LAMM ML1.1 & M1.2 Reference power amplifiers.
LAMM L2 Reference preamplifier.
LAMM LP2 phono preamplifier.
Rest of system: Wilson Audio Sophia 2 speakers (NEW), Metronome C2 Signature D/A converter, Metronome Kalista transport, Metronome Gaia turntable (world premier), Kubala-Sosna interconnects and loudspeaker cables
Audiophile Base racks and stands.
Before I get into the various rooms, I wanted to make special note of an event, which took place at one of the many fine Kubala-Sosna rooms at the show: mastering guru and overall super nice guy Steve Hoffman’s two hour presentation of various mastering projects he has been involved in. I really want to thank Joe Kubala and Howard Sosna for taking their time and effort in putting on this special event. I firmly believe that presentations like this have the power to “convert” far more people then flashing $50k price tags on a pair of loudspeakers (as the crowds inside and outside the room proved quite handily). This particular room featured Wilson Audio Sophia’s, Lamm electronics and Metronome digital and analog front-ends, cabled all throughout with Kubala-Sosna’s mighty fine and quite amazing “Emotion” series of cables. Steve’s use of the KS cables in his professional line of work speaks volumes about the quality of these cables, and after I had a chance to sample them in my own reference system, I can only agree. Steve’s master tape excerpts sounded so utterly amazing and “there” that I could have stayed in the room for the entire weekend, never mind the two hours Steve held for the demo.
A stop by the Lamm room was surprising! There was Vladimir Lamm in person! What a gentleman! We heard his astounding Lamm ML 1.1 and 1.2 amps, L2 preamp, LP phono, Wilson Sophia speakers, Metronome Gaia Turntable, Kalista transport, and C2 Signature CD players from France, Kubala-Sosna cables, and Audiophile racks and stands. Whoa! This was one swell sound and great fun. I could do some serious shopping in this suite I assure you!
The newest Metronome CD players look incredible and sound excellent. The two box exotic units are real eye candy. Both up sample to 24/192 and feature balanced and single ended connections.
The Lamm room was excellent sounding as usual. The purpose of this system, as it is with most of their show systems, is to show that popular speakers can sound good when properly setup and driven with Lamm equipment. Sounding good in this case means a very balanced mix of Sophistication, Emotionality, Impressiveness, Naturalness, Enjoyability, and Realism. There is only very little Sweetness, and Magic is not usually obtainable, in our opinion, with the speakers they exhibit at shows with.
This year, this room paired the Lamm ML1.1 push-pull 90 watt amplifiers with the Wilson Sophia 2 loudspeakers. Vladimir Lamm, looking 10 years younger than the last time we saw him, was spinning LPs like mad on the new Metronome turntable. Playing almost exclusively classical music, this system got a workout and sounded amazingly able to handle whatever was thrown at it (including some Stevie Ray Vaughn). In a smaller room, this system would likely be quite Impressive, the desire for which is one of the primary reason people buy these speakers.
We got to hear the Lamm M1.2 hybrid 100 watt amplifiers on the Sophia 2 loudspeakers in this room as well. Our preference, in this room and this system, was for the ML1.1, it having a more open sound and organic dynamics in the midrange, and only sacrificing a little solid-state ‘slam’ in the lowest registers.
Metronome Technologie of France makes absolutely gorgeous space-age CD players and turntables. Shown are the $20,000 Kalista CD player above and the Gaia turntable below. Can anyone guess what the speakers were? Yup, Wilson Sofias. Lamm drove the Wilsons with their ML1.1 tube amps and M1.2 tube hybrid amps. More pictures of the Lamm equipment next page.