OTL Asylum

OTL, Output Transformerless Amplifier User Group.

Return to OTL Asylum


Message Sort: Post Order or Asylum Reverse Threaded

Linear Tube Audio - ZOTL 40

72.81.223.20

Posted on June 19, 2016 at 06:01:12
lancelock
Audiophile

Posts: 26
Location: Maryland
Joined: December 17, 2013
I picked this amp up yesterday and holy crap, it's bested everything I've ever owned. In fact, I was just at the Newport show I don't think I would trade my setup for anything I heard there. ZOTL 40 + Micro ZOTL as pre + Direct Stream DAC + Janszen zA2.1 speakers = Holy Grail. After some good breakin more will be revealed.

 

Hide full thread outline!
    ...
What is "Linear Tube Audio"?, posted on June 19, 2016 at 07:07:59
Lew
Audiophile

Posts: 8731
Location: Bethesda, Maryland
Joined: December 11, 2000
Is that the name of a company marketing David Berning designs? If not, I would have thought they are violating a patent DB must own.

 

RE: What is "Linear Tube Audio"?, posted on June 19, 2016 at 07:21:38
lancelock
Audiophile

Posts: 26
Location: Maryland
Joined: December 17, 2013
Mark Schneider is the engineer and owner of the company Linear Tube Audio. They have licensed the proprietary tech from David Berning. David was very involved in the design process of the new line of products. These amps meet his very meticulous standards. Oh yeah, and sound freakin awesome.

 

Thanks. I found the website..., posted on June 19, 2016 at 11:11:12
Lew
Audiophile

Posts: 8731
Location: Bethesda, Maryland
Joined: December 11, 2000
Since I live in the DC area, and I am personally acquainted with DB, perhaps I will visit one of their local emporia and have a listen.

 

RE: Thanks. I found the website..., posted on June 19, 2016 at 11:29:40
lancelock
Audiophile

Posts: 26
Location: Maryland
Joined: December 17, 2013
Linear Tube Audio will have a storefront open in Takoma Park, MD, but it is 5 or 6 weeks away from opening maybe more. The store will be under the name Urban Audio.

 

RE: Linear Tube Audio - ZOTL 40, posted on July 1, 2016 at 20:51:30
lancelock
Audiophile

Posts: 26
Location: Maryland
Joined: December 17, 2013
The ZOTL 40 just keeps getting better and the Micro ZOTL is the best preamp I've ever heard. I only have some more tube rolling to do. This is it. I'm a little sad. I believe I have finally come to the end of a journey that has lasted some years.

 

RE: Linear Tube Audio - ZOTL 40, posted on July 2, 2016 at 00:44:45
bingoguy
Audiophile

Posts: 12
Location: US
Joined: January 16, 2003
Looks like Urban HiFi is having a sale this weekend. $500 off the ZOTL40 (code Z40USA), $300 off the ZOTL10 (code Z10USA) and $150 off the MicroZOTL (code MZ2USA).

30 day return policy too.

No affiliation with them, just a very satisfied user.

 

RE: Linear Tube Audio - ZOTL 40, posted on July 4, 2016 at 21:17:55
ahendler
Audiophile

Posts: 4658
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Joined: January 24, 2003
Contributor
  Since:
January 14, 2010
I have 2 of the ZH270 amps. Davids products are among the best I have ever heard.
Alan

 

RE: Linear Tube Audio - ZOTL 40, posted on July 5, 2016 at 04:51:19
lancelock
Audiophile

Posts: 26
Location: Maryland
Joined: December 17, 2013
Ahendler, if you're not looking to buy a new amp, don't listen to this one. The money will jump out of your pocket.

 

RE: Linear Tube Audio - ZOTL 40, posted on July 5, 2016 at 07:50:07
ahendler
Audiophile

Posts: 4658
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Joined: January 24, 2003
Contributor
  Since:
January 14, 2010
Not enough power for my Maggie 3.6's
Alan

 

RE: Linear Tube Audio - ZOTL 40, posted on July 5, 2016 at 09:09:38
willsw
Manufacturer

Posts: 16
Location: District of Columbia
Joined: November 19, 2015
Would 80wpc do it? We're installing a stereo/mono switch in the 40 soon, but you can just bridge the outputs in the meantime. But now we're entering a different price range.

 

RE: Linear Tube Audio - ZOTL 40, posted on July 5, 2016 at 11:57:28
lancelock
Audiophile

Posts: 26
Location: Maryland
Joined: December 17, 2013
Alan, i understand, I've had my own problems driving my Janszen hybrid electrostats. I'm set with the ZOTL40, plenty of power for me and some headroom. Mark did tell me he could configure the ZOTL40 into mono blocs. I don't really need it and tube rolling would cost double.

Lance

 

RE: Linear Tube Audio - ZOTL 40, posted on July 9, 2016 at 18:13:20
ahendler
Audiophile

Posts: 4658
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Joined: January 24, 2003
Contributor
  Since:
January 14, 2010
Why did you drop the ZH270? This is a great amp
Alan

 

RE: Linear Tube Audio - ZOTL 40, posted on July 10, 2016 at 17:59:34
lancelock
Audiophile

Posts: 26
Location: Maryland
Joined: December 17, 2013
I must clarify, I have never owned the ZH270 but have heard great things about it. I do own the ZH230 (only 30'watts) which is incredible sounding. My understanding is the new ZOTL line is a slightly newer design using everything David Berning has learned in the last 5 years. I am a big fan of the EL34 tube for its beautiful midrange so this is the best of both worlds for me, ZOTL + EL34 = holy grail. I'm having fun tube rolling for now.

Coincidently, I saw David today at the Capital Audiofest.

 

RE: Linear Tube Audio - ZOTL 40, posted on July 23, 2016 at 17:28:19
dth31
Audiophile

Posts: 249
Location: San Diego
Joined: September 3, 2002
Would be grateful to hear how the ZOTL40 compares sonically to the ZH30.

Dave

 

RE: Linear Tube Audio - ZOTL 40, posted on July 23, 2016 at 19:30:15
lancelock
Audiophile

Posts: 26
Location: Maryland
Joined: December 17, 2013
Dave,

To me the ZH230 sounds only slightly better than the ZOTL40 with the stock Tung Sol tubes. My ZH230 has all NOS tubes. I am in the process of tube rolling in the ZOTL40 and am very optimistic that because of the many EL34 tube choices, it can exceed the the ZH230 sonically. The two amps have a similar character. Also, is the ZH230 almost 3K better than the ZOTL40? I don't think so but with the ZH230 you get a nicer laser etched case and stillpoints. More to come after some extensive tube rolling.

Lance

 

RE: Linear Tube Audio - ZOTL 40, posted on July 23, 2016 at 19:34:11
dth31
Audiophile

Posts: 249
Location: San Diego
Joined: September 3, 2002
I will anxiously await your impressions. Am also curious to hear your experience with new vs NOS tubes.

Dave

 

RE: Linear Tube Audio - ZOTL 40, posted on August 3, 2016 at 15:34:38
lancelock
Audiophile

Posts: 26
Location: Maryland
Joined: December 17, 2013
Mark Schneider and his crew are coming over to my house soon. We're having an EL34 shootout. They're bringing lots of different EL34 tubes to try so it should be interesting.

I can say that the 6CA7 black bottle shuggys and the psvane EL34PH tubes are both better than the stock Tung sol tubes. I'm not sure which set I prefer yet, both sound great in the ZOTL40.

 

RE: Linear Tube Audio - ZOTL 40, posted on August 3, 2016 at 17:25:04
willsw
Manufacturer

Posts: 16
Location: District of Columbia
Joined: November 19, 2015
I'm especially interested in how the Gold Lion KT77s stack up against all these EL34s we've accumulated.

 

RE: Linear Tube Audio - ZOTL 40, posted on August 3, 2016 at 17:49:44
lancelock
Audiophile

Posts: 26
Location: Maryland
Joined: December 17, 2013
Will,

I hope you have the "well broken in" KT77's. I have not tried those yet. Also, if you have any reference CD's you want to bring that's fine.

 

RE: Linear Tube Audio - ZOTL 40, posted on August 4, 2016 at 08:42:22
ahendler
Audiophile

Posts: 4658
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Joined: January 24, 2003
Contributor
  Since:
January 14, 2010
In my VTL ST-80 I tried a lot of el34/6ca7 and finally put in the Gold Lion KT-77. Never tried anything else again.
Alan

 

RE: Linear Tube Audio - ZOTL 40, posted on August 19, 2016 at 14:24:34
lancelock
Audiophile

Posts: 26
Location: Maryland
Joined: December 17, 2013
ZOTL40 - EL34 shootout

The shootout was a lot of fun. For those of you who haven't met Mark, he's a great guy and a dedicated audiophile. I like his business model too. Start with a fantastic design and employ local people to manufacture great products HERE, not by slave labor in XYZ foreign country to maximize profits.

OK, the results are in, the EL34 Tung Sols that come stock with the amp sound very good, but there are a few other tubes that sound even better. Here are my Picks for the top tubes in the ZOTL40 in order, no. 1 being the best:

1. NOS Mullard EL34 XF2
2. Genelex Gold Lion KT77
3.NOS Sovtek EL34 Winged C
4.Shugaung Black Bottle 6CA7 (very long break-in)
5. psvane EL34PH
6. Tung Sol EL34
7. Mullard EL34 reissues

The Gold Lion KT77s are killer in this amp and are manufactured currently.
The very expensive Chinese 6CA7 black bottle tubes and the Phillips knock offs also sound very good but are costly. Equally as good as the Gold Lion KT77s are the NOS Sovtek winged C EL34's and maybe better, but I'm still listening to them. They're getting better with break-in, and I keep going back and forth on that one. I didn't get enough time with the KT77, but my first impression puts it near the top.

If you can get your hands on them, the NOS Mullards in this amp..... I can't explain it.... is the most incredible sound I have ever experienced. Yes, the Mullards are legendary and the ZOTL 40 takes advantage of these vintage tubes in a spectacular way. I bought a set of used NOS Mullards for a fairly reasonable price. Because the ZOTL is so easy on tubes, I expect them to last a long time.

I'm not really good at describing the sound differences in audiophile terms but it was all there, the sound stage, airy highs and tight lows. The top of the list giving the best of these attributes.

The upgraded tubes put the ZOTL40 a notch above the ZH230 in my humble opinion. Maybe that's why David Berning has decided to drop that amp from his line. I did hear that Berning is going to stick to his top of the line amps that he builds himself. The Berning 211/845 monoblock amps were reviewed this month in TAS and I think they used the term "best amp in the world." Oh well, $75K is out of my reach but I've got a ZOTL40.

If you ever wanted to own a $50k amp for a fraction of the price, this is it. I really can't say I've heard anything this good at any audio show. Although I've never heard the 211/845.

Associated gear:
Janszen zA2.1 hybrid eltrostats
JL Audio E110 subs (pair)
PS Audio Direct Stream DAC networked
PS Audio P10 regenerator
Micro ZOTL as preamp with linear power supply
Morrow and Cerious Tech Cables

 

RE: Linear Tube Audio - ZOTL 40, posted on September 3, 2016 at 13:12:06
dth31
Audiophile

Posts: 249
Location: San Diego
Joined: September 3, 2002
Thanks! That was VERY helpful.

I see from the LTA webpage that the amp now comes standard with the Genelex KT77's. Nice!

Dave

 

RE: Linear Tube Audio - ZOTL 40, posted on September 4, 2016 at 12:47:55
willsw
Manufacturer

Posts: 16
Location: District of Columbia
Joined: November 19, 2015
After lots of listening, we've decided to use all Genalex Gold Lion tubes for both the ZOTL10 and the ZOTL40 - the superiority of the sound is worth absorbing the extra cost.

My only wish: that they made a 6SN7. It seems like there's the biggest gulf in price for quality with the 6SN7, and the Tung-sol is the best current-production we've tried before you'd need to spend significantly more on high-end Chinese tubes.

 

RE: Linear Tube Audio - ZOTL 40, posted on October 9, 2016 at 07:31:47
ahendler
Audiophile

Posts: 4658
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Joined: January 24, 2003
Contributor
  Since:
January 14, 2010
Believe me the journey never ends. I have a good friend who has a megabuck system who said to me it can't possibly get any better. I had him do several things and he is absolutely stunned how much better his system sounds.
Alan

 

Page processed in 0.029 seconds.