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Linear Tube Audio and Credo Audio: CAF 2023

Looking for that next level of inner detail, nuance, and connection to the music? This system delivered that and more. I could have sat and listened to this system all day.

ecoustics.com show report of Capital Audiofest ’23 [CAF 2023] of the LTA and Credo room

Stereophile’s Herb Reichert and I sat together in the room for almost 30 minutes; we both changed seats to experience it differently and there was this intense quiet in-between each track that really made the listening session truly different.

One of things I hate the most about some vendors at high-end audio shows is that they feel the need to overwhelm attendees with a wall of sound. As I have mentioned previously, the only brand that gets a pass on this is Zu Audio.

Linear Tube Audio’s Nicholas Tolson has a rather different approach and that has nothing to do with the quality of the music being played.

Tolson, has a rather solid understanding of what makes their equipment unique and whom to partner with to show it off.

If you are looking for a hard hitting system that is going to beat you into submission or smother you with neverending detail — LTA’s equipment is not for you.

Products like the LTA MicroZOTL Pre-amplifier ($5,750 USD) and ZOTL40 Reference+ Power Amplifiers ($6,800 USD/each) recreate a rather wide and deep soundstage with precise imaging, clarity, timbral accuracy, and delicacy with the appropriate loudspeakers.

They also don’t sound their best when you turn the volume up too high; which is generally how their rooms are run at shows.

Having listened to their equipment at the showroom in Maryland and in my own system — you experience music differently. There is a connection to the music, especially with vocals, that feels more intimate.

So how did it sound?

Coming into the room was a serious respite from the outrageously loud systems playing on the rest of the floor.

The loudspeakers were placed rather close to the walls and almost behind the front plane of the equipment rack and angled inward towards the front seats.

One had to listen into the music and allow the music to surround them; which this system did exceptionally well.

Acoustic instruments were pushed only slightly forward of the loudspeakers but the timbal accuracy was spot on and there was just the performer and you in the space.

The bass never really overloaded the space, but I suspect that the loudspeakers are capable of delivering a lot more low-end impact than we experienced that day.

Herb stood up, smiled, and looked back at the system before he left.

I could have sat and listened to this system all day.