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Lamm M2.2 Monoblock Hybrid (Tube/Solid State) Power Amplifier

Part III

May, 2006

John E. Johnson, Jr.

 

The Sound

I listened to the M2.2s with a Yamaha SACD player, McCormack CD transport and DAC, BAT VK-5i preamplifier, Lexicon MC-12B SSP, Final Sound electrostatic speakers, and Carver Amazing Mark IV ribbon speakers. Cables were Nordost. I used the XLR balanced inputs on the M2.2s.

The "Fanfare" to Dukas' La Peri has some wonderful brass sequences. What I listen for is the separation of trumpets from the trombones, which the Lamm M2.2s easily performed.

In the Second Movement, the introduction has violins playing very, very softly, extremely delicate. The quiet background of the M2.2s let that come through clearly.

Muted trumpets vs. violins. Another item that is difficult for some amplifiers, but not the M2.2s. Even the triangle was clear in the midst of the brass and strings.

 

This incredible SACD has become one of my favorite discs.

It has a combination of electronic music and percussion that is very intricate.

It was not too intricate for the M2.2s. Keyboard was easily distinguishable from percussive instruments.

 

The sound track to Gettysburg is a great disc to listen to as well as use for testing, in part because the violins are electronic, so they are incredibly crisp.

The M2.2s gave a terrific presentation of the strings, but also kept the snare drums distinct in the full orchestra swell.

 

This is one of the few recordings out there which have a warning on the label about the sound intensity, in this case, digital cannons.

It was clear to me that the M2.2s put out far more than their rated power in transient demands such as the cannons in the climactic moments of this piece.

 

This new SACD of the Jaco Pastorious Big Band, The Word is Out (Heads Up HUSA 9110) has a lot of musicians playing fast and furious.

The flute and trumpet were distinguishable, the tick of the cymbals was clear, and apparently the saxophone player needed to clear his spit valve.

 

Sarah Chang plays Shostakovich and Prokofiev in this new EMI Classics CD (0946-3-46053-2-8).

In the Prokofiev piece, opening, Andante, the soft violins are so quiet, it takes a fine amplifier like the M2.2 to make them palpable.

 

The M2.2 amplifiers made the transients so clear, I think that if I had the expertise, I would have been able to tell what kind of violin Biondi was playing, compared to Sarah Chang.

The sound was so real, I found myself trying to analyze the differences in the way these two violin masters attack the strings.

So, the M2.2s were giving me the experience of the music, but also the musician and the instrument.

The CD is Virgin Classics 0946-3-44706-2-9.

 

Having played trombone in the high school band, I heard sounds of instruments near where I sat that I don't usually hear in recordings, but this is the first time I heard the click of keys on clarinets in an orchestral CD.

In part, that is the speed of Class A operation.

EMI Classics 094634-34242-1.

The music was never fatiguing with all this detail, because it was detail that was actually in the recording, not an artificial edge that you hear with some amplifiers that use too much negative feedback (in fact, the M2.2 does not use any global negative feedback).

I listened for hours and hours on end. The timbre was correct as well, with no emphasis on any particular region of the audible spectrum. You can see why in the Bench Tests, where the THD+N vs. Frequency graph shows that distortion remains relatively constant throughout all frequencies.

Click Here to Go to Part IV.

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