Originally Posted by MuppetFace
I've got the Liquid Lightning 2 up and running.
I've left it on for most of the day, as I observe some amps (like the LL1) sound best after being on for a few hours. I've also observed that 'stats sound better when you've left them on for a while. In theory, the stators should charge up almost instantaneously. However there's some conventional wisdom about leaving them plugged in all the time rather than discharging them by touching the pins. Seems like one of those mysterious areas like cable difference and burn-in, though in this case I'm fairly convinced of "warm up time" being real for stats and many amps (stat or otherwise).
Some preliminary notes:
~> This thing is a beast. Large, heavy, sturdy ... very nice! If the Liquid Lightning was a species of wild amplifier critters, the LL1 would be the smaller more colorful looking male while the LL2 would be the larger more uniform female. She'd be the one doing all the hunting, methinks.
~> The front panel is lovely. Dr. Cavalli has improved the etching / engraving used on it, so it shows up better than on the LG while still maintaining the stealth look. Texture and overall look of the front panel is like the LG's. Black only, apparently.
~> Improved ventilation on the chassis is a good thing. There are vents on the sides now, as the top of the amp is mostly a big open grate. I miss the yin-yang design of the older amps however. Also a good thing are the added inputs.
~> The jacks are the same proprietary ones from the LL1. Which means they start out being ridiculously stiff. Really, since I had Dr. Cavalli loosen the jacks on mine I forgot just how hard it is to plug stuff in LOL. He says that the production LL2 will come with looser jacks from the get-go thankfully. Also the jacks on the LL2 are flush with the front panel rather than slightly recessed as in the LL1.
~> Compared to the LL1, the amp is definitely more similar than dissimilar. Tonality is the same. It's still a stately, "grand" sounding amp with a punchy lower end and overall organic quality.
~> Detail level seems slightly greater than the LL1. I'd put it roughly on par with the BHSE now in that respect. Better definition around the edges. Vocals seem to "pop" more now.
~> Better sense of layering compared to LL1. This was by no means a weak point of the LL1, however the LL2 sounds a bit more open and multi-dimensional, and as a result I'm finding the LL2 to be a little more immersive.
~> I've noticed a very slight hum coming from the amp itself. It's not present through the headphones: the background on headphones is pitch black. However there is a definite hum coming from the chassis of the amp. I'm guessing it's especially audible since the amp is really open: the top is essentially a grate. Talked to Dr. Cavalli about this, and he is aware of the issue. His explanation to me was that the transformer wasn't potted correctly by Custom Magnetics, but that there was no time to fix it before sending it out to me. He assures me the production amps will be next-to-totally silent.
All listening has been done with the SR-009 for the time being. I plan on using the SR-007 as well at some point, though TBH I don't want to do too much swapping because the sockets are so tight, making removal of the plugs a major hassle. I'll probably leave the SR-009 in the top socket and the SR-007 in the bottom for the extent of the audition.
So far I'd say it's an improvement over the original in sonics, though how much of an improvement is a little trickier for me to answer with any degree of certainty. It's clear Dr. Cavalli has spent a lot of time improving the layout of the original LL and fixing stray capacitance, however. This has resulted in a performance boost.
At this point I'm a bit uncertain as to whether I'm going to sell my original LL to fund the revised version. I really like the LL2, but I'm also extremely attached to my LL1. It's a bond that transcends pure performance. It helps knowing that my LL1 would probably be going to a very cool head-fier, but still. I guess we'll see!
Pictures of the LL1 and LL2 together will follow soon-ish. Maybe some shots of the LG too.