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ying and yang---Lamm ML3 and darTZeel 458

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  • ying and yang---Lamm ML3 and darTZeel 458

    .....or is it Yang and Ying?

    (I apologize to those who already know my story/rationalizations) for a number of years I've hankered for a set of tube amps for when that urge strikes me. of course; back in 2001-2004 I owned and loved Tenor 75 watt OTL's, then 10 years later I owned a set of Found Music 2A3 3-watt mono blocks I also loved but did not work in my system. my solid state amps, the darTZeel 458 mono blocks, for me are the perfect amplifier since they capture much of what tubes do, while providing all of the best of solid state. to my ears they sound like music. period. so i'm a happy camper.

    yet; for whatever reason I continue to think about owning a set of excellent tube amps. and I've lusted after a few of them. I don't need a tube amp that sounds like my big darts. I want an SET that does the whole purity and inner touch, magic, super holographic, thing. the big darts have minimalist parts count, and zero global feedback. and so those are important in a tube amp too. and it would help if the amp were linear at the frequency extremes (rare in an SET). i'm lucky in that my speakers are friendly to an SET (with 20+ watts even in my large room) since they are 97db, 7 ohm, and the bass is powered below 40 hz. and even though the deep bass is powered, it takes it's signal from the main amplifiers to allow the bass to be 'of a piece' with the gestalt of the main amps.

    so last week I went and purchased a set of Lamm ML3 Signature mono blocks. it ticks all the boxes, I've heard it at shows multiple times, I've heard it twice at Steve's (Williams) house, and I heard it at David's (ddk) house too. except for David's house, all the rest were not quite as friendly a speaker situation as I have. I've pretty much loved it's sound every time. it does have it's own character, but it's one I love. if there is a tube amp out there more worthy of sitting next to my big darts, i'm not sure what that might be. maybe the Kagura's, but it's not an SET. and it needs tube rolling to be it's best; i'd rather avoid that part. it's more money too. and it's likely more 'like' the 458's than the ML3's are too. and honestly I have a feel for the sound of the ML3's and do not for the Kagura's. maybe if I did that would have been my target. i'm sure there are another 5 or 10 other tube amps which could have tickled my fancy that were not on my radar.

    the ML3's will bring me a distinctly different musical viewpoint.

    today I had some visitors, and we played one track where the big darts hit a 212 watt peak on a drum solo. not common, but it happens. obviously the ML3's cannot do stuff like that. so it will be limited in going to warp 9 mode. yet I know that the ML3's do space and can be quite dynamic for most music. and I have plenty of choices to stay away from the big boom stuff, or I live with a bit of distortion. I know this will not be a plug and play proposition. I will need time to see what I need to do to optimize the ML3's in my system. I will use the dart pre which is optimally single ended. I have a 7 meter set of Silent Source Signature RCA's I will use between the ML3's and the dart pre. to begin with I will use my EA speaker cables, but I am open to other speaker cables to find the right balance (likely ddk will have some good recs for me). my plan is to move any grounding connections back and forth between the amps (likely ddk will want to strangle me).

    these ML3 Signatures are 'used' but were sent to Lamm in NYC to be checked over before I got them and passed 'as new'. I also purchased a set of 4 SRA (Silent Running Audio) Arizona Class platforms made specifically for the ML3's. the platforms arrived yesterday (I've set them up below, waiting for amplifiers), the amps will be here by Wednesday. I will listen and report first impressions.

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  • #2
    Wow. Talk about living the dream!

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    • #3
      Damn, what a great choice. Congratulations Mike, on your ML3.Signature amps. I look forward to reading your impressions. Love those big SRA platforms.
      Spkr: Wilson Alexias series 2; Amps: Lamm M1.2Ref; Linestage and phono: ARC Ref 10 and ARC Ref 10 Phono; TT: GPA Monaco 2.0; Arms: Kuzma 4Point, Tri-planar Mk. VII U2-SE; Cartridges: Allnic Arrow/Puritas, Benz LP S, Fuuga, Lyra Etna, Transfiguration Phoenix, Denon DL-A100,DL103R; Cables: Shunyata Σ / Σ NR PC/SC/IC; Pwr Cond: Shunyata Triton III, Typhons(3); Isolation: SRA Scuttle3 rack, SRA Ohio Class amp stands, ; Acoustics: Stillpoints Apertures; Audio cat: Finzi

      Comment


      • #4
        Your really going to go 21 feet in single ended. Are you concerned? I have been agonizing over this for some time. I want to get my gear from between my speakers but have about 24 feet to go. Scott with Found M is going to make my interconnects.
        Pure Audio Project Trio 10/Voxativ, Transition Audio 811A Triode monoblocks, First Sound Audio Mark 3SI, Custom TT with Vertere tone arm, Allnic H1201, Denon 103R Midas Saphire with line contact diamond. Mojo Audio CAT Server with remote Illuminati power supply, Mojo Audio Mystique V3 DAC. Akiko Corelli, Custom power strip direct wired to panel with OFC copper wire. Inakustik Ref Air 2404 Speaker cable. Genesis and Inakustik NF2404 Air Interconnects.

        Comment


        • Mike Lavigne
          Mike Lavigne commented
          Editing a comment
          I've used these interconnects multiple times with tube amps in my system, and the dart pre is so quiet, has such stout output, and my system is so well grounded, that it's the way to go. and the XLR connections on the Lamm ML3's are 'quasi'.....just to allow you to use XLR's and give no advantage to lower noise.

      • #5
        And, Congratulations!!!
        Pure Audio Project Trio 10/Voxativ, Transition Audio 811A Triode monoblocks, First Sound Audio Mark 3SI, Custom TT with Vertere tone arm, Allnic H1201, Denon 103R Midas Saphire with line contact diamond. Mojo Audio CAT Server with remote Illuminati power supply, Mojo Audio Mystique V3 DAC. Akiko Corelli, Custom power strip direct wired to panel with OFC copper wire. Inakustik Ref Air 2404 Speaker cable. Genesis and Inakustik NF2404 Air Interconnects.

        Comment


        • #6
          It seems like the Russian got to you, Mike. And it's good that you let Vlad give them the once over. Are you driving your big speakers with them? Is a horn in your future? I used to drive myself mad about correct bias, but if the amps are fully warmed up (and I assume, even with a different type of big tube, the same obtains), these things are rock steady. Have you rolled the small signal tube? (I'll have to check that amp against my old ML2s, but the only tube I roll, and it makes quite a difference, is the 12ax7; all else comes from Vlad).
          Welcome to fold.
          Last edited by Bill Hart; 02-19-2018, 10:53 AM.

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          • #7
            So nice!! Perhaps a Lamm LP1.1 in the future? Just for demonstration.

            Enjoy Mike!

            Comment


            • Mike Lavigne
              Mike Lavigne commented
              Editing a comment
              thanks Dan.

              perfectly happy with my darTZeel preamp and internal phono's, and I think it works well for tubed amps.

              at some point in the future, when/if I'm considering stand alone phono stages, the Lamm will be one I think about. but by then darTZeel might have one too.

          • #8
            Really beautiful set-up! The SRA platforms look very impressive. Between the darTZeel and the ML3's, two different ends of the audio spectrum. Sight and sound unseen, I would prefer the ML3. That being said, both amps are super cool & above my pay grade. Congrats!
            CJ Gat, Lamm ML1.1, CJ Tea1 S2 phono, Linn LP12 Lingo, Zeta Arm, Grado Statement S2, Exemplar Modded 205(Tube Version),Eficion F300 Speakers(Stillpoints Customized), Shunyata Denali 6000t,Triton V3, Shunyata Python Zitron IC's & Python Zitron Speaker Cables. Shunyata Sigma Power Cables, Stillpoints, Stillpoints Aperture Panels & MG Corner Tunes.

            Comment


            • #9
              Originally posted by Bill Hart View Post
              It seems like the Russian got to you, Mike. And it's good that you let Vlad give them the once over. Are you driving your big speakers with them? Is a horn in your future? I used to drive myself mad about correct bias, but if the amps are fully warmed up (and I assume, even with a different type of big tube, the same obtains), these things are rock steady. Have you rolled the small signal tube? (I'll have to check that amp against my old ML2s, but the only tube I roll, and it makes quite a difference, is the 12ax7; all else comes from Vlad).
              Welcome to fold.
              hi Bill,

              good to be 'in the fold', thanks.

              what got to me was my experiences in a few system hearing the ML3, so yes, Vlad's amps did get to me.

              no horns for me. but my big twin tower MM7's are an easy load, 97db and 7 ohm, and my bass towers are active and do the bass below 40 hz, and the bass signal is taken from the passive main towers, so the bass will be perfectly integrated and have the character of the main amps.

              I have been told that the 12ax7 is the only tube to roll, and that I should get a NOS Telefunken ECC803S, so that is on my list of stuff to buy. I also expect to have to find the appropriate speaker cables for optimal tonal balance.

              cheers,

              Mike

              Comment


              • #10
                Incredible kit there Mike, my, you have been evolving though some of the most musical gear on the planet. Congratulations.

                Happy Listening!
                Listening/Living room is 25.5x14.5x8.5, modestly live and dynamic, Brinkmann Balance w/RöNT II PS, HRS, Reed P3-12, Miyajima Zero, Avid Acutus SP, SME V w/Kondo fairy hair silver litz, Lyra Kleos, Linn Sondek LP12 w/Ittok LVII, Nakamichi ZX-7, Sony SCD-XA5400ES, Aesthetix Calypso & Rhea Signatures, Nordost TYR Norse 2 XLR IC, Silent Source Music Ref mains, Atma-Sphere MA1 Mk.3.4 OTL Silver Edition monoblocks, Elrod EPS-3 Sign power cables, Coincident Techn PREt, PS Audio Premiere, Yamamoto racks

                Comment


                • #11
                  I've looked at posts on Mike's new acquisition with some bemusement. Why is it that some audiophiles can only see the world in black and white and no shades of gray? The more gear you can listen to, the more you can appreciate different products. Today's top audio gear today brings a lot of different qualities to the listening table; since no one component does it all, the choice comes down to which qualities or mix of qualities appeal the most to your ear.

                  There's no question that both amplifiers bring a lot to the table. The real question is what Mike's thoughts are after extended listening to the LAMM (or for that matter any new product you are listening to) vs his Dartzeel amplifiers. Power bring a lot to the system. There's also not the trade off today between power and sound quality like there was a decade or two ago. Not so much in the area of macrodynamics but dynamic ease. The system just cruises at all listening levels and feel unstressed. Even at lower volumes.

                  OTOH, single-ended triode amplifiers can be very beguiling on the right speaker system. That silky smoothness and lack of mechanicality can be something to behold . The best of breed also can throw a very realistic sense of instrumental three dimensionality (even throw push-pull triodes in the mix here). There's absolutely no question that SE amplifies can be very beguiling in the midrange. For some listeners, that is enough; for others, that works for a while and then it's what the amplifiers don't do that leads to dissatisfaction. Or do the amplifiers fit in with all musical taste. No question here if one loves listening to vocals. Clearly the LAMMs are one of the best examples of SE amplifier sound and not having to drive MIke's bass towers only helps their sound.

                  It's also important to note that one needs to listen to SET triode amplifiers differently. In fact, it brings back memories of when the industry went from tubes to solid-state and used the old tube parameters to assess the performance of solid-state amplifier. Yes, solid-state didn't have the distortions of tube amplifiers; but they had their own particular set of distortions. Same goes for SET amplifiers. In my experience, when they are pushed, SET amplifiers take on a thicker, but not say aggressive sound, characteristic say of PP tube amplifiers. That is of course a bit of a generalization and so much really depends on the build of the amplifier's power supply.
                  Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                  Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                  ________________________________________

                  Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers, cj ART300 40th Anniversary monoblock Amplifiers; cj GAT preamplifier Series 2; Doshi V3.0 and Thoress Mk. 2 phonostages; VPI Vanquish turntable/12-inch 3D tonearm/12-inch Fat Boy, SAT LM-12 arm, Lyra Atlas SL, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges; Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads/Doshi V3.0 tape stage run balanced; Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Allnic cables, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, MG Audio, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies Power Cords. Stillpoint Aperture panels, SPod Magico feet, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC. Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks; Audiodharma Cable Cooker; Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

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                  • #12
                    State-4.jpgClick image for larger version  Name:	State-5.jpg Views:	2 Size:	599.8 KB ID:	81979 look what the cat dragged in.....

                    a friend read about how was i enjoying moderately powered tube amps, and thought I might enjoy dipping my toe into 'big tubes' so offered to allow me to sample his VAC Statement 450 mono blocks. they are very heavy. picked them Thursday night. then last night I moved things around and plugged them in and listened briefly. now this morning I did bias the tubes and am getting to know them some. Click image for larger version  Name:	State-3.jpg Views:	1 Size:	629.8 KB ID:	81974

                    many have pushed me to try this, and so how could I refuse his offer? it's about having fun? right? and I might learn something too.

                    Comment


                    • siddh
                      siddh commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Don’t know the weight differential between the Lamms and VAC, but keep in mind the SRA bases are weight sensitive..

                  • #13
                    one more pic.... Click image for larger version

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                    • MylesBAstor
                      MylesBAstor commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Crank that AC up!!!

                  • #14
                    Originally posted by Mike Lavigne View Post
                    look what the cat dragged in.....
                    That's a pretty big/strong cat. What are you feeding it? Elk?
                    **************************************************
                    Every day is a good day to play analog.
                    - 12" 33-1/3 RPM or 45 RPM vinyl
                    - 10.5" 15ips or 30ips tape
                    **************************************************
                    Every day is a good day for live music.
                    **************************************************

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                    • MylesBAstor
                      MylesBAstor commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Mountain lion!

                    • Mike Lavigne
                      Mike Lavigne commented
                      Editing a comment
                      the power supplies are 80 pounds, and the amps sitting on top are 120 pounds. so a 200 pound package per side.

                      there is a ball bearing and cup footer on the top of the power supply which requires that the 120 pound amp section be set down accurately to engage. for a 66 year old skinny guy like me it was a good challenge......especially so close to the big speaker towers and few choices to place your feet. it appears I did not break anything. when in place; if you lightly nudge the top section it will float for a minute or more before it settles. nice decoupling design and sounds very finely focused without smear for a big tube amp.....which can sound soft and round sometimes with all those tubes.

                    • Dre_J
                      Dre_J commented
                      Editing a comment
                      So, that cat was Mike.

                      Now I have to be on the lookout for "Morph the Cat" and Mike the cat.
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