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Ampsandsound Kenzie/Mogwai Impressions

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  1. me2621a
    Hey guys,
    I have my Mogwai SE on the way, I was able to pickup an NOS RCA Red base 5691 and two NOS Bendix 6384s (with adapters) based on Justin's recommendation.

    I am wondering what people are using though from the new production tube options (as I the old stuff will keep getting harder to find as time goes on). Based on my reading people seem to like the Gold Lion KT88s and KT77s for power tubes, and the Tunsol 6sl7 for driver tubes?

    Anyone with the amp have any thoughts on the above tubes, or recommendations based on your experience? The goal is a good new production tube set that I know I will be able to buy affordably over the next year or so.

    Thanks guys, really pumped to listen to the Ether Flows and the Utopia on it.
     
    Wildcatsare1 and 55Powers like this.
  2. 55Powers
    Currently running a very copycat ZMF roll, Brimar CV1985, Tung Sol 6550s (NOS), Amperex GZ-34 (Sitard X-code). Really lovely stuff!

    Huge NOS fan...
    I doubt we'll be out of NOS preamp and rectifier tubes anytime soon, but I've been thinking abt the driver slots as well. If anyone knows about esp the kt-88 options in the Mogwai, please share. I think i saw someone with the Sophias at one point, might be worth a check.
     
  3. me2621a
    So I’ve taken the plunge and picked up a pair of NIB NoS facofory matched 1965 Tung Sol 6550’s to go with my RCA red base and a GE rectifier. Really pumped to put it all together when the SE arrived on Thursday, hoping it will make the utopias a jaw dropping experience.
     
    55Powers likes this.
  4. me2621a

    I have read about the Sophia KT88s as well. They are pricey, I have heard they sound great, but it is unclear to be me how well they hold up and how long they last. 40 - 60 a power tube per year not terrible (not cool) but I can live. But at $150 a tube ($175 with a 1 year warrantee) that is a much tougher pill to swallow as I just got my NoS Tung Sol for the same price, and assuming they are not DOAs, then my guess is they will last more then a year.
     
    55Powers likes this.
  5. 55Powers
    Yeah, I'd rather have the NOS 6550s to be honest. No idea how long stock will last for them though.
    Maybe some of the premium modern tube makers (Emission Labs, Takatsuki etc) will include KT88 at some point.

    What kinda rectifier is the GE you are getting?
     
  6. me2621a
    The GE is a 5ar4.
     
  7. me2621a
    Ok guys,
    So my Mogwai SE arrived now a few weeks ago. I have been listening to it near constantly since its arrival with my Focal Utopias and Ill be honest, I am kinda speechless. The amp, especially out of the 8 ohm tap is stunningly quiet, refined, and powerful.

    It is also a work of art with fit and finish unlike any of my other audio equipment. I made the “mistake” of ordering it without input transformers, and ordered one after the first week (external) for my Gumby and for anyone who is debating, just order yours with it installed, it takes an already near perfect amp, and pushes it to another legue in base, and instrument separation.

    So far almost all of my listening has been done with a 1965 factory matched pair of Tung Sol 6550s, GE Red Base 5691, and a Winged C black plate 5u4, that combo is pretty much perfect, with incredible tone, extension, and a sound stage that truly does allow me to close my eyes and “see” the music. Right now I am testing out a Tung Sol 6SU7 (clear glass not black) as I have heard it actually has better tone. It is a brand new NOS tube, so I am giving it time to break in before I do a comparison between the two as right now it is a bit congested to my ears but that is to be expected with a new tube.

    I am planning to write a much longer and more detailed review, plus post a ton of pictures, but I wanted to post this impressions, Justin Webber has completely outdone himself. This amp is quiet (on all tops even 300), dynamic, pretty, and punches easily at the Woo Audio WA5’s level, and I would argue even at the WA33’s level (I have spent much more time with the 5 then the 33). It also easily bests the Schiit Moljnir 2 with Telefunken 6922’s in tone and realism. I will honestly probably begin to question if the Moljnir 2 will stay in my collection much longer.

    The other reason I wanted to wait to post my impression, is because I am still waiting on a few tubes to arrive, including a pair of EL34’s form Europe, so I can test the various tube types to see which one will stay in the amp perminatly (currently the 6550’s are the winner but I need to give the Bendix 6384 more of a chance, as well as the JJ KT 88s, and the RTF EL34s).
     
    55Powers and Wildcatsare1 like this.
  8. me2621a
    Amps and Sound Mogwai SE: The best money I have ever spent
    Here is my review for those who would like to read.
    IMG_0554.JPG
    Boiler Plate (feel free to skip)


    I have been a self-proclaimed Audiophile since I got my first sound system at the age of 20 (2 Polk monitor speakers and a Yamaha receiver), but I fell in love with headphones at 21 when I purchased a pair of Sennheiser HD 600s and a Yulong D100. For me it was the value to sound ratio and it opened my eyes to what a true audiophile headphone could pull out of a recording with a dedicated dac/headphone amp. Fast forward 7 years and many upgrades later I have a 2 channel free standing system that sits north of $20k but because I moved into a Condo building without cement floors I found myself needing headphones again. As with most things in the audio world a new journey began, and it is this most recent journey that lead me to the Mogwai SE, the best headphone amplifier, and maybe the best amplifier period that I have ever owned.


    I like to include the above paragraph or something like it at the beginning of any review I write. I do it so people who read this know that I have owned a wide range of audio gear ranging from a few hundred dollars, all the way up to several thousand dollars. I am not by any stretch of the imagination suggesting that I have listened to everything, but I have listened to a very wide range of headphones, speakers, and source equipment and without that context my opinion should not mean very much.


    Before my Mogwai SE arrived at my door I had just “finished” the first major round of investments in my new Headphone System. I had chosen the Focal Utopia after doing a shootout of it vs the Ether Flow, Audeze LCD 3 F, and the Grado PS1000e. I had also settled on the Schiit Gumby, and a Schiit Mjolnir 2 with Telefunken Tubes as my headphone amplifier/DAC setup. To be honest I thought this was the setup that would last me several years. That changed when I went to Axpona in May and spent a day listening to all of the amazing Tube amps on the show floor. I was particularly enamored by the Woo Audo WA33 but decided after careful consideration that I just could not justify its steep price tag.


    A few months went by, and I still could not shake the tone that the Woo Audio tube amps produced, and while my Mjolnir 2 was an excellent amp, and in my opinion one of the best options under $1000 I just continued to feel like something was missing. I began considering the purchase of a WA5LE but was put off by the cost of 300B tubes. I almost pulled the trigger, but then I read a forum comment about user who had the Focal Utopias and thought they sounded incredible with an Amps and Sound Kenzie.


    I had remembered that name from somewhere and soon enough figured out that the Kenzie was sold as an amp on Mr. Speakers site. I went directly to Amps and Sound, did a little bit of reading, and sent Amps and Sound an email asking about return policy, warrantee, and suggested amp/headphone pairings. I expected to simply get an email back, maybe in a few days, but instead I got an email that simply asked, “Would you mind if I gave you call.” A few minutes later I was on the phone with the owner and designer himself Justin Webber. Justin answered my questions, all amps are built to order, and they do not have a return policy, the warrantee is life time (I like a man who stands by his work), and if I have the budget, the Mogwai SE is the most versatile platform. A few days later, a bit more thought, and another phone call, and the Mogwai SE was ordered.


    Now I will be honest I was more than a little nervous, the internet is not buzzing with Amps and Sound reviews like it is with Woo Audio, and I had been burned more than once with non-refundable/non-returnable purchases, but the few reviews I found of Amps and Sound products lead me to believe that all would be ok in the end. Justin also made himself available via text for any questions as well as NOS tube recommendations. 3 weeks went by and my new Mogwai SE arrived in a large, heavy, and well packed box. The wait was over, and I could hardly wait to listen.


    Fit, Finish, Design

    The Mogwai SE I purchased form Justin has the upgraded capacitors and his new models ship with 8/32/300 ohm taps by default. I did not choose the input transformer (more on that later) and I went with the standard fit and finish. At $2600 before shipping this is the most expensive headphone amplifier I have every purchased and while many would argue that sound is the only thing that matters, fit and finish is almost just as important to me especially with it being out on display in my living room.
    IMG_0559.JPG

    Justin’s case work is nothing short of perfection and furniture grade. The walnut case is of the same quality as my Herman Miller Eames Lounger chair and there are no seems or cracks in his work. The top metal plate sits into the wood case, and once again the fit is perfect, not a single gap nor a single stray edge. The black metal plate has a nice matt/satin-ish finish and the ports /tube sockets are very clearly labeled.
    IMG_0555.JPG

    The amp is clearly very proud of its transformers which are on display for all to see. They look great and the look is an interesting throwback to what I would imagine audio equipment looked like in the 50’s and 60’s and fit very well into my décor. Everyone who has seen it has been impressed including my fiancé.


    The volume knob is smooth, and clearly labelled, and the power switch is easy to find, though I wish it was in the front of the amp. On the rear-top of the amp, you will find two SE inputs, the speaker taps, the 8ohm headphone out, and the power socket. You will also find a toggle switch to flip between input 1 and input 2. Every element of the amp exhibits the same attention to detail when it comes to the fit and finish. This is probably the best built/nicest piece of audio equipment I own. The only thing I own that competes with the final finish is the Anthony Gallo 3.1 floor standing speakers, which are a work of functional art, Justin clearly gets an A+ for the build quality of this amp.


    Justin made the analogy that this amp is a formula 1 race car, everything you need to drive fast with nothing else to get in the way. I would agree with that, this amp does not have muting relays, it does not have heater circuits that mute the output until the tubes warm up, and the speaker outputs will not mute when you plug in a headphone. It does one thing, plays music, and that is more than ok for me.
    IMG_0558.JPG

    So, what might I change? Honestly not much, as the only things I would change are intentional design decisions by Justin. I would love to see the SE Inputs and Power plug placed on the back of the unit instead of on the top of the unit (cable management can be handled by right angle adapters which you will see in my pictures), and I would love to see an option to have one of the headphone taps replaced with a convince 4 Pin XLR output. I actually spoke to Justin about this last point, and he will never do this for philosophical reasons. His logic is it is a single ended amp, and he never wants to falsely advertise. I respect his position and his reasoning though I wish I did not have to use adapters for all my fancy after-market balanced cables, this is a small sacrifice to make.


    Included Tube Set and the Tubes used for my Review

    The amp included a full set of tubes. For my amp Justin sent 2 JJ KT88’s, and JJ 6SL7, and a SED winged C Black Plate 5u4. This is a nice tube set and I could see someone out there being very happy with the full set for the first year, and in all honesty, I probably could have been as well. The only problem is I have major FOMO (fear of missing out) when it comes to tubes and after doing some reading I purchased several NOS tubes for the amp. For the time being I settled on the following tube complement and my entire review will be based off of the amp running these tubes. Power Tubes are RCA Branded (Tung-Sol made) 6550 3 hole grey plates, a Tung Sol 6SU7, and the SED Winged C Black Plate (this is an amazing tube, I now own 2 more as backups). I suggest new buyers take Justin’s advice which is “use the amp with the stock tubes for 6 months, you will like them, and then start rolling if you want to”. It was just too late for me.


    Input Transformer

    One of the options Justin offers are built in input transformers for an extra $450. When I ordered the amp I passed on it, however after about 3 weeks I decided to order the transformers in an out-bored unit (same thing just in an external box) based on other users saying it was worthwhile. After doing an A/B with and without the input transformer in the circuit I can say without a doubt that the input transformers are worth the money and if I could go back in time, I would have ordered the input transformers built into the amp from the start. Like with the tubes, the review will be conducted with the input transformer in the circuit.


    Burn in and Run in for the Tubes

    I have now had this amp for about 5 weeks (maybe 6) and have put probably close to 200 hours on it, maybe a little more, and the tubes that I am running for the review have at least 150 hours on them. There was a major change in the sound of this amplifier on week 2 which could be the tubes or the amp breaking in or both, but either way the sound has been fairly stable since then, which means it was time for me write my review.


    Listening Impressions

    Before getting into the impressions itself it is important that everyone knows the signal chain. I use Roon, with a Intel NUC running RAAT connected via USB to a Schiit Gumby Gen 5, blue jean cables from the SE output to the input transformer, and from there via another blue jean cable to the amp itself. All listening was done on a Focal Utopia using a 15ft wire world nano-eclipse cable out of the 8ohm tap.


    To put it bluntly this amp rocks, and I highly recommend it with the Utopias. The sound stage is medium sized but is truly 3 dimensional, where on the Schiit Mjolnir 2 it was wide but not deep (very 2D). Instrument separation is done extremely well, and on a well recorded track I can close my eyes and clearly see the band around me. Vocals in general are mesmerizing and I find myself unable to concentrate on other things when listening to music on this amp, I am just transfixed by its sound.


    Some reviews talk about the Mogwai SE being noisy, and I am happy to say that Justin has solved this in his latest design changes, my Mogwai is dead silent until well above a listenable volume (and I like it loud). Part of what makes the Mogwai so convincing is its inky black background which I honestly did not think was possible on a single ended amp, never mind a tube amp. I find myself normally well under 25% on the volume knob and noise does not appear until well after the knob is turned passed 70% on the Utopias (and I would blow my ear drum if I tried to listen at that volume).


    My music taste is extremely varied but bellow you will find some specific impressions:


    Headache by Liz Phair CD Quality:

    I love this song, I really enjoy the base line, and there is something about her tone that has always made me like her work. On the Mogwai SE this song is compelling. I feel like the bass line is literally moving me forward, her voice sounds as if she is speaking about 3ft in front of me and the realism is mind boggling. The detail retrieval is also really nice, as the guitarist moves their hand up and down the base guitar you can hear their fingers slide along the string and once again it is just convincing. In comparison, the Mjolnir 2 with Telefunken tubes just sounds dull, which is strange as I would never have described it as dull before this amp. The vocal tone is just gone, she lacks emotion through the Mjolnir 2, and the sound stage just feels compressed against a wall. As one would expect the bass is slightly deeper with the Mjolnir 2’s SS backed internals, however it is far less convincing then the Mogwai SE.


    Mary Ann by Carmen Gomes 192/24:

    Moving on to blues, Carmen Gomes has a great voice, and this recording is done by a small recording studio known for their incredible attention to detail when mastering the recording itself. On the Mogwai SE the stage is intimate but so is the recording studio. The drum sticks are extremely convincing, and I can hear the drummer rub the stick on the cymbals. Carmen Gomes’s voice is incredible and she floats in midair around the band. For me this has always been a reference recording and the Mogwai SE can transform the experience from headphones to making it sound like I am listening to a perfect 2 channel setup which is truly impressive. The same qualities that existed for Headache by Liz Phair when comparing the Mogwai and the Mjolnir 2 exist for this song as well. The Mogwai is just operating at another level, as it should given its price.


    Majesty by Nicki Minaj 96/24 MQA (decoded by Roon):

    I know, big change from Liz Phair and Carmen Gomes but as I said I have a wide range of taste. What impresses me is this track can be quite harsh especially on headphones like the Utopias at higher volumes, this can easily become painful to listen to on the Mjolnir 2. On the Mogwai SE this track is an incredible listen. The highs are clear and extended but not harsh. The bass is low deep and defined, better than any of my solid-state equipment. The piano notes in particular have a weight that I can “feel” which adds to the realism. Of course, Nicki Minaj feels like she is in your face, which is exactly what she is going for on this song. It is worth listening to Barbie Dreams on the same album as well, it really demonstrates how the Mogwai can deliver incredibly convincing vocals.


    Dinner for Two by David Byrne and St. Vincent CD Quality:

    David Byrne really brought it on this album, but dinner for two is my favorite track on the album. The brass instruments are clear and defined, the instrumentals are wide, expansive, and convincing. David Byrne is clearly in the back of the stage and the Mogwai SE paints a great picture of the stage. The bass in the song is incredible and convincing, and once again the high notes are perfect, no fatigue.



    Wrapping up this far too long review

    To say the Mogwai SE is a good value would be selling it short. This is the best headphone amp I have ever owned, and in my opinion the best headphone amp I have every listened to. While I have not owned the WA5LE and the WA33, I have listened to both extensively with my headphones and my DAC, the Mogwai SE easily matches them and in some cases, bests them, and it does this at a retail price that falls below both models. It clearly bests my Mjolnir 2 even with the Telefunken 6922’s installed (which again is an awesome combo). Justin Webber is incredible to deal with, he is honest, takes time to answer your questions, and follows up to make sure you are happy. When we move again I will be buying a pair of Justin’s Casablanca mono blocks for my Gallo’s and I will be buying a Kenzie for my office within the next 12 months. If my willingness to spend my own money does not convey my endorsement of Amps and Sound and their incredible work then I don’t know what else will. Thank you, Justin for the Mogwai SE, if you have not listened to one, go find one now, and have your checkbook ready because you are going to walk away with it.


    Thank you for reading.
     
  9. 55Powers
    Really good work on this write up, you've inspired me. Just waiting for my new DAC, and i'll get to it myself.

    Interesting to see your rectifier choice here, definately going to check one out for myself.
    Did you get to try the EL34s yet btw? If so, how did you think they measured up vs the 6550s?
     
  10. me2621a
    Re: Rectifier,
    So keep in mind that my other rectifiers do not have as much time as my SED Black plate. I tried a 1947 smooth plate RCA and a 1957 ridge plate RCA both most likely pulls, both testing at NOS levels. I personally found them both to add allot of bloat in the lower mid range (I am still suprised that the difference was so clear), to the point where things that were clear as day with the SED were muffled. Again if I didn’t have test tracks and was not looking for it I may not have noticed. It’s also possible that if I listened to them for more then 3 hours they would open up. For my Mullard GZ34 I have tested it but I know it needs time to run in so I will probably swap it in a few months and give it a shot but I didn’t really think it did mutch in comparison with the SED. All good things given that you can order winged c black plates from Eastern Europe delivered for under $20 a tube.

    All that being said though, I could see the RCA sounding great with my RCA 5691 which I found light in the lower mid range, so I still have to mix and match.


    Re El34:
    Similar situation that the EL34s have only an hour on them (again just testing to make sure they work). I personally like them, they need to be broken in and my guess given that EL34s are know to be brighter that they would also pair well with the RCA maybe.

    All this being said I got lucky and got a factory matched pair of 6550s from 1968 that just sound so good, so I’m just sticking with them for the next month or two and then I may swap out the rectifier and driver and see how that sounds and then maybe try out the EL34s with the RCA 5691 and the RCA smooth plate/Mullard. But I’ll be honest the 6SU7/6550/SED Black plate is a tough Combo to beat.
     
  11. FLguy
    I hesitated about posting anything on this, thinking that plenty has already been written regarding this amplifier by several 'trusted ears', with more & better equipment than mine for comparison - and no doubt more eloquently written. I finally decided to add my $.02, since I learned a couple of things along the way that might be of interest/use to others.

    Here's the TL;DR of it - the Mogwai SE a really fine amp, esp with the upgrades & options, worthy of being on a very short list if you're looking for an amp of this type, in this price (and size) range. Highly recommended. No surprise there, I'm sure you knew that already if you're reading this thread. (Sorry for your - and my, wallets though... :wink:).

    I found that this amp is capable of sounding 'special', bringing out nuance, texture & emotion in recorded music, which is what I was looking and hoping for.

    I found that this is especially true once you get the amp set up and tuned to your taste, and matched to the rest of your system of course. While it sounded good out of the box, I wasn't 100% thrilled when I first hooked it up, which is where my journey started...

    A couple of particulars that I thought might be of interest:

    1) I much preferred the stock tubes in my system. The NOS tubes provided by a third party were apparently tuned for a different system, and/or for different ears. I found the stock tubes nicely balanced, with plenty of extension, control & finesse, and well suited to the rest of my chain. If you're considering this amp, I recommend trying the stock tubes to see what you think.

    2) This amp has single-ended inputs only (as you likely know). Unfortunately I found that the DAC I'm using in this system sounds much better out of its balanced outputs. (This seems to be pretty common.)

    Ampsandsound does offer an additional module that converts balanced XLR outputs to unbalanced RCA. Most of my listening was done in using this module in the chain. It's not inexpensive at $550 at the time I'm writing this, but the difference in sound in my system was significant. (Again, sorry...).

    One possible consolation - many of the top tier amps seem to be SE only, so this module could potentially be useful with other equipment (if you can get yourself to disconnect it from the Mogwai that is).

    3) The rest of my audio chain is 'not worthy'. I'm likely not yet getting the most from the amp.

    I knew this going in, but had a chance to buy this amp used, and decided to go for it. Don't get me wrong, it sounds darn fine to my ears with my existing gear. In fact the Mogwai makes headphones I had written off as flawed sound really good, way better than I thought possible (I'm looking at you Denon AH-D2000), but I get the feeling that the amp could do better when paired with the best available headphones & DACs. (Darn! ..)

    4) I got this amp thinking to use it with an Abyss Phi or LCD-4 (and because of high and low end available with the Mogwai SE), and I may yet get around to those headphones. The thing is that this amp makes my existing headphones sound so good that it may be a while before I get around to upgrading my headphones..

    In the meantime, I do have to use some source volume control. (I am aware of the pros & cons, but doesn't seem to be hurting the sound appreciably that I can detect - YMMV.) If you don't like the idea of using source volume control, or just don't want or need the power that the Mogwai has on tap, you might want to consider the Kenzie, or the Kenzie Encore instead. Or not... :)

    5) I hear no hum at all out of the speaker taps - zero, even at full volume. (Another reason to love the speaker taps!). I do hear a trace of hum at truly absurd gain/power levels from the edit: <headphone> jacks. Never heard it at all when listening.

    Here's a summary of the configuration and associated equipment that I had on hand, and used for most of my listening:
    - Dell laptop USB out
    - Matrix Audio X-SPDIF USB input to AES output
    - Mytek Brooklyn DAC (original) w/ LPS, using balanced outputs
    - Cardas Clear Light interconnects
    - Ampsandsound XLR to RCA Converter with Transformers
    - 2018 Mogwai SE with input transformers & upgraded caps
    - Hifiman HE-Adapter speakers to balanced XLR adapter
    - Headphones, dynamic: Senn HD 6xx and HD58X, and Denon AH-D2000
    - Headphones, planar: Hifiman HE-500s and Audeze LCD-X

    (Disclosure - I have no connection to Ampsandsound, and have not been compensated for posting my impressions. I bought the Mogwai used.)

    A couple of folks have noted that the Mogwai SE doesn't love some planar headphones when driven out of the headphone jacks (likely due to the impedance presented to the amp of course). Yep, agreed, not ideal.

    Just for fun, I tried the couple of planar headphones which I have on hand out of the speak jacks, and I can 'testify' (as in, 'can I get an amen?') that the Mogwai does _just fine_ (as in _really, really_, nicely) with planars when driven through the speaker taps. In fact, this was one of my favorite combinations at the end of the day. So if planars are your thing, have no fear.

    I'll finish this with a few listening impressions from my notes before I gave up and went down the rabbit hole of just listening for enjoyment ... I started out trying a few songs I thought might be useful to test different aspects of the amp's performance. Here's what I tried to start with (random selections, don't judge :)).

    Tone - just right, imho, with detail, texture, and character to spare. I find it just _a little_ bit rich & 'full bodied', although never slow, overly warm, or flabby.
    - Billy Gibbons guitar on this video w/ Les Paul:


    Treble extension - air, bite, sizzle (when called for), yep... available when called for, but never harsh or intrusive.

    Fast, complex music - not a problem, so much for that old bit about 'tube amps can't do pace or complex music well'...
    - Al Dimeola: Race with the Devil on a Spanish Highway (studio version)

    Bass - fast, complex bass, & bass texture - No slow, flabby tube bass here, not in the least...deep fast, tight bass
    - Al Dimeola (again/still...): Race with the Devil on a Spanish Highway (studio version)
    - Sammy Hagar Sympathy for the Humans
    - Bluzeum - Can I get that Funk
    (...I had some fun with this part of my listening - this amp can indeed boogie when called for imho :)

    Groove & rhythm - yep, in abundance
    - Les Paul & Billy Gibbons
    - John Lee Hooker, Carlos Santana and Etta James - In Concert - 07/18/86:


    Finesse and nuance? - no problem, e.g.:
    - Cecile St. Laurent.: What's the matter Now?
    - Melody Gardot - Your Heart is as Black as Night; Impossible Love, If I Tell You I Love You, Goodbye
    - Cecile S.Laurent: Growlin' Dan, What's the Matter Now
    - A Far Cry - O Ignis Spiritus Paracliti from Dreams & Prayers
    - Boyd Meets Girl - Reflexoes No 6
    - Roland Van Campenhoot: Goin' Down Slow; Eyesight to the Blind

    Dynamics - very good, to wit:
    - Slash: Obsession Confession
    - Sammy Hagar: Lay Your Hand on Me

    Vanessa Fernandez: Black Dog

    (Ooops, here we go down the rabbit hole - my notes seem to have tapered off....)

    Hope this helps ... Thanks much to @justin at Ampsandsound, and to @mithrandir38, @Luckbad, @grizzlybeast, and all the folks that tried this amp early on and let everyone know what it has to offer. A beverage of your choice awaits if and when I get to another show or meet (not as often as I'd like, unfortunately). Until then, cheers, and well done.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2018
  12. FLguy
    Thanks for posting the review. I agree entirely regarding the quality of the amp - and your point about the location & orientation of the connectors.

    If you're still reading this thread, would you mind posting links to the right angle connectors which you used? They look good, and appear reasonably well made / good quality from what I can see - thanks.
     
  13. me2621a
    Your review was quite good as well. Always fun to share, I know you like the stock tubes, but have you tried either the Tung SOL 6SU7 or the RCA 5691? I will say my other amps are not as sensitive to tube changes as this one so I was surprised, I personally really like the ones listed over the JJ but it is personal preference. The only other thing I will say is the SED Black plate (assuming that is what Justin sent you for rectifier) sounds awesome, but it slants the amp slightly bright (which works great with certain DACs and tubes). For example the Gumby + black plate was awesome, with the RCA making things syrupy, however the Vega G2 + RCA is amazing, with the SED making things slightly brittle. Mileage will very of course, and if you like the stock tubs stick with them your wallet will thank you as you probably know :)


    As for right angle connectors, I spoke to the guys at Blue Jean cable, as I was originally going to have them make me something for both power and rca with a right angle built in. They came back and said it was actually better to buy the right angles and said the insertion loss will be inaudible which I agree with, so I bought these:

    RCA Right Angle: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00H7KD5KI/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o09_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    Power Right Angle:
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00S0O42TI/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o08_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    Looks better and no audible difference.

    One other question for you, does your Mogwai SE have the headphone out for the 8ohm tap (its in the rears by the speaker terminals if you have it)? I ask because you mention using the speaker taps over the headphone jack and I am wondering if that is because your does not have the 8ohm jack or if the speaker taps still sound better to you then the 8ohm jack. Justin added the 8ohm jack to the Mogwai SE relatively recently so that is why I ask if you have it as well (along with the 32 and 300).

    Thanks
     
    55Powers likes this.
  14. FLguy
    Thanks for the links. Going to try those or similar...

    Nope, I haven't tried the Tung SOL 6SU7 or the RCA 5691 - maybe down the road... Busy now, but I'll check to see if you've posted impressions of those tubes in this amp yet.

    You know, now that you mention it, it looks like the Mogwai I have does have the additional headphone output, but wasn't sure about it (the info I received didn't describe it as far as I can tell). Awesome - I'll try that when I get a chance - maybe this weekend. More fun....
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2018
  15. FLguy
    @me2621a, I've had a chance to go back and read your impressions on the TS 6SU7 - both in this thread, and in the NOS 6SL7 thread. Thanks for posting those.

    It sounds like you found the 6SU7 and the 6SU7/6550/SED Black plate combo to be more resolving, and overall preferred them vs some other popular NOS tube. All of which sounds quite interesting - and tempting of course. Thanks a lot for that (kidding :) ).

    Interesting to read that you found the Mogwai a good match with the Utopias - I can imagine how that would be a very good match .Good to know.
     
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