By Richard / Review, $1000+, ampsandsound, Tube Amplifiers / December 26, 2021

ampsandsound Kenzie OG Rev 2 Review

ampsandsound Kenzie OG Rev 2 Review's image

The reviewer is giving his honest experience with the product and was not paid to write a favorable article. The gear was purchased due to interest and enjoyment in sound quality and in pursuit of gaining more knowledge about sound.

Tonal Balance / Neutrality9.9
Price / Performance Ratio9.9
Sound Fidelity9.8
Build Quality9.9
Bass Extension9.9
Bass Balance9.9
Lower Midrange Balance9.9
Midrange Proper Balance9.9
Upper Midrange Balance9.9
Treble Balance9.8
Treble Extension9.8
Bass Control9.8
Tone Density9.8
Macro Dynamics9.8
Micro Dynamics9.8
Sound Stage Width9.8
Sound Stage Depth9.8

I first became interested in ampsandsound in 2017 when I was primarily listening with Feliks Audio Euforia Mk I and Yulong D18 + A18 combo. I came across a thread on about how the ampsandsound Kenzie stacked up against the Euforia. 

On September 26, 2021, I got the opportunity to attend my first audio meet at CanJam SoCal 2021 to try out products from many different manufacturers. I was amazed with the ampsandsound Kenzie OG Rev 2 and the Dan Clark Audio Aeon Noire 2; so much so, that I decided that the Kenzie OG Rev 2 was going to be my next purchase.

Thinking back on this experience, my decision to buy was not fully thought out; I remember the combination being dark, intimate, and full-sounding. At the time, I had attributed the sonic qualities I experienced to the Kenzie + Noire 2 Combo, whereas, now, I believe it was more of the baseline signature of the Aeon Noire 2 supported by the signature of the Kenzie.

After having the Kenzie OG Rev 2 somewhere in between, I purchased the ampsandsound Agartha, which arrived on December 9, 2021. Since I’ve essentially “upgraded”, I admit that I’ve been using the Agartha more than the Kenzie, and so this review will only encompass about one month of listening: from when I first received the Kenzie OG Rev 2 on October 24th, to when I received the Agartha on December 9th. 

A photo of the ampsandsound Kenzie OG Rev 2 on a wooden table with glass holding the Kenzie with plants in the background

The Kenzie OG rev 2 utilizes 1626 tubes, known as the Poor Man's 300B, offering comparable warmth, texture, and soundstage depth as the 300B. The 1626 was a tube used during the WWII-era for transmitter tube in radar installations. The design is shy is pure output, but offers layers of texture and drive, and is paired with a massive choke and robust output transformers for ultra-quiet operation.

With the 1626 + 5751 pairing, the Kenzie is punchy in a musical, clean, clear way, resolving all the way through with extension, clarity, and definition. You get a representation of music that is thorough and impactful yet textured and detailed. You’ll miss some of the airiness that allows the notes to spark and pop in the Euforia; but with the thorough control of the ranges of notes, the Kenzie OG rev 2 has a presentation that is well-handled, well-rounded, and full of expression, providing us with a robust and cohesive sound with rich and fast dynamic stage, note timbre, and detail.

The sound may be more ethereal with the Euforia as the notes are more dynamically spaced, with a unique air, thereby arguably giving more character as the notes are etching the scene of songs. The sense of stage seems better on the Euforia and you're treated to many details that are woven intricately. The Euforia is a fun, neutral amp that has great detail; intimacy levels between amps are noticeable though, each with its flavor, with Kenzie having a more robust expression.

The Kenzie can also described to have the qualities of the Euforia, but fundamentally, the Kenzie and the Euforia are different kinds of amps. On the one hand, Euforia is an OTL amp which omits an output transformer for the purpose of greater linearity and fidelity, whereas the Kenzie uses output transformers to affect the sound. They are both dynamic in their own ways, and I find both a joy to listen to. The Kenzie is more tailored to someone who perhaps prefers a more balanced dynamic energy and expression in the timbre of instruments in their sound; the mids are less emphasized in the Kenzie and allows for other ranges to add more dynamic expression to the sound.

Because the Euforia is a more neutral signature, it sounds purer and may render microdetail or complexity more softly. The Kenzie is slightly warmer to add to the musicality when compared to the Euforia, but the power is also very clean, and it's slightly more well-controlled in the Kenzie than the Euforia. The Kenzie has a more well-rounded expression in the notes than the Euforia, whereas the Euforia sounds more layered when present in the recording. What I sometimes found could be better in the Euforia, perhaps even by comparison, is it’s more laid back, which may, in turn, be why it sounds so good. By comparison, the Euforia isn't as impactful as the Kenzie due to its softer take, but the macro-dynamics with the Euforia are a treasure with the stock tubes. 

I prefer the Euforia at times for its soundstage, its macro, and microdetail. It's effortlessly smooth and enjoyable to listen to, but doesn't have that impact, liquid smoothness, and extension of the Kenzie OG Rev 2. You can follow the music more with the Kenzie and how it "steps" to the music, it's engaging ambiance in the how fast the notes hit, and their timbre. 

A photo of the ampsandsound Kenzie OG Rev 2 on a wooden table in yard with plants in the background

If I had to choose between the Euforia Mk I with the Kenzie, I might choose the Euforia because the details are picturesquely woven with a nimble touch within a balanced yet fun signature. I might choose Kenzie because it establishes a baseline of a sound signature and never strays from its reign of control throughout the ranges in its own graceful, musical pace. The Kenzie has a well-rounded, defined, clean, and depending on the person you are, maybe more at times an engaging signature. 

In the Kenzie, I found that the timbre was beautiful. It's very well woven, with very a splash and presence that you would expect coming from a $2600 dollar amp.

The Euforia Mk I is special because, by the notes' extension and imaging, the result is a grandness in the sound. The stage is open and unique, in that, it is more neutral, and consequently, the extension makes the sound full, ambient, and resolving. The open stage and extension of the notes make it feel like you're being treated to every nuance with more dynamism.

The Kenzie has more impact and clarity in the notes than the Euforia Mk I, and the result can feel like a more life-like experience. The power that flows from the Kenzie is apparent by the unique physicality in the note and how it engages you it it's rich, defined tonality. The Kenzie can render complexity with the ability to go deep in the ranges with clarity and consistent, engaging energy.

The Sennheiser HD650 is the first set of Hi-Fi headphones I’ve owned, and to me, it was a starting point that was beginner-friendly, warmer, well-rounded scalable sound. The Kenzie + HD650 combination produces a very cohesive, large, and deep sound that is incredibly intricate, elegant, and resolving to me.

I've had very satisfying listening sessions with the Kenzie, and if I hadn’t been introduced to other amplifiers more acutely resolving of complexity while providing more power for resolution such as the ampsandsound Agartha, or ampsandsound Nautilus, I would have considered the Kenzie the best amplifier I’ve ever listened to. It handles notes, nuance, and space with a signature that is markedly pure. 

As someone who once owned the ampsandsound Agartha, the sound becomes relaxed and more resolving. The defining characteristic of the Agartha is, coupled with the large soundstage and even imaging, the fully shaped, defined, and quality of notes produced make the presentation incisively deep. It's an open live-venue-like experience that is full and resolving.

Though it is shy in pure output, I wholeheartedly believe the Kenzie is an end-game amplifier to power even inefficient headphones like the HE6SE V2 with enough power if you pair it with a Class A pre-amp like the Garage 1217 Project Sunrise III. The Kenzie has a strongly nuanced and expressive sound. 

I would recommend the Kenzie for anyone looking to start their journey into HiFi. Although the Kenzie is $2600, I think it's perfect for a curious audiophile who wants to take a dive into high-end gear and who can appreciate the Kenzie's pure musicality. The Kenzie is a perfect introduction to the ampsandsound brand, and though there are higher tier models that ampsandsound offers, the Kenzie offers a unique signature that I haven't seen.

It really isn't about choosing whether one amplifier is better than the other for me. I find that each one adds its special dimension to the music; but the Kenzie has a unique sound, and can be considered an end-game amplifier in every right, even stacked against giants. The dynamics are full and expressive, the instruments are clean and thorough, and there's nothing more you can ask for in an amp.

What the Kenzie does is offer the quality of other ampsandsound amps, but in a somewhat contained in size, still resolute as ever. It's undoubtedly luxurious and an absolute joy to listen to.

Image of ampsandsound Kenzie OG Rev 2 on fireplace counter

USB: Singxer SU-6

Cables: Blue Jeans Coaxial Cables (3 foot, 6 foot, 9 foot, 20 foot)

Source: Schiit Modi Multibit (smaller soundstage, weightier, impactful notes), Singxer SU-6 -> Audio-GD HE-7 Mk I (larger, more defined soundstage, more sense of space in lieu of weightier and impactful notes), Matrix X-SPDIF 2 -> Yulong D18 

Product Links: 

ampsandsound Kenzie OG Rev 2

Audio-GD HE-7 (MK2)


About the Author


Software Engineer by trade, always loved music, but discovered Hi-Fi in 2012. Decided that since interest in sound quality was growing, could share experience with different products.


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