I love my new Amber 3 !!!

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halo777

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I love my new Amber 3 !!!
« on: 20 Jul 2020, 02:50 am »
LOL, OK.  So, I guess there isnt much suspense in this brief review.  I received my new Amber 3 with the latest 53 engine about 3 weeks ago, and I absolutely love it.



The LONG version:
My quest for a Lampizator actually started about six weeks ago, with making a purchase of a used Atlantic from CanuckAudioMart.  I sent the seller the funds for the Atlantic via Paypal, and eagerly awaited my new DAC.  Well, as fate would have it, that deal went South.  The seller kept the "FOR SALE" listing up on CAM after receiving Paypal payment, and two days later refunded me my money, saying he was afraid to ship it.  I didnt believe him for a second as he didnt take any of his other dozen of listings down.  But anyway, I dont want to get into that whole story again.  I was pretty upset at the time, as I really had my heart set on the Lampizator, but.... it all worked out in the end.

I emailed Lampizator NA and told them about the incident.  I asked about any demo units they may have in the same price range.  Rob got right back to me, and steered me instead to the latest version of the Amber III with the 53 engine.  I was a bit hesitant at first, as it was a significant jump in price over the used Atlantic that I had "purchased."  However, I ended up justifying the purchase of the Amber, by getting it with a volume control, allowing me to sell a Conrad Johnson preamp to make up the difference.

I had expected a long wait after I sent the funds, but that really wasnt the case.  In about two weeks, my unit was built and shipped to me in Canada.  Very nice!

When I first got it, I had issues with the connection dropping and my Sonore Signature Rendu SE.  Rob was right back to me with some tips.  In the end, however, I upgraded to Roon and the connection has been rock solid.  It seems mconnect was not a robust application.

OK, the sound!  It is incredible!  Without going into all the usual audiophile terms, I will say that this DAC/preamp produces such an inviting, engaging experience with the music, that you get lost in it.  Just for comparison, I hooked up a Topping D70 and a BorderPatrol SE that I have around.  Both are good at their price points and have a good presentation.  However, when I played the same song on the Amber III, it was just so amazing.  It has detail and clarity, but still has a full bodied sound.  The biggest thing I noticed was the timing of the music.  It is hard to explain, but the Amber just nice crisp tempo to it, without being harsh.  It seems to capture the essence of the music, and just really draws you in.  I was trying to analyze the song on the Amber, but very quickly I was engaged in the music, and almost forgot about the analysis.

Now, comparing the Amber to those much cheaper DACs is not really fair.  But, I will say, if I had just bought the Amber at the get go, before my first DAC (5 DACs ago and a PREAMP which I have all sold, or have to sell) then financially, the difference would not have been as great.  Obviously, on every piece you buy and sell, you lose some money.  But, I guess, that is kind of the journey that is often taken in this hobby.

Amber TIPS (from my experience - YMMV)

I listen almost exclusively to Tidal. First, Tidal through Roon sounds much better than Tidal through other sources.  I had heard of this, but was quite surprised at the improvement.  It has to do with the Tidal application not being as good as the Roon app for Tidal.

The Amber sounds much better in my system with upsampling done in Roon.  I have the latest Nucleus i3, and it will upsample to DSD256 without hiccups.  I tried DSD512, but sometimes it stutters.  256 is rock stable, and sounds amazing.

I upgraded the power cable with an Audio Sensibility Statement.  I did my amp at the same time, and again, there was a significant difference in the sound.  Much cleaner and dynamic.  I was shocked myself, as even when I bought the cables, in the back of my mind Im still a skeptic.  But, Im becoming a strong cable believer after my recent experiences.

I was running some very short Cardas Gold Reference interconnects orginally from the Amber to my SET amp.  Then, I swapped over to Wywires Diamond II.  Again, these made a very nice improvement in the sound.  These are very expensive, but the great thing about the Amber with volume control, is that you only need one set of interconnects.  I essentially sold my Conrad Johnson ET3 preamp to pay for the Wywires, and would do it again in a second.  It made that much of a difference.

Fit and finish
The unit looks beautiful to me.  But, I like the very minimal look.  So, I guess that is up to your personal taste.  If I could change one small thing, I would say remove the dot on the volume control knob.  It doesnt really represent anything anyway, as there is no start and finish to the rotation.

The remote is small, heavy, and solid.  It is very comfortable in use, and intuitive.  Nice and simple, and very well designed.

Final thoughts
Im really happy that the guy on CAM screwed me over, and I ended up with the Amber.  It has become the core of my system, and for me will be my endgame DAC/preamp for the foreseeable future. 

It was a very expensive purchase for me (over double the price of anything else in my system) but I feel was very well worth it.  If it got destroyed tomorrow, I would buy another one.  Despite the cost, I really feel like it is a bargain, and great value.

AMBER III - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED !!!!


dalton

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Re: I love my new Amber 3 !!!
« Reply #1 on: 20 Jul 2020, 09:06 am »
I expect to receive my new Amber 3 next week. It is unbalanced and without volume control.  It will have USB, SPIDF and Toslink digital inputs. Lampizator does not seem to offer upgraded tubes as an option so I am wondering what tubes, new or NOS, selected over the stock tubes might improve sound quality. Is it better to focus on the ECC99 or the ECC82? I find ECC82 equivalent code to be 12AU7 and ECC99 to be 6N6P and E182CC.

I will use Wywires Platinum USB cable and Wywires Digital Juice II Silver series power cord.         

I would greatly appreciate any other guidance people may have.

halo777

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Re: I love my new Amber 3 !!!
« Reply #2 on: 20 Jul 2020, 02:00 pm »
Nice!  I am sure you are going to be very happy with it.  Mine was great right out of the box, and even better after a couple weeks of tweaking and burn in.

If your experience is the same as mine, you are going to find the Wywires cables a great match.

Regarding tube rolling... I dont think Lampizator NA encourages it on the Amber III.  That being said, I did order a 1958 Amperex 7316/12AU7/ECC82 Holland Long Plate Tube Foil D Getter, after reading posts by Audiophile58.

Maybe he will chime in with some advice

https://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=130221.msg1765741#msg1765741
https://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=130221.msg1767641#msg1767641

I will have to check with Lampizator before installing, to make sure it wont void my warranty.

mreeter

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Re: I love my new Amber 3 !!!
« Reply #3 on: 20 Jul 2020, 03:25 pm »
I've had the Amber 3 in my set up for over a year now, and it's been a revelation in my stereo. Without question, one of my best purchases ever.

I have a Vinyl set up that costs somewhere near four times what the Amber set me back, and the Amber put it on notice, right outta the box.

I have rolled in a Mullard 4003 (12AU7) into the output stage, and I'm floating in Audio Nirvana :icon_lol:




Toob_Boob

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Re: I love my new Amber 3 !!!
« Reply #4 on: 20 Jul 2020, 10:28 pm »
I've had an Lampi Amber 3 for about a year, great DAC! I've decided to move to a Aqua Hifi La Scala MKII Optologic DAC so I've listed my Amber 3 on US Audio Mart if anyone is interested.

mresseguie

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Re: I love my new Amber 3 !!!
« Reply #5 on: 21 Jul 2020, 01:05 am »
Can any of you Amber 3 owners comment on how it compares to the Atlantic? I've heard an Atlantic, but not the Amber.

Thanks for any thoughts or impressions.

Michael

halo777

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Re: I love my new Amber 3 !!!
« Reply #6 on: 21 Jul 2020, 02:21 am »
Sorry, I wasnt able to hear the Atlantic for comparison.  However, when I spoke to Rob at Lampizator, he was of the opinion that the Amber with the new 53 engine was, at least in some ways, a step up from the older Atlantics.

In any case, maybe someone on here can offer a comparison with the current Amber III (with 53 engine.) 

I was just rereading my remails from Rob, and he wrote the following about the latest Amber III, comparing it to the older Atlantic

"...our older R2R Altantic with no tube rectification. Our new Alantic TRP has the same 53 engine as our new Amber 3. They will both be a nice step up in sound quality from that older model"

"the new Amber 3 comes with a tube rectified power supply. We also just upgraded our USBs which now have two built in superclocks and sound alot better as well. "

mresseguie

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Re: I love my new Amber 3 !!!
« Reply #7 on: 21 Jul 2020, 04:58 am »
Thanks. I wonder which Atlantic engine I heard...It was tube rectified and had volume control, but that's all I know.

morganc

Re: I love my new Amber 3 !!!
« Reply #8 on: 21 Jul 2020, 05:16 am »
I have not owned or heard a Lampizator in a few years since I had a Lite 7.  However, I have followed all the latest threads and the new Atlantic TRP is praised as one of the best ever Lampis by many in the know with many people preferring it to the higher priced items in the line up.  I've also heard that the Amber 3 has a lot of the same technology and is definitely a huge improvement over the prior Ambers. Again just what I've read on the what's best forum but thought I'd pass it on.  I'd love to hear the Amber 3. I've got an MHDT Orchid and an Audio Mirror Tubadour SE at the moment and I'd love to compare these two to the Amber. 

Also in case  you don't know Fred (Gopher), he's an honest, straight shooter and I'm sure he could answer your questions as well. I've never heard a Lampizator that I didn't like. 

misterclean

Re: I love my new Amber 3 !!!
« Reply #9 on: 21 Jul 2020, 04:57 pm »

Full disclosure: I have a Lampi Atlantic TRP for sale, only because I very recently auditioned--and subsequently purchased--the new Boulder 866 integrated and the onboard DAC is good enough that I cannot justify keeping the TRP.

I have owned both the Amber 3 and the Atlantic TRP, as well as two previous Lampi DACs, the Big Six and the Atlantic SE. I have enjoyed every one of them, though the Amber 3 and TRP are indeed a significant step up in sound quality. The Amber 3 is just a killer at its price point. I had the Audio Mirror Tubadour, which is also excellent, but I thought the Amber 3 was slightly better for my preferences. I was really very pleased with it, especially after installing an Amperex 7316 tube in place of the stock tube.

Eventually, I wanted to try the Atlantic TRP with its option of more tube-rolling possibilities. Even with the stock tubes, it sounds extremely good, perhaps a notch above the Amber 3. But once you start rolling in some higher quality tubes, the effect is simply mesmerizing. In short, the Atlantic TRP is the best DAC I've ever owned or heard, so real and so holographic that it feels like being enveloped in the soundstage. The old "instruments in the room" cliche really applies to the TRP. It is goosebump spooky good.

So, yes, the Amber 3 is amazing. I agree with Rob that it is at least a step up from the first generation of Atlantics. However, the TRP is more amazing still and can also be tuned to your taste with the right tube combination. It is a truly remarkable DAC. If I had the room and funds for two systems, it would be staying put without question.

I hope this is helpful in some way. Good luck!

halo777

  • Jr. Member
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Re: I love my new Amber 3 !!!
« Reply #10 on: 23 Jul 2020, 07:16 pm »
Thanks for your feedback based on first hand experience.  I guess I better start saving for an Atlantic TRP  LOL

On a side note, I did just swap in a 1958 Amperex 7316 Long Plate D Getter myself, and am very happy with the results.  It seemed to improve the tone, especially in the frequencey range of vocals.  And things are even more crystal clear then before.  Everything seems more 3d.  I had read that the orange Synergistic fuse also provides an improvement, so I may do that next.

There seemed to be less bass after the swap, as I ended up turning my subs up a bit.  But the bass seems tighter, and the overall frequency response seems more even.

I sat and listened for four hours straight last night.  I really am in awe on how good my overall system is now.  It has achieved a level I didnt even know existed.  Im sure if I keep moving up, there is better and better.  But, Im very happy right now, so I think Ill put the upgrades on hold for awhile and just enjoy!

misterclean

Re: I love my new Amber 3 !!!
« Reply #11 on: 23 Jul 2020, 08:54 pm »

That's a wise course of action. The Amber 3 can hold its own against much more expensive DACs and would be at home in many a great system. I hope you enjoy it for a long time to come!

nquery

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Re: I love my new Amber 3 !!!
« Reply #12 on: 30 Aug 2020, 03:45 am »
Just chiming in that I have owned an Amber 3 for a few months now and absolutely love it. It was a huge step up from my prior Schiit Gumby. One of those changes that is apparent within the first 2 seconds. I was not expecting such a big jump in a dac. I have it paired with a Line Magnetic 895ia SET amp I which I have done a fair bit of tube rolling. Now it is time to try the tubes in the Amber!