Anyone have impressions of Lampizator Horizon vs. Pacific ?

Brucemck2

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The biggest change for me though was moving from electrostatics and dynamic moving coil loudspeakers that I had listened to for 30+ years to horns via a pair of Klipsch La Scalas. That’s the biggest bang for the buck of anything I’ve experienced in a long long time..
The La Scalas were a gateway drug for me. I loved how “alive” they were, and the looks are classic. Nice choice!
 

adamaley

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Hi all,
I have had the pleasure of listening to a Lampizator Pacific fully balanced for quite some time now. I am using type 46 tubes with adapters as the output tubes. Honestly, I have never heard anything that can touch it, but I have not heard all the SOTA DACs discussed in this forum. I am having trouble finding a good thread where people have compared the Horizon to the Pacific DAC in the same system. Can someone who has heard both chime in, or at least point me to a good thread on the topic?

Note, I had a Big Mk2, which I loved, but sprung for a used Pacific and of course it is an entirely different universe. So curious to hear if the Horizon is really that much "better" than the Pacific. I build tube amps and preamps for a living, although I am slowly retiring. So I am very familiar the sound and behaviour of many tube types in various circuits. I love DHT tubes and the Horizon is using pentodes, but all tubes behave differently in different circuits. Any impressions would be appreciated.

cheers,
Don
Which 46 tubes are your favorites? What adapter are you using?
 

Famester

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Went first to Baltic 3, then tried a Pacific and I was amazed, I didn't think it could get any better, then I was conned into a Horizon trial, it never left !
Total Heaven with Horizon.
It is head & shoulders better than Pacific.
But I didn't do any tube rolling until Horizon.
 

wokeuptobose

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My recent DAC journey took me from a Vivaldi stack to a Pacific. Replacing the Vivaldi (non-APEX) with a Pacific gave me the less anylitical sound I was craving. Learning the Horizon had a real contender of a preamp pushed me to upgrade to the Horizon. I agree with others here that the Horizon is better than the Pacific on virually every parameter except cost. My impression of the Pacifc was that it was a wee bit dry, not full of the musical engagement I get from the Horizon. I run the Horizon directly into my Gryphon Antileon EVO with great sucess. I tried several attempts to run my Vivaldi directly into my amps, but I couldn't live with the sound. I had to have the preamp to cool things down. The Pacific I bought didn't have preamp capabilities. Ironically, I see the Horizon as a relative value as I was about to purchase a 30K VAC preamp. I was able to forgo the 30K another 5K for the extra cable. So as some of my friends spouses say, the purchase of the Pacifc to Horizon trade-in upgrade was "free":) The tube rolling was relatively new to me, but it has been fun and rewarding in dialing in the sound I love.
 

godofwealth

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I think it’s virtually impossible to pin down the “sound” of the Pacific, as it’s dependent entirely on what output tubes you use. I have no less than 6 output tubes (KR 242, 300B from different vendors, PX 25, 101D, UX-301, 45s etc.). The sound I get entirely depends on the output tubes, and I can make my Pacific go all the way from lush and romantic to a bit drier and more analytic, depending on what tube I use. I expect that to be true of all Lampi DACs. That is, in my view, their entire reason for success. You don’t get one sound. You get essentially the equivalent of colored crayons, and you can sketch in any sound you like. Lampi owes its success largely, IMHO, to recognizing that folks like those in WBF are inveterate tweakers, never happy with one sound, but constantly fiddling with their systems to “improve” the sound. Lampi makes this easy to do. With any solid state DACs, that’s much harder — you can tweak filters and such, but it’s less satisfying.

I’ve owned dCS DACs many moons ago — the original Elgar Plus, Verdi transport, and Purcell upsampler — but my distant memory of that stack was that it was highly clinical and resolving. Some folks like that. I have two other solid state DACs in the high end territory — the Chord Blu2/Dave and the Mola Mola Makua preamp/DAC/phonostage. My general impression is that tube DACs are more romantic. Solid state DACs are far more resolving but clinical. All in all, it’s a choice what type of sound you like. I got the Pacific primarily because I found too many recordings of older classical, jazz, folk etc. harsh on my solid state DACs. I was looking for a tube sweetener with the Pacific, and that’s exactly what I got!
 

Zappadaddy

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I think it’s virtually impossible to pin down the “sound” of the Pacific, as it’s dependent entirely on what output tubes you use. I have no less than 6 output tubes (KR 242, 300B from different vendors, PX 25, 101D, UX-301, 45s etc.). The sound I get entirely depends on the output tubes, and I can make my Pacific go all the way from lush and romantic to a bit drier and more analytic, depending on what tube I use. I expect that to be true of all Lampi DACs. That is, in my view, their entire reason for success. You don’t get one sound. You get essentially the equivalent of colored crayons, and you can sketch in any sound you like. Lampi owes its success largely, IMHO, to recognizing that folks like those in WBF are inveterate tweakers, never happy with one sound, but constantly fiddling with their systems to “improve” the sound. Lampi makes this easy to do. With any solid state DACs, that’s much harder — you can tweak filters and such, but it’s less satisfying.

I’ve owned dCS DACs many moons ago — the original Elgar Plus, Verdi transport, and Purcell upsampler — but my distant memory of that stack was that it was highly clinical and resolving. Some folks like that. I have two other solid state DACs in the high end territory — the Chord Blu2/Dave and the Mola Mola Makua preamp/DAC/phonostage. My general impression is that tube DACs are more romantic. Solid state DACs are far more resolving but clinical. All in all, it’s a choice what type of sound you like. I got the Pacific primarily because I found too many recordings of older classical, jazz, folk etc. harsh on my solid state DACs. I was looking for a tube sweetener with the Pacific, and that’s exactly what I got!
I sold my Tambaqui, when I added NAT preramp to the chain the sound was very lovely as well. Now with Pacific, the same thing happened except Pacific is a lot more dimmensional and musical. I am loving it. Now a difficult part will be a choice of preamp. Allnic L10000, Magnetost or Aries Cerat.
 

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godofwealth

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Tambaqui is a fish found in Brazil, comes from the Amazon. Weird name for a preamp
Actually I think the Mola Mola branding is actually brilliant. It was made up by some marketing firm in Netherlands from where the company is based. By naming the products for this class of fish, the brand is instantly recognizable by name, instead of the usual boring sort of names companies come up with (e.g, “Audio Nirvana blah blah”). I own both the Mola Mola Makua (which has the Tambaqui DAC built in and a world class incredibly flexible phono preamp also built in) and the Mola Mola Kaluga class D monoblock amps. Hands down, the interface to the preamp is the best I have ever used in 35+ years of owning pretty much most of the high end brands. Compared to Mola Mola’s brilliant interface, even the Devialet interface based on SD camera flash cards seems so Stone Age in comparison. It’s laughably out of date. The preamp is completely customizable via a smartphone app. Every input can be configured to be a phono input, a line input, a digital input etc. through an ingenious matrix structure. The phono inputs can be infinitely configured with gain, impedance matching, and literally 50-60 equalization curves. The Makua preamp has a built in Roon streamer.

In terms of sound, no, it’s not going to sound romantic like a tubed Lampi DAC, but what you’ll get is a clear-as-spring-water presentation that is revealing but not harsh. Best of all, the whole system is easy to pick up and move around my house (unlike the ultra massive Lampi DACs), and they can be squeezed into tiny shelves as they run relatively cool (although the preamp is heavily class A biased, so it needs some ventilation). If you want to see what a world class software interface looks like for a high end audio product, look no further than Mola Mola. In my mind they set a very high standard. And unlike Devialet, whose software is downright ridiculously bad, the Mola Mola app has not once failed me in almost a year of constant use, never crashed, and never did anything but what I asked it to do. Now, in my experience of owning high end brands for 35+ years, that’s incredibly rare.
 
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Blake

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I would not characterize Pacific 2 as romantic, particularly with PT14 tubes (or KR242). This combo is incredibly detailed/clear/transparent.

GG2, original Pac, yes, lean more romantic but that is also relative, as they don't tip over the edge to overly warm and rolled off (old school tube amp sound), again though, as mentioned above, tube choices have a large sonic impact and can push things in one direction or the other.
 
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godofwealth

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I have the original Pacific, and yes, its sound varies depending on the output tubes. With 300Bs, it does sound quite romantic and lush, and with KR 242s, quite a bit more dynamic and neutral, and with 45s, PX25s, UX 301s etc., you get various shades in between. To me, the whole point of getting a Lampi DAC is that you are not getting one DAC, but many! You can tune the sound however you like. That’s the real breakthrough with Lampi DACs, more than any great technical breakthrough in terms of DSP etc. (IMHO), All that said, the very reason I’m sticking with the original Pacific is precisely because I do NOT want a hyper detailed DAC. I have already several state of the art solid state DACs that offer plenty of that kind of sound (Mola Mola, Chord, etc.). I specifically want warm, lush and full bodied sound with the Pacific, and I got that! No need for anything else, in my view….

I’ve said this before, and it‘s worth repeating. Since I have 5 separate systems in my house, which I do often hear quite a bit every week, the most impact on sound comes in decreasing order of importance: 1) Recording quality 2) Room 3) Speakers 4) Electronics (DAC etc.). To me, DACs matter, but really only a tiny bit. The huge impact of recording quality, room, and speakers dominates everything else.

When I listen to my Quad ESL 57s in a small room up close, vs. my Klipsch La Scalas in a much larger room sitting quite a bit back, no changing of DACs will ever make the La Scalas sound like the 57s or vice versa. Similarly, when I listen to my Harbeth Monitor 40.1s, or my Quad 2905s, the speaker presentation absolutely dominates. DAC changes are noticeable, but at a much lower level of importance. What hits you first and foremost is the speaker projecting the sound over the room. Where you sit in the room matters.

So, while I like my Pacific a heck of a lot, I have not much desire to move up the food chain because of these reasons. Just my biases!
 
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