Speakers for Lamm ML2.1

I am pretty close to making a decision on speakers for my Lamm ML2.1. I listen to jazz and classical music mainly. Front end is currently Wadia but will probably switch to EMM set up. I have a Budget of $50,000 for the speakers. I usually prefer to buy new. Room size is currenly 20x21 with 9 ft ceiling, however custom room once the speakers are bought. Wanted to hear from experianced audiophiles on which direction they would go.

comments appreaciated
thx andy
High efficiency conventional and vintage horns:

Magico Ultimate
Avantgarde Trio
Siemens Klangfilms
Tannoy GRF's

Conventional mid efficiency dynamic speakers:

Kharma Grand Ceramique
Von Schveikert VR6
Wilson Maxx2*

What have you heard with the ML2.1 driving? The ML2.1 with the right speakers (over 100db) will be able to produce mind altering results including startling dynamics and bass, beyond any conventional setups you may have heard. Conventionally, I am currently very happy with the Kharma 3.2 Lamm ML2.1 combination and it is surprisingly satisfying robust and dynamic.

Your current room is almost square so you may have issues with true full range speakers and room modes that may need addressing (ie a new room). If you were stuck in that room (which it sounds you are not) you might want a smaller 2 way with bass supplemented by an adjustable subwoofer that you could back off of excessive low end if you have bass reinforcement issues in the square area (eg kharma 3.2 or midi grand/Kharma sub). Invest the rest of your budget in software.

If you opt for high efficiency be very careful of your cabling and front end as it could make you very unhappy to have the Wadia or other currently "popular" dacs fronting that type of system. A better choice might be the Zanden or Weiss Medea. Cabling I've found to work well with Lamm and horns is Purist Dominus, Siltech Emperor, Kharma, Cardas GR.

In the price range you're looking at speaks to big, full range speakers. Just remember that big speakers have big problems, especially in certain rooms, and to identify what they are within the specific model you're considering and make sure you can live with those particular sets of tradeoffs in order to obtain the big full range sound you seek.

*Caveat: Have not heard this at higher volumes with ML2.1 though at lower to middle volumes they could be quite satisfying if you like the Wilson sound.
It hard to say. ML2 has it’s own issues (and partially if you “prefer to buy new”) and many speakers that might work with ML2 do have their own issues. Owl was correct insisting for over 100dB sensitively and high impedance for ML2. There is very little if any out there that might fit the bill.

Among the owl’s list:

Magico: they are ultimate foolish loudspeakers and they pretty much embraced all foolishness that an ignorant designer can stink into a loudspeaker.

Avantgarde Trio: have a lot of issues and might require a lot of work and experience to get a more or less civilized sound out of them. I doubt that it will be possible without a fundamental rebilling them.

Edgarhorn: it is hard to say. Bruce doe good speakers but au to the limited price point. Also, all of his customers are or dupes or juts not serious fools. No one even used Edgarhorn with ML2-level of electronics.

Siemens Klangfilms: Dispute to the flashy paranoia the recently was purely artificial created around them they are juts bad and none-interesting speakers with huge amount of problems and with complete inability of the speakers users to deal with them. This all is just a sweet audio myth and nothing else.

Tannoy GRF: The have some bass problems typical for dipole J-horns but they still listenable. Nevertheless I would not consider them as something around which I would bult a room. They are juts a very good drop in monitors.

Kharma Grand Ceramique: Unspeakably horrible loudspeaker with huge amount of problems. They have the worst in the industry ratio between the misery of sound and price.

Von Schveikert VR6: They are quite dead. Although I head them just once but I did not detect that they were in any way different then all the rest Schveikert’s speakers. You heard one-box speakers with a bunch of crappy driver then you heard them all.

Wilson Maxx2: I do not think that Wilson is the loudspeaker of ML2 level. Lamm in his web site suggests using ML2 with 94dB sensitively but it is he dose it juts to sell more of his amps. The largest Wilsons (Slams, Alexandria) surprisingly do not have this typical dynamic compression of the box loudspeakers but each of the still have a lot of issues for the price they cost.

I usually do not provide purchasing recommendations. However, in your case I would warn you that instead of buying a 50K worth not-well performing loudspeaker you might get a better cost-per-transaction yield if you spend 10K for some kind of Kharma3.2/GRF –level acoustic system and then work on the rest of you setup. For instance the Wadia front-end skew up sound much more aggressively than a bad loudspeaker. Also, beware about the new EMM gear – it might be quite dangerous thing.
I would suggest you visit Romy's site www.goodsoundclub.com
to learn more about the Lamm sound and to what extent he's gone to in developing a speaker system to truly get the most out of them.

Unfortunately, this is not a product you can just order at the dealer. The good news is he provides much of the information needed to build the system. With the usual high end retail being 5 times cost, Romy's speaker system would likely retail for 150K plus and is not easily duplicated due to the use of vintage drivers.
Wright2005: "0" for form and minus a trillion for content.

Can you be specific about what you don't like about the Magico's design? It certainly has the ultra high efficiency. Also, to add a speaker I left off the suggested speakers you look at the Zingali may be interesting as well.

What about the Von Schveikert VR9 or the Acapella horns? Anyone have any experiance with those?
Acapellas also have problems: non-integrateable tweeters bult around the Chernobyl particles, the “washed” ceramic mid-range drivers and many others. There is really no interesting high sensitivity speaker out there. Look at your Lamm as an amplifier building company. They show after show, year after the year demonstrate quite ordinary not to sat crappy sound in their listening rooms. Among many reasons one of the most important that there are no good commercial speakers out there. Still, I feel that to search “a loudspeaker for ML2” is not really a correct shaping of objectives. Find a loudspeaker that would be fine “as is” and then let ML2 to do with it whatever it could. A little tip: it looks to me that Lamm loads his output stage to push up the harmonics. I do not know how he configures his secondary but I learn that by severely under-loading the out stage you might get way more interesting result then ML2 meant to yield. Therefore, look for the loudspeakers that do not drop less then 12R and load them at min secondary impedances. It would help you to get some transient speed and do not worry about the harmonics why you do so – the ML2 is reach enough in the harmonic juice….

Meant to say 9 there is no VS6. Acapellas also are interesting but my guess is they are not efficient enough Romy's comments are very apt when it comes to the ML2 as he has a lot of experience with them. At this level you should hear the combination yourself before making any purchase decisions, to the extent even of shipping out your amps to hear them to hear them at the dealers.
kharma midi exquisite.
If you search around for what people have said about the ML2.1's, you'll find that they can drive any fairly high sensitivity speaker to loud listening levels with little distortion. From what I've read, anything above about 90dB would probably work fine.

Any dealer who is going to sell you $50,000 speakers should let you bring the Lamm's in and audition the system for yourself.

May I suggest that you consider building the room before buying the speakers so that you can audition them in the new room?

Obviously I'm not the expert that Wright2005 is (ahem), so take my suggestions with a grain of salt.
Rumney510, be sure not to overlook the Sonus Faber Stradivari (92db)- I have been running them with Lamm ML2's/ Lamm Reference Pre since April last year and have never been happier. My room is 11m x 5m x 3m. I listen to jazz,female vocals and classical.They have absolutely no problem driving the Stradivari's to more than adequate levels.

I use Cardas Golden Reference IC's and Golden Cross speaker cable.
Rumney510: The Von Schweikert VR-9SE is a speaker that would easily be driven by ML2.1's. We have had lower power on them in a slightly larger room and they were easily driven to levels we would never listen to. They have a 96db sensitivity and the built in subwoofer is powered by a 1000 watt amplifier. They would be an incredibly easy load for the LAMM's.

Especially in a room such as yours, the VR-9SE's with their adjustability with the integrated powered subwoofer, gain controls for the tweeters and super tweeter make them a speaker you should strongly consider. The speaker is remarkable and works anywhere.

As the distributor for the VSA elite line, I would be happy to direct you to a place for audition.
Raquel: Very funny! I just re-read your post! :)
Romy , did you ever hear an ALE P series compression drivers system together with ML2 ? You should , it will make you smile happily for the first time in your last ten years :)
Zanden combo and room treatment help a lot as well.
The thing is speakers are more critical than amps ( just found out that - as an amp freak - after buying 3 dozens of "ultra" high end amps and "only" one dozen of speakers, all for research & pleasure purposes)
(it seems) ...Lamm loads his output stage to push up the harmonics
Strange, why would they do this??
If this were indeed the case, then full-range drivers' characteristics would be indicated (Lowther, Fostex Supravox type), ideally their 16ohm versions.
Wright also notes: Find a loudspeaker that would be fine “as is” and then let ML2 to do with it whatever it could.
I agree. Moreover, at a possible 50k investment you are certainly entitled to outstanding transducers! Cheers
For 50K, you could buy Jtinn's used Kharma midi exquisite (originally bought by Tenor Audio) and buy a new Kharma ceramique sub to go with it. Valin called this the best stereo system in combination with your Lamm ML2.1.
i've just gone thru a similar decision process......but not limited to the ML2.1 amps.

i do have the Midi Exquisites that Thom-y suggests as loaners while my ordered VR9's are being built. if my room were a little smaller i would (possibly) keep these Midi's.....they are quite remarkable. they at least match and likely improve on all the coherence of the CRM 3.2 Kharmas but are more dynamic and extended at both ends. my only reservation for you would be their 4ohm load for the ML2.1's.

i would second jtinn's recommendation of the VR9. at 95db efficiency and with the 1000 watt integrated sub it would be an excellent match with your Lamm. i'll have mine in a few weeks......feel free to fly on out to Seattle to hear both the Midi's and the VR9's together (assuming jtinn doesn't sell them between now and then) in my room.

a $50k investment is worth the time and plane fare.
mike thanks for the offer. What Amp are you using for the VR 9's?
If your room were larger I would strongly consider Siemens Bionors, which the ML2.1s will drive beautifully. Few drivers, simple crossover.
Andy, i own the Tenor 300 watt hybrids, and currently have the DarTZeel NHB-108 Stereo ss amp in my room. at CES i heard the VR9's on the DarTZeel and was very impressed. both the Tenors and DarTZeel trade strength for strength. the Tenor's are a hybrid that does not sound like tubes or solid state and the DarTZeel particularly does not sound like solid state.

i am looking forward to comparing these two amps on the VR9's.

these two amps, along with your ML2.1's; are three different versions of amplifier perfection. all three are quite neutral, all three are among the most refined and nuanced amps i've heard, and each has it's own version of proper dynamics and frequency extention.

......it would come down to taste and system synergy.
Well said Mike.
Your taste and preferences are most important. Some prefer a sedate, easy listening sound, and the market caters primarilly to this group. I play 'cello, trumpet, and viola da gamba, in large and small ensambles, and while at university obtaining my music degree, worked for a high end dealer that sold many well known producs. Among them: Avantgarde, Avalon, Wilson, Joseph Audio, Viva, Nagra, Spectral, Theta, Wadia, Levinson, Halcro, SME, VPI, conrad-johnson, Manley Labs. And I spent much time setting up demos of all the above gear, and naturally compared it to what I hear live. From this experience I can say (1) nothing comes closer to live than a good horn system driven by tube gear, everything else sounds thick and compressed by comparison (2) nothing sounds worse than bad horns and tube gear. One must be careful. Many customers are so used to the sound of amps and speakers, even live (most PAs sound really bad,) that a reasonable faximile of real acoustic instruments sounds wrong to them. I worked extensively with the Avantgarde Duos, but was never completely satisfied with the results. I finally found what I sought with the Edgarhorns, the first system I've heard that goes beyond good, and can, at times, sound so much like the real thing it's creepy. I havn't decided yet what amp I'll eventually use. Bruce Edgar said the Lamms are very good, if overpriced, and I think the Vivas are very good. The Nagras sounded good, but were too noisy for 100db+ efficiency speakers. Perhaps I've ranted enough. Good luck with your search, hear the Edgarhorns if you can, let me know if you want to know more, or if you think I'm crazy. I'm always open to new ideas, and welcome any challanges to what I think I know.
The road ended with Kharma 1d/DE
Thx for advice all
Hi ,
If you do not need the extreme high sound levels you should listen to the Ocellia kedros silver(15 K).It is a dual concentric alnico magnet driven speaker 16 ohm 97DB (NO crossover!!).What you here of musicality....speed...direct sound(no time shift in the frequency range-remember no crossover)..a full body sound....all this will make you forget most other speakers.I agreed with Wright about non existing intresting top end high eff. speakers until the ocellia silver kedros.
Most benefit you get in classic ,jazz and non elecronic music ;they will play pop and rock no problem but they are just to good for that(you will hear weakness of pop music,recording errors-out of the box music-no room information-pure studio boxed music-musicians not always on high level etc..).
A tip for ML2 owners change the 12ax7 for the telefunken ecc 803s ! And put Herbie's Hal-o tube rings on all the tubes(i have the PEEK Rings on the 803's and 6n6p's and on the others the metal rings).This makes the lamms SING! (remember the lamm ML2 has vibration problems,you have to take care were you put them on).
I have the older Lamm ML2s, and they are singing quite happily with my Avantgarde Duo Omegas (18 ohm, 108 dB). Of course, your budget would allow for Trios & Basshorns...mmmmmmmmm.