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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. oqvist
    mr speakers ether 2 is magneplanar right? They tend to have that kind of soundstage. I don´t get that with my HD 800S. For sure my tube might go a bit deeper and since headphones always have to small soundstage who to say it´s not more realistic but I don´t sense a particular problem at all with the THX 789. I happen to like it intimate but the HD 800S still go decently wide. I have not really compared the actual width to my other solid states but it´s not much between them.
    Baten likes this.
  2. Yviena
    Has anyone checked what gain is best on this amp, low gain with higher on volume pot, or high gain low on volume ?
  3. Oublie
    I have high low and medium gain cans and can find no discernable difference I have it set to low gain as I'm running it balanced and it gets too loud with the other settings - running volume from dac.
  4. Em2016
    Hi Nosaj

    Just wondering what kind of volume knob position you use this with your Aeon Flow Closed cans, on the lowest gain setting? Say with popular modern (loud) recordings?

    Are you able to use it at 12 o'clock on the volume knob with the lowest gain setting? Or is it already quite loud at 9 o'clock with the Aeon Closed?

  5. Nosaj1969
    I actually use the 789 mostly with my Focal Elex, but I did try it out with the Aeon finally this week during the holiday. Was also pre-occupied with the Focal Elegia's that I had for a week and sent off to the next user on Tuesday.

    I think the Aeon sounds absolutely pristine with the 789. I've been listening to some Christoper Lawrence lately as it's pretty bass heavy and fun to play at louder than normal volume, so a good test for your query.


    With my Aeon on the lowest gain setting, I was able to play at full volume with no distortion, but not quite at the limit of what I think is loud. It's pretty loud, but I show them on about 2pm in the second picture, and that is about where I think it sounds about ten percent more volume than the full on no gain and about as loud as I need to go. This amplifier still has more ooomf to give, but don't need to blow my ears out either.
    The Audio-gd at lo gain I get about 65 on the volume knob to get the similar volume to the 2pm mid-gain on the AAA. The Aeon requires significantly more power than say the Focal or Sennheiser by about 40%. Especially the Elegia which is closed too, and very forward sounding but super efficient. I don't think you'll likely have to use the gain much as I usually am content to listen to the low gain settings on all my amps as they sound great at lower levels enough so that the music it's not ever not loud enough or too loud.

    The amplifier is absolutely silent even with the volume all the way up. The Mr. Speakers are just excellent all around, and after listening to the Elegia's (also closed) I'm more than ever convinced that they are the better of the two by a significant margin and pairs great with this amplifier as it's very powerful, and wasn't as needed for the Focal. The AAA is very transparent, and it seems to have great bass and sub-bass performance over my other amplifiers with the exception of the NFB-1. I think the 789 is superb. Either way, there no perceivable difference to me between the gain stages of this amplifier, so if you need to play it louder, don't sweat it. It's just great.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2018
    Em2016 likes this.
  6. Nosaj1969
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2018
  7. tim0chan
    The pics aren't working for me
  8. Nosaj1969
    Sorry, fixed it in the second post
  9. Em2016
    Thanks so much !

    Final question (if you don’t mind).

    Comparing volume level at 2pm on the lowest gain setting, when you go to the next up gain level (middle gain setting), what knob position gives you the equivalent volume of the lowest gain at 2pm?

    Just for a rough indication of how the gain jumps from lowest gain to middle gain setting, with the AEON Closed.

    Some of my older music is much lower in volume than my loud newer stuff, so the middle gain setting may be useful.

    Just a rough indication if you can.

    Much appreciated again.
  10. Nosaj1969
    Here is the gain 3 at about equal to my Audio-gd (set at 65 on low) so about 10 o'clock.....

    So 2 o'clock is about 10 on gain two and three....
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2018
    Em2016 likes this.
  11. Roen
    Because the Monoprice doesn't measure nearly as well as the Massdrop THX. Same branding, woefully different execution.
  12. Baten
    Uh, it's the same engineer answering questions at the massdrop head-fi thread and the monoprice Q&A section. "Woefully different execution", I disagree.

    The monoprice has an embedded dual/balanced dac and many digital inputs, even AES/ebu. The massdrop aaa is amp only, little unfair comparison. But as long as you don't need the power of the thx aaa the monoprice has great specs especially in its xlr output, few people need more than what it offers...

    The massdrop impressions thread has many people complaining about the power button, monoprice impressions thread has people complaining about usb driver support. Neither had any people complaining about sound, distortion or lack of power :D

    Full disclosure I have the monoprice on order. Just waiting for shipment to arrive...
    cardeli22 and BrokeSkoolBoi like this.
  13. gto88
    For dac, Topping D50 should be a good pick, like @Roen has.
  14. Roen
    If you don't need the OLED display and don't mind an open-air frame vs. a case, Khadas Tone Board + DIY case can be had for $92 USD? and measures better than my D50, though it has to be said, we are REALLY talking about INAUDIBLE differences here.
  15. Roen
    I'm not going to get into subjective differences of the two, but the only things I can comment on are the numbers that both product when measured. Whether one can audibly perceive the measured differences is another story, which I will not touch with a 10 foot pole.

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