Congrats! Also your review is extremely well written and very informative. Right now I have in-house the new LTA power amplifier and it also is a magical wonderful music maker.
Thanks for sharing this with the other GON members.
Great review! It was a fun read and I enjoyed your non-audio professional write-up. I have been curious about LTA for a while now, especially with the rave reviews from members like @teajay. I have a Line Magnetic 805 right now and love it - can't imagine selling it. But I was looking for another amp to share the duties so I don't burn out the 805's too quickly. Sounds like this a nice contender.
Given that I have recently been getting into headphones more (just bought the Meze Empyrean's to go along with my Focal Clear's), an integrated amp with a top rate headphone amp section would be a very nice plus. I have heard nothing but great things about the MZ2 and the newly released MZ3. Does this Z10 integrated amp have any of the technology trickled down from the MZ3 I wonder?
I also wonder if my Spendor D9's would be efficient enough to be powered by the Z10... My LM pushes a strong 48W per channel and it sounds great.. I might have to email Mark.
Great read--thanks for taking the time to share your impressions of the new LTA integrated. As an owner of the ZOTL Ultralinaer, I was nodding my head all the way through. The LTA/Berning partnership is bringing to the music loving population world class gear at reasonable prices--that is the real story here. Thanks for sharing!
I just upgraded from a LTA MZ2 to an MZ3. That, in itself, was a significant upgrade. The word clarity comes to mind. The MZ3 sounds clearer, with no harshness. And Kudos to Linear Tube Audio for offering an introductory discount on an MZ3 for previous MZ2 buyers. I use the MZ3 strictly to drive a pair of Focal Utopia headphones.
Let me say, tube matching is Critical to get the most out of the MZ3. 12SN7 Sylvania tubes have the most sparkle and energy on top. They made good mates with Mullard 12at7s.
Tung Sol 12SN7 tubes pair well with more neutral tubes, like an Amperex 12at7. And RCA 12SN7s sounded a little harsh, especially on top. I tamed them with an RCA 6211. The RCA combo might be my favorite.
Hi, I replied to your PM. It all depends on how much of the 48wpc you need and require as I am unfamiliar with Spendors or your listening preferences. For me, its no contest, the LTA is so good and yet so different that it makes it very difficult to describe and compare to my baseline, let alone someone else's. Best wishes.
A review by Steve Guttenberg is just out on CNET. I appreciate the job he has to do and he may one of the few reviewers out there who truly makes a living. With that said, his written reviews always leave me wanting a little bit more. Oh well, I appreciate that he reviews gear in all pricepoints.
Apologies for the late response, I forgot that this site does not provide e-mail updates for thread activity (at least for me).
I'll be using the Z10 in my living room system:
Speakers, Cain and Cain Abby (single driver, crossover-less)
Digital, Linn Akurate DS/3 (current spec with Katalyst DAC)
Turntable #1, Sota Star/Nova with SME V arm, Koetsu Rosewood cart (original longbody version)
Turntable #2, Thorens TD-124 Mk II (fully restored), Kuzma Stogi S 12 VTA arm, Lyra Delos cart
Looks like shipping on the Z10s with phono will probably be in June, so I've still got a little while to wait!
Bill, you might check with member ghasley, who wrote a wonderful review of the LTA Z10 integrated. If I recall correctly, I think he mentioned (but not necessarily in that review) that they might indeed be coming out with a more powerful integrated. If I weren't all in on Don Sachs' separates, that might be the direction I'd take as well. Perhaps he'll chime in.
Hi Keith. I'm going on aural memory and since we know one another, I hope you will cut me a break. LOL.
I found the Nagra 300i integrated amplifier to have less warmth and a smaller soundstage/presentation than even its stable mate, the Nagra 300b standalone amplifier. That was years ago on different speakers. If I were listening back to back between the Nagra 300b amp and the Ref75se, I wouldn't hesitate in betting my house that I would prefer the warmth, texture and presentation of the Ref75se every time.
You are aware that I loved my ARC Ref75se/Ref5se combination with my Devore O96 speakers. The Z10 LTA is less dense than the ARC combo but was more agile and fast sounding. Very dynamic for its stated power but I bet I never used 2 or 3 watts. It is a remarkable sounding little amplifier, extended frequencies on both ends of the sonic spectrum.
I believe the Nagra 300i was developed at a time in Nagra's corporate structure at a time where they may have been attempting to take the 300b tube and make it sound more "accurate" and "linear". Well, it sounded to me after a while like really good solid state then. Why did I buy it? I ordered the integrated after hearing the standalone amp driven by a Nagra tube preamp which may have explained why it had just enough warmth to cause me to pull the trigger back then. I believe Nagra made a mistake fitting the integrated version with the solid state pre section. As you know, among the several amps that I have presently, I switch between a Leben cs600 and a Nagra Classic integrated. I would wager that my Classic Integrated has a great deal more warmth than the 300i.
Anyway, good luck and best wishes Keith.
I just got the Z10 last night after reading this and many other reviews. All I can say this early on is that you are so spot on with the sound description. It’s so much more immediate, clear, and defined than anything I’ve had before. Just radically different in terms of space perception, definition, and illustration compared to my Primaluna. Bass is deeper and stronger, soundstage is wider and deeper, and it’s so dead freaking quiet you can hear everything. Didn’t realize how much transformer noise the Primaluna has by comparison.
It’s early still so I’m hoping my only wish will come true and that is that the high end will smooth out. I expect it will but it’s only got 5-6 hours on it. Everything else is blowing my mind. The headphone amp gives the same qualities just with even more immediacy and crazy good bass for my HD650s.
Reviving this thread to hear if anyone can chime in with what they think of the Z10 phono stage. I just ordered one from LTA, but it will take up to three weeks to receive it. I’ve been using a Tavish phono pre with a MicroZOTL2 into a pair of Zu Dirty Weekend mkii speakers. I absolutely loved the sound. But LTA had a Labor Day weekend bundle sale, and, well, it was enough of a discount for me to pull the trigger on the Z10. I’m in the mood to cut the clutter and power cord tangles and just go with one box to rule them all. Still curious about how the phone amp sounds, tho....