"Well, controversy or not but for my ears Lamm was awarded with the Blue ribbon, it was the liviest of the
4 amplifiers, and to my ears the best sound of the evening.
This is coming from my criteria of evaluation of course.
Raymond for instance preferred the Pass XA200.5.
The Lamm 1.2 - Solid state amp with tube voltage regulators (if
I am not mistaken). I could live with them for a very long time
and not thinking of upgrade...maybe ever. The Lamm
had the most open top end, as if a veil has been lifted.
Transient response was excellent, it is fast, nimble and with
great dynamic contrast.
Pass XA2005. offered a distinctly different presentation, it
obviously had the most power and sonically represented by a much
weightier presention with powerful reserves.
....nice, bold sound but sometimes with more muscles, which
makes the presentation thick and weighty. Lots of potential and
possible a hefty hydro bill.
Vac, not a fair comparison with the
big boys. Not a mono block, 100w, all tubes.
Obviously not enough power on heavy passages. Very
interesting sounding amp, presented texture that others were shy
but loosing stamina on Carmina Burana for example. The most
pleasing for the eyes among all other big boxes. With less
demanding music is on par with both Pass and Lamm. I wonder what
the result would look if two were in mono configuration, my
prediction is if we had two units it will came out on top of the
four amps. Yes, I could live with Vacs too.
The honorary mention goes to Mac, a 1969 production which as
expected, offered a slow vintage nostalgic sound.
Bring out the fish tank platform shoes, and hippy shirts.
Very warm and pleasant sound for their own good, with plenty of
Class AB1 power, but rolled of on both ends. Obviously doesn't
match the newer amps in terms of ambience and transient
response. But just packing them and carrying them
across the town for one night is commendable, to say the least.
At the end, let's not forget our host, who opened his home and
organized this shoot-out. And again, without genuine friendship
and smiling faces this test would not be the same. "
Comments by Rick
"It is without any doubt with my mind
that if we had 2 units of the VAC 200.1 on hand that it would be
my favorite. It is difficult to argue with power,
but if you take that out of the equation, the VAC offered more
details, refinement, texture, ambience and musicality then all
the other three.
This does not mean the other three are
"inferior" by any means, it fact the comparo was such a close
call that I would have a very difficult time deciding which is
the amplifier of choice. The MC3500 which I own, as a
collector's vintage item. It loses out on
dynamics, details and frequency extension, but the ability of
this vintage monster to compete is the equivalent of a 1967 MG
doing a zero to sixty with a Porche 911, a Ferrari and an Aston
The Lamm was the fastest sounding, with
plenty of speed and dynamics. The Pass was weighy
and BIG sounding, yet slower than the Lamm.
If I have to choose one, there would be
no winner because I simply love all 4 !"