comparison between SS Spectral and LAMM tube amp

I am very interested to switch from SS to tube amplifier.
Please, may you describe, if is possible, the main differences you felt between Lamm and Spectral amplifiers?
My loudspeaker are Kharm 3.2 , I read many reviews in the past on the combo lamm / Kharma, but I'm interested in your feelings.
Hi Caliareipaolo,

You may wish to speak with Oneobgyn...his system is here. He knows Lamm extremely well, is straight forward and honest. While he [technically] is a Lamm dealer, in truth, i believe that is more a hobby thing than a business. He also speaks extremely highly of Spectral, so i am confident he will give you a straight answer.

He runs the site which is mainly about audio as well. He usually responds within hours if not minutes. He is a great guy and has one of the all-time great systems built up over decades of experience.
The best solution with any tube amp is to match it with a high sensitive & simple X-over designed speaker. I listened to endless Systems where the owners said they are great but at the end of day, it was nothing special... A lot say, Wilson (for example because they are rated with 95dB) & Lamm are great, but it isn't.
You will have nearly no control in Bass (it is ok, but nothing special), the higher frequencies have no life or power (this is based mainly with problematic X-overs or aggressive tweeters found in such speaker designs). In a way, these speakers will never come to'life'.
This is simply based on the no. 1 fault from audiophiles: Matching expensive with expensive and the result HAS to be great. Mostly Boring. Mildly said. But a lot will have a different opinion.
When you want to keep your speakers, I recommend to go for the Lamm Hybrids or very strong tube amps.
Just to be clear, Syntax.

You will have nearly no control in Bass (it is ok, but nothing special), the higher frequencies have no life or power (this is based mainly with problematic X-overs or aggressive tweeters found in such speaker designs). In a way, these speakers will never come to'life'.

Are you talking about (say) Lamm ML2.1 SETs with Kharma 3.2s? The Kharmas are not that sensitive (89db/w/m), but are supposedly a fairly flat 8 Ohm load.

Hi Metralla,

yes, of course. What I wrote has to be seen in this combination.
The tube amps from Lamm are outstanding with some speakers, but the
Kharma, Wilson (exception some early WP's), Magico, Soundlab, NOLA and so on
are not among them...
I think, one of my audiophile friends once had those - or similar - Kharma
speakers paired with ML2.1 because some told him, this would be a great
match. He never got happy with that Set up, he listened to a System with ML2.1
which was a much better matching and he knew he will never get it with these
Some time ago I listened for longer time to Spectral 360 mono and I think, they
have absolutely nothing in common, Lamm units sound totally different...even
I can understand your Wilson speaker example(dificult load, crossover etc.). If the Kharma speaker has a relatively flat 8 ohm load( and assuming a simple crossover design) then it would seem the Lamm SET amp could work reasonably well with them.
I'm not really sure about this, so take it with a grain of salt; I seem to remember a rumour that Kharma used Lamm amps in the development of their earlier designs, but their newer designs used their own ss amps.
Spectral are among the quickest ,cleanest and most transparent solid state amps ever made. The Lamm hybrids have a little touch of magic in the midrange while a touch warm but very natural in the bass and good high end. The Lamms are powerful and fatigue free.
With Karmas and their fast and delicate sounding ceramic drivers, I think the Lamms would make a great and synergistic combo. Spectral may be too much of a good thing with Karma.
Lloydelee21, Thank's i am already registered on the, which I found, as well as this on Audiogon, really Serious and competent. I find that Spectral gears are very well built. I find the combo with the Kharma very balanced, especially after I plugged the Elrod power cords. especially with the Gold. I tried to directly drive the Spectral amp, which is the 150 S2 model, through the variabile output of Berkeley Alpha, but I prefer the result obtained through the Spectral DMC 15. All cables Are MIT M1, except for the digital which is the Oracle MA. I know which Spectral and Lamm are the opposite edges into the spectrum of amp tipology. I scare to loose the great details and deep soundstage which Spectral' s are able to produce.
I cannot speak from experience with these components. But I will say, I think Gpg4blu is on to something...if you elect to go with high-power Spectrals...make very sure (depending on your tastes) that if you wish to have organic bloom, warmth, that you get a source that is very will come thru very clean, very pure if you get it right and could be sensational...but the Spectral + Kharma (from what i have read and heard) will be very, very precise about the signal that comes thru. Lamm could well give you a little more 'wiggle room' on the voicing front, though i always thought Kharmas could be a difficult load, and i do not know how the SET Lamms might fare on this point. Good luck! Certainly great equipment to be choosing from...enjoy!
I was not referring to SET amplifier, I was referring to ML 1 or 1.1. Different option is to replace Kharma with Avalon Eidolon, which it seems to be more warm and not so analitic as Kharma are.
back in the day; i owned Kharma and 75 watt Tenor OTL monoblocks. however; my Kharma Exquisite 1D's were a little easier load than the 3.2's. when i had the Kharma's i did listen to the 3.2-Lamm ML2 combo i did not care for it as it had a slightly 'dark' character where the Tenors had fire and sparkle in the mids, and was lacking overall energy and control on the 3.2 as others have mentioned. the Tenor's sounded much more alive and more linear in the bass on the 3.2's to my ears. however; the Tenor's were not very stable and tended to grenade from time to time taking out the ceramic mid-range with it (happened to me twice).

i did not hear the ML-2.1 version on the 3.2's or the even more recent version. they could sound different.

the Kharma 3.2 is a lovely speaker and i would suggest that you try the darTZeel NHB-108 solid state amplifier. i would expect that it's sweeter high frequencies would be a better match for the 3.2's than the Spectral, and it will control the bass wonderfully. the dart will give you much of what tubes can in terms of refinement and delicacy on speaker such as the 3.2.

the 3.2's will come alive with the dart.
thank's all,
I completely changed the subject. I sold the Kharma and just purchased a pair of Avalon Eidolon which I found to be sweeter and less analytical of Kharma. I am waiting for delivery. But the question is still alive, the tube amp will be able to give the deep, controlled bass which SS amp are able to?
The Avalon is a good Speaker, remarkable midrange, listened to it multiple
times. The sensitivity is not really a top match for tube Amps, 87dB, 3.6Ω.
The Bass has nothing to do with SS or Tube Design, I listened multiple times
with the latest Pass electronics connected and it was dead, thin,dry, analytical
and far away from a deep, full Bass or a lively midrange.
A top Performance I got from an owner with - old -Threshold amps, that was a
total different chapter.
I know owners who tried tube amps with it, but honestly, between
"great, I looooove it" and "great" is a difference. Try to
loan some from Dealers, this will give you the best impression.
i have heard there is 'synergy' or certainly a good match between CJ Premier 350SA amp and Avalon.
["Hi Vic,
Thanks for the mail, and glad you like the Eidolons. I still think they are amazing, and expect to continue to sell their current iteration.
My first experience with tubes and Eidolons was with Audio Research 100's. Clearly not enough power to have the full bloom of the capability of the Eidolons, but, there was still enough info to let me know that with a bit more power there would be some very nice results. Indeed, I later heard them with both the AR 300, and later the 600. These are both super amps, and priced accordingly, but in the interest of letting you know that it will work, I give you those examples. On the other extreme, if you can find a small tube amp, called the RM200. These little tube amps are quite extraordinary. Probably on the low end of power requirements, and admittedly I have not heard them with Eidolons, but many years ago I lusted for the RM9 for myself. The company is very small, but passionate, and is still in existence, and I believe in California. Also, a bit more mainstream, is VTL, also a California based company, with a variety of 'affordable' mono and stereo tube gear. We shared a room with them at the recent Audiofest show in Denver in early October. Always a good match, and we share a number of dealers and distributors around the world. David Berning also makes a few very good amplifiers. We used their amps at CES a lifetime ago, and never forgot that sound, and now people have started to tell us how good the combination still is.

Lucien Pichette
On Nov 24, 2009,"]

The Music Reference is a tube hybrid that provides a very stable platform for difficult loads also available in mono. Best to read the designers description.

This is a very new and unique switching amplifier. The less powerful nCore 400 DIY version can be bridged to equal the power of the OEM version if needed. Theses may soon be the replacement for my NuForce mono's currently powering my Eidolons.

A solid state hybrid also available in mono.

All tube

Regardless of the direction you take in amplification the Eidolon can be an amazing speaker. More important than amplification is room placement. I found the placement guide in the manual to be an important part of the magic that lets these speakers work. Toe in is slight and very delicate. I ended up removing a great deal of the sound absorbing materials I was using with my previous speakers and began using reflection and baffling methods.
just few words about Eidolon/Spectral/MIT/Elrod PC's. The combo is fantastic!!! Spectrals powered by Elrod Power Cords and Eidolon are the perfect union. I cannot imagine how tube gears could give the same "sense of true".
What about Wavestream Kinetics V8 mono blocks. A friend just got them for his Avalons.

Recently I acquired BAT Rex tube mono-block amps to drive my Eidolon Diamonds and along with the BAT Rex preamp the sound is simply extraordinary!!! You gotta' check out these amps.
I heard significant feedback about CAT Amplifiers/Avalon combo. Not about Lamm/Avalon combo.
I heard significant feedback about CAT Amplifiers/Avalon combo. Not about Lamm/Avalon combo

There can be several reasons for it, different design for example, different output power and so on. Lamm Tube amps shine best with Speakers which were made for this kind of Design (simple X-over, higher sensitivity) and I think you are in a good situation with your Spectral combo. It is simply a good match with that Speaker.
From what I have heard with Avalon + good SS amps (Boulder), I would not even think about a tube amp unless it were absolute top notch, along the line of a better VAC amp or something similar, ie not much different sounding than a really good SS amp. For most tube amps, I would probably look elsewhere.

The Avalon/Boulder combo is one of the more distinctive sounding (in a good way) SS pairings I have heard. Distinctive vibrancy through the midrange and load of detail, clean top to bottom, and well balanced if not slightly towards the lean side of things. A unique cup of tea but one that I think many would find appealing.
Thank's all.
It is not so easy here test combos like Wavestream Kinetics V8 mono blocks, for example.
I heard different SS amplifications like Boulder, FM, Spectral, Soulution, but never heard with Tube gears. It seams which in Europe they (we) prefer the SS amplifiers associated to Avalon Eidolons. Perharps is my limit (I have not so much time to visit shows) but I never heard Eidolon with tube amplifiers.