Lampizator Gain Problem

Agent86

Member
Sep 6, 2020
23
13
5
Hi there,

I'm a bit of an audio doofus, so I would appreciate some expert advice on the particulars of my variant of the Lampizator gain issue.

I have a Lampizator GG v1, and I recently swapped in a new integrated amp . I'm now using a Pass Labs Int-60 and I immediately encountered what appear to be fairly common problems with static and distortion. After asking the folks at Pass, I was advised to try a 6db in-line RCA attenuator. As a short-term fix, it definitely worked, and the noise is now gone, but I'd like to get some input on a more permanent solution. I'm open to swapping out the GG for a model with low gain/volume control or getting a power amp instead of an integrated, or just adding a passive preamp to my existing chain.

A couple caveats: I live in an older apartment building that's not grounded, so wondering if I need to factor that into any possible solutions with the excess DAC voltage Also, I have pretty painful fatigue issues and so I don't want to add anything to the chain that will be too bright or forward.

1) Amplifier: Pass Labs Int-60

2) Music server/renderer: Antipodes CX + EX;

3) DAC: Lampizator Golden Gate V1(R2R); single-ended, no volume control; Tubes: KR PX25; EML 274B

4) Speakers: Verity Amadis S


Thanks for your assistance!
 

heihei

Well-Known Member
Jul 24, 2017
286
226
128
Surprised it's happening with the PX25 tubes - normally the 242's which cause the problems. You've probably got a few options:
(1) See if there are tubes which have a lower output and use them
(2) Return to the factory to get a volume control added
(3) Return to the factory and get the output reduced
(4) Change the amps
(5) See if you can reduce the volume of the signal output by the server

Personally I wouldn't stick a passive pre in the path as you are doubling up on the volume controls.

Irrespective, probably worth speaking first to the factory and/or whoever is the distributor in your region.
 

Agent86

Member
Sep 6, 2020
23
13
5
Surprised it's happening with the PX25 tubes - normally the 242's which cause the problems. You've probably got a few options:
(1) See if there are tubes which have a lower output and use them
(2) Return to the factory to get a volume control added
(3) Return to the factory and get the output reduced
(4) Change the amps
(5) See if you can reduce the volume of the signal output by the server

Personally I wouldn't stick a passive pre in the path as you are doubling up on the volume controls.

Irrespective, probably worth speaking first to the factory and/or whoever is the distributor in your region.
Thank you for your prompt response! I've written Lukasz a couple emails but have not heard back from him. I'm glad you mentioned server volume control, as I've been thinking about adding in Roon to my Antipodes streaming setup. Presumably, I'd been able to lessen the volume from there, but would that ultimately diminish the voltage gain from the Lampizator to my amp?
 

Agent86

Member
Sep 6, 2020
23
13
5
Surprised it's happening with the PX25 tubes - normally the 242's which cause the problems. You've probably got a few options:
(1) See if there are tubes which have a lower output and use them
(2) Return to the factory to get a volume control added
(3) Return to the factory and get the output reduced
(4) Change the amps
(5) See if you can reduce the volume of the signal output by the server

Personally I wouldn't stick a passive pre in the path as you are doubling up on the volume controls.

Irrespective, probably worth speaking first to the factory and/or whoever is the distributor in your region.
Stirring the pot one more time on this, as there's going to be an elimination challenge between these two components. The Lamp DAC puts out 3v, thereby overloading my Pass Labs Integrated Amp and causing it to clip. As a long-term fix, I don't want to go the RCA in-line attenuator route or insert a passive preamp in front on an integrated amp. The differences are irreconcilable and hence one of the components below will pack its styrofoam inserts and depart from my audio chain in great shame.

1) Pass Labs Int-60

2) Lampizator Golden Gate Dac V1 (R2R); SE, no volume control.

Now, in terms of system-matching, what would be the desired specs for possible replacement options? I need the input of the cognescenti here on this.

If I keep the Pass integrated amplifier and replace the Lampizator DAC, then I imagine that most any DAC that puts out 2v fixed (or with volume control) would not overload my amp.

If I keep the Lamp DAC, and replace the Pass Int 60, what sensitivity specs should I look for in another integrated amplifier or power amp so that it is not over-driven by the Lampizator DAC? Would it be better to get a power amp (or an integrated with pre-bypass option) and use a passive preamp as an attenuator?

Thank you!
 

Tuckia

Well-Known Member
Jun 4, 2019
224
247
48
I’d try a pair of 300b’s in the Lampi.

You could try running either Squeezelite or HQPlayer as the player in the EX. The 64 or 80 bit volume control would do much less damage than Roon Ready’s volume attenuation. Either sounds much better as well.

Another Is to send the GG1 in for the GG2 upgrade. This alone is very worthwhile for the SQ improvement. Ask the factory to reduce the output for using 242’s. Overkill, but not by much.

I’ve done all of these. But I never had a preamp that overloaded either.

If you find the PX25’s fatiguing, the 300b might suit your tastes better. I have a lot of PX25’s in my system. They are not inherently fatiguing. 300b’s are just softer on top.

The CX/EX are definitely not fatiguing either.

Pass gear is good. I wouldn’t toss that one, unless the price is super low, in which case PM me ;)
 

Agent86

Member
Sep 6, 2020
23
13
5
Thanks, Tuckia!

I keep forgetting to try the software volume option. I do use Squeezelite on the EX when running LMS on the CX, but I haven't experimented yet, because I didn't think I've ever looked through the buried menus for the volume controls.

I am considering the option of getting a different Lamp DAC. Rather than upgrading, I would probably just sell mine and order one with volume control. Of course, that gets us into another WBF thread from a couple years back about the merits of the GG's volume control

One interesting thing I've noticed about the Pass Labs integrated amplifier is that it seems to have substantially changed the "fatigue profile" of my other components and peripherals. The amp is so euphonic (much more so than my Prima Luna) that changes in power cords and other modifications now have a relatively small contribution to whether I find the overall sound to be fatiguing. The amp's sound signature is that dominant. One thought was to replace the Pass Integrated with a Pass power amp, though I'm unclear whether the Lamp would still overdrive it. With a power amp, I'd be a little less hesitant to include a passive pre
 

Tuckia

Well-Known Member
Jun 4, 2019
224
247
48
The brightest system I assembled was an Aurender N10, Bricasti M1 SE ( a couple different preamps, didn’t matter which) into a Pass XA30.8. The Hf resolution of this system shamed the GG1 that replaced the Bricasti. I could get tremendous depth and contour in the HF or ear damage if the source material wasn’t up to par. The GG1 R2R I had was not fatiguing, but it was forward in a nonlinear way. I suppose upper midrange overload could be a problem if yours is like my old unit. But they were all a bit different depending on engines, caps, etc.

BTW, I replaced the N10 with the CX/EX and the HF overload disappeared. Some resolution is lost for the sake of smoothness.

I upgraded the GG1 (SE no volume control) to GG2 R2R, then GG2 with E53. The last version was the best. Just night and day better than the GG1 R2R. I suspect that a GG2 would work fine with the int-60, but at this level personal preferences come into play. The XA30.8 has a sound to it, probably the second order harmonic flavor tuned in, but I didn’t have an issue with this. It’s a very capable amp when matched with agreeable speakers. The relative weak spot in the int-60 is the preamp section IMO.

Yes, whether to go with VC or not in a Lampi is another forum in itself. No simple answers, no obvious short cuts, many viable paths.

Of course cables affect everything to varying degrees.
 
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Agent86

Member
Sep 6, 2020
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My current setup of Antipodes, Lampizator, Pass Labs, and Verity speakers is definitely not fatiguing, and hence my concern about making major changes. However, you're doing a great sales job on the GG2 and the E53 engine I was thinking of simplifying my life a bit and getting that engine in the new Baltic 3. The low-gain setting of 2v would probably address the clipping concerns.
 

Tuckia

Well-Known Member
Jun 4, 2019
224
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The Baltic 3 reviews are quite good, but I haven’t heard it. This or the GG2 upgrade should be viable paths. Compares are probably posted here somewhere. I do like what Lampizator is doing and am still content with my decision to go down this path. My Pacific is the cornerstone of my system.
 

bonzo75

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Feb 26, 2014
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My current setup of Antipodes, Lampizator, Pass Labs, and Verity speakers is definitely not fatiguing, and hence my concern about making major changes. However, you're doing a great sales job on the GG2 and the E53 engine I was thinking of simplifying my life a bit and getting that engine in the new Baltic 3. The low-gain setting of 2v would probably address the clipping concerns.

What model Verity, and which amps? I used Lampi and verity a few years ago, found that jadis sounded great in that combo. Other push pull should work too.
 

Golum

Well-Known Member
Jun 7, 2018
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My current setup of Antipodes, Lampizator, Pass Labs, and Verity speakers is definitely not fatiguing, and hence my concern about making major changes. However, you're doing a great sales job on the GG2 and the E53 engine I was thinking of simplifying my life a bit and getting that engine in the new Baltic 3. The low-gain setting of 2v would probably address the clipping concerns.
HI;

I've heard all current and quite a few older Lampi DACs in my own system and looking into your "overdrive" issue which I also had with my GG1, I can very much relate to what Tuckia wrote in regards to upgrade to GG2. GG2 is just a phenomenal performer and sending GG1 for an upgrade you can definitely ask the guys to have output of the GG2 set to 2V with for example PX25 or 242 tubes which are the highest gain tubes (I did exactly that) and had zero issues with overdriving the preamp with it (at that time ARC Ref6).
Baltic 3 as the second option you have on your mind is also a phenomenal performer and kicks way above the price tag, but DHT output tubes just create magic on their own (imho) so in your case I would follow the path with DHTs.
Maybe best description came from a great friend of mine with Baltic 3 (and his great buddy has B7mk2): "B3 I can say is a high end DAC but B7 is just music"...

Cheers;
G
 
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VoicesInMyHead

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Apr 7, 2018
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I was advised to try a 6db in-line RCA attenuator

I'm having the gain issue also, not that it distorts, but the volume is just too loud for my integrated amp. Baltic 3 (among others) have a High/Low gain switch these days, but even on Low it's too loud and I would like to see a High/Medium/Low setting, where Medium would be todays Low. I'm currently also testing this kind of inline RCA attenuators by recommendation from a friend, but while it's more pleasing with a larger volume range, it feels wrong to have them it in the signal path in the long run. With my NEXT Lampi I must remember to get this sorted.
 

User211

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Jul 28, 2014
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As I was saying to Goran privately, the Luxman C-800F preamp I use just handles the output of any valve I use without issues. To the extent that I am not really aware of whether a valve is high or low gain. I have to look at the volume setting on the preamp to work out if it's a high or low gain valve.

I did attenuate the output stage of my DAC with some Audio Note silver tantalum resistors, but it's a tiny amount of attenuation TBH.

The trouble is not running to spec. DACs should output 2V, really. Higher gain tends to sound better when comparing to DACs with lower outputs as long as the preamp in use isn't overloaded. Louder is better relatively. This can be a winning factor in dealer demos.
 
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heihei

Well-Known Member
Jul 24, 2017
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I'd echo the comments about GG1 to GG2 upgrade - in some systems, the GG2 will outperform the Pacific, it is that good!

Re: turning vol down via software, I don't think 2-3dB is going to be noticeable in quality terms - in fact Lucas of LDMS recommends a -2dB setting in Roon for his servers.
 

abeidrov

VIP Donor
Dec 17, 2015
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163
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Moscow
Hi there,

I'm a bit of an audio doofus, so I would appreciate some expert advice on the particulars of my variant of the Lampizator gain issue.

I have a Lampizator GG v1, and I recently swapped in a new integrated amp . I'm now using a Pass Labs Int-60 and I immediately encountered what appear to be fairly common problems with static and distortion. After asking the folks at Pass, I was advised to try a 6db in-line RCA attenuator. As a short-term fix, it definitely worked, and the noise is now gone, but I'd like to get some input on a more permanent solution. I'm open to swapping out the GG for a model with low gain/volume control or getting a power amp instead of an integrated, or just adding a passive preamp to my existing chain.

A couple caveats: I live in an older apartment building that's not grounded, so wondering if I need to factor that into any possible solutions with the excess DAC voltage Also, I have pretty painful fatigue issues and so I don't want to add anything to the chain that will be too bright or forward.

1) Amplifier: Pass Labs Int-60

2) Music server/renderer: Antipodes CX + EX;

3) DAC: Lampizator Golden Gate V1(R2R); single-ended, no volume control; Tubes: KR PX25; EML 274B

4) Speakers: Verity Amadis S


Thanks for your assistance!
Hello and welcome to the club of Lampi gain victims:) I’ve been having the same gain issues with my 2 Lampi dacs for the last 6 years. BTW, your PX25 produces more than 3v, 3v is a standard output on Lampizator dacs with low gain tubes like 300B or 45s. The trouble is that you probably would want to use PX25 or 242 tubes, as they are IMHO the best sounding tubes, that can be easily sourced.
The obvious choice is to get a Lampi dac with built in VC. This option will give you the most flexibility in the future regardless of any combination of tubes, preamp or amplifier you may end up using.
 
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User211

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Jul 28, 2014
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TBH just shove a Khozmo passive on the output of your DAC if it is that much of a problem, then feed that into your preamp.

I know that doesn't seem like a nice solution i.e. having two preamps, but WTF it's a lot easier than returning the DAC. And in practice the Khozmo is an excellent attenuator. Or go Hattor for something a bit nicer. Look at the seller's other items on the link below and do Google searches etc.

 
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abeidrov

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Dec 17, 2015
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TBH just shove a Khozmo passive on the output of your DAC if it is that much of a problem, then feed that into your preamp.

I know that doesn't seem like a nice solution i.e. having two preamps, but WTF it's a lot easier than returning the DAC. And in practice the Khozmo is an excellent attenuator. Or go Hattor for something a bit nicer. Look at the seller's other items on the link below and do Google searches etc.

Is Hattor the best available passive preamp option and how it compares to the built in VC control in the latest Lampi dacs?
 

User211

Well-Known Member
Jul 28, 2014
2,805
994
283
Is Hattor the best available passive preamp option and how it compares to the built in VC control in the latest Lampi dacs?
No it's just a quality passive pre. There are many available and they'll all vary a bit in how they sound.

I heard the Hattor in a GG1 based system and it sounded fine. I don't know what component Lampizator use for their attenuator. Does anyone know?
 

iain

Well-Known Member
Jul 23, 2018
28
5
70
Hi, I have a B7 with KR 242s and have the same problem. At some point I intend to go for The MK2 upgrades to resolve the problem.

In the meantime I have used the software attenuation in Jplay Femto and RCA attenuation plugs. Both work well, but I prefer the plugs, which don't seem to lose anything.

This is a cheap potential solution and despite my initial resistance to the idea, does not appear to have a downside
 

cpcat

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Jun 20, 2016
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