Hej, vi har det stora nöjet att presentera en alldeles ny produkt från franska Lavardin, det är inte var dag som dom kommer med något nytt , men nu är det dags, efter 16 år. Välkommen.
Till denna modell kan nu köpa fjärrkontroll ,detta har dom aldrig haft tidigare, pris 5000:- .Du kan även uppgradera förstärkaren med Phonokort för p.u. i MM läge, då kostar den 7000:- mer.
Du kan även köpa en uppgraderad version av denna förstärkare , då heter den Model ISX reference, och kostar 37000:- utan fjärr , med fjärr 42000:-.
Uppgraderingen består av att nätdelen är utbyggd .
Centralt i Frankrike ligger en liten vacker by vid namn Lavardin som inhyser resterna av ett enastående medeltida slott. Strax utanför samma by byggdes 1996 en liten fabrik som tillverkade förstärkare av högsta klass. Företaget som byggde fabriken tog sitt namn av dess vackra omgivningar och märket pryder än idag dess fantastiska skapelser.
Lavardin är en relativt ung och liten tillverkare med en stor respekt för musikreproduktion. För att vara en mindre tillverkare är man extremt långt framme vad gäller forskning inom komponentval och deras verkan på ljudreproduktion. Produktionsstarten 1996 föregicks av åtta års djup forskning inom distorsion för Audiokretsar och Lavardin står än idag ensam för upptäckten av minnesdistortion i ledare. Denna distorsion är obefintlig i Rörförstärkare och förklarar varför dessa ofta låter bättre än transistorförstärkare i mångas öron. Lavardins lösning på minnesdistorsion inom transistorförstärkare ger alla fördelarna av en rörförstärkare men utan dess nackdelar av smal bandbredd och övrig distortion.
Denna skrift är skriven av Alan Sircom.
One of my last real jobs in audio was to let
down what would become Lavardin. I was
working in a well-known audio retailer at the
time, and we already had more than our fair
share of amplifiers. Although we were always
interested in new designs, the chances of the store taking on
a new brand (both new to the store and new to audio) were
limited. I had become very good at saying ‘no’ to companies,
but this prototype French integrated amplifier sang so sweetly
on anything we hooked it to, ‘no’ was not in the vocabulary.
Sadly, we still had no choice but to turn down Lavardin, but in
fairness, it was still very much a work in progress.
Fast forward to the present, and Lavardin has built a
small, but loyal, following in the audiophile community. Its
Model IT, the entry Model IS, and IS Reference integrated
amps are popular choices among those who listen judiciously.
The preamps and power amps are excellent too, but it’s the
integrated amps that justly get a lot of the credit. So, when the
opportunity arose to test the latest Model ISx integrated from
the brand, we jumped at the chance.
The ‘x’ circuit upgrade is the first change to the Lavardin
Model IS (or the Model IT) this century. This isn’t ‘lazy designer
syndrome’: Lavardin has often polled its customers regarding
changes to the existing line, and the phrase “don’t change
a thing!” kept coming back, and in careful listening tests,
many innovations on circuit design were tried, and rejected,
because no matter how good the new tech might look on
paper, it didn’t live up to the hype in listening tests. The ‘x’
developments are the result of that painstaking listening
protocol; they are the ones that made it.
Lavardin remains suitably gnomic about the new models,
having made no announcement on its site and having virtually
no information about the new product made available to the
public as yet. As a result, it’s also unclear whether the ISx will
push the IS Reference out of the catalogue. Given it’s taken
the company decades to revise the Model IS, these points
should all be addressed sometime in the next four or five
years, if they do it as a rush job!
All we can glean about the new ‘x’ circuit is that the
company reworked the existing Lavardin design for greater
linearity, which improves overall transparency and microdynamic
resolution. This goal has taken some time to roll
out, because the original design so focuses its attention
on ‘memory distortion’. This is an attempt to overcome
the memory effect inherent to semiconductors, where a
large signal leaves a small after-effect that can influence the
following signal. This, Lavardin has long postulated, is one
of the reasons why people like products that sound like
single-ended triode amps; the memory effect is gone, and
the sound is more immediate. This is a stance – unique to
Lavardin – that stands very much at odds with current (no
pun intended) thinking, and methods of investigating the effect
on audio circuitry stand outside the normal corpus of audio
measurement. So, improving linearity without falling foul of
memory effect issues is the reason Lavardin has taken so long
to come out with a replacement to its integrated amps. I do
applaud Lavardin for taking this ‘trickle up’ instead of ‘trickle
down’ approach, as the ‘x’ circuit improvements started with
the integrated amps and are working their way up through the
company’s pre/power range, instead of the other way round.
The other headline improvement, however, is the inclusion
of a remote control. OK, so it’s not much of a remote control;
the thin bar only adds volume up and down, but in Lavardinland,
that’s equivalent to the Manhattan Project! What’s more,
in a move to differentiate the ISx from the Model IS, the
newcomer has a small brushed aluminium front panel. The
other aspects of the design – a four input, 35 Watt per channel
line-level integrated amp with optional phono stage – remain
The build quality remains the same, too. Where the Model
IT and beyond are built ‘chunky’, the Model ISx is a lightweight.
The top-plate is relatively thin and undamped. The front panel
and two chromed knobs are more substantial, but if you
view audio electronics by heft and weight, look elsewhere.
Lavardin is dismissive of a lot of modern audio ‘flummery’,
however: while I’d normally recommend adding some kind
of resonance control pad or block to stop that top plate from
clanging like a cracked bell, the company recommends not
to experiment with such things, and this is confirmed in the
listening. Similarly, the company is unconvinced by audiophile
power cords or ‘active’ loudspeaker cables, and recommends
the ground-breaking approach of plugging the amplifier to the
wall with a normal power cord, avoiding a power conditioner,
placing the amp on a wooden shelf, and using good quality
multi-strand copper speaker cables.
Aside from having one of the least accommodating IEC
sockets out there, the ISx behaved faultlessly. It had already
seen a little action in the field, so presumably arrived run in
(Lavardin is unconvinced by the need for burning in, as it says
all that has been done in the factory anyway). Instead, power
it up and within five to 10 minutes, it’s sounding its best. The
only precautionary tale here is if you power it down, give
the ISx 10 seconds before restarting it (this is good general
If the Model ISx takes ten minutes to come on song, then
it may take you ten and a half minutes to realise why this
brand has a loyal following. The liquid way it plays music is
captivating, and that accent on ‘memory distortion’ really does
make the amplifier seem inherently more temporally precise
and less ‘edgy’ sounding than most solid-state amplifiers.
In fact, the Lavardin sound is reminiscent of classic conradjohnson
valve amps, and maybe the closest parallel in the
solid-state world is something like Jeff Rowland or even
Constellation Audio. So, for a small and relatively low-cost
35W French amplifier to already be up there with some of
audio’s best loved models shows its doing something very
I don’t want to give the impression that the Model ISx
is somehow ‘lush’ or ‘soft’ sounding, though. It is far more
balanced and sophisticated than that. What it does instead
is provide a very even, rather than forward balance, but does
it with the kind of rare temporal precision and focus that only
the very best in audio electronics can muster. I’m almost
loathe to point to specific musical examples here because
the shock effect of being that little bit closer to the musical
experience is best discovered at random. So, it wasn’t just the
‘audiophile approved’ rhythmically strong tracks – ‘Georgio
by Moroder’ from Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories
[Columbia], for example – but on more delicate, unexpected
musical interludes like ‘Sleep The Clock Around’ from Belle
& Sebastian’s The Boy With The Arab Strap [Matador], the
ISx portrays that insistent, if sometimes inconsistent, drum
shuffle and Stuart Murdoch’s light, almost fey vocals with a
combination of accuracy, focus, and charm that makes you
listen to the whole not-that-well-recorded album.
Of course, when you move on to the audiophile-grade
material, the Lavardin shines, but it also shows up just how
so much of the audio world is cheating in its demonstrations.
Play something wonderfully recorded, but really clichéd like
Cantate Domino [Proprius], and it sounds truly fantastic, but
no more fantastic than it does on every other high-end audio
system. Or, indeed, a well-rounded car radio. Because the
recording is truly fantastic to begin with, which was why I
was using it to demonstrate audio more than a quarter of a
century ago, and it had already been in use for a decade by
the time I got to it. Play something less sublime, though, and
the Lavardin still shines, where others begin to dull.
That’s the joy of the Lavardin in sum. It’s not about the
wide imaging, or the detail resolution, the dynamic range, the
coherence, vocal articulation, solidity, or any of those other
aspects we call upon to describe audio equipment. The
amp does all of those things (and does them rather well),
but you don’t tend to care when it makes the music sound
this real. These seemingly all-important audiophile aspects
become mere trivialities next to the way it makes music sound
“The kind of rare temporal precision and focus that only the very best
in audio electronics can muster.”
In a way, this is an amplifier that audiophiles shouldn’t like.
It’s not that powerful, it’s not made from inch-thick aluminium
plating that might be better placed on a tank, it doesn’t bristle
with extra features, and eschews all the normal add-ons we
commonly add to audio gear. Now that xenophobia’s back in
fashion, there will even be some who have a problem with it
coming from France. The trouble is, you won’t be able to stop
yourself from thoroughly enjoying the Lavardin Model ISx. It’s a
great sounding amplifier that really changes your perceptions
of what’s important in good sound, and questions the need
to keep pushing the audiophile price envelope. Our highest
possible recommendation today, and judging at the rate
Lavardin changes its products, this will still retain our highest
possible reputation a dozen years from today!
Type: Integrated amplifier
Inputs: Four stereo RCA single-ended inputs
Input impedance: 10Kohms
Input sensibility: 330 millivolts
Line output: factory option
MM phono input: factory option
Input selection: sealed relays
Relay contact: gold, silver, palladium alloy
Output power: 2×45 W RMS on 8 Ohms
Output impedance: nominal 8 Ohms
Harmonic distortion: 0.005% @ max output
Finish: Black anodised and painted non magnetic highgrade
Size (WxHxD): 43x8x38cm
Weight: 6.5 Kg
Manufactured by: Lavardin Technologies