LampizatOr Horizon - Tube Rolling Paradise

GroovySauce

Well-Known Member
Nov 9, 2020
82
73
83
For me I've found a majority of the time SE sounds better than balanced XLR.

When it comes to the technical stuff I'm starting to get out of my knowledge. That said this is my understanding.

For short runs and if noise isn't an issue SE is a more pure signal.

The design of balanced is that it takes the two wave forms compares them and rejects what isn't the same. No component is perfect, so minor differences in the sending and receiving, positive and negative will cause parts of the music signal to be rejected.
 

rspyder

VIP/Donor
May 3, 2021
68
112
240
66
Thanks.

The Horizon uses pentodes in the output buffer circuit. Pentodes create mostly 3rd order harmonics. I think the Poseidon's output buffer is compatible with triode and pentode tubes. As I recall, the Pacific DAC uses Triodes in either a balanced or SE.

Ray
 

dminches

Well-Known Member
Oct 22, 2011
3,476
2,848
1,410
In my system balanced sounds better than unbalanced.
 

Designsfx

Active Member
Sep 26, 2023
275
146
43
Los Angeles
Hello my What's Best Fellows. I'm asking the following question in this thread because I couldn't find a technical forum on the Horizon DAC and because I consider many of you to be technically strong audiophiles (certainly more expert than I am). Of course, I would invite Lukasz' input as the best technical expert on all things Lampi DAC.

First, some background to my question. As I understand it, the Horizon's XLR inputs and outputs are fully balanced, including the output tube circuit (LC - positive, RC - positive, LC - negative and RC - negative). But I noticed from the WBF discussions that some Horizon, Pacific and presumably Poseidon owners operate their DACs single-ended (i.e. with 2 output tubes).

Question: For those that do, is that because a DHT (e.g. 300B, 245, 845) operated in single-end mode creates more even-order harmonics. However, if DHTs are operated in balanced mode (i.e. 2 pairs) the even-order harmonics of the DHT stage are mostly eliminated by the attendant odd-order harmonics generated by the parallel circuit?

In short, do the Lampi DACs sound better operated in single-ended mode? I assume that given Lukasz' no-stone-unturned approach to his DACs, and the Horizon in particular, he designed the balanced circuit to eliminate/mitigate odd-order harmonics from 2-pairs of DHTs.

Thanks,

Ray
Great questions- I’m interested in hearing the responses to this as well.
 

rspyder

VIP/Donor
May 3, 2021
68
112
240
66
I'm a big fan of fully balanced as well (at least in amplifiers). The stage has a lower noise floor and better channel separation because the amplifier circuits for left and right are completely separate in a balanced design and there is not a common negative circuit like there is in single ended. However, what I don't know is if and how that translates to Lukasz' output buffer circuit in his tube DACs (i.e. the output tubes).

What I do know from my Horizon is that out of the speakers it is dead quiet (i.e. black) with terrific separation as well as space and air. That can only be achieved with very low distortion (e.g. high linearity).

Perhaps the fully-balanced approach permits the use of Pentodes with minimal third (i.e. odd) order harmonics. For Lampi DACs that use triodes in the buffer circuit the single-ended selection may be better sounding because of the natural second order harmonics.

My question and comments here may be also a simple demonstration of; "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing". (Albert Einstein). My sincere apologies if it is.

Ray
 

Sampajanna

Well-Known Member
Apr 1, 2021
661
775
170
In my system balanced is better as well. I dont know nothing about the technical stuff though :)
 

keithc

Well-Known Member
Dec 31, 2022
182
348
63
IMG_4286.jpg

Imagine you have several really good 2017 Pinot.
One you open in 2022, and it's delicious. It's smooth, great balance and undertones, really speaks the terroir of the wine.
And then one you keep until 2024, and it's just a bit richer. It's got all the above, but just slightly more magical with a touch of pixie dust.

That's what adding the grounding wire to the two TP C3G adapters was like.
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
Over the past week I managed to secure a virtually new quad set of f17c with TP adapters. I run my system SE not balanced. Over the past 6 months my power tube of preference has been the SRS 551. I have read many comparisons here between the 2 tubes and I am reasonably certain. we all agree that tube selection and sound quality thereof is all a matter of personal and system preference.. I have never heard the f17c in my system as previously before the SRS551 I use Tungsram OS1 and liked it until I heard the SRS551 and I sold my quad matched set of OS1. Ive never heard the f17c and thought that I would like to compare it in my system to the SRS 551

after the tubes were burned in and I had time to do an A-B-A test the sound of the f17c was IIRC almost similar to the OS1. A very open and musical tube but lacking the dynamics and information conveyed via the SRS551. For some the SRS551 is just too much but in my system it couldn't be better. Simply put, in my system the SRS 551 was in a league of its own providing so much more information and far better dynamics. I would say this about the two different tubes.......If the SRS551 is worth $1 then on a comparable scale t my ears the f17c is worth $0.90

This doesn't't mean I am condemning the f17c but rather saying "in my system and to my ears it is just no contest"

To that extent if there are f17c users or members who want a matched virtually new quad of f17c with a set of TP adapters, I have decided to sell these. Once again this is system specific and the f17c is a terrific tube but not up to the SRS551 in my system. So reach out to me if anyone is interested in this quad and set of adapters
 

Moladiego

Active Member
May 30, 2022
65
111
38
54
If I were ti try and explain the difference in my system between the f17c and the SRS 551, it is a similar change in SQ if I compare TFKN RGN 2004 to Valvo G2504
Steve, are you referring to P17C rather than f17c? P17C were made in France under the label SFR; SRS551 under the label WF were made in East Germany and are much rarer to find. My experience with SRS 551 was the opposite of yours - not that they were dynamic (or "too much" as you put it above, implying too much power or dynamics); they were too dampening (suffocating the sound), even more dampening than Mullard tubes. Ian also shared that view (perhaps not to the same extent of dislike; I could not stand SRS551 but could live with Mullard ECC32 or Mullard EL34 even though they are also dampening); that may be a minority view. My experience though is that nothing can be set in stone; I don't rule out the possibility that SRS551 may sound wonderful in a new tube setup (my set has evolved); tubes affect each other in a holistic way. I'd love to get feedback over Telefunken RGN2504 vs. Valvo 2504 (they have the same pinout and filament voltage). I am selling my extra RGN2504 with the related Special Edition TP adapter; compared to Tak 274B (used prior), 2504 is so much more refined (as well as dynamic); Tak is not even close.
 
Last edited:

John T

Well-Known Member
Feb 15, 2022
1,075
1,637
198
67
Steve, are you referring to P17C rather than f17c? P17C were made in France under the label SFR; SRS551 under the label WF were made in East Germany and are much rarer to find. My experience with SRS 551 was the opposite of yours - not that they were dynamic (or "too much" as you put it above, implying too much power or dynamics); they were too dampening (suffocating the sound), even more dampening than Mullard tubes. Ian also shared that view (perhaps not to the same extent of dislike; I could not stand SRS551 but could live with Mullard ECC32 or Mullard EL34 even though they are also dampening); that may be a minority view. My experience though is that nothing can be set in stone; I don't rule out the possibility that SRS551 may sound wonderful in a new tube setup (my set has evolved); tubes affect each other in a holistic way. I'd love to get feedback over Telefunken RGN2504 vs. Valvo 2504 (they have the same pinout and filament voltage). I am selling my extra RGN2504 with the related Special Edition TP adapter; compared to Tak 274B (used prior), 2504 is so much more refined (as well as dynamic); Tak is not even close.
Steve must have meant the P17c. I never tried the SRS551 but I did try the RS1003 which are very similar to the SRS551. Way too much everything in my system. Laszlo (great guy) told me they were heat seeking missiles. Over the top with dynamics. Brittle and harsh in my system. Fascinating how these damn tubes play so different system to system...
 
  • Like
Reactions: Golum and ctydwn

dminches

Well-Known Member
Oct 22, 2011
3,476
2,848
1,410
Steve must have meant the P17c. I never tried the SRS551 but I did try the RS1003 which are very similar to the SRS551. Way too much everything in my system. Laszlo (great guy) told me they were heat seeking missiles. Over the top with dynamics. Brittle and harsh in my system. Fascinating how these damn tubes play so different system to system...

I don't know how they would sound in my system but I definitely don't want something too dynamic. That never works for me.
 

godofwealth

Well-Known Member
Feb 8, 2022
600
909
108
63
I just “upgraded” from a balanced ARC Reference tube preamp to a single-ended Conrad Johnson GAT Series.2. Partly, it was because I am driving my La Scala horn loudspeakers with SET amplifiers of various types, all of which are single-ended. There seemed to be little point to using a balanced preamplifier with a short. < 1 meter interconnect into a singe-ended SET. And so, how did the GAT sound like? I think it’s an entirely different sound, in some ways far more transparent than the ARC (which to me has always had a kind of “in your face” type of sound). The GAT S2 sounds more “civilized” and “composed”, and everything is kept in perspective. It took me a few days to get used to the different presentation, but I like it more than my previous ARC. Best of all, it uses only 2 6922 tubes, one per channel. I have unlimited tube rolling possibilities, and I’m trying a pair of NOS Phillips E88CCs (SQ) that are highly ranked in the 6922 food chain.

CJ has always maintained throughout their 50-year existence as a high end audio company that balanced design offers no advantages in the context of high end audio in a typical listening room (which I assume they mean involving small cable lengths). Balanced was preferred in studios and recording venues where cable lengths of hundreds of feet are not uncommon.

It’s not clear to me that in a tubed DAC, balanced offers any advantages. Sure, there is a theoretical noise superiority, but single-ended DACs can measure almost as well, and I doubt you can hear the difference over loudspeakers that distort a million times more than any DAC. So, as with all things in high end audio, your ears are the final arbiter.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2ndLiner

Moladiego

Active Member
May 30, 2022
65
111
38
54
I just “upgraded” from a balanced ARC Reference tube preamp to a single-ended Conrad Johnson GAT Series.2. Partly, it was because I am driving my La Scala horn loudspeakers with SET amplifiers of various types, all of which are single-ended. There seemed to be little point to using a balanced preamplifier with a short. < 1 meter interconnect into a singe-ended SET. And so, how did the GAT sound like? I think it’s an entirely different sound, in some ways far more transparent than the ARC (which to me has always had a kind of “in your face” type of sound). The GAT S2 sounds more “civilized” and “composed”, and everything is kept in perspective. It took me a few days to get used to the different presentation, but I like it more than my previous ARC. Best of all, it uses only 2 6922 tubes, one per channel. I have unlimited tube rolling possibilities, and I’m trying a pair of NOS Phillips E88CCs (SQ) that are highly ranked in the 6922 food chain.

CJ has always maintained throughout their 50-year existence as a high end audio company that balanced design offers no advantages in the context of high end audio in a typical listening room (which I assume they mean involving small cable lengths). Balanced was preferred in studios and recording venues where cable lengths of hundreds of feet are not uncommon.

It’s not clear to me that in a tubed DAC, balanced offers any advantages. Sure, there is a theoretical noise superiority, but single-ended DACs can measure almost as well, and I doubt you can hear the difference over loudspeakers that distort a million times more than any DAC. So, as with all things in high end audio, your ears are the final arbiter.
It all depends on whom you believe, as each side has its "experts" to vouch for its view. There is and can be no settled view. I chose to follow the belief that SE is superior to balanced (also the belief that WAV is superior to DSD) for SQ purposes for home audio systems. My own experience confirms such beliefs, but then my experience is limited to the system I have and my ears. SQ is hopelessly subjective. I find that WAV sounds better than DSD processed by Horizon (even though DSD is native to the Delta Sigma Horizon) and that SQ degrades (usually in the form of thickness and lumpiness) if the format passes 24.96 (24.48 is perhaps all we need). All this is subjective and therefore cannot be proved or disproved.
 

godofwealth

Well-Known Member
Feb 8, 2022
600
909
108
63
Here’s a pic of my current setup. There’s something magical about the sound of a 300B SET, which is hard to characterize, except a sort of sublime tonal purity that makes more complex designs sound artificial. The GAT S2 has a similar tonal purity to its sound.

image.jpg
 
  • Like
Reactions: John T

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
Steve must have meant the P17c. I never tried the SRS551 but I did try the RS1003 which are very similar to the SRS551. Way too much everything in my system. Laszlo (great guy) told me they were heat seeking missiles. Over the top with dynamics. Brittle and harsh in my system. Fascinating how these damn tubes play so different system to system...
sloppy hand..... . Ty for pointing out my error. It just not a tube that sounds as good as the SRS 551. AS to the RS1003, it may be similar but it's not SRS551. I found similar issues when people tried to compare their non TFKN c3gs with a non TFKN brand. The TFK outperforms the others
 
  • Like
Reactions: seatrope and John T

Sampajanna

Well-Known Member
Apr 1, 2021
661
775
170
I have the RS1003. The dampening effect left for me when I got the TP adapters.
 

About us

  • What’s Best Forum is THE forum for high end audio, product reviews, advice and sharing experiences on the best of everything else. This is THE place where audiophiles and audio companies discuss vintage, contemporary and new audio products, music servers, music streamers, computer audio, digital-to-analog converters, turntables, phono stages, cartridges, reel-to-reel tape machines, speakers, headphones and tube and solid-state amplification. Founded in 2010 What’s Best Forum invites intelligent and courteous people of all interests and backgrounds to describe and discuss the best of everything. From beginners to life-long hobbyists to industry professionals, we enjoy learning about new things and meeting new people, and participating in spirited debates.

Quick Navigation

User Menu

Steve Williams
Site Founder | Site Owner | Administrator
Ron Resnick
Site Co-Owner | Administrator
Julian (The Fixer)
Website Build | Marketing Managersing