ampsandsound (aka Amps & Sound)

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by Luckbad, Mar 20, 2016.

  1. ampsandsound

    ampsandsound MOT - Ampsandsound

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    Super Kind words... I do try to not overstate or over sell things...
    That said, Hope some are coming to the can jam in June... I have some new goodies to show off.
    Sundara is a crazy good sound as well. Not sure Im allowed to post pretty pics... but should have them out of post this wens.
     
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  2. RAZRr1275

    RAZRr1275 Facebook Friend

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    Has anyone gotten the chance to compare a Kenzie to the SW51, ZDT Jr, or DNA Stratus?
     
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  3. dubharmonic

    dubharmonic Friend

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  4. ampsandsound

    ampsandsound MOT - Ampsandsound

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    I had some hopes to but the health situation and travel concerns made it impossible. Zach of ZMF normally has a good stock of my amps. He is in Chicago if that makes it easier ?
     
  5. auvgeek

    auvgeek Acquaintance

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    Been following this thread, even though these are all pretty much out of my price range at the moment.

    I recently realized that ampsandsound makes the ZMF Pendant. Can someone comment on how it fits into to the the rest of the ampsandsound line? Is it basically a Kenzie? From reading this thread (and others), it seems like the Mogawi SE is a real winner, but the price tag makes it tough.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2020
  6. Phantaminum

    Phantaminum Friend

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    Here's a review from GBeast:

    https://www.ampsandsound.com/blogs/news/earphones-zmf-penant-review

    He's posted several reviews on this forum as well to help you triangulate what it may sound like. I have a feeling it's:

    Pendant - Neutral with good power for mostly all headphones.
    Kenzie - Sweet mids and punchy bass (from another Darling amp I've heard). Lowest power output.
    Mogwai SE - All conjecture (never heard it) but the most power, thick, and great slam.
     
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  7. auvgeek

    auvgeek Acquaintance

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    Thanks! That's a nice review, and your analysis makes sense.
     
  8. allegro

    allegro Friend

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    We could use a comparison between the Pendant or Kenzie with the new DNA Starlett since they are in the same price range. I am content with my Kenzie and HD800S at present no plans for changes until the pandemic passes. If I make any major changes to my headphone rig next year it will be to buy the SR1a and a Jot R or HSA-1a amp. So no more tube nervosa for me:)
     
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    Last edited: Apr 8, 2020
  9. Koth Ganesh

    Koth Ganesh Friend

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    I have had the Mogwai SE (I believe the first edition) for about a year now. Right off the bat, I was blown away by its power, extension and slam. My chain is the PI2AES into the Convert 2. My go to headphone has always been the Utopia. A couple of weeks ago, I sold my power amps and some of my other headphone amps with the intention of using only the Mogwai and I just bought a pair of high efficiency speakers.

    I had completely forgotten about the HE-6 that I have had for more than 3 years. My HE 6 is modded with the grilles removed and the pads being the Ether-C angled pads (shout out to @cskippy). When I dug it out, its like "WTH! What amp do I use with it now?". Anyway, I plugged it into the 32 ohms tap of the Mogwai, not knowing what to expect. Long story short, the Mogwai handles the HE 6 with ease and authority. I am not losing anything by not using dedicated power amps/stereo amps. The brightness of the HE 6 is slightly tamed by the amp. Otherwise, the visceral bass, the instrument separation and the headstage are all there. I am at 9 o'clock on the volume pot with occasional forays to 10 (old ears, you know!)

    So, better late than never. I'm real excited to shed a lot of equipment and build a single system around the Convert 2 and the Mogwai. To @ampsandsound , are you really sure about your power ratings sir? Methinks you have underestimated a tad :). This is truly a refined beast and for the first time in this hobby, I am actually thinking about "tube rolling" by getting the KT88s.
     
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  10. Jerry

    Jerry Friend

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    What tubes are you using, mate?

    It reacts quite well to tube rolling. My NOS Tung-Sol KT-88 is warmish and match perfectly with the Verum. Simply beautiful tonality. For the HD800, I prefer the more neutral Sophia KT-88 to pierce through the grain.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2020
  11. Koth Ganesh

    Koth Ganesh Friend

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    Hi @Jerry , I'm using the 6L6GC tubes.
     
  12. Jerry

    Jerry Friend

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    If you think 6L6 is powerful, wait till you try the KT-88.
     
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  13. ampsandsound

    ampsandsound MOT - Ampsandsound

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    Koth there’s about a 2watt delta between the 6l6gcs and the KT88s. The for HE6. Might think tube adapter for 12ax7 to 6sl6. SS plug in rectifier or 5A54 and KT88s. I really like the JJ KT88s for new production. The kt88s have more slam than the 6550s and the 12ax7 will add a bit the drive.
    Glad you’re enjoying.
     
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  14. Koth Ganesh

    Koth Ganesh Friend

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    Thanks Justin. On the input tube, I have a 6SL7GT (it's the stock tube). I presume you're suggesting a tube adapter to this tube to accommodate the 12ax7?
     
  15. ampsandsound

    ampsandsound MOT - Ampsandsound

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  16. Jinxy245

    Jinxy245 Vegan Puss

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    I wanted to bump this thread since I've spent some time with the ampsandsound/ZMF Pendant. I truly enjoyed the DNA Sonett 2, but I Found it to be a little dry for my tastes, I wanted a little more heft.

    The top of the list was the DNA Starlett, which would have been the most obvious upgrade. However it wouldn't fit well on my desktop. I also was looking at the ECP/Beezar T4 and the Pendant. While I was saving my pennies & trying to triangulate which would suit my preferences, I came across a well priced used Pendant ($1300 USD plus lotsa toobs) so I decided to make the jump. The decision was made easier since I had heard the Pendant once at a meet fed by a Yggdrasil and I remember enjoying the sound very much.


    I've read that ampsandsound have a rep for being overly tuby, but I wouldn't give the Pendant that moniker at all. This is not a sluggish amp, but it is on the warm side. Richer than the Sonett 2 from memory, but not night & day. I imagine tubes may dial it in further. For reference, my chain was my HP PC > Bifrost 2 Unison USB > Pendant using 2x JJ EL84 Drivers, JJ EZ81 Rectifier, and a Brimar CV4003 Input tube.

    The biggest difference I found was that the Pendant can slam. There is a robust low end that I find quite pleasing. I'm not talking about quantity, which I find mostly neutral but tastefully accented. It's more the driver control and sense of power...this is one powerful amp. I've been told that the EL84 series have been used for speaker amps, so I guess that makes sense. The mids have that tube amp magic, and the treble sounds lively but well behaved.

    One caveat is that the 300 ohm tap can be fairly noisy with sensitive headphones I didn't have a problem at normal levels, but it's discernable for sure. Using the 8 ohm tap I found noise is only noticable at very unsafe volumes, and has plenty of power for my headphones.

    Headstage is not cavernous. IIRC any EC amp would be wider, the Sonett 2 a little wider from memory, but I don't find the ZMF constrained or confined in any direction. It doesn't call attention to itself if that makes sense...which suits me fine. If I'm honest, if I want staging I listen to speakers (or better yet live music...whenever that starts up again).

    Pendant matches wonderfully with my Aeolus, which should be no surprise. It accents all the positive aspects, dat bass and those luicious mids draw me in for too many "One More Song" marathons. It's an excellent pairing with the 650 as well (I have a JAR modded 650 that's not quite the final itteration, but I love it). It plays nice with the Koss KSC75 to boot.

    I've had the Pendant since mid July and I'm enjoying it as much now as when I first got it. I haven't even begun to look down the rabbit hole of tube rolling, but I am lookimg forward to eventually trying a few of the extras on hand (in particular a NOS Mullard CV4024 I've heard good things about). This is a very capable amp IMO and worthwhile to check out if you're looking in the 2k pricerange.
     
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  17. perogie

    perogie Facebook Friend

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    Nice review. Have you had any experience using planars on the Pendant? The reviews of it are pretty sparse in number and generally in conjunction with using ZMF headphones. I do recall one review stating it may not be great for planar cans but I doubt that is a generalizable statement and perhaps more to do with individual pairings.

    Interesting you mention the desktop space issue, I was recently made aware of the Pendant dimensions and its really quite compact. I have a Starlett and the Pendant would be noticeably smaller. Having all the inputs being on top of the amp keeps the overall footprint to just the case dimensions.
     
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  18. BenjaminBore

    BenjaminBore Friend

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    Thanks for the write up, it’s really helpful. I’ve been interested in this amp for awhile.

    How well does the Pendant do with nuances against the other amps? Low-level information/plankton, micro-dynamics/echo etc.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2020
  19. Jinxy245

    Jinxy245 Vegan Puss

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    The only planar I have on hand is the HiFiMan 400i, which is easy to drive & sounds great (for a 400i). From all accounts I've heard the Pendant has little problem with planars. Again there's plenty of power on tap, but I imagine less than optimal performance could come down to impedance mismatching. I agree it would probably come down to the planar in question. FWIW, I always feel the inputs on top could put more strain on the wires in the long run, but I'm probably wrong...I wound up buying some 90 degree adapters.
    I don't have much experience with too many big boy amps, but I would say the Pendant is at least as resolving as if not a step above the Sonett 2. It's not a stark difference IMO, but I have had a few "AHAs" while listening. I hesitate to answer more definitively since I don't have them both on hand to volume match or anything...I hope that's helpful.
    Edit: IDK how far you are from Acorn Audio, nor if they have a pendant on hand but I know they are a ZMF distributor and might be worth checking out.
     
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    Last edited: Aug 30, 2020
  20. Cryptowolf

    Cryptowolf Repping Chi Town - Friend

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    Thank you for the review. You might have been the person who bought the amp before I got permission from the home office (i.e. wife) to put in a bid. :sail: I’m glad the amp wen to a fellow SBAF member!

    Based on what I’ve read here, I am going to save up for a Mogwai SE. I have had a chance to listen to the Pendant and Mogwai at meets and the impressions here have certainly helped in my decision.
     
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