Lamm ML1 question


Well, I finally bit the bullet and bought a used pair of Lamm ML-1s to replace my Jadis amps in my main system. While I like what I'm hearing, has anyone tried any tube-rolling with the two small-signal tubes in the amps? Any suggestions?
rcprince
I would not recommend it. Vladmir hand picks each tube and they are of the highest quality.

I have tried it with no luck.

Congratulations on a terrific amp.
Shushurin "hand picks" from what is readily available. Rcprince...if you are looking at vintage NOS tubes, here is what worked for me: Telefunkens in the 12AX7 location and RCA black plates in the 12BH7 location. I was running a LL2 pre and Mini Utopia speakers at the time. Andy at Vintage Tube Services was excellent at matching up some nice ones for me. Good luck...
Thanks, Jonathan. Given my experience with the LP2 phono stage, I suspected as much, but years of playing with my Jadis has made me used to playing with different types of tubes.
Deano: Thanks. I have a ton of Andy's Telefunken 12AX7s left over from the stock I was saving for my old JP80 which I can try; I'll talk with him about 12BH7s if I like the sound better with the Teles.
Deano: Most NOS tubes are discards. They were not up to the standards of the day. What do you think, someone stuck tons of these tubes in a vault and forecasted that one day these tubes would be worth a fortune?

Most manufacturers have no idea how to select tubes. There are a few that I know of that really know their sh*t. Vladmir Lamm, Ken Stevens, Michele at Tenor Audio, Victor Komhenko, EveAnna Manley are just a few.

My experience with the Telefunken 12AX7 is the opposite result. I found them microphonic and tubby. I had and probably still have a large supply. There are current production tubes that I prefer by a wide margin.
Hey Russ....congrads on the new acquisition!
Thanks Rick--the Lamms are actually a partial payback from my wife for the new kitchen, and a recycling of money from the sale of my JP80. They're excellent amps, with most of the strengths of the Jadis but not the drawbacks, and they work very well in combination with the JP200 preamp, just as the Lamm LP2 does.

I've viewed Jonathan's and Deano's posts with some interest. Jonathan, you may be right about discards, as there are a lot of bad NOS tubes out there, but my experience with Andy Bouwman's tubes is that they are anything but discards. I would say that in my Jadis equipment the NOS tubes are FAR better, both sonically and from a longevity standpoint, than their modern equivalents, but keep in mind that my Jadis equipment was designed at a time when Telefunken, Amperex and Mullard were manufacturing the tubes that we now call NOS--it stands to reason, particularly as the Jadis equipment seems to have been "voiced" in its design, that those tubes would sound right in them. Lamm is designing around the tubes currently available, and picking the best of those they can find (I'm told that Lamm has to throw out about half of the tubes they get), so it is quite likely that those tubes should work best in their equipment. Interestingly, though, Lamm apparently does not "voice" its designs, which is why I wondered about trying NOS tubes in them. Guess it won't hurt to try!
Jtinn-Peace Brother!! No, I do not think that tons of tubes were purposely put away for future use. But there are tubes that have survived time in some radio shop or basement to begin life in a lucky audiophile's system. That doesn't automatically make them a reject. For one reason or another, they just were not ever installed into any gear. I met an older man at a ham-fest a few years ago and struck up a conversation with him. He had a few small signal tubes that were nice looking (ended up testing very good) and I asked him if he perhaps had anything else at home that I may be interested in. "Oh, I got a basement full of junk"-he says. So I make the journey down to his place and find seven-brand new-in World boxes wrapped in brown tissue paper-RCA 845s!! I about died! "Had 'em for years, but got rid of the radio that used 'em"-he says. Does this make them rejects?..no. So I scooped them up and later testing showed they were all as new. I do know from personal experience that correct tube testing is critical if you are going to do tube rolling. Andy rejects many tubes during his testing. Some tubes have a higher reject rate than others. I have sat by his side quite a few afternoons while he goes thru his stock making up tube sets for me. I too have experienced where Telefunkens were not the greatest. Actually it wasn't my idea at all to try the Telefunkens. It was suggested to me by Mr. Shushurin himself, as I was standing in his Brooklyn basement workshop with him and my dealer, admiring his production workshop. Peace Brother...
Deano: I certainly did not mean to sound as aggressive as my post came off. I just re-read it and I was a tad too strong. :(

Andy has a great reputation and does the work necessary to choose what is worth owning. He is very expensive, but most can rest at ease when purchasing from him. I just think that those manufacturers who know the tubes well enough, know what current production tubes will excel. Even more so than most of the NOS tubes available.

I have no doubt that Vladimir suggested Tele's to you, but did he think it would improve the sound of his equipment? I am not so sure.

I tried numerous replacements (Telefunken, Amperex, etc.) for the JJ ECC83S tubes in the Tenor amps and never found anything that came close. The sound changed, and it was different, but to my ears, never as quiet and never as clear as with the current production JJ's.

Why is it that manufacturers like Tenor, Joule Electra, BAT, and LAMM successfully use the 6C33's when Atma-sphere was never able to properly use them? Nothing against Ralph, but the other manufacturers knew exactly which 6C33 tubes to order. My point, again, is that if the manufacturer really knows the history of the tubes and how to hand pick them, for what he or she is using, it is hard to find a replacement NOS tube that would better it.
Rcprince,

Usually Lamm furnish his amps with very cheap input tube. I have to note that the fact that they are cheep dose not men that they are bad. I have once his amps that used a few bucks worth GE 12AX7 (they came with the amps) and they were incredibly good. Another pair came with RCAs that were unspeakable garbage. The usual top of the line 12AX7 suspects would be the definite recommendation to use with the Lamm electronics as well but the question would be: what you would what to accomplish If you tell me what you find in your sound need to be “pushed”, “improved” I would suggest you some specific tubes to look. However, to roll tube just because they are interchangeable is a pretty stupid activity….

Rgs,
Romy the Cat
Romy: I'm still getting used to the amps, and really am discovering there's little I'd like to improve (I originally thought the dynamics were a little restrained compared to my Jadis until I recognized the difference was in the relative listening level, as the Lamms seem a little less sensitive than the Jadis). The tonal balance is as neutral as I've ever heard, so there's little I'd like to change there. Given my past experience with new vs. NOS tubes, I am probably more interested in the longevity of the NOS tubes, but it may be the Lamm circuit is easier on the tubes than the Jadis. What's your experience been on the latter item?
*** I'm still getting used to the amps, and really am discovering there's little I'd like to improve (I originally thought the dynamics were a little restrained compared to my Jadis until I recognized the difference was in the relative listening level, as the Lamms seem a little less sensitive than the Jadis).

Yes, Lamms do have some restrictions of absolute dynamics. Partially it is due to some decisions that Lamm used within his amps and partially it is due to limitations of your loudspeakers. When you run LM2 with above 105dB sensitive speakers (and the REAL capable speakers) then all questions about dynamics will evaporative. However, there are some more important things about the Lamm dynamics then the "absolute dynamics". Lamms amps (and ML2 is an unconditional monarch in this domain) manage to control the dynamics pattern (attack/decay) with a level of intelligence that is unachievable with any other amps. People do not really get it. They are not familiar with sharpness of notes, with subjective affect it has to thier listing experience and with the mechanisms according to which the tone rolling to it's pitch. Entire industry pursues a sharpening of tone as a evidence of “quality” and this is very unfortunate hi-fi-ish tendency. For example if you look at the Tenors that have larger subjective dynamic then Lamms then you detect that the Tenors dynamic is wild and stupid. The amplitude with which an amp run across a dynamic range is important but the most important the speed with which it approaches to the marked dynamics point. This speed of change speed is where the “dynamic” Tenors demonstrate is complete impotence. The acoustic dynamic acceleration has it’s own patterns and acoustic attack/decay pattern has own mechanism. The majority contemporary hi-hi “designers” or not familiar with them or not capable to couple the correct attack/decay pattern to other characteristics of amplifier. If you listen serious music and have non-corrupted by hi-fi taste then you very soon get use to the Lamms ability do not scrutinize the attack/decay and by means of this to preserve the original harmonic and dynamic stricture. If you need more “absolute dynamics” then get read your funny 90-94 db sensitive speakers (also killed by the stupid crossovers) and go to the high sensitively world.

**** Given my past experience with new vs. NOS tubes, I am probably more interested in the longevity of the NOS tubes, but it may be the Lamm circuit is easier on the tubes than the Jadis. What's your experience been on the latter item?

Lamms still could be benefited by the better input tubes. The different 12AX7, 4004, ECC803, E83CC, M8137 (do not go for 5751 despite Lamm suggests it in his FAQ) and many others would make it, I would say different, and perhaps will “write” for your system more desirable result. The input tubes lest for VERY long time, years… many, many years. The output tubes can credibly work for 1.5 year with intensive use.

Rgs,
Romy the Cat
Russ, you bring up a very good point with regard to listening to new amps. I am finding this out also as I compare my ASL Hurricanes to the ARC VT 100mk2. There are so many thing to consider besides sonics such as sensitivity levels etc. Stay on course an