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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. MikeW
    I suggest, if you have not already, perhaps play with a really good software EQ, it's been awhile since I did software EQ, but I know there is an excellent parametric plugin available for foobar. This may help you decide if a better hardware EQ is worth your time. Really, there's nothing wrong with software EQ, it's just a pain in the ass. Often times requiring workarounds and poor software, I've looked at all the options and im impressed with none, from a usability standpoint. (on windows) I tried APO, but it was buggy, clippy, and did not bypass the windows mixer, which i can ABX. Qubuz works exceptionally well with the ADI2. Tidal not so much, if your into non 44.1 content. Mostly because Quboz supports ASIO, which is required for ADI to auto-switch bitrate.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2019
  2. BrotherKathos
    I don’t want to over complicate things. I’d prob get lost with too many options. Why i like the loki. Both my thxs have a loki hooked to them. Really helped out my hifiman he-400i. The thx is great for adding sub bass with that hp in balanced. Plenty of powa!!!
  3. alpovs
    Has anyone compared the SE and balanced inputs from the same source? Any balanced DAC would have an SE output.
  4. MikeW
    The THX789 has budget price point, most people don't have a balanced dac to pair with it, as they are typically, with a few exceptions 1k+
    There's not much to discuss though, it is what it is. It will work fine, but don't go out of your way to pair a balanced dac with it. Because of the design of 789 there is no possible benefit of balanced input, unless your doing a 50+ foot run of wire. Or your dac of choice has a significantly better balanced output section then it's single ended, which is possible. The difference would need to be fairly large though.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2019
    jasonho likes this.
  5. Fatdoi
    I know someone who spent same money as the car modding the civic.... Same as audio, a hobby... People can spend as little or as huge to find the sound they like... It's just individual opinion and choices....

    Still thanks for your comment..
  6. ayang02
    @MikeW you seem to imply the 789 is just okay for its tag price. Would you mind sharing what other amps compare well against the 789 at a similar price point? I seriously have trouble finding one under $500. I'm mostly interested in clean output power and very little distortion.

    I have looked at SPL phonitor X and Benchmark HPA4 for potential 789 upgrades down the road but you know these two amps are way above the 789's price range.
  7. alpovs
    Despite MikeW's theoretical answer to a practical question I'd like to ask the public again. Has anyone compared the SE and balanced inputs on the THX 789 fed from the same source? Any balanced DAC would have an SE output. I read this whole thread and got an impression that many people have a balanced DAC or wanted to buy one.
  8. BrotherKathos
    I have on my SMSL SU-8 balaced dac. Its been a while though so my impression is not very fresh. From what I can remember though there was little to no perceivable difference in sound output. Any I did perceive could easily be dismissed as placebo, but the balanced option did provide much better hum or static resistance and that is the best application for balanced as far as I know.
    Anaz and alpovs like this.
  9. BrotherKathos
    Ahh, the thx 789 and the Nighthawks, a match made in heaven for us. Ignore me, the nighthawks honeymoon has just begun.
    Fatdoi likes this.
  10. omniweltall
    enjoy mate haha.

    Never tried the NH. Any comparison with the 2C? The 789 is also a great match with the 2C.
  11. MikeW
    To the contrary, I don't think you can do better for 350$. It's an excellent amp, and well worth 350. I think it's a bad idea to be impatient and pay a dumb amount for it. I don't think It's worth 500$ or more. Jotunheim's a clear value winner at less than 250$ used. My main concern is with people paying more than msrp for used gear. That's dumb. Especially a piece of gear like 789, which will be made by the boatload and value will plummet quickly. Just like HD6XX, AKG and Hifiman planar's. Massdrop made those products neigh worthless in short order. Same will happen to 789. Those that have been around for awhile are familiar with the Flavor of The Month cycle.. something gets popular and hyped, sells a boatload, and the people move on and start unloading them in the F/S forum. The more popular the item, the faster it's value sinks.

    I want to be clear here, people are paying 600-800$ for this thing on ebay, and even over 400$ in the F/S forums here. I think it's a poor value at those prices. I do believe it's slightly better then a Jotunheim, if we are comparing a used 250$ jotunheim vs a new 350$ 789.. ok that's not a bad deal. If we are comparing a 250$ Jotunheim to a 500$ 789... that's a cause for concern, and raises an eyebrow.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2019
    music joe and ayang02 like this.
  12. BrotherKathos
    Less peaky treble while still remaining very detailed. I was actually shocked by this as I was expecting a super dark soupy sound, but no, they sre very nice. They have a bit more mid bass bloom than the 2c and dont have quite as much energy on the super super low frequencies, but actually are very comparable.

    By far the closest to the 2C in bass response of any hp I own. Sound stage is where they really shine. As many have stated, earspeakers fit them better as a name than headphones. Very clean and clear, you can tell they achieve the claimed low thd. These are closest to my overall personal preference of any headphone so far st the initial stages of ownership. Better even than my first impressions of the 2C. The comfort is also just on another level as well.

    By far the most comfy headphones I’ve ever owned. They do sound quite a bit different in tomality than all my other heaphones. Its kinda hard to describe, bit I’d rate the hd6xx, airy and smooth. The lcd2c a mix of airy smooth with agreesive bass, and the nighthawks clean, harmonic, and expansive with very good mid and low frequency control.
    omniweltall likes this.
  13. ayang02
    Thanks MikeW!

    The Jotunheim looks like a great alternative to the 789. I do agree paying more than MSRP is dumb, but that's the demand for these things in the short-term future. Why do I get this feeling Massdrop is trying to align the Airist R2R DAC release with the next 789 batch, perhaps even combining the two into one form factor?
  14. Zachik
    I wish RME would sell a smaller box that does the DSP functionality alone. Just like the Loki (which I own) but with the added cool stuff (parametric EQ, cross-feed, etc.).
    Although, I suspect, analog-to-analog cannot do that. Need digital input for the DSP...
  15. MikeW
    I think Schiit's working on something like that... "gadget" who knows, that one's been coming for a long time. They are also working on a Schiit Pi
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