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Berning ZH270 vs ZH230

Posted on May 5, 2016 at 00:24:40

Posts: 417
Joined: August 4, 2006
I am looking to order a new amp from Berning. He said he can make me a custom amp with about 100 watts output at 6 ohms. I will need that kind of power to drive my Tannoy Turnberry SE effortlessly I guess. However, since it is an expensive purchase I was thinking of first getting a ZH270 or 230 from the used market and listen to the Berning sound. I have never heard any Berning products yet. I am getting a 270 on the used market but I wonder if there is a big difference between the 270 and 230 in terms of tonality and presentation ? I dont want to hear the wrong product and make a wrong assessment. Has anyone heard the older 270 and newer 230 or Quadrature amps to comment on their similarities in sound ?


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RE: Berning ZH270 vs ZH230, posted on May 5, 2016 at 07:11:01

Posts: 8653
Location: Bethesda, Maryland
Joined: December 11, 2000
I've heard the ZH270 extensively but none other of the ZOTL amplifiers. However, since the same patented idea seems to be at the heart of each product, I would expect there to be a strong family resemblance between ZH230 and ZH270, in terms of sonic "flavor". So, I think your approach to making this decision is a reasonable one. Any of these amplifiers is also subject to tweaking. Better capacitors and resistors in the signal path might make a positive difference, but DB is a genius at engineering out such variables.


RE: Berning ZH270 vs ZH230, posted on May 5, 2016 at 16:38:21

Posts: 473
Joined: February 24, 2001
February 4, 2007
I had a ZH-270 which I ordered directly from Berning & had it for years.

I did hear the new 230 but only in show conditions so I would be no help to you unfortunately.


RE: Berning ZH270 vs ZH230, posted on May 6, 2016 at 00:57:51

Posts: 15
Location: District of Columbia
Joined: November 19, 2015
We manufacture the MicroZOTL2.0, which uses the same board as the original MicroZOTL Berning made in 2000, as well as the ZOTL10 and ZOTL40, which are designs Berning did specifically for us last year. Though he has refined the implementation of his ZOTL technology, the sound signature is consistent.


RE: Berning ZH270 vs ZH230, posted on May 6, 2016 at 14:36:44

Posts: 28
Joined: May 15, 2015
I heard the Micro and if the higher power amps are the same then I can say they are a perfect straddle between tube and solid state.

so in other words they are fast and extended like a solid state amp with a very black background yet have the tonality and sound stage of tubes.

They will also be very direct sounding with vocals having a "you are there" quality.

kind of like a really good solid state amp but without the gritty or strident quality - not like a old school romantic loose liquid tube amp


RE: Berning ZH270 vs ZH230, posted on May 29, 2016 at 19:34:10

Posts: 26
Location: Maryland
Joined: December 17, 2013
I own the ZH230 and it is definitely a step above the ZH270. It is more refined and will be much closer in sound to what you are looking to buy. It is the best amp ive ever owned and probably the best I've ever heard anywhere. You can't go wrong with a Berning designed amp. Also, the Micro ZOTL by Linear Tube Audio I own as well and is killer on high effiecency speakers.


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