AmpsandSound Amplifiers and Speakers builder

4 months on from owning the red october and experimenting with different tubes, dacs and headphones, I thought I would talk a bit about it.






Red october

WA33 JPS elite

Holo may KTE

Chord Dave and M-scaler

AQ niagara 5000

This is hands down my favourite amp and the most impressive amp I’ve ever heard. It’s honestly very hard to put into words how this thing sounds and even finding any negatives of it. I’m not a reviewer and describing audio gear in great detail doesnt come easy to me but i will try talk about my experience. Even 4 months after owning it now, everytime I sit down with this thing I’m totally blown away and in awe of it.

First of all. My absolute favorite headphone to pair with the red october is the abyss 1266TC. This headphone pairs so damn well on tubes and truly is the best way to hear the 1266TC and I use it the most on the red october. One of the main complaints of the 1266TC is the recessed midrange. With this amp, you won’t have that problem :smiley:

I also own susvara and utopia and rotate them regularly and both also sound very impressive on the red october. Some other headphones I’ve tried on this amp are the lcd4, lcd5, diana phi and diana TC. I have yet to find a headphone that doesn’t synergize well with this amp.

Regarding dacs to pair with the red october, I own a chord dave and m-scaler along with a holo may KTE. The reason why I have these 2 dacs is they sound so different to each other. The May leans to sounding more analogue, is slightly laid back, really smooth with amazing tonal density and overall just more natural. The dave is more vibrant and in your face with more resolution but also more fatiguing so careful matching is needed. After trying both dacs back and forth for months on end my personal preference is the holo may KTE. The combination with the red October just sounds ridiculously analogue and extremely smooth with great tonal density and weight and is overall more natural.

The red october sounds absolutely huge as long as your pair it with the right gear. The holo may has a massive soundstage as well as the 1266tc so when you pair all 3 together the end result is a absolutely massive soundtage in width and depth.

Regarding tubes. The Red october comes with gold lion 300B’s, a JJ 5571 and new production mullard GZ34 rectifiers. All of this combined, It’s very clear to me why Justin chose these tubes, it is the smoothest and least fatiguing I’ve heard the red october.

If the smoothness is too much you can roll the 12ax7 tube which honestly makes a much bigger difference than I would of ever imagined. Something like a telefunken 12ax7 or A sylvania 12ax7 black plate will make the amp lean towards being a bit more neutral with slightly less smoothness but you gain a more punchy sound.

I also own elrog 300Bs which I switch in every so often. The elrogs add absolutely crazy dynamics to the Red October along with some serious bass and imaging and speed. It is definitely a more analytical sound compared to the gold lion’s and you lose some richness and smooothness for sure.

I also own a WA33 JPS elite tube amp which is a seriously impressive amp but in my opinion the red october is pretty much better at nearly everything and is 2/3 of the cost. When you listen to a wa33 it sounds like a hybrid tube amp to me. It has the speed and imaging of a solid state amp but also the rounded off edges and tube spaciousness and smoothness. In my opinion the wa33 has more pinpoint accurate sharper imaging along with speed and transients but the red october beats it in every single other aspect. The Red october sounds way more tubier, much more open sounding, better midrange, richer, bigger soundstage (both depth and width), better tonal density, better timbre, more natural and alot more smoother and just overall more analogue than the wa33.

If I had to sum up the red october in one word it would be ‘euphoric’. This amp has the best midrange i’ve heard from any amp, it really is a midrange monster and has such an incredible musicality to it, it makes you feel the music with more emotion more than any other piece of gear I’ve come across. When you listen to this amp you forget about listening to your gear and analysing music and just end up compleley absorbed in the music.

I really hope more people can experience this amp and I’m hoping it gets alot more exposure at canjam this weekend.


It was great seeing how many people stopped by Justin’s booth to listen to his stuff!

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Justin loaned me a Nautilus and all I have to say now for the time being is WOW. Great pairing with the Expanse and planar in general.


If I ever purchase an Abyss 1266 I’ll be buying an A&S. Have fun with the demo! Tung sol 6550’s give you a slammy heaven!

Can confirm - at least on the Phi TC, A&S stuff sounds fantastic.


@SebastienChiu I saw this in the Expanse thread and was curious what tubes you’re using, because my Nautilus is not warm and gooey.


Something new coming, posted on Justin’s Instagram.

“Black Pearl”


Two awesome videos done by @Grover and Justin!

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Has anyone tried a mogwai family amp with the abyss 1266? Was it a good match?

Ive used a Mogwai and and a Bigger Ben with my 1266 2022 edition and enjoyed.


Bought the Red October last month. Amazing so far. Can’t wait to hear it once I upgrade to WE 300b. Using it on TC1266. I’m not a professional reviewer by any means but I seem to enjoy it more than my WA33. Instrument and vocals are just addictive without loss of detail. Love it so far


I need to get a new set of tubes for my Kenzie Ovation - would anyone have particular brand recommendations? Don’t want to spend a bloody fortune - something akin to the stock tubes that came with the unit. Thanks for any help!

So no Western Electric :stuck_out_tongue:

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<checks prices…>. :flushed:


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Am I correct that the 12SL7 input tube on the Kenzie Ovation is compatible with 12AX7 tubes? More options with the latter than the former and some reviews I read suggested that 12AX7 tubes would work great.


Yep that’s correct. With an adapter you can run the 12A_7 family of tubes. I had an old Baldwin Organ 12au7 that I loved on my Ovation.

I’ve tried a few different 1626 brands and they all sounded the same more or less. Go with the cheapest you can find I’m sure they’ll sound great.

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I agree, those Baldwin tubes are bargains. You just have to know who made the tubes for Baldwin if you’re after a particular sound. From memory, yellow label Baldwins were made by Raytheon (a little warm of neutral) and green labels were made by Sylvania (more neutral).


Hello folks. I’m totally new to the world of tubes. I absolutely adore my Focal Clear MG for its clarity, details, energy and addictive bass. It’s driven by the RME ADI-2. Recently I’ve seen a few trusted reviews extoling the virtues and unique sound that high quality Tube amps can bring. Words like “liquid” and “sweetness”, “spacious” and “energetic” got me intrigued. I was also happy to learn that good tube amps can do all of that but also retain detail retrieval and otherwise the qualities good SS amps. I’m trying to get even more listening joy out of the wonderful Clears. I’m reading great things about A&S’ Mogwai SE. I’m wondering if anyone out there, ideally with Clear or Utopia (of any vintage) or dynamic drivers in general, can share their insights and impressions of the Mogwai SE in this context and how well they pair. Especially after moving from good quality SS amp and the impact it had on their enjoyment from their headphones. Thanks in advance!