High End 2014: ModWright and Tune Audio, the odd couple?
By Dr. Panagiotis Karavitis
On paper this was one of the most unexpected combinations of the Munich show. A 150 Watt/8Ohm power amp driving a highly sensible horn speaker? I gave a first listen to this room on Thursday morning and came out after only 2” shaking my head. What on earth did
Jack Lemon Mr. Wright (ModWright) and Walter Matthau Mr. Proestakis (Tune Audio) were thinking when they arranged for this matching? Let along Mr. Janssen (of Amazon turntables) and Mr. Moerch (Moerch tonearms) that trusted them with their creations.
But the system had zero burn-in at that time. Old timers will tell you that you must never draw conclusions on the first day of a show. They have a point.
Towards the end of the show, I gave it a second thorough listen, which blew my ears high sky. The Anima loudspeaker is a complete horn loaded design. Not just the midrange and the tweeter, the enormous 15’ woofer is also housed in a five feet two-inch tall Baltic birch plywood horn with the “mouth” facing the floor. Crossover is first order in all sections and sensitivity is 109dB! No class D amps driving the woofer, no DSPs, only pure passive horns.
With this kind of sensitivity you would be expecting a SET amp like last year when the Anima was paired with the “Lars”, a 300B parallel single end amp capable of 16 Watts. This year tubes were to be found only on ModWright’s pre-amp (LS 36.5) and prototype Elyse DAC (transformer coupled, 384KHZ sampling rate, price not yet disclosed). The KWA-150 signature edition power amp is solid state, though through a switch in the back the bias was set to high (more class A Watts with less total output power). Interconnects, speaker and power cables were supplied by Signal Projects (monitor series).
This “odd” couple that started the show just like in the film, with harshness in the mids and heavy bass, ended up being one of the most impressive systems, regardless of price. Huge dynamic range with voices being clean and smooth at the same time. The final test was AC/DC’s “You shook me all night long” which at 100dB SPLs made visitors of all ages flock in as if Angus was performing live.