Generation 2 of the Kenzie Ovation
The close of 2021 has brought out more than 18 months of a global pandemic. During these challenging times, we at ampsandsound strengthened our development efforts resulting in new generation of our classic amps.
Though octal input tubes provide a romantic character that had defined the ampsandound house sound, reminiscent of 1950s HiFi, the downside to this approach is a reduced noise floor and dwindling NOS options. With ampsandound moving to a 9pin front end, performance has been increased, NOS tube rolling has become nearly limitless, and yet we were able to enhance the sweetness and tone we are known for. The 9pin front end allows vastly increased options for tone rolling to find your balance and preference.
With our front end's new development, we have improved our amps further, including both subtle and significant changes alike. Notable takeaways include increased power output, reduced noise floor across all our amps, increased bandwidth.
Like many of our products, the Kenzie Ovation headphone amplifier/power amplifier evolved from our earlier designs - in this case... it came from the the lessons and experiences learned form the Suolo Monos and the Bigger Ben. In both of those previous products we saw how much big iron mattered, and we wondered what would happen if we took the lessons learned from the Bigger Ben and applied them to the Kenzie. From this the Kenzie Ovation was born.
To improve on the Kenzie Encore and the Suolo Monos we needed to go bigger with everything. The PS capacitance was increased, the choke doubled its filtering and our Output transformers doubled in size from the ones used on the Suolo Monos.
The 20 watt output transformers may look like the ones used on the Bigger Ben, however they are specially designed to take advantage of the lower output of Kenzie. The larger core of these transformers led to the ability to support 5 different impedance: 8, 16 which are great for high efficiency planers. 32 which is perfect for low impedance orthodynamics. The 100ohm is selected to pair well with the Audeze headphones and the 300ohm provides high impedance match for ZMF andSennheiser.
The input of Kenzie Ovation unitizes input transformers for reduced noise floor, greater clarity and sub bass response. For this reference amplifier we paired the finniest coupling caps, Jupiter copper foil in wax caps. The increases in micro detail retrieval were remarkable.
Like many of our products, the Kenzie Ovation is a hybrid product, meant for both headphone and loudspeaker use.
The Ovation, like the Encore and OG Kenzie is one of the sweetest-sounding headphone amplifiers on the market. The 1626 is commonly referred to as the“Poor Man’s 300B”. The Ovation expands on this by bringing the same tonal balance and sonic signature to high efficiency speakers thanks to its 8 ohm speaker output.
The heart of the Ovation is the 1626 triode which is a WWII-era transmitter tube in radar installations. The design is shy on pure output, but offers layers of texture and drive. Like all good tube amplifiers, the Kenzie Ovation ships with a full set of NOS tubes.
The Kenzie Ovation differs from the Bigger Ben as it aims to provide romantic full sound, with a focus on low noise operation. While all of our amps are quiet, the Ovation is the quietest amp we have ever produced.
Both the Ovation and Bigger Ben are reference headphone amplifiers, choosing between the two comes down the types of headphones you use. If you need raw power the Bigger Ben is the right amp for you, if you primarily use Othodynamics or high efficiency planar magnetic headphones (HE1000SE as an example) the Kenzie Ovation will leave you speechless with its detailed and and romantic presentation.
When we heard it for the first time, we thought it deserved a standing ovation, hence its name.
Input tube: 12SL7 or equivalent
Output tubes: 1626 or VT-137
Cathode Bias/automatic bias allows for easy tube changes without adjustment.
Wood Chassis dimensions:15.75" Wide x 9.75" Deep
Input impedance is 10K ohm with alps pot
Input Sensitivity 1V for full power out.
Frequency bandwidth 8hz -1db to 18khz -2db full power
8ohm power: 500mWatts RMS @ 1khz
Noise on 8ohm tapp @ 400uV
32ohm power: 400mWatts RMS @ 1khz
Noise on 32ohm tapp @ 530uV
300ohm power: 440mWatts RMS @ 1khz
Noise on 300ohm tapp @ 540uV
Please note: Kenzie Ovation in pictures was configured as power amp. Stock Kenzie Ovation will include volume pot.
Compatible with nearly every headphone.
Power and Noise specs are dependent on tube selection.
The all ampsandsound amps are handmade in Southern California with custom hand-wound output transformers and U.S. sourced parts.
Our amps are hand made by a small team with quality being our first priority.