Seattle HiFi and Modwright

For the second year in a row, the first room at PAF I entered was dominated by Dan Wright's ModWright equipment. Presented in equal partnership with Seattle HiFi, who carries all the components on active display, the room was headed by ModWright's new KWA 99 fully balanced, class-AB, compact MOSFET monoblocks ($7500/pair introductory price—normally $9000). Mated with the matching LS 99 fully balanced tube preamplifier ($6500 introductory price), the system produced extremely quiet, absolutely lovely sound. This was a great start to the show.

On the LP that contained Janis Ian's song, "Tattoo," the midrange was as attractive as the system's warmth and clarity. Then, on a 24/48 file of Glass Animal's "Gooey," bass was plentiful even if the very bottom of the range was sketched out a bit more than sounded fully.

Dan (above) explained that in his PH9.0XT tube phone stage ($5250), he had previously managed to cut the cost of his top-line PH150 phono preamp by $5000, shrink the chassis to compact form, and successfully retain 95% of the performance. Now he'd taken his LS300 preamp ($11,000) and cut the cost by almost $5000 by doing much the same thing.

"The LS 99 preamp is no longer dual-mono," he said, "but it easily retains 95% of the performance." The tube-rectified design uses 6922/7308/6dj8 driver tubes, while the matching PH9.0XT is a fully balanced transformer coupled, capacitor-less preamp with Lundahl output transformers and uses two 6C45 and two 6922/6DJ8/7308 tubes, and has a 5AR4 tube-rectified external power supply.

The KWA 99s weigh a mere 35lb each. The first 30 watts of their output is pure class-A. "They run hot, but you can touch them," said the chief designer in a team of five engineers.

Also in the system: AMG Giro MKII turntable with 9W2 tonearm ($11,500, above), Benz Micro Gullwing SLR cartridge ($3500), ModWright Analog Bridge with XLR Balanced Upgrade ($3900), Revel Performa F228Be speakers ($11,000/pair), Weiss DAC 204 ($2895), Computer Audio Design CAD USB Filter ($750), Cardas Nautilus power strip ($2000), a mix of Cardas Clear Beyond and Clear cabling, and a Solidsteel rack.

Allen Fant's picture

Nice coverage- JVS.
it would have been better with a MW CD/SACD player.

Anton's picture

Dan is just the greatest.