microZOTL MZ3 Headphone Amp / Preamp / Integrated Amp
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.
Small AND mighty.
The result of three years of refining our flagship headphone amplifier, the award-winning microZOTL MZ2. The MZ3 is the highest expression of the patented microZOTL technology as a headphone amplifier, a preamplifier, and integrated amplifier in a desktop-sized package.
The MZ3 has a beautiful new low-resonance aluminum chassis and offers reference-level sonics through upgraded internal components, premium tubes, and a digital control system with LED display.
You heard us correctly. The MZ3 is an end-game headphone amp, reference-level preamplifier, and an integrated amp that will drive sensitive speakers to thundering levels in critical listening environments. All in a package that fits on your desk.
Sonic improvements at every level
New circuit board material, new volume control technology, upgrades in wire, capacitors, tubes, linear power supply. The MZ3 is the clearest, cleanest sounding microZOTL yet.
Superior performance right out of the box
Through curation of premium tubes, obsessive testing, and an extended burn-in period, we ensure maximum performance right out of the box. You’ll be enjoying your new amp at its fullest immediately.
With great power comes great responsibility
The MZ3 ships with our top-of-the-line external LPS+ Linear Power Supply. With 4x the power and premium snap-lock interconnect cable, you get the cleanest, most refined power–and sound–possible.
Tube tone + solid state detail
Traditional tube amps are known for their liquidity and linearity, but their “warmth” masks details and can sound thick. Solid state amplifiers give you that detail, but can be “clinical.” ZOTL amplifiers give you the best of both worlds: beautiful tube tone with the clarity of solid state (while being entirely tube-based.)
Looks as good as it sounds
The low-resonance aluminum chassis of the MZ3 is designed and manufactured in Richmond, Virginia, by the award-winning industrial design crew at Fern & Roby. Brass touch buttons, LED display, and machined aluminum front and rear panels exude quality.
The MZ3 is based on David Berning’s patented ZOTL technology, the only advance in tube technology since the 1950’s. For a technology to be patented, it must be deemed “new, useful, and non-obvious.” We think that sums up our approach quite nicely.
Premium components = premium sound
If you use cheap, generic parts, guess what kind of sound you’ll get? That’s why we use only premium, name-brand components. Belleson regulators. Ohno OCC wiring. Vishay Dale resistors. Mundorf caps. Typically, these are names you’ll only hear in amps that cost $10k or more.
Made in the USA
Every LTA product is designed and built by hand in Takoma Park, Maryland, by a group of technicians who are also musicians, audiophiles, and music lovers. Some of whom have been with us since the company’s earliest days.
The MZ3 is hand built by technicians with years of experience building the complex ZOTL circuits. All our products are backed by a 2-year warranty and a 14-day no-questions-asked return policy.
The Linear Tube Audio MZ3 in my system delivered the most engaging playback I have heard at home. This level of transparency to source could inspire hyperbole. My thought was that while listening to the MZ3 … in the system, I could see into the grooves.
The MZ3 delivers remarkable immediacy, convincingly real tone, dimension, speed and scale that bests every amp I have had here. It takes the talents of the MZ2 and strengths of the ZOTL circuit, and pushes them further. It is somehow quieter than the MZ2. I said in my review of the MZ2 that it was dead quiet, so this is impressive. I agree with LTA’s claims that the noise floor is lower, the image is larger, and the tonal integrity solidified.
“The bass slam, impact, quality on the MZ3 is Epic. And yet it does not interfere with the rest of the frequency range or seem out of place, just some of the best quality and impact I have ever heard. I was not expecting this much of a change, Dynamics is also superb. I am still burning in the MZ3 and left it running all night, which I normally don't do with tube equipment but this doesn't run the tubes hard and nothing get really hot except the tubes, which is normal.”
“My MZ3 has now really burned in well and has moved into the magical stage. You have to hear the sound to believe it. The very best, hands down, of any amp I have ever heard and pure magic. Sometimes it is so distracting I have to take the phones off to concentrate what I am doing. I find I just stop stare into space and listen and sometimes, I don't have time for that. Really. But hey, I will make the sacrifice at times. lol But it really has to be heard but does take some hours to get there but so very much worth it.”
Like the LTA Ultralinear amp the MZ3’s glory starts with its ability to be both incredibly natural sounding yet nimble with both detail and timing. The bass has a rhythm that enables music to sound very alive and lifelike. Maybe the most important thing about this amp is how rich and beautifully it plays musical tones. The MZ3 pulls off a small miracle with its rich beautiful tone and its nimble detail, speed and micro-dynamics.
LED array display with timeout and 16 levels of brightness (white, red, blue, or yellow)
External power supply and click-lock premium DC cable
Ceramic circuit boards provide same sound quality of point to point wiring
Remote control using aluminum Apple remote – registers to amplifier
Ohno OCC wire used for the output wiring
Hand selected premium tubes
Home theater mode for fixed input level on selected input
Headphone/Preamp-speaker output select switch
Auto save last volume level separately for all three inputs
Quiet turn on – turn off – power outage protection
New Belleson regulator
4 times storage – over 100Kuf
Ultra low ESR poly-organic caps
Choke isolated output
DC power cable with spring loaded snap-in XLR silver contact connectors and premium shielded cabling
Oversized toridal transformer
Aluminum-brass transformer mounting
Power Outage detection
115V or 220-240V
Stepped Attenuator Volume Control
1/1000th steps selected for 100 levels
Vishay Dale 1% precision resistors
Hermetically sealed relays with silver contacts
Clicking of relays provides real time, smooth, control and haptics
Balance control built in using no additional circuitry
Electrically isolated control system for volume, input and feature control.
The MZ3 is the result of three years of refining our flagship amplifier, the microZOTL MZ2. Listeners can enjoy sonic improvements at every level with significant upgrades across the board: new circuit board material, new volume control technology, upgrades in wire, capacitors, tubes, power supply, and sleek case design.
Wrapped in a new control system that never touches the analog signal, the amplifier adds another level of fine tuning with remote control, volume level display, and home theater mode. In a new, low-resonance aluminum chassis custom-designed by Fern & Roby, the MZ3 contains all of the elements that we found elevates your music to a higher level.
There are several integral component upgrades in the audio circuit for wider soundstage, lower noise floor, and substantially improved musicality. Utilizing ceramic circuit boards for the amplifier, we have built the clearest, cleanest sounding microZOTL yet.
Our digital control system features a display for volume level (0-100) and input selection, as well as a remote-controlled, stepped attenuator for volume control.
At 4x the size of our original PSU, our linear power supply is more refined, with a premium snap-lock interconnect cable and the elimination of turn on-off thumps.
Additionally, through curation of premium tubes and an extended burn-in period, we ensure the amplifiers’ maximum performance right out of the box.
The microZOTL MZ3 represents the highest expression attainable of the microZOTL technology as a headphone amplifier, a preamplifier, and a 1 watt speaker amplifier in the external power supply form factor of the microZOTL MZ2.
LTA amplifier owners have found great enjoyment using their amps with a variety of speakers outside of the below ranges. The below are guidelines, not rules.
Critical listening environments: 105db sensitivity and above
Smaller rooms / lower volume levels / non-critical listening: 97db sensitivity and above
If you have questions about your specific speakers, chances are someone we know has tried them. Don’t hesitate to reach out with questions about your specific setup. Also, don’t forget we have a 14-day no-questions-asked return policy.
Inputs: 3 Stereo single ended RCA high quality connectors using sealed, silver contact relay control for a short signal path
Outputs: Headphone ¼” Phone jack, Dual preamp RCA outputs single ended, Stereo speaker binding posts
Amplifier class: Push-pull Class A, no feedback
Sensitivity: 0.6V RMS [full output]
Output impedance: (measured @ 0.5A, 60 Hz) 2 ohms for headphone and speaker outputs, 50 ohms for preamplifier outputs
Input impedance: 50k
Volume Control: Stepped attenuator constructed of 1025 steps of 50 ohms, with 100 positions selected to provide very fine resolution at the lowest volumes and a logarithmic control for higher volumes . Low noise, precision 1% Vishay Dale resistors and hermetically sealed silver contact relays are used for precise, isolated analog signal attenuation
Balance Control: 100% channel isolation using stored differences of volume values. Maximum balance differential is 16 steps
Power Supply: Linear supply user-switchable between 110/120 and 220/240 (100V linear supply available for Japan). Uses dual banks of organic poly ultra low ESR capacitors (4 times MZ2) for over 100KuF of output choke isolated storage. Oversize transformer secured with aluminum and brass mountings (no steel). Regulation is performed using low noise Belleson super regulators. Current transformer controls output protection circuit
Power Supply Output: 12VDC 3 amp
Power Supply Umbilical Cable: premium low noise shielded cable with silver contact, spring loaded premium XLR connectors
Hum and noise: minimum 60mV RMS or 90dB below full output (20Hz-20kHz)
Power consumption from ac power source: approx. 50W
Power output: with 4-ohm load: 1W, 1% THD, with 14-ohm load: 0.5W, 1% THD
Channel separation: (4-ohm loads) 46dB, 100Hz-10kHz, (14-ohm loads): 54 dB, 100Hz-10kHz
Frequency response full power: (4-ohm load) +0, -1dB 10Hz-20kHz, (14-ohm load): +0, -1dB 5Hz-50kHz,
Voltage gain: (4-ohm load): 10.3dB, (14-ohm load): 12.4dB
Front Panel Control: Functions include volume, input select, headphone/speaker output select, and amplifier power on-off.
Remote Control: All functions, including Mute and the configuration menu, are available from the remote, except power on-off and headphone/speaker output selection. Uses an Apple TV remote. The remote is registered to unit to limit control from unintended remotes. The Right-Left buttons can be configured as balance controls.
Auto-save Features: Volume level per input is automatically saved and the unit powers on using the stored volume levels. Balance and all other configuration menu selections are all saved as a global level across all inputs.
Display Controls: 16 levels of brightness and on-off selectable 7 second timeout
Home Theater Mode: an input can be selected from configuration menu to set one of the inputs to a high volume level fixed input to allow surround sound device control the volume level
Amplifier: 10 inches (25.5 cm)wide, 4 3/4 inches (12.0 cm) tall, 8 1/2 inches (18 cm) deep
Linear power supply: 12.25" (31 cm) long x 5.25" (13.5 cm) wide x 4.25" (11 cm) tall
Net weight: Amplifier Unit 6 lbs. 15 oz. (3.15 kg.) Power Supply 5 lbs. 3 oz. (2.45 kg.) Shipping weight: 17 lbs. (7.7 kg.)
Tube complement: 2 premium hand selected 12AT7 input tubes, and two premium hand selected 12SN7 output tubes. (6SN7s can be used with jumper settings) 12AU7s are often substituted for the 12AT7s to lower the gain if higher headphone output is not required.
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.
The ultimate expression of the microZOTL as a full-featured reference preamplifier and headphone amplifier.
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.