The Magnificent Lamm Amp

The are small amps, there are large amps, there are stereo amps, there are mono amps, and then there are Vladimir Lamm's ML3 Signature two-chassis monoblocks, demmed at FSI with Verity Lohengrin speakers, a Lamm L2 Reference preamplifier, LP2 phono preamp, NeoDio CD transport and DAC, and Kubala-Sosna cables, and Critical Mass Systems racks.

The ML3 Signature runs a single Russian GM70 directly heated output tube (introduced in 1948, the year I was born) with 1200V on the plate to give 28 watts into 8 ohms. The GM70 is driven by four paralleled 6N30P "Super Tubes," with a single 12AX7 as the input stage. The choke-smoothed power supply in a separate chassis uses four 12AX3 diode tubes as a bridge rectifier to derive the high-voltage rail for the output tube, with another two 12AX3 tubes supplying DC to the front-end tubes.

Listening to Louis Armstrong singing "Blues in the Night" from LP, I auditioned the amps with no negative feedback and just 1.2dB of negative feedback. You wouldn't have thought it would make a difference, but darned if switching in even this minimal amount of feedback—which, in theory, should make the amplifier perform better—didn't diminish the enormous sense of space on the recording.

Oh, the price? Each pair of ML3 References costs upwards of $130,000 and takes two weeks to manufacture.

Pete's picture

Great quote Charles! ZERO negative feedback is the only way to go. Keep cooking up fantastic sounding gear like the KXR -- I absolutely love my KXR + MXR combo.

Charles Hansen's picture

"darned if switching in even this minimal amount of feedback didn't diminish the enormous sense of space on the recording"It's just like Billy says: "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

Alain P.'s picture

Best sound of the show I believe.In my biased (i own Verity speakers)opinion,80% due to Lohengrin speakers,although the 200 k dollars front end certainly helpsA.P

Neil O.'s picture

John, You talked about the cables Kubala-Sosna but take a good look at the picture. Thick power cords going into a bus bar with small gauge wire and no name. Then into the duplex receptacle in the wall. The preamp had the same cheap power cords think of the sound there could of been if the thick power cords would of been 1 meter longer.