Hi guys. So updates.
I figured if I’m going to spend upwards of $6K, I better be dang sure of what I want. Luckily, the two companies I was looking at, as the title of this thread states, PS Audio and LTA both offer trial periods. So I ordered a BHK250 and ZOTL40 Reference.
My other equipment includes a DSD Jr Dac, Schiit Freya+ Preamp, Tekton Double Impacts. Cables are Morrow Audio XLRs. All balanced. DIY Mogamo speaker cable. Streaming Qobuz and Tidal to DirectStream Jr.
I’ll cut to the chase and say what is better in my system:
LTA ZOTL wins in:
- quiet background. I have some hiss from the BHK… BUT I will say that the ZOTL40 isn’t balanced so the gain going to the BHK is higher. ALSO, the BHK isn’t at fault here, it’s my Freya+ in tube mode that gives me hiss. The only thing is that the LTA, even with the tubes engaged on the Freya +, is whisper quiet.
BHK wins in… basically everything else:
- detail, clearly the BHK wins. Solid state>tubes here
- highs. BHK much more extended and crisp
- mids. Personally I feel that the BHK is more natural sounding. The LTA is great here but I remember thinking it was less “believable.” Perhaps this is the trade off for having tubes in the output stage, it causes some midrange ‘enrichment.’ While I don’t know that I can confidently say tube compared to solid state is better, I can say my preference seems to be the detail in solid state.
- Bass? Honestly it’s a toss up. The LTA bass is more “full.” But the BHK has tighter bass. My preference is tight accurate bass so I say BHK
- power and headroom, BHK for miles. The 40-50watts in the LTA is plenty sufficient for my DIs. Yet, the BHK seems to have a more effortless presentation. At low volumes, the BHK has more dynamics which is made evident with the high sensitivity DIs. A very pleasant experience.
- soundstage, my DIs disappear easier with the BHK. I kept thinking “if I could somehow improve my soundstage by slightly my speaker position” when listening To the LTA. I am completely content with the BHK at their current position. I seem to forget about the analyticals… In addition, I found a more believable musical soundstage presented to me. The LTA is better than what I had prior, but not as enveloping or enjoyable.
- that brings me to listening enjoyment. The BHK is so… musically right. There aren’t highs, mids, and bass… it’s just music. This is arguably the most important factor for me. I find myself not wanting to change the song so I can finish the current one. I know I like a product when I’m listening to full 7-10 minutes tracks. Well done.
- build quality, BHK. I’m fairly certain the insides contain unobtanium and dark matter densities. Either that or a black hole. Chuck Norris personally delivered the amp and had to use two hands. Nuff said… I will say the LTA is amazingly light (15lbs) which is remarkable and due to the absence of output transformers. In all honestly, that is quite remarkable of them to achieve.
All of these impressions are after 2-3 hours with the BHK. I hear it gets better??? Oh geez. Excuse my while I drool for a sec