ModWright System Review by Ron Brenay - New Record Day!

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So grateful to Ron Brenay of New Record Day for such a fantastic review of a complete ModWright System driving Wilson Sabrinas!:

PH 9.0 tube phono stage.
SWL 9.0 Anniversary Edition tube preamp.
KWA 100SE Mosfet SS power amp.

Please check out the review as well as the rest of Ron's work!


Re: ModWright System Review by Ron Brenay - New Record Day!
« Reply #1 on: 7 Jan 2019, 09:49 pm »
Hey Dan, would the pre-amp hitting the wall,as he says, cause that or more of the amplifier issue? Thanks, Jeff


Re: ModWright System Review by Ron Brenay - New Record Day!
« Reply #2 on: 7 Jan 2019, 10:13 pm »
Good question and I have to say that I was thinking about what might be causing what Ron describes, in other preamps.

In the end, I concluded that with some amp/preamp combos, when the volume reaches a certain level, either the power is no longer clean or there is distortion introduced at the amp input stage or the preamp stage somehow. In theory, a well designed preamp should operate, measure and sound the same, at zero to max volume. This assumes of course, that all else is equal.

At higher signal levels and hence higher dB sound pressure levels, many things occur.  There are room related factors for one thing. If you overload the room and the room is not acoustically treated well, it will not sound good at high SPL's.

Is the speaker being pushed beyond its rated level? Although here, speaker power rating is really more about min power recommended, rather than max. Short of so much brute force power that you destroy the voice coil or driver, most speakers will play well with clean power.  It is distorted high level signal that is more likely to damage a speaker, than clean signal at high power levels.

The amplifiers input stage may not like too high of an input signal. And of course lastly, when you push an amp (especially SS) to clipping, it will sound terrible.

I believe that, a well designed preamp and amp, designed to drive suitable speakers (i.e. not driving 84dB speakers with 1W), should sound good up to its actual power rating. I.e. a 100W amp should sound good, producing up to 100W of max power. However, an amp that is 'rated' at 100W but actually tests at say 10% THD at 100W, will sound BAD as you turn it up too far.

Also, even a very good amp, driven past its rated power, will not sound good when it runs out of gas.

In short, I concluded from this statement, that our preamp and amp simply drove the Wilson Sabrina's as loud or louder than Ron wanted and still sounded good!

My job is done!  :D

Dan Wright