The ML2 is very difficult to surpass. I haven't heard anything that comes close IMHO. I cannot speak about the other ML1.1 amp.
If you get a chance you should really shoot for higher sensitivity speakers. I've heard the Kharma 3.2 and they were very very nice. I think the Living Voice has a little more in terms of lower end dynamics. I cannot imagine what the true high sensitivity crowd enjoys.
The ML2 really shines when you can appreciate the dynamic energy that can be released in higher sensitvitiy speakers. I have not heard this kind of energy release in any amplifier solid state or tube. Now combined with the crystal clear signal that carries infinate ease of delivery and drive. I think this is the 'natural sound' you are referring to, which is really hard to describe unless you've heard it in person. I think you would search long and hard to find it regarless of price. Price really doesn't enter the picture here. My senese is this type of 'geshtalt' of music reproduction is not in the 'High End' or rather 'HiFi' type of audiophile sound. But I am highly biased.
Anyone have any further thoughts?
I have the ML 2.1 and I can honestly say that of all of the amps I have ever owned none have been as musical as this amp. I toyed with the idea of the ML 1.1 only because I thought that more watts would drive my X-2 Alexandrias with more ease. How could only 18 wpc drive the 15" drivers in my speakers? I must say that I continue to be amazed at how good the ML 2.1 really is. I can play my speakers at ear bleeding levels without making the amps clip. As far as reproduction of music the ML 2.1 is as good as it gets. It will be your last amp purchase.
I own the ML1.1s, have not had the chance to hear the ML2 or 2.1 at any length. The ML1.1 is about as good as you can get with push-pull--an extremely natural, non-electronic sounding amplifier. While I could probably be seduced by the 2s, they would not do as well in my system because my speakers are 90db sensitivity and I listen to a lot of Mahler and other power classical music. My understanding from those that know is that unless you have VERY sensitive speakers you will only be scratching the surface of what the ML2s have to offer and you might be better off with the additional power offered by the ML1.1s. You may not get quite that same purity of sound you would get from the single-ended amplifier, but it is very close. If you do have sensitive enough speakers, though, you should go for the ML2 or 2.1, as otherwise you'll probably obsess over it!
The only other amps I would suggest you listen to that are in the same league musically are from Jadis (I'd suggest their single-ended models, or else the JA 30 or JA80), which might be more reasonably priced in France, or else the Audio Aero Prestige monoblocks, 40 watts of single-ended power that sounds drop-dead gorgeous. The predecessor to the Audio Aero monos, from Audio Matiere/Audio Sculpture (can't remember the name, it wasn't the Equilibre), were possibly the best amps I've ever heard, along with the crazy expensive Siltech amps.
I recently got the ML2s (predecessor of the 2.1s) and am still in the "jaw dropping" stage - am an experienced SET listener (300B and 2A3 amps in particular), but once I got the correct input tube in place, the ML2s are redefining my system's capabilities - still have the "lit from within" quality of lower-power SETs, but with superb extension at frequency extremes, detail and propulsion - the music is projected into the room with a tonal density I've never before encountered. This is in the context of 104dB horns with powered subs. Certainly, the ML1.1s would be overkill in a high-sensitivity system such as this...YMMV.
"but once I got the correct input tube in place"
I am curious as to which input tubes you switched to
I just bought circa 1965 NOS Telefunken ECC 83 rib plates and I was blown away as to how much better the ML 2.1 sounds as compared to the 12AX7 tubes supplied by Vladimir. Mine were Sylvania.
I did research on the tubes and everyone recommended the rib plate vs the smooth plate
I also managed to buy circa 1957 NOS Mullard 12AX7 long plate with square getter halo. I find these to be warmer than the Telefunken but not quite as detailed
If you have the opportunity to audition the Convergent Audio Technologies JL-2 amplifer (100 Watts, Class A, Triode), I would do so. Along with the LAMMs, among the best.
The JL-2 is a completely different beast than the Lamm. My very close friend has JL-2's. I have heard them and find them excellent but in a different sort of way than the ML 2.1.
I would compare the JL-2 to my last amp--Audio Research Reference 600 Mk lll's
I have a different type of system,yet one that is incredibly musical,to me.Rowland modded two chassis 8t amp(switch mode PS in second chassis,taking the place of battery,and even quieter),driving fairly large Avalon speakers,with a REL Stentor sub(coming in at 25 hz).I cannot be happier with my sound,and have owned a ton of stuff.Speakers are quite sensitive,and demand little of this superb amp.So sonically it is really quite effortless.As good a solid state based set-up as I've heard,and to me, at least as good as the high powered tube stuff,as well,though my phono stage is tubed,thank God!
Now for the meat of my post.Though I have friends owning superb high power push/pull tubed designs,all driving superb systems,I am still confident that my set-up remains at the very least,as musical as those systems(almost all my stuff is heavily modded).Actually I prefer my own type of presentation,in my room.EXCEPT---I have always prided myself as NOT being a rationalizer,in this fun hobby.It's hard to admit to something being better,when one has spent their own dollars.Well to be candid,and I only mentioned the info,in the first paragraph to lend some gravity to the following,which is-------I have been exposed to the Lamm 18 watt mono "treasures" on quite a few occassions.Driving Kharma 3.2's,as well as midi Exquisites.I have heard them driving a few other efficient designs,as well.I've also heard the 90 watters,on the same speakers.Though superb(remember this is only my opinion,but I own NONE of this stuff,yet that "Gestalt" business clearly stands out to me,and I've been at this hobby about 37 years)it is clearly the smaller wattage amp that is the "Dream Catcher",when partnering a really good match in speakers.So good,that the business of "does it go low enough,or crack plaster,or would it sound great on an MTV type rig" flies completely out the window.Actually,it's jet propelled out the window!!Glass,frame and all!
I personally think the adding of a sub,if mated with a speaker like the 3.2(I have heard the Kharma sub,on a few occassions)ruins the magic of this amp/speaker combo.That "gestalt" thing again!!
I am SO smitten by the magic of this amp(not necessarily a Kharma speaker,btw,though they are fine,even with the almost absurd overpricing),that I will most likely be HAPPY to give up all the stunning dynamic inpact,and bass depth(not to mention I have damn good tone color as of now,and a stunning soundstage,yet nothing touches the little Lamm mono blocks,Imo)that I live with now.I MUST own these,some day!!Like that character,in the movie "Close Encounters of The Third Kind",I keep saying-"This means something"!I guess I get it.It only took me 37 hobby years,to figure it out!!!
These amps are SO good,to me,that I have completely rearranged my musical perspective.Everything I've loved over the years,and all audio preconceived notions,of how a system should perform,is now DEFUNCT,by the fact that these amps exist.Obviously they will need a simple set-up,with some potential compromises.I don't care!!Nothing wrong with a nice two way,for a different look(actually,"listen")as compared to my previous full range stuff.BTW-I'm quite aware that these amps kick butt,and can deliver quite a full range sound,"if the correct speakers are chosen".There's the rub!!
Best to all!!
Oneobgyn, since I have been following your threads, I decided I just gotta hear the ML2 in my system, so, I am buying one, and will have it end of next week, or first part of the following. My speakers are 95DB Epiphany 12/12. I sure hope I feel the same way as you. The Gentleman I am buying from, is getting the Dartzeel. I just love tubes, SET especially. I just hope I get the same results, as you. I will post after receiving. I already have the Telefunken's, both smooth, and ribbed, along with about 10 other pairs of high end 12AX7's. My question is this, have you rlooed any other tbes in the amp.
Thanks in advance
"I am SO smitten by the magic of this amp(not necessarily a Kharma speaker,btw,though they are fine,even with the almost absurd overpricing),that I will most likely be HAPPY to give up all the stunning dynamic inpact,and bass depth(not to mention I have damn good tone color as of now,and a stunning soundstage,yet nothing touches the little Lamm mono blocks,Imo)that I live with now.I MUST own these,some day!!Like that character,in the movie "Close Encounters of The Third Kind",I keep saying-"This means something"!I guess I get it.It only took me 37 hobby years,to figure it out!!!
These amps are SO good,to me,that I have completely rearranged my musical perspective.Everything I've loved over the years,and all audio preconceived notions,of how a system should perform,is now DEFUNCT,by the fact that these amps exist.Obviously they will need a simple set-up,with some potential compromises.I don't care!!Nothing wrong with a nice two way,for a different look(actually,"listen")as compared to my previous full range stuff.BTW-I'm quite aware that these amps kick butt,and can deliver quite a full range sound,"if the correct speakers are chosen".There's the rub!!"
Sir Speedy...like you I have been involved in this hobby for ~35 years and have IMO owned just about every high end amp imagineable from solid state to tubes. Prior to the Lamm ML 2.1's I owned the ARC Ref 600 Mk lll's and thought them to be the cat's meow with 31 tubes per amp. I sold them to buy the new replacement Reference 610T. For private reasons the deal soured and I was pissed at this and looked for a suitable replacement. I had heard Vladimir's amps many times at CES and always felt them to be remarkable. I agonized as to whether these 18 wpc SET's could drive my huge X-2's. I made many enquiries including calls to Wilson Audio and each time was reassured that not only would they drive my speakers but would do so with plenty of head room. I bought them as a result and have had them since July 2005. Since then I can say that form my ears and my system I have reached audio nirvana. IMO there is just no amp that is as musical as this one. It brings smiles to my face daily as I scratch my head in awe.I really feel that I have made my last amp purchase. Bear in mind that Vladimir will be releasing his ML 3's 30wpc SET for CES next year which is a 4 piece set of monos at a reported MSRP of $135K.
"Oneobgyn, since I have been following your threads, I decided I just gotta hear the ML2 in my system, so, I am buying one, and will have it end of next week, or first part of the following. My speakers are 95DB Epiphany 12/12. I sure hope I feel the same way as you. The Gentleman I am buying from, is getting the Dartzeel. I just love tubes, SET especially. I just hope I get the same results, as you. I will post after receiving. I already have the Telefunken's, both smooth, and ribbed, along with about 10 other pairs of high end 12AX7's. My question is this, have you rlooed any other tbes in the amp."
My best advice to you is to get the ML 2's from that gentleman with a no trade back policy because IMO he will truly miss his Lamm amps after listening to the DarTZeel. If you love SET and tubes this amp is the best of the best. Are getting the ML 2 or the ML 2.1? Some feel the ML 2 was a better amp than it's successor. I cannot comment on that
As for tube rolling, I also bought circa 1957 NOS Mullard long plate with square getter halo and found them likewise to be excellent, somewhat warmer in the mid range than the Telefunken but not as defined as the Telefunken.
I also found the rib plate Telefunken's to be more defined than the smooth plate. I am using circa 1965 NOS Telefunken with rib plate.
As for the Lamm amp I have no vested interest in the company but you can find my testimonial to these amps on Valdimir's webpage.If you love music these amps are the goods and your speakers at 95 Db should be fine as mine too are 95 Db efficient with their 15" drivers.
SirSpeedy, I finally got my SOTA Cosmos setup, and I'm just floored how good it sounds. But then again, this is my venture back into vinyl (which I so happily left back in the 80s for the convinence of remote control and 'instance access'). I'm starting out with the Denon DL-103 and I can't imagine moving up from there. But, someday I just might, maybe when my record collection becomes sizable. Anyway, I have it atop a Symposium Ultra platform like yours as well. Exception sound! I'm using the Loricraft record cleaner as well.
So I take it from your post, a pair of ML2s are in your future? You won't regret it, as you well know.
I'm *casually* on a speaker quest as well, but for now the Living Voices are very very good for their price point. I've heard the Kharma 3.2FE, and I was very tempted. But now that I have the ML2s in my system, the Living Voices really hold their own in many ways.
I'm tempted to try the Zu Driud to hear a xover-less single driver with these amps.
I as well have some ML2's heading my way to potentially replace my ML1's. I feel my Reimer Teton speakers at 95db should be able to handle the lower powered ML2's. Davidri, I will post my comparative comments in a few weeks after I have them up and running.
Onobgyn,I'm happy you've found audio bliss!Seldom done,IMO!Hey,let's not get too excited about things Lamm.We haven't heard the Japanese Audio Note mono blocks (at least I have not).Therse babies go for 250K!!Hmm!Can you spare some dough?
James,REALLY,REALLY happy for you!!You have a lot of fun listening in front of you.
BTW--The Lamms won't make an appearance until I sell my home,in a few brief years.My kids are grown,but I still have to unload my daughter.No rush,she's the love of my life,yet I'll have a cute SET amp,when she goes!Also,I'm kind of smitten by the (once again overpriced,yet indispensible)Kharma Mini Exquisites.Hope I get top dollar,for my house.BTW--due to size it should be an easy sell,to the wife!!
Onebgyn, I bought the ML2 for exact reason you stated. I have also been told the ML2 is a bit better, and on top of it, a bit less $$$. I have heard the Dartzeel at the recent T H E show on the VR9's, and thought it was nice, the bass was not well defined, and the soundstage was not right. I understand it was SHOW conditions, but, hey SS is NOT SET. I have 12 tweeters, and 12 mid bass in my new speakers. I hope I will find my Nirvana, as well. Thanks for the feedback.
Dmailer, I talked to you before I bought my Reimers, and yes, they are real good speakers, I feel they are a bit tougher to drive than my present Epiphany's. My room is pretty large, almost 20 x 40, and if yours is much smaller, these amps should probably work for you. Good luck my friends.
Have any of you guys rolled the 6N6P=E182CC with a bendix 6900, or other 6119/5687 variant?
20x40 room, wow, thats a large room. I remember seeing the Ephiphany speakers at Home Entertainment show here in NYC a year or two ago. The room was packed with people, so I really didn't get a chance to hear them because of the crowd, but they were beautiful speakers for sure.
I was checking out Onebgyn's room too, very nice indeed. What's this about a new ML3 - 30 watts for $135k? The Fed better keep raising interest rates because inflation is definately showing its face. :)
My room size is quite small, my listening space is 12'x12' so it's nearfield listening for me. I'm very limited to my room size for speakers.
I wonder if there are other speakers I should consider given the small room size? I've always been curious about a pair of Quads, but I just don't have the space. Monitors and a sub - I'm very skeptical about subwoofers and how they integrate. Monitors with no sub - why not just go with small floor standers? Any thoughts for a small room?
"Have any of you guys rolled the 6N6P=E182CC with a bendix 6900, or other 6119/5687 variant?"
Everyone I have talked to who are knowledgeable in tubes seem to think that the only tube to benefit is the 12AX7 as it is the first tube seen by the signal.
Guys, you are forgeting one very important amplifier that competes head to head with the ML2.1 - the VAC Phi Beta 110. In some ways, I feel that the VAC is even better then the Lamm. Both of these designs offer out-of-this-world sonics.
Has anyone here compared the two?
I do like the Vac and it was on my short list when I was looking to change amps but even though it is very good, I just would not trade my Lamm for the Vac.
James,I have an Avalon Ascent mk-2,and am running one Rel Stentor,coming in at 25hz.It did take a long time,but they integrate absolutely perfectly.NO seams!
As to your room,and mini issue.Yes,a small floorstander,like a Kharma 3.2,or possibly a Verity product,could do superbly.It's up to your commitment.I know your ARE committed,anyway!I know a fellow(actually a friend of my pal,though I have met him)who is now a mainstream reviewer(actually a pretty good one).He used to have a large dedicated room,with a large,complex system.He loved it.Well,he went through a nasty divorce(poor guy),and is now in a small living space.Small room,but he's a fanatic.He really knows his stuff,and has a HUGE LP collection.What he did,and very successfully,was mount the JM Labs Be Mini monitors on a stand that he had custom made(I don't know why he didn't like the normal stand).He then added a small sub(the Audio Physic,I forget which model,but it sells for about two "thou").He is ECSTATIC with the current performance.He has been able to integrate the sub perfectly.Trust me,he knows what he's doing,and all my friends who have heard the set-up comply.Actually he now likes the current system better than the old one.So,it can be done,for sure.Technology has given us a lift,if we chose to use it correctly.
I shudder when I make this other suggestion but to consider an all digital set up such as NHT XD2
SirSpeedy, I've heard the Verity Parsifal (the previous versions) and was very very impressed. Maybe I should reconsider the mini-monitor/sub configuration.
Onebgyn's suggestion for the NHT XD2, interesting suggestion, I may have to read up on those...any links? You can recommend to read?
Woudn't the Digital amp in the NHT system negate the Lamm ML2 all together?
Looks like they are using room correction software. I have yet to try room correction. I am thinking about room acoustic corrections though.
I was trying to suggest a very good and most inexpensive all in one digital system for a smaller room that you have.
You are correct...this leaves the Lamm amp out of the equation but you can buy this NHT system for less money than the Lamm amps.
Oneobgyn, ok I see.
I've also been curious about corner horns like the Klipsh Horn or the Hartsfeld Corner Horn. Field Coils are also something I would like to hear as well. I'm starting some renovations, and one possiblity is to change the listening positioning of the room from the 12x12 area, to the entire 12x24 space of the physical room. In this configuration, the corner horns would go along the short wall. I don't know if this is feasible or not.
Any thoughts here?
I suspect that your room may be too small for those Klipsch horns.
Oneobgyn, havr you ever heard the NHT system?
"Oneobgyn, have you ever heard the NHT system?"
Indeed I have
NHT has there head office not too far from where I live. One of their chief engineers (Jack Hidley) lives in the same town as I do. Several months ago my audio club (Bay Area Audio Society)hosted Jack at my house for an afternoon listening to their system. It set up quickly and for something so inexpensive was certainly above average. NHT is definitely on the fringe of digital music reproduction. Those little speakers imaged well and threw a terrific soundstage. It would fit well into a small room as mentioned above. They just weren't my cup of tea however, having said this it is apparent to me (saddly so) that the future of sound reproduction lies in the digital domain such as this
They just weren't my cup of tea however, having said this it is apparent to me (saddly so) that the future of sound reproduction lies in the digital domain such as this
Ain't that the TRUTH. It really will be all computer(chip)based within another decade(IMHO)but, us audiophools will keep analog around till the end....
I dont see you with a low power Amp.
As I recall, you like the bass.
I am going to try a Pass X 350.5 or the 600.5
Ken, I really just love wonderful music, my happiest point in my journey, musically was with a simple system.
Modified Klipsch Cornwall
My new speakers are far better, as is the latest apl, now, I am hoping for "musical magic" from the Lamm ML2's. My interconnects/power conditioner/pre-amp are world class.
I will also keep my 120 watters to rock out.
I will have my new custom horns (104 DB)next month
I so believe I will be smilin
My ML2's showed up yesterday and work just fine with my 95db Reimer Tetons. I pretty much agree with Oneobgyn on these amps as they are really special. 711smilin I look foward to your feedback on the Epiphany's. I listened for several hours last night and thought I would share some impressions and comparisons with the ML1's. I have had the ML1's in my system for several years and really had trouble imagining there could be much improvement. The first thing I noticed with the ML2's was that they did have a similar sonic signature as the ML1's. The ML1's do very well with dynamics and bass and I was surprised that the ML2's were just as dynamic sounding with only 18 watts. The one area which the ML2's exceeded the ML1's was in the low frequencies where they seem to resolve more low level detail. The area where the ML2's really stand out is in the midrange where I find it extremely engaging and more palpable. Sonic textures are very natural sounding. The ML1 on the other hand is also very transparent and has a very neutral midrange. The ML2's I would say are slightly on the warm side of neutral but in a good way. Both amps have an extended top end with the ML2 being slightly sweeter on top. Overall they do sound more alike than not but the nod goes to the ML2's for their resolving power and palpability. The difference in sound between them is most likely a result of the push pull vs single ended topology's. I suspect that each amp is at the top for its type. For the majority of speakers out there the ML1's are really hard to beat. If you have speakers with higher effeciency though the ML2's may be the best you can get.
"If you have speakers with higher effeciency though the ML2's may be the best you can get."
I absolutely agree. IMO these are hands down the finest amp I have ever owned. The mid range and high end for my ears is as good as it gets. I would be surprised if I ever buy another amp. This is audio nirvana.
Dmailer...now you must take my advice and do some experimenting with the 12AX7 tube on each amp. I didn't know what I was missing until I managed to get NOS circa 1965 Telefunken with rib plates as well as NOS circa 1957 Mullard with long plate and square getter halo. This will take these amps to a completely different level
Dmailer, CONGRATS, glad your smiling, hope you keep us up to date too.
BTW, I just bought the Amperex 1958 Longplates, which are suppose to be amoung the best. I will receive my amps next week. I am trying to wait patiently.
Oneobgyn, I will definitely have to try out some NOS in the 12AX7 position. 711smilin, your in for a treat when those amps arrive. If your Epiphany's are more effecient than the Reimers then it should sound great as I have lots of headroom with these amps on the Tetons.
"I have lots of headroom with these amps"
It really never ceases to amaze me as to the amount of headroom on these amps.
I just recieved the Pass X350.5.
Out of the box, brand new, WOW!!!
I've had Amps that are rated high power, but with the Pass Amps you can feel the effortless power.
Deep soundstage and vocals that are so natural. The bass sounds exellent, clean and defined and the treble is great !.
Everything sounds so right !
And this is again right out of the box !!!
Plugged into my APL 3910.
Oneobgyn and Dmailer,
I have been following this thread and wanted to let you know I just replaced VTL Ref 750's with the Lamm ML2's on my Kharma 1-E,same as the 1-DDE .
Althought the VTL's are a truly great sounding amp,Lamm's are the most musical on this speaker IMHO for all the reasons outlined.
My experience rolling tubes wasn't as positive with the Telefunken's, but perhaps I had a bad tube. The stock tubes from Lamm were the GE 12ax7's, and they sounded better.
I am told that this speaker also responds well to biamping, which may be the next threshold and scary with 4 Lamms.
I am a tube rolling fool, next week when I receive mine, I will roll with 10 pair, or so. I will then give opinions.
The only ones to play with on this amp is the 12AX7
Have a look at this for the holy grail of 12AX7'shttp://www.tubedepot.com/pa-ecc803s-tele.html
1400, hmmmmmm, I tell you the truth, I have both 1950's smooth, and ribbed plate. I ahve always felt them sterile sounding, bright, thin, unmusical. I normally like the Amperex, which I have 1957 d getter, longplates. I also have tung sol's, raytheons, mazda(silver plates), and a whole bunch more. I will post my opinions later. As far as the 803s is concerned, I feel the rarity of these tubes do not coincide with the sound.JMHO.
All I gotta say is WOW, these are fun amps, accurate and scary in what they produce. Certainly not the last word in bass, or volume, but detailed up the wazoo. They sat at my office for 10 days while my Dad was in the hospital, but, over the weekend I hooked em up. They really do need a good 30-60 minutes to warm up, biasing is easy, and then, the magic happens, especially with the naturalness of the vocals, seperation of instramentation, detail of pinpoint imaging, and depth of soundstage. I am playing with different 12AX7's trying to voice this amp. I thought it would play louder w/o getting distorted, but, I can definately hear strain at higher SPL's. But, I never had, nor heard, an amp with such LUSCIOUS low level detail.
More to come
711 smilin, glad to hear you are liking your ML2's. I am not sure the effeciency of your speakers but with the Teton's 95db I do not hear any distortion at rather loud levels. I normally listen to most music in the 70-80db range. I admit though that I have not tried or for that matter care to listen at head banging 100db+ levels.
Dmailer, my room is bigger, 700 square feet, I listen normal 85Db-95Db. But, at the same time, WOW, the low level microdynamics are amazing. I have been playing around with sources last night, and hearing much bigger differences with the Lamms, than any of the 40 plus I have owned in the past few years. I still own and LOVE my Dodd 120's, headbanging at it's finest, but these, in general are fabulous too.
Ya Gotta try the Amperex 12AX7's bugle boys, d getter from the 50's....very very nice
There is absolutely no distortion with my speakers as well using high SPL
No detectable distortion here, either - PLENTY of headroom with 18 watts, at any sane (or somewhat insane) volume level. Enjoy!
OKAY, so, do you think my amps have an issue?