WOW! It's true: tube watts are stronger that solid-state watts. This ONE WATT wonder sounded like a hundred watt tranisitor thumper! Not really. This blue box with the front window that resembles a stone-aged toaster oven is good for teaching all who listen that the magic is, indeed, in the first watt.
A friend of mine brought over his newest purchase (serial #12) to see how it would do on my Klipsch RB-5's. (Klipsch rates them at 96 db, recently AUDIO magazine rated it at 91.7 db. I believe AUDIO's rating.) We unhooked my Acurus DIA, plugged in his blue box, set the cabinet-top gain knob to 2 o'clock and hit play on my Marantz 63SE (sans X10-D for demo purposes). Well, immediately, it was too loud for my listening area. (I sit about 9.5 feet from my speakers.) I adjusted the volume down from full-tilt on the 63SE and began to notice the rich, generous bass. Unlike my solid-state amp, the bass was not a quick or taut but provided a sense of bloom and fullness that agreed with my speakers. Even to the point of sounding like more "apparent" bass than before. The midrange was very real and a tad more laid back than that of the Acurus. It seemed to possess a smoother quality in the mids and highs as well. The highs were not quite as extended as the Acurus but very good. The imaging produced was not quite as vivid as the Acurus which can make the RB-5's produce almost coloring-book images. (This may have something to do with ability to deliver power and slightly attenuated highs.)
This ZOTL made my speakers more listenable than ever before. Within sane limits, it could be the best personal listening amp around. It comes with headphone jack and can double as a preamp for a larger amp. During our audition the amp performed flawlessy and generated very little heat.
This audition was an eye-opener. So little can sound so good! I would heartily recommend this unit to someone who already has a good amp and needs a personal amp or an amp for a second (personal)system. Obviously, the ZOTL is NOT for headbanging, doing gangsta, hipping and hopping, but it delivered the goods while I was playing Kraftwerk, Pink Floyd, YES, Thomas Mapfumo, New Musik, and various New Age electronica. This amp is for listeners, not technicians. Experienced ears encouraged!
I can just see Johnny Cochran marching up and down in front of the Tubes Vs. Transistors jury chiming out repeatedly: "ONE WATT can do a LOT."
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Topic - REVIEW: David Berning micro-ZOTL Amplifier (Tube) Review by Louie J. at Audio Asylum - Louie J. 22:20:47 02/04/00 (2)
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