No doubt about it: the Lampizator DAC range has a formidable reputation. As does its creator Lukasz Fikus. His world view is crystal clear: tubes = good, op-amps = bad, global feedback = bad, local feedback = bad, switching power supplies = bad, linear power supplies = good. And so it goes.
Fikus’ room at the Marriott at Brooklyn Bridge saw the first time yours truly and anything Lampizator could be found in the same room. And yet here were not one but four Lampizator boxes on show. It’s like buses isn’t it? You wait for what seems like forever only to see several arrive at once.
From the top of the chain (but the middle of the Starsound platform):
The Lampizator Streamer has no hard drive contained within its large black metal chassis. Instead, a highly modified Squeezebox Duet with a single Jupiter input capacitor and a tubed S/PDIF output. US$2695.
The Lampizator 6 DAC is reportedly aimed at making the best of Redbook (and nothing else) but that’s not on show here. Instead, we see a Lampizator Big 7 DAC that like the streamer also comes in a monstrously large chassis. Two tubes protrude from its top panel.
The Big 7 will decode PCM up to 32bit/384kHz whilst DSD support comes as a paid option. It runs with direct heated triodes from EM Labs on its output stage whilst a 247B from Shuguang handles rectification duties. Duelend Cast Cu caps come as standard but this one’s been kitted out with Jupiter Copper Wax caps on both input and output (at no extra cost). The DAC’s remote control can toggle the latter in and out of the circuit to taste.
This US$13000 version goes the whole nine yards with options: it includes the active pre-amp for 6db of gain and source selection. Sonically this will likely up the tonal mass quotient and dial down some of the fixed output’s quicksilvery zip. Your call.
At the business end of the amplification chain a pair of Lampizator GM70 single ended triode monoblocks that serve up 22wpc into 8 Ohms for US$10k/pair.
Headphones aside, I don’t often make more than a passing comment about the sound of individual components at shows. It’s simply impossible to know how much each component – including the room itself – contributes to the end result. Anyone who says otherwise is either a fool or a communist. What I do know is that this Lampizator fronted room was one of the most effortless and graceful sounding spaces I’ve heard in a very long time.
Yes, ’twas pulchritudinous.
Further information: Lampizator