for our CES'2009 Picture Gallery
January 19, 2009
...Finally, I come to the best sound I
heard at the CES, THE Show or anywhere in Las Vegas, and my pick will
probably come as no surprise to those who read my reviews and know the
equipment I admire -- and use. After he arrived in Las Vegas, Vladimir
Lamm found out that he was bumped from the demo room he booked months
before. But that didn't deter him, or the gang from Wilson Audio, who set
up a pair of MAXX Series 3 speakers in the new room, which had a
completely different layout. A smallish alcove was the only suitable space
for the speakers and Lamm ML3 Signature amps. Other products in use were a
Lamm L2 preamp and LP2 Deluxe phono stage, a NeoDio NR Two CD transport
and NR Two digital-to-analog converter, and a Clearaudio Innovation
turntable with the company's Universal tonearm and Titanium cartridge.
Cables were from Kubala-Sosna's Emotion line, with Critical Mass equipment
racks and platforms providing support for the electronics.
Best of Show: Lamm ML3 Signature amps
and Wilson Audio MAXX 3 speakers.
This system had it all, although you had to
get the sound of so many other systems out of your ears to appreciate it
fully. There was the acute resolution for which Wilson Audio speakers are
known, along with tonal purity, low-end drive, and a vivid presence
throughout the midrange and into the bass. While other systems reproduced,
this one engaged and enthralled. I played a number of cuts from my CD-R
here. I would have liked to listen to the entire disc.
I have the same speakers and amplifiers in
my listening room right now, though they'll do me no good until I get some
antibiotics to clear up my hearing. Here's an early wish for a
sickness-free -- and less frenzied -- CES 2010.
Posted Mon Jan 12, 2009,
12:18 PM ET — By Wes Phillips
This is what the Lamm ML3 Signature
looks like under the hood. Clean layout and P2P wiring throughout.
Posted Mon Jan 12, 2009,
11:59 AM ET — By Wes Phillips
Lamm was driving the new Wilson Maxx
series 3 with its 32Wpc ML3 Signature SE triode monoblocks
($139,290/pair). It was my first chance to hear either, so I can't tell
you if it was the speakers or the amps that were making the magic
happen, but happen it did.
The ML3 Sigs employ no overall
feedback and are pure class-A. They utilize a direct-heated GM-70 and
"one of the most sophisticated power supplies that have ever been
used in building any audio device."
No need to state the obvious—that's a
stratospheric price tag. And I'm not sure that if I could easily afford
it, I could actually write a six-digit check—much less one for the
whole system, wires and all—but I can't argue with the results. The
Lamm/Wilson combo was among the top five musical experiences of the
show—and one that demonstrated that, as good as really good
high-end audio is, there are some obsessed builders out there that are
operating on an entirely different plane. I can wish my system sounded
this good, but it doesn't. Sigh.
TAS Editors & Writers
Pick "The Best Sound" at CES 2009
Best of Show
The Magico M5. With the Wilson
MAXX Series 3 (in both the Boulder and Lamm rooms) coming in second, and
the Vandersteen Model 7, the Da Vinci Virtů, and the Perfect8
Technologies The Source tied for third. This said, there really wasn’t a
loser at this CES.
Best of Show
Four-way tie: Kimber Isomike demo;
TAD Home Audio room featuring the CR-1 monitor; Analysis Audio’s Omega
ribbon speaker driven by the Spectron Musician amp; the LAMM Industries room.
(TAS, issue 192, page 48)
In my book, the
LAMM Industries' ML3 Signature SET still reigns supreme. Its 32 Wpc power
output is a testimonial to the concept that not all watts are created
equal. Driving the Wilson Audio MAXX Series 3 loudspeakers it produced
some of the best sound at the show with simply gorgeous harmonic
textures. Bass control was firm to a degree I had not previously
experienced with SET amplification. For the record, the rest of the chain
I auditioned consisted of the NeoDio NR Two transport and DAC, Critical Mass
Systems racks and stands, and Kubala-Sosna Emotion interconnect and speakers
(TAS, issue 192, page 78)
We come now to a
truly magnificent system: the Wilson Maxx Series 3s driven by $140K Lamm
Industries ML3 amplifiers. There was a lot of gorgeous sound at this
year's CES, but this room was the most gorgeous. Incredibly
dense in tone color and texture, magnificent in low-level resolution and
dynamic scale, voluminous in soundstaging, it was so exquisite (and so
realistic) that it simply disarmed criticism. I listened to Crash Test
Dummies' terrific "Superman's Song" and Shawn Colvin's cover of
"Seven-Year Ache" with my mouth open...the sonics were that
ravinshingly beautiful. If I had any criticism, it might have been that
the sound was simply too beautiful -- though very very realistic,
nonetheless. But I kinda doubt whether "too beautiful" will
bother any of you guys.
by Dave and Carol Clark
2, Page 1
ML3 Signature single-ended triode power amplifiers, Lamm ML2.1
single-ended triode power amplifiers, Lamm L2 Reference preamplifier, Lamm
LP2 phono preamplifier, Wilson Audio MAXX series 3 speakers, NeoDio NR Two
transport and NR Two DAC, Clearaudio Innovation turntable, Universal
tonearm with Titanium cartridge, Critical Mass Systems racks and stands,
and Kubala-Sosna Emotion interconnect and speaker cables.
Industries ML3 Signature SE triode monoblock amplifiers on Critical Mass
Entering the Lamm
Industries room is like entering a cloister; a solemn event. It
was the only room at CES in which I regretted not wearing a tie. The sign on
the wall between the Wilson
Maxx Series 3 loudspeakers at the far end read: an amplifier with the power
to alter your beliefs about what is possible. They were talking about the
ML3, a 32 watt per channel, four chassis tube amplifier that has received
critical acclaim over the past year. The L2 preamplifier and LP2 phono
preamplifier had supporting roles as well. A NeoDio
Transport and DAC and a Clearaudio
Innovation turntable with Universal
tonearm and titanium cartridge held down the front end. Critical
Mass Systems racks and Kubala-Sosna
Emotion cables kept the vibrations controlled and the equipment connected.
Except for the Maxx 3 loudspeakers, it was a rig not unlike what was
. The room here was smaller, however, and that prevented a lot of moving
around. I had to stand at the back. Mostly people just kind of listened
reverently to classical and easy jazz. Vladimir
Lamm would kneel down and softly converse with aficionados from
time to time. There was a flyer for the NeoDio NR 22 CD player which may
have been in the rig rather than the separate transport and DAC. It uses
multiple reading and playback from memory buffering, a technological
approach first developed by Mark Porzilli with his Memory Player some years
ago. The NR 22 is laden with damping technology and attention is paid to
eliminating magnetic coupling on the back panel. It upsamples to
24-bit/192kHz. The music here was very well reproduced, and I certainly
respect the man who is the brand, but were my beliefs altered? I'd have to
slide into that room late at night, slip in a disc with Eric Clapton and BB
King and let them mix it up with a little "3 o'Clock Blues" to
answer that question. Maybe in
…and I'll be sure to wear my Jerry Garcia tie.
CES 2009 - Coverage IX
may as well keep gushing about this room, as I’ve already
complimented the NeoDio digital source. Lamm, known for its exquisite
amps, showed the ML3 Signature and ML 2.1 mono amps with Kubala Sosna
cabling to the Wilson Maxx Series 3; this combination and set up was
stunning! I have heard the Wilson products before on several occasions
and their form was as good as I have heard from them.
was no slouching, no second-class about this rig. The monotone black
color of the amps and speaker evoke from me an oxymoron, “austere
decadence” - no frills, just serious opulence. One of my
favorite sounds at the show.
It is never
easy to evaluate amplifiers in the context of unfamiliar speakers. That
said, the Wilson Maxx’s sounded better driven by the Lamm
ML3’s than I have ever heard them. Indeed, as a friend remarked a
few years ago, systems with Lamm amplifiers invariably sound good,
suggesting that the amplifiers must be doing something right. Crazy
expensive, but at least they deliver the goods.