CanJam SoCal 2016: Love at AmpsandSound


Seal_FINAL_CanJamSoCal2016Simple is deceptive. Simple is good. Simple is.

Kenzie from AmpsandSound is a simple amplifier. No fuss, no muss, no greasy aftertaste. It’s just an amp. It sits on your desk. It doesn’t take up a lot of space. It looks kinda vintage. It has tubes. It makes no apologies and there are no assumptions here. It’s a straight up headphone amp.

It’s mine, suckas! Bwahahahahahaaaaa!

The Kenzie is $1,500. It sports two 1/4″ outputs, one for 32Ω and one for 600Ω. Max output is a whopping 200mW. The tube complement is what got me, though:

The 1626 (aka Kenzie) is one of the sweetest-sounding amps you will ever hear. The 1626 is commonly referred to as the poor man’s 300b; all the same great imaging, texture, and single-ended sweetness without the cost to break the bank.

The 1626 is a WWII era tube used as a transmitter tube in radar installations. The design is shy on pure output, but is overflowing with texture and drive, and is paired with a massive choke and robust output transformers for ultra-quiet operation. As with all of our products, parts selection was crucial during this build and each chosen not for price, but for best quality and synergy.

Noble Audio
Noble Audio is a proud sponsor of CanJam SoCal 2016 and Part-Time Audiophile

There’s an Alps attenuator, so the Kenzie qualifies as an integrated. Very cleverly, all the connectors are straight up — including the IEC for the power cord — which means the amp can go right up on the wall of your desk. As far as I can tell, that’s unique. All you need is a source, and you’re off.

My review unit (Wait, how’d that happen? Oh, right, begging and effusive enthusiasm, right … [cough]) came with a 1/8″ mini to RCA cable, so I’m guessing an iPhone could be your portable player, but I’m gonna try mine out with an Astell&Kern portable just for kicks.

I should probably mention that AmpsandSound do make other amps — like the Mogwai (a headphone/stereo “crossover” amp) and also quite a few for the straight-up two-channel guys (like the Bigger Ben, shown below). I’ll get to those other things eventually.

Today, though, it’s all Kenzie. What a cutie!

For the record, this was my second gotta-go-get-me-one-a-those moments from Canjam!