Try asking at www.pinkfishmedia.net/forum. Many there will be able to compare with Naim/Densen/Dynavector and others.
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Thanks Sean, I'll check out pinkfishmedia.
Yes thanks, Budrew; that Hi-Fi + Issue 37 is one of the reviews that piqued my interest. There is also the Review of the IS Reference in the March 2005 Stereophile, an earlier review of the IS Reference from issue 13 of
Hi Fi +, back in Sept 2001, and an earlier review of the IT in Hi Fi + as well.
I'm especially interested in any comparisons with obvious comparators, such as the YBA Passion, the new Edge G3integrated, the well established Plinius 8200, newer 9200, the SimAudio Moon I-3 & I-5...well, there is a long list of quality integrateds these days, and then there's the tubes...Manley Stingray, ASL Leyla, Prima Luna Prologue and Pathos Classic One...
I'd love to hear how Lavardin stacks up against the competition - the reviews are tantalizing.
I've heard the whole Lavardin line, my local dealer is the importer/distributor. It's quite good, I'd rank it above the Plinius integrateds (which he also has), and definitely a cut above the (Spark/Cayin) Prima Luna. The ASL Leyla is nice, as I love the 845 tube, but the Lavardin is better made, and quieter (no hum). Sim, Edge - they seem to spend a lot of $ on the casework, probably less on the internals. Lavardin seems to be the other way around, and they have been doing it a LOT longer than edge/sim from what I can tell. Worth a listen, IMNSHO.
I own the IS reference and use them with Devore Gibbon 8's and currently using an Ayre CX-7e as a front end(also considering the RA Opus 21).
The lavardin replaced a pair of welborne drd 300b' mono's and a Korneff pre. It goes without saying that you lose some of the harmnic warmth of the 300b(the welbornes are fairly clean btw), but I picked up an octave of bass, pace, and finer detail. The music lifted off the speakers and just flows. Similar in feeling to my PS Audio HCA-2, but better at low volumes, and clearer.
Pretty much a no brainer if you can find one used as they sell VERY quickly when they come up.
My only nit to pick - lack of remote.
I recently bought a 2nd hand but nearly new IT, only, I am afraid, because I could'nt cope with the heat from my 845 SET in the Summer. I was expecting it to be good, but it is quite as good, though different, than the 18watt SET. The latter has more drive but the IT more air and delicacy. I plan to keep both and can't see myself changing either. The SET will be for winter use. The family can gather round it and toast marshmallows.
The IT seems a bargain to me, its a minimalist design and the output is only 50watts, but that is enough for a lot of speakers these days
"Another boutique brand with very little bang for the buck".
Any evidence for that?, experience of using it in your system? I agree it is'nt the most powerful
amp out there, but anyone can build a 300watt SS amp on the cheap, the question is, would you want to listen to it. The Lavardin appears to have none of the SS grain that people talk about. It is fast, dynamic and detailed. The only other amp that sounded as good was my old Pass Labs Aleph 3. To me the IT sounds as good, though different, to a quality SET at twice the cost. Many other users and dealers will give a similar report. Perhaps we are all deluded, but I am in the camp that believes Lavardin make some quite special amps.
I own a Lavardin IT and is overwhelming happy with it. I match it with Jean Marie Reynaud`s Orfeo speakers, and it`s a great match. So im in for the french sound, as you can tell. The IT just deliver such great musical joy hour after hour, it will get you want to dust your old records off and just listening for many great hours. I suggest when or if you buying this great amplifier you go with the Lavardin cables or Acoustic Zen cables. That works fine with my set-up. I`m using the AZ Satori Shotgun for my speakers, and the AZ Silver Ref II between my Rega Saturn CD and IT, the Lavardin cable between my Rega Eos Riaa and the IT, with great results.....Iv`e had tried a lot of different cables, but keep returning to the AZ cables. Cables wich cost 3 times more has been used in my system, but the AZ beats them all.
I have the LAVARDIN IT. I got it second hand - it was the first generation version, and whilst reviews say the subsequent version is better - I disagree. Due to a problem with my one I returned it to LAVARDIN, and they upgraded it to the current SPEC. It became a tad more 'robust' in its sound, a bit more defined and a tad less 'liquid'. I use it with DNM speaker cables, and Lavardin's own interconnect. I first had Proac response one sc speakers - they were excellent. Once I got a hold of a mint pair of YAMAHA NS1000M's they have become magical. The Yamaha's, whilst sensitive, transparent, neutral, and very clean, can be a tricky load. The LAVARDIN'S are load tolerant and very transparent, so I thought they would be a good match - I WAS RIGHT. I have heard Krells, Audio Research Amps, KONDO, Conrad Johnson, Zanden, and Karan and many other mega pricey combos, both at shows and at auditions. None seem to match the combination of neutrality, dexterity and sheer excellence of the combo I have - maybe I am biased, but I have tried to do the audiophile thing of box swapping - but I keep coming back to square one again - ahhhh. The only thing that I have heard to genuinely better them top to bottom were: MBL's (with the omni speakers - of course) (over 100,000 UKP); quad valve amps driving Quad 2905's (over 13000 UKP)(I am told that the LAVARDIN is good at driving them as well); a 120,000 UKP Mckintosh set up.