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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. 69mustang
    They had it priced for $250 after an overwhelmingly successful launch of $199, tons of backlash later they brought the price down to $199. It was only recent that it climbed back up to $220.
  2. AndrewM888
    789 frequency response is completely neutral (transparent) and output impedance is extremely low.
    Attached are 789 freq response plots for 32 Ohms, single-ended output.
    Note how dead-flat the curves are across the entire audio band including the mids region.
    It's more likely that HP Freq Response, content, and non-realtime A/B comparisons are the source of what a user is perceiving as "veil".

    300 Ohm:
    FR 300R.PNG

    32 Ohm:
    FR 32R.PNG

    16 Ohm:
    FR 16R.PNG

    ayang02 and jsmiller58 like this.
  3. alpovs
    Thanks, @AndrewM888 !
    You are not the person to ask but could anyone else point me to similar measurements for the Jot?
  4. alpovs
    I see. I missed the $250 price. They were available for $199 for years, not only at launch. Looks like all those price increases are recent.
  5. Zachik
    Someone from MD has explained those price increases on the discussion section of the 789 page. Unfortunate for us (the customers) but makes perfect sense.
    Do not forget that MD is not in the business of losing money, so if their cost goes up - they have to increase the price just to maintain same profit levels...
  6. Th3Drizzl3
    i personally doubt the cost went up anywhere near that much, imo they see it as an opportunity.... they cant keep them in stock and they sell out in seconds so why not raise the price.
  7. BananaOoyoo
    I meant their first price hike to $250.
  8. Hd800s don't cost $1500 either, but like everything else you either want it or not. You're willing to pay or not. This amp is no different. I don't see it as that much of a change honestly.

    Can someone who has one talk about it vs the jds atom? Thanks.
  9. jsmiller58
    Could very well be. In undergraduate economics classes they discuss this thing called the law of supply and demand - price should rise or fall to meet demand, as demand will rise or fall to meet price. Even at $400 their stock sold out quickly. By this measure, the 789 is still grossly under priced.

    But, I can understand MD also wanting to have a steady (or steadily increasing) price as not to create too much consternation in the customer base. Their potential mistake was to initially price the 789 too low, and now over time they will get it to its natural price point. Or this wasn’t a mistake, and early teaser pricing was the evil plan all along!

    Bottom line is that MD is not in the business of losing money on their costs, nor should they leave profit on the table by selling for less than they can. Yes, price increases will annoy some but as long as they can sell everything they can make, and it doesn’t affect the rest of their business, that should not be a material concern for them. Nor really should we take it personally as consumers - we don’t have a right to an insanely under priced product, just a desire :)

    As cold and heartless as that might sound, you want MD incentivized to make products that are in great demand.
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2019
    trellus, Fatdoi and Zachik like this.
  10. halcyon
    Are these measurements using standard linear resistor loads (say, a 32Oh resistor)?

    Almost no headphone is linear in it's resistance across the frequency spectrum or at varying input voltages (i.e. volumes).
  11. AndrewM888
    Yes these graphs were taken with 32 Ohm linear resistor.

    You're correct - headphone impedances often vary with frequency. This is why amp output impedance (Zout) matters. It's important to have low amplifier Zout < 0.1 Ohms like the 789. Other amplifiers with higher Zout will cause gain distortion vs frequency when loaded with such headphones, manifesting at least as non-flat frequency response and potentially as harmonic distortion (depending on the nature of the load non-linearities).

    It would be convenient if an agreed-upon industry-standard practice existed for non-linear load testing of headphone amplifiers. Stereophile does have a non-linear R-L-C virtual loudspeaker load for their power amp testing, and as a reviewer they're in a good position to test all products with it. But being a technology and certification provider to only some products in the headphone space, THX may have an uphill battle convincing all manufacturers to get on-board - especially if it's not in their best interests to show how their products behave with a more realistic load.
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2019
  12. Suopermanni
    @AndrewM888 Out of curiousity and only if you know but has MassDrop managed to get a power brick for the THX 789 that complies with Australian electrical safety standards? I'm hoping they will manage to find one as it would be a shame if such a good product not be sold here.
  13. alpovs
    I am not responding for Andrew but the latest drop did not ship to Australia.

    Out of curiosity, do you know what is special about Australian electrical standards compared to other countries?
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2019
  14. PaganDL


    I missed the last drop too & the one prior facing the same issue as you.

    Australian electrical standards as a general rule are quite convoluted & ridiculous in some areas of said standards & require extensive documentation & testing before a said product can be imported in.
    In line with this, as an example, if said device for potential import in a category doesn't have a grounding plug or sufficent means for grounding in wiring, etc
    Another even perhaps more ridiculous example is using a different IR diode &/or transmitter/receiver then it doesn't pass local AU legistlation for electrical safety.
    Honestly, there are countless reasons perhaps not related to electrical safety as well as current political issues probably don't help either.

    Just my humble two cents.

    Hope this all makes sense.

    Hope you have a great day !
  15. prymortal
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