The Lamm M1.2, I believe, fits your requirements like a glove. A fabulous amp, very powerful with a hint of tube warmth but very organic sound.
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I have owned the 1.2 Reference monos, 1.1 monos, and LL2 Deluxe preamp.
IMO, Lamm makes very good sounding gear. However, also IMO, their hybrid amplifiers (M1.2s and M2.2s) do not provide a classic tube sound although they do seem to add a dimensionality that is sometimes missing with purely SS amplifiers. At the time, I also owned a pair of Clayton M300 monos and I thought the 1.2s leaned more to the bloomy side of bass (bigger and fuller) than did the M300s (better controlled but not overly damped, and better drive). The Lamm 1.2s had a nice tonal density that makes you mostly forget you are listening to an electronic music system. The Clayton M300s provided their own version of this dimensionality.
Since I needed to make a decision between the two at the time, my ultimate decision to keep the Claytons over the Lamms came down to the Lamms sounding a little harder/rougher than the Claytons, particularly in the upper frequencies, and the Claytons being able to better drive my power hungry speakers. However, I can say the Lamms will give you everything you can get from 110 wpc and when they max out they simply stop providing more power without sounding ugly first. In fairness, the things I heard may have been due to the difference in power between the two amplifiers (M300s are 300/600 wpc into 8/4 ohms) and that the Lamms were a little underpowered for the speakers. I did have a variety of tubes on hand that I tried, including several pretty good NOS tubes.
I always wanted to hear the more powerful 2.2s but I believe the main difference between the 1.2s and 2.2s may be that the 2.2s switch over from Class A to AB at a lower power level. Finally, I thought both the 1.1s and 1.2s sounded better from the low impedance (4 ohm) setting, at least with my speakers. If they are powerful enough for your speakers, it would be hard to go wrong with the 1.2s.
Thanks so much - this is awesome info.
I’ve owned a bunch of pure SS amps and they don’t do it for me. The Bricasti makes great amps but I’m looking at Hybrids because I know the sound I want and I just know tubes need to be part of the chain.
I’ve already tried a bunch of tube preamps with SS amps. I’m sure at some point I could get a SS amp / tube preamp combo to work but I’m looking to end this and get it right if I can.
Ypsilon worked great. I demoed one and loved it but can’t find any for sale in US PreOwned. I can’t afford these Lamms or Ypsilon new. I just don’t have the cash so need to buy used. There is a modwright hybrid integrated but don’t think it’s going to match up to Ypsilon / Lamm. I found a couple Ypsilon amps in Europe. The intergrated and mono blocks and I can afford both but it’s impossible to find out how much duty tax I will have to pay to import them and need to worry all about them making the trip here safely.
These Lamms are in US and I can afford them so I am just trying to get some additional info from owners or people that have heard them or info from people like me that need some tubes in their sound but don’t want a tube amp.
Mixing brands with SS and tube Pre is great if you can get the mix right but it’s hard. I just sold another SS amp and tube preamp and was just going to buy a Ypsilon in Europe and end this search but then I came across these Lamms and thought oh man these may just be what I have been looking for? Maybe :)
I own the ML2 and owned the L2 line stage. There is something special about the ML2. I know you are looking for more power. I would recommend that you have Vlad go over the amps at some point if you buy them. If you aren't near NY where you can drive them to his place in "deep Brooklyn" it's air freight, which is not only expensive, but probably erratic in these Covid days.
I would try to get as much info as you can about the units, including their history. If the owner is willing to give you the serial nos., you can ask Lamm if they have a service history. If your seller has had them serviced, he should provide you with copies of any paperwork before the transaction.
They are likely packed in wooden crates. At least the ML2s were (and I think the L2 line stage was as well, but can't remember, it's been a while). I doubt I'll ever get rid of the ML2s.
Good luck with your transaction,
lamm makes great amps.....quality control not great though had a problem with my 2.2 that had to go back twice because of failing part albeit customer service excellent.....
I would say the 2.2 is better for rock music and 1.2 is better for singer songwriter classical and small group jazz......I ultimately sold it and moved on to dartzeel amp and pass lab monoblocks for my 2 systems.....the pass lab monoblocks are more power than you need but the dartzeel amp is often available used and if around 11K would be cheaper than the lamm monoblocks (so one less pricey power cord).....the dart amp works for any music and almost any speaker except for something that is very inefficient.
I actually just tried a VAC Sigma 160i SE Integrated with XLR and Phono options and just didn’t like it. Now don’t get me wrong it sounded beautiful and build quality was great - but I like a tighter / faster / more precise sound yet with some tube warmth. The Ypsilon Integrated sound actually. It’s mostly SS with a couple tubes in input. I just can’t find any in US under $20k. Actually found one for $19,600. I don’t have $19,600. I was targeting around $10k - maybe $12k. So been trying $5k SS amps and $5k preamps and just missing on these. I found a Ypsilon in Europe for $12k shipped but then I who knows what duty is. It’s like 20% more and then who knows how it gets knocked around coming across the pond. These LAMM amps are here and in my price range but yes my worry is not enough tube sound or maybe not transparent enough. Some say these will be way better then a Ypsilon Phaethon Integrated and I just am not sure. Trust me if I could afford a new one I would just buy the Ypsilon and be done with it but don’t have $20k cash to drop.
The other thing I like about these LAMM is they were built in 2018. These amps models have been around for a long time but this pair is only a few years old so I like that. Not too far from my home so shipping is not too bad. I mean these are $30k amps new so decent value but yes worry a little about not having enough tube love but folks call these very natural sounding amps. Was considering a local pair of Pass XA60.8 but we know those will need a tube preamp so back to square one on those.
What do you guys think? Think these have just enough tube love? I don’t need much but enough to be different from straight SS. More 3D, more real?
Yes on the cables. I actually sold my Stage III cables and bummed about it. Real bummed but my wife wanted this wall unit bookshelf / TV unit so had to move my Solid Tech ROS4 rack into corner of room so needed 4 meters or speaker cable. I picked a pair of Nordost Frey 2 SC’s which are fine but miss my Stage III’s but it made my wife happy so it’s fine. I actually had full loom of Frey 2 but didn’t really like the IC’s and PC’s. The PC’s are too bass heavy - I much prefer the Audience AU24SE HP I have better and Echole Obsession IC’s better then Frey 2. I bought and already some the Frey 2 IC / PC. I don’t mind different cables for different jobs. I just want the best sound I can get. I owned Kubala-Sonsa Emotion before the Stage III and Cardas Clear before that. I actually like they Frey 2 SC’s a lot just not the other cables. It’s funny they are not like other Nordost cables. They are not bright and or/fast and thin like all other Nordost I owned. They are nice and full. Better then Kubala and sort of like the Clears - a little better I think. I use Echole PC for my Bricasti. It’s funny only cable I’ve ever had that is sort of bright and relaxed. It’s rare they do both but they do. I like it.
Karma police I was thinking with a Dart I would still need a tube preamp though also? A friend has pair of XA60.8 but same thing tube preamp needed. I mean if I buy these LAMMS and these too may need a tube preamp but my hope is I only need a little tube love. I mean even if I need to pick up a NOS pair of pinched waste Amperex 6922 I will if that gets me enough tubeness? It’s my hope.
Other part of me thinks just say heck with it and get the amp I know I love and just cross my fingers and go for the amp in Europe. It’s the exact sound I want. Risk is not in its sound. I know I love the sound. Risk is shipping. I’ll pay with PayPal so some protection there but still if it get hammered on way over I lose either way. If the LAMMs work they can be here in couple days so safe but then if I don’t love it’s another pair of amps I need flip. Sick of flipping. Want an amp I love. My gut says the Lamm maybe it.? Tough call...
Truth - I agree but it’s employed In the important 2nd stage which is the driver stage and the 6922 is a dual triode wired in parallel using both half’s acting as 2 tubes for a single channel so all these mosfets are driven by dual triodes with it being a mono amp. Now the Ypsilon only uses one tube per channel as well and it provides enough tubeness so this is my hope that if it works with Ypsilon it can work here. Now it is looks like only one tube per amp but it’s really 4 triodes for 2 channels for all actual purposes. The main difference being the tubes in Ypsilon drive the first and second stage but here it is only the 2nd stage but the more important driver stage which directly powers the output stage.
I use a a highly upgraded Clayton S50 Amplifier and Mitch2 is spot on about the Clayton sound. I thought I saw Wilson’s best stereo 2000 for sale on Audio Mart. I bet it is an incredible amp. Clayton amplifiers are the best sounding SS amps I have heard to date. At least for my taste. Muscular solidity from the bottom up with glorious mids and natural highs. Much better sounding than a Coda #8 amp that I had in my home. Much better. I mate mine with my own 6sn7 designed and built preamp. The combo is magic. Best of what tubes and SS can do come together for pure enjoyment.
Clayton flies under the radar for sure. Wilson still supports the line as he helped me locate some parts for my S50 upgrade. I would consider Clayton over Pass and most every other SS or hybrid amplifier.
Wilson pairs his amps with a tube preamp in his personal system for his preferred sound. The combo just works with Clayton amps. Also, a dac or nice passive can work with Clayton amps as they are higher sensitivity. At least several of the Clayton amp models I checked were higher sensitivity and reasonable gain for use with a dac or passive. I used my Clayton with The Truth no gain preamp with good results. I prefer the body and weight paired with a great tube preamp however.
I actually had the 40 Clayton in my home back when I owned pair of Rethm Saadhana V3 speakers. Great speakers by the way. 103db so could run them with anything. I like Clayton amps. They all used to hum real bad. All of them but with his upgrades and mods those all seem to have been worked out of them. Great sounding amps and kind of rare these days. There is a big monster pair sale - looks like a floor air conditioner but I’m sure it sounds great. I don’t want that. If I saw 50 or 300’s or something like that I would probably give them a try. Great sounding amp. They seem to have more body, more meat on the bone. Just very nice sounding class a amps and 6SN7 preamp with some black plate Tun Soles in the preamp would be sweet!
I liked the MKiI - my likes just kind of evolved. I just like a more raw monitor type sound better. The Focal is brighter and not as sophisticated. Overall the Magico was a better speaker no doubt it’s just I like the brighter / quicker / more precise sound of Focal is all. I used Pass 160.8 and Soulution 530 with my S5 MKII and Stage III cables so I got the most out of the Magico’s I just learned more about what I like. I owned S5 1 before the II’s. I heard the Focal’s and just really ked them is all. I heard them with Ypsilon and loved them. Just different really but for the money those Focals are killer little speakers.
I have never owned a Dart though. You think Dart is better then LAMM? My Focal’s are bright. Too bright for Soulution and might be too bright for a Dart. These Focal’s need tubes to chill that screaming beryllium tweeter. The extension, air and transparency is great but you need to mind it or it will nip at yeah ears a bit. Need to settle it down with tubies....
The dart is more neutral than the lamm but in no way bright. It’s transparent soulful right for all kinds of music.
I would only hesitate on a used dartzeel if you have a large room and listen real loud level or crave subterranean bass wherein the dart 100 watts would not be enuf....
If lamm same price as dart and definitely keeping current speakers I would grab the lamm if still under warranty especially if you find your speakers a bit forward......
If you change speakers dart will pair better with broader range of speakers...
I really like lamm but in my second system with harbeth 40.2 it would be iffy combo as lamm too warm sounding to pair with warm harbeth.
The other thing is lamm msrp has gotten far more expensive and used market rises with it....my lamm 2.2 15 years ago bought used for 8k now they run used 13K same amp .....so not sure that is good deal to buy when much pricier now not sure will go up much more but then again who knows....dart used market roughly 13K has remained steady for original model ...there is a dart dealer selling a used dart now at usaudiomart.com so you get dealer support too...kinda nice buy from dealer who sells the used product new too.
Luckily either lamm or dart likely to make you happy so dont sweat it too much but imho if never heard either would buy the better bargain of the two since then you can flip it easier yourself if push comes to shove.
That’s great info. Thanks
I do think Focal needs a warm amp but dart is an interesting idea. It’s a brand Ive never owned same as Lamm. I really wish I could find a used Ypsilon in US but I just don’t think there are that many out there. I don’t even think that many have been made. It’s a tough call. One minute I’m going with the Lamm and next I’m thinking heck with it. The Ypsilon is made in Greece and had to get shipped here at some point anyway in same wooden box so why not just get from Europe.
@fsmithjack - you might consider calling The Music Room (TMR) to check inventory or to find out if they have heard of any amplifiers coming up for sale soon from Lamm or Ypsilon. You may not get rock bottom pricing but they are usually in the ballpark, they are very good with packing and shipping, and they do/did offer a return policy. I did deal with them on at least one set of big heavy amplifiers and they were excellent to work with. They are located in Colorado and are active on Audiogon.
Ypsilon from Europe will most likely have European voltage requirements. How would you go about this ?
Everyone likes Lamm, just everyone I heard from and of. But you heard Ypsilon and liked it very much.
DarTZeel has no tubes, warmer sounding transistors are not tubes, they are warmer sounding transistors.
Fatdaddy2 - we all have music on when writing on here. They go together like Mac and Cheese. I’m legit trying to get feedback about a used amp I may buy with never hearing so just trying to accumulate some extra info. My system is no where near megabuck either? It’s not cheap but not even close to megabuck. I do like think it is a bang for buck rig SQ wise can compete with my more expensive systems but it’s still a lower class high end system at best.
@fsmithjack, instead of trying to get the perfect tube/ss match between preamp and amp, have you considered trying a different DAC? It might be easier to tweak your source such that you can be happy with a cheaper or more readily available pre/amp or integrated. There are some good choices in DACs that might give you the sound you are missing.
I've never heard the M1SE but purchased a Bricasti M3 last year (came new with the MDX upgrade) and although I liked it I never fell hard for it and ultimately replaced it with an R2R NOS DAC that in my opinion (and system) offers a much fuller, meatier, and musical presentation than the M3 did for me. So based on your Focals and tastes, maybe a source change would give you that extra magic you are looking for...
I had the gen 1 Magico S series before selling them; my current DAC for my tastes would match much better with that beryllium tweeter than my M3 would have. I would likely be looking for a little tube magic as well if I still had the Magico and M3.
Good luck with your search...
I want / need that tube goodness in my sound but must also have that SS grip, bass control, transparency and image precision.The Lamm IMO/IME has a classic solid state sound in that its bright and has a touch of solid state harshness. If your speakers are bright (I've not heard them) then I would expect the combo to drive me out of the room. I've not owned the Lamm but a friend of mine in town had them so I've heard them many times.
The Focal website isn't all that great so its a bit tricky sorting out the speaker, but it appears that while they claim '8 ohms' the woofer array is actually 4 ohms. This type of speaker isn't friendly to tube amplifiers! To run a tube amp you would need to use the 4 ohm tap which puts the amp at a disadvantage. So you're going to have to find something solid state. I get why you want that tube input stage of the Lamm- maybe that would tone things down a bit....
But here's what is going on. The Lamm, like most solid state amps, uses feedback, but in insufficient amount so the distortion generated by the feedback itself causes the amp to sound bight and harsh. You need an amp that can behave as a voltage source though, so IMO you'll need an amp with a lot more feedback, enough so that the amp can clean up the distortion caused by its feedback. This value tends to be north of 35dB (or maybe 40dB). That's a lot of feedback and there are not that many traditional solid state designs where that's going on. But two are the Benchmark and the Soulution (the latter of which you've expressed a dislike). But if you want to know why these amps will sound smoother than the Lamm its because they have so much more feedback. Quite literally, they are sounding more 'tube like' because they are lower distortion. (And in particular the higher ordered harmonics; the ear is keenly sensitive to these because it uses them to sense sound pressure, and the ear has a range over 120dB! The ear assigns a tonality to all forms of distortion; the higher orders are heard as 'brightness' and 'harshness' despite the frequency response being perfectly flat.)
Your other option is to find a class D amp that you like. Class D amps usually have a very low output impedance so will drive this speaker well. There are very big sonic differences between class D amps, so just because you've heard one does not mean you've heard them all. The differences between them are as profound as they are for any other kind of amp, like tube amps or transistor amps. But the things that cause distortion in class D amps tend to result in lower ordered harmonic distortion rather than higher ordered (as in traditional solid state) so what you're looking for is one that sounds smooth but has the impact you're looking for in the bass at the same time. They do exist.
I lack any expertise but to my ears the lamm does not sound bright or harsh and their sin is a bit of darkness.....if you like ypsilon you will like dart (fremer likes both btw)......there is a dart integrated also avail which if you use phono has a nice phono section......the dart integrated or amp is very versatile and transparent and yet just sounds soulful too...the lamm is less versatile but is wonderful in the right room with the right associated equipment and with the right types of music.......
if you cannot find the ypsilon used I would in the meantime get the dart if you can negotiate down the price a bit especially and then if the ypsilon comes available again you can decide then how happy you are with the dart....the lamm could be bought now too but will take more effort to dial in...
Did not know LAMM was traditional SS sounding amp. From what others have said it’s a nice warm and transparent amp. I always though no feedback was better. Ypsilon is a hybrid - class a with no global feedback. I though this combo would be ideal but if Lamm is a bright amp I won’t want it. It tough - I need a hybrid I think. Again - if I guessed I would prefer 83% SS and 17% tubenes. Just enough but not too little either? Dam it’s tough. Digging this Ypsilon out of Europe is not going real easy either.
Anyone have an idea what duty tax is importing a second hand item in from the EU to US? Cant get a straight answer?
Try this for calculations of Duties
From what I know it's from 3.9 - 4.9 % of what you value the item at. Remember if you pay $10,000 and then only value it for $2,000 you can only collect $2000 if any damage occurs. Be careful on this you might save some money on Duties but in the end be out if anything goes wrong.
Lamm being bright or otherwise wrong is a complete nonsense. Another point is match, and yet another point still is personal taste. I think, I understand what the OP wants to accomplish but can't really offer an advice one way or another - Ypsilon or Lamm. How is it possible to decide without comparing side by side or least try one and later another?
I would expect Ypsilon to be lighter and soaring, in a sense, compared to more down to earth Lamm. If I am right, my choice would depend on kind of music that I mostly listened. Some people have two equal but different systems to address just that. Like two tonearms with different cartridges.
The suggestion to pay attention to the source, digital source in this case, is always a good one. But I don't know anything about streamers.
I just created an account and tried to see how much it cost for duty and fee’s to import a $12000 amp from Poland to the US and it said the duties and fees = $0.00
It can’t be right. So frustrating. I just want to know the extra cost?! Why is so hard to figure out. Had anyone ever shipping from Europe to US?
I can appreciate your frustration. You have experienced ears and well seasoned -developed taste. IOW you know what you like. I’ve heard Ypsilon, Dartzeel and Lamm, not a dog amongst them. I am more drawn to Ypsilon’s sonic signature. I sincerely believe that you’d be most happy with this choice.
I can only speak to the Lamm gear I have owned and played in my system for extended periods. The two amps were used and the LL2 Deluxe preamp was purchased new.
Both the M1.1s and M1.2 Ref displayed nice body and dimensionality compared to most SS offerings. Both displayed a very big, full bass, which some would argue is closer to what you might hear live than the overly damped bass you get from some SS and from the NC1200 Class D amps I owned. The M1.1s were dark, dark, but smooth like syrup up through the midrange, and rolled off in the high frequencies. They made most music sound good and as my first venture into Class A, after a pair of Cary CAD500MB (500wpc) monos, my impression was that of comfortable music that sounded better than any stereo system I had owned previously. Eventually, I felt something was missing in the high frequencies and tired of the darkness so I moved on to a series of Clayton Class A amps.
I ended up owning the M1.2s at the same time as a pair of upgraded (power supply upgrade) Clayton M300s. I would only keep one or the other so it was a tough decision. I wanted to like the M1.2s better, because so many said the M1.2s were at/near the pinnacle of SS or hybrid amplifiers. I tried Amperex 6922 PQ, Electro-Harmonix 6922 EH Gold Pin, Mullard ECC88 / 6DJ8, and Amperex 7308 USA Gold Pin tubes I had sitting around from some preamps I used to own. While the tubes changed the flavor slightly, the basic sound remained the same. The M1.2s were not as dark as the M1.1s, and they did better in the high end. The bass was similar but maybe tightened up a bit. However, the Claytons were smoother throughout the entire frequency range and had just a bit better combination of fullness and grunt in the bass. To the points made earlier, I wouldn’t call the M1.2s hard or etched, but they did have a touch of graininess in the upper frequencies that was not present with the Claytons (maybe MOSFET vs. Bipolar transistors?). OTOH, the Claytons could not quite match that bit of magic in the midrange, but they came close. The Lamms were also a bit more dynamic than the Claytons from the midrange up, until they would run out of gas, which they did when pushing the Aerial Model 9s I owned at the time. That power discrepancy is the main reason I kept the Claytons and sold the Lamms, because otherwise IMO they were on par with each other, just different strengths.
The LL2 Deluxe preamp while being a fully tubed design did not display the stereotypical sounding warm tubed preamp signature. In my system it sounded clean, powerful, and properly extended at the frequency extremes, with very nice dimensionality. I stupidly sold it because it did not have balanced outputs (the Claytons only accepted balanced inputs) and I do miss what it was capable of in my system. I wouldn’t go back because of the absence of a remote/display and because my SMc pre does what I need, but I do miss the sound - highly recommended. If I had easier to drive speakers at the time, and didn’t mind the absence of a volume display and remote, the M1.2s along with an LL2 Deluxe would have made a great sounding system, IMO.