two 12AX3 and one 6C19P tubes should be
replaced every year
Model L2 Reference represents top of the line in LAMM hybrid and
solid-state audio equipment. It is one of the best creations of its
designer's professional career--a result of years of intensive
research directed at attaining the most accurate reproduction of
recorded music. Unique topology and application of the most advanced
technological resources and processes bring the L2 near the
threshold of excellence in sound reproduction. A main distinction of
the L2 from any other comparable type of preamplifiers is its almost
inaudible sonic signature. When connected to an appropriate type of
power amplifiers, and especially LAMM 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.
The L2 features a
topology that brings out the most natural sound performance in the
audio path, as well as graceful and sophisticated design. Its unique
circuitry utilizing specially selected super-linear high voltage
MOS-FET transistors ensures a class A operation from input to
output, with no overall feedback at any stage. All stages, including
high current output buffers, are single-ended. A unique electronic
protection circuit enables manual muting of the outputs until the
preamplifier has stabilized after a turn-on; it also enables
functioning of the preamplifier in a "muting" mode during
operation and automatic switching to muting in case the AC line
voltage drops or is interrupted. Other features include 3 inputs; 1
tape loop; output signal phase switch; balanced and single-ended
outputs; and built-in remote on/off for LAMM power amplifiers.
The L2 has a separate
power supply that utilizes a choke contained filter, vacuum tube
rectifier and voltage regulator.
Special care was taken
in designing a high voltage (+350V) high speed vacuum tube voltage
regulator. Using this voltage regulator, in conjunction with other
technical aspects, enables the reproduction of tiniest nuances and
three-dimensional subtleties in the music palette (provided that
such details had not been lost in a recording process). A somewhat
unusual combination of high voltage vacuum tube power supply and
superlinear high voltage MOS-FETs allows to attain an enormously
large output swing while retaining practically constant harmonic
contents of the signal with an absolute dominance of the second
In designing the L2
special attention was directed toward optimization of the output
impedance of the preamplifier with an aim of attaining practically
full independence of the output impedance from frequency, as well as
to allow the preamplifier to drive (without audible sonic
degradation) significant capacitive loads created by many modern
Each preamplifier is
carefully hand-crafted with matched components of the highest
quality, some of which include military graded low noise DALE metal
film resistors; unique TKD stepped potentiometers (41 detents); PRC
wire wound resistors; ELECTROCUBE and ROEDERSTEIN film capacitors;
high frequency switching grade CORNELL DUBILIER electrolytic
capacitors; specially selected long life vacuum tubes; high quality
heavy duty gold-plated RCA connectors; and gold-plated NEUTRIC XLR
connectors. The preamplifier power supply features a custom-designed
super-low noise toroidal power transformer. AC voltage is filtered
by special RFI power line filter.
Summing up the above, we
take the liberty in stating that we have been able to create a
preamplifier with practically no sonic signature, of course, taking
into consideration the fundamental limitations inherent in
reproduction of live music by electronic means.
The L2 works on all
world AC line voltages (100/120/220/230/240V).
is what the prominent audio critics have said about the L2
L2 has soul, baby, and lots of it—but without being obvious or
euphonic about it....
...Describing the sound of the Lamm L2 is not hard at all. Now, you
might think that's bad: "Oh, it has a sound of its own. It
shouldn't—especially at that price!" That's correct; it
shouldn't. And it doesn't.
highs were simply breathtaking, even if somewhat paradoxical in
nature: sweet and very pleasingly harmonic, yet remaining clean,
extended, soaring, pure, and detailed. Not once did the L2 tip
over into the chaffy, harsh, or overly analytical, or make me wince
in any way—yet I was sure I was hearing as far up into the
audible spectrum as I ever had. Beautiful and inspiring.
...It was a great listening session. I came away from it
"holding" the music, as it were. It was in me and it
stayed there. ... Maybe it was the L2's hybrid build, its tube
regulation—whatever. It seemed to give the music passing through
its circuits that extra sense of roundness that tubes do so well. Not the softness or euphony some tube designs delight in, but an emotional softness. The music seemed to enter my soul via osmosis rather than
as an e-mail to my head.
Stereophile (May, 2001)
organic, natural" -- "sounds like a detailed and
exceedingly smooth solid-state preamp with a touch of tube ease and
for those who are chasing the best reproduction that money
The L2 is... like an old friend, one whose company I valued without
thinking about it (which is what makes a person an old friend, come
to think of it). With the L2, I immediately recognized the Lamm
sound, which I know well, but it also struck me as being more
complete than that of the L1, and this makes the L2 the most
musically satisfying preamp I've heard.
I'll consider the L2 to be at the top of the preamplifier heap.
Mickelson, soundstage.com (May, 2001)
is a product that you buy for one reason and one reason only: its
...The L2 Reference offers the listener a sound that's full of
movement and energy, propelling the musical performance along.
...It's subtly correct, almost insidiously seductive, without ever
drawing attention to itself or its performance. It never steps
up and introduces itself. It just quietly charms you.
Roy Gregory, Hi-Fi+ (U.K.) (issue 9, 2002)
...Lamm has produced a very fine preamp, one with tons of musical richness that doesn't sacrifice detail or quickness to achieve its harmonically rich presentation of even the highest-resolution DSD sources currently (or soon to be!) available. Once again I am impressed with the caliber of the design work of Vladimir Lamm and company, as they produce remarkable quality at this price point, the midway point of their preamp product line between the LL2.1 preamp below it, and the LL1 Signature preamp above it.
While I have not (yet) heard the LL1 Signature preamp, I can say that the L2 preamp is certainly among the top ten preamps that I have heard. If you are looking for a preamp in this price range, and are looking for an exceptional balance between musicality and excellent detail, then the Lamm L2 should definitely be on your (very) short list to audition.
David W. Robinson, Positive-feedback.com (March/April, 2013)
complete reviews, please visit our REVIEWS page