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REVIEW: ModWright SWL 9.0 Signature Preamplifier (Tube)

Model: SWL 9.0 Signature
Category: Preamplifier (Tube)
Suggested Retail Price: $3000.
Description: Tube linestage
Manufacturer URL: ModWright
Model Picture: View

Review by classfolkphile on August 11, 2007 at 21:14:33
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for the SWL 9.0 Signature

The Modwright SWL 9.0 Signature is the tube rectified version of the SWL 9.0SE. It uses one 5AR4/GZ34 rectifier in addition to the two 5687s of the original unit. I previously reviewed the SE on AA so I'll just compare the two units r/t repeat what I stated earlier.

The 9.0 Signature is a large step up from the SE. It retains all of the virtues of the latter. These are it's transparency, resolution, wide frequency extension and dynamics, frequency balance, Naim like PRAT, and incredibly quiet background. To this the Signature adds a much wider and deeper soundstage, more three dimensional images, and greater harmonic richness. Bass is more extended and articulate. Amazingly, the noise level is even further reduced and resolution is increased.

A friend loaned me an Aesthetix Calypso for a few weeks and in comparison with the Modwright, I found the former rolled off, with fuzzy bass and some smearing of notes. The Calypso has a beautiful midrange but the SWL Signature is much more accurate spatially (images don't drift at all) and tonally (notes sound more pitch and harmonically true).

The $3000. price for the Signature now includes all Modwright capaciators as well as the tube rectified P.S. Each of these two improvements can be added to an existing 9.0SE for $500. apiece. My unit only had the two Sonicap Teflon caps replaced with Modwright caps, along with the new P.S. My unit has also had, from the beginning, a Blackgate P.S. cap and Bybee Filters upgrade. Regardless, the tube rectified P.S. upgrade clearly accounts for a tremendous improvement that is a steal at it's price.

Product Weakness: None at the price.
Product Strengths: Huge value. See above.

Associated Equipment for this Review:

Amplifier: Quad II Classic mono-blocks
Preamplifier (or None if Integrated): Modwright SWL 9.0 Signature
Sources (CDP/Turntable): Modwright Platinum Sony 9100ES
Speakers: Aural Acoustics Model B
Cables/Interconnects: Kubala Sosna Emotion and Expression ICs, Ridge St. Audio Alethius Spkr. Cables
Music Used (Genre/Selections): Classical, folk, jazz, rock, world
Room Size (LxWxH): 23' x 11' x 7.5'
Room Comments/Treatments: Room Tunes, Echobusters Bass Busters
Time Period/Length of Audition: several months
Other (Power Conditioner etc.): World Power Power Wing
Type of Audition/Review: Product Owner

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Topic - REVIEW: ModWright SWL 9.0 Signature Preamplifier (Tube) - classfolkphile 21:14:33 08/11/07 (7)


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