New to me KWA100SE amp

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jtcf

New to me KWA100SE amp
« on: 18 Mar 2021, 01:06 am »
I've owned tube amps exclusively for a long while but my newish Harbeths cry out for more power sometimes so after agonizing over what which brands are known for both sweetness and power,made a short list. Modright amps were among my top three and lucky me - found a used one for a good price at Upscale Audio.
Here's the (almost) funny part....It wouldn't turn on.After several emails and phone conversations with Josh at Upscale I tried different pcs,different outlets, changed the fuse, sent pictures of the interior so we could both look for scorch marks,etc.He finally called Modright and they told him there's an additional secret button on the bottom of the amp next to the left front foot. :duh:The manual included was for the older 100 model.I knew the back was going to be different but wasn't aware of the mystical magic button.

Anywho, after my two days of drama it's up and running tonight and the Harbeths are loving that power and sense of ease.Just cranked up "The Dance" live Fleetwood Mac.The drums and bass are just excellent now, lots of shimmer on top too. The vocals are very good,but of course not as beautiful as with my Aric Audio tube amp.Which is ok - KWA100SE for rocking out,tubes for when the mood strikes for rich harmonics.
Please Mr. Wright add the start up directions on the website for the SE model! Also a shout to Josh at Upscale, a real gentleman.

musicdre

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Re: New to me KWA100SE amp
« Reply #1 on: 18 Mar 2021, 01:41 am »
wow - secret turn-on button seems to guarantee frustration.  glad that you are enjoying the amp otherwise.

eichlerera1

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Re: New to me KWA100SE amp
« Reply #2 on: 18 Mar 2021, 04:34 am »
I also own this puppy (See my review).
It really helps to have a Modwright modded Pioneer Tubed CD Player and their Anniversary Edition PreAmp upstream to exert a tubed influence!

Do you have a tubed PreAmp?

jtcf

Re: New to me KWA100SE amp
« Reply #3 on: 18 Mar 2021, 03:42 pm »
I do!Linear Tube Audio pre and Audio Mirror Tubadour Dac.Can you tell I really like tubes,lol?I really like the amp and how it's voiced.It manages to separate the instruments and vocals clearly but still retain the cohesiveness of a live group playing together.As I become more familiar with how it fits in the system a little tube rolling is likely.@eichlerera1 I think I read your review but I'll reread it to compare our impressions. Thanks!

uncola

Re: New to me KWA100SE amp
« Reply #4 on: 19 Mar 2021, 12:12 am »
I sympathize with your frustration.  my girlfriend has a secret turn-on button as well  :lol:

jtcf

Re: New to me KWA100SE amp
« Reply #5 on: 19 Mar 2021, 06:12 pm »
@eichlerera1 purused your review again. I'm a bit of a tweaker also and use sandboxes,various footers,and weights myself. I also have four subs and GIK room treatments.
After further listening the only thing I want to work on remains taming the macro dynamics in the presence region.The Harbeths are a little forward in that area anyway. The high bias setting on the amp eliminates it,but the low bias has such a wonderful tone that I much prefer it.Last winter I began comparing higher end power cords and to my surprise they made a huge difference.I really did not expect the way they can bring the performance of a component up to a much higher level. I've got several brands here to mix and match to see if I can hit on the right combo. That's the first plan for now. I'll update with what works the best later.

eichlerera1

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Re: New to me KWA100SE amp
« Reply #6 on: 20 Mar 2021, 03:41 am »
@eichlerera1 purused your review again. I'm a bit of a tweaker also and use sandboxes,various footers,and weights myself. I also have four subs and GIK room treatments.
After further listening the only thing I want to work on remains taming the macro dynamics in the presence region.The Harbeths are a little forward in that area anyway. The high bias setting on the amp eliminates it,but the low bias has such a wonderful tone that I much prefer it.Last winter I began comparing higher end power cords and to my surprise they made a huge difference.I really did not expect the way they can bring the performance of a component up to a much higher level. I've got several brands here to mix and match to see if I can hit on the right combo. That's the first plan for now. I'll update with what works the best later.

Interesting.
1) I know the Amp comes set in high bias.
    Specifically, how does one set it in low bias?
2) Please, compare the high bias tone to the low bias tone.
3) I HIGHLY recommend the ERS and internal damping tweaks!

jtcf

Re: New to me KWA100SE amp
« Reply #7 on: 21 Mar 2021, 12:21 am »
@eichlerera1 there is a high/low bias switch on the back next to the main off/on.I'll check out the damping materials. I am making headway with power cords. This amp does really well with the silver plated copper Cullen Cable.It's very close to a perfect fit- it has a natural presence region, excellent highs(cymbals, shakers),mids and bass are good but not outstanding (as the ZenWave silver ribbon is).The rest I tried were Cabledyne (silver), Audio Envy (OCC copper),Triode Wire Labs(Digital American and Obsession).

These are all fine cables IMO and they are perfect fits with other components.They range from $99 to $2,500 and you just never know what will work. I think the Cullen was $200+? I may compare more silver clad cords later, but first will try some damping materials:-)
Really enjoyed lots of live tracks today - Santana,Dan Fogelberg, Joan Baez,John Mayall.


eichlerera1

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Re: New to me KWA100SE amp
« Reply #8 on: 21 Mar 2021, 04:35 am »
@eichlerera1 there is a high/low bias switch on the back next to the main off/on.I'll check out the damping materials. I am making headway with power cords. This amp does really well with the silver plated copper Cullen Cable.It's very close to a perfect fit- it has a natural presence region, excellent highs(cymbals, shakers),mids and bass are good but not outstanding (as the ZenWave silver ribbon is).The rest I tried were Cabledyne (silver), Audio Envy (OCC copper),Triode Wire Labs(Digital American and Obsession).

These are all fine cables IMO and they are perfect fits with other components.They range from $99 to $2,500 and you just never know what will work. I think the Cullen was $200+? I may compare more silver clad cords later, but first will try some damping materials:-)
Really enjoyed lots of live tracks today - Santana,Dan Fogelberg, Joan Baez,John Mayall.


My later version has no High/Low Bias Switch.
Apparently Dan thinks the High Bias is superior and doesn't include a way to switch it.
Don't skip the ERS Paper!!!!

jtcf

Re: New to me KWA100SE amp
« Reply #9 on: 21 Mar 2021, 05:31 pm »
Interesting! The simpler the better in most cases:) ERS paper will not be forgotten.

jtcf

Re: New to me KWA100SE amp
« Reply #10 on: 25 Mar 2021, 06:41 pm »
@eichlerera1 here is something that may interest you. I was doing a little research on pcs today and came across iconoclast cables is making pcs with a later generation of EPR as a shield which per testing is excellent at rejecting interference.The man that designs them is now retired from Belden. There's quite a bit online (audiobacon, ps audio forum) and a looong zoom meeting with Galen that is really informative if you're a cable geek like me.Takes the mystery out of why wires sound different from each other. He's not pushing products at all really, just explaining that yes they all DO sound different and the science behind it.Dagogo has a review that includes the pcs forthcoming that should be interesting.
At present I'm still getting acclimated to the amp and repositioning speakers etc.Both the cords and ERS paper have me intrigued. Even better they are inexpensive ;-)


EPDM rubber (ethylene propylene diene monomer rubber) is a type of synthetic rubber that is used in many applications. EPDM is an M-Class rubber under ASTM standard D-1418; the M class comprises elastomers having a saturated chain of the polyethylene type (the M deriving from the more correct term polymethylene). EPDM is made from ethylene, propylene, and a diene comonomer that enables crosslinking via sulfur vulcanization. The earlier relative of EPDM is EPR, ethylene propylene rubber, that c...

eichlerera1

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Re: New to me KWA100SE amp
« Reply #11 on: 26 Mar 2021, 04:26 am »
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.
Done lots of tweaks with ModWright gear....

jtcf

Re: New to me KWA100SE amp
« Reply #12 on: 29 Mar 2021, 07:56 pm »
Thank you kindly. I'll message you if I have questions.It's very responsive to any type of cable changes, so changing around ics has been productive.Where to put the ZenWaves  silver and the copper to best effect....
BTW the Dagogo review regarding cables was not of much substance in my humble opinion. Galen's comments and video + white papers are gems though.
I'll update when I get this amp dialed in to my system:-)

eichlerera1

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Re: New to me KWA100SE amp
« Reply #13 on: 30 Mar 2021, 03:37 am »
Thank you kindly. I'll message you if I have questions.It's very responsive to any type of cable changes, so changing around ics has been productive.Where to put the ZenWaves  silver and the copper to best effect....
BTW the Dagogo review regarding cables was not of much substance in my humble opinion. Galen's comments and video + white papers are gems though.
I'll update when I get this amp dialed in to my system:-)

I can tell you that the Silversmith Fidelium Speaker Cables are a match made in Heaven with this Amp!

jtcf

Re: New to me KWA100SE amp
« Reply #14 on: 30 Mar 2021, 02:30 pm »
Thanks! I'm having thoughts about trying different speaker cables later.I've read many good things about the Silver Fideliums. They remind me of the Goertz cables I had years ago that I liked very much. I would like to hear the Fideliums vs the ZenWave ribbons.

eichlerera1

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Re: New to me KWA100SE amp
« Reply #15 on: 30 Mar 2021, 03:20 pm »
Thanks! I'm having thoughts about trying different speaker cables later.I've read many good things about the Silver Fideliums. They remind me of the Goertz cables I had years ago that I liked very much. I would like to hear the Fideliums vs the ZenWave ribbons.

The Fidelium Cable has a 30 day return policy.
Try em, you'll buy em.....

jtcf

Re: New to me KWA100SE amp
« Reply #16 on: 5 Apr 2021, 06:44 pm »
I'm loving this amp more everyday because of the way it responds so well to changes made.I swapped ics around to connect the ZenWave DSR from pre to amp,then the Silnote from Dac to pre and BAM!Just like the old saying about the difference between clean and dirty glass.
Then I replaced the Silnote sp cables with an old pair of Audio Art silver plated copper just to see if it liked that combo as well as the Cullen cord it does so well with, and again BAM!This amp along with the Harbeths evidently matches up best (to my ears) with silver plated copper coming and going. I suspect a heavier gage sp cable may be even better,maybe a little richer. Not dissing Silnote at all, I really like their products. They are silver,copper,and also combined with gold, so it seems the addition of the gold is not as pleasing to me.With my tube amp it is a great match though.
What I'm hearing now is palpable images,plenty of micro detail, a realistic soundstage, wonderful timbre, very good but not great bass,and lost some shimmer on top by switching the ics.Just being nitpicky:-)I'm very happy with the system right now. My Zeppelin CDs sound great along with my acoustic CDs and streamed music.

eichlerera1

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Re: New to me KWA100SE amp
« Reply #17 on: 9 Apr 2021, 03:58 am »
I'm not asking you, I'm Beggin' you to try the Silversmith Fidelium Cables.
Trust me on this one......