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admire people who can get to the show
Do any of these amps have the spec (or option) for balanced input and output with headphones?
Nope single ended only per website.
Have not seen the Modwai Special edition amp on their website, curious as to what it is and how it compares to the regular mogwai.
We are in the middle of converting to Shopify and were intending to really debut the mogwai special edition the spring. We have let a few creep out and its available, but have not begun to really promote it just yet .
We are not sponsors on here so I can't do a lot of sharing. Please feel free to call me and I can discuss. Short answer... Binger Iron, tube rectified and better ergonomics.
Hope you can justify sponsorship here. Another forum to consider is Computer Audiophile.
I ended up buying a Mogwai SE from Justin as soon as I could. @grizzlybeast told me that the Mogwai SE has been his go to tube amp since he got it, and I trust the guy because he's gone through and reviewed a TON of tube amps on his review website (earphiles). I don't know if Justin has ramped up production much on the SE much and I can't compare to the non special edition as I haven't really heard it much save for a few minutes at shows, but I do have a Kenzie (regular edition) that I can compare to. Both my amps from Justin have 32 and 300 ohm outputs to best match the ZMF Dynamic headphones.
Chain: Roon (windows) >>> iFi USB to SPDIF Converter >>> Metrum ONYX >>> AS Mogwai SE and AS Kenzie
Off initial listening the Kenzie offers such smooth and transiently clean texture. I own no other amp that presents vocals with such liveliness and realism. When I want to focus on enjoyment and relaxation the Kenzie is my go-to because it just sounds "right" and is so easy to listen to. It's also easy on the desktop space.
In comparison to the Mogwai - the Mogwai has Justin's signature euphony and realism that the Kenzie introduces, and adds a weight to each note, and extension on both ends that does surpass the Kenzie. There's an inner clarity and "feel" to each note introduction/transient that makes you feel like the headphone drivers are really vice-gripped by the amp.
The Mogwai SE I have has different inputs so that I can hear the difference between having and not having the input transformer in the chain. Adding the input transformer adds more of that "heft" and "weight" to the sound. I don't think it's absolutely necessary but if I had to choose whether or not to have it I would certainly add the input transformer. It just gives a slightly more natural weighty sound without adding any coloration.
It's hard for me to say if the Kenzie or Mogwai SE is a "better" amp as I feel like they serve different purposes and I enjoy owning both. The Mogwai is more "complete" as it just has larger transformers and more power. I'll be doing more comparison's and tube rolling in the coming days. I used Sylvania VT-137's and a Raytheon 2c52 on the Kenzie tonight and Amperex EL34's, an RCA Red Base 5691 and Brimar MOV 5u4g on the Mogwai for tubes.
I'll get some pics up soon!
Keep it coming Zach
So which of your "little" babies did you try it on?
Justin my friend, you nailed it with the Kenzie!
I didn't think it would be that compact, was expecting something a bit larger on my desk.
But most importantly the sound..as Zach said those mids are a delight to listen to and soundstage is very nice (vs the iDSD's output alone).
Kenzie owners, this tube with 12AX7 to 12SL7 adapter may be the magic bullet, considered the "Holy Grail" of 12AT7, excellent sound with my Atticus, Fostex variants and HE6, from 32 ohm tap.
SIEMENS HALSKE ECC801S 12AT7 6201 BWB TUBE NOS
Thank you!! Any reliable source where to get them? I saw a seller on ebay but I'm a bit wary of what is claimed there (having been burnt in the past).
You can get the adapter on ebay here. As for tubes just try a few vendors.
I have the 5755 Western Electric tube which can be converted to 12SL7 as well, I haven't tried the 12at or ax7's.
One cool thing about the Mogwai SE is that there's a ton of options for all the tubes especially when you look into adapters. Knowing myself I'll probably end up with too many tubes to keep track of. I've been enjoying the Amperex Brown Base EL34's on the Mogwai SE in the output stage just because I like that "juicy" sound. Mogwai SE responds brilliantly to tube rolling. More-so than the Kenzie just because there's just more options for each stage.
Once you get good Tung Sol 1626 power tubes in the Kenzie, you only need to roll one preamp tube, with 12AX7 adapter there are some good options with 12AT7 tubes, Siemans or Telefunken that best the 12AX7, and are lower cost. The Western Electric 5755 420a is nice but the Siemans ECC801s has better tone and more weight in the notes.
The problem is finding a matched pair of Tung Sol 1626's. Everywhere I have looked is sold out. I have been using a nice matched pair of wartime RCA 1626 in my Kenzie but would like to try the Tung Sol. Have Siemens ecc801s and adaptor on the way hope it is worth the cost. The grey glass RCA 12SL7GT I have been using sounds very good.
I bought 3 pair of the Tung Sols back when they were available, they sound the best in my Kenzie, and I also have 2 pair of Hytron which are close, they look the same.
I have at least a dozen 12SL7GT. Tung Sol, Hytron, Sylvania, RCA, and 5 Raytheon 2C52's and prefer the Siemans tube.