How is LAMM LP2 compares to the more recent phono

I am now using all LAMM pre/power and my LAMM dealer offers pretty good deal on the LAMM LP2 phono deluxe version for me. I understand that 5-7 years ago, it is considered one of the top phono available but have not heard much about it recently and wonder how it might stand up to the more recent phono unit such as ARC Ref2, AMR, Audio Valve, Rhea Signature or Audia Flight etc.
I plan to audition LP2 but other units will be a bit difficult to find and I may not be able to audition them all unfortunately.
Thanks for your comment
From the tonal structure, the reality of reproduction, detail of notes and you will notice the total lack of any mechanical artifact present which is dominant in a majority of Phono Stages today. There is the delicate balance between the Instruments, the different gains in the structure, which is very, very rare to get.
It serves the music to the connoisseur, who understands what he hears. A bargain.
It is very musical, albeit it is just a slight bit dark sounding. It is a top of the line phono preamp, that can compete with some of the very best. It is very quiet for a tube phono preamp, with very black backgrounds, assuming that one does not use a really low output cartridge, say less than a 0.50 MC cartridge. (FYI, I own Lamm equipment, (M2.1 monoblocks), so I tend to be fairly enthusiastic about their equipment, so take that into account.)

However it is somewhat limited by its set configuration.

The Gain is specified at 57.5dB for MC, and 37.65 for MM. Input impedance is 400 Ohms for MC, and 47kOhms for MM.
(Hopefully one of those two settings will work for your cartridge. If not, well .... perhaps this is not the preamp for you. Personally, I would have loved if it had been a bit more flexible, and if it had balanced inputs and outputs, (as I run my analog in balanced mode.)

My two cents worth anyway.
I also own Lamm amps. I agree with Kurk_Tank that the LP2 is on the dark side. I would suggest you try out other current phonostages as many as possible. The current ones are more flexible so that you won't be limited to only a handful of cartridges. I tried Audia Flight, ARC PH7, Einstein Turntable Choice single ended, etc. They are also in the same price range.
Thanks for all the inputs so far. I did not realize about fixed MC input impedance. As of right now, I am using Ortofon T100 step up transformer with my cartridge so that should not be a problem but I do plan to run a second cartridge/arm and that might be a problem. Over here, there are local dealers that I can audition ARC, ASR, Asthetix, CJ, Pass, Audio Valve, EAR but other will be tricky to find. I have Koetsu and Air Tight cartridges currently which probably would work well with 400 ohms loading for MC but I will have to try first and see.
I hope your cartridges will work with the LP2. I really like LAMM sound, just feels right. To my regret, I cannot afford those things for now.

I am using this phono stage and cannot say enough about its transparency, speed, low noise and ability to strip away artifacts as noted by Syntax and to that also add its excellent bass response. There is a natural directness to the music that is a Lamm trademark, personified in the Lamm ML2 (2.1) SET amplifier, and evident in the LP2D.

Also I can vouch for its performance using an Air Tight Supreme into the MC inputs and a Koetsu Coralstone with an Auditorium Homage T1 into the mm.
Loading is 40, not 400, according to the reviews and literature. Works superbly with Koetsus.
This is the confusing part for me. I looked at old Stereophile review and it did say that loading is 40 ohms. However, if I am not mistaken, the step up transformer inside LAMM is 20 db or 10x the gain which would make it natural impedance around 470 ohms.
At least the feedback so far is that they work well with Koetsu and Airtight which are the two cartridges that I own.
My LAMM dealer just got back from CES so hopefully I should get the LAMM phono to try out sometimes next week.
I had an LP2 w/ a Koetsu RSP. It is not a good match.The Lamm's MC input does not have sufficient gain for the .2mv Platinum's. That said, I do bet Logenn gets great results w/ the Hommage in to the MM inputs. I sure wish I was in to SUT's back then. I would love to have tried one.
I wonder if anyone has tried Air Tight Step up transformer since it has 3 inputs with adjustable impedance. I wonder if that would match well with MM input on LAMM. There isn't much information on Air Tight SUT that I could find unfortunately.
My Koetsu is 0.3 mV, may be a tad too low for LAMM wihtout SUT.
I have used both Koetsu Rosewood Signature and Onyx Platinum cartridges with the Lamm. Both were excellent matches, especially the Onyx. There was certainly no gain problem. Although the LP input level into my preamps was lower than the CD/SACD, my last three preamps had adjustable gains for each input separate from the others. I suppose there could be an input to input level issue on preamps whose input levels are not adjustable, but most of the preamps one would use with an LP2 are (possibly not including Lamm's own preamps--I forget, I haven't had one for years). I should also add that the LP2 seems very forgiving on record noise, and I was told by a dealer who seemed to know what he was talking about (not the one I bought the LP2 from) that sometimes a higher output level on a phono amp increases the perception of surface noise. Why that should be is beyond me, but I at least mention it.
Hi Sut

Another phono stage you can consider is the EAR88b. I heard it a few times and auditioned in my system. Its very good as well.
Not as dark as the lamm but just as refined and have some loading options & gain control.
It works well with the Koetsu & you can use it with stepup if you want as well.
Mgottlieb, thanks for the input on Onyx. That's what I will be using as well.
Nolitan, have you compared EAR88PB to EAR324 by any chance?
I auditioned EAR 324 in my system awhile back and while it was nice, I was not impressed enough at the time to think it was worthwhile upgrading.
Suteetat, I have testet the Air Tight with the Lamm LP2. It is a nice match but the Lamm deserves better. Go for a Kondo SUT or FR silver coiled SUT. You may also try the Syntax. These are much better options.

The Lamm LP2 is a phono stage many owners have a long history with. It is usally a story of love. You may improve the caps, go for bigger internal SUTs, change the tubes for WE ones, improve the connectors. Whatever you do it is a fantastic phono stage even if the features are rare. Very musical and best in connection with a very good SUT.
Thuchan, thanks for the comment. I was having problem with my equipments for awhile and was away for a bit so I have not had a chance to try LAMM phono yet but later on next week, my local LAMM dealer should bring over his phono for me try for awhile.

I am curious about changing the internal SUTs. By the middle of the year, I plan to have two cartridges/arms setup. One will go to SUT/MM input and the other go to LAMM internal SUT/MC intput. How good is LAMM internal SUT?

At the moment, I have Ortofon T100 SUT which I like very much but another SUT might be an option down the road. I heard a lot of good thing on Kondo SUT or perhaps Ypsilon MC-20 SUT. However, before considering channging another external SUT, should I be considering changing LAMM own's internal SUT first. Let say if 1:10 gain is not an issue, how is the sound in comparison to other SUT that you mention and what other SUTs had people used inside LAMM?

Thanks for your help.
Suteetat, I am using the best Jensen SUTs in my Lamm. You see it on my page. They a are also bigger than the usually supplied SUTs. If i may suggest a reasonable modification for "your next LP2" I rather would go for other tubes and an external great SUT. This will bring you "close to heaven" with your carts, believe me!

Regarding you different arms why not going for a Uni tonearm switch?
Thuchan, I definitely am planning on trying different tubes LP2 and will use external SUT for sure.

I will most likely end up with 2 different turntables but kind of unintentionally. I am currently using VPI Classic with full upgrades. That will soon be replaced with a a new limited edition of VPI Classic that VPI is making for my local VPI dealer for their 20th anniversary (similar to VPI Classic 3 but with a bit more upgrades and additional bell and whistles). I already heard a prototype which is quite incredible. I actually preferred the prototype table with Dyna X20 over regular Classic with Mysonic (the gold one, forgot the name currently) when I compared both in the same systems at the local dealer. However, at the same time, I also really like TW Acoustic and think that both offer very different kind of sound. So I have been toying with the idea of having both VPI and TW Acoustic.

I wonder if it might be possible to disconnect the MC input from internal SUT so I can use two external SUTs :)
Thuchan, one more quick question on Audio Note Kondo SUT. Looking at Audio Note Kondo site, it does not really say anything much about the SUT nor any information such as turning ratio etc. I also looked on Agon and ebay and found Audio Note Kondo SUT that does not look anything like the one on Audio Note website.

I am a bit confused right now about which audio note is which. I understand that there is an Audio Note UK which is something different and not as good as well! So which Audio Note SUT do you actually recommend.
Tron Reference a great phono stage.
Suteetat, I do recommend the original Audio Note - Kondo, Japan. I have no experience with Audio Note UK. Audio Note UK used to be the importer of Kondo in the 90 ies and as Kondo did not secure the name rights for other countries than Japan Audio Note UK took the name for its own product line which is not a bad one. It is a bit confusing. Today Kondo Japan is managed from Hongkong.
Thanks for the information. I will be in Hong Kong later on this year and will check out Audio Note Kondo there.
Thanks all for comment. I now am auditioning LP2 in my system. Although the unit has not been used in awhile, after a few hours, it is already quite impressive.
With my Air Tight cartridge, at 0.4mV, there is no problem using MC input at all, volume wise. On my Lamm L2 Reference preamp, volume knob is between 10-12 o'clock, mostly 10-11 (where as my Playback Design MPS-5 is at 9 o'clock most of the time). I think my Ortofon T100 would be rather loud with Air Tight in this particular setup.
This is fine! But the real enlightment will come via MM using an excellent SUT. pls try it. Looking forward to your results. All the best
Thuchan - are you saying the Air Tight cartridge sounds significantly different at 47 KOhms vs 400 Ohms? Or is the step-up you suggest so much different that its worth running the Air Tight with 47KOhms? For the cost of an expensive Audio Note step-up with an LP2, one gets close to the price of an Allnic or ARC RP2 which has dual inputs/outputs. I'm not understanding the need to add external transformers if the LP2 offers plenty of gain for that cartridge? Can you say more? Thanks.
Thuchan, right now the only SUT I have on hand is an Ortofon T100 which works very well with Air Tight when I used it with other phono pre that I have. I will try it out and compare to Lamm MC input. However, I have no idea, in comparison to other SUTs, where the T100 is in term of performance, average, good, very good etc. But later on this year when I go to Hong Kong, I definitely will take a look at Audio Note.

Well, I tried Ortofon T100 today with Lamm MM input. The sound is richer, more saturated, bigger than with Lamm MC input. I thought Janzen is supposed to be very good as well but I do prefer Ortofon T100. Hmmmm..I wonder if Lamm is willing to make LP2 with just 2 MM input? :)
Well, I tried Ortofon T100 today with Lamm MM input. The sound is richer, more saturated, bigger than with Lamm MC input. I thought Janzen is supposed to be very good as well but I do prefer Ortofon T100.

When you do a "comparison", don't compare an Apple with a Banana:

LP2 Gain: MC 57.5dB, MM 37.5dB
Ortofon T 100: 26dB
LP2+T100: 63.5dB

Here are 6dB gain difference.
Lamm can modify the stock SUT's with stronger ones.
Dear Jtimothya, With an external SUT thru the MM input, the cartridge will almost surely not "see" 47K ohms. It will see 47K divided by the square of the turns ratio of the external SUT, whatever that turns out to be. I also think Thuchan and Syntax can have any phono stage they want and that they both prefer the Lamm to the ones you mention, but they will speak for themselves.
Gee Lew, wasn't the OP asking about other phono stages? Maybe relative value is irrelevant to the situation. Also I was curious about why an Audio Note step-up was significantly different that made it worth the choice over the native MC. Didn't seem like gain was an issue. My apologies if you were put off.
Syntax, yes, I realized that the gain will be different between the MC input and MM/Ortofon. For now, gain is not an issue for me as I certainly has enough volume with Lamm MC input. While I did not level match both input when I listened, I tried to set volume level to where I am comfortable listening.

I know Thuchan prefere using external SUT over Lamm internal SUT, I would like to hear your impression and opinion on external SUT with Lamm as well if you have one. Thanks.
Quick question on tubes in LP2. Beside Western Electric 417A, is Amperex 5842 a worthwhile upgrade over stock Raytheon tube or should I not bother with that and go with WE 417A?
Thanks for your advise
Jtimothya, Of course I was not put off at all. I was just correcting the impression you left re the resistance seen by the cartridge thru a SUT hooked to the MM input. I know you are an experienced knowledgeable person, so I figured you just misspoke. But there are less experienced folks who read these threads who might have been misled. No offense was intended, and it is I who must apologize if you thought so.

As to the other remark, I don't know what the problem was with that. Thuchan and Syntax seem quite taken with the Lamm, is all I was saying. I doubt either is thinking much about cost.
Hello Suteetat,
the SUT's inside the LP2 are very good quality. Not colored in reproduction, matched, excellent channel separation. Before I got the LP2 I tried some well knows Sut's and had horrible results. I think, low quality and colored performance is common with a wide range of Sut's. the reason is very simple, really good Sut's (really good means measured performance datas) are expensive and based on that, they are rarely used.
Those in the LP2 are serious ones, very, very, very hard to find in "audiophile" preamps. Not the most expensive ones, but not the usual "low-performance-for-audiophile-pricing" parts.

The only SUT which didn't make me cry was the Kondo KSK SFz. Good specs, good datas but the pricing for these 2 tiny round things is special, too.
anyway, I asked Lamm to replace the stock SUT's with better ones (+ higher gain) and I told him what cartridges I use. He made the change, I listened to it, sold the Kondo SFz and it was done. It is a great design from brain, gets the best performance match with LL2 and is real in tone.
Lewm you are absolutley right. It is nothing to add. Suteetat I would rather go for the Western Electric, maybe two matched pairs.If money is a problem I would go for a used Kondo but Air Tight is one level below.
Syntax, would you mind telling me what SUT you had Lamm installed in your LP2? I assume that Kondo KSK SFz did not make you cry means that it was SUT that you actually like? (not including the internal SUT that Lamm replaced for you). Eventually I will need both inputs as I plan to have at least 2 arms so I will need to go with one external SUT for sure.

Thuchan, I located some matched pairs WE 417A. Once Lamm phono is thouroughly burned in, I will try WE tubes and see how that go.

Thanks for all your help.
Suteetat Don't take this personal but what do you expect to hear using 2 mediocre tables? one table your limited to only the vpi tone arm designed that many other designs far surpass in performance, then the table itself won't fit in this category of components.
Your other choice of table I had and I still can't get over the improvement of the arms and cartridges that I had on the ac. Sold the table kept the arms then installed on a better designed table,no other changes, wow what a difference.
Blue_nose, I am not quite sure I understand you completely. Which 2 mediocre tables would that be, that I own?
I am in a process of upgrading all sorts of things which I already mentioned previously. For now I have one VPI Classic which will be replaced later on this year. Not many people have heard the new Classic 3. I believe HP has a prototype in his listening room that he mentioned briefly in Absolute Sound. I also heard a prototype at my local dealer which I like very much. The detail is not quite finalized yet but it may be possible to use other arm on Classic 3. At the moment, I am planning to get Reed tonearm with its arm pod to use temporarily with my VPI until I can get TW Acoustic Raven AC a few months later. I hope this is acceptable for Lamm.
Suteetat, In your defense, I think upgrading the phono stage can be "heard" regardless of turntable, since the two devices manifest themselves in very different ways. Then too, a better phono stage prepares you for a better turntable at a later date, not to say there is anything "wrong" with the ones you already own or plan on buying.
Lewn, thanks for your comment. I know that some people on A'gon here keep complaining about VPI arm and it is difficult to really compare it to other arms. Since my Reed tonearm will arrive a few months before turntable, that's why I want to get the arm pod so I can try it on VPI table as well and see how different it would be from VPI arm. I agree with you though that with VPI Classic, it was not difficult to hear difference between ASR Mini Basis, Fosgate Signature phono and Lamm phono so far.
Suteetat, how did the Fosgate compare with the Lamm?
Lula, I only use Fosgate MM input with my SUT so far. I think Fosgate has more neutral presentation, a little less tube sound, if you like. Lamm has richer, thicker tone, a bit wider soundstage and more detail overall. The difference is not night and day especially after switching out stock tubes on Fosgate. I had Blackburn Mullard 12AX7 ong plate installed which improved the sound quite a bit. Fosgate is a bit more quiet however. Another good thing with Fosgate is that it has no problem working with solid state preamp. Before I switched to all Lamm electronics, I was using ASR Emitter II. It was rather hard to find tube phono that works well with ASR 10k input impedance.
I got 2 matched pairs of WE 417A from and replaced Raytheon tubes with these. It has been only a few hours so far but I am impressed. Brent Jessee of audiotubes told me that they were all low microphonics. Lamm LP2 is certainly a lot more quiet now, pretty much on par with Fosgate. I also replaced stock fuse with Power House platinum fuse which helped a lot as well. The sound is clearer, better focus, slightly more open with out any loss of body or smoothness and better controlled bass but perhaps, I miss a bit of the lushness of the Raytheon.
Oh well... I need to burn the fuse and the tubes a bit more but I am very impressed.

I will keep Lamm in this configuration for awhile but I am curious about changing capacitors in Lamm. Not sure if I want to go down that road but just in case, I was told that Mundorf does not make caps as big as those that Lamm uses but somebody suggested V-Cap as a possibility. I wonder for those who have changed caps, what do you use?

Have a look for your self and values {}

and {}

im sorry no amp expirience i just tested them in loudspeakers i like both.
Suteetat. I use Mundorf caps in my Lamm - see image on my page. You see it is possible. good hint by Andromedaaudio.
Andromedaaudio and Thuchan, thanks for the advise. Duelund definitely sounds interesting. I had capacitors on my speaker crossover changed to Munsdorf before with excellent result. My local DIY/Mod guy talked very highly of Duelund as well but not very much experience around here due to cost but it could be interesting. WE 417A started to sound nicer and nicer. So far I am very happy with Lamm LP2 the way it is :)
If you are doing a private "A/B" comparison in the context of your own system, it is always a good idea to do "A/B/A". In other words, if you are familiar with A, then listen to B for a while until you really are used to it. Then switch back to A and have another listen. Often this is very revealing, not only of the vicissitudes of our sensory apparatus but also of the placebo effect. In other words, if you know you replaced 5842s with WE417s, or capacitor X with capacitor Y that costs more, it is impossible to have an unbiased opinion of the result.
yes - you are right on this. You need to perform A/B/A and so on comparisons, also using different phono-pres in the same chain, fourth & back. It's a hell of work building up and down. We did it one day long, the Lamm could not reach the Kondo in detail and precision but it provides a wonderful soundstage via MM connection if a superb SUT is used. In this combination it's becomes one of the big phono-pres.

Best & Fun Only - Thuchan

Best & Fun Only - Thuchan

Adding to the above A/B/A comparisons info. don't forget when doing this to also consider load change, I have found from going from one phono pre to the next they arn't all eqaul, varying sonic wise via load.
Your feedback is in line with my findings in my posting "so you have a valve phono with MM & MC inputs", those built-in Jensen SUTs can be easily bettered!
The secret from Kondo is the high gain. Most compare "something" but in 99% it is always the same "result". The louder unit wins.
This has nothing to do with performance or specs. The Kondo is a soft sounding unit, it has no bite and the transients are not among the fastest. It is a nice unit for harsh and analytical Hardware or for Jazz. Try some old Deccas or mercuries with some fast stops on go (SXL 6355) and the cheap Jensen will show you what's all about. There is something more out there than high gain (btw. in the highest gain position is the SFz the worst solution).
But, like I wrote, there is much worse out there.
Happy listening.