Now Playing at Fern & Roby: Linear Tube Audio!

Amazing Sound. Incredible Pedigree. Made in America.

December 21, 2016

We are thrilled to be able to offer Linear Tube Audio ZOTL components as a complement to our turntables and speakers!  

Mark Schneider founded Linear Tube Audio in 2015, and their headquarters are in Takoma Park, MD. After his retirement from a dynamic engineering career that included management, manufacturing, and product design – including being the architect behind the fastest document scanner in the world – Mark decided to commit himself to the passion that started a long time ago with a pair of 3-panel Magnepans, a Thorens turntable with an SME arm, and some SAE amplifiers.

Also integral to LTA is David Berning, considered to be one of the world’s best-ever amplifier designers and elite in his field.  A formally-trained physicist, David’s unique perspective has invaluably colored every solution he’s designed for classic audio problems.  After 20 years of designing and manufacturing tube amplifiers, David Berning turned the technology on its ear when he invented ZOTL (Zero hysteresis Output Transformer-Less) architecture in 1996.

So radically different from anything around at the time, ZOTL was and still is considered the most significant improvement to tube amplifier technology since the 1960s.  Even out of production, Berning’s ZOTL amplifiers regularly collect accolades from the world’s top audio reviewers and publications.  His ZH-230 amplifier has received Absolute Sound Magazine’s "Editor’s Choice Award" every year since 2011.  His Quadrature Z amplifier won HiFi+ magazine’s "Product of the Year" award in 2009.  His 211/845 ZOTL amplifier was introduced by Hi Fi One at the 2014 Munich High End Audio Show.  Timeless examples of Berning’s audio genius, the ZH-270 and EA-2101 are still highly sought after by audiophiles everywhere.

Since the debut of ZOTL technology, no one else has been able to successfully manufacture David Berning’s complex designs. It was this uniqueness and complexity that attracted Mark to producing ZOTL amplifiers specifically, in addition to their spectacular sound. Each amplifier requires hours of hand-building, which is currently done by Mark and his team in LTA’s Washington, DC workshop. David Berning personally reviews initial units to ensure that the build quality meets his extremely high standards.  

Due to its continued high demand 8 years after production ended, Mark decided to have Linear Tube Audio debut by introducing an improved version of David Berning’s original MicroZOTL, the MicroZOTL2.0. For the amps following, Mark and David have worked collaboratively, with David designing the core amplifier circuitry to Mark’s specifications, and LTA creating the rest of the unit. Currently Linear Tube Audio's offerings include their reconfiguration of Berning's original microZOTL personal headphone amp, the ZOTL10, a mid-to-high efficiency speaker/headphone amp, and the ZOTL40, David's latest ZOTL amplifier designed for LTA, which is in essence the successor to his own, much lauded, ZH-230.