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OTL, Output Transformerless Amplifier User Group.

RE: From what I understand the Zero's...

"I don't say the Zero is perfect, but I do say that to my ears the combo of the Zero with an Atma OTL is still superior to every OTC tube amp I have tried on the same set of speakers. Audio is full of trade-offs. If you want to stamp your feet and walk away in protest, that is your privilege. Or find a pair of speakers that don't need the Zeros."

I can absolutely believe that there are circumstances where a particular OTL amplifier may drive a particular set of speakers better if an impedance matching autotransformer is inserted between the amplifier an the speaker. And I can absolutely believe that the resulting system may sound spectacularly good.

My only gripe is if it is claimed that such a configuration is still adhering to the spirit, and the letter, of the concept of an OTL. I think OTL has a very clear and precise connotation: no impedance transformer between the output tubes and the loudspeaker.

As I said before, if you wanted to claim that with a turns ratio of 2-1 it is still an OTL system, but that with a turns ratio of 20-1 it isn't, then you would have to come up with some specific ratio somewhere between those two values, and assert that it is still OTL one side of the line, but not the other. This would be an entirely arbitrary cut-off, with no difference in qualitative behaviour between one side of the border and the other. Hence I simply go back to the (almost orignal) Dickie-Macovski notion, of the absence of any iron-cored components in the amplifier. (Actually they went one stage further and had no iron-cored components in the power supply either, but that is another story, and a side-issue for the present discussion.)

As with many things in audio, I think it is a shame when the image of a probably superb-sounding system risks being tarnished by virtue of claims that it is something that it really isn't. (And don't get me started on the subject of the ZOTL!!!)


Edits: 05/15/17

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