Do I have to burn in my amp once I get it for it to sound its best?

Short answer: No.

Longer answer:

After an LTA amp is built, it is tested extensively and burned in. One of our amps, the ZOTL40 Reference, gets burned in for 168 hours, a full seven days–before it’s shipped out. The minimum burn in time for our amps is 48 hours.

Could we ship our amps out sooner without burning them in?

Sure, but then our customers would have to do this part of the process, and that just doesn’t seem right. We don’t make our customers do any other part of the build and testing process. Why make them burn the amps in?

Plus, we want our amps to arrive sounding their absolute best from day one, and we know from experience that our customers want this as well.

Getting a new product, especially a new amp for your sound system, is a momentous and exciting occasion. We don’t want to diminish that experience by shipping an amp that isn’t 100% ready for optimal enjoyment from the day it arrives.


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How long will it take for my amp to deliver?

Most orders will be fulfilled within 2-3 weeks after placing the order. That said, sometimes orders can take longer, and we will do our best to keep you informed along the way.

In the age of Amazon and same-day shipping, we realize that waiting multiple weeks to receive something can seem like a long time. Here are a few things to keep in mind about our amps.

All Linear Tube Audio amplifiers are built to order and made by hand. Our “simplest” product takes a technician two full days to build.

After an amp is built, it is tested extensively and burned in. One of our amps, the ZOTL40 Reference, gets burned in for 168 hours–a full week. The minimum burn in time for one of our amps is 48 hours.

Could we ship our amps out sooner without burning them in?

Sure, but then our customers would have to do this part of the process, and that just doesn’t seem right. We don’t make our customers do any other part of the build and testing process. Why make them burn the amps in?

Plus, we want our amps to arrive sounding their best from day one, and we know from experience that our customers want this as well.

Getting a new product, especially a new amp for your sound system, is a momentous occasion. We don’t want to diminish that experience by shipping an amp that isn’t 100% ready for optimal enjoyment when it arrives.

Other factors that can affect delivery time include order volume, component & tube availability, and shipping location.


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How do I pair my remote to my Linear Tube Audio unit?

Linear Tube Audio uses a standard Apple remote (silver aluminum model) to control volume and most other unit functions. Your remote should be paired to your unit when it arrives.

If your remote isn’t paired, or you’d like to pair a different remote to your LTA unit, follow these steps:

  1. Turn the LTA unit on.

  2. Point the remote control at the unit at a close distance, 3-5 feet is fine, ensuring nothing is in between the remote and the unit.

  3. Press and hold the Play/Pause button on the remote for 20-30 seconds.

  4. “Remote Programmed” will scroll across the LED display on your unit when pairing is complete.


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What are the advantages of ZOTL amplifiers?

Without getting too technical, here are the unique benefits of the patented ZOTL amplification technology.

Less distortion: Most amplifiers have output transformers. You don’t have to know what those are or even what they do, but what you need to know is that they introduce distortion into the audio signal. As the name suggests, distortion is generally bad. Our amps do not have traditional output transformers, so our amps have very low distortion.

More detail: Distortion also tends to cover up details in the music. Things like a performer taking a breath, the unique click of a weighted piano key, a background guitar lick, or a softly brushed cymbal or snare drum. With ZOTL amps, you hear all of these things.

Easy speaker matching: ZOTL amps work equally well with 2 ohm speakers, 4 ohm speakers, 8 ohm speaker, even 16 ohm speakers. This is because of the low output impedance of our amps, but we promised not to get too technical.

Less heat: If you’ve ever put your hand on–or even stood next to–a tube amp, you know they get very hot. Like, dangerously hot. ZOTL amps do not get as hot, because we send much less electrical current through the tubes. Bonus: pet-, kid-, and cooling-bill friendly!

Longer tube life: Heat kills tubes. Since tubes don’t get as hot in our amps, they last a lot longer than traditional tube amps. We’re talking the difference between 1,000-2000 hours in traditional amps vs 10,000 - 20,000 hours in LTA’s ZOTL amps. Bonus: you save money on tubes!

Better bass: Most amps go down to 20hz, which is right at the low end of the what humans can hear, but they start to degrade well above that. ZOTL amps have a flat (aka linear) frequency response all the way down to 8hz. This means more controlled, natural bass at the levels humans can hear.

Mono and/or Stereo: All LTA ZOTL power amplifiers (the ZOTL10 Mk II, Ultralinear, and ZOTL40 Reference) can be used in stereo mode (one amp for two speakers) or bridged to mono mode (two amps, two speakers) at the flip of a switch.

There are lots of interesting reasons why Linear Tube Audio’s ZOTL amplifiers offer unique benefits over traditional tube amps, like correct turns ratios and removal of distortion by parasitic transformer elements. If you want to dive into all the technical stuff, we invite you to explore more details about the ZOTL technology.


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Do LTA tube amps generate a lot of heat?

Linear Tube Audio amplifiers produce far less heat than traditional tube amplifiers.

The ZOTL technology allows us to run ⅓ the electrical current through the tubes than normal, which results in much cooler tube operation. You could leave your amp on for days and still comfortably place your hand on the top of an LTA amp (not the tubes themselves).

Heat kills, so this also extends the life of tubes, to somewhere in the 10,000 - 20,000 hour range. Ask any other amplifier manufacturer about tube life, and the answer will be 1,000-2,000 hours, tops.

The reduced heat also makes our amps more child- and pet-friendly.


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Why do you burn in your amps for so long?

All Linear Tube Audio amplifiers are built to order and made by hand. Our “simplest” product takes a technician two full days to build.

After an amp is built, it is tested extensively and burned in. One of our amps, the ZOTL40 Reference, gets burned in for 168 hours, a full seven days, before it’s shipped out. The minimum burn in time for our amps is 48 hours.

Could we ship our amps out sooner without burning them in?

Sure, but then our customers would have to do this part of the process, and that just doesn’t seem right. We don’t make our customers do any other part of the build and testing process. Why make them burn the amps in?

Plus, we want our amps to arrive sounding their absolute best from day one, and we know from experience that our customers want this as well.

Getting a new product, especially a new amp for your sound system, is a momentous and exciting occasion. We don’t want to diminish that experience by shipping an amp that isn’t 100% ready for optimal enjoyment from the day it arrives.


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How long should I expect my tubes to last?

ZOTL technology allows us to use ⅓ the electrical current than normal, which results in much cooler tube operation. This, in turn, extends the life of tubes, since it’s heat that kills tubes.

So, with LTA amps, you can expect tube life in the 10,000 - 20,000 hour range.

Depending on your listening habits, this could effectively mean you never have to buy another set of tubes again. (Although we know most of you won’t be able to resist trying out different tubes.)

Ask any other amplifier manufacturer about tube life, and the answer will be 1,000-2,000 hours.

The reduced heat also makes our amps more child- and pet-friendly.


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Do you have any speaker wire or interconnect cable suggestions?

Cable selection is one of the more personal, and sometimes controversial, aspects of building a high quality sound system.

We’re not here to add to the debate, so we’ll try to keep to just the facts.

We use cables and components from both Cardas Cables and Audience inside each of our amps. Both companies make high-quality consumer cables as well.

In our listening room, we use a variety of cables from Anti-Cables.

Finally, we manufacture and sell RCA interconnects in conjunction with Audioism.

We hope this provides you with a variety of resources to help you choose the right cable for your preferences, budget, etc.


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Is the dedicated microZOTL Preamplifier a better preamp than the MZ3?

The preamplifier audio circuit in our reference microZOTL Preamplifier is identical to the one in our MZ3 headphone amp / preamp / integrated amp.

So, why would you buy the more expensive microZOTL Preamplifier over the MZ3?

The dedicated microZOTL Preamplifier has more inputs, a tape monitor section, balanced XLR inputs, and is in a standard rack-ready chassis.

Full disclosure: the headphone circuit in both the MZ3 and the microZOTL Preamplifier are identical as well.


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microZOTL Preamplifier

The ultimate expression of the microZOTL as a full-featured reference preamplifier and headphone amplifier.

microZOTL MZ3 Headphone Amp / Preamp / Integrated Amp

Small and mighty. The highest expression of the patented microZOTL technology as a headphone amplifier, a preamplifier, and integrated amplifier in a desktop-sized package.


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Will better tubes improve the sound of my amplifier?

ZOTL amplifiers are platforms for tube quality. The better the tube, the better the amp sounds.

Linear Tube Audio sources the best tubes we can find for use in our production units, tested and curated to provide the best experience for our customers. When you buy an LTA amplifier, know that it will come supplied with the highest quality, premium tubes we can find.

While we often come across exquisite rare tubes, we are not a tube store. We are focused on tubes that we can use in consistently in amp production over multiple units.

Tubes can be a Pandora’s Box or a rabbit hole, depending on your outlook. For many, the opportunity to alter and improve the sound of their amp by tube rolling, is one of the joys of owning a tube amp.

If this describes you, we encourage you to explore different tubes, and feel free to contact us with any questions you may have along the way.


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I have more questions. How can I get in touch with you?

We love to hear from our customers or soon-to-be customers. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions about our products or anything audio-related.

If you’re near the Washington, DC area, we invite you to pay us a visit at our workshop. Here’s our address:

7316 Carroll Avenue
Takoma Park, MD 20912

While someone is almost always at the workshop during regular , we encourage you to call first to ensure we are able to give you the attention you deserve.


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What’s the difference between the ZOTL40 Reference and ZOTL Ultralinear amplifiers?

The ZOTL Ultralinear and ZOTL40 Reference are our flagship amplifiers, and generate 20 watts and 40+ watts per channel, respectively.

Like all of our amps, the ZOTL40 Reference and the Ultralinear both have the magic, realism, and 3D soundstage inherent in our patented ZOTL technology.

Both amps are fast, fluid and do an excellent job of reproducing the pace and punch of the music. Likewise, both amps have the black background, high clarity, accuracy, realism, and dynamics that fool your brain into thinking the performers are in the room with you.

The Ultralinear is a little more relaxed, more refined and a little less forward presentation (more noticeable with higher efficiency speakers). Despite having “only” 20 wpc, it has very strong bass. The Ultralinear has a little more detail than the ZOTL40, and can rival any solid state amp as far as detail goes.

The ZOTL40 uses Mullard EL34 tubes, which is one of the best midrange tubes ever invented, so it has a little less detail and very solid midrange and punch.

Both amps can be used in stereo mode or monoblocked pairs at the flip of a switch, should you require more power.


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ZOTL40 Reference Amplifier

The latest iteration of LTA's EL34-based amplifier, the ZOTL40 Reference amplifier is an end-game component for guaranteed excellence in any environment.

ZOTL Ultralinear Amplifier

The ZOTL Ultralinear is the latest amplifier design by David Berning: the first ultralinear amplifier not limited by traditional output transformers.


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Will the MZ2 and MZ3 work with my "hard to drive" / "hard to pair" headphones? (Sennheiser HD650, HiFiMAN HE1000, HE-6, HD800)

In some cases, such as the HiFiMAN HE-6, which has notably low sensitivity and thus requires several watts to power adequately, the MZ2 and MZ3 probably will give you a satisfyingly loud and full listening experience. Since the unique circuit of LTA amps reacts very little to different impedances, it is mostly a matter of sensitivity when it comes to which headphones the MZ2 and MZ3 works well with.

Whether it can "drive my headphones" often just means "will I prefer how my headphones sound with this amp?" We've read many accounts of people thinking their HE1000 or HD650 has never sounded better than on a MZ2 or MZ3. I've also read one or two accounts of people saying the opposite.

We don't know what you like, but we do know that we've read far more mentions of the MZ2 and MZ3 sounding good with all kinds of headphones than not.


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microZOTL MZ2 Headphone Amp / Preamp / 1-watt Speaker Amp

The second generation of the product that started LTA. Built on the 6SN7 tube, the MZ2 remains the reference introduction to the unique ZOTL circuit.

microZOTL MZ3 Headphone Amp / Preamp / Integrated Amp

Small and mighty. The highest expression of the patented microZOTL technology as a headphone amplifier, a preamplifier, and integrated amplifier in a desktop-sized package.


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Will the MZ2 and MZ3 work with my low-impedance headphones? (Grados, Fostex TH-X00s, IEMs etc.)

Yes, the output impedance of the MZ2 and MZ3 (and all of our ZOTL amplifiers) is 2 ohms, which means that it should generally work well with any headphone or IEM above 16 ohms impedance, which is the majority of them.

LTA amps will also work silently, with no hum, with these headphones.

With especially sensitive IEMs, a slight hiss is apparent with no source input and the volume turned up, though if music were playing at that volume the drivers would probably be damaged and your ears definitely would be.


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microZOTL MZ2 Headphone Amp / Preamp / 1-watt Speaker Amp

The second generation of the product that started LTA. Built on the 6SN7 tube, the MZ2 remains the reference introduction to the unique ZOTL circuit.

microZOTL MZ3 Headphone Amp / Preamp / Integrated Amp

Small and mighty. The highest expression of the patented microZOTL technology as a headphone amplifier, a preamplifier, and integrated amplifier in a desktop-sized package.


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Please explain the relationship between the MicroZOTL2.0, MZ2, and MZ2-S

Our first product was a re-introduction of David Berning's MicroZOTL amplifier, which we named the MicroZOTL2.0.

Since then we've made many small and several larger changes to the case and components we use, but we have always used and continue to use Berning's original circuit. When we added an improved power supply, that product eventually took on the name "MicroZOTL2.0 Deluxe".

When we decided to use NOS 12SN7 tubes and manually alter the circuit to allow this, we created the "MZ2-S" around this, with a further upgraded power supply and some other improvements.

Eventually we replaced the manually altered circuit boards with jumpered boards, which negated the need for completely separate products, and we decided to discontinue certain aspects of the MicroZOTL2.0, like the locking headphone jack and the color scheme, while making other features that the MZ2-S had introduced available as options for any order. The "S" went from denoting these upgrades to essentially meaning the same thing that "Deluxe" had before it; an amp with an upgraded power supply.

The "MZ2" therefore took the place of the "MicroZOTL2.0", as our amps were now markedly changed from what the MicroZOTL2.0 had until then been.

To make all of this more confusing, many people still refer to any model as a MicroZOTL. The most important thing is that we'll make sure you get the features you want regardless of what it's called in the process. 

Today, we simply refer to the all of the above as the MZ2. The newer model upgrade is called the MZ3.


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microZOTL MZ2 Headphone Amp / Preamp / 1-watt Speaker Amp

The second generation of the product that started LTA. Built on the 6SN7 tube, the MZ2 remains the reference introduction to the unique ZOTL circuit.

microZOTL MZ3 Headphone Amp / Preamp / Integrated Amp

Small and mighty. The highest expression of the patented microZOTL technology as a headphone amplifier, a preamplifier, and integrated amplifier in a desktop-sized package.


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Can the Z10 Integrated amplifier drive my speakers?

The Z10 Integrated amplifier generates 12 watts per channel into 4ohms and 10 watts per channel into 8ohms. This may not sound like a lot, but the Z10 Integrated can drive 90db and above speakers in critical listening environments to thundering levels.

With less sensitive speakers, the Z10 Integrated would be best suited to smaller rooms or non-critical listening environments (say, a living room) at lower volumes. Being an integrated amp, we see this usage a lot, and thus have no doubts about recommending it for such environments with almost any speaker.

If you have less sensitive speakers (<88db) and you have a large room and/or like to listen to music extremely loud, you may be happier with one of our other more powerful amps.

Note that the above are recommendations, not rules. LTA amplifier owners have found great enjoyment using their amps with a variety of speakers, including Quad 57s, Maggie Minis, Tekton Design, Fern & Roby, Voxativ, Janszen, Decware, Klipsch, Silverline, Spatial, DeVore, Daedalus, Zu, Ryan, Living Voice, Omega, and many others.


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Z10 Integrated Amplifier

For those who demand the best, but want to keep things simple. The Z10 Integrated amplifier delivers the magic, realism, and 3D soundstage of our patented ZOTL technology, all in one (gorgeous) box.

ZOTL10 Mk.II Amplifier

The next generation of the ZOTL10, the Mk.II, has a beefy linear power supply. Designed with ultra-low noise Belleson regulators, the transformer is in a separate enclosure in order to ensure the lowest noise floor possible.


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Are LTA amps hybrid tube + solid state amps?

No. Linear Tube Audio amps offer 100% tube-based amplification.

The confusion lies in some of the language often used to describe our amps.

Phrases like, “tube tone + solid state detail” and “all the magic of tubes and all the benefits of solid state.” Or, our favorite, as one of our customers once said: “the gap between the best of what solid state amplification has to offer and the best of what tube amplification has to offer just got blown up.”

While all these phrases are true, due to the unique nature of our ZOTL technology, we can see how people could get confused.


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