Lamm ML 2.1 SET vs ASR Emitter II, DartZel

If you had to compare a tube amp with the best of solid state amps, how would the Lamm ML 2.1 differ from the other two above. I am planning on either the VonSchweikert VR-7, or the Wilson Max II speakers which are both efficient speakers. All kinds of music, EMM labs front end, preamp optional with EMM.
The ASR and Dartzeel are IMPORTED & OVERPRICED GOODS. You can buy as good or better solid state domestically and safe the fortune. The downside is that none of them will sound as good as LAMM ML 2.1 or CAT JL-3 Signature, there are few other alternatives.

Good luck

Regards, Tommy
Is this HiEnd rock/paper/scissors? Does IMPORTED Overpriced goods beat DOMESTIC overpriced goods? All of the above mentioned could be categorized the way you mention. Unfortunately, some of the best sounding out of the box conventionally built and manufactured gear is named above. Why would you differentiate between domestic and imported? Value is relative to where you are and what price you put on it. Is the Lamm M2.1 a value compared to the ASR? I am not so sure. I can say I own(ed) or have heard all of the above gear and it all depends on your listening preferences, partnering equipment and room. Listen to as much as you can in your own system then make the call.

Also, we should know if some of these comments come from a dealers perspective, in the interest of full disclosure. It doesn't change the validity of your opinion, but don't put yourself in the position of being a troll
I was wondering when someone would post about the ASR amp.
If old HP says it revolutionary, I'd take the time to give
it a listen.

I like the idea of less boxes, less interconnects, less power cords...etc.

Since as you point out, the VR-7 and Wilson Max II speakers are both efficient speakers and will work well with a number of different amps, I'd decided on which speakers will work best in your listening room, and then shop for electronics.
Latraviata (Tommy): Your statement is very amusing. Have you ever heard the darTZeel or ASR? Or, are you just guessing?

Aren't you the guy that was recommending Spectral gear a while back?

Both the LAMM ML2.1's and the CAT JL3's are fine amplifiers, but I have a few customers that got rid of both after hearing the darTZeel.
Jtinn, LOL! In my opinion the ASR is pretty special and may be the one to beat, and yes the convenience and cable savings pay for a good part of the unit (love that remote as well as the other capabilities). I'd love to hear the darTZeel's head to head-let the winner stay! In my opinion the ASR's I have here are allowing me to hear details with a clarity I didn't think possible without sounding either mechanical, bright or etched like the vast majority of solid state out there, or colored and slow like a lot of the top tube amps. HP was right when he called the ASR revolutionary. I have the ASR Emitter I which is sonically almost identical as the II with slightly less power but some say is more open, transparent and detailed with the II being slightly darker sounding. I can tell you with absolute certainty I don't miss my beloved SET's with the ASR's in the mix. It is not better than tube or solid state, its more like melting the walls of your listening room and seeing a 3 dimensional rendering the space of the recording, the instruments in an amazingly layered space and my own personal grail of "pulsing sphere" effect of sound emanating in all dimensions. It's a little disconcerting at first when you hear it since you're hearing some subtle (and some not so subtle) spatial cues in very familiar recordings that you've just never heard before, with depth that just blows out the back wall of your listening space.
Kana813 - Ironically When I speced out an ASR it was 4 chassis (preamp, battery, left, right) so there is definitely no saving of space on the rack, but less cables you have to buy.
Cytocycle- based on Owl's comments maybe an Emitter I or the Emitter I Exclusive is all you need, and should fit your rack.
Hey, you're in luck. Owl happens to be selling his. Nice teamwork!
Kana - unfortunately the II has 3 battery ps plus the control unit and the I has 2 BPS so space saving is not really a benefit, unfortunately. Boa2, I love these amps and am moving up to the II's!
Sorry I was so crass. Enjoy the II's!
The "revolutionary" descriptor about the ASR is interesting indeed. What is there website? I googled it and didn't find it
Thanks, Boa. I've compared the ASR against some extremely tough competition, including the Lamm ML2.1's which I lived with for a very long time as well as some supremely esoteric, very custom made as well as conventional tube gear that is the best I could find, buy, beg, borrow or steal. I'm a truly diehard solid state hater and have found this the only SS gear that can throw a huge, wraparound soundstage that's surround like yet have the delicacy, texture, and neuance as well as almost all of the complex tonal harmonics and inner detailing of some very very fine tubed gear yet have truly real world power capability. In the soundstaging department, it is, some would say, in a class by itself as far as it's signature with a SET like directness with un-SET like power- set apart from both tubes and solid state in its presentation and signature. I'm not sure as HP stated in his review that it makes digital sound better than his analog, but it sure makes my EMM front end truly shine.
Funny,at HE-2001(or close to there)I was offered a Dartzeel(by the show demo person)for 7200 bucks.I am serious,yet now(and I do understand the dollar's low value)this amp pulls in 2.5 times that amount.PLEASE!!It sounded very nice to me,yet I doubt it would significantly outperform a domestic comparable unit,like the Hovland Radia(similar power rating).

As to the HP rave of another Euro potential "dump your stuff,and run out for this";how many times have we seen this one,before.Let's see,Forsell,Versa Dynamics,and a plethora of other worldbeaters,that after time had plenty of flaws,yet were a rave until the Auto Industry("change for the sake of change",and create some BUZZ)mentality began to wear out the welcome.

To me TAS,and HP are "strictly great entertainment".That is the only consistent and logical way to view them,for me!!Actually I have my own set of tastes,and like it that way.

The latest TAS,sort of reminds me of a Television network kicking off their new fall TV season.Best timing for the shrewd marketing of product.You have all seen it,and my pocketbook has been a victim on plenty of occassions.Liken the new "supposed great" shows to the cast of characters that the ever powerful,and probably bored stiff(I doubt if HP could change a cartridge anymore)HP gives valuable(a la publicity)exposure to.The seemingly usual suspects(an arguement can be made,here),that HP loves to mention,ad nauseum,like there aren't other worthy contenders.Lets see;VPI,Classic Records,NOLA(better mention them,alot,or say sayonara to your mega buck(and loud)speakers.Need I go on?Oh yes--Lets help Jadis get back into the U.S. market by seeming to be blown away by the 40,000 dollar Jadis CD player(now surpassing the cute little 4,000 dollar unit,which smoked the 60,000 dollar Burmester),which is almost as good as the VPI 5,000 dollar LP player(which HP seems to like,as of now).Can the Scoutmaster really be better than so many of the other designs,heard,or is the Scoutmaster's price so good,that VPI will make serious dough,for some nice constant exposure.I think the folks at SOTA(bargain stuff)are shaking their heads,but they are not too local,to Sea Cliff.What happened to the promised Kuzma Airline?Oh,sorry.Kuzma doesn't come from Long Island.VPI and NOLA do!!Anyone sort of get this?

I could go on,but this is really only OPINION,so please no poison!!
sirspeedy: I think you would be very suprised how it would compare to your Hovland Radia! If you were offered one for that amount in 2001, it was a prototype. The first production run did not start until 2004. I have one of the initial "pre-production" units, and it sounds great. I appreciate that you thought it sounded "pretty good" in a show situation where the other equipment was probably not very familiar. But, I assure you it is very special. If you want to hear one and compare it to your Hovland, let me know and I will be happy to arrange something.
sirspeedy...I do not know HP personally but I have corresponded with him over the last few months asking his opinions on various things related to the Emitter. I have an ASR Emitter I Exclusive Blue that I bought new about 5 months ago and was interested in his thoughts regarding cabling, etc. From his emails I can tell his enthusiasm for the Emitter is genuine. He has struggled over the last six months writing the review because he was having a difficult time conveying his thoughts as to how the Emitter had transformed his listening experience. I guess one testimate to the Emitter is that several of the TAS staff have actually purchased one for their personal use.

It is interesting that HP calls it revolutionary. That implies that this is brand new product. In fact, the Emitter has been made by hand since the mid 80s by ASR. Fredrich Schaefer has believed in the design concept from the beginning and he has just continued to refine it. Our German friends have had the pleasure to know of this product for many years.

Although it will not save you any rack space it may save you from looking for a new amp/pre-amp anytime soon. The unit is really that amazing.

I am not a dealer or have association with TAS, ASR, or its importer -- just a guy who had tried many products and finally found a product that comes with no hype and easily stands on ite own merits.

Having corresponded with HP over the years, I agree the ASR review demonstrates his continued enthusiasm for listening to music.

If the ASR is as good as HP, Owl and you say, I'd gladly get a new rack to hold all it's parts.
It's funny, that in Europe (Germany in particular) nobody cares for ASR.
Owl, regarding your Meitner gear, do you have the DAC6 or DCC2? If the latter did you by pass the DCC's premap function and directly connect DAC to the ASR?
In Europe we know the ASR's for long time the bigger emitter costs here around 8000 euros. The BIG question is what happened and suddenly we had all this rave. Even in Germany no one said that this is the best killer amp there is. Of course ASR makes excellent products but Dartzeel and Lamm killers I think not.
Have in mind that ASR need days of current to full their batteries and the 800.000~ mF capacitors the had. After a week of "charging" you can hear them at their best.

For years German magazines put them under Mark Levinson 383, Gryphon big integrated, Symphonic lines integrated (hmm), Accuphase 530 and others....(random ranking).

I respect HP's view, but something does not fit, unless all those years we had gold (in Europe) and finally we discover it through the US import.

With all these I don't want to underestimate ASR Emitter's powers and capabilities...I like it very very much....but maybe we overreact ??
Wow SirSpeedy! That was the best rant I've seen in a while. Now..tell us how you really feel! And fyi, 'i did get it'.
i had two darTZeel amps and the new dart pre in my room for a week. if either the Lamm ML2.1 (with any pre) or the ASR Emitter II are better then i take my hat off to them.....and rejoice that that kind of performance is out there.

the dart combo (including dirt cheap proprietary cables and a world class phono stage) was mind-boggingly good.....dramatically beyond my previous reference.

if you are interested in my specific comments click on my system page and the last few posts get into it.

if anyone has a chance to hear the dart amps and pre in a familiar system they should do it.

Henry - Latest version of the CDSD using optical with the latest firmware updates running the DCC2 direct balanced into the ASR with Purist Dominus cabling.

Elberoth and Kops. European Enthusiasm? Seems like folks over there have lost their minds over the ASR, even forming a club to celebrate their enthusiasm :

Check out the links on the left!
Russellrencom,from time to time I like to rant.Like TAS it is just some entertainment.I don't really take myself all that seriously.Seriously!

Jtinn--Since you have come under criticism,and scrutiny,of your own,in the past,I'll be as polite as I can.Also,I kind of like you,from reading past posts.

I don't own a Radia!The Dartzeel could not have been a prototype,as the show attendee offered me a chance to become a dealer,and all I did was show up in a room to hear a nice little amp,upon purchase of something like 5 units.This would have been improper business practice,as to begin marketing a product in prototype form sort of smacks from "not so hot" business practice!You don't have to believe any of this,but that is EXACTLY the way it went down!Though I'm sure the guy IS a nice guy,he was probably trying a bit too hard to get the product off the ground.I totally understand,yet still can't(and won't) get past something like 18 grand for a single chasis 100 watter,hence the Radia comparison(which goes for a 9500 figure).It(the Radia) has gotten great press,and seems to be a stunning design,though STILL not cheap.

I NEVER state,or imply anything in my own set-up is best,as to me,those who do that lose some credibility.Everyone likes their own stuff.It's human nature to rationalize one's own buying decisions,which is just fine with me.I do it too.

The best amp,IMO,that I've ever heard,and I've heard it alot,is the Lamm 1.2(I hope I got the model # correct.The monoblock 22 wpc model).I own a modded ROWLAND,which I love,yet I'm sure it is not the best,and who cares anyway.I have the sound I've been aspiring to get,after being at this perplexing hobby for a bit of time.

As to HP,I have some knowledge of some goings on at Sea Cliff(I DO have SOME friends,still),and all in all I owe alot to HP.To me HP seems played out.Not that I blame him.Also TAS is a shell of what it once was,and that is probably the lions share of my diatribe.Sorry!!

Sorry about the rant,yet I kinda liked it!
Looks like some of the inmates have been over to SeaCliff/HP's:
sirspeedy: Thanks for the compliment... I think :)

The unit that you spoke of, indeed, was a prototype (AKA. pre-production unit). The reaon for the show was to find US representation and get some press for the product. If you read Wes Phillips'comments below, it will verify what I stated in my earlier post:

Stereophile Excerpt:
It was late May 2002 and I was about to leave the Free Republic of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, for the high-class hallways of the New York Hilton and Home Entertainment 2002, so I could file daily reports for As he was giving me last-minute instructions, webmaster Jon Iverson said, "I don't know whether or not you followed Hervé Delétraz's articles on building his amplifier, but he's going to have a sample at the Show. You should drop in and check it out. It sounds kind of interesting."

I had seen Delétraz's amp stories, but I'd only skimmed them, so I dropped by the darTZeel room expecting a kludgy DIY project. There wasn't anything remotely like that on display, so I almost moved on, convinced that Delétraz must have been unable to negotiate the shipping hurdles to bring his engineering-school project from Geneva, Switzerland, to New York.

Fortunately, Delétraz spotted my nametag and introduced himself—we'd corresponded by e-mail a time or two but had never met.

"Too bad you couldn't bring your amp to the show," I commiserated.

"But you're listening to it!"

I goggled at the beautiful, beefy power amp sitting on the floor between the speakers. It featured a thick, gold-anodized faceplate and soft, red-anodized casework and heatsinks. A smoked-glass top plate revealed a topology that looked more sculpted than laid out. A pair of domed indicator lights pulsed softly to the music, and a centrally located power switch lent the front panel an overwhelming resemblance—inadvertent, I assumed—to a face.

It was purty—in fact, the amp's fit'n'finish rivaled that of any audio component I had ever seen. This was a DIY project?

Well, Hervé Delétraz is Swiss. And an engineer. And, well, Swiss.

I sat down and listened. And marveled. And lusted.

"You have got to manufacture this amplifier!" I blurted.

"I would like to," said Hervé, "but it will be quite expensive. I used to think that stereo cost so much that I would be better off making it myself. But when you make only one, it really gets expensive—and I don't think it gets much better if you make 50, either."

"Then you're going to need to make a whole lot of these, because people have got to hear what this amp can do."

"I'd like that," Hervé said.

Delétraz has managed to keep the price more or less stable—in Swiss francs. US dollars is another story. The greenback's precipitous dive has driven the amplifier's Stateside price steadily up. It currently hovers just below $18,200.
END Stereophile Excerpt.

I hope this clears things up for you as I also hope you get a chance to hear the amplifier in a system that you are familiar with.

As far as 18k for 100 watts, the amp you seem to really appreciate is the LAMM ML2.1, which is 18 watts in 2 chassis. The Wavac's are 60k+ for 100 watts in 2 chassis and let's not even bother discussing the FM Acoustics. Are these all incredibly expensive? Yes, but price per watt, does not really matter. I hope you see my point.
I was able to compare the ASR and Lamm amps yesterday. The ASR is very impressive and definitely should be auditioned.
The one downside to all the latest craze about these Solid State amps is the ability to tube roll and tailor a set of amps to your particular system and room. Also the ability to improve your system over time with cost effective tube upgrades.

The unfairness of most reviewers on insisting on using the Manufacturer’s supplied tubes (usually inferior "cheap" tubes), when they toss out the "cheap" power cords supplied with most solid state amps and replace them with $2000 cords reeks of Hypocrisy. Tubed amps should be reviewed and compared using the best NOS tubes available. In my experience there is no comparision in the sound between the same amps using a fine set of NOS tubes and the stock ones. If we are trying to achieve the "Absolute Sound" wouldn't this make sense?

What ever happened to all the tube fans and "the way they process signal like a waterfall" and all those dirty junctions in a SS amp. This business is so full of cr***.

Remember when you buy a darTZeel or ASR they will always sound the same, and if your system changes to bad (i.e. speaker or source upgrades) your "stuck" with it.

Sorry for the rant of a bottlehead.

I agree with you completely.

I run my Lamm ML 2.1's with Wilson X-2's and I have personally heard no better sound ever. People told me before I bought them that my sound would be anemic and lifeless. Quite the contrary as they drive the X-2's with plenty of head room all at only 18wpc.

Marc Mickelson at soundstage runs his Maxx ll's with ML 2.1's and they too sound dramatic. If you are interested in Marc's review of the Maxx ll with the Lamm ML 2.1 you can find it in the archive section of

You can see photos of mine if you link to my system. They are the most musical amps that I have ever owned.
Oneobgn: The Lamms are great amps, which brings me to the whole essence of tubed amplifiers - they produce sound in halographic way. The initial sources which produced the sound are reproduced in full three demensional way, not like staggered layers of cardboard cutouts.

I have not heard the ASRs or the DartZel, but I have owned some very good SS amps and pre-amps. They initially sounded very good, but as the months wore on, they lost their "effect". I have never gotten bored of my tubed amps, if I want to make things interesting out comes the box of NOSs and a little rolling "freshes" the sound. Humans adapt to the sound of their system, and after a while get bored.

Let's see what people are saying about these amps in three years. If they keep their value or get tossed for the latest and greatest. If as I expect happens, you'll be able to buy these for a fraction of what the "waiting list" folks are paying. Track the price of a pair of Tungsol 6SN7 roundplates over the last three years - they've doubled!

Enjoy your Lamms

Oneobgn: Thanks for the post. I'm sure old HP is still listening to those 'Canes using the $2 Chinese drivers and those soft Value Art Kt-88s. I would like to see him review them with Cryo'd EHs and a nice set of NOS 6sn7s - he will fall out of his plastic chair. A certainly fairer match to the $27000 ASRs - even with the cost of the tube upgrades - the amps would cost less then the cords powering them. BTW - don't use the Thor for the 'Canes they like the Richard Grays much better, but that's for another thread.

We'll see what the value of these amps are in three years -when people get bored with them. We adapt to the sound of our systems - like a drug adddict. That's why we have upgradeitis - with tube amps - the cost/hassle is much less. In fact, a periodic tube roll, makes for interesting subtile changes. Like drinking different fine wines - all good but in different ways.

Tubes rock
Dbk- Which amp/speakers did you decide to buy?
Sorry for the redundant posts - but it took the 'Gon a day to post my reply Oneobgn - thought it had slipped into the eithernet - Apologies to all.
Doesn't seem a lot of GONers have actually really auditioned the ASR....anybody who has it would be really interesting to hear what they thought of them a bit in more specific now there has been a lot of feedback on NHBs (thanks Mike) and of course Lamms etc...haven't seen much on ASRs.
Hello fellow GONers. I am new to AUDIOGON , but not to the audio world. I have recently purchased the Emitter II Exclusive blue version. Music gear has been in my life since the age of two. My dad built and rolled his own amps speakers etc. Second generation bug.

I have owned different gear over the years, every new component was auditoned back and forth to hear if any changes took place. As you guys know, this is best the way to improve your system for your individual taste.

Some of the comparisions have taken a long time to reach a conclusion . The Emitter II Exclusive was such an immediate dramatic change that I was floored! The music flowed like it has never before - the usual adjectives to describe soundstage, depth, width, height, room presence, 3D-like imaging, slam, transcience, dynamics, and pinpoint imaging are not adequate. The difference is so profound in my system that words cannot describe what I hear!

I've had other audiophiles and musicians listen and go away shaking their heads in disbelief. They have never heard anything like it either.

Regarding the price, best money I've ever spent!! Get the unit home and listen for yourself - you won't be disappointed.

Auf wiedersehen! Happy listening!
Rugyboogie: your system...are u driving your main L/R speakers w/ the ASR and the rest of the 5.1 set up w/ ML? Using the Calyso with the ASR for 2 channel or just ASR? 5.1 and 2 channel system one and the same integrated system?
Henryk: In my theater system I am using the ML 33s for the for the main L/R, 335 for the center, 33h for the rears. Fronts L/C/R are wired Valhalla interconnect (balanced), speakers are 1m Valhalla. The 2 channel is strictly ASR. The ML 30.6 DA outputs to the ASR. The ASR is using my old MIT MH 850 EVO for the L/R (I am lookin for 10ft Valhalla, any other recomendations?). My ASR also has a sub output which feeds my Watch Dog. That signal is single ended and full range. I have to switch the Dog from balanced (for theater mode) to single ended for two channel.
The Calypso and the CAT have been sold. They could not hold a candle to the ASR.
I have separated the two channel from the home theater. Originally the room was only for 2 channel, had it to myself for 2 years. For now they have to coexist, next house, I will build two separate dedicated rooms.
I see thanks. Wow Calypso can't handle a candle to ASR?
The Calypso didn't sound as good as the CAT . While it might have had a slight edge over the CAT in the bottom end the presentation and sound stage width, depth, and especially midrange wasn't even close. Vocals were very closed in and not very precise in respect to the soundstage. Once the ASR was brought into my system it was literally like taking many blankets off of my speakers. Usually we would hear subtle differences when switching back and forth between components. With the ASR, the differences were not subtle at all. They were so noticeably better it was eerie. The soundstage is extremely precise. Localization of musicians and their instruments can be pinpointed exactly on the stage. The recording venue is very obvious with the ASR. When listening with the CAT we could tell if it was a studio setup, empty church, or concert hall. Now, listening with the ASR we can tell the size of the room where the music was recorded. The authority and command that the ASR has over the music is (for me) unparalled!!
I am now trying the NORDOST THOR with my setup. Results so far are positive. Will let you know how it all sounds next week when the unit is fully burned in.