After reviewing Dan Wright's terrific-sounding KWI 200 Integrated amp, I wanted to review one of his single-chassis power amps using my reference preamp, the Concert Fidelity CF-080, and to compare its performance to my excellent Pass Labs XA60.5 mono-block amps. Since I have historically been a fan of MOSFET transistor-based solid state amps, finding them to be much more musical-sounding to my ears than bipolar transistor designs, Dan and I agreed that the KWA 100SE, which retails for $4,295, would be a better choice for me than his reference KWA 150SE because the KWA 100SE is his MOSFET transistor design.�
The KWA 100SE build quality and choice of internal parts are at a very high level. The case work offers a very attractive and handsome physical appearance.
The KWA 100SE is reference-level in its grainless and textured ability to produce timbres and natural tones of different instruments.
As far as power and punch, the KWA 100SE has the ability to render the drive and macro-dynamics of music in an effortless way.
Since the KWA 100SE has great transparency and clarity, it could expose your preamp's weaknesses or shortcomings.
Because the KWA 100SE is a two-channel stereo amplifier. It would not fit into a multi-channel home theater system, unless of course you purchased multiples.
Competition and Comparison
The amps, with which I am familiar based on my past listening experience, that are in the price range of the KWA 100SE are the Ayre Acoustics V-5xe at $4,950 and the Sanders Sound Magtech at $5,500. Both these amps offer excellent macro-dynamics, good extension on the top and bottom and a high level of details and clarity. However, I find them both somewhat lean-sounding, compared to the fuller fleshed-out presentation that the KWA 100SE delivers. Another area I believe would be considered a higher level in the KWA100SE performance is that it is seems to sound more natural and grainless when it comes to timbres and natural warmth. For more on two-channel amplifiers, please visit Home Theater Review's Stereo Amplifier page.�
The ModWright KWA 100SE is a wonderfully musical and entertaining-sounding piece of gear. It offers reference-level performance on many parameters. However, in the specific area of tonality/timbres, along with a seamlessness/grainless overall sonic perspective, it is right up there with some of the best solid state amps, regardless of cost. In my honest opinion, if I did not already own my fantastic-sounding and more expensive Pass Labs XA60.5 mono-blocks, I could easily live with the KWA 100SE and not miss my reference amps at all in my system. I highly recommend anyone looking for a two-channel solid state amp to strongly consider putting the KWA 100SE on your audition list.