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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. Sonic Defender Contributor
    No direct experience, although I do have a FiiO THX AAA amp module that I use daily. Take this with a grain of salt, but I think over the years (well beyond even my time here) I have learned how to read impressions and reviews well, and I have a fair amount of experience. All of that suggests to me that the Empyreans and this amp would probably be a really good combination. But that is just an educated guess, be curious to hear from somebody who has tried the combination. I would really love to try the Empyreans and perhaps when I complete this degree I will treat myself.
     
  2. Fatdoi
    I think it will be a good amp... Same as my speculation of it driving my Utopia and Auteur... But I think it won't drive those totl cans to their full potential... For that may need top OTL or GSX mini, P750u etc...
     
  3. Ken G
    The THX 789 should drive it fine. The Empyrean is 32 ohms and with a sensitivity of 100 db (1mw/1kh).
    The THX in balanced mode puts out 6 full watts into 32 ohms. It should drive it fine and to it's full potential based on the 789's measurements.
     
  4. bryceu
    Received my THX 789 yesterday from the second-wave Drop. Four months of waiting had me extremely hyped up.
    First impressions: The unit is quite a bit larger than my Aune x7s. It also doesn't feel as solidly built as I was expecting, but it's not cheap feeling either. I'm not a fan of the power and input buttons, they feel cheap and unsatisfying. The gain switch and volume knob however are pleasant. Listening primarily with my Auteurs for impressions, I have the volume knob between 10-2 on II Gain to achieve optimal listening levels. I was not immediately blown away by the sound of the 789. Only on two songs so far have I felt like it was very impressive, otherwise it is comparable to the x7s. The most noticeable difference is the increased dynamics of the 789 over the x7s. It is also more precise and has less distortion. The 789 is definitely faster and more exact, delivering more slam as well. The background is pleasantly black, and you can hear (or not hear) the space between each sound or instrument. The 789 delivers you the music smoothly and easily, without adding any unwanted nuances. In electronic music some of the higher frequency sounds come through very sharp, piercingly clear. There is definitely treble sparkle on this thing. Some electronic music/sounds can be less enjoyable because it is so revealing and the decay is so fast. This could also just be the Mimby. Natural instruments sound incredibly real on the other hand.
    Recommendations:
    RY X - Haste
    deadmau5 - Stay (drop the poptart edit)
    Nathan Reich - Perfect Teeth
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2019
    CoFire and Fatdoi like this.
  5. wazzupi
    Now to upgrade that dac
     
  6. SammYyYyY
    Awesome. Thanks for your opinion. That's the impression I've gotten as well, the THX AAA amps are extremely clinical, dynamic, and detailed so I think they'll fit the warm sound of the Empyreans fairly well. I will be attending CanJam SoCal this weekend so hopefully I'll be able to hear this combination (I know I will be able to hear the Empyreans on my Q5 with the base/AM3A module and the Woo amps, but fingers crossed Monoprice will exhibit with other headphones than their own).
     
  7. Sonic Defender Contributor
    No worries, great that you will have a shot at hearing the amp, really hope with the Empyreans. I have the Q5 with the THX AAA AM3D module and I agree that it is voiced pretty neutral, but because it is so dynamic and competent it is far from boring. Good luck and let us know what you think if you do get a good listen. Cheers.
     
  8. whohasaquestion
    Received mine as well. Been very impressed with the sound so far.

    A couple of questions on the unit:

    1) What's the best way to add a visible dot on the volume knob? It's really hard to tell the volume level without a visual cue.
    2) should I buy an audiophile-grade powerstrip? If so? What? It is currently plugged into a cheap Staple powerstrip.
     
  9. BananaOoyoo
    For #2, no.
     
  10. SammYyYyY
    Absolutely, will do. And yeah, the THX amps seem fantastic. I should probably mention too that I won't be hearing the Massdrop 789 at CanJam, I'd be hearing the Monoprice AAA 788 amp, it's nearly the same with 3W output instead of 6W, and it also has a dual AK4493 DAC integrated.
     
  11. areek
    For no. 1. I just put a drop of white correction fluid on the dot. Very much visible.
     
    prymortal likes this.
  12. Currawong Contributor
    It's very nice with the Empyrean. I have been pitting it against various amps, such as the Audio-gd NFB-1, Master 9 and Holo Azure with a Hugo 2 as the source. The NFB-1 is a bit smoother-sounding, and I feel the 789 might be a touch more airy, but it's pretty close. The other, $1400-1600 amps are better in various ways. For example, the Azure gives more a sense of depth and space, whereas the 789 is a bit flatter.

    In the past I felt that the Law of Diminishing Returns really started to hit hard at over $1000, but now it's closer to $500.
     
  13. SammYyYyY
    That's excellent news for me, I'm more interested in being able to have a versatile source that isn't too expensive and instead spend the money I saved on multiple cans for different listening experiences without totally destroying the potential of TOTL cans. Sounds like the THX AAA will be the amp of choice for me if I end up going with the Empyreans. Thanks for your opinion, and keep up the great reviews :).
     
    Currawong likes this.
  14. ekkstra
    Was able to get one at the latest drop in late May but will have to wait until August to be shipped though. My question is the Airist R-2R DAC a sidegrade compared to the SMSL SU-8 to pair with THX 789? Airist is live on Mass(drop) so I was curious about it.

    I'm researching the JDS Labs' El Dac to pair with the 789. If anyone has any recommended DAC to pair, I'm open to any suggestions to research.
     
    ls13coco likes this.
  15. BananaOoyoo
    I think I’d stick with the SU-8 unless you really would like the chassis to match.

    Also, the last Airist drop got delayed several months, so... there’s also that to consider
     
    hakuzen likes this.
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