Linear Tube Audio Microzotl MZ3. Manufactured in October last year, thus, with half of two year transferrable warranty remaining. Mint means mint. No marks, repairs or any type of issues with this unit.
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Positive Feedback (MZ3 reviewed as a headphone amp)
The MZ3 is very quick and very transparent. The leading edges of transients are precise and finely defined. Start and stop is definitive, as in "on a dime." There is simply no hangover. Micro-dynamics (that which makes reproduced music sound live and real to me) are as finely wrought as in any gear I've listened with. And, yes, the MZ3 does macro dynamics just fine, thank you.
Positive Feedback (MZ3 reviewed as a headphone amp and preamplifier)
Headphone amp excerpt: “Everything seems immediate and effortless, in a way that I only ever experience with a solid state amplifier. However, it retains the tonal richness that I expect when I listen to tubes. In my experience solid state amplifiers, while fast, can sometimes sound thin or dry, but the MZ3 maintains the richer and weightier sound that I expect from a traditional tube amplifier without sacrificing speed.
Preamp excerpt: “The MZ3 is one of the best preamplifiers that I have ever had in my system. The reason for this is that it imparts its sound signature on the downstream equipment. Its detail retrieval, immediacy, and drive is transferred to the power amplifier, and the speakers that connect to it. Using it with my Anthony Gallo 3.1s and the Emotiva XPA-1L mono-blocks produced a smooth, detailed, and clean sound. To be clear, these speakers and amps were never lacking in these areas, but the MZ3 really brought out that last bit of detail and tonal accuracy that the system was missing.”
I can say without hyperbole that in my experience this is a headphone amplifier with few peers at this price point: it is an honest and forthright amp that does that unique job of bringing warmth to music without sacrificing resolution. It excels at balance in its frequency response, does clean, tight bass without exaggerated tube bloom and has flesh-and-blood treble and midrange reproduction capabilities that should leave both solid-state and tube-amp fans feeling satisfied that they’ve dropped their hard-earned coin on a piece of gear that has the flexibility to drive pretty much any headphone you can throw at it, thanks to its ZOTL circuit design. The fact that it can run as a preamp or even an integrated amp with proper speaker-matching only adds more to its value. Highly recommended.
Twittering Machines MZ3 Review
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.
Bryan F on Head-Fi:
Soundstage is precise and crisp. Every detail is there but not obtrusive or overly sharp. I believe what this amp has more than anything else is it just sounds so natural. I was starting to lose interest in headphone listening to speakers, however the MZ3 rekindled that joy so acutely that I often lose track of time playing track after track.
Bottom line, this is a phenomenal amp, truly the best headphone amp I have ever personally heard at any price. It is not the cheapest amp; however, the price is incredibly reasonable for the performance and all the detail that went into its creation.
GuyForkes on Head-Fi:
Just received the MZ3 yesterday after a painful 3 week wait but it was well worth it. Right out of the box, this tiny integrated looked and sounded amazing. I use it mainly as a preamp combined with the Pass XA25 to drive my Susvara/Abyss TC. Compared to my other preamp, the Rogue Audio RP-7, the MZ3 sounded more refined and holographic with better dynamics and impact (this thing can hit HARD). There is also an alertness and clarity to the sound that goes really well with the darker/wetter sounding XA25. I also tried it as a headamp with my HD600 and was surprised at how much the HD600 was elevated with the MZ3.
I've heard other tube amps including the Feliks Euforia, Auris Nirvana, Manley Absolute and the Woo Audio WA5 and feel that the MZ3 sounds better. Heck, I'm reluctant to admit this but it might sound better than my long-time tube amp, the Cayin HA-300. Not as spacious but better resolution and dynamics. Anyway, the MZ3 really doesn't get enough attention on here for how good it is, hopefully more people will catch on.
John A on Head-Fi:
“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.”
The Audio Beatnik - Preamp Review // Integrated Amp Review
I can’t say that I’m completely shocked that the new Linear Tube Audio Mz3 is such a great preamplifier. However, even with all of the great and expensive preamps I have had in my system over the years, I was still astounded at the level of improvement the MZ3 brought.