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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. highstream
    funkpusher, I'm interested in warm, not lush, but if you find anything please post.

    I've been reading tube preamp articles and sites lately. I'm not recalling all, but a couple brands that come to mind worth at least checking up on are Rogue and Atmas-Sphere (UV-1), although some (not expensive) tube rolling may be needed in the UV-1's case (if you can do without a remote).
  2. funkpusher
    Thank you for that. From what I gather warm tends to fall within the middle for most tube sound signatures, so that may be the most subjective part of the spectrum. From my cursory readings I see brands such as Feliks Audio come up. FYI I am mostly looking at desktop options for headphones.
  3. mourip
    I have the LTA Preamp and agree that it just gets things right.

    I also settled on the 7062. I like that it has a bit less gain and so works better with my speaker amp. I use 14N7s on the outputs. Very detailed and neutral.
  4. highstream
    Thanks for all your responses and suggestions. Since I haven't used a separate preamp with my current set up or with any that I recall going back a few decades, I decided for starts to save some money and go used, with a PrimaLuna Dialogue Premium preamp that has the best sounding tubes already rolled in. I have a good sense of what to expect and will find out later today or tomorrow, depending on road conditions -- lots of snow here in the last 24 hrs -- whether those expectations will be met, or bettered. I can then go from there.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2019
  5. KESM
    My wife participated in a 8k running event, in the Richmond VA area, this weekend. I contacted Christopher Hildebrand, the owner, and asked if I could visit Tektonics to demo the MICROZOTL MZ3 & the Z10E electrostatic headphone amps.

    He obliged and I had the pleasure of meeting Christopher at the location & he was gracious enough to take me & my family on a facility tour! What a nice & measured guy. I should admit I was already a fan of the industrial-old-world-aged designs that appear to take center stage in almost everything that’s crafted there. So unsurprisingly I found Chris to be a wonderful person to chat with about everything...from meeting his wife...along with his personal love of music & design. I shared how I felt many things of yesteryear are increasingly slipping away in a modern society that disposes routinely and tires readily. It was refreshing to see a company that embodied a built-to-last mantra in the 21st century.

    I listened to the Z10E paired with a Stax SR model that he had on hand. Boy oh boy! Man...I honestly can not even begin to articulate the sound quality (but I’ll try). It took a few minutes for my ears to acclimate...as I’ve never heard a pair of electrostatic headphones before. Most notably was the stark level of detail retrieval, the immediate transient response, & the hushed tones of the musical passages...the music translated into quiet rumblings...seemingly appearing & disappearing from nothingness (while listening to Midwest by Mathias Eick).

    The most notable & surprising takeaway (inward thought) for me was...Wow...this HP amp is QUIET! I cannot state how significant the pitch black silence had on the way the music was presented. The natural tones brushing up against the backdrop of subtle details were accentuated....due to the presence of an inky background that was distinctive in an organic way. I also noted that this amp seemingly meshed the sound characteristics of a tube & solid state amp in a natural way that wasn’t overly eager or too relaxed. The sound quality sat squarely in the middle. In one word...natural...would best describe the signature/musical tone.

    He didn’t have a MZ3 on hand but he did have the MZ2 available for a demo. I’d expected a lesser sounding experience after listening to the Z10E...and was caught off guard with how similar the MZ2 sounded in contrast to the Z10E. I cannot say it’s an equal...given the Z10E offers both dynamic & electrostatic experiences; but the overall tone of the MZ2 was in the same family (so to speak). It didn’t seem lacking in any regard (while listening with my ZMF Aeolus that I brought along with me). The MZ2 held its own in a way that surprised me albeit the electrostatic signature of the Z10E expectantly had a distinctly sharper & airy response to my ears.

    My thoughts are that these are pieces of equipment that you could enjoy & keep over a lifetime without any real need to seek upgrades years later. The build, design, & sound signature is impeccable & timeless.

    Thanks to Christopher for hosting me! The staff at Tektonics are clearly doing great things there in Richmond.
    WNBC and GuyForkes like this.
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