The Betsy WOW (WithOut Whizzer) is an interesting and unique driver. Fortunately I purchased a pair several years ago when Wild Burro Audio Labs was just starting out. Since moving into a small two bedroom apartment, I’ve been experimenting with fullrange and wide range drivers on open baffle and the Betsy WOW finally made it onto a baffle – along with a piezo helper tweeter.
The baffle is 18” x 18” and should provide response down to the 200Hz to 250Hz range as per Xlbaffle software by Thorsten Loesch. A wonderful H-frame (designed by Martin King) provides bass support powered by a typical subwoofer amp.
The Betsy WOW is a dynamic driver! Music has an extra push when played thru it. They are forward and slightly in your face. To ameliorate this I simply angle them about 20 degrees away from the listening area. The piezo circuit is an 8 ohm resistor across the terminals with a .67uf capacitor on the positive terminal. This adds the missing sparkle and air and extends the frequency response past 20kHz. Perhaps a .47uf capacitor will further reduce the forward sound? This will be a matter of taste.
The Betsy excels with Classical and Jazz. Many late night sessions proved very enjoyable. Details are clear and the soundstage is large. Some drivers tend to mask the details in Classical music, not the Betsy! Because of the way it’s voiced, Classical music sounds huge. The orchestra sounds large and you can hear/feel the presence of the instruments. Strings swell in volume producing goosebumps. A sax can sound scarily real – including the breaths in between notes. Jazz becomes a dynamic experience with lots of punch and authority. Percussion is fast and impactful. Instruments retain their distinct character and are very recognizable. If I mostly listened to Classical and Jazz the Betsy might be my favorite driver. Certainly, I play more Classical and Jazz when listening to the Betsy than I would with nearly any other driver in my collection.
Overall, the Betsy WOW could be the most interesting driver in my collection. It’s not fullrange but it’s extended enough to easily supplement with a super tweeter of your choice. Or you can purchase the regular Betsy with a whizzer and get your treble that way. The Betsy is one of the reasons I enjoy listening to 8” fullrange drivers (many of my fellow DIYers prefer smaller diameters). The Betsy is efficient (rated about 92db per watt) and it certainly plays loud with just a few watts and sounds louder than most of the drivers I have, including the Fostex 168 which is rated higher at 94db per watt). I highly recommend the Betsy to Classical and Jazz music lovers looking for a dynamic, detailed sound with a large soundstage. As I type, it sounds like violins are in the room with me. I can practically hear the rosin on the bow!
I decided to keep listening to the Betsy WOW. It’s a euphonic driver and the most romantic driver in my collection. It exaggerates the upper mids creating a forward sound on Pop and Rock. I wouldn’t describe it as bright but the mids certainly stand out. Male and female vocals sound a bit chesty but once your ears adjust you find the Betsy grabs hold. Flatter measuring speakers sound different but the Betsy allows an intimate view into the musical venue. Ella Fitzgerald sounds like she’s singing a bit too loud compared to the band but this type of presentation can become addicting.
If you’re into a lush, forward upper midrange and enjoy a large soundstage then the lively and dynamic Betsy is for you. I found I couldn’t wait to get home and play music.
The Betsy WOW is a worthwhile acquired taste.