LEVEL TUBE PREAMPLIFIER
The monaural line level
preamplifier model LL1 Signature is the ultimate statement of
perfection in High-End audio. Just like ML3 Signature is the best creation of its designer's professional career among the
LAMM amplifiers, so is the LL1 Signature among the line level
The LL1 Signature has
been designed to complement the ML3 Signature amplifier, and
this combination in a system represents a "match made in
heaven". However, the LL1 Signature will perform magic
with any other appropriate power amplifier.
The LL1 Signature features a topology that brings out the most natural sound
performance in the audio path. In principle, it is a single-stage
unit that basically represents the shortest possible signal path.
contains four very linear low impedance triodes paralleled into a
single inverting gain stage.
The LL1 Signature employs a pure single-ended class A operation, with no overall
feedback applied. Also featured are specially selected high-transconductance
dual triodes 6N30P-DR/ 6Н30П-ДР (original)
in the signal path and TKD stepped potentiometers for volume control
- the best available on today's market.
audibly neutral power supply features a full-wave vacuum
rectifier. This rectifier, together with a choke-containing
filter, allows to practically get rid of the hum and buzz and, in
the end, to ensure the verity of dynamic range without
coloration. Two solid-state analog voltage regulators supply
dc voltage to the tube filaments (heaters).
Other features include 3
inputs, one tape/HT processor loop, attenuator (-12 dB) switch,
output 1/output 2 switches, protection circuitry designed to enable
manual muting of the output signal, and built-in remote on/off for
LAMM power amplifiers.
The main distinction of
the LL1 Signature from any other comparable type of
preamplifiers is its practically inaudible sonic signature.
When connected to an appropriate type of power amplifiers,
especially LAMM power amplifiers, it assures the extraordinary
transparency of perceived sound and recreation of a
three-dimensional soundstage in the home, recording studio, etc.,
without boundaries and limitations.
Each preamplifier is
handcrafted of the finest materials and top quality parts like
military-grade DALE metal-film resistors, PRC wire-wound resistors,
BOURNS multi-turn potentiometers, CORNELL DUBILIER and UNITED
CHEMI-CON electrolytic capacitors, ELECTROCUBE, ELCON and
ROEDERSTEIN film capacitors; HAMMOND chokes, gold-plated NEUTRIC
connectors, and military-grade low-noise long-life vacuum tubes.
massive damping panel installed in the preamplifier unit
significantly reduces all types of mechanical vibrations which, in
turn, leads to a more extended, coherent and natural bass
The LL1 Signature features a custom-designed super-low noise power transformer.
The LL1 Signature works on all world AC line voltages (100/120/220/230/240V).
The 32Wpc Lamm ML3 Signature amplifier with its mate, the LL1 Signature preamplifier, take the definition of the absolute sound and turn it on its head. For 30 years, the illusion of live unamplified instruments in space has been a hallmark of this publication. Now with this Lamm attack on the state of the art we can (almost) throw away the word "illusion."
I believe this dynamic duo from Vladimir Lamm approaches what we all seek in the reproduction of music -- the actual sound of live instruments in space. These statement products, I dare say, do the near impossible. They reduce or eliminate two of the major sonic colorations and/or signatures that we reviewers harp on. The first being the electronic haze, though ever so slight, that amplifiers unavoidably add to the (image) of the instrument and the air surrounding it. The second coloration, and most egregious, is the old nemesis, midbass overhang. It's a coloration that poisons the foundation of the lower harmonics and ruins the "believability" of true-life instrumental timbre in the upper registers.
I am very enthusiastic that designers like Lamm recognize that sonic neutrality is not the only key to the authentic recreation of the musical event. There are also numerous subconscious references that our perception systems process when we listen to music. They work behind the scene and are, perhaps, the ultimate arbiter for "is it real?"
...I assert that it's the subconscious cues that allow the listener to bypass the audio system and to reach out and touch and feel the instrument itself. It's more than 3-D; it's a metaphysical thing, and it's the next logical step toward sonic reality.
...There is absolutely zero "tube" spatiality or warmth. There is no exaggeration of the harmonic envelope or chewy caramel texture to sink your teeth into. There is nothing at all added to the instrumental image. It pops right up, living and breathing--right there in front of you. That's easy enough; most of today's amplifiers do this. But there is more; there is an additional and unidentifiable "rightness" to the actual tone of an instrument that draws you closer to reality. The Lamms somehow rebuild the DNA of the instrument itself. It's uncanny. And it is this, and also their price, which set the Lamms apart from other reference amplifiers.
...I know this sounds somewhat absurd but I believe that Lamm (the man) has found a key psychoacoustic design parameter that few else have discovered.
Notwithstanding the reputation, and completely ignoring the price, we have here an extraordinary product. It does exactly what it is designed to do: realistically reproduce music.
Mind you, the cost of entry is high, oh so very high, but the performance is even higher. If you value sonic realism, the Lamm ML3 Signature amplifier and its trusty mate, the LL1 Signature linestage, have no peers. They redefine the state of the audio art. They are the actual sound.
Peter Breuninger, The Absolute Sound (December, 2010)
In the LL1 Signature line-stage preamplifier, Vladimir Lamm has stunningly executed a stunning design. The LL1's flawless sound is impressive, but I remain floored by the several areas in which it achieved levels of performance I hadn't thought possible. The LL1 should be on the short list of anyone who seeks the best possible sound from a line-stage preamplifier, and who's willing to deal with the spatial demands of a four-chassis preamp, some minor ergonomic quirks, and a price of $42,790! It's worth every penny.
Robert Reina, Stereophile (August, 2014)
Once again, I must tip my hat to Vladimir Lamm's engineering chops!
John Atkinson, Stereophile (August, 2014) -- conclusion in the "Measurements" section of the review
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