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This preamplifier receives our Red Fingerprint Award. This award has been previously given to the Dynaudio Focus 260 floorstanding speakers; Musica Ibuki Digital USB DAC; JPLAY software audio player; Pro Audio Bono Acrylic AP anti-vibration platform; Hegel H70 ; Leben CS-1000P integrated amplifier; and Octave Jubilee PRE.

Design. The LS 36.5 is a tube preamplifier with tube power supply. The circuit is a zero-feedback class-A cathode-biased Mu follower with one 6H30 dual triode per channel. The output is transformer-coupled. The input is coupled with large custom-built Teflon foil oil-impregnated capacitors. Interestingly the ModWright seems to employ a hybrid JFET/tube topology similar to Audio Research.

The design is exceptionally well thought-out with the signal path section constituting only a small part of what’s inside. The power supply section is huge and separated from the rest with an aluminium shield. It is built around a massive toroidal transformer with several secondary windings. The anode current is rectified by a full-wave Ruby 5AR4 rectifier carefully measured and selected. On the manufacturer’s website we learn about a recommended upgrade to the GZ34 from Mullard, Amperex or Philips. The current is filtered by a choke-loaded CLC filter. Really complex voltage regulation is via transistors. Even the filament current is rectified. The input signal is switched with relays. The potentiometer seems to be not in the input stage but rather between the triodes. It is a large motorized blue Alps pot. Inside hookup wiring is via copper wire – shielded to the potentiometer, unshielded for other connections.

The entire enclosure is made of thick rigid aluminium plates. The front panel is especially thick with deeply engraved company name, large logo and all switch descriptions. We can rest assured that nothing will wear off even after 50 years of service. Centrally placed on the front place is an input selector knob. There are five inputs – four  RCA, one XLR. However the circuit itself is unbalanced. A volume knob is located to the far right. Between the two knobs we get three large toggle switches for Mute, Phase and HT/BP. The first mutes the output, the second inverts absolute polarity and the third activates a through-put for an external home theater processor. Above the two outside switches are large blue LEDs and above the phase switch sits the IR receiver since the LS 36.5 is remote controlled. A small but friendly wand with membrane buttons controls volume, absolute phase and mute. The far left front panel features another toggle switch with blue LED for mechanical power off (no standby mode).

The back also looks tasty. XLR ports are from Neutrik, RCAs seem to be from WBT – solid Teflon-insulated connectors with great looks to boot. Of the four outputs, one is a fixed RCA and three are variable (two RCAs, one XLR). This picture is rounded off by an IEC power socket, a small ground toggle and a plugged umbilical inlet for the optional external power supply unit. The unit rests on small rubber feet and they are about the only thing that needs changing. Overall it is a nice clean and solid piece of workmanship.

Technical specifications (according to manufacturer):
Dimensions: 17.5 x 12.5  x 4.75” WxDxH
Weight: 27lbs. (30lbs. shipped)
Gain: ~12dB
Input Impedance: 50kΩ
Output Impedance: 110Ω
Frequency Response: 20Hz – 100kHz +/-1dB
Noise: -125dB

ModWright website