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Linear Tube Audio MicroZOTL 2.0 Headphone Amp & Preamp Review  Print E-mail
Home Theater Preamplifiers Stereo Preamps
Written by Andre Marc   
Tuesday, 24 November 2015
Article Index
Linear Tube Audio MicroZOTL 2.0 Headphone Amp & Preamp Review 
Set Up and Listening
Conclusion

The MicroZOTL 2.0 is attractive,and beautifully made. My review sample came in black, but it is available in “midnight blue” as well. The top is transparent so all internal components and tubes are visible. There is a large volume knob and toggle switch to select between to line level inputs. Around back there are line outputs, and actual speaker binding posts. Extremely efficient speakers are required for the 1 watt per channel it outputs. I did not have speakers on hand that I could drive, so I used the MicroZOTL 2.0 as a preamplifier around 80% of the time, and to drive my Grado SR60 and RHA 750i headphones the other 20%.

For $1100, not only do you get a product with great build and appearance, but also loaded with high quality parts, including TUNG-SOL 12AT7 and 6NS7 vacuum tubes, locking headphone jack with silver contacts, silver-coated Teflon copper insulated wiring, Alps volume control, gold connectors throughout signal path, and premium metal film resistors.

http://www.avrev.com/images/stories/equippreamps/linear_tube_audio/linear_tube_audio_microzotl_2.0_top.jpg

Set Up

I used the MicroZOTL 2.0 across two systems, but mostly in my office system driving  both a CLONES Audio 25p, and an Onkyo M5000R power amp. Sources were a Sony TC 350 reel to reel and SOtM streamer and iFi DAC combo. Cabling was DH Labs, Stager, and Transparent. I connected the outboard power supply to unit via the supplied cable, and used a Mojo Audio power cord plugged into the power supply’s IEC receptacle. The whole system is plugged into an Audience power conditioner. Most of the listening was done with Magnepan MMG speakers.

I listened non critically while doing office work to let the unit settle in for a few days. When I finally did give the system my full attention, I was immediately taken with the MicroZOTL 2.0’s harmonic rightness, wide soundstage, and amazingly low noise floor. I was previously using a Tisbury Audio Mini Passive II volume control. The MicroZOTL 2.0 definitely provided more midrange bloom and liquidity, the things tube preamps are supposed to do. But it is also provided these things with no penalties. No soft bass, no tube hiss, and no chalky treble. What I heard was within the context of the system, near perfect top-to-bottom balance.

Listening

One by One, the 2007 debut of American singer/songwriter Robert Francis, is a modern folk rock masterpiece, and it sounded quite wonderful with the MicroZOTL 2.0 in the system. Acoustic guitar strings shimmered, cymbal strikes had nice bell like tones, and bass lines were easy to follow. It has been a while since I listened to this album and I am glad I selected it, as it provided a nice start to the review.

Next up was music with a bit more grit, the Japanese import CD of blues titan Little Walter’s Hate To See You Go. His gutsy harmonica playing and world weary voice were brought to life between the speakers with enough tube magic to satisfy, along with plenty of recorded detail. My favorite cut, “Blue And Lonesome”, had a nice analog feel, despite being and older Redbook digital release.



 

 
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