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microZOTL 3 by Linear Tube Audio. True High End Audio.

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by jamato8, Dec 21, 2018.
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  1. XERO1
    I personally much prefer the aesthetics of the Preamplifier over the MZ3. I've never been a big fan of large external power supplies in mismatching chassis.
    The only extra feature that the MZ3 offers is the ability to use it as a 1W speaker amp, which honestly seems pretty useless.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2019
    freesole likes this.
  2. Matthew Willims
    The external power supply is a plus for me as the preamp would not fit on my entertainment unit. I place the power supply of the MZ2 on the floor. That said I damaged mine recently by for getting to change the dip switches to the 6v setting when changing to 6SN7 tubes.

    I've my local tube repair guy taking a look at it though if unable to fix I daresay I'm be upgrading. Seriously annoyed with myself as I barely had the thing for two months. The cost of sending to or from the US mean only a local repair is worth it though :frowning2:

    If unrepairable I guess I'll order a MZ3
  3. Matthew Willims
    Mmmm, I gave in. MZ3 ordered.
    Tao8 and freesole like this.
  4. freesole
    Congrats - let us know how you like it!
    Matthew Willims likes this.
  5. jamato8 Contributor
    There are a lot of caps in the PS and other to form. Give it time as it does go up and down in sound. I noticed around 40 hours for around 15 hours, the bass went down and then came back. This would have to be the caps forming. I notice now that the timbre is truly beautiful and there is a powerful but natural flow to the music. Nothing is forced but laid our in front of you (and to the sides). It sounds excellent with my Utopia and the iBasso SR1. Oh, and I also enjoy it with the HD1000 V2 planar.
    Matthew Willims and Tao8 like this.
  6. Matthew Willims
    40 hours isn't bad. About the same as most moving coil carts though it would be used for digital content too so easier to burn in all around.
  7. jamato8 Contributor
    That is when the bass goes flat then then after a while comes back. But I would say that at least 100 hours burn in is needed and then little improvements from there. Pretty typical from my years of experience but it is a really nice amp. Very full and layered.
    Matthew Willims likes this.
  8. Matthew Willims
    Ah, I see. Ok. I may just leave it turned on with music playing through it though with my power amp turned off. That would see it fully burned in after about 4 days :)

    The LTA gear is the only tube gear I've owned where I feel I can safely leave it turned on when I'm not present.
  9. DelsFan
    I may be in the same boat. I've been wavering between the MZ2 and the Dragon Inspire IHA-1 for months now (waiting for the reorganization of my Study to be completed). Maybe the solution is the same as it's always been > > > spend more money!
    Regardless, Jamato8, thanks for your review. Matthew, I'll look forward to your thoughts soon - glad you took the MZ3 plunge.

    Is it fair to say either the MZ2 or MZ3 will have slightly more of a "tube sound" than a solid state amplifier, but not the full "effect" of a similarly priced (so, fairly high quality) tube-based headphone amp?
  10. freesole
    Just curious, which DAC's are you guys running with along with your Microzotl gear?
  11. Matthew Willims
    The LTA gear has the classic holographic imaging of tube gear though without any of the colouration giving extreme transparency allowing you to hear deeper into the music. It's also extremely fast and accurate giving slam and impact that generally only the best solid state gear pulls off. For all intents and purposes you get the best aspects of both technologies in a single product....

    Unless you prefer a more romantic presentation in which case you may well prefer a classic tube amplifier. Neither is wrong though rather just preference. I enjoy both myself so my second system downsdowns is a push-pull tube integrated whereas I use the LTA as a preamp with a darTZeel NHB108B copy power amp in my main system. Just spectacular.

    Looking forward to recirecei the MZ3 either late this week or early the next. :)

    I'm running a Gieseler GroB DAC + Kraftwerk Linear Power Supply upgrade. Just spectacular. It's beat out the PS Audio Direct Stream in quite a few comparisons. The analog chain still has it beat though unless it's an LP rip:wink:
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2019
  12. jamato8 Contributor
    The MZ3 refines on the MZ2. The 2 is still very good by comparison but there is a lower noise floor on the 3 and I can hear further into the recording. I am using some 6085 input tubes and some VT99 for the output. For some reason the VT99 work better with the 3 than with the 2. I also have some 6SN7W tall tube I am going to pop in for some more fun.

    I don't have my speakers set up right now but can tell, this would be an insanely good preamp.
    Matthew Willims likes this.
  13. DelsFan
    I remember my first (late 1980s) experience with the Conrad-Johnson (tube-based) PV-7 preamp (in place of my SAE preamp with built-in parametric equalizer): I really liked the spaciousness tubes brought to the table and decided then and there all my future preamps would be tube based. (Of course, once I promised my next car would be a Maserati Bi-Turbo also - I guess one reason I can afford a high-end headphone setup is because I didn't sink massive $$$ into purchasing and maintaining a late 1980s Maserati.) I remember listening to Jethro Tull and the London Symphony Orchestra; horns were waaay back on the right and strings were waaay back on the left. I could point to right where the Trumpeter was standing, on Bungle in the Jungle. I haven't listened to that LP for 15 years (how long my Linn Turntable has been in its box); but I seem to recall being able to pinpoint the different positions of each different type of stringed instrument also. It wasn't just "strings over here"; it was more like, "here are the violins and here are the violas and here are the cellos..."

    Warmth is OK, if I had to listen to warm but inaccurately reproduced music it wouldn't be the end of the world - better than a sterile sound, for sure.

    Since I'm not (yet) into tube rolling, or constant tube replacement for that matter, the MZ3 seems a good "less-maintenance" way to still enjoy much of what tubes bring to the table. While still being to deliver some of what I look for in a subwoofer: musical and quick!
  14. Matthew Willims
    Yes, that's what I'm hoping for. The MZ2 had the darkest background of any active preamp I'd tried though in that area my School Saga (passive with tube buffe) still bettered it. On the other hand the imaging aspects, speed, slam etc.... The MZ2 was untouched. Hoping the MZ3 does it all and then some.

    On another note, it shipped today via DHL. Hopefully I'll receive this week or early next.

    Aye, long tube life so no need to do much of anything. Apart from my first week with it though, it will be turned off when not in use.
    Tao8 likes this.
  15. jamato8 Contributor
    Yes, tube life should be long, which is nice if you pop in some expensive ones. I have some NOS Tungsol black glass round plate I would try but using some 6SN7W right now.

    Just hooked up my balanced power supply. A huge toroid built for this purpose with some other circuitry. Something respond well. It doesn't matter the current draw, just how whatever I hook up synergizes. I have some 6 Pacs, mono amplifiers for speakers that do well hooked up to it but my tube preamp I built for it with two large external power supplies does better right out of the wall. This I am not sure yet. More 3D and very layered and imaging right there, very realistic but I am not sure about the effect on the upper mids.
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