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This review first appeared in the July 2012 issue of hi-end hifi magazine High Fidelity of Poland. You can also read it in its original Polish version here. We publish its English translation in a mutual syndication arrangement with publisher Wojciech Pacula. As is customary for our own articles, the writer's signature at review's end shows an e-mail address should you have questions or wish to send feedback. All images contained in this review are the property of High Fidelity or ModWright. - Ed

Reviewer: Wojciech Pacula
CD player: Ancient Audio Lektor Air V-edition
Phono preamplifier: RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC
Cartridges: Miyajima Laboratory Shilabe & Kansui
Preamplifier: Ayon Audio Polaris III Signature with Regenerator power supply
Power amplifier: Soulution 710
Integrated amplifier/headphone amplifier: Leben CS300 XS Custom
Loudspeakers: Harbeth M40.1 Domestic + Acoustic Revive custom speaker stand
Headphones: Sennheiser HD800, AKG K701, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro 600Ω vintage, HifiMan HE6
Interconnects: CD/preamp Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6300, preamp/power amp Acrolink 8N-A2080III Evo
Speaker cable: Tara Labs Omega Onyx
Power cables (all equipment): Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9300
Power strip: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu Ultimate
Stand: Base IV custom under all components
Resonance control: Finite Elemente Ceraball under CD player, Audio Revive RAF-48 platform under CD player and preamplifier, Pro Audio Bono PAB SE platform under Leben CS300 XS
Review component retail in Poland: zł21.000

Dan Wright, the owner of ModWright Instruments, is known for his passion to modify and improve anything he can lay his hands on. His products demonstrate this well for, although not particularly expensive, they make it difficult to find anything in their design that one would like to change. He chooses the best possible parts for a given budget, applies the best possible enclosure and the result looks like a perfectly finished design. Perhaps this is why he can support models unchanged for a long time with only small improvements and refinements. Today’s preamp can be further upgraded by adding the external PS 35.5 tube power supply boasting no less than six bottles!

The LS 36.5 (‘LS’ is short for line stage) is a good example of this approach. It has been on offer for several years and there is no newer model around the corner. It is an entirely tube-based design with a unique Dan Wright gain stage. The power supply is built around a 5AR4 rectifier and a choke. The latter works with two capacitors in a traditional ‘Pi’ filter. The capacitors are not classic electrolytes but as in Conrad Johnson designs foil capacitors. These particular ones are manufactured to ModWright’s specs with Teflon plates impregnated in oil. Similar ModWright capacitors are used in the signal path.

The voltage gain stage runs two 6H30P, one per channel. These are the same types as in BAT and Audio Research preamplifiers. This particular unit features NOS tubes from the Soviet Union era manufactured by Reflector for the Soviet army. Current production equivalents come from Electro-Harmonix and Sovtek. The latter also manufactures the custom branded tubes for BAT. Dan Wright harnesses them in a special circuit not often seem - pure class A cathode bias Mu follower with zero feedback. This is the firm’s top model preamp yet its price is very friendly in the context of other high-end competitors.

Sound. A selection of recordings used during the auditions: Audio Accessory - T-TOC Records High Quality Data Master Comparison, TDVD-0002, DVD-R (2011), rip 16/44.1, 24/96, 24/192 FLAC; Paganini for two, Gil Shaham, Göran Söllscher, Deutsche Grammophon/JVC, 480 246-5, XRCD24 (1993/2009); Stereo Sound Reference Record. Jazz&Vocal, Stereo Sound, SSRR4, SACD/CD (2010); Stereo Sound Reference Record. Nobu’s Popular Selection, Stereo Sound, SSRR5, SACD/CD (2010); André Previn, After Hours, Telarc/Lasting Impression Music, LIM UHD 051, CD (1989/2011); Assemblage 23, Bruise, Accession Records, A 128, Limited Edition, 2 x CD (2012); Beverly Kenney, Beverly Kenney sings for Johnny Smith, Roost Records/EMI Music Japan, TOCJ-9731, CD (1956/2012); Clan of Xymox, Subsequent Pleasures, Metropolis, Met 204, CD (1983/2001)...

... Depeche Mode, Personal Jesus 2011, Sire/Reprise 21328-2, MS CD (2011); Dominic Miller & Neil Stancey, New Dawn, Naim, naimcd066, CD (2002); Dominic Miller, Fourth Wall, Q-rious Music, QRM 108-2, CD (2006); e.s.t. Esbjörn Svenson Trio, 301, ACT Music + Vision, ACT 9029-2, CD (2012); Händel, La Maga Abbandonata, Simone Kermes, Maite Baumont, Il Complesso Barocco, dyr. Alan Curtis, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi/Sony Music Entertainment, CD 88697846212, CD (2003/2011); McCoy Tyner, Nights of Ballads & Blues, Impulse!, IMP 12212, 20-bit Super Mapping, CD (1963/1997); Me Myself And I, Do Not Cover, Creative Music, 005, CD (2012); Pat Metheny Group, Offramp, ECM, ECM1216, CD (1982); Sara K., Don’t I Know You From Somewhere?, Stockfisch, SFR 357.6055.2, CD (2008); Sigur Rós, Valtari, Parlophone/EMI Records Limited, 623555, CD (2012).