LTA micro zotl preamp

For all you working class audiophiles! Listen to me carefully. The LTA micro zotl pre amp is a giant killer! Just got it and with stock tubes it has great promise . Great dynamics, presence and resolution! You don’t need to spend $30k to get a decent preamp! I’m not kidding! Enjoy the music!😊
kw6, How would you compare the sound of the microzotl to the MZ2?

I ask because I purchased an MZ2 last year, for my den.  And while the unit is very quiet it does not compare, soundwise, to my Radu Tarta/Shiny Eyes 41PL DHT preamp.  Admittedly, I'm a SET guy and rediscovering DHT preamps has really made a huge performance improvement.  But based on the great reviews I was expecting a little more from the MZ2.

Hence my question.
@kw6,Good to know. I had heard great things about this firm. If I can stretch my budget a bit, I can get this preamp. Unfortunately it does not have XLR out and that makes it a non-starter for me.
The MZ2 is incredibly good for the money and mates very well with my LTA amp. I do think synergy is important here. I know of one person that loved it until he bought a new 300B amp and the synergy wasn’t there. The MZ2 has worked well with every amp I’ve tried it with and with a ZOTL amp it is very special. The new MZ Preamp is much better than the MZ2, in another league.

I am talking about the MZ2! You have now have DHT preamps but if you still had MZ2 there you and compare you probably lost resolution & micro dynamics and gained a fuller beautiful sound which is not accurate to my ears. 

kw6, I think that we are getting mixed up with naming. Admittedly, LTA does not make it easy.  I assume that you just purchased the new micro ZOTL preamp.  I owned the older MZ2 unit, which was an integrated amp but many guys used it as a preamp.  I was asking you to compare the two, if possible.

While I enjoyed the MZ2 and it was very quiet, I found the midrange to be somewhat sterile and dry compared to my current DHT preamp.  I have no complaints about the DHT pre except that it does get a little noisy when using very low power SET amps, such as those I own that are powered by a single 71A or 45 tube.


I own both, the MZ2 and the new MicroZOTL Preamp. The refinements in the new preamp make outperform the MZ2 by a sizable margin. There is nothing sterile or dry but I am using it with LTA’s UltraLinear amp and the synergy there. The sound is amazing. 

The MZ2 was originally meant to be a headphone amp. Then with a little tweaking was built with the capability of being used as a 1 watt amp and a no frills preamp. It is very good at all of functions, far better than its price would indicate and is the Swiss Army knife of audio.

Can anyone speak to the level of ultimate transparency of the new MicroZOTL Preamp??
I’m currently used to DAC w/ VC straight to amp. Am interested in adding a tubed pre but would really like to keep the clean, clear and completely transparent type aspects of a DAC>amp senario...


If you do a little research on David Berning designed amplification you will find a common thread. Complete transparency, blackest background, just totally quiet in all the right ways. This new preamp has these qualities in spades. I have been a fan of amplifer direct from my DAC for some time but this new preamp just makes my amp sound better. Forget about being concerned with an additional component in the chain.

Here is another thread TJ started:

Thanks @lancelock 

I’ll look up his past work. Your comments help.

I always had a preamp but this past year, I’ve been running DAC w/ vol control, the clear window transparency is great. I’ll put a pre back in and definitely get a little more density and presence...but at the cost of reaching all the way into the recording —you know the rub.  Sure, the added quality a pre brings is great but it fades and I end up listening harder, searching fro those innerspace details and then just go direct again... I’m hoping for the best of both worlds.

Thnks for the link. I do know about that thread and should of posted there instead for possibly more responses. 

A little bump here; I’m seriously considering the Linear Tube Audio MZ3 headphone amplifier (which is supposed to be very close in sound to their preamplifier, but $750 less expensive). Do we have new people (to this thread) with thoughts on either one - or old people with refined opinions now that they have lived with their units for several months?

I like "better sound", which the preamplifier might have very slightly over the MZ3, but I don’t need all the inputs and outputs for $750 more.  Additionally, I don’t want/need the preamp because I need ONLY one headphone jack and one RCA analog input (coming from my DAC), and maybe, at some future time, one set of speaker terminals and an analog out. But this is now only for a high-end headphone system; I’d prefer to not even have (to pay for) the remote control but I understand Mark can’t offer umpteen options and still sell equipment at a "reasonable" price. I believe the MZ3 and Preamp have the same outboard power supply.

I’d be glad to have people’s thoughts between the MZ3 (or preamp) and other tube-based headphone amps...

You may not find anyone for a while. The MZ3 has only been in production for a short time. I have the MZ2 and the new full function MicroZOTL Preamp. The new pre is really good and a nice jump in quality from the MZ2, but the little MZ2 is one helluva preamp on its own. You can’t go wrong either way. I can only guess here but I bet the MZ3 is a winner.
Just to be absolutely clear, LTA sells THREE tube preamps.
  • microZOTL MZ2: $1235-$2160 depending on options
  • microZOTL MZ3: $3700
  • microZOTL Preamplifier: $4450