L2.1 REFERENCE Stereo Line Level Preamplifier
Model L2.1 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 L2.1 near the threshold of excellence in sound reproduction.
A main distinction of the L2.1 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 L2.1 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 L2.1 has a separate power supply that utilizes a choke contained filter, vacuum tube rectifier and voltage regulator.
Tube Complement Power Supply:
one12AX7/ECC83, voltage regulator tube;
one 6C19P, voltage regulator tube;
one 5651A, voltage reference tube;
two 12AX3, rectifier tubes.
What Reviewer have said:
..I was enchanted by the sound. The L2 did not sound the same with every front-end component, but always sounded superb, in all cases offering up what I thought the best the source could offer.
The highs were simply breathtaking, even if somewhat paradoxical in nature: sweet and very pleasingly harmonic, yet remaining clean, extended, soaring, pure, and detailed.
The extension and sweetness, plus the dynamics, detail, and tonal color, mesmerized me. The space, the air, the sense of being there were entirely palpable, so enjoyable.
The big chorus was perfectly delineated, set out on a wide, layered soundstage, every voice perfectly explicated, the whole greater than the sum of its parts. It was truly inspiring to hear, the huge space of the recording seemingly perfectly reproduced in our loft
The sense of acoustic decay was wonderfully reproduced, the depth and transparency beyond reproach. Powerful stuff.
Jonathan Scull / Stereophile May 26, 2001
The Absolute Sound:
…the L2.1 always sounded musically natural while being tonally neutral. It seemed to extract the musical message without imposing a particular personality over the presentation. In this respect, it allowed the program material and front-end components to sing without editorializing. Its inherent sound was texturally pure, neither adding nor subtracting from the musical tapestry.
The best overall description that comes to mind is an edgeless organic wholeness—a rare quality for an electronic device. In contrast, most preamplifiers come across as what they are, electronic devices with obvious distortions that make it difficult to accept their version of the truth.
Tonal colors were right on, and program material allowing, the midrange sounded naturally sweet. The downside, if you will, of total neutrality is that front-end imperfections have nowhere to hide.
The frequency extremes were extended and capable of resolving delicate treble nuances and unfolding bass lines with precision and rhythmic conviction.
It had no trouble extracting the music’s full complement of drama. It seemed to squeeze more energy from every recording
Massed voices expanded from a mere whisper to full voice. Much of this had to do with its exemplary transient speed and superlative dynamic range. Subtle volume and pitch variation, the micro dynamics of the music, bubbled to the surface effortlessly.
The Lamm Audio L2.1 is clearly deserving of the “Reference” appellation, holding up as it does a mirror to the music. It cuts through previous limitations of solid-state preamplification allowing the music to flow with precision and emotional conviction. It garners my unqualified recommendation. It’s no secret that the L2.1 is currently my first choice in line preamplification.
Dick Olsher / The Absolute Sound / 2018
Detail retrieval was impressively high and the soundstage was exactingly defined. Every time I switched CDs, the differences in the recording acoustic and engineering choices were laid bare, allowing keen insight into the proceedings.
The unit is capable of powerful dynamics and the leading edge is well-controlled—but not over-controlled. Everything arrives together and lands on the ear wholly without stridency or irritation. It makes what you might call a soft landing. At the other end of the note, decays take their time and linger a bit longer.
The L2.1 throws a high res, panoramic stage that begins at the plane of the speakers and recedes. The surface of the stage is smooth with nothing projecting forward in front of the speakers. Instruments are portrayed as large objects with dense tone, lots of body and weight, and diffuse borders. Nothing is forced on you.
The Lamm voicing is consistent, but the L2.1 is much better than its predecessor.
If that voice has appealed to you in the past, you’ll find the L2.1 moves the bar forward on all counts. It is a solid recommendation at its price point.
Positive Feedback / Marshall Nark / Issue 90 / 2017