Integrated Question

I currently have Totem Forest Signatures powered by ModWright KWH 225i. I have rolled a total of three different tubes (stock JJ, Holland, Seimans), and have found the bass to be less impactful than desired. It seems to be all there, just laid back? I am considering a change in integrated.

Looking at Pass INT-250, Luxman 509z, Accuphase E-4000, and Boulder 866. Any one with experience with the above combinations? Am I heading in the right direction?

non-treated room (unable to address at this time)

Ayon S10 II / ModWright KWH 225i / Totem Forest Sig / REL S510 pr / Shunyata D6 - Delta v2 pc’s / Morrow Elite sc-interconnects (auditioning Fractal F1 next week)





I am familiar with much of the equipment you are talking about. My first reaction is that most likely it is something other than the integrated. each piece of gear checks the box… that’s good.

It would be helpful if you could post photos of your system. There is a place to create your virtual systems. 


To answer your question directly… the Boulder or Pass amps would be great choices that will give you greater punch and accuracy. I don’t recommend the Luxman… to me they are too trebly and midrange / bass shy. I do not have experience with Accuphase, but I am pretty sure it would be in the running with the Boulder and Pass. 

Each of these three integrateds have the advantage of being significant upgrades over what you have today… all be it all solid state… so they are going to be more accurate sounding. 

I’d try experimenting with some interconnects before ditching the amp as they may give you the tweaks you’re looking for without having to throw the baby out with the bath water. I’d very highly recommend you try these Acoustic Zen Silver Ref interconnects as they’ll likely tighten up your bass and may also give you a little more upper octave detail and air without sacrificing musicality. If they don’t work out you can turn around and sell them for little/no loss and certainly much easier and cheaper than swapping amps.

Best of luck.

I am enjoying my newly acquired barely used Soulnote A-2.  I was looking for an integrated for my weekend home, and this came along.  At 100 watts per, I was a bit worried about power.  But it is more than adequate to drive my venerable 802 Nautilus speakers in a fairly large room.  I added an Auralic Altair streamer / dac running on wifi.  I also have two vintage M+K subs.  This system sounds amazing with the new Soulnote, Heads above my old Halo A51 powerhouse amp and Lexicon pre / pro.  This investment is small next to my main home system, yet puts a smile on my face!

Appreciate your responses. Soil - I have tried a few cables through either a purchase or trial from The Cable Company - Analysis Plus / Snake River Audio / AQ / Cardas / JPS / High Fidelity?

Some of the cables above offered more than the Morrow, but when cost was factored in, Morrow was best all around for the money. I have not looked into Acoustic Zen. Just looked at The Cable Company and they carry AZ may rent and give them a try.

ghdprentice - thanks. Pass was my first thought. My choices are based on what may be possible to audition within 100 miles. I am going to ask the dealers, if they would allow me to bring my 225i in and play on the same system as their integrated. Thinking that I could possibly identify the sonic differences that may carry over to my system? Crazy or not possible? Going to give it a try. Thought about Aavik and Gryphon but price is concern. Too many options.

I truly enjoy the tone and essences of my current system. Just want to sure up the bass. 

Fastfreight - Funny you brought up Soul Note. I was talking with TMR and they recommended Soul Note. I thought about waiting to see the new A3. My concern is power. Everyone I spoke to about the Totems suggest abundance of quality power. That’s why I was hesitant to consider Luxman. I am not in any way speaking poorly of Luxman but I associate it with my 225i concerning bass.

I would experiment further with different tubes, interconnects and power cord for the amp. There can be dramatic differences.

ghdprentice, what you said about SS sounding more accurate is fundamentally incorrect as a general statement. 

I don't like Pass and Luxman equipment. And they are not in the same league as Accuphase Boulder and Gryphon.  

Some of the cables above offered more than the Morrow, but when cost was factored in, Morrow was best all around for the money. I have not looked into Acoustic Zen. Just looked at The Cable Company and they carry AZ may rent and give them a try.

No, don’t do that.  If you wanna try them buy the used ones I recommended because if they don’t work out you can sell them for about what you paid for them so very little risk.  It’s almost like a free in-home trial, and they may well address the issues you’re trying to address, and if they do your problem is solved for $650. 

If it is possible take the Totems to the dealer. Most likely it’s the speakers that lack bass not the amplification!!

I have heard them all , the new E4000 Accuphase. Has now a very high800 damping factor ,vs the very good E480 it’s noticeably better it has a very natural balance ,even at low volume the best of the bunch , their patented volume control 

matches it’s impedance ,and new board ,has2-3 % lower distortion  .I like thsttheMeters are now bigger and inset , out of the integrated amps mentioned 

the E4000 is the most refined and detailed besides the Gryphon  , and for late night listened it has a button to enhance 

the performance at lower volumes . My friend at our audio club bought one 

the-only one that was a little  better was the  Gryphon Diablo.  ,which now has been upgraded ,I have not heard yet at $23k a Big jump in price.

These were 6 high end  integrated in the shoot out including dartzeel  which was a a bit too warm for my taste but still very detailed .

The new Luxman line has changed a bit it’s a bit more neutral not as warm 

still very well built , the Accuphase the best built of the bunch .

perrotta consulting Carrie’s both Luxman and Accuphase ,

ad very good deals especially if you buy a power cord or something else.

I used to like McIntosh but their build quality cannot compete with Japan 

vusally they are great ,longevity from customers after 10 years Accuphase is #1you should check out all ,or any factory videos. 


I have a Boulder 866 and it is fabulous! I highly recommend an audition. Good luck ! 


Many recordings are deficient in bass response. Don't be so hasty in blaming the Modwright amp for this! You can experiment with the bass roll off upper frequency on the REL subs.

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Prior discussion:

I owned the FORESTS in a prior system, so I know their unique/ particular sonic signature, their strengths, AND their weaknesses/ warts very well.

They crave

- a lot of “grunt” ( ergo hi-current AMPS …. WPC are meaningless,,,)

- beefy solid state instead of tubes

Top integrated amp suggestions to mate up to the TOTEMS include , inter alia, top offerings from SIM AUDIO, AYRE, PLINIUS. ..... These are all top high-current gear frequently used with TOTEM speakers at the audio expos.
You will NOT need a subwoofer with these floorstanders powered by a robust S/S integrated  .,,,full stop. 

I would concentrate on and audition first these three, I favour a top SIM AUDIO kit. (I’ve auditioned them all ) SIM AUDIOand TOTEM are both based in Montreal and they are paired to voice each other’s products.

TOTEM even had its own beefy SS integrated "AMBER" amp with a ton of grunt but now discontinued, that was a JV with SIMAUDIO based on a SIM integrated amplifier platform design.

How are your subs connected?  Speaker level?  You may want to reevaluate sub placement and setup. I suspect that your amp is not the culprit. 

Get the Stereophile Test CD and use the bass tones to evaluate the placement of the REL subs in your room. They may not be in an optimal position.

you should also llok at a coda csib


this is the most flexibile intwgrated amplifier on the market


the amplifiercan be rebiased to change outut power from 150 watts to 400watts

the lower power versionsoffer more class a power

as the amplifier uses a 4kv mains transformer the csib has tremendous current drive and very deep bass

Dave and troy



V3: 400 watts @ 8Ω

800 watts @ 4Ω

Class A to ~8W @ 8Ω

V2: 250 Watts @ 8Ω

500 Watts @ 4Ω

Class A to ~12W @ 8Ω

V1: 150 Watts @ 8Ω

300 Watts @ 4Ω

Class A to ~18W @ 8Ω

Maximum Current: 130 Amperes peak

Hello @amboguzzi,  If the A3 is significantly better than the A2 it must be amazing, but is seriously more money and now you are comparing to the Boulder etc.  +1 @ghdprentice on the Luxman.  Maybe I did not hear the right one, but it was thin and harsh in comparison to the Soulnote and the Pass I have heard.  I am running my Soulnote with an iFi Nova power cord, Zafvino interconnects, stock power cord on the Altair, and basic 20 year old copper speaker wires.  And it still sounds good!  There is something special about the Soulnote.  It is full and sweet yet still very resolving.


Rooms have positive and negative nodes  where bass notes are increased or decreased in level. This is elementary acoustics! Your listening spot can be in one of those nodes. Use the Stereophile Test CD playing bass tones while you walk around the room. You may have to rearrange all four speakers and listening spot to achieve an acceptable result.

Looks like I am the only one here discussing room nodes for bass. Such ignorance! Sure, go buy another amp - add more watts! LOL! Go buy some wire for use as a tone control! LOL! 

The flattest bass response in a room is having the woofers placed at the boundaries of two surfaces, i.e. the walls and floor. Putting woofers away from surfaces yields the most uneven response. Roy Allison discovered this decades ago and used it to produce a line of speakers with exceptional bass response.


I am completely with you on how vital the room is in ANY setup. It is amazing the majority of rooms I’ve heard have very little attention paid to the acoustics of the room 

Don't spend a penny on new equipment or cables until you have verified your set up is not the problem. 

It could be as simple as the speakers, subs, or your listening seat are in a null. It could be that there are phase issues between the mains and subs creating a cancellation. 

Try turning the subs off and listening to just the mains. Does the problem persist or is it reduced? Try moving the mains both forward and listen, then back and then listen. 

Try playing the subs only, and see if the problem persists. Try moving the subs out to about halfway down the side walls. 

Try moving your listening seat forward or back in the room, both with and without the subs. How does the bass quantity and quality change? 

There are too many things that can be tried for free to diagnose what is going on. Randomly buying cables and components is more likely to result in a lot of money being spent and still not getting good results. Your components should have more than satisfactory bass quantity and quality when properly positioned and set up in the room.

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Sorry Tony eyes aren't great after a stroke a few years ago ears are fine and the coda is amazing 

Sorry for delay in response. I was visiting my niece at Charleston Southern Univ. They grow up too fast.

JB71 & Others - I will take your suggestions and continue to play with existing equipment. I have been manipulating speaker/sub placement for awhile. I was thinking about how to address this issue on the drive back to PA. I had previously moved speakers in/out from wall and with distance between. It ended up 45” from front wall and 73” apart. The subs boxes are 5” off of front wall and just inside of main speakers. I tried the subs in the corners and had to dial down subs too much before acceptable. I have the subs set for @70Hz. Room 13x19.

As for tubes, the changes I have heard were more prevalent in the mids and highs. With my preference from Siemens to Holland to stock.

I am still going to listen to other amps. I started with a Parasound A21 with S10 pre and Backert Lab pre. Was ok but did not grab me. Then I tried Prima Luna amp for tube experience. Liked some things but did not grab me. I moved and sold some equipment and new location necessitated that I would go integrated route. I liked some elements of SS and tubes, so I tried a hybrid. 

Like I stated above, I truly enjoy my system except for this one aspect.

Even though Publishers Clearinghouse set me an email stating they have my address, until they knock on my door, I rather not spend another 10k to 15k on audio equipment. When I NEED another Moto Guzzi.




I also have the same Modwright and just got a Rel subwoofer to help with my large listening room. Exceptional amp with a great phono stage. Still trying to find the perfect speakers to match with them. But the more I listen the less I want to change amps. Next time you are in Chucktown send me a pm. Maybe you could listen to my system for comparison. Joe

The Bel Canto Black EX has high and low pass filters, a definite plus for controlling subs.

I’ve never owned or heard any Totem speakers but some internet sleuthing seems to show that, according to the manufacturer, the speakers have a minimum  impedance of 6 ohms.  That doesn’t seem to be a hard speaker to drive.  The trouble shooting guide suggests to check the speaker connection polarity if bass or imaging is an issue.  Maybe take some room measurements using a mic and software to see if you’re sitting in a null space.  My mic cost $100 (Umik-1) and the REW software is free.  I had one room with no treatment that had bass nulls where I was sitting but plenty of bass stacked up at the front and back walls.  My new room has been treated some and it helped clean up bass response.  However, I’ve taken some measurements that show a bump around 40-50Hz so there is more to do.  All that said I know you can’t treat your room but getting a good idea of what your room is doing before you spaff $$$$ on a new SS integrated might be worth the effort.  Once you know what the room is doing speaker placement tweaks might help as well.  Also, it’s only one 6.5” driver so are you possibly expecting more than what the speaker can reasonably be expected to deliver?

I had the Modwright 225i. It had a nice midrange sound but NO bass to speak of. I had to crank it up to 80% volume to get anything out of it. The speakers were Acoustic Zen Crescendo Mark 2. MAYBE I could have kept experimenting with different speakers etc. At 90% DB on the Crescendos, this amp should have played loudly. I was never more disappointed with a piece of gear. I did speak with another owner of the 225i who felt the same way. I hope this thread fleshes out the problem I had and vindicates the Modwright. 

I own kwi 200,no bass problems...I did own a pair of forests years ago as well.They were lively and probably some one of the best imaging speakers.As for amp i had with them paired with a simple sim 5.3.No problems.As JB and csmgolf said it might not be amp at all.Go get some Bela fleck and tell me theres no bass.Dan can design an amp and i would be very surprised if he overlooked such a detail as this...a phone call to him couldnt hurt,he listens.

My thoughts on a ModWright KWH 225i that I demoed were similar. It sounded great but it left me wanting more dynamics - laid back is a good way to put it. I also had an Ayon S-10 II. This unit transformed for me when I threw in some NOS tubes. Made a big difference.


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I have a pair of Forest Signatures powered by an Anthem STR Integrated and trust me I have plenty of rock solid bass!(no subs)

I have a friend who also owns the same speakers. He runs them with a Naim Supernait(no subs) and definitely has no bass issues.🤓

We both love our Totems and would never part with them!

Hi , I can’t comment directly on the amp as I’ve only had the KWI 200 in my system. But I can comment on the tubes. JJ’s are just dry and lacking. I’ve tried the Holland and Seimens tubes including the CCa. Those tubes added to upper mid range which in your case might appear to lessen the bass. However the nos Telefunken E88CC’s were the best I’ve tried. They did it all, and as the “ Brent Jesse “ site says “ with a ruler flat response “. They are pricey these days at $600-700 per pair. But for me , an absolute favorite. My experience with Morrow is they are a great value and the interconnects take 400 hrs to break in. I prefer them as they tame the glare in my system. I can’t comment on the bass quality in your system as I have a completely different type system. I hope my rambling provides a minute insight. Cheers , Mike B. 

OP, I’ve had numerous ModWrights except yours and bass was stellar. Probably will end back up with a ModWright amp again. Even with subs, it sounds like to me you want more than your speakers can give. Just my opinion from trying to hope the best for and get the most out of speakers that in the end just couldn’t provide realistic visceral bass for me. But if you don’t like that answer, maybe add some Rythmik dual 8” “midbass” subwoofer. It can go to -3 dB at 20 Hz, but can instead be crossed above the RELs providing mid bass up to 250 Hz.