Taking the Lampizator Big 6 to the Next Level


I have owned the Lampizator Big 6 (B6) for about 4 months and can honestly say this unit is first rate. I use the Jade Audio Ref Platinum ICs from the B6 to the Aria WV line stage and a Dream State Dream Catcher PC on the B6. USB cable is the Vue Model 3. And I still am using plain ol' iTunes on a 2006 Mac Mini with SS drive and 2G RAM.

The DAC shootout thread on A'gon has covered many DAC's with some great reporting. The B6 was dismissed early on without trying other tube combinations. To dismiss a tube product because of its sound with stock tubes is blasphemy. Solid state products are indeed a better choice for such a consumer.

Manufacturers have no choice but to populate their products with off-the-shelf new tubes from tube distributors. But these are often highly compromised tubes that can not even begin to compete with the 1000s upon 1000s of available throughout the world. A little bit of effort and time, for very little investment, a swap of a pair or two of tubes can take a product to an entire new level of performance. And I discovered this with the results below.

The Good News:

The B6 version I have uses two pairs of tubes:

1: VT-99 for the Audio stage - Stock unit had Sylvania VT-99
2: 6x5GT as the Power Supply rectifiers - Stock Unit had 6u5C Russian tubes

I was given a pair of National Union VT-99 tubes as well with the B6. I was told by the seller to try both and get back with him. He said the results between the pair was quite different and he had a very clear favorite but would not comment further.

I started with the NU tubes and ran these for several days. Even out of the box, within one hour, the B6 was absolutely phenomenal. It had all the 3D magic that the legendary Manley Ref DAC from the mid 90s had but with a new level of treble clarity, midrange (piano) delineation and far greater depth. Images were far far back from the SoundLab A1 speakers that I ever experienced with digital playback. Piano decays, voice harmonic overtones carrying further up the frequency range was yet another new experience. These are traits that I often identify with a tube-optimized top tier tube line stage with tube rectified power supply, that simply no solid state line stage can touch. I could drop any solid state line stage or 99% of the ICs out there, inserted between the line stage and amps, and lose much of the magic that I now experience in my system due to the B6. The Aria WV line stage and the B6 with the Jade Ref cables are a killer match.

Finally, I switched over to the Sylvania VT-99. Wow, if they went beyond the NU, I can not even begin to imagine what might be possible. But as the out-of-the-box B6 was with the NU cranking out the magic, the B6 with the stock Sylvania was distant, much reduced harmonic continuity, piano notes not distinct, etc.; the result was a major reduction in instruments sounding natural with an overall shrinkage of the stage, most notably depth. I listened to this for a few albums but could not take it any more. A return the NU and the 3D magic and clarity was back. Anybody want a pair of Sylvania VT-99 tubes for cheap?

Three months later, I was ready to play with the rectifier tubes. But I thought I would try one more pair of VT-99's. I got a pair of Raytheon VT-99. These were nearly spot on with the NU but with just a little more smoothness which made many of the recordings sound more natural and tonally coherent. But overall, the 3D performance was neck and neck with the NU. Overall, I liked the Raytheon and I run with this tube now. But the NU is a top performer.

With my incredible experience with RCA 12BH7 destroying all 12au7 tubes in all my past components, and the awesome performance of the RCA 6SN7 in the Aesthetix components, I know that I must try the RCA VT-99 to finalize the tube choice here.

It was time to play with the rectifier. I got a different pair of Russian tubes, and also a pair each of Raytheon and RCA 6X5GT. I first tried the different designed russian tube and there was virtually no change in sound. This caught me by surprise as the tubes were very much different physically and my experience with Counterpoint and Aria products is that tube rectifier changes can make dramatic improvements at a level often surpassing changing audio stage tubes. I then tried the Raytheon 6X5GT. Wow, vivid Vivid VIVID. The sound was as if a huge spotlight had been added. Sounds came way out in front of the speakers. It was like going from a CJ line stage to an ARC line stage with so much energy right in front of you. There was far more treble detail but with the bottom half of the range much reduced, i.e., severe tonal coherency issues! It was quickly too much. This tube was out! I returned to the russian tube to get my reference sound back. After a few tracks, I then tried the RCA 6X5GT. Wow, wow, wow, now you're talking. Phenomenal tonal coherency, smoothness and upper treble detail with no fatigue. I enjoyed this tube for a few albums and then returned to the russian tube. The result with the russian tube was good tonal coherency but no match to the RCA as there was so much more life, energy, things going on, decays, harmonics and wow, dynamic contrasts with the RCA. The result of this RCA rectifier tube makes me even more excited to try the RCA VT-99.

Total cost for the Raytheon VT-99 pair and RCA 6X5GT pair is under $150. Not bad for a major component upgrade.

With the state of this B6 with the Raytheon VT-99 and RCA 6X5GT, I would put this up against the Lampizator 7 and I would not be surprised if the B6 destroyed the 7 in 1 or 2 parameters in a system that excels in 3D performance.

The Sad News:

There has been a lot of talk here on A'gon about the Lampizator USB interface not up to snuff with using an external SPDIF-USB converter like the Empirical Audio OffRamp 5, and especially with its external power supply. After keeping my eyes out for an OR 5 for a couple months, I finally snatched one up. I could not wait to try this out like nothing else on my to-do list. With amazement, like a sad sad puppy, I could not believe what I heard the soundstage was dramatically reduced with the OR5. How can this be with all the "you ain't heard the Lampi until you heard it with the OR5". Well I did and it was disappointment city. I discussed this with another Lampi 6 owner and he had only been using the USB and loved it with the NU VT-99 tube too.

I dug further and asked for advice with an electronics engineer on what might be the issue. Could it be that the new Lampi's have much better USB interfaces? Is the rat's nest wiring of the SPDIF connection to the board compromising the issue? The connection was rewired with a coax cable and updated with the "correct" capacitor. This update along with the OR external power supply resulted in the USB still creating a far more realistic soundstage. The experimentation was stopped with the conclusion that at least this generation of the B6 works at its best with the USB. My overall gut feeling here is that the B6's SPDIF likely has some issues which even the highly acclaimed OR5 could just not bring back to life. Again, perhaps this might only be observed with a system that excels in 3D, I don't know. But once again, like so often on this site, my results are so very different than many of those previously reported.

My previous experience with an older OffRamp converter with the Manley Ref DAC was outstanding results.

I had already requested and received a quote for a custom power supply from Paul Hynes for the OR5 and the Mac Mini. And later I was told it was better to run with two PS's but now I only need to focus on the PS for the Mac Mini.

The "Surprise" News:

During the USB evaluation process, it was discovered that standard 7805 3-terminal voltage regulators are used throughout the B6. I was quite surprised at this as these are hobbyist level devices that really have no business in a state of the art $8k DAC. I can only imagine the massive sonic improvement obtained with discreet circuits replacing all of these. Or imagine even a single highly regulated/filtered 5v PS to replace these would take this unit to the stratosphere. Another option is the drop-in replacement devices from Paul Hynes. A dozen of these devices might end up costing $400 or so, and might push the unit another $1k more, but wow, imagine the possibilities! After all, there is much talk about boutique capacitors in the product. Why should the voltage regulators be compromised? Maybe this would result in the new Lampizator 8 or even 9? 8-)

A Final Note:

For all of those who will cry out that what I am hearing are colorations and distortions, etc., due to the tubes, I have a piano in this room and I can plink keys at any time to hear the harmonics and decays. And the B6 in its current configuration sounds mighty mighty real.

John
jafox
"The DAC shootout thread on A'gon has covered many DAC's with some great reporting. The B6 was dismissed early on without trying other tube combinations. To dismiss a tube product because of its sound with stock tubes is blasphemy."

While I agree that tube rolling can make a big difference (it certainly has in my tube pre-amp!), I really think it is incumbent on the manufacturer to either provide the tubes that bring out the best in his gear, or to make recommendations at least.

And I say that knowing full well that most manufacturers will opt for current production tubes rather than spend time searching out NOS tubes, where reliable supply is clearly a big issue. It's one of those probably unsolvable disconnects between design and the marketplace.
"The DAC shootout thread on A'gon has covered many DAC's with some great reporting. The B6 was dismissed early on without trying other tube combinations. To dismiss a tube product because of its sound with stock tubes is blasphemy."

While I agree that tube rolling can make a big difference (it certainly has in my tube pre-amp!), I really think it is incumbent on the manufacturer to either provide the tubes that bring out the best in his gear, or to make recommendations at least.

And I say that knowing full well that most manufacturers will opt for current production tubes rather than spend time searching out NOS tubes, where reliable supply is clearly a big issue. It's one of those probably unsolvable disconnects between design and the marketplace.
Very interesting, thanks for sharing!
Outstanding review John. I think people miss the Lampi magic with the lack of due diligence.
We use 7805 from premium brands and only in pre-regulation, in USB everything then is handled by the best LM1085 so the criticism is not relevant. If we heard 7805 to be inferior to other types we would have used these.
Lampizator.
There is a Big 7 available now.
Once again you have provided an outstanding review for the Audiogon community John, thank you. I always enjoy reading your posts, you are very through, and I have come to trust your ears from shared experiences over the years.

Cheers,
John
John, I was in the twin cities two weeks ago visiting family. I got to hear two different megabuck systems and it was fun. Next time around, I will have to swing by to hear your rig.

One reason why you are "hearing" so much from the Lampi is your speakers. Panels are truly a see-through apparatus. A lot of folks don't have that privilege. My current speakers from Dale Pitcher possess panel-like attributes, and it showcases the abilities of my new L7 nicely. Thank you again for the detailed review. Keep up the good work....
Outstanding review John. I think people miss the Lampi magic with the lack of due diligence.
So very true. But true for many tube and non-tube products which people boot out and in with another to their system rather than to recognize the product's strengths and then to look to resolve it's weaknesses with a little effort at the product or system level. Recognizing where in the system each issue can be addressed/resolved, if it can be resolved at all, comes with a lot of system building experience.

Sometimes a product just stands way out from the crowd in a few key parameters. Other than my aging Clearaudio TT with Graham 2 tonearm, everything else in my system meets this criteria. And the 100s of hours of tube rolling efforts, tons of cable trials, trying a multitude of conditioners and isolation devices, finally this results in one hell of a top performance SYSTEM. And then leave the damn thing alone to focus on listening to music that sounds so good that you find yourself up late late night after night not being able to leave. It's a lot more fun than listening to a handful of tracks over and over for several nights comparing hardware every time an evaluation for update occurs. But the forever update bug (especially with new cable models coming out quarterly) is just too much for some people to handle and establish closure.

There was so much praise on the Lampi 4 just a year ago and then they were all quickly dumped like a smelly diaper for the next latest and greatest Lampi or the other status DACs, the Phasure or Killer or latest from Aestheix, etc. I would love to hear the L4 in my system. And I suspect I could tweak it for very little money to get it to sound incredible.

And I have a major curiosity bug to try these devices in the B6. I know a local electronics tech tweak wizard here in MN who could do this for me if I want to proceed ..maybe 1-2 at a time and see if there is truly a benefit and what it is.

And I say that knowing full well that most manufacturers will opt for current production tubes rather than spend time searching out NOS tubes, where reliable supply is clearly a big issue. It's one of those probably unsolvable disconnects between design and the marketplace.
I totally agree. And this is where we, the consumer comes in to optimize this product for our system as described above.

When we change our speakers,we need to rearrange things in our room to accommodate ideal placement of new speakers. We don't just plop them down where the last speakers were and then make a go/no-go decision based on this without moving them around or angling them in or out. Why do so many people make such snap decisions with electronics? Sure, some products have no redeeming qualities at all, relative to what is already in the system, and deserve to be dismissed. But if your gut feeling tells you that something is special here, but not quite "perfect", it is to your benefit to try and bring out more of that magic rather than to quickly dismiss it for being imperfect. The B6 is an example of such a success story.

And thank you John Mc, LAK and Agear. I'm really into this for the emotional factor to get the music to simply sound phenomenal. And the tweaked B6 has taken me there for the digital side. I could not careless about the L7 now that I have the B6 sounding so damn good. And I have not heard it with the CAT amps yet which should take the system to yet another level of performance.

I have always optimized my system for analog and then tweaked the digital side to integrate with that as much as possible. If I can not achieve this, it's onto the next DAC trial/evaluation. I was 85-90% successful with the GNSC modified Manly Ref DAC . Not bad! I ran with the Manley Ref DAC for over 10 years as it was that good. How many people here can say they ran with one DAC all that time and enjoyed the result to be content with what they had in the context of the rest of the system being top notch as well . With the tweaked B6, I am now about 95% there Bat maybe I will be close to 100% with the updated SoundLab speaker backplate and cat amps back in action. But the system really sounds so good right now even with the cheesy Nola Boxer speakers. What a great feeling to finally be reaching the end of the road after 35+ years of chasing the holy grail of sound.
Jafox, i sent you a message.
Agear,

I need to get the Sound Labs backplates replaced in the next few months before you can stop over for a listen. Ideally I'd like to have the CAT amps up and running too. That will knock your socks off.

As for panel speakers doing the magic, sadly for me, only the Magnepans do this and even far far far greater the magic of Sound Labs. I heard the Stax many years ago and they had great detail but did not have the 3D wow factor at all. Then I went to a Mpls audio dealer to hear the Magnepans and Martin Logan. The salesman demoed several ML's for me and much clarity and detail was there, but they were just not musically involving to me at all. Way too analytical. Then we tried the Magnepans and wow, totally different. Not quite the detail but so very enjoyable. Sadly, so many Magnepan owners never appreciate the magic as they use budget and midfi amps with these speakers and they never find the right power resistor value for the treble circuit to optimize tonal coherency.

Many years later I took the Magnepan 3.5's to a Sound Labs dealer. The Magnepans were no match. The SL's had all the musical magic but with so much more bass extension and awesome clarity and tonaly coherency. I never heard any other speaker with such qualities. We compared the Atma-sphere MA1 to the CAT JL2 and both amps were phenomenal with the SL's. Once you hear this, there is just no going back.

In all honesty, I am hearing the B6's magic not so much because of the apeakers, as I have been listening to the Nola Boxers lately. I give so much credit to the Aria WV5 being an awesome match to the B6 and the cabling that brings out the capability of the B6. It will be great to have you visit when I get things fully back in order by the end of this year.
John,

What about Accustat speakers and Podium Sound speakers?
Oh yes. I forgot all about Accustat. I heard the 2+2's at a Linn dealer 30+ years ago and liked the sound very much. But so much has changed since then. Trying a pair in my system would be a very Interesting experiment except I don't think my ceiling is tall enough. Probably not many of these have survived over the years.
Jafox, I am fiddling with transports for the 7 and I prefer a Teralink USB converter with a $2 RCA digital cable over a Mac mini via USB. I am looking into either an Aries or possibly the "Source" from Geekwave (aka Light Harmonics). Lucas is also working on a DSDish transport of some sort. Time will tell. The take home message with digital is the transport is as or more important than the dac. It needs just as much tweaking...
AGear,

I am hearing BIG talk about using an Intel i7 Machine running Windows Server 2012 and then using Audiophile Optimizer to shut down the non-essentials and finally using JRiver/JPlay/Foobar as the playback engine. You can further enhance this by CAPS-ing out the computer, ie board tweaks and LPSUs up the wazooo.

People are saying this makes an unbelievable transport.
AGear,

I am hearing BIG talk about using an Intel i7 Machine running Windows Server 2012 and then using Audiophile Optimizer to shut down the non-essentials and finally using JRiver/JPlay/Foobar as the playback engine. You can further enhance this by CAPS-ing out the computer, ie board tweaks and LPSUs up the wazooo.

People are saying this makes an unbelievable transport.

No thanks. I am a Mac guy. I was weaned on PCs (AT&T desktop in circa 1980), but left them behind in 2008 and have not looked back. I have read all of Kdavis' verbiage, and a lot of his feedback is through the prism of DSD up sampling, etc so who knows. Its still a noisy computer. I want a dedicated server/transport with no player software and no need for tweaks. I know computers well, have spent far too much time hacking into them and tweaking them, and I have no desire to spend anymore psychic energy on them.
LoL
It works on MacMini as well.

The advocacy I am getting is from Ted and AL.
Yes, a dedicated transport is nice and simple, but will it have the same SQ?
Well guys as reported before, I just have not experienced dramatic differences in transports over the years. I had a Genesis Time Lens years ago and this made quite a nice improvement in delineation. And the Marigo digital cable contributed the same. But swapping transports never did much if anything. And yet differences between DACs was always significant likely due to PS design, the audio output stages, etc. Swapping in a cheap DVD player never destroyed the spatial qualities that I already had vs so many DACs turning the presentation into a flat boring result.

With the B6 USB interface, I have phenomenal clarity and space between the notes without the smearing I hear so often in other setups. And as reported before, the SPDIF here was a no go for me. So I'll let the USB vs SPDIF and transport vs PC debates continue here but I'll stick with the magic I now have until I resolve other system and room priorities.

I have no desire to return to CDs. Just upload the content to a computer and maintain a backup. And one of these days this old Mac mini will die and I will readdress this link accordingly.
Maybe so.

On the other hand, some companies like exaSound specifically recommend against using JPlay. See their write up at http://www.exasound.com/Blog/tabid/74/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/131/Should-I-use-JPlay-with-exaSound-DACs.aspx

Best bet would be to try the trial versions and see whether there is an improvement or not.
Jeezziz,,, after reading all this stuff it feels really good to put an LP on the TT, drop the needle and relax. ;-)
Doak, as an analog fan, I can relate. However I must get up every 22 minutes or so, flip the LP over or put if back in it's cover, get another, maybe need to clean it, put it on the TT, drop the arm and go back to my seat. With the arrival of a top performer DAC and computer based music library vs. a wall of book cases of LP's, I can switch any music I wish in a matter of seconds and not interrupt my relaxed state. This is easy to get used to especially when I want to skip tracks or select specific tracks. But I'm forever an analog fan.
08-22-14: Jafox
Doak, as an analog fan, I can relate. However I must get up every 22 minutes or so, flip the LP over or put if back in it's cover, get another, maybe need to clean it, put it on the TT, drop the arm and go back to my seat.

What???!!! You're not listening to 45's??? ;^)
Gotcha JaFox.

I have several K$ invested in my analog front end but never expect to do the same with digital -- things just change too quickly. I chased the "best" for about 10 years and plain got tired of it.
Doak, as an analog fan, I can relate. However I must get up every 22 minutes or so, flip the LP over or put if back in it's cover, get another, maybe need to clean it, put it on the TT, drop the arm and go back to my seat.
This is classified as RELAXATION!

With the arrival of a top performer DAC and computer based music library vs. a wall of book cases of LP's, I can switch any music I wish in a matter of seconds and not interrupt my relaxed state. This is easy to get used to especially when I want to skip tracks or select specific tracks. But I'm forever an analog fan.
This is classified as STRESSFUL!
45's indeed. I bought that special Led Zep 45 set many years ago and it's still unopened in its metal flight case.

Doak, no reason to chase digital's best. I ran with the Manley Ref DAC for 10+ years and it so mightily outperformed the claimed "best" again and again. After awhile, I just stopped trying other products in my system and enjoyed what I had.

Now with the B6, I have no doubt I will run with this for 10 years as it will take that long for the next digital generation to take the music to the next level as the B6 did over the Manley.
08-19-14: Jafox
Well guys as reported before, I just have not experienced dramatic differences in transports over the years.

That's odd since I have. I have been an advocate of bypassing the puter by using a wireless/ethernet-based transport. I have an Aries now and it creams the Mini via USB or via a converter.
08-21-14: Bmoura
Maybe so.

On the other hand, some companies like exaSound specifically recommend against using JPlay. See their write up at www.exasound

Thanks for the link. This is a quote from the Exasound site. I wonder if this is true?

ASIO provides native DSD support. Alternative implementations like DSD Over PCM (DoP) rely on hiding a DSD bit-stream within PCM data. This workaround requires sending a marker byte every two bytes of DSD data. It causes 33% inefficiency. This is a problem when very high sampling rates like DSD128 and DSD256 are used. The efficiency problem is further compounded for multichannel DSD applications. Think about streaming and processing a marker byte every two bytes of DSD data, 352,800 times every second, and then multiply this workload 8 times. This is what happens when DoP is used for 8-channel DSD256 stream. In addition DoP is sensitive to stream errors. If a marker byte is lost, the DAC has to revert to PCM mode, and with the next detected marker it has to switch back to DSD.
08-22-14: Doak
Jeezziz,,, after reading all this stuff it feels really good to put an LP on the TT, drop the needle and relax. ;-)

Very poetic but unfortunately not completely true. Plenty of hand wringing and tightened sphincters and cumbersome ritual in vinyl land:

http://www.head-fi.org/content/type/61/id/1172077/
Wow, great picture of John Mc and his SOTA TT.
Ok. A bit of semantics going on here. When I referred "transports", it was about CD spinners. I have not compared systems containing stored files in memory yet. But even so, I seriously doubt that the differences come even close to those I observed with tube differences above.
08-24-14: Jafox
Ok. A bit of semantics going on here. When I referred "transports", it was about CD spinners. I have not compared systems containing stored files in memory yet. But even so, I seriously doubt that the differences come even close to those I observed with tube differences above.

I just got an Auralic Aries, and it clubbed my Mini. I have not done any tube rolling with the 7 so I cannot speak to its overall impact.
Hi Agear,
I'm interested in the Mac mini Aries comparison. Did your mini have an external linear power supply? How about a SSD? How much RAM did it have?
08-26-14: Mrmb
Hi Agear,
I'm interested in the Mac mini Aries comparison. Did your mini have an external linear power supply? How about a SSD? How much RAM did it have?

Its a latest generation but unmodded Mini. I did use it with and without a USB converter. People are offloading their highly modded computers (Jwrace) based on verbiage I have read on Computeraudiophile.

To be clear, I have always had a streamer bias despite being very computer literate. I still need to purchase an audiophile grade USB cable.
Has anyone compared this to the MSB DACS?

I did with the Lampi 4 and found the MSB very transparent and cleaner sounding. I wander if the Big 6 can match or beat the MSB.
08-26-14: Dragon_vibe
Has anyone compared this to the MSB DACS?

I did with the Lampi 4 and found the MSB very transparent and cleaner sounding. I wander if the Big 6 can match or beat the MSB.

A L7 owner has the big MSB stack and prefers the 7. He goes by AlRainbow in Whatsbestforum....
ALRainbow has both a MSB Platinum Stack with Diamond PCB and Galaxy 2 clock upgrade ($35K retail) AND a Lampi B7 ($11K).

I was at his house this summer for 7 hours of critical listening with 3 pairs of quality headphones (Senn HD800, HifiMan HE-6 and Stax electrostatics) and 2 Woo tube amps and a Senn SS amp.

In both our opinions, both Dacs had the high end sound and we both felt the Lampi shaded the MSB, but I would concede that others could prefer the MSB. To me the Lampi was more analog and less "PCM hard". Both were spectacular in DSD.

The Big 7 is in another class to the L4 and I have a L4!!!!
Thanks Agear!
Although I haven't had the opportunity to hear for myself, most concur that a linear power supply does much to enhance the Mac mini. Because I believe the only difference between the base Aries and the upgraded one is a better PS, I was wondering how close a mini similarly configured, would be to the Aries....
08-26-14: Mrmb
Thanks Agear!
Although I haven't had the opportunity to hear for myself, most concur that a linear power supply does much to enhance the Mac mini. Because I believe the only difference between the base Aries and the upgraded one is a better PS, I was wondering how close a mini similarly configured, would be to the Aries....

Its not necessarily an apples to apples comparison as the Aries has other proprietary components internally including their USB output, clocks, shielding from RFI and EMI, etc. I would rather have an audiophile grade streamer designed from the ground up by a company with an engineering pedigree than a DIY product that you create piecemeal. Again, that's strong bias talking. Also, according to some, the effect of a linear supply on a Mini is partly dependent upon its vintage. I have had one engineer who is in the DAC business who claimed that linear supplies are no better than a switching supply in more recent generation of Minis. That gives me pause. I have also had friends who had Minis and/or PCs modded to the gills who walked away unimpressed and went back to spinning plastic so who the hell knows. The only way is to try an Aries yourself.
Wonderful JaFox!

I'm SO happy to see someone pick up the torch on the Big6! It was a stellar performer and clearly had potential that I lack the fund of knowledge to truly tap. Your modifications and tube rolling prove that with love, attention, an enormous fund of knowledge beyond my own, and diligence you can squeeze so much more out of these amazing DAC's.

I am equally thrilled to see that you tried the Offramp 5 with the Big6 as that was the one thing that I truly wish I could have done. I am shocked that it made things worse. Did you ask Steve what his thoughts were? Does that mean that the USB input and conversion is way better then we thought it was, or that the spdif input is flawed in some way?

I applaud your effort and tenacity!

I admit (Agear, don't laugh) that I would love to get the Big7 into my shootout to see how it compares to the Big6 and the other competitors. But as I did before, I would rely on the manufacturer to chose the best internal parts, tubes and wiring to get the most out of their equipment. (I know, blasphemy). Agear can post, as you did, on how much better a modded, tube rolled Big7 can be then stock.
Matt, nothing conclusive here on the OR 5. My experience is polar opposite. My system is different however as are my room and ears. Yours are different also. If not used with the Dynamo power supply, then it was never really heard at all as an FYI. The Dynamo power supply is a must pure and simple. I had the OR on its own and then with the power supply. Day and night and I have shared this with Steve and on the Gon.

Bottom line is you have to use the OR5 and Dynamo in your own room and system to really know the impact. Far too many variables to sort through and figure out why this outcome or that outcome in a particular system.
Actually Grannyring it was not just my ears .it was a confirmation by Steve himself .and this included the Dynamo PS. Sadly, the SPDIF input on the B6 or this one anyway is dimensionally flat vs the USB input. Has nothing to do with my ears ..flat is flat! Has nothing to do with system differences. Flat is flat! A system with a SS line stage would likely not be able to show as dramatic a difference as I hear. If there is one strength my system nails in spades is the ability to handle decays and harmonic overtones with aplomb. The USB is the way to go here.
Hi Jafox, I did not say it was your ears. At least that was not my intention. I
was saying a host of things including system, room, PC, cables, ears etc...
all together can make for different outcomes. I also had friends that much
preferred the OR5 as well as my wife and children. But that was in my
system....my complete system which is different from yours. That is my
only point. One must try it in one's system for any conclusive result is my
only point. I would think you agree with this? Impossible to know the
reasons why we had different results, but this happens all the time in this
hobby.
BTW, I have owned your speakers and loved them. I modified mine to the
hilt with Rogers' help and mated them with Atmasphere MA 1 amps as well
as TRL Samson amps.

I have compared my previous Lampi 4 with other 4's as well as some 5's
and they were all a little different so it may well be your 6's USB
implementation is better or different. Lampi units are like snowflakes in that
no two are exactly the same it seems.
Interesting analogy between Lampizators and snowflakes Granny
08-30-14: Abruce
Interesting analogy between Lampizators and snowflakes Granny

Ironically, the same thing has been said about TRL. I love both companies BTW. They very much remind me of each other....

One of the former lead engineers from Cary told me that point-point wiring and a more artisanal approach tends to foster "snow flake" production idiosyncrasies and was one reason why they (like so many others who spit stuff out of China) migrated to circuit boards. I for one still like to support manufactures, US or not, who product hand built, artisanal, non-outsourced products.
I was saying a host of things including system, room, PC, cables, ears etc... all together can make for different outcomes.
Yes, true, if we are talking about the final resultant (analog output) Lampi sonic differences themselves. But once the D-A conversion takes place, whether from USB or SPDIF, it is clear that the two digital inputs result in a very different analog outcome, one with far more spatial information that the other. No system change or new system will be able to change this outcome other than perhaps, due to higher resolution, show even more so their differences.

Lampi units are like snowflakes in that no two are exactly the same it seems.
I have noticed this from pictures of various Lampi units for sale here.
Agreed Agear.
Jafox, let's agree to disagree. I think another system would indeed give a different outcome.
Grannyring, you need to return home. When you finally hear a L7/B7, you will understand that its all been taken up a notch or 2 and you will return like the Prodigal son.

Snowflakes, huh? Well when you hear the Seven it will feel like a white Xmas everytome you switch on the sustem. LoL

Just run with an Aries or a Caps with AO in core mode and your will forget spinners forever! LoL. Just ask AGear and
ALRainbow. See new confirmatory feedback on the Seven over at CA forum.

I jest, as I think you should have a spinner on the side for when you just want to do disks.
Wisnon, who knows my modified Romulus may be the best of the bunch to
my ears? It is better than the L4 for sure.

I do know one thing for certain..for me. No way I am going back to
computer based digital front ends. No way for me. Far to much of a hassle
to me. My cd spinner brings smiles to me every time I load one and don't
have to deal with a computer.

One day when there is a one box solution and with the ease of a CD player
where I can access and download with no ripping etc...I will do it. The
thought of managing files, downloads, ripping, ripping programs, SACDs
that don't rip, Amarra or another, aiff or wav, having to reboot due to
computer issues, backing up and backing up the back up, having to have a
monitor I strain at like I do at work all day, wired or wireless, etc....

No thank you. When DSD music libraries are offered for a fixed monthly fee
that feeds my one box solution.....I am all in! I do mean one box only! I want
a high Rez MOG type of library service that allows me to play all kinds of
music with no file management and no ripping etc.... Oh ya, it must sound
as good as my Romulus. That's all I want.

I bet the Big 7 is heaven, I want a Big 7 CD player :)