Audio Research Reference 2 vs. Lamm LL


I don't seem to be able to find anyone comparing these 2 preamplifiers. Does anyone know how they differ? May as well throw the CAT SL1 in there too.

Have you considered an Audio Horizons preamp? Here is a link to a review of their phono stage from a prominent reviewer:


i have owned both, while the 5.5 is an exceptional pre-amp for the money with it's versility, especially with the built in phono section, the Lamm is in another league, sonically.

If performance is your goal, the Lamm sounds more like music, mates well with the LP 2 phono pre-amp and delivers you to another level of naturalness.

Please understand the 5.5 is an excellent pre amp especially with NOS tubes,
and with the remote and phono built in it is a great value, without going overboard.
Dude, relax. No need to shout.
I agree with Logenn about the sonic qualities from Lamm. I think, nothing comes close. They have not these mechanical artifacts you will discover so often, no grain/coloration.
I bought a used LL2 some ago with NOS Tubes and after a few days I sold my Aestheix IO sign. This is one of the rare outstanding designs, very reliable and easy to go with amps. One of the ultra bargains of today for a Listener.
Thanks guys.. It would be nice if it had a remote, at least for the volume, wouldn't it? But... I don't have one now, so things would stay the same. I was actually using a VTL Ultimate, which.... is a nice little preamp.
Well, when a remote is a MUST, then you have to look for something different. Vlad says, a remote makes it sound worse and I agree.
But not everyone needs a LAMM, you will only know how good it is when you know what others do wrong. The truth is simple.

I respect your opinion on this.

Another option for remote would be to add a Placette Audio remote volume control. It is one input, one output and can easily be placed between your pre and your amps. Read the reviews on Placette equipment. Anyway, these can be found on audiogon for around $600.
p.s. You will likely NEVER see a used Placette Active Linestage for sale. It may be the best piece of audio equipment ever made.
Actually, it can be found for under $500.00. Right now the entire placette passive preamp is on ebay for $600.00
Kensetsu, have you tried a well-kept vintage McIntosh C-22 preamp? I've heard they are wonderful. The re-issued C-22, Mac's 60th Anniversary edition is garnering raves from current owners.

I also own a Lamm LL@ and tend to agree with all that has been commented here - it is a very musical unit, very dynamic and dead-quiet.