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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. Old Dirty Puppy
    I've been thinking about get the Massdrop 789 for a while now but maybe I'll just wait for a different company to come out with a balanced headphone amp with THX AAA technology. Dealing with Massdrop is a huge pain in the ass. I have no idea how they can have a product with such high demand and they completely leave their customer base hanging for months.
    I do have one question though, does anyone have any opinions on how the 789 compares to an Audio GD NFB1 amp? I have an NFB1 amp that I am happy with but all the positive reviews about the 789 have me curious about it. I've only seen one review on YouTube comparing both briefly. Is it even worth getting a 789 when I already have good balanced amp?
    Harry Manback likes this.
  2. elira
    I have both, they are very different amps, the 789 is cleaner and transparent. The NFB-1AMP has some coloration and is more visceral, also has better volume control. In objective terms I think the 789 is better, but with some headphones I prefer how the NFB-1AMP sounds.
    Currawong and omniweltall like this.
  3. James Shoegazer
    just wondering if there’s any mention of the Bryston BHA-1 amp here. Super curious to know how it compares to the balanced output of the THX 789s
  4. omniweltall
    I have both. The BHA-1 is in a different class. It is kinda like a super THX 789. Similar tonality, but more depth, more detailed yet smoother mids. Bass is more visceral and extended. BHA-1 is end-game material, better than all SS amps I tried/had so far.

    But the THX eats less electricity and doesnt run hot. Just a lovely smaller solution with good power too. I love it. For non-technical cans, I just use the 789. But for Senns for example, the BHA-1 shows its true color.

    One thing I dont get is that the BHA-1 shows a lower power rating. But in reality, it is the more powerful amp.
    Last edited: May 31, 2019
    James Shoegazer and trellus like this.
  5. omniweltall
    I agree.

    The NFB-1 smoothes things over, including the details. Reminds me of the Heron 5 and Bakoon. It is a colored amp. Staging is wide but flat (not that the THX is a staging king too). Though synergy comes to play, I would say the 789 is the overall better amp. Even compared to the larger audioGD that i tried.
    Last edited: May 31, 2019
  6. James Shoegazer
    K now I’ve moved them up to my grails esp. the Bryston haha, itching to get either one, but both uncommon finds now
    omniweltall likes this.
  7. mixman
    I have a thread asking how far up do you have to go to truly get an upgrade to the THX?
  8. omniweltall
    Forgot to mention one thing about the BHA-1. It has very realistic sound, unlike many SS amps. It is not as romantic as good tube amps, but it is very realistic.

    The THX 789 delivers sound in a clean way, but somehow it doesnt sound as convincing. I don't think it is the 789's fault. Most SS amps I tried are similar. That is why I always prefer tubes. The BHA-1 sounds very convincing but without the tube wetness, if that makes any sense. But the BHA-1 has that bass tautness that the best tube amps can only dream of. You can't win 'em all, I guess.
    Last edited: May 31, 2019
    bequietjk likes this.
  9. James Shoegazer
    Sounds like the Bryston will be a nice contrast against the very powerful Apex Peak/Volcano tube amp I have. Well I could only dream of getting it. Missed a deal locally for about $730 used. Regretted not snagging it up :frowning2:
  10. Currawong Contributor
    A couple of the $1400-1500 amps I have here are better, such as the Audio-gd Master 9 or Holo Audio Azure. I daisy-chained the THX AAA 789 to the other amps and compared them volume-matched and I feel that the more expensive amps have better dynamics. It's not a huge difference though, so I consider the THX amp to be a heck of a bargain.
    carlosgab likes this.
  11. mixman
    Thanks Amos. It was your review that got me into thinking about the Master 9. I looked at the Holo Audio also, but It doesn't seem to have enough output in case I get something like an LCD 4. Are you no longer recommending the ICan Pro?
  12. robo24
    Just wait until all their headphones have "Drop" on them. Maybe they'll do a version of the HD 820 with "Drop" printed on the glass!
    Deftone and omniweltall like this.
  13. Currawong Contributor
    The Pro iCan is great where you want power and listening enjoyment, and very low-level musical detail isn't a priority.
  14. CoFire
    I haven't compared stats but the THX 789 puts out impressive power SE. It's very clinical, definition of SS sound but though perhaps not totally convincing, more convincing than O2 and other more sterile SS. I've been comparing it to other amps and its clarity and detail is great. Soundstage is tough to compare but at this point for me, i think the headphone has more impact on soundstage.


    Ring ring... "The Drop Marketing and Advertising Dept"... Caller.... "YOU'RE FIRED!". I guess stuff.com, buy.com, xxx.com were already taken? Yeah, Massdrop was catchy.

    Now back to looking for that Sharpie to "Rebrand" all my Massdrop gear to "Drop". Just say it out loud, drop.com. I don't even want to mention this in public anymore. I felt "cooler" talking about and recommending Massdrop. :disappointed_relieved:
  15. Caguioa
    trying to find one...

    but hows this alternative?

    Monolith THX AAA 788
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