Massdrop CTH + SDAC DAC/Ampsearch
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Massdrop CTH + SDAC DAC/Amp

Massdrop CTH + SDAC DAC/Amp

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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.)
AveryC
Hi

Just received mine.. well packed, so excited :)
I’m sure it was thought of, so this is a design question: Why does this not have a balanced output?
Is the XLR output a balanced one ?
Shenal
No, it's for convenience only. However the output figures are still quite good, and comparable to some balanced amps.
Can the micro usb act as an output?
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You've been a huge help and cleared up my questions. Thank you so much for your time!
Dellgenius
You're very welcome! There's a lot to learn at first and it can be daunting. I hope you get a lot of enjoyment out of these purchases.
does these tubes ever get broken or they ever eventually die so u have to replace them any info on this?
Mesort
My understanding of vacuum tubes are that they all have a set number of hours of life. That being said, hybrid amps do not heat up tubes anywhere as hot as OTL amps so my guess is that they will last at least half a lifetime.
This plus Cavalli Mass combo tube. Or schiit Valhalla 2 and Mod 2i multibit combo? I have 6xx cans and Focal Alpha 50 on my desk. On the fence on which way to go...
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Since you will have both the CTH and THX AAA, do us all a favor and post a comparison of the difference between the two.
The R2R DAC isn't balanced? Thought I read somewhere it was.
Gregfras
It sadly is not. CeeTee confirmed that for us when I was pestering him about it in the thread. He and Will did mention a balanced DAC is in the works (very early stages) but is a far ways off, production-wise. Trust me, if the R2R was balanced then purchasing would be a no brainer for me.
Hey there, was wondering if anyone could advise me on whether I should take this over a Schiit Lyr 1 and Modi Multibit for the Hd6xx? Gonna be using this most with iOS devices, thanks
weetimo
I'm reposting but here's my answer to a similar question from another user:
Hard choice to make. The multibit Modi is a much better DAC for sure, heck even the regular Modi has a step up better DAC with a AKM 4490 instead of the 4452. But then again thats $400 for the combo compared to this being $319. What would really be a close comparison would be the Schiit Lyr3 and that's double the price at $599 with just the akm dac, or $699 with the multibit dac. Maybe its better to get the Massdrop CTH without the dac and get the Schiit Modi 2 Multibit dac. Or an Audioquest Dragonfly or Beetle dac.
The SDac here isn't that great, good but not great. Heck that new Massdrop R2R dac would be a incredible choice.
Gregfras
Appreciate it, thanks man :)
Massdrop, please answer me this~

WHY the Micro (USB) interface? If this is MD made, why did you do this?

Here is my fear ~This tells me that this is really just an amp, and you threw in a DAC chip for a marketing requirement check off item. In other words, you get the sh--y connector, chip and a quick and dirty bypass of the RCA connector inputs and join the amplification path. No attention paid to layout and the DAC chip eco-system? Maybe your letting your ODM do a cut and paste of a dragonfly type of design/layout.
Fu-- MRD's check off items. Someone needs to look at the bigger picture?
BTW, IMHO, this is why Chinese manufacturing gets a bad name, not the manufacturing itself, but this kind of crap? Good lord, I saw a comment from a guy saying that the DAC sounds slightly better than his internal motherboard MAC DAC path.
The Audioquest dragonfly products are excellent. But believe me, they are using the micro connector for very specific reasons, are paying for it. I am sure they replace lots of those, plus they probably really beefed up that interface. Sticking a micro cable into a very small light product is a lot gentler process than sticking a cable into a big fat heavy brick. The interface and connectors were spec'ed for light phones, PDA's and cameras.

Or maybe, you have a good reason? I want to be wrong. I really do.

BTW, the amp path no doubt is solid. VERY SOLID.

(But, I am sorry, doing this kind of thing just misleads the newbies who use the DAC. To them they just walk away from their foray into Audio with a "whats the big deal" attitude. They cannot tell why the unit does not sounds real good. Not good.)
coolerking
I would say the strain on a portable-phone targetted device would be magnitude larger than on a desktop amp. How often people are gonna unplugged the USB connector, really, for me I don't see any problem with having a Micro-USB connector, They can be quite strong, unless you find something problematic on how it's mechanically coupled to the PCB, some are not optimal of course. I don't know the particular of this but really don't see this as a problem for me. That being said it's OK to think otherwise
coolerking
Basically the Grace Design SDAC is sharing a box with the MCTH amp. They integrated the connectors with the shell, but there's not much more to this. You can run a line out from the DAC without even powering on the amp, because the DAC is USB powered.

I actually like this setup, because I run powered desktop speakers from the line out without burning hours on the tube.