Here's another interesting "shootout of sort" between 2 well reviewed DACs and the entry-level LampizatOr Amber DAC (currently on special)!Abbingdon Music Research AMR DP77
DAC vs. Hegel HD12
DAC vs. LampizatOr Amber
Going into the side by side comparisons, I was pretty confident that the Amber Plus would fare well against the Hegel HD12, which is priced almost $1,000 less at $1,400, but had no idea how well it would perform against the AMR DP-777, which is more than double its price at $5,495.
As the trials passed, I began to see some patterns. The Hegel was generally a little sharper focused in the treble area, highly detailed, and had an overall pleasing, balanced presentation. It communicated delicate nuance very well – for the most part. I was surprised that it did not pick up that sense of air, space and effects used on vocals like the Amber
. Furthermore, compared with the Amber, it had a lighter bass response and generally didn’t have the same sense of presence
. It reminded me of David Bruce Pinot Noir which when paired with fish seemed the best tasting and balanced wine at a restaurant I waited tables at in the 90s. However, when put up against a cabernet, its lightness in body became readily apparent.
With the AMR, I found a beautiful organic, warm and musical sensibility. It sounded very analog, which no doubt the tubes helped. Its presentation was pretty and detailed enough to make it quite compelling. However, when compared with the Amber, it not only lacked the weightiness, but also the degree of detail that created that “in the room” feeling that Amber often evoked with quality recordings. Instead, it called to mind some of the Thomas Kinkade paintings, which present glowing, idealized paintings of life.
In contrast, the Amber wielded a versatile, but heavier footprint
. Fast and detailed enough, it was pretty upfront in its presentation, yet very adept at rendering timbres naturally
. In essence, it was very balanced, presented superb imaging and was very true to life. For me, the Lampizator Amber Plus DAC was overall more impactful and a tad more engaging.
What’s more, it garnered the “Wife Approval Factor”, which cannot be underestimated. She loved the sound and the price – we both did – so much so that we bought our review sample
At $2,300, the Amber is a very good value – especially when compared to price of the AMR
. And, regardless of cost, like those gladiators we viewed at ringside, it’s a worthy contender.