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Hi Everyone,
The Massdrop CTH + SDAC DAC/Amps are on their way to our warehouse in New Jersey! Once they arrive they will go through receiving and quality control checks. We are on track to meet our estimated ship date of February 27.
We are looking forward to everyone receiving the first production of the Massdrop CTH + SDAC DAC/Amp!
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For reals, getting excited! Gonna hook this up to my HD 6XX first, although I'm hoping it'll play nice with my UM Merlin's as well (although they're pretty sensitive, so a really low noise floor is required.)

Just received mine.. well packed, so excited :)
Really happy with my purchase. I'm not a high end audio person, but it was a very noticeable step up from my FX-Audio Dac X6.

It's hard to describe, but it basically rounded out the sound in ways I didn't know the headphones could deliver on, even though the X6 was "plenty powerful enough" to drive my HiFiMan HE4XX. The bottom end is smoother as it transitions into the upper bass and mids, and the top end now has a crystalline quality I hadn't heard yet (from the tube?) The top end is getting smoother as it burns in-- it really was a bit much at first, but now it is right in line and the edge has diminished.

Before I bought this, I was going to try swapping pads to get the sound I wanted, but now I don't need to. All my music is now worth a re-listen.

Also, may I say it's a sexy piece of equipment that looks good on my desk.
i'm having an issue with mine shutting off at loud volume.. a bit over halfway on the volume knob on my th-x00ph headphones. it seems like it started sounding different when this first happened as well. is the tube bad or failing ?
I got mine delivered this morning. Fortunately the custom admininstration didn't ask me to pay any import tax and I think it is because I am working at an academic organization.

After installing 6922EH tube included in the package, feeding power and connecting to usb cable, I pushed on the power button. Red light turned on and after 30 secs the color changed to white, but I was somewhat confused because I couldn't hear anything from headphone although the computer recognized SDAC and communicated with it successfully.

I tried again and again from the start but the symptoms were same.

Then I changed the tube to a new one (fortunately I have several extra 6922EHs), then finally I could hear sound. Oh gosh, I was relieved that I don't need to send it back. To be sure that the tube included in the package is wrong, I changed the tube to the original one, but this time it was working. What the....

I am using it 6 hours continuously and sound is still a little harsh to me. I believe it is because the tube is not burned-in yet. Overall I am very satisfied, the sound is clear and powerful.

One minor thing I need to say is... in the manual, "When the input button is extended, the amp is connected to the internal SDAC.", but mine is reversed. This is no problem at all once you got unit is working, but it may make the first user quite frustrated.


Hi there
I've got a question about my unit.
Up until now it was working perfectly fine but when I tried turning it on today it just wouldn't work.
The tube doesn't glow anymore.
I've tried replugging it and all the cables but it didn't help.
I am aware that these tubes do have a limited life expectation but I've only had mine for a couple of weeks.
Any suggestions?
This might be a very noob question, but I am new to the audiophile world and wanted to get this for my PC. I recently got mine and connected it, drivers installed fine and I let the amp warm up. I putmy headphones on and it was very quiet even with the volume on both the PC and unit turned all the way up. As soon as I pushed in the input button and switched it to the DAC only, the sound worked perfect. Only when I have the input extended (going through the amp and DAC) does the sound get super quiet. Is there something I am doing wrong? I read the instructions and it said when the input is extended, it is running through the amp and DAC. Is this really the case?
I think the instruction manual is wrong. When the 'input' button is pushed in, SDAC is connected (you have use USB connection). If it is extended, SDAC is not used (you have to use RCA input from other DAC or preamp). At least my unit is working like that.
That would make sense then! Thank you!
Was this back up for one day and went away again?
Like the idea of Convection Ventilation--wondering if I can make grilled cheese sandwiches while listening?
does the dac offer a Stereo Mix recording device? few do but its a feature that would sell me on the amp combo.
how does this compare to the O2+SDAC combo?
Sorry for the late reply! I am new but my guess would be that this one is a tube amp while I think the other one is a solid state. I could be wrong but that is what I am getting at face value.
Very happy with this item after 1 day of extensive listening. Sounds 100x better than my Schiit Vali 2 with Electro-Harmonix 6922 tube rolled in. I hated the sound of the Schiit from day 1 regardless of tube and headphone. And the Schiit would distort massively at louder volumes when driving AKG K701. The CTH has a much more musical sound. The high end is more open and spacious, vocals have a wonderful subtle vibrance as opposed to the grating texture with the Schiit. There is plenty of power to drive the K701. The difference between the Vali 2 and this amp with K701s is analogous to the difference between driving the average phones with a smartphone vs. a typical external amp. The low bass has a nice round punch to it and is well defined. I listened with Hifiman HE-400i, K701, and Grado SR225e and liked it a lot on all. If I had to pick nits, I'd say there is a slight boost to the upper treble that makes it a little bit overbearing with slightly top-heavy headphones such as the HE-400i (but a great match with the K701), and what sounds like a midbass boost that notably colors the sound and somewhat clouds it in the mid-bass frequencies only. It would be endgame for me for single-ended applications if not for these slight imperfections. But a beautiful sound that makes it a pleasure listening to quality modern recordings as well as music from decades past with vintage mastering hallmarks. Lots of power compared to the Vali 2, regardless of specs. I found the DAC to be quite nice. Since the DAC has analog outputs and the headphone amp has analog inputs, it is possible to feed the amp via other DACs to compare, as well as feed other amps with the DAC in this unit. Normally I prefer my ESS9018 based DACs over most others, but in this case the built-in DAC was a slightly better match given the treble boost of the amplifier. I heard no negative traits in the DAC and found it pleasing if not amazing. Usually I am happy with an audio product with no nagging negatives, and thrilled with one that blows me away with sonic wonder. I'd put the amplifier section in the middle between the two, and the DAC in the no-nagging-negatives camp. The DAC section is night and day better than the awful (in my opinion) Schiit Modi Multibit, and comparable in perceived audio quality to my Dragonfly Red. The build quality seems quite nice as far as the case and feel of the controls. All in all extremely pleased.
nice job. and i agree wholeheartedly about the Schiit.
if you love music but you have a crap laptop on a crap budget, then the Schiit is manna from heaven.
but if you love music and have a superior level of headset (Focal/AKG/Senn/Grado/hifiman/oppo/etc..) the Schiit just won't cut it at any level.
this amp is a gem and will take you up to nosebleed territory before you find a better one.
After a few more days of extensive listening...

I am still loving the amplifier. A beautiful, sweet, spacious, natural, musical, open sound with very nice bottom end punch and plenty of power.

I will say that the DAC is good but nothing special. Believe it or not, my favorite DAC under several hundred dollars is the $79 Hifime SABRE 9018 USB dongle DAC. I think it is not only a fantastic bargain but also a well-kept secret that is great sound period and punches way above its weight. The sound is more open, wide and holographic, and the bass is more vibrant and alive compared to the Grace.

Not knocking the built-in Grace DAC, it is fine and compares well to the Dragonfly, but I find myself always preferring the Hifime 9018 DAC after having listened to the amp with both.

I do think it is worth the additional $70 to have the Grace DAC built into the amp as a convenience, and it is a nice sounding DAC, just not outstanding like the Hifime.
I just got mine and I can't get the amp to kick in. The manual says that the amp connects to the DAC when the input button is toggled out. I can only get sound when the input button is pushed in. I am running Windows 10 on a Surfacebook with the unit connected via usb to a Surface Hub. Using the Massdrop TX-X00 and have tried both Spotify as well as MusicBee with FLAC files. The unit is plugged in with the included AC adapter into a power strip. The tube is installed and is glowing so i know that it's plugged in properly. Any ideas? Did I get a dud?
I think there has been some discussion below about how this is confusing or worded poorly in the manual. I think it is when the button is pushed in, though I don't have a unit myself so not sure. I would just go with whatever is producing sound.