As they showed conclusively at Denver's RMAF 2015 event, ModWright were further stacking their deck this year. One collaboration with Electraprint, Daedalus and David Palka of CJ Manufacturing ended up being singled out in Dick Olsher's report for The Abso!ute Sound. Called the 845 DS monos, they were listed amongst most significant tube audio novelties of the show [right]. These flagship monos couple a single 6HV5 gain stage via one 2000V-rated oil-filled capacitor to the very bright 1'200V output tube to produce 32 watts.

ModWright also bowed a 10wpc EL34 stereo amp called the Ambrose; and previewed a prototype push/pull tube headphone amplifier in collaboration with Damon Coffman Design. That as yet unnamed headfi amp will combine two 6922/6DJ8 dual triodes with a quartet of 12B4 single triodes, Electraprint phase-splitting reactors, Electraprint output transformers plus choke-based current/voltage regulation. Finally a reboot of the company's entry-level tube preamplifier was announced as the SWL 9.0 Anniversary Edition for year's end*.

The leitmotif which links all of these models together is Dan's by now obvious ability and desire to collaborate with other designers, be it for their wood work, digital expertise, transformer winding chops or an unusual valve circuit. Unlike the NDH fever—which touts anything not designed here as inferior—Mr. Wright believes in the power of team work and enjoys its results.

For these new power amps, it means, amongst other things, dove-tailed woodwork. If that's not within one's personal purview, why should one insist on "only made here"? Best to instead assemble a team of experts in diverse fields, all of whom contribute special expertise to end up with something that exceeds the competence of a single man. At least that's the logic of Dan Wright and it's clearly serving him and us well.

* "The new SWL 9.0 Anniversary Edition preamp is targeted to sell below $3'000 and will be a 5687 based single-ended line stage of all-tube design, with choke-regulated supply, Home Theater Bypass and integral headphone amp. Fit and finish will be similar to the original, i.e. heavy gauge with a 3/8" aluminium faceplate with engraved lettering to match the existing product line. There will be carbon film resistors and our MWI signal capacitors. The entire circuit has been rethought and redesigned. The 5687 tube is the same but the power supply and tube stage are different. The result is a more organic and natural presentation with extremely high bandwidth, low distortion and very low noise. I chose the SWL 9.0SE as an Anniversary Edition because it was the first product of our own design. Named after my son Spencer Wright (9.0lb at birth), the first SWL 9.0SE preamps were built 12 years ago. The Anniversary Edition celebrates our now 16 years in business. A prototype of our new headphone amp was at RMAF 2015 auditioned with Abyss and HifiMan HE1000 headphones. To Arnie Nudell it sounded fantastic using a master recording he brought. It will feature two each RCA i/o, a padded IEM output and 6.3mm/4-pin XLR standard outputs which may be run simultaneously whereas the IEM input is switched to be operated solo. The two-box design will have a compact footprint of 8x12" WxH with just 4" of height each. A 5-pin XLR umbilical of 4' will allow proper separation. Top-quality parts will include NOS Russian mil-spec silver-contact selectors, MWI and NOS oil caps, NOS tubes and carbon-film resistors. The tubes will be exposed for easy rolling, the transformers mount horizontally with exposed top end bells. The finish remains to be decided but the chassis itself will be a custom-colour powder coat. The transformers bells will be nickel plate or powder coat to match the chassis colour."

With the FedEx tracker email came this: "I included the stock tubes (Electroharmonix Gold 6922 & Sovtek 5AR4) plus an upgrade option of Phillips 5R4GYS and something a user turned me on to. He also made me promise that I wouldn't publicize it. Suffice to say, those are an NOS 6922 substitute and meant to remain a well-kept secret to not drive up their going price." Good thinking. Since my life was on the line, a secret it would stay though I've embedded a hint for those savvy enough to decypher it.

Some other choices would have to include E188CC/7308 labeled Mullard, Philips Miniwatt, Siemens and Valvo; E88CC from Amperex, RAM, Tungsram and Valvo; 6922 from Harma, Sylvania, Tesla and Tungsram; 6DJ8 from Gold Aero, JJ, RCA, Rogers; 7DJ8/PCC88 from EI, Matsushita, National, Philips and Toshiba. As this very incomplete listing shows, rolling options are mujo extensivo. Hola!

Next we see what you'd roll into. This merely requires removal of four short hex bolts with the included key. It couldn't be simpler to get at the goods.