M 1.2 REFERENCE Monobloc Amplifier
The M1.2 Reference mono block power amplifier represents a top of the line product in LAMM hybrid and solid-state audio equipment. It is the pinnacle of its designer’s professional career and a result of years of intensive research directed solely at attaining the most accurate reproduction of recorded music. Unique topology and application of the most advanced technological resources and processes bring the M1.2 Reference to a threshold of excellence in sound reproduction.
A distinctive feature of the M1.2 Reference is its presentation of the extraordinary transparency of perceived sound which in turn assures the recreation of a three-dimensional soundstage in the home, recording studio, etc. without boundaries and limitations. The M1.2 Reference is a masterful blend of design and engineering simplicity. It is a pure class A amplifier featuring high-speed MOS-FET transistors in the output stage with no overall feedback and special switch-selectable bias/voltage settings for 8- or 4-Ohm operation.
The M1.2 Reference is a hybrid design with one specially selected 6922 vacuum triode in the second stage. The M1.2 Reference is conservatively rated to deliver 110 Watts into 8 and 4 Ohms in pure class A operation (high and low impedance settings, respectively); 220 Watts into 2 Ohms, and 400 Watts into 1 Ohm (low impedance setting), continuous. The M1.2 Reference can drive any known speaker. The harmonic structure remains intact regardless of the speaker load, while the extreme clarity is maintained at all power levels.
Paul Bolin, TheAudioBeat.com (October, 2009)
…With the Lamms returned a sense of three-dimensionality, of living, breathing humans making music; image density was improved to a degree beyond my capabilities to express…
…How does Vladimir Lamm do it? Beats the living heck out of me. Ask him and he will tell you it is all engineering and painstakingly precise artisanal manufacturing. Press him and he will explain that every Lamm component is designed in compliance with his mathematical model of human hearing, and there his explanation ceases.
I have been listening to and reviewing the man’s equipment for more than eight years, and every Lamm product has worked this same magic — every time and in every context. Are there other great amplifiers out there in the big, broad world of high-end audio? You bet your boots there are, and I want to hear and review as many of them as I possibly can. But as things stand now, I will still be coming home to the Lamm M1.2 Reference monoblocks until I finally hear something that is more dependably full of music’s vital essences regardless of what it is teamed with.
Lamm’s slogan is “Quite simply…the world’s best audio electronics.” It takes some considerable onions to put that on the home page of one’s website, but in the words of “Dandy” Don Meredith, “If you can do it, it ain’t braggin’.”Vladimir Lamm ain’t braggin’. Reference, indeed.
Marc Mickelson, Soundstage.com (August, 2004)
…I am…approaching a decade of using Lamm amplifiers (and preamplifiers) exclusively, and I’ve done so simply because they mimic the sound of live music to a degree that most other products do not.
…Lamm electronics never fail to touch those of us who appreciate a human portrayal of music, as opposed to one that’s strictly reproduction, a hi-fi portrayal.…even with all of their naturalness, the Lamm M1.2 Reference amps can convey fireworks. Their bass, for instance, has impressive depth and density, along with a touch of warmth that gives the region greater fullness and bloom than that of most purely solid-state amps.
…In the mids, no solid-state amp I’ve heard can touch the M1.2 Reference, whose portrayal of voice is much of the reason why Lamm electronics are called “Natural” and “organic” in the first place. There is a sense of fidelity and beauty…If being an audiophile is about the music for you…the Lamm M1.2 Reference amps are a smart choice. They’re certainly a Reviewers’ Choice and one of the very best amplifiers you can buy.
Jeff Fritz, UltraAudio.com (April, 2004)
…When you buy a Lamm product, you buy a piece of Vladimir Lamm — a piece of his personal vision of what a high-end audio product should be. No marketing department is involved in the design, no here-today, gone-tomorrow trendiness. You’re buying an amplifier that’s built the way Lamm likes it — and sounds the way he wants it to.
…In fact, the owner of a pair of M1.2s will be in possession of some of the most special amplifying devices money can buy. Vladimir Lamm’s knowledge base was gained from scientific research on human hearing in the former USSR. His circuits are designed in accordance with these studies. That means that if you find this amplifier to be the best for you, there’s no cookie-cutter design like it available elsewhere.
…The Lamm M1.2 Reference has helped me to determine exactly what sets high-end audio components apart from their mass-produced counterparts. The Lamm M1.2, probably more than any other product I’ve experienced, is the result of a personal vision, of one person’s skill and commitment.
Paul Bolin, Stereophile (February, 2005)
…The original M1.1 was in production for more than 10 years with no changes, updates, or revisions. If that’s not a record for a high-end amplifier, I don’t know what is. Vladimir Lamm changes his products only when he feels he can offer a meaningful improvement in performance, not when it seems expedient to introduce a new model or variant. According to Lamm, the only reasons the M1.1 has been updated are that better parts are now available, and that 10 years of collecting performance data justified a redesign.
…The physical experience of a Lamm product is a manifestation of the Einsteinian dictum: Make everything as simple as possible, but no simpler.
…The M1.2s proved themselves bulletproof in everyday use.
….M1.2’s defining character trait was unflinching honesty in conveying the true nature of the music that passed through it. It did not strip away veils so much as it seemed to eliminate most of the intermediate steps that lay between the original performance and its reproduction. Try as I might, I could not hear the M1.2 adding anything
….Dynamic and transient responsiveness were ideal and seamless.
…In terms of timbre, the Lamm was something of a walking contradiction –or, perhaps, more of a perfect Hegelian synthesis of seemingly contradictory characteristics. It was bogglingly transparent and had state-of-the-art resolving capabilities, but that was only half the story. That resolution and transparency were combined with a harmonic completeness, timbral richness, and glow…only without the slowness and caramel coloration.
…The Lamms were uncannily accurate at expressing the way each instrument or voice projected into space. …The M1.2s’ ability to particularize each instrument in its natural way was always captivating, contributing so much to the sheer believability of its sound. Imaging was, therefore, extremely convincing.
…Soundstaging performance was simple to describe: What was called for by the recording appeared in the room.
…The Lamm did not knock me off my feet when I first heard it because it wasn’t designed to do so Like a Mercedes-Benz, it is made to impress over and for the long run with sustained and systemic excellence. In a strange way, this is an amp that will select only those who respond to it on the deepest levels of understanding.
…each Lamm amplifier that I have reviewed has challenged by ability to describe its essence. At last, I admit defeat. Trying to explain the ultimate experience of listening to the M1.2 Reference and why it is so special is like trying to explain why you’ve fallen in love with someone; matters of the heart cannot be reduced to words on paper.
…Hearing music through nearly any other amps after hearing the M1.2s was the difference between seeing a very good lithograph of a masterpiece after seeing the original, from two feet away, in a museum.
…For once, “Reference” is not only the most accurate, but the only appropriate descriptor.
David W. Robinson, www.positive-feedback.com (issue 34, November 2007)
…These amplifiers were made as well as Mr. Lamm can make them. They are the mature expression of a talented and focused designer.
[on awarding the Brutus Award to the M1.2 Reference] — This was a surprise for me this year; I wasn’t expecting to listen to any hybrid amps…While the M1.2 isn’t the most powerful design on the planet, it combines musical richness and excellent detail with timbral rightness and surprising dynamics in a most compelling way. …How can I be sure they’re worthy of the mighty Brutus Award? Easy. Because I keep listening to the bloody things! …They have a holistic rightness that satisfies at the level of the soul, and make me want to listen to music continually. …These are the monoblocks that I could live with for quite a long time, believe me.
…When you invest a significant sum in an audio component, you are naturally anxious that it be reliable. Usually it’s tough to assess this quality, since most reviews are of relatively short duration. This time, however, with a year’s experience under my belt, I can say that the reliability of the M1.2s was exceptional. There were no operational problems at all. No buzz. No hum. Not even a blown fuse. Just flawless operation.
… I give the Lamm Industries M1.2 Reference Monoblocks a “Ye Olde Editor’s Very Highest Recommendation!” — with enthusiasm. If you love music and the possibilities of fine audio, you will adore these amplifiers.
Dick Olsher, The Absolute Sound (December, 2008)
…The Lamm M1.2 Reference represents without a doubt a rare breed of amplifier that combines brawn and finesse in a single chassis. And to top it off, it is a superbly engineered real-world product that is a pleasure to use. Its siren song of suave harmonic textures, tight bass control, articulate transients, kinetic drive, and essential tonal neutrality is musically most persuasive. There’s enough tube magic under the hood to infuse the midrange with invigorating warmth and spaciousness that most solid-state amplifiers simply cannot capture. I, for one, find its performance level worthy of the Reference appellation, and in view of its compatibility with a wide range of speaker loads, plan to use it as such in many future reviews. This one is a keeper.