A Lamm pre?
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It appears you are leaning towards a tube preamp.
Depending on your needs, I would recommend either a used ARC Ref. 2, Mk. II, (they run around $4K, or so), or if you have the cash, a used Ref. 3, although these are very tough to find used (used around $8K) and new $10K.
My friend uses the Ref 2, with his Lamm M2.2s, and it sounds great. Both of these preamps have a very flexible remote control (i.e. it controls everything, volume, sources, balance, etc..). The only downside is that these are line stages only, no phono boards available. (Although given the money involved, spending a few grand more on a phono stage won't break the bank!) My friend tried out the Ref. 3 vs. his Ref. 2, (in his system), and he preferred the Ref. 3. He says when he gets the money, that he'll definitely upgrade to the Ref. 3, it was that good.
If you would consider a solid state preamp, I use the Ayre K-1xe (with the phono stage!), with my Lamm M2.1s, and it sounds as good, at least to my ears, as the ARC Ref. 2. However, the remote is very basic, and only controls volume. (In fact it has no balance control at all, due to the way that the volume control is constructed. Personally, I don't miss it, but some people do like to play around with the balance controls.)
PS As you can tell, a remote is a must for me.
Yeah, I'm a lazy SOB! :-)
If a remote is not a must for you, the Lamm L2 is very good too, albeit a little dark sounding. (I'm not trying to put it down, just relaying what we thought of it compared to the Ref. 2. It is still a top notch preamp.) However with no remote, and dual volume controls, and only 3 SE inputs, it would never make my short list.
Good luck in your search!
hello, i currently have a mL1's and my preamp is the Lamm LL2. before the LL2, i was using a c-2800 accuphase solid state and the music was very pure! the LL2 is not so pure, but more musical until i changed the 12ax7a tubes on the mL1's to ecc803s. by just changing these tubes to the 803s, extended the lows/highs, smoother midrange, incredible soundstage and the bass was very impressive. now, for the money, you can buy a used LL2 for around $2400. for this price, you will not find another preamp at this price that will play as well as this peramp. oh yeah, my LL2 is using amerpex tubes which makes a big difference in the quality. good day david picarsic