Recommendation of Linear Tube Audio for Omegas

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doggie

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Recommendation of Linear Tube Audio for Omegas
« on: 15 Feb 2017, 03:31 am »
I bought a pair of Super Alnico High Output Omegas a couple of months ago from another AC member. At the time I was using a 301A tube preamp and a First Watt SIT2 amp. I was pretty happy with the sound but given that I suffer from Audiophilia I became restless and started wondering what the next level up might be. I had always heard good things about David Berning's designs, especially his MicroZOTL preamp/headamp. I soon learned that a new company had formed a couple of miles from my home in Washington, DC. They are called Linear Tube Audio and they have licensed several of David's circuits. They are made right in DC and the factory is behind a new store front which sells their products which are also sold online. I gave them a call and soon had an offer by the owner Mark Schneider to bring over a MicroZOTL preamp and a ZOTL 10 amp to listen to in my own home. I placed an order soon after that!

These are output transformer-less tube designs. Both the preamp and the amp run push-pull for the output. The preamp uses a 12AT7 on the input and a 6SN7/12SN7(switchable heater voltage) on the output. The MicroZOTL is actually also an amp that puts out 1 watt with a 2ohm output impedance. The ZOTL 10 uses a 12AT7, a 12AU7 and a pair of EL84's per channel. It puts out 10 very strong watts, plenty for my Omegas.

The amps can come with either new production Gold Lion tubes or a selection of NOS tubes. I pulled out the Gold Lion tubes pretty quickly and started tube rolling. I now use Amperex 7062(12AT7) and Kenrad VT-231s in the MicroZOTL. I use Amperex 7062, Telefunken 12AU7, and Amperex Holland EL84's in the ZOTL 10.

The sound from this setup completely eclipses my previous setup. These big Omegas are capable of a convincing soundstage which does not break up with big orchestral music. Small ensembles play in your room. Voice is the best I have heard. Tone is natural and dynamics are great. Did I mention remarkable clarity?

I find that I am now starting to think about which music to buy instead of which component to buy next. This is the highest praise that I can imagine.

I think that their slogan should be "Visual Audio" or "Audio Made Visual". It is that good...


TomekZ

Re: Recommendation of Linear Tube Audio for Omegas
« Reply #1 on: 24 Feb 2017, 02:35 am »
I've never been happier with my 40 years of everykind-of-audiophile-playing than with a mZotl 2 (one watt/channel) amp & Omega RS5 drivers. Really perfect. Really, really lovely. Spacious, limpid, %99.9 organic. The RS5 drivers are in a small sealed box. The mZotl 2 is powered by a 12 volt battery (Red Wine Audio Black Lightning). I've listened to most of the Fostex designed, Jordan, and countless other single full range drivers. The Omega drivers are so self-effacing, opening like the petals of a flower to sing in the electrical breeze.

Canada Rob

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Re: Recommendation of Linear Tube Audio for Omegas
« Reply #2 on: 24 Feb 2017, 04:33 pm »
The RS5 drivers are in a small sealed box.

What speaker would this be?  To my knowledge RS5s are always run ported.

roscoe65

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Re: Recommendation of Linear Tube Audio for Omegas
« Reply #3 on: 24 Feb 2017, 05:10 pm »
What speaker would this be?  To my knowledge RS5s are always run ported.

I think he has orphan RS5 drivers that have been repurposed.

Canada Rob

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Re: Recommendation of Linear Tube Audio for Omegas
« Reply #4 on: 24 Feb 2017, 06:00 pm »
Curious to see what he's come up with.  Sounds very interesting.

Bemopti123

Re: Recommendation of Linear Tube Audio for Omegas
« Reply #5 on: 24 Feb 2017, 08:08 pm »
I've never been happier with my 40 years of everykind-of-audiophile-playing than with a mZotl 2 (one watt/channel) amp & Omega RS5 drivers. Really perfect. Really, really lovely. Spacious, limpid, %99.9 organic. The RS5 drivers are in a small sealed box. The mZotl 2 is powered by a 12 volt battery (Red Wine Audio Black Lightning). I've listened to most of the Fostex designed, Jordan, and countless other single full range drivers. The Omega drivers are so self-effacing, opening like the petals of a flower to sing in the electrical breeze.

Hi Tom:

I am telling you that all of you and your audio nirvana descriptions make me chase the proverbial rabbit hole in the sky in terms of audio.  Interestingly enough, I am sort of going back to one of my first audio loves....Hornloaded speakers, a pair of which you made for me back in 2004, are in my audio sights.  Interestingly enough, my setups now are all tilted towards low power either SS or tube gear and a pair of 2.5" drivers in a BR/Horn cabinets from Canada.  Everything new is old again.  Keep your comments flowing Tom! :thumb:

Louis O

Re: Recommendation of Linear Tube Audio for Omegas
« Reply #6 on: 3 Mar 2017, 07:19 pm »
Hi doggie,

Great post and can't wait to get my ZOTL 10. I would like to work with Mark on some combo's very soon. Based on your findings I have recommended the combo with the Alnico HO XRS's and received excellent feedback.

Hi TomekZ,

Many thanks for your very kind words and I agree the RS5 are a very special driver. I'm very happy you're enjoying them.

Thanks,
Louis

Dieterle Tool

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Re: Recommendation of Linear Tube Audio for Omegas
« Reply #7 on: 3 Mar 2017, 11:03 pm »
The Linear Tube Audio products are superb. I have a MicroZOTL as well. I have used it with my Audio Nirvana Classic 15's with pretty good results. It would be nice to jump up to the 10 watt unit however.
 
Props to Louis for reaching out to LTA for a combo package. I am interested in that and will keep an eye out.

-Dieter

Louis O

Re: Recommendation of Linear Tube Audio for Omegas
« Reply #8 on: 3 Mar 2017, 11:20 pm »
Hi Dieterle Tool,

Thanks and just found out from Mark that my 10 is shipping next week. He has a set of personal Super 3 HO Monitors and in a few weeks they will have set of Super 3 HO Monitors and a set of Super 3 HO XRS in the factory store. It's a great opportunity for anyone in the DC area to hear the Combo.

I want to try out the MicroZOTL that you have as well. Mark said it powers the 3 HO nicely.
Can't wait to hear my new ZOTL10.

Thanks again,
Louis


Dieterle Tool

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Re: Recommendation of Linear Tube Audio for Omegas
« Reply #9 on: 3 Mar 2017, 11:25 pm »
That's great news Louis,

 I frequent the Urban HIfi site and noticed your 3i's show up in their collection recently. Nice job.

-Dieter
« Last Edit: 4 Mar 2017, 12:27 pm by Dieterle Tool »

doggie

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Re: Recommendation of Linear Tube Audio for Omegas
« Reply #10 on: 5 Mar 2017, 02:57 am »
Hi doggie,

Great post and can't wait to get my ZOTL 10. I would like to work with Mark on some combo's very soon. Based on your findings I have recommended the combo with the Alnico HO XRS's and received excellent feedback.

The system keeps getting better even after two months. I had read that the ZOTL circuits were easy on tubes but that they also take longer to break in. I would add that they also take a bit longer to sound their best during a given listening session.

For giggles I hope to try the speaker output of my MZ2 with my HO Alnicos just to see if it can drive them to a reasonable level in my 15x25 space. Probably not but I just want to see.

Oh. And don't forget that with the MZ2 you get a truly great headphone output also. I chose the non-locking TRS socket which mutes the speakers when the HP plug is inserted. Nice for late night listening.

zek4u

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Re: Recommendation of Linear Tube Audio for Omegas
« Reply #11 on: 7 Jan 2018, 07:34 pm »
I’m about to purchase my MZ2 to compare to my Luxman SQ-N100. I have some Vandersteen VLR Wood Speakers and some not even broken in Omega Super 3i Speakers. Omega’s Sound sublime on certain music but don’t seems as well rounded as my VLRs. Maybe a bit shouty. Hard to explain. Do you think things will change when I get the MZ2? Other thought was to get some kind of amp for the VLRs. ZOTL10, Belles Aria, old Audio Research, McCormick, Primaluna Prologue Premium, First Watt. VLRs sounded great with the Aria and I can get a straight Aria amp I believe. Have my Omegas up for sale but might cancel the ad until the MZ2 arrives. Headphones are HD800S.

Thanks, Adam

doggie

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Re: Recommendation of Linear Tube Audio for Omegas
« Reply #12 on: 13 Jan 2018, 01:56 pm »
How many hours do you have on the Omegas?

In my experience they do require a couple hundred hours of break-in. I would expect them to sound a bit constricted until then. The Z10 is well matched for Omegas. I used one on my Alnico HO's until recently when I purchased their new Ultralinear amp which is also a Berning design similar to his ZH-230. I have also used a First Watt J2 and a SIT2 with Omegas but prefer the LTA amps with the MZ2 driving them.