Lamm Industries L2 Reference preamplifier Page 4
Just to make sure I wasn't hallucinating, I played The Virtuoso Oboe, Vol.2 (Vanguard VSD-2074) on my Forsell 'table. The disc features works by Mozart, Handel, and Albinoni performed by André Lardrot, the Boskovsky Quartet, and the Chamber Orchestra of the Vienna State Opera. Okay, so I only listened to the Mozart and Handel...but then I listened to it again. Transcendent. Whatever the L2 was giving me in the midrange, I needed it, and what I needed is what I think all audiophiles ultimately need—that special communication with the music.
Regarding deep bass...well, if I was going to pick a nit, here's where I'd pick it. But I don't know if it's really a nit or not. Listening to Bruno Walter's recording of Mozart's Symphonies 38 and 40 on SACD (Sony SRGR703), Boulez Conducts Ravel on SACD (Sony SS 89121), plus some of the really deep stuff on Peter Kruder's Peace Orchestra (G-Stone G-CD 004), I thought: If I could level a complaint, it would be that the Lamm sounded a bit lighter down there in the bass than I'm used to hearing from the awesome Krell 350MC monoblocks--or the Linn Klimaxes, for that matter. Or do other preamps exaggerate slightly? Hard to tell, and in the greater scheme of things, it doesn't matter. What was there was deep enough, tight enough, and doggone it, I liked it!
What have I left out...female vocals? Loved 'em. Welcome to Portishead (Go! Live GLCD001) was fabulous, palpable, round, super-sexy, airy, wide, deep, low-distortion, and fun to hear. And I never heard Patricia Barber sound so fine as on her Nightclub, on fine-sounding CD (Premonition/Blue Note 5 27290 2) and especially on the HQ-180gm vinyl (Premonition 90749).
The Fulfillment of Yearning
The L2 is a wonderful preamplifier. You can listen to it and enjoy it without all the tweaking I did, but my diligence on that front put it right up there next to the Mark Levinson No.32 Reference, for about the same price. The Levinson comes off rather more detached, more emotionally neutral, while the L2 has soul, baby, and lots of it—but without being obvious or euphonic about it.
In the end, it's up to you, your tastes, and your wallet.
The defense rests.