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Massdrop x Alex Cavalli Tube Hybrid Amp (CTH) - Dropping Monday

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by jude, Aug 11, 2017.
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  1. 222HEAVY
    Would anyone have an opinion how this amp would fare against the Cayin HA-1A (MK1).

  2. junki
    Is anyone else's MCTH volume knob scratchy when adjusting during an active signal? Mine is quite scratchy in the left channel when doing so.
    Liu Junyuan likes this.
  3. joeike
    No not for me I had mine for about 2 weeks now so far so good sorry to hear about that.
    junki likes this.
  4. jeffrt
    Nope, not here.
    I'd double check your interconnect and your tube. Is it there with other interconnects? Is it there with other tubes? If so, then maybe it's your unit. Otherwise, something else is at fault.
    junki likes this.
  5. buke9
    No scratching sounds from mine either.
    junki likes this.
  6. barleyguy
    Hi. Not sure if anyone has asked this yet (haven't read all 43 pages), but how does this compare to the original CTH?

    I own the original. It was hand built for me. It lives on my bedside table and it's my most used headphone amp.

    My current go-to headphones for it are the Sennheiser HD-598, the original ivory colored ones.

    Has anyone here heard both this new one and the original? Is the new one a tangible upgrade?

  7. Bazirker
    That's a fascinating question. I was one of the first people to receive their CTH (serial #52) and have been following this thread closely for some time, and I don't think I've seen any such impressions. You can get a Massdrop CTH in the for sale section here for around $200, so you could maybe fill us in!
  8. someyoungguy
    My MCTH arrived the other day - and I soon realised I didn't even have a 3.5mm to 2 X RCA to connect it to anything. Just picked one up and listening to it now.

    I've never owned a tube amp and thought it might be interesting to take a listen out of the box and see what's like now, in order to get an appreciation for the kinds of changes that happen with burn in. But I have to say, listening out of the box it's sounding pretty damn good.
    Currently using Cambridge Audio DacMagic XS -> Massdrop CTH -> Massdrop HD6XX.

    My HD6XXs have had very little use so far as I haven't had much available that could drive them properly, so will probably just burn in both together.
  9. Phantaminum
    I think you're going to like the synergy between the HD6XXs and the MTCH. It's fantastic sounding combo, engaging, and cheap to boot. Give it at least 100 hours before making a final decision on it and you'll hear quite a difference from the first listen. Tube opens up and the amp settles down.
  10. jeffrt
    It's not technically a "tube amp". It's a hybrid: that is, a tube input/driver stage with a solid state amplifier section.

    It is, theoretically, the best of both worlds. I like and have a speaker amplifier that is similar: tube inputs with hexfet output (power0 stage. Depending on source, interconnects and the tube(s) used, it can give a very nice overall sound: the drive of solid state with the bloom and real life presence that tubes use to reflect the "sound of music".
  11. someyoungguy
    Yeah sorry poor choice of words, I realize it is a hybrid - should have said I'd never had an amp with tubes in it! The qualities you describe are what I'm really looking forward to - the "sound of music", but way heavier than the musical :wink:

    The bad thing is this gets me really curious about products like the Alo Audio Continental Dual Mono or Woo Audio devices.... but my wallet would never forgive me.
  12. jeffrt
    No problem. I hope you enjoy this price incredible amp as much as I do.

    I was contemplating a Woo WA-6, until I tried a Schiit Valhalla 2. I love the Vahalla 2 but think the cheaper Cavalli is a better match for the Sennheiser HD580s/HD600/HD650s.
  13. kukkurovaca
    I just noticed that ALO put up a "Good" condition CDM on their deals page for $900. (I don't know if that's helpful info or the opposite...)

  14. someyoungguy
    Probably the opposite :wink: ... ha ha... Damn that is a good price though.

    So I've been listening for a few hours and switching back and forth between the sources and headphones I have (I've a bit too much gear at the moment, want to scale it down once I make some decisions what to keep).

    In all honesty I'm finding the MCTH goes well with the low resistance headphones I have as well - B&W P7s, Sennheiser Momentum 2s, and Sennheiser HD630VBs. The amp is powerful and right down at the bottom of the volume dial I'm finding a bit of channel imbalance, but as long as you turn down the source volume to get higher on the MCTH pot (9 o'clock upwards) the combination is good, particularly with B&W P7s.

    For sources I have:
    Plenue M
    Plenue R
    DacMagic XS
    Ifi micro iDSD

    I just got the Plenue R a few weeks ago as a replacement for the Plenue M, which I have for sale. I also had the Ifi micro iDSD for sale - I used to have a Mojo, but found myself thinking "this sounds great, if only I could change the treble roll-off" enough times that I thought it was time to move on from the Mojo and ended up getting the micro iDSD as a replacement. But in all honesty I found the micro iDSD to be quite bright - within a few hours of use I could tell we just weren't going to fit well together. The upper mids and treble seemed to strong, not quite sibilant, but it would get fatiguing. Good news - using the RCA outs on the micro iDSD and feeding into the MCTH I'm getting a sound I'm much happier with. The micro iDSD really does have great detail and dynamics, and the combination of changing "preamplification/direct" settings (essentially, fixed RCA line out or variable out) and different gain settings via the "eco/normal/turbo" modes gives you quite a variety of options for feeding in different volume signals. I'm finding the MCTH takes the edge off those upper mids/treble that were bothering me, so now I'm getting the best of both worlds.

    In all honesty, I had the micro iDSD boxed up and listed on a New Zealand sale site, and decided to see what it sounded like almost as an afterthought. I'm glad I did - I've removed it and will probably sell the DacMagic XS now. The Plenue R sounds good as a source too - the MCTH gives it a bit more body than you get just out of the headphone jack, and the JetEffect allows you to tweak the sound a little. But not as good as the micro iDSD as a source - if you listened to it alone you'd think it was fine, but side by side you can feel that bit extra in the shift in dynamics with the micro iDSD.

    If you really want to get into an orgy of audio, you can even feed the Plenue R into the optical input of the micro iDSD, then the MCTH (see photo)! The Plenue R does color the sound though - it's not a straight digital out but, for example, passes through JetEffects if you have them on.

    I can see myself using the MCTH as my default, go-to amp when at home, probably using it with the DAC section of the micro iDSD and bypassing the iDSD's amp. IMG_2051.JPG IMG_2052.JPG
    (edited for image duplications)
    Last edited: May 4, 2018
    volly likes this.
  15. volly
    @someyoungguy - very nice, would look sexy with the ifi Black! :metal:

    Received the Linear PSU from China in today, just warming it up. Fingers crossed all goes well! :fingers_crossed:

    someyoungguy likes this.
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