM and own brand manufacturer of budget audio and to a lesser degree video products and became fairly well known as such it the latter half of the 80’s, in particular in parts of Europe, the company was especially well known as a manufacturer of Midi music systems and cheap CD players.
Note that at the time the company did supply budget products such as portable cassette players and the like but not the sort of out and out rock bottom products like what we associate with discount and general stores such as personal radios and clocks. Around 2000 the company moves its headquarters to Hong Kong and factory to Guang Dong province in China, it is not known if the company went out of business in Taiwan and was bought or it the board decided to move the operation over to China for cost reasons.
With the move there came a number of changes, while they continued to sell their products under the brand written as one word, i.e. Welltech the company started to write its name as 2 words or as Well Tech Technology Ind. Co. Ltd, and by 2003 had started to brand their products with the stylised WT logo or with the slightly odd combination of the WT logo and the word brand sometimes following it as you can see on the personal radio-cassette player on the left, but stranger still sometimes with just the word “Brand” written on the front facia, this was initially thought to have been samples for OEM customers and the word Brand to be just a placeholder for where the customers logo or brand would appear, but we actually managed to find a few products for sale with the … eh, Brand brand on them, go figure.
The other thing that changed was the move downmarket, the products became even cheaper than they had been beforehand, clocks, clock radios replacing audio products and so on and even the traditional music system was taken out of production and replaced with featureless micro systems, there was also some evidence that a number of their products were not made by the company even though they claimed to have a factory in Guang Dong that employed 800 people, the electronic games for instance looked identical to the products of another OEM manufacturer and some of their other products as well. In 2006 the company started to use the iMusik brand on docks and similar products for MP-3 players and so on, by 2008 the company was still announcing new products but only sending out 3D mock-ups instead of actual product pictures and by 2009 the seem to disappear altogether.
Welltop A Korean manufacturer of mid range hi-fi based in Bucheon City, also made PA systems and AV electronics but in a more limited fashion, constantly made some of the best audio products to emerge from that country, primarily acted as an OEM for mid and high end manufacturers such as Audio Note UK Ltd., Harman Kardon, JBL and Roksan but also made lower end products and sold products under their own Noblesse brand. Never got much of an attention outside their home country with their own brand and as an OEM faced increasing pressure from start-ups in China, disappeared from view in the summer of 2002 but has resurfaced as GT Electronics with a somewhat different product line-up.
Swiss company founded in Haag, St. Gallen in 1970 that originally was a toolmaker but later operated primarily as a manufacturer of dental products made out of injection moulded plastics, also became the main supplier of plastic parts to Neutrik simply due to their home towns closeness to the Lichtenstein border. In 2002 after Re'an Products Ltd. became insolvent Werfo and Neutrik together bought the assets of the company with the the knob manufacturing part of the business being taken over by Werfo and moved the manufacture of them to Haag. Werfo itself was in turn taken over by Sulzer in 2006.
Wharfedale Wireless Works Founded by wool merchant Gilbert Briggs in Ilkley, Yorkshire, England in 1932. The story of the company is something of a classic start-up saga but the first products were loudspeakers handmade by Mr. Briggs in his cellar but sales were brisk enough for him to establish a proper factory in the nearby town of Bradford the following year.
In 1939 the company moved again to larger premises but by that time it was producing 9000 driver units a year, in 1940 that factory was converted to a transformer production facility to serve the war effort but when the war ended it was deemed that the changes that had been made to it for transformer production made it unsuitable for loudspeaker production and thus WWW moved yet again to new premises.
The next decade saw explosive growth for the company both as a manufacturer of loudspeaker drivers but increasingly as a producer of loudspeaker systems and that meant the company was increasingly a manufacturer of cabinets and to meet the demand for them Wharfedale opened up a new automated cabinet factory in Bradford in 1957 but that was one of the first automated furniture factories in the UK and was considered something of a technical marvel at the time. Mr. Briggs sold the company to the Rank Organisation in 1958.
Wharfedale Loudspeakers PLC. A company formed in 1988 when the Rank Organisation decided to divest itself of its English loudspeaker manufacturing businesses, along with the factories and trademarks that people usually associate with Wharfedale the new company also got control of some other Rank owned hi-fi brands such as Leak. The company was listed on the London Stock Exchange later that year and merged with Mission Electronics in 1992 to form Verity Group PLC.
Company founded in 1993 by Randy L. White and was based in Lubbock, Texas, USA and took over the manufacture of the high end amplifiers that Mr White had been producing under the same name since the 1980’s. Initial product line encompassed a pre-amplifier called P-2000 that was eminently forgettable by all accounts and a series of Mos-FET power amplifiers that generated quite a bit of interest and competed with high end designs like Krell and the like. However even though the products got a somewhat better distribution than they had earlier incarnations of the White brands and are more common on the marketplace, the company never managed to sell in the volumes needed and went bankrupt in 1996. Mr White bounced back as Llano Design Group later that year.
Tiny British operation run by David White that was on the vanguard of a wave of small specialised audio companies that relied on the Internet for marketing directly to customers rather than utilising more traditional methods. Initially it produced a number of kits that provided utility functions but later moved info the manufacture of more complex products and started offering more fully built units. The company closed it's doors quite unexpectedly on April 30th 2006, but Mr. White had been announcing new products and discussing future projects as late as Feb. 2006
Wilcox-Gay Stop sniggering at the back... A company based in Charlotte, Michigan, USA that started making amateur radio equipment in the late 1910's and branched into the manufacture of consumer radio products in the late 20's, that proved to be a growth market and their 30's models are some of the more common radios from that time, a couple of them are showcased here. In the WWII the company started the manufacture of tubes and radio transmitters for the US Army and immediately after the war they started selling transmitters for small radio stations and modulators for larger transmitters. In the late 30's they introduced the Recordio instant record cutters both for consumer use and also in the form of record cutting booths that were installed in stores (More info and links : Record Cutters on the grey sidebar) and in the early 50's a tape recorder and were one of the pioneers of television manufacturing, did indeed take part in the testing of colour broadcasts in the 50's and was one of the few USA manufacturers that built their colour TV sets from the ground up, but had financial trouble and closed it's doors in 1960. For those looking for support for old models there is preciously little info on the web apart from a few schematics of old radio models to be found on Notaglia Air and a company that makes replacement glass dials for a couple of radio models the only other suppliers that er have found are usual peddlers of reproductions of user and service manuals. The company may also have traded using the Majestic brand and BTW the name of the company apparently comes from the Wilcox-Gay family that is a well known upper class family in that part of the USA.
William C. Seneca A gentleman based in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA that traded as Promethean Audio Products, started selling modified phonographic pickups in 1975 initially under the Promethean name but since they were painted in a striking green colour they quickly got named "Promethean Green". The cartridges from the company got something of a cult following amongst USA audiophiles but never got distributed outside of that country. In the mid-90's the Grado pickups that Mr Seneca based his products on went out of production and he attempted to replace them with the introduction of a passive pre-amplifier called Promethean CD Director. Mr Seneca apparently moves the operation to the town of Henderson (also in Nevada) during the latter stages of its lifetime and disappears around 1997.
Wollensak See --> Revere (ca 1953 to 1960) & 3M (1960 to 1984)
Actually 2 separate UK based companies that share the same name, both set up by Noel Philip Keywood who is better known as the publisher and current editor of Hi-Fi World. The first company was set up in 1994 and was registered in London and went out of business in 1997 while the latter was founded in 2001 and registered in Chelmsford in Essex and had ceased operations by 2005. We are fairly certain however that Mr Keywood traded using the "World Audio Design" name both prior and after the existence of either of these companies but we are not sure if that was as a sole trader or using one of his publishing concerns, also the latter company operated from Newport Pagnell in Buckinghamshire even though it was registered in Chelmsford.
The company designed and sold valve based amplifiers and power supplies designed by Mr Keywood and had been published in Hi-Fi World as DIYprojects, they also added loudspeaker kits designed by the same in the mid 90's and by the late 90's had quite a range of speaker kits but stopped selling them in late 2002, but they had in addition to the kit range sold audiophile parts and educational materials. The company slowly added to their line-up and by 2003 had quite a range of amplifiers, phonographic pre-amps and headphone amplifiers and had become the best known audio kit manufacturer in the UK, but continued specialising in valve based designs.
In 2010 the operation was sold to Matthew Snell but without the trademark rights so he now sell the range under the World Designs brand, it should be noted that we often find amplifiers for sales that were supposedly built by the company but at the least in the 1995 to 2005 timeframe we cannot find any proof of the company actually offering fully built items for sale.
Company founded in 2004 by Chris Sommovigo of The Signals Collection and Stuart Marcus of Sound Connections and was based at the latter company's headquarters in Lutz, Florida, USA. The company started marketing a new design of high end cinch and XLR connectors apparently designed by Mr Sommovigo and based on the connectors he had designed for the Illuminati cables a decade earlier and where manufactured by Sound Connections. These generated quite a bit of interest in the audiophile community and appeared to sell fairly well considering the high price. The partnership faltered in 2009 and the company was dissolved in 2010, Sound Connections now market very similar connectors under their Vampire Wire brand while the Xhadow brand is controlled by The Signal Collection.
Company based in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, UK that made media servers as an OEM and sold high end sound cards under the Cantatis brand. Originally founded in 2003 by Andrew Clifford (ex-Pace and Psion) and at first announced that it would sell media servers to the public, however it appears that never happened and media server sales, if any, were according to the company in 2009 purely on a OEM basis. Company was taken into liquidation in the summer of 2011 and the sales of the sound cards was taken over by Cantatis..
XLO Electric Cable and interconnect manufacturer based in Rancho Cucomonga, California, United States that was originally founded by Roger Skoff in 1991. The XLO cables where for a time the favorites of USA audio reviewers in particular the Reference series but the company folded and the brandname was sold to Ultralink Cables in 2002 and XLO's founder was working for that company last time we heard.
X SRE (Accessories) See --> Path Ltd. (ca. 2000 to 2003)