The Nearfield Acoustics Pipedreams Model 15 speakers ($23,500/pair and up) looked like a million tube amps in the premium bubinga finish. Two pairs of Lamm amps drove them and their matching subwoofers, producing sound that was very spacious even in the smallish room. The Model 15 has a claimed efficiency of 94.5dB/W/m and come with an external crossover. An upgraded crossover is available at higher cost.
Once again, Lamm demonstrated with Kharma, and as at previous shows, the sound was splendidly resolving yet very natural. This time the Lamm ML2 monoblocks ($29,290/pair) drove Kharma Ceramique 1.0 speakers ($14,999/pair) via the bulky Kharma interconnects and speaker cables. Lamm had a number of its amps on display between and behind the speakers, making some showgoers wonder which ones were playing.
Friday’s “Ask the Editors: Stereophile” session covered topics from future review products (expect to see Blue Circle and Legacy products reviewed in Stereophile sometime in the future) to astronomically priced audio equipment. On the latter, Sam Tellig expressed “outrage” over the high price of some audio equipment, but deemed the nearly $30k Lamm ML2 amps he’s currently reviewing (and previously reviewed in SoundStage!) as being worth their hefty cost. Jonathan Scull took a “more global view” on the topic, pointing out that bleeding-edge advancements often trickle down to lower-priced equipment….
When asked at the end of the session which rooms at the Show were the most impressive so far, the collection of writers cited:
Cary/Soliloquy, Silverline Audio, Odyssey, Gershman/SimAudio, API/Joseph/Oracle/VTL, Nearfield/Lamm
Acoustic Sounds/Avalon/Cardas/Muse, Lamm/Kharma, Hales/BAT, Music Hall.
At every show I have attended here in the USA, Kharma consistantly has great sound. Tonight they were playing their very musically involving Kharma Ceramique 1.0 ($14,999 pr). These speakers feature a 1.5″ cloth dome tweeter, 4.5″ ceramic midrange and 11″ Nomex Kevlar woofer in a ported cabinet. Sensitivity is rated at 90 db/w/m. All I know is that they were playing some great dance music when i walked in… and it jammed! Good stuff here!!! Upstream equipment was the Lamm L1 ($6,990) preamplifier, Lamm monoblock amps, and of course wired with Kharma’s own cabling.
The Pipe Dreams ($24,000) by Nearfield Acoustics are towering multi-speaker pillars which include separate outboard subwoofers. These are definitely for those who love music and want superior SPL levels. The Pipe Dreams are powered by the Lamm ML 2 eighteen watt monoblock amplifier that uses one each of 12AX7, 6H6, 6C33C-B in the amplifier sections and one each 5651 and 6C33C-B as voltage regulators. Also seen in the photo are the Lamm M2.1 ($7,545) which is a 200 wpc unit (to view a panoramic picture of this setup, click here).
Kharma and Lamm Industries put on a show at the show! In the photo, the Kharma Reference ($14,999) handled by the Lamm ML2 monoblocks ($29,290), utilizing Kharma cabling, amp stands Silent Running Audio. The sound was to die for. Rich and resolute, with an incredible textured top end, I spent a great deal of time here.
Do I really have to go into this? Jonathan Valin’s Melos Pipe Dreams on display. (Actually, he has the bigger system.) So let’s call it the Baby Dream. Costs a mere $24,000 compared with its big brother’s $80,000 but retains most of the sound quality, especially when paired with the omnipotent Lamm ML2’s.
Nashville’s Nearfield Acoustics has unveiled its Pipedreams Model 15 tower loudspeakers. The upper-frequency columns are well over 6′ tall, with an imposing array of vertically aligned drivers and two cylindrical subwoofers with four 18″ drivers apiece. The $25,000 system sounded seductive driven by Lamm ML2 single-ended tube amplifiers. Designed by Mark Porzilli, the system is claimed to move the same volume of air that might be moved by a 50″-diameter driver–were such a device even possible.
LAMM’s electronics were used in systems featuring speakers by Nearfield Acoustics (PipeDreams 15, $25,000) and Kharma (Ceramique 1.0, $14,000). In both systems, the amplification was handled by the LAMM ML2 single-ended triode monoblocks ($29,290/pair), supplemented in Nearfield’s system by a LAMM M2.1 ($15,090/pair) driving the subwoofers. LAMM also had a prototype of the new LL2 line-stage preamplifier ($3,990), to be available in August 1999. The sound was excellent in both systems.
The above excerpt is from
September 1999 issue of Stereophile
I listened, with eyes closed, to Ravel’s Bolero (Teldec 0630-13133-2) on a pair of Kharma Ceramique 1.0s ($14,999) driven by LAMM M1.1 monoblocks (100W, $16,000), using Kharma power, interconnect, and speaker cables. Kharma’s president, Charles van Oosterum, explained that each three-way, ported, 8 ohm Ceramique consists of a 1.5″ cloth ScanSpeak tweeter, 4.5″ concave ceramic midrange, and Eton 11″ woofer, all internally wired with silver-gold alloy cables. The Ceramique 1.0 displayed superb resolution, with a deep, broad soundstage and effortless dynamics. One visitor to the Trema/Kharma/LAMM suite interrupted out reverie to ask, “Why are you all sitting so still?”
Especially eye-catching was Nearfield Acoustics’ PipeDream Model 15 loudspeaker system ($24,000). Veneered in deeply lustrous bubinga, an African rosewood, the Model 15 consists of a 90-driver line-source array – 15 midranges and 30 tweeters per 5′ tower — with four 18″ woofers (two per subwoofer in a push-push configuration) and an equalizer-crossover. The towers have a nominal impedance of 5.5 ohms and a sensitivity of 94.5 dB/W/m, enabling them to be driven by the 18W LAMM ML2s ($29,290). Operating from 65Hz down, the subwoofers require a minimum of 200W of amplification. Sonics were smooth, open, extended, and involving.
…enjoyably prominent…was the ear candy emanating from Kharma Ceramique 1.0s via LAMM tube power. Nearfield Acoustics’ tall PipeDream speakers sounded utterly wonderful, once again powered by a combo of LAMM amps. Making good sound in one room at a Show is a blessing. Two rooms is a miracle.
The above excerpts are from
October 1999 issue of Stereophile
Without a doubt, the best sound at the Show was demonstrated by our former fellow countryman, Vladimir Shushurin, which was a double pleasure. His amplifiers were set up with the Dutch-made “Kharma”speakers and cables. For the past five years LAMM has demonstrated continuous increase in quality of reproduced sound… Below I’ll try to determine why, in my opinion, Shushurin has reached such success. …Over the last five years, I have gotten to know a little closer Shushurin and his expertise which includes working in various research institutions of the former USSR, … [and] I tend to [conclude that] his technical and life experience, along with broad expertise in areas contiguous to audio technology were the factors which, indeed, allowed him to get singled out and position himself at the frontlines — the home of the heavy players with much larger budget and capabilities. The Show in Chicago made clear that the bulk of information which was activated ten years ago–at the beginning of high-end era–has worn out. In order to reach the new frontiers it is essential to delve into the areas of knowledge contiguous to audio.
The above excerpt and images are from Audio magazine 4 (27) 1999 (St. Petersburg, Russia).
Images are courtesy of Audio magazine.