The Lamm L1 is superb, but the LL2 is ho-hum. If your only choices are LL2 and Hovland, I'd go with the Hovland. Though I think the Atma-Sphere preamps are better than either...
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hey findoc, thanks for the input. can you elaborate? i was also looking at the atmasphere pres (more than likely i'd have to go with the mp-3 w/ phono but might stretch to the mp1 if i'm feeling sick) can you comment on the mp3 phono?
the atmaspheres concern me w/ the amount of tubes in the gain section. if i go nos i'll be broke.
btw, i'm trying to upgrade from my arc ref-1 line stage.
Yes, the Lamm L1 is an amazing line stage pre-amp as well, the CAT Ultimate or Signature SL1 for phone stage is truly amazing.I would use both, one for phone and one for line stage.
In my opinion, the Lamm L2 is amazing. I only auditioned the Lamm L2 once, everything about the L2 was just incredible I would say the BEST so far. From the highs to the lows " JUST INCREDIBLE". The soundstage was huge,every note in the music was hear. In Italy, they say in order for food to taste great, you need to prepare it with love.This Lamm L2 was difinitely made with love, "some serious love".
I think that the Lamm LL2 has a bit more base than the Lamm L1. If you find the Lamm L1 used or new I would buy the L1.
(What ever you do, "DO NOT AUDITION" the L2 PreAmplifier, you will be selling all your audio equipment to buy the L2 it is that amazing).
There is a dealer in New York, His name is David. His e-mail address is:DamokaNYC @ aol He is a great guy and can be trusted 200%.
The Hovland gear sure looks pretty, but every time I auditioned Hovland it was underwhelming. I heard the Saphire amp with their original preamp/phono stage and it did not leave me with any desire to pursue Hovland.
On the other hand, when I heard the Lamm LL2/LP2/ML2 combination, my audio life changed literally. The Lamm gear will get you off the merry-go-round of upgrading and searching for better gear.
I have not heard these, but I've been also researching preamps similar in some ways to the LL2.
Apart from the LL2, my short list is made of (in no particular order): First Sound Presence, Atmasphere MP3, Joule Electra LA150, Conrad-Johnson ET2, Aesthetix Calypso. There's a Herron too.
Some are balanced, some only SE, some have remote, some have 2 volume pots...but all seem to focus on a rather purist design and 100% on sonics.
I hope this helps. Let us know how you move forward. As mentioned above, I'm interested in this too.