Audiophile Club Athens
Comments & pictures taken from Audiophile Club of Athens web-site at http://aca.gr
The MF AUDIO room was one of the largest in the show, well decorated (plants plus room treatment) and had lots of chairs to accommodate the many audiophiles that would stay and listen for long periods of time. Both systems that we heard in this room had a very natural and liquid sound and were rated as the best in the show by many visitors (A.C.A. reviewing team included).
The soundstage was excellent in all dimensions and the tonal balance was the best in the show. Speakers were the Parsifal Encore by Verity, amps were shifting between the LAMM ML1 monos & LAMM Hybrid Μ1.1, pre was the LAMM L1 or LL2 and source was the Wadia 860 CD player. Cables by Nirvana.
Vladimir Lamm from LAMM Industries talks to Club officers
(presented by L. Valleras)
During the 5th Hiend Show 2001, we were fortunate enough to meet Mr. Vladimir Lamm the President of LAMM electronics who was invited to the Show by MF Audio.
He is a man full of energy and wit, a man of the world, a wise man, a man who has done it all. We spent much less time with him than we would have liked to, but he managed to impress us from the first moments of our meeting. He told us stories about how many years it took him to leave his former country to arrive with very little money in the USA… and of the hard work, patience, and misunderstandings he had to go through, before he could establish his company.
As a designer and manufacturer of Hi End products, he thinks that the most important thing, is to really know what you are doing, to really know how circuits work, and how the human hearing works. If you really know what you are doing, then it is certain that you will have a very good product. Since everyone who has been to the show told us that the LAMM room had one of the best sounds, and most considered it to be THE best sound of the show, we can conclude that Vladimir definitely knows what he is doing.
We were also told that he can design a circuit to have any sonic character that he wants, for example a classic ‘tube’ sound or a ‘transistor’ sound, using either transistors or tubes. Of course he considers his own designs as having “transparency with a soul…” as he says.
He thinks that, although there is no limit at what you can do using tubes, there is a limit at what you can do with transistors, at least with today’s materials. “Today that is, I don’t know what will happen in a hundred years…”.
We had lots of questions to ask and we were eager for the answers, but Mr. Lamm had to go. We hope to see him again at the next Athenian show.
Julien Pelchat from Verity Audio talks to Club officers
(presented by L. Valleras)
During the 5th Hiend Show 2001, we had the chance to meet and talk with one of the owners and designers of Verity Audio speakers, Julien Pelchat who was invited to the Show by MF Audio.
We met Julien, Verity Audio’s Executive Vice President and designer in MF AUDIO’s room. He is a gentle and soft-spoken man that we immediately liked, and gave us a very interesting interview. What we learned is as follows:
At Verity they start by determining the size of the speaker they want to design and manufacture, which in contrast with other Hi- End companies is not very large but rather small by expensive speakers’ standards. The reason is that they want their speakers to be able to be integrated in the majority of households and be aesthetically acceptable. (This point of view we like very much because usually it is a small minority of hi-enders that either have a very large living room or can afford another large “listening room”).
They like to use very soft roll off crossovers like first order ones. That’s why when they design a speaker they start by working on the driver itself. When the driver works very well you don’t need a complicated crossover!
Some companies, for example “Company A” or “Company B”, claim to have first order crossovers, but their crossovers have hundreds of parts. These are not filters but compensators for time alignment errors, notch filters for controlling the resonance of aluminum drivers etc. There is a loss of energy, however, in every part you use. Therefore you should use as few parts as possible. That’s why they start from the mechanical point and make everything work together. They use excellent drivers specially made for them in Europe that cost five times the cost of the ‘normal’ equivalent driver.
They use the Fibonnacci numbers in the design of the cabinet, for both the panels and the inner bracing, so that all the panels and sub panels have different frequency resonance. They use the right glues to bond the panels together (MDF) so they have the mechanical impedance they need to minimize resonance. They don’t use damping material to ‘stop’ the cabinet because they don’t need to. If the cabinet is built as it should you don’t have to use damping material, which can thicken the sound. They only apply some Dacron’ on the walls to kill a bit of the echo.
The paint is Italian, a very thick polyester that helps in the control of vibrations. It is not easy to apply. You have to mix together two chemicals bringing them into a kind of resin, the one and then the other, and they start boiling. You have about ten minutes to apply the paint since in an hour it’s almost solid. When you apply it you have to use a gun with a wide tip and low pressure, since by then it is 90% solid!
To isolate the upper module from the bass energy of the lower module in the Parsifal speaker, they use granite stone between sorbothane pads acting like like a floating mass. Some people think that granite is very hard and gives a hard sound, but in this kind of use, the sorbothane filters out the higher frequencies, while the floating mass does the same for low frequencies (for this you need mass, granite, glass, whatever!). They think that their speakers are not ‘difficult’, in the sense that they work well with many kinds of amplifiers, tube or transistor type, for example Lamm, Nagra, Spectral, Krell, Audio Research, Conrad Johnson etc. Nagra & dCS use their speakers for reference.
Our interview was coming to an end, but we managed a few more questions. In terms of cost they divide it equally between the drivers-crossover and cabinet because they consider them equally important.
They believe in an open enclosure, properly designed and they have noticed, in most cases, that rear firing woofer position is the best for their designs, with measurements showing frequency response down to 20Hz sometimes. However, you should always experiment and they give you that choice.
We also talked some about the flagship speaker and its design, and promised more details in our next meeting, hopefully very soon.
Thanks Julien for your time.
Michael Fouassis of MF Audio, Vladimir Lamm, Julien Pelchat
Vladimir Lamm, Julien Pelchat, John Fouassis
Elina & Vladimir Lamm, Julien Pelchat of Verity, John Fouassis of MF Audio