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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. PopZeus
    I get the whole "wire with gain" approach to the 789. With it in my chain, it's as close as I'll ever get to listening to the headphones interpreting the DAC and not much else. The amp sorta disappears. Possible endgame for the uncolored sound profile. Nicely job, THX and MD!

    I suppose the only other option for future changes is to swing in the other direction and go tube, but that's a whole can of worms I'm not ready to open... yet.
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2019
    trellus likes this.
  2. Yay. It came!

    Still listening. It's not $300 better than the Atom at the single ended level, but it is better. The layering of instruments is more apparent. I'm happy even though the power supply is one of those "box down the middle of the chain" deals.

    I think with my Qutest I'm done for a bit.
    Deftone likes this.
  3. kdoof
    Mine arrived from the April drop. It's a pretty phenomenal amp, I can say that much out of the gate. I am currently A/B'ing with the ZDT Jr and it's surprisingly difficult to discern a difference between the two, though the ZDTJ provides a greater sense of soundstage and space, and makes the disparate instruments that comprise music sound a touch more 'cohesive' -- but the 789 beats it out technically; articulate or busy passages of music are more cleanly delineated, and it's so. damn. easy to pick apart all the instrumentation and production. Bass response is overall stronger than the ZDTJ as well, the bass is thick and authoritative.

    Like others, I couldn't help but expect cold and clinical from the 789, and it is simply not. The bass is excellent, midbass is sublime, bass drums slap in a way they don't quite manage on the ZDTJ, where it's slightly more diffuse and not as resolving. The 789 is simply articulate, accurate, assured. (AAA?)

    I fully expected to just sell off the 789 after a bit of listening and now am faced with a really difficult decision about which one to keep! I like both a lot, they are somewhat different but not nearly to the extent I expected. The ZDTJ does seem to provide a touch more naturalistic or live-like rendition of recordings, where the 789 is just the recording -- and that's that. The more I listen to say jazz or acoustic guitar I find myself appreciating the ZDTJ's only-slightly more liquid detail retrieval, as the 789 can make sax or guitar with certain effects sound, not sibilant, but almost chimey? More 'artificial', anyway... though of course it's safe to say that that's a more accurate representation of the recording to begin with. (But I'm not a stickler for accuracy with equipment, to be honest.)
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2019
    protoss likes this.
  4. adeadcrab
    Keep both, high-end tube and solid state!
  5. kdoof
    Ha, I would that I could...
  6. greyscale75
    Don’t look now, but theDrop THX 789 is back up for sale again:). As of today (Sat), 29 days left to preorder.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2019
  7. escalibur
    Next step is just 'order'? :)

    Maybe they've noticed that some people are picking Atom over this unless they really need balanced output. :)
  8. FireLion
    I see one just sold for $360 shipped, there are a few decent sellers left. The rest are scumbags.
  9. sennfan83261
    Thankfully, the THX AAA 789 eBay gravy train appears to be over. I don't think the $900 buy-it-now seller received the memo.
  10. Shane D
    I am guessing that they didn't sell near what they planned on selling. After 30 days I think they only sold about 1K. For it to go right back out again, they must have been planning to sell several thousand. I think there was something like 5,000 people requesting it? I would guess they will be very lucky to sell an additional 1,000 since all the rabid fans have already gotten in. Interesting to watch that number for the next 30 days.

    Shane D
    greyscale75 likes this.
  11. Th3Drizzl3
    i grabbed one more from the extension of the drop. so ill have three now. two for home and one for the office. i got my massdrop labeled unit yesterday and its amazing this time. finish is perfect, selector switch is perfectly straight etc. i sent back my last one because that knob was WAYYYY off like it was basically on 3 and looked like it was on 2. being brand new i didnt like that so i sent it back but they were out of them so i got a refund and waited. now i dont regret doing so. im just hoping the new drop name doesnt get printed on the front. imo they look terrible like that.

    im sure there will be a handful more on ebay since no one will get any till nov. the scalpers have a few more months of getting higher prices then i think (or hope) they will be done being able to do so. i saw a few sold for over 750$ its ridiculous and sad people take advantage of others like that today. then it will depend on how often they stock them. if its a regular stock item then the ebayers are out of luck but if they still do the 3-4 times a year for them even if larger qty there will be those who take advantage. what i wonder is what these thing will end up being sold for down the line when they stop making them.
  12. FireLion
    I am sure it's a great unit but $750 is way too much, $500 I can understand due to availability. I would rather pickup a Jotunheim for $320-350 and sit it out until one pops up like it did yesterday that sold for $360 all fees and shipping.

    I'll limp along on my cheap Chinese POS with modded opamps and the HPA-3B made for a great listen too which I am kinda regretting sellin which is a pure balanced and class-A amp.

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    carlosgab and phthora like this.
  13. protoss
    Anyone using a R2R balance DAC with the THX789?

    Not talking about Drop X Airst Audio R-2R DAC.

    Talking about a true balance R2R DAC?
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2019
    displayname likes this.
  14. elira
    I used my R2R-1 briefly, my main issue that I got channel imbalance because of the low quality volume pot the 789 has. As per sound quality, the 789 is extremely transparent, you will hear whatever your DAC is producing, good or bad. Also the single ended input of the 789 is really good, it should work fine in most cases, no need to chase a balanced DAC.
    protoss likes this.
  15. PopZeus
    I'm also feeding the 789 with the R2R 1. The signal is a bit louder and the background a bit blacker than when I had the Airist RDAC feeding it. (That said I haven't plugged the single-ended RCAs on the R2R 1 into the 789 yet.) Not sure what other information you're hunting for, but that was what I noticed.
    protoss likes this.
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