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Ampsandsound Kenzie/Mogwai Impressions

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  1. mithrandir38
    I didn't find another thread so I thought I'd start my own!  This thread is for impressions/thoughts/questions on the AmpsandSound Kenzie Headphone amplifier and the Mogwai Headphone/Speaker amplifier.
     
  2. mithrandir38
    IMG_0087.jpg
     
    I've been burning in the Kenzie for around a week now.  It sounded great right out of the box (probably due to those NOS 1626's.  I've found you need less burn in time with NOS tubes then, say, modern jj's or god forbid Genelex (I hate Gold Lions).  That being said, I've been going through my library of Rush 2015 remasters (which sound steller, btw! Pretty much flat transfers from the masters-very dynamic) and Joe Satriani, from the Chrome Dome set remastered by John Cuniberti: most excellent!  This is not a particulary romantic-sounding tube amp in the cliché sense of slow, syrupy, etc. Justin likes to say it's meant to emulate tube audio of the Golden Age of the 50's.  It's very smooth, yet very fast.  One of my favorite aspects of this amp is the treble; it is oh-so-smooth! sometimes my LCD-2f's could come off as slightly dry with my former Oppo HA-1.  Not so with the Kenzie; they sound better than I've ever heard them!  I was considering a Schiit Mjolnir or Decware Zen Taboo Headphone amp but i'm really loving this amp.  I took a hit on versatility, as I can't hook up my turntable or Emotiva Airmotiv speakers, but that's ok.  This is shaping up to be an awesome reference-level tube amp.  Btw: i'm running the Kenzie from a Schiit Gungnir Multibit DAC.  If anyone looks at the specs on the Ampsandsound website, don't think twice about the modest quoted output of around 200mw @ 32ohms- I don't know the circuit design details, but whatever Justin did, this amp drives the piss out of my LCD-2f's! I'm talking you'll probably never have to turn the knob past noon, and most would be satisfied between 10-11 oclock on the knob.  And it has a second dedicated jack for high impedance phones (think Beyer T1).
     
  3. uncola
    The Mogwai has my attention.  Never had a quality tube amp so I'm a disbeliever but like Mulder I want to believe
     
  4. mithrandir38
    Have you heard poor performers?  The Kenzie really is a stunner.  super smooth without any loss of detail, and I find the treble to be amazing. extended and just "right"
     
  5. dmhenley
    I would really dig hearing some impressions of the Mogwai - that's an intriguing amp. 
     
  6. mithrandir38
    I'll redirect you here: http://www.head-fi.org/t/802346/ampsandsound-aka-amps-sound/30#post_12473400
     
  7. Luckbad
    I'm slowly working on a review of the Mogwai that I purchased. It's crunch time at work, so I can't guarantee when I'll actually get around to posting it.
     
    I think only one or two others have purchased one at this point, so almost all impressions will be from CanJam.
     
    From Justin:
     
     

    The sonic translation to me is that the Mogwai is super vintage sounding. It encapsulates rich, romantic euphony in the best possible way. With KT88 tubes, you can get the lush midrange warmth coupled with excellent extension both into the bass and treble.
     
    It's very responsive to tube rolling. With JJ 6CA7 tubes, I get the organic midrange with a softer treble and less bass extension. With JJ KT88s, you get a bit of bass compression so it actually punches harder than you might be used to in a tube, but it also has great treble extension without any fatiguing peaks. With Russian 6P3S-E tubes,you can extract extra detail and high end. 6550 Winged C tubes give you crazy extension but also have an upper mid peak I personally dislike.
     
    Input tube rolling with 6SL7 and equivalent can help you combo into whatever results you're looking for. My personal favorite thus far is GE JAN 6SL7WGT input tubes with current production JJ KT88 power tubes. Great extension, but very smooth highs and powerful bass, coupled with a full liquid midrange.
     
    I've toyed around with a bunch of random tube amps and never found anything under ~$2000 that I could say I clearly preferred to the Garage1217 Project Horizon III. There seems to be a dead zone between something like the Lyr 2/Mjolnir 2 (I like the Horizon better) and something like the Eddie Current Zana Deux S ($2300) or Cavalli Liquid Glass ($3500).
     
    Most of the amps I've tried didn't match my preferences. I like musical, warm, euphonic sound. I favor toe-tapping and head-bobbing much more than detail and clarity. The Mogwai gives me want I want, and if I want more detail to hear further into the music, I can roll tubes for that (go all-Russian NOS if you love analytical treble. 6H9C Melz -> 5881 for example).
     
  8. dmhenley
    @Mithrandir38 Thanks for the link!

    @Luckbad Look forward to the review.

    I've some tube sets id like to try in the Mogwai
     
  9. dmhenley


    Have you tried the Mogwai with speakers?
     
  10. Luckbad
     
    Yep, but nothing fancy. Worked well!
     
  11. Luckbad
    Grabbed an adapter and tried a 7F7 tube in place of the 6SL7. Sounds great and they're super cheap.
     
  12. dmhenley
    Ok. Now, after a short talk with Justin and reading all your comments here...
    I think the Kenzie is a better candidate for my head amp, and I'll have to buy a Bigger Ben too for the 2 channel system.
    More pain for the wallet, but ultimately a better choice.
     
    My Nighthawks are my main 'phones, which makes the Mogwai a less ideal pairing. I just don't need that power for the headphones. 
     
  13. dmhenley
    Anyone else gonna be at the Show?
     
  14. mithrandir38
    Yup, I'll be there
     
  15. ampsandsound
    We will have the Kenzie, Mogwai and hopefully our 300b for headphones all paired with nighthawks. In general I stock Scotch and Sees candy. Best way to listen :wink:.
     
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