I auditioned both the Lamm's and Tenors
Both great amps
I bought the Lamm's and just love the sound
I run an AA Capitole direct to the Lamm's and to Von Schweikert VR 7's via all Nordost Valhalla interconnects and speaker cables
Simple system - divine sound
Enjoy the shopping
Since you are in Spain, may I urge you to visit the dealer there who sells Lamm electronics and Rockport Technologies loudspeakers, reported by some people as having one of the best sounding setups in the world. I don't have contact information but either of those companies would be able to refer you.
I would second Brian's advice. The Halcro and Boulder electronics, in my auditions of them, are excellent but neutral almost to a fault, if that's possible--they reveal so much detail that I wind up hearing more of the recording and the upstream equipment than the music, and that's not the balancing act I want. The Lamm electronics are also pretty close to neutral, but have a slightly dark sound in comparison (neutral but probably a little rolled off in the highs), which I like, and they let the music through beautifully. Have not heard the Tenor, only good things about it. If you go with the Lamm amps, I'd strongly urge using the L2 preamp with them, a great piece of equipment and an excellent match for their amps. My Lamms work very well with NBS cables (Omega 0), by the way, if that's a concern.
I am curious about what type of sound you are really looking for?
Despite the rave press surrounding the Halcro and Boulder electronics, many people, whose ears I trust, seem to share Rcprince's opinion. I hope to audition them in my own system at some point. In general, my understanding is that of the two, the Boulder is often considered somewhat more "musical." I am only familiar with the 18w Lamm and the 75w Tenor, but not any of the hybreds. I have not heard the Tenors with Rockports, but I have with Wilson X1-IIIs. I found them to have a beautiful, but somewhat classic tube midrange and lacking at the extremes compared to high powered SS amps or large VTLs. The Lamm is beautiful sounding, but I also believe they are somewhat restricted on top. To my surprise (having been devoted to tubes for years), I became captivated by the Levinson 33s. I found them to have the least sonic signature of the many amps I auditioned, and without the overly defined character I typically find to be ascribed to the Halcro and Boulder amps. I will also add that the 33s sounded considerably smoother and less SS than the 33H amps, both running at 220v. I cannot understand those who describe the 33H as the less powerful sonic equal to the 33. No comparison. Just my two-cents worth.
The Eidolons need more damping factor than any tube unit will allow, the Lamm included, to control the bass. I have heard the Tenor and prefer the 75w tube unit to the hybrid units and think you will run out of steam with the 75w OTL.....Not familiar with the Boulder, but have a preamp customer who uses a Boulder to drive Avalon Osiris in a huge room, the first amp that had enough power to do so......He liked the JC-1s, but they didn't have enough power for the basketball court he calls a listening room......If you have the time we could build a preamp for you and, if not, the top of the line Lamm is an excellent choice as it is in "production" rather than built to order.
I have to disagree with the comments about Boulder equipment being too neutral or analytical. I have the Boulder 2000 series preamp, DAC, and power amp and have never experienced the irrepressible musicality, beauty of sound, and dimensionality this equipment offers. Yes, they are both neutral and detailed, but in the same way live music is. They are totally musical and coupled with the right speakers and interconnects, offer an overwhelmingly beautiful musical experience. I have owned many of the great names in audio, and this stuff is simply in a league of its own. After more years as an audiophile than I care to think about - my advice is this: the Boulder equipment is hideously expensive but may be cheaper in the long run than buying other (expensive) brands and then selling them at a big loss because you are longing for something more. Find a good Boulder dealer and buy a piece at a time and enjoy the remarkable change you hear. By the way, I have found the Tara Labs interconnects to be highly synergistic with Boulder electronics.
They are all fine amplifiers. I brought a pair of the Tenor 300 Hybrid monoblocks to a customer's house in Colorado. He owned the Boulder 2060 Stereo amplifier and Kharma Midi Grand Ceramique speakers. It took him all of 15 seconds to decide that the Tenor was much more natural and the biggest suprise was the bass response was better as well. His username is Fbhifi and he would welcome any questions.
As far as the LAMM equipment, the only amplifier that is in a close class to the Tenor would be the LAMM ML2, but unless you have a very high sensitivity speaker, they will sound dark and closed in.
I was just wondering if you also brought the Tenor OTL along with you when you sold Fbhifi the hybrid?
More so than any other amp I've heard the Tenor OTL has a quality that eludes the hybrid. The Tenor OTL has a density of texture that increases as volume increases. When there are dynamic shifts in volume the texture, timbre, and harmonics increase in density or richness if you will.
This attribute gives the images their life and energetic vitality making the presentation of music that much more natural and "real" sounding. What makes the Tenor OTL so special for me I found to be lacking in the Tenor Hybrid.
I guess we all hear it different and that explains in part why some of the people who owned the Tenor OTL switched to the Tenor Hybrid.
All the best,
Hi Tom, interesting, I just had a teacher and two students from Concordia College in my shop this afternoon and their comments mirrored yours except they were referring to the 150 hybrid. I have found powercord and cable matching is very important to keep that tenor midrange that I loved with my OTL's. I find when I change any major component in my system that I usally change something else before I settle in. Example:
OTL- Elrod powercords
Hybrid- Shunyata anacondas
The 150's took at least 3 months of usage of 8hrs a day, 7 days a week before they filled in. Michael (Panorama) heard a well broken in 150 vs a new out of the box 150 and the difference is major. He owned the 300's and now like myself is very happy with the 150's. I had the 150 on for 6 months and couldn't be happier.
Tom: I know the amps you listened to and I assure you they were not the same sounding as what everyone else is hearing. Those amplifiers needed to go back to the factory and the dealer kept putting it off for months. Even after my continued insistance, he kept letting people audition the amplifiers knowing there was something wrong.
When the amplifiers arrived at the factory, they were severely under biased and sounded very lean and underpowered.
Regarding the OTL's going to Fbhifi, he had heard them for quite some time and greatly preferred the Hybrids.
All of the people that have heard them outside of where you did your auditioning, greatly preferred them to the OTL's. They agreed that they sounded identical in the harmonic structure and texture, but the Hybrids exceeded the OTL's in terms of clarity, dynamics and control.
Even the person who let you audition them, agreed that the Hybrids were superior. I assure you you did not hear a proper setup.
I guess I should try to get a chance to hear them again along side the Tenor OTL. Based on what I heard I certainly can agree with you and others on the issue of control and overall dynamics.
As to concerning harmonic purity, texture, and timbre I would need to compare for myself because in those areas it wasn't even close. I really do wish I get to hear them again and come up with the same conclusion as you and others.
As you might be aware of I'm a huge Avalon fan and I recently purchased a pair of Eidolon Diamonds. There is no way on earth the Tenor OTL can drive those speakers so the Hybrid would be a God send if it worked out.
Hey Randy, nice to hear from you and I'm glad you are enjoying the Tenor 150 along with your new speakers.
Happy listening to all and enjoy!
My two cents if if means anything. I had the Tenor 300's and Randy brought his OTL's over my place. To make a long story short Randy as you know is the proud owner of the 150 Hybrid and he is very particular about the midrange like me, plus the bass has to sound perfect and that is what you get from the Tenor Hybrids.
Tom: I just delivered a pair of Hybrid monos to a customer with Eidolon Diamonds. The amps did not sound good on them until after about two hours of being plugged in. They replaced Halcro DM68's and the differences were night and day. As the amps break-in, the sound is really opening up nicely.
Two people whose ears and judgment I trust outside of my own, one who has earned significant success as a high end speaker manufacturer for quite a few years, evaluated the hybrids and the OTLs and preferred the OTLs which were clearer and more refined. It really depends upon the speaker load, as where the hybrids may be a better fit is where the impedance curve is not relatively benign. If the speaker is more difficult to drive, there are other amplifiers well worth auditioning, no names mentioned to avoid conflict of interests and self promotion.
What's wrong with the Halcros?
Dear Batiport: You have a great audio system. Congratulations !.
What is wrong with your system music/audio reproduction? What are you looking for ? What's wrong with the Halcro electronics ?.
If we are a music lovers and we want to recreate this art at our homes then we all want that our audio system can reproduce the music/sound: ACCURATE TO THE RECORDING, nothing less and nothing more.
The audio signal that comes in the LP/CD/SACD/DVDA it is a degraded signal that has to go through several steps before we can listen it. Our duty is that this already degraded signal goes through our audio system with the less posible degradation ( accurate to the recording ). Our electronics not only has to have a good design and a good execution design, they have to have a dead flat frecuency response and minimal electronic distortions ( your Halcro meets these parameters ). If you change to tube electronics then you will be walking in a wrong direction, I tell you why: there are not a single tube preamp/amplifier that can be ACCURATE TO THE RECORDING, all tube electronics are EQUALIZERS, their frecuency response change according the speakers changes impedance ( there is no flat speaker impedance through the speaker frecuency response, always change ), something that not occurs with SS electronics. Maybe the people likes this equalized sound, but this is not the issue, and maybe some people don't like the non-equalized sound.
Many times I did to my self this question: when I go to a concert hall to hear a piano concert: I'm hearing a equalized piano sound or I'm hearing a piano sound?
I'm not against the tubes I am in favor of MUSIC and if you are in music favor then you can't go with tube electronics because they are not ACCURATE TO THE RECORDING. If you want a recording sound reproduction make-up then go for the tubes. I stay with the music.
Rcprince told to you that the Boulder/Halcro electronics are " neutral and give more of the recording " but he don't like it, Kmccarty told us that " Boulder ( SS ) are neutral and detailed, in the same way MUSIC is ", Rcrump told " Avalon needs a high damping factor, that any tube unit will allow ".
Now, Jtinn told " Tenor deffeat the Halcro DM68: and the differences was night and day ", shure was night and day, he is comparing two differents products: an amplifier ( Halcro ) against an equalizer ( Tenor ).
Rlapporte told " the Boulder is always considered more " musical" "> We don't buy an amplifier because is or is not musical: it don't exist a " musical amplifiers ", it only exist amplifiers ( the musical amplifiers exist only in our imagination ), some are accurates and some don't.
BTW, maybe you can improve your quality sound doing something with your front end and maybe in your room condiitoning and its interaction with your speakers or changing your speakers ( yes, you can do something with your audio system cables, too ).
Regards and always enjoy the music.
Huh? Sorry Raul, but the Tenor Hybrids use tube drivers but use solidstate for the output. How can that be an equilizer? I heard the Halcros in Omaha and I was not impressed. Very low distortion which they also claim, but to me, not very musical. For your info there have been many recordings done using TUBE electronics so I am not sure where you got your info. To each his own as they say.
Dear Michael: The problems in the sound reproduction in a tube ( hybrid or full tubes ) amplifier start in the moment that the signal goes into the first tube inside the amplifier, if you want to know more about it send me a personal e-mail ( is a large history ).
My issue is not in favor of any SS amplifier, it is only in favor of an ACCURATE TO THE RECORDING sound reproduction, that any tube amplifier can do it: at least till today.
I know that many recordings done using tube electronics but this does not means it was for the better, and this too is a long long history.
Don't belive me and go and ask to the tube amplifier designers and then you will see.
Regards and enjoy the music.
True to the recording. Unless you were in the studio at the time of the final mix, I don't believe anyone can say for sure what the artist and sound engineer intended for us to hear. I spent years standing next to a crash cymbal. When I sit and listen to my system, I do not wish to duplicate that experience any more than necessary. I want to save what hearing I have left. I think we all agree that the above amps are excellent and with appropriate front ends, will give an enjoyable listening experience. Its been my experience that musicians have a perceived sound in their head that they are always striving to get out of their instruments. If they change brands of instruments, or mouthpiece and alter that sound, they will continue making other changes such as reeds, ligatures etc. And usually come full circle to the sound they had before they went on their search. I do not think that is too unlike what we do with stereo systems. We are always trying to improve, but in the process quite often come back to that sense of rightness in our head. I personally do not care about measurements. If I hear something that sounds "more right" in my system, I would probably buy it, whether it be amps, cables, speakers, etc.
Dear Saxman2: I understand your points, but the issue it is still the same and it is not the only one: a tube electronic item is a: signal generator ( by itself ): when the signal goes through a tube ( by the physics law ) this tube ( that item )generate harmonics that don't exist in the recording and the problem is that these harmonics are at a hearing level. So, the tubes function like an equalizers ( in some conditions ) and always works like signal generators producing a signal that is inexistent in the recording . So, what is all about it?, in this forum the people speak about music and the reproduction through an audio system and when they have tube electronics: of what sound they are talking? obviusly not a music sound reproduction.
If for you or for other people these issues does not make sense, it is ok. Any one can do ( like you ) what it wants. I only expose those issues that are extremly important in the sound reproduction through tube electronics and that goes against the music, but WHO CARES?
Regards and enjoy the music.
Mr. Raul, I am left confused by your comments. I know little about the physics of tube and solid state devices, but does not current run through every component within a piece of equipment? And if so, does not each component, whether it be a capacitor, transformer or electron tube not have it's own signature? And if not, does every solid state, by virtue of it's being solid state, sound identical and therefore, equally accurate?
I have enjoyed both solid state and tube equipment with each giving a facsimile of recorded instruments or voices, but never have I heard a system reproduce the live sound I experience when attending a live performance. Solid state may offer a so-called quicker, more accurate, less colored interpretation, but seldom have I heard it carry the body and weight that has accompanied some excellent tube components. In my experience the best of tubes display a huge soundstage, a rounder and fuller image, and a most life-like decay. Bells and string instruments can have a body much closer to the real thing. I do not intend to prescribe one philosophy over the other, since I find both a distance from the real thing.
Incidently, I have heard some solid state amp designs with a softer more tube-like presentation, and contrarily tube systems sound hard and edgy. So much of this may depend on system synergy and specific tastes. I am usually not fond of analogies, but when viewing an artist's portrait, it may never carry the accuracy of a photograph, and yet it often offers something more approachable. Trust your ears. This is not relegated to a mere science.
Great post! Did you get your amps back yet?
Take care, Tom
Dear Steve: I'm not talking about science, I'm talking about music reproduction. Yes, I agree with you that at home all of our audio system are very far from the live music and that we only have a facsimile of it.
But the issue is: that we want that the sound reproduction was accurate to the recording, if not then what is all about?.
As you told us: " the solid state may offer a so-called quiker, more ACCURATE, less colored interpretation,...". I think that these is what we are looking for. The " huge soundstage " and " fuller image " depends of many things: the recording, speakers, front-end, room cables,.... BTW, when I go to a concert hall to hear any interpretation of this music art, I go not for " to see the soundstage ", " the inner deatil ", " the focus ", etc..., I go for listen the whole thing that named: MUSIC, that's all. The same happen when I go to a jazz club ( night club ): who cares ( in a live event ) about: soundstage or image ?.
Regards and always enjoy the music.
I am biased. I have a Boulder 2050 system (the monoblocks). I have listened to the Halcro's, the big ARC's, the VTLs, ML mono's and others. When you get up into this territory of performance, the weakest link in the system will STANDOUT. In order to properly audition and compare gear like this, the speakers, interconnects, line power, room acoustics, pre-amp (like a Boulder), and source components all have to be at the same elevated level of performance. Differences between speakers or interconnects (and eveything else) become simple to hear. With amplifiers/systems so neutral and quiet, it is much easier to hear the worst component in the system (which in systems like this is frequently the room itself).
I would like to comment on the Lamm and Tenor, but have never heard them. My understanding is that their designers chose their own design criteria, and have produced very compelling products.
I guess my point is that the exact circumstances of the audition are as important as actually performing an audition.
Anyone heard the Lamm 2.1 or 2.2 amps