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Delivered in a stout carton with massive foam cradles, the Russian Tung-Sol reissue 6SN7s and Sovtek 5AR4 arrive uninstalled. An included nicely long 5/64" hex driver with cross grip removes the cover to mount the three valves in quality ceramic sockets with silvered contacts. As in the KWA100, the power toroid—here with 14 leads—mounts upright against a blue aluminum bracket. That sits right behind the front cover to place it at max distance from the output tubes.
The optional phono or DAC module docks atop two 20-pin sockets on an unoccupied section of the single circuit board. The add-on two chassis-mount connectors then occupy holes covered in the stock unit by a removable plate. This input is selected with the 'Opt' button on the front or by toggling sequentially through all inputs from the remote.
Fit + finish + build quality inside and out are quite superlative. ModWright really seems to push the envelope at this price level and beyond. The modman's dress code has gone way uptown.
The execution of the now trademark perforated metal work which creates back-lit logos on front and top is exquisite. It should send many competitors back to the drawing board.
The innards are neither crammed nor maximally dense with parts to reflect a simple circuit.
Again, the single gain stage inverts polarity for all outputs including the buffered monitor input except for the non-buffered (fixed) tape output whose polarity is non-inverted.
A thoughtful feature on the business end are the bidirectional identifiers. You ran read which socket does what from above and not just below. No more Exorcist-style head turns.
The turn-on sequence undergoes a 45-sec cycle during which the motorized volume control reverts to zero and the outputs are muted. When the circuit has stabilized to go live, the mute LED extinguishes. The 'Bal' button inserts the second Alps attenuator into the signal path. This can also be activated by remote. The non-motorized balance pot itself must be operated manually however. When not inserted, it's neither in the signal path nor operational. A center indent confirms neutral.
The only functions not working with the LS100's 10-button remote wand with MW logo are polarity inversion and standby. The 'phase' control remains reserved for the fully balanced LS36.5 which accomplishes polarity flips with its balancing transformers.
The standby function is reserved for other models. Dan Wright: "2010 pricing for the LS100 remained at $3.295 but 2011 had to see a price increase to $3.495 due to increased material costs which forced us to increase prices across the board. Importantly all orders taken in 2010—even if shipped in 2011—were invoiced at 2010 pricing."