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Ampsandsound Kenzie/Mogwai Impressions

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  1. exdmd
    Justin recommended the ECC801S on another forum. Problem is there are damn good and just average ECC801S tubes. The 1980's Siemens are to be avoided. You really want the Telefunken "Diamond Bottom" ECC801S from early 1960's if you decide to buy one. You also need highly resolving headphones that scale with the best tubes. No experience here with the Auteur but I imagine Justin has.
     
  2. omniweltall
    I definitely prefer the 8 ohm speaker out from my mogwai for all my cans. 32ohm seems to lose bass tightness.
     
  3. ZenErik
    noted. The cheapest one I saw on eBay was $250. Not really what I want to spend on a tube currently. But it could get to that eventually.

    And which headphones are those? It’s not a particularly useful anecdote without any knowledge of what headphones you use.
     
  4. omniweltall
    Apologize was at work just now. I tried it with HD650, HD800, and HEKv1. All of them favor the 8ohm jack for my ears.
     
  5. llamaluv
    I thought I should share my initial thoughts on how my current headphones pair with the Kenzie Encore deluxe model, which I've had for just a few days now (always using the 32 ohm tap, with stock tubes). Note how all of the three headphones are pretty low-impedance... My point of comparison is what has been my primary amp up til now, the (solid-state) HeadAmp GS-X mk2.

    Utopia:

    - There's a slight bump in the bass by a couple dB compared to the GS-X (and I assume compared to most any solid state amp?). This could be either a welcome change or a fatigue-inducing one depending on preference. Anyway it's minor enough that a little EQ would do fine if desired.
    - Frequency response is otherwise similar.
    - Overall presentation is actually very similar and comparably transparent to the GS-X, which is saying something.
    - Despite being not-that-high impedance, I'm finding the Utopia to be completely viable off the 32 ohm tap.
    - Wish I had more to say on the Utopia. Mostly, I need to start listening to them again more frequently.

    LCD-MX4:

    - These are really sensitive planars and I can't turn the volume pot past 8AM (!) without crying uncle.
    - Frequency response sounds accurate to me, and comparable to the GS-X.
    - The Kenzie lends just the slightest warmth in the midrange and bass.
    - Bass extension though is not quite as deep nor as tight as the GS-X. That's a slightly unfair comparison, as the GS-X mk2 is a different type of amp and it does bass really really well, but still worth mentioning. I guess alternative tubes might be worth exploring on this count.
    - Soundstage is slightly expanded while imaging towards the center loses some solidity, which feels like a net loss.
    - I'm reluctant to admit it but I prefer my solid state amp compared to the Kenzie Encore @ 32 ohms. The GS-X just drives the MX4 with an "authority" that would be hard to match. These are my favorite headphones at the moment so.

    Ether C Flow:

    This one was a pleasant surprise.
    - Soundstage opens up noticeably, offsetting the closed nature of these headphones to a large extent, and a really important improvement overall. Imaging is also solid.
    - The sound is a shade thicker and more "substantial" than the solid state amp in a way that sounds right to me. I'm especially liking the boost in euphonics I hear with electronic stuff and synth-like instrumentation at the moment.
    - Frequency response is just as even across the board, save bass extension which again doesn't run quite as deep.
    - They're also sounding very good for watching anime, which may sound strange but that's one of my favorite tests.

    So it's been a fun listen so far. The Ether C Flow is something of a revelation. One or two higher-impedance dynamic drivers are undoubtedly on my horizon, I can tell. And tube shenanigans.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2018
  6. ZenErik
    Which taps do you have? 32/300? Given your current headphones it seems like 16/32 would have been better options if that isn't what you got.
     
  7. llamaluv
    I got a good deal on a used 32/600 which I didn't want to pass up on. Otherwise, particularly knowing what I do now, I agree that a new 16/32 would probably have been a better option with my current headphones. I haven't heard any impressions from anyone on how the 16 or 8 ohm taps fare. Probably because they're so new.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2018
  8. ZenErik
    I wonder how useful the 600ohm tap is outside of certain Beyers. I suppose the Mogwai SE is probably the way to go for the most versatility. You get the 8 ohm speaker taps and then you could get 32/300 on top of that. Seems rather convenient to have 8/32/300. Probably covers all options quite well.

    If someday I end up wanting lower impedance headphones I might find myself wishing I had 8 or 16 ohm taps available instead of my 32/300 config. Thankfully that probably won't happen any time soon as my interest is with Sennheiser and ZMF. The A-T ADX5000 somewhat interests me too as a I used A-T for a number of years in the past.

    In other news my A&S XLR to RCA transformer box will be in next Monday. Pretty excited to try it out and finally use the balanced outputs from my Onyx.
     
  9. exdmd
    Don't forget Mogwai SE does not have pre-amp outs. You have to go with the Kenzie Encore for pre-amp outs if needed.
     
  10. bearwarrior
    Does anyone know the lifetime of the NOS 1626 tubes?
     
  11. exdmd
    Probably a year or two max if you don't leave your amp on more than 20 hours a week. Buy a matched pair or two and put away for the future.
     
  12. ampsandsound
    They have a longer than average lifetime. Ive clocked more than 1200 hours and they still test in the 120 range... meaning still new.
     
  13. bearwarrior
    That is similar to what I thought. Thanks for the clarification, Justin. Looking forward to your tube rolling impressions.
     
  14. ZenErik
    Sounds like they could last several years if you're only putting in 20 hours a week. Probably a bit less for me since I use my headphones while gaming fairly often in addition to music.
     
  15. exdmd
    There is no shortage of WWII RCA 1626s that's for sure. Great choice for an heirloom amp.
     
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