Ampsandsound Kenzie Encore-impressions

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by Mithrandir41, May 9, 2017.

  1. ampsandsound

    ampsandsound MOT - Ampsandsound

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    Well here are a few details :).
    Power supply remains similar, 1st cap shrinks to accommodate tube rectification. Rectifiers will be 5U4 or 5AR4.
    Choke is same as we wanted to fit other features and filter was larger enough.
    Transformers are new. Outputs are 10watt cores 32, 300 and 8ohm taps.
    Jacks moved to front right corner. Vol is front left.
    God willing, everyone will conclude the ergonomics are good.
    3watts into 8ohms.
    1.5watts into 32ohms.
    Single gain stage, No NFB.
    A wetter sound than a mogwai with same/similar power.
    I love tube rectifiers... impractical but lovely.
    10x14. Chassis is ~3: tall before iron.
    Pics within 2 weeks.
    I so wanted to get it done for CAF but time was not on my side.
    Anyone in LA area... I have some bad ass Heresys and soon some dirty omens.
    Try ZMFs, MrSpeaker, HD650 or speakers. I don't think it will disappoint.
    Though it will come with GZ34 Ill be using mine with a 5U4 as I love the sag.
    KT88, 6SL7, GZ34


    Hope this helps.
    It was great seeing so many at the CAF.
     
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  2. gbeast

    gbeast Mighty Moral Power Ranger

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    ^MOGWAI SP ED
    I pre ordered on of these to rock next to my Aficionado. I really missed the thick and full sound of the Mogwai and it's bass slam.
    After talking with Justin @ampsandsound
    This should have:
    - tighter bass

    - little bit of that Kenzie Magic amd tonality
    - more tube wetness and sound customability with the rectifier

    I got it with the upgrades caps and don't know what the difference in sound is there.

    Having the HP3 inbound as well I am expecting good synergy. The HP3 is supposedly very scalable and sounds good on tubes.

    I personally liked the Mogwai with the 8ohm speaker taps and don't need speaker outs so I will be buying another adapter again.

    It's gonna be interesting to try the ZMFs and 650 from the 300ohm taps.

    Hey BTW, What was the footprint of the first Mogwai?
     
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  3. ButtUglyJeff

    ButtUglyJeff Friend

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    @ampsandsound, please send a Kenzie Encore to @gbeast at some time (or more selfishly, do a tour including gbeast). It would be super beneficial for many here if someone has familiarity with both amps.
     
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  4. gbeast

    gbeast Mighty Moral Power Ranger

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    A tour of the Encore here would be perfect
     
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  5. PacoTaco

    PacoTaco Friend

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    Well guys, here's my review of the Kenzie:

    The Kenzie, basically, is a hand-made SET amp with a nice wood bass. Now, don't take this as a condemnation or anything, but this was the least impressive item out of the three. It wasn't a BAD amp by any stretch of the imagination, but it wasn't really...what I wanted out of an amp.

    To get this out of the way, the Kenzie is a flavor amp. The best way to describe it would be that the Kenzie puts tone and timbre above all else. Because of this, the first thing that popped into my mind was that the Kenzie added a HD650 filter over the sound. That said, it was quite a bit better than the Magni 3 with the HD580 AND the Auteur.

    My Kenzie came with two outputs: 32 ohm and 600 ohm. There's more options on the website (8 ohm and 300 ohm if I remember correctly) as well as an upgrade (which this one had.) Now, I just have to say this: The 600 ohm option was a complete no-go for me. It changed the Frequency response of everything that touched it (HD800, HD580, Eikon, Auteur, ect) to bizarrely mid-bassy levels (or brighter in the Auteur and HD580's case.) 32 ohm, however, was just right. With that one, the frequency was more towards neutral, with rolling off on the highest bit of treble and lowest bit of bass. It was the traditional tube sound done very well, basically.

    That said, this amp isn't without any cons. First off, like I said before, it is a flavor amp. Years ago, this would have been the flavor I was looking for, but I've since grown out of that phase of my audio-life. It does do that flavor very, very well. Second, the separation of instruments was....condensed for this tier of amp. I didn't notice this until I listened to the Black Widow and DNA Sonett 2 that Mystic on SBAF/Head-fi (he's Mystik on there) let me try out. Third, and this is kind of cheating because it plays off my first con, this amplifier....is thicc. Like...Spontaneous Booty thick (I played South Park: FBH recently.) Again, it wasn't something I picked up on until I heard those other two amps. A lot of people like that kind of sound, but...it's not my priority anymore.

    It was a valuable trial that convinced me that I do actually want a more neutral tube amp if I go in that direction. Something like the Taboo IV or the IHA-1. The thick presentation the Kenzie has, however, just isn't for me.
     
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  6. captkirk

    captkirk Almost "Made"

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    I appreciate the impressions, and the feedback with the Auteur pairing.

    It certainly has a "flavor" that can change with tubes. With input tubes, I've been pleasantly surprised in some subtle, but considerable changes, in the treble extension, and bass thickness and texture. And rolling some Tung Sol NOS 1626 outputs seemed to drop/lift the slight veil (though overall it sounds very clear to my ears*) and open up the soundstage a skosh - more an improvement of depth than width, but better. They don't change the overall tone of the amp, but can change how rich, sharp, zesty, smooth and/or savory that flavor is.

    It may not be for everyone, but it's definitely an amp worth consideration. Thanks @PacoTaco, now I want to get my hands on a BW.

    * "Clarity" of course relative to my cans, so YMMV.
     

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