Here comes that great
hybrid power amplifier which won the award at CES, LAMM model M1.1. It
was at the WCES'94 when we first encountered LAMM INDUSTRIES, INC., an
audio manufacturer in New York. The M1.1 uses high speed MOS-FET power
transistors, features class A operation, and no overall feedback.
We are particularly
interested in the hybrid design which employs a vacuum tube 6922 in
the second stage. The M1.1 is a monaural amplifier which generates 100
Watts. In spite of the fact that the M1.1 is a pure class A amplifier
and that it was driving small sized speaker by Purist Audio Design,
the impression we got at CES was that the M1.1 was a sophisticated
modern amp with high resolution and a great driving power at the lower
Vladimir Shushurin, who
owns the company, used to design amp at Madison Fielding, Inc.; he had
become independent when the amplifier won Innovations'93 Award in 1993
at the Chicago CES. Having been informed that the amp is being
imported to Japan, we decided that the M1.1 is one of the models that
we definitely want to try, although we have forgotten about the M1.1
for a while.
Although LAMM also
manufactures a hybrid preamplifier model L1, it was such an important
issue for us to fully explore the M1.1 that on that particular day we
used Sansui C-2302, of which we have full knowledge. We used B&W
speakers model MTX 801/3 and WireWorld Eclipse cables.
Then, all of a sudden, the
power amplifier displayed its full potential: high purity, super high
speed response, high resolution and super wide range. The sound was so
remarkable that it literally woke us up. The sound arises
extraordinarily. The M1.1 must be capable of reproducing perfectly
flat sound even at the highest frequencies. No other amplifier is
capable of such a precise expression of overtone spectrum that no
cloudiness is heard. The sound is crystal clear.
I have never had such a
great power amplifier and I have never heard MTX 801/3 make such
lively and natural bass strokes. I listened to the forth movement from
Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4, Saito Kinen Orchestra conducted by Seiji
Ozawa (Philips). Despite quite a complicated performance in the high
frequencies region, the M1.1 had the impeccable resolution. The
dynamics of heavy bass were perfectly expressed.
In general, when a piece
of equipment is capable of such high resolution, the sound usually
gets tightened at all frequencies, so that the low frequencies sound
flat and blunt and the vocals become brusque. Fantastically, it was
not the case with the M1.1 -- the sound never becomes dry; on the
contrary, an exquisite feeling of the richness and the smooth texture
of high density energy are added.
I turned around and found
the chief editor smiling. Confronted with the sound of the M1.1, I had
nothing to say, but to smile as well. I was impressed by the fact that
such an extraordinary audio manufacturer like LAMM exists in the US.
The M1.1 seems to be the one that is infinitely close to the
perfection of my ideal.
My next choice was to hear
strong percussion. For that purpose I chose the fifth cut from "Ki
to Kawa no Kodo" (the beat child of woods and skin) by Jun
Sugawara, in which eight drums are played to make a distinction in the
low frequency sounds. This impressed me even more. Straightforward
energy of the drums never collapses even when played at a full volume.
The thrust of dynamics creates superb impression of a
three-dimensional space. Still, every subtle change in a musical
interval is detectable. This was the first time when I heard this
difficult album with such vividness brought by the fine quality. I
also listened to "Duo di Basso," a duet of cello and bass.
Sound stage was crystal-clear and filled with subliminal
reverberations of cello and bass which sounded so real as if I were
The sound has a
contrasting quality of delicacy, power, tension, and elasticity. The
impression was so vivid and lively that I kept listening with my mouth
open. The sound quality of LAMM's preamplifier L1 is quite neutral,
just as the power amplifier.
In addition, the M1.1 has
a switch-selectable bias/voltage settings for 8 or 4 Ohms operation at
100 Watts, although it is designed to tolerate super low impedance
loads such as 200 Watts at 2 Ohms and 300 Watts at 1 Ohm.
Vladimir Shushurin, today I tried the amplifier you designed and
found myself deeply inspired. I agree that this is the way an audio
amplifier is supposed to be."