AmpsandSound Mogwai Headphone Amplifier
- Product Code:
- Headphone Amplifier
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AmpsandSound Products Are Handmade In Small Batches and Go Through Extensive Quality Control
Like many AmpsandSound products, the Mogwai evolved from their earlier designs, borrowing from the Bigger Ben and Classic Wonder, while embracing the form factor of the Kenzie. The Mogwai offers more than an entry point for tube amps, but a hybrid product, meant for both headphone and loudspeaker use.
Their circuit offers the ability to roll a wide variety of tubes inexpensively and bring increased power to headphones without any sacrifice of design choices that conflict with our values.
The Mogwai combines the features of a full-sized two-channel power amplifier and headphone amplifier in a chassis that is suitable for a desktop use.
The Mogwai utilizes single-ended Class A operation with zero feedback to provide the essence of our Classic Wonder sound; strictly old school SET sound, without having to spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars on tubes.
The performance of the Mogwai is made possible with custom wound ultra-high quality output transformers from Transcendar, which provide excellent frequency extension and a flat response.
The Mogwai does not use a voltage divider network, but depends on transformers instead. They chose a 32 ohm tap for headphones to offer a dedicated selection for the widest range of headphones, and an 8-ohm loudspeaker tap to connect the Mogwai to moderately efficient loudspeakers.
The Mogwai displays its transformers prominently on the chassis to frame in the tube compliment, which can vary from a 6L6GC to a KT88.
Volume control is handled by the ALPS volume pot to allow attenuation and simplify the signal path. Zero feedback on the outputs negates the need for a pre-amplifier; an iPhone can drive the Mogwai without issue.
The Mogwai differs from the Kenzie as it aims to provide powerful output while remaining true to classic tube design. As with all ampsandsound products, they strive for a neutral, non-fatiguing sound, and demand that all our products be ultra-quiet in operation. Quiet operation is not just a goal but a guiding principle that shapes all design and implementation choices.
The Mogwai is handmade with pride in Southern California with US-sourced parts, including our precision transformers.
Size W/H/D: 18x13x10
ampsandsound believes in the non-boutique approach to manufacturing. Resistors are 2% or better and over spec’d, Caps are made by industry leaders with 5% or better ratings, wiring is Teflon, and output transformers include large core to resist saturation and provide a minimum 20hz to 20khz on a bench. Ultra wide frequency response, rock steady RMS provides a non-fatiguing sound.
All ampsandsound amplifiers are built on a thick plate of anodized aluminum which is 10”x14” and placed into a hard wood plinth/chassis made of solid ¾” thick Eastern Walnut. The plate is 1/8” thick and has nearly no deflection. We don’t outsource our work at ampsandsound. We have the depth of the chassis large enough to allow for full sized chokes to be used without cluttering the clean look up top.
Ample Power Supply
All ampsandsound amps employ an extremely stiff power supply. The power supply chosen exceeds specified capacitance and always includes robust choke filtering. We recognize the importance of reducing DC ripple in creating life-like sound stages.
High Quality Transformers
Output transformers are over spec’d and ultra high quality. We consider the output transformer as important as any other design choice. When buying any tube amp, the weight of output transformer can be directly proportional to the quality of sound. In general, larger outputs have larger cores which are less prone to saturation and have higher inductance. Larger cores and greater inductance allows the transformer to carry a low-end signal with minimal distortion. These transformers are bench tested to perform down to 20hz to up to 20khz. Even if your speakers only go to 50hz like a LS3/5a having an amp with can drive that low impedance signal is pivotal in creating the whole sound stage.
Internal wiring is done with silver plated Teflon and silver solder. All wiring is held down and tied neatly with obsessive detail. We prefer never to see a loose wire… always tied down with a service loop and always dressed with function dictating form.
Our products are handmade. Parts selection matters deeply to us, sourcing the highest quality parts that can be found without getting distracted by esoteric or misleading specs. We have chosen parts with preference to domestic suppliers including our signature top plates, chassis, transformers, and PCBs.
Quality, not Quantity
We do not want to sell these in large quantity. We seek to build something worth passing down and demanding use. We believe each of our amps are statement pieces, each design choice was made with care. Our design esthetic was masculine and purposeful… nothing by accident.
We have specifically chosen to build based on the best practices of production. Switches, fuses, IEC sockets and binding posts are common and replaceable with off the shelf parts should a need ever arise. Tube Sockets are high temp ceramic, PCB is super thick with through hole construction, resistors, and capacitors are all over spec’d intended with long trouble free use.
Dramatically Smooth Sound
The sound is smooth, liquid without sacrificing detail. We recently demonstrated the final production version at a small listening party paired with our Cornscalas’ and everyone was awestruck with the size and depth of the sound-stage.
The Aluminum top-plates and hardwood chassis were made large enough to allow appropriate component layout with specific attention to grounding and signal wire location. We chose to use domestic hardwoods, Eastern walnut, Mahogany, and other exotics to provide the solid foundation to build excellent sound. Exotic hardwoods can be chosen at additional costs.
Special Attention to Grounding
Each amspandsound amp is built with attention to grounding schemes/ star grounding and use of common ground contributing to its ultra-low noise floor and wide bandwidth.
Tube Rolling is a great way of getting to know your amp as each tube has its own sonic signature. The reality is we are here to enjoy music… if rolling, try 1 type at a time… driver or power and allow several weeks to really hear the tube before changing it again. So often we chase a different sound, rather than a better sound. A great amp or speakers are meant to be transformative, so let the music play!
Custom wound ultra-high quality US sourced transformers
32ohm ¼” headphone output Jack
8ohm speaker output with 5 way binding posts
ALPS volume pot
Choke filtered power supply
Custom walnut chassis with ebony corners and hand rubbed finish
Triode Strapped output
Easy to drive input
Input tube: 6SL7 or equivalent
Output tubes: 6L6GC, EL34s, KT66, KT77, KT88, 6550s and KT90s
Personal favorite is the Tungsol 6L6GC STR. Warm, strong and tight bass.
Cathode Bias/automatic bias allows for easy tube changes without adjustment.
Compatible with 32ohm-300ohm headphones using the “32ohm” 1/4″ jack.
Input impedance is 10K ohm with alps pot, .5v for full power.
Input Sensativity 800mV peek for full power out.
32ohm power: 1.8watts RMS @ 1khz, 7.6VRMS
Frequency bandwidth 20hz -1db to 20khz -3db @ 500mw output
Frequency bandwidth 20hz -1db to 14khz -3db full power
Noise on 32ohm tapp @ 580uV
8ohm power: 3watts RMS @ 1khz, 4.7VRMS
Frequency bandwidth 20hzhz -3db to 17khz -3db @ 2watts
Noise on 32ohm tapp @ 340uV
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