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Massdrop x THX AAA™ 789 Linear Amplifier - Impressions Thread

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by XERO1, Mar 1, 2018.
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  1. XERO1
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2019
    bfmcosta likes this.
  2. mtoc
    OP loves everything? take a look at Benchmark AHB2
  3. XERO1
    Huh? :confused:
  4. swmtnbiker
    I was interested in this amp until I saw what the wait was going to be. The lead time for many of Massdrop's audiophile products is just waaaaaay too long IMO. I'm not willing to let them sit on my money for 8 months when there are plenty of other fish in the sea. Maybe I'll pick up one of these used next year if I'm still curious and can find one for sale. Meanwhile, onward and upward.
  5. BLacklWf
    Interesting spec. The spec alone doesn't mean anything when it comes to a personal taste in audio.. nonetheless interesting spec.
  6. BLacklWf
    The spec tend to indicate it's a balanced amp since the power doubles on the balanced out. But, someone in Massdrop discussion mentioned 789 is 788 with a boosted power to match the output of 888. According to the attached 788 is a stereo amp and 888 is a dual mono amp. I'm not sure what a stereo amp means, but someone else in MD discussion mentioned 788 is not a balanced amp - rather merely has a balanced out jack. I am wondering if 789 a true balanced amp or shall I wait until MD releases 888/889 next year?

    Here is a link to 788 which was also introduced by the same OP.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2018
  7. Daemon Ursus
    The 788 is single ended only, so amps like the upcoming Monoprice Dac/amp which use it but claim to be balanced are faking it. According to the engineer who designed the AAA tech and this amp, the 789 is a hybrid of the 788 and 888 which is actually balanced. Based on his replies throughout the discussion on the Massdrop comments, I would say if you want to get the AAA tech for headphones, this amp is the best option you are likely to see. The 888 is probably going to be mostly limited to speaker amps.
    cardeli22 likes this.
  8. BLacklWf
    888 definitely has a headphone amp spec. However, I’m thinking of ordering 789 since who knows when 888 will be released.
  9. XERO1
    Based on Massdrop's specs for the 789, it looks like it actually is a fully-balanced design. The power from its balanced output quadruples (compared to its SE output) into 32,300 & 600 Ohm loads.
    My best guess is that it uses two 788 stereo modules to create a fully-balanced circuit. :nerd:
    mrscotchguy likes this.
  10. Alcophone
    That's a bit unclear.

    AndrewMason (THX Ltd. Analog & Power Engineering Expert):

    It certainly seems like it produces fully balanced output (signal on one conductor, inverse signal on the other) regardless of the input, while the Monoprice runs the 4-pin XLR single ended (signal on one conductor, nothing on the the other). But the amp itself does not seem to be truly balanced end to end.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2018
    braaam likes this.
  11. sejsel

    Just as a small remark, difficult to discuss the "impressions" when no one has heard the actual amp, nor released any review. In the end, the device is there to allow users to listen (to the audio).
    Discussing the specs. - now, that - I understand and it should be encouraged, as well as discussing the design.

    The amp is offered att Massdrop at a very good price and it looks very promising.

    I would be looking forward to read the review of the amp from someone who has demoed it extensively. Somehow, I don't think it would hurt the sales either.
  12. Boerd
    1. No DAC
    2. External power supply
    3. Made in China (guess)

    I'll pass. Not sure what the point of 0.000007% THD when my headphones are 0.01% to 2% (HD 650); many other headphones are even worse. The Chord Mojo does the job just fine.
    What DAC do you need to keep the combo in that THD range and who can hear the difference?
    The price is good though - I have to say it's cheap.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2018
    Viper Necklampy likes this.
  13. tizman
    I would also love to hear about the listening impressions of someone who has demoed the amp. There is a Head-Fi TV YouTube video associated with Cam Jam London in which it is suggested that listening impressions were forthcoming. I am unable to find anything of the sort. Has anyone critically listened to any version of a THX AAA headphone amp? The gentleman in that video said he was impressed with his initial listening. It seems to me that putting out a few demo units of any of the versions would be a good move on the part of THX, if they are indeed as good as it appears from the specifications and measurements. In my experience with different DACs, amplifiers and other components, I have found that a spec sheet is a good indicator of the technical quality of a component, but it is hardly a replacement for the impressions of a person who has heard the amp, as well as many others, and can thereby judge its merits. Has anyone done this?
    cardeli22 and sejsel like this.
  14. lugnut
    This was my take away also. I mentioned the issue about the external power supply on Massdrop, and was told this should not even be a point of discussion.
    OK Then !
  15. tizman
    1. No DAC
    2. External power supply
    3. Made in China (guess)

    4. How does it actually sound?
    That’s the key one for me.

    With respect to the other three points:

    1. I’d rather use my own DAC that I like and have picked for myself rather than one picked for me that I have to pay for whether I like it or not.
    2. This depends on how good a job they do with the external power supply. Also, it allows for an easier power supply upgrade if desired. I prefer to separate the power supply and circuit in my builds, so I see this as a good thing.
    3. Probably a good guess.
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