Modwright SWL 9.0SE Pre ... your thoughts welcome

Hey, I have decided to dive into tubes ... well, you get my meaning. I was steered towards the Modwright SWL 9.0SE and so far have read some good things. I'm running a Levinson ML-27 for power and Paradigm S-4's for speakers. My transport is nothing special, Denon DVD-2200 but I am also looking at running a tubed DAC in hopes of bringing the system a little more alive. Right now the system seems a little flat ... not very exciting. Plenty of volume bass end it fantastic but the mid and upper end seem very packaged. Imaging is not very good ... High and mid frequencies don’t seem to blend well. Some CD's have fair to good sound but most seem pretty "plain". Just doesn’t have that delicacy I'm looking for. I seem to listen the SPEAKERS and not the music. I recently listened to an older set of Paradigms pushed by a small tubed integrated and I was amazed. The tubed gear really made the Paradigm speakers come to life ... I was set back in my chair. Vocals were clear and crisp … the sound was extremely detailed and I had to be drug out of the room. Since then I have really started to pick a part my system.

Cables are Signalcable Silver Resolution Balanced and Cobalt Ultimate speaker cables. I'm running Signal cable "Magic" power cables. Nothing fancy but it should do the job.

Is this upgrade going to help? Has anyone experienced this?

Any better preamps in the $1500-2000 range? What about Levinson SS preamps?

Help me out … Please
Thanks Guys, you have certainly confirmed my instincts. I WILL keep the 9.0SE the way it is and build a future product with the rest of the bells and whistles.

I do reserve the right to make subtle circuit changes and improvements to the 9.0SE as time goes on, but nothing will be done to alter the spirit of the 9.0SE.

This does not mean that I will not finish the phono stage design. I do plan to finish it in early '06 and it will be made available both as a built-in upgrade to the 9.0SE and as a standalone product. What I will NOT do however, is make it part of the standard 9.0SE and raise the price.

Now EXTRA CHEESE...THAT will cost extra ;).


Dan Wright
I am from Wisconsin--the Cheese Capitol of the World or we used to be (maybe CA has passed us up). Anyway, yes we do love our cheese in this state as well as our brandy!

Beer and brats are summertime fare. You are right about beer and brats--we got 'em!

Are you from WI or the Midwest?

Not from the midwest but have traveled through there quite a bit. Been to East Troy, Milwaukee and Eau Claire in WI. Always had a brat when I passed through, summertime or not. Great stuff, but my allegience to cheese is strictly CA where I live now.