Anyone own Linear Tube Audio Amps?

I am considering  buying an new LTA 40 Integrated amp. MSRP $7,650. 45 wpc.

I was considering the new ARC I-50 but now think this product may suit me better.


My speakers are Tannoy -94 Sensitivity and Fritz-87 Sensitivity. They both are fine

with my current Pass Labs INT25. 

The room is medium sized. I listen at quite low levels 60-70 db. Jazz & vocal mostly.

My thinking is that I will still get good detail but ad the warmth of tubes.

LTA gives a 14 day trial so I can a/b them with the Pass.


I checked the archives and nothing there of help.


Love to hear from any LTA fans.



I own the preamp and love it.  I've heard the amps at shows - they tend to run clean/lean if you are looking for a warm tube signature.  Possibly their ZOTL 40 with the EL34s would be the ticket - supposedly runs more of a tubey nature. Also their more powerful amp - the Fritz might be a little taxing for the amps.  They usually pair with high sensitivity speakers. Nicholas Tolson at LTA answers the email/phone there - he's pretty helpful and will steer you straight.

i have the current f/r lta zotl40 ref power amp, running various el34’s, i also have several arc power amps (ref110, ref75, and so on) but not an i-50

i would venture to say that my guess is that the i-50 will give a somewhat more overtly tubey sound signature than the zotl - which, because it does not have standard output transformers between the power tubes and the speaker load, has almost a solid state like degree of clarity, speed and frequency extension (but with better imaging, and more delicacy around voices) - also its el34 power tubes would have a touch more finesse than the 6550/kt88’s in the arc unit

neither will have anything near the bass grip of the pass xa25

hope that helps

I have the Ultralinear integrated and it’s fantastic. Great bass articulation and depth, amazing 3D soundstage, clear and extended treble…the works. Can’t think of how it could improve. 

If you are interested in detail at any cost then don’t consider the ARC i50. But if you want beautiful music rendered in natural tone with great detail then get the ARC i50! I have heard the other ARC integrated, they are beautiful… midrange bloom, fully fleshed out and detailed bass. I have a friend who has heard the i50… it is like the higher powered integrated. You will not need more power. The rhythm and pace (musicality) of the ARC is amazing, without loosing the detail.

You can see my prejudice by looking at profile for my systems.

LTA is excellent to work with as well. I bought my MHDT Orchid DAC from them. Nicholas has always answered my questions thoroughly, great customer service.

I recently bought their ZOTL 40 with the NOS Mullard EL34's.  LTA stated that it is their warmest offering, and I would say that it is not warming things much at all.  It's a great integrated, but it needs to pair with a spearker/room set up that works with fairly neutral, articulate, speedy sound.  I'm going to try to find the right speakers to match them for a system, as I'm pretty sure they will be dynamite when matched right.

Wow now that was exactly what I hoped others would have to share!

WJ- Good feedback thanks. I did speak with Nicolas this afternoon.

He suggested some of his buyers traded Pass for LTA and were pleased.

Recommended the 20 INT over his 40. Cost same.

JJ49- Agree with your I-50/Zotl comparison. Nic said I should expect

most of the detail of the Pass only with more openness. Did not mention

loss of bass grip but...


RA81-Which speakers with the Ultra? Room size? Listening level? Thank you.


GHD- I see you have much experience in the ARC world. I have another friend

who is with you there. We toured the ARC facility last Sept which was what got me

started on this I-50 tangent. Have you had an opportunity to hear any of the

LTA products?


I own Ultralinear amps on Fyne (modern Tannoy) and it’s a superb match. I had the XA25 before and it did not have superior bass.

I had the XA-25 driving Spatial X5s, and it was a spectacular combination. I have been to LTAs facility and listened to several of their amps on Spatial Sapphire model. While this is not in any way a fair comparison (room, speaker, time), the LTA amps did not make magic, while the XA-25 did in a big way.

I have the MZ pre, ZOTL40 and use Janszen zA2.1 hybrid electrostats. This is the ultimate in synergy and yes the ZOTL40 can power electrostats to glorious levels.

nick is a really good guy, isn’t stupid, he of course would not focus on the main weakness of the lta vs the pass - bass depth slam and control 😂

that said, as one would expect in this high level of gear, we choose what we choose because we prefer one set of tradeoffs and attributes offered by one item, vs that of another

m series sapphire line of speakers need serious damping factor to sound their best, though the bass response is its towering strength as a speaker for sure, so even if not particularly well driven, its bass will impress many that come from more standard speakers with little woofers in boxes... but let’s be real... m series with their 2x 12 or 15 in woofers per side, doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see amp damping factor is going to be critical to success


OP, I have not heard any LTA gear although I have read some reviews. From the reviews it sounds as if LTA is going to sound more detailed oriented and a bit less organic. A lot of audio products highlight the stuff we are used to listening for… detail and contrast between sounds. They tend to not have quite the midrange bloom…without which makes they sound less comfortable, a bit less real, and does not push your foot into tapping. ARC has the detail when you listen… it just isn’t unnaturally up front. One of the real refined qualities about ARC stuff.

So LTA stuff will sound different. You might prefer one over the other. The LTA is not going to sound bad. Over the last fifty years of putting my system together I have tried many different components. Every once in a while I would end up with another ARC component… it would stick… and I would be out of the market (this hasn’t really been a conscious process… just looking back, I see this is how it worked). Also, I personally have found long-term buying really high end equipment a great deal. I actually purchased a new Pass x350 amp, used it for 15 years and got back all but $500 in trade.

GH- Agreed in resale Pass will fare much better than LTA. Perhaps even ARC.

I think I will drop the LTA idea and either be happy with what I have

or consider the I-50 again. If I have the tube hassle I want the tube

warmth too.

LTA is tonally richer, with better flow and dimensionality than Pass. The Pass is slightly warmer, but much less musical. I’ve owned the XA25 and X350.8; heard the X260.8 monos in another setting on my speakers.

I’ve also owned the Ref75SE which is a great amp (though not great reliability) - but I wouldn’t call it warm either although believe it would sound great on Tannoy. If you want warm, need tube amps like Primaluna or a great EL34 amp.

generally speaking you have warm speakers already. Don’t go too far.

Got a pair of GRFs. Had the pass, moved on to the LTA UL and pre separates and haven't looked back. A glorious sounding pairing. Tannoys work very well with these amps. More bloom than the pass, and will sound a bit heavier in the bass department (not as tight). Amazing flow and foot tapping ability. Very lively sound, hard to put on as background noise with these amps. Little less pin point then the pass or other solid state gear. 


Own CODA gear for solid state now. Enjoy it more than the Pass personally. Some of the FW stuff is glorious tho, really like the F7. SIT 3 not a great pairing with tannoy imo

Huge LTA fan here and former ARC owner. LTA are David Berning designs utilizing novel technology (ZOTL) and power supplies. Simply in a different league among tube amplification. For the Tannoy’s I’d go with the UL integrated—you don’t need the power of the 40 and the UL is specifically designed for high efficiency speakers. Great products, way more reliable than ARC and very responsive folks.

AD3 & Keith- That is a lot of good info, thank you!

From what I read the Coda has surpassed Pass in

several ways. Love to see a blind test of those two.


Okay re the LTA. Not going back to separates so the LTA INT options

are all I would consider. If budget allowed I would buy Berning gear.


I want great mid range vocals and musicality. To me musicality means an

engaging sound. You turn your head when a given passage sounds amazing.


So what to do?

I can sell the pass for what I paid last year. $5,500. The MSRP is now up to


The LTA Ultra 20 INT -my abbreviated name- is $6,250. This is the model Nico


Resale would probably be a big hit as LTA is a relatively unknown brand.


I am also in a decision making mode right now between the new Fritz Carrera

7BEs and the old Tannoys. My Tannoys had the crossovers totally redone

by Danny Ritchie last summer. They have wowed people.


Now I have enough hours on the Fritz to have a good feel for what they

are about. I have them on a 30 day trial.




-Better producers of a locked in center image and an overall wider soundstage.

-Better at movies/TV watching

-Hard to beat the midrange of these bigboys on female vocals



-Better at top end detail. a veil or two removed as compared to the

Tannoys yet not at all forward. SD Beryllium.

-The 7" Scanspeak Revelator mid woofer (version used by Wilson) is rated down to 40 hz -same as the Tannoys. Produces a cleaner, faster bass.

-It is a two way system with a series crossover so coherency is amazing.

I use a REL T5x Sub so the bass is still good.


I am leaning toward selling the big Tannoys and keeping the new Fritz

speakers. New sound with more detail for me and wife who is thrilled

to see the big boys go away.


I know I will regret selling them but I am a "One System" guy who

does not believe in having unused gear in a closet.


Does anyone else have something to add for my consideration??





I own both the Rogers integrated amp (65V-2) and the LTA 40+ integrated. I've had the Rogers for a while and really like it. I saw a chance to buy the LTA 40+ integrated used and jumped on it. It has all the upgrades including the phono stage and SUT. I initially enjoyed the Rogers in triode mode which is maximum tube sound. I started to want more detail and started listening (el34s) in ultralinear mode and that's when I hit paydirt. After getting the LTA, I was initially disappointed because, as posters have said it was more SS like and clinical and did not sound very warm or tube-like. After doing some research, I changed the tubes in the preamp section, 12AU7s getting some nice tubes from Brent Jessee. Boy did that make a huge difference. The LTA came with KT877s and not the EL34s but that works fine. The big difference between the Rogers and the LTA now is that the LTA is faster, more detail and separation. I am hearing stuff in the music I never knew was there including the ability to hear things in complicated passages or where multiple voices or instruments are playing together. The change of the preamp tubes (and I've changed the 12AX7s and I'm going to change the last 12AU7s) really brings in the tube sweetness without giving up the stuff that makes the LTA special. I've had the LTA for about 6 weeks so I couldn't have provided this information earlier, sorry.

as i stated earlier, i have the lta zotl ref power amp, now with the factory parts upgrade mod - i run mullard el34’s and have old stock small signal tubes up front

i think the last poster said it well, i concur

the lta zotl, at its best (with really good tubes in it) gives a kind of 'the best of both worlds' - tube magic bloomy dimensional midrange and holography in imaging, along with the speed and clarity that so much tube amps cannot provide... some will say that this is a negative but more detail and clarity without the attendant negatives of typical solid state (forward character, lack of soundstage depth, overt harshness and sibilance) is a positive, it is what we as listeners seek - to have cake and eat it too

that said, what the zotl does not do, is provide the slam and deep bass iron grip that the best solid state amps provide... so as usual synergistic matching to speakers is essential...

A couple of other things. I have Spatial Audio Labs X5 speakers so the bass isn't an issue for me since the woofers are driven by hypex class D amps. The other thing I forgot to mention which I think is a big difference (beyond the warmth that the EL34s have over the KT77s) between the EL34s and the KT77s is that the KT77s put the vocals up front. It's almost like having a really clear center speaker in a HT set up that puts the dialogue out there front and center. It was a bit jarring at first but it has actually grown on me.

Quick update, I added Psvane EL34s to the mix and I'm really loving it. Hearing things I didn't know were there in the music. 

Older thread, but based on my recent experience I’d love to add my two cents. I purchased the Linear Tube Audio preamp and have had it in my system for about a week. 

Wow… I’ve just been utterly impressed with the unit. The marriage of the solid state details with a tube tone is the perfect description. For me, it’s endgame equipment. Sitting here listening to old recordings feeling like the artists are in my living room. Enthralling. 

I had the complete opposite experience. I bought a 6 month old LTA40 + integrated with NOS Mullards thinking this was my end game amp and that it would blow my Raven Blackhawk away. Owned it 2 weeks, didn’t like it at all and resold it for no loss. Nice to try but the problems were it lack that deep full warm resonate bass, sounded to SS/neutral lacking that tube full analog/warmth. I listen at lower volume (50-70 db) which was not this amp’s strength. When I turned the volume up is was better. Installing Gold Lion KT77’s improved the bass and clarity.  It just sounded veiled/muffled at lower volume.  I even compared it to my Home Theatre amp on another system and had the same result.  Don’t get me wrong this amp sounded incredible at higher volume. Realism, soundstage, quiet background, separation of instruments just amazing not in a tube amp way.  What I did learn was like that traditional tube sound and full detail at lower volume. Not the outcome I was expecting at all!

Some folks like old tube amp sound because of the transformer distortion. You will not find such distortion in ZOTL amps. I can say that I have a very early version of the ZOTL40 and have had it upgraded with the latest “plus” mods. Early on there was an issue matching to some speakers but the new mods have made it come alive and are so crazy good that I will put the LTA ZOTL40 up against anything out there.


Re: the OP, best of both worlds and Pass Labs….  Wondering if anyone is happy with the Microzotl preamp (or even the MZ3) into the Pass XA25?

Seems like that could be an outstanding combo depending on speakers and everything else of course 


@j_andrews - I’d also love to hear if anyone has experienced that pairing. It would also be great to hear other pairings forum members are using the LTA preamp. I’m using it with a Qualiton/Audio Hungary 100 watt tube amp. They are complementing one another nicely