Massdrop x Alex Cavalli Tube Hybrid Amp (CTH)search
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Massdrop x Alex Cavalli Tube Hybrid Amp (CTH)

Massdrop x Alex Cavalli Tube Hybrid Amp (CTH)

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Hi Everyone,
The Massdrop x Alex Cavalli Tube Hybrid 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 x Alex Cavalli Tube Hybrid Amp!
Are the Carbon X's also on the same boat since the ship date is basically the same?
Oh boy... Where do I start?? The journey, the designer, or the amp?

As an enthusiast myself, the coolest thing at Massdrop is getting to work with and know the people who make our favorite stuff. I’ve had the privilege of being able to speak with and learn from Alex Cavalli over the past year while working on this new amp with him. I understand more about the design decisions in amplifiers and what’s possible given different goals and constraints. (Though Alex would probably half-joke that “it still isn’t much”.)

Entry-level End-game Amp? Is that a category?

This project started out as a conversation to take a community-favorite DIY amp engineered by a community-favorite designer and make it accessible at an entry-level pricepoint. But when the prototype arrived, it had been completely re-worked by Alex. In comparison to the original Compact Tube Hybrid, it was a whole new amp. Sticking to the original vision, we worked toward the most accessible pricepoint possible while keeping the high-end sound that Alex passed down from his more expensive and more powerful amps. The amp needed to be audiophile-approved, more affordable, and simple to use. It also deserved a nice chassis, one that has some room in it and some stackability…

I’m sure there will be a lot more discussion these next few weeks. We’re working with Alex to have some information for those interested regarding the differences between the Compact Tube Hybrid and the Cavalli Tube Hybrid. Alex happens to have some travel during the drop so we may have a Q&A session where we’ll collect questions and Alex will answer them during the second half of the drop.

This is an important step for Massdrop, it marks the evolution of our ability to work with the best partners and designers to bring you the best versions of products for our communities. Each one of these collaborations is the result of our coming together to keep growing and moving our hobby forward.

Thanks for your participation!

EDIT 8/12/17: Here is a link if you are interested in the differences between the original COMPACT Tube Hybrid and the new CAVALLI Tube Hybrid.
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Hi Cee Tee,

Can't seem to find much info on the circuity in the amp. Any possibility of a Massdrop schematic or a current link to some more information on the original Compact tube hybrid ? This amp sounds so good that I'm thinking it might be worth modding to get the last bit of performance out of it.
The original cth is on his website under diy
Hey folks. Here's a post I made at headfi. In case it's useful.

I see that many of you have or are about get your CTHs.
Since I happen to have Serial #00001 I thought I might make a few comments on break in.
First, the amp sounds pretty good out of the box, at least to me. But, as we all know tubes take about 50 hours to clear out the impurities still clinging to the various internal parts and SS portions do need some time.
I don't think it's necessary to do a marathon break in session for 10,000 hours before listening.
My experience has been that after about 25 hours playing music the amp begins to take on its full character. And then after that it evolves into is inherent sound signature.
For me, I was able to listen fairly happily even with no hours, noticing the changes at about 25 hours and then better over time. I still have less than 100 hours on the amp. YMMV some.
I hope you all like it. It has a long history from a popular and very compact DIY project to a much more sophisticated amp.
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Hello, is it safe to use a 7dj8 in the CTH ? Thank You
Probably not. The heater will run cool, possibly limiting the cathode current which in turn would prevent the auto bias from homing in. If it is able to bias the sound could be a little lean.
Does anyone know how much power (current and voltage/Vrms) this puts out compared to, like, the Magni 3? Jotunheim? I'm new to this and don't really know how to read the specs on Massdrop's page.
I have a Schiit Vali2/Modi2 Stack and I was wondering if this would be worthwhile getting as a replacement for the Vali 2 with the same DAC. I'm currently using HD6xx and AKG 702.
I currently use a Fiio E17K Alpen 2 DAC/AMP along with HD6XX. Got a Hifiman 4XX coming soon..
Would this be a massive upgrade to my current DAC/AMP?
Any idea how long this will be available for?
Same here :/

I want it but in like a week or two lol
i wish this has balanced input as well like the liquid carbon
Guys, anyone have a Audio GD NFB 11 they can compare with the Cavalli CTH?

I have NFB 11.28 with my HD6xx and considering to buy the CTH now.
Excited to say I just got the LCX+SDAC today! I had been using the standalone LCX so I'm excited to see the difference.

Anyway, for those interested, I also have a standalone, mint condition CTH with less that 5 hours of use (with all accessories included and the exterior shipping box to keep the interior MD box perfect) that I'm selling for $200, free shipping (I ship via UPS) and I pay fees if anyone is interested... Cheers!
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Absolutely and without qualification. Neither had a lot of burn-in time, which I hear is more important for the CTH. I didn't do a blind test or anything, but the difference is obvious. It would be like blind testing between a peach and a nectarine (I love peaches, so the LCX is the peach in this example). It may depend on the music genre, but I think vocals sound clearer, purer, and more present. Piano keys are where you can really tell the difference. The LCX tickles my ears in a way that the CTH never did. I paired both with the Elex, and most of my listening is from Spotify at 320kbps and some local FLACs. I just sold the CTH, but I'm happy to give my .02 from what I remember.
Oh wow, thanks for your feedback and glad you're enjoying the LCX but I will likely be going for the CTH for my HD6xx.
Hello, if anyone would like to help and alex cavalli. The specification for the amp is that this unit pulls a maximum of 35 watts and only 9 watts when idle. My question is, when using a watt meter, what wattage does this amp pull from the wall? And when does this amp go into idle mode and what wattage reading do you guys get when in idle mode?
Hi ZOd1Ac,
The final units may be higher than 9 watts in idle and perfectly normal.
There is no separate "idle mode" that requires time to enter into.
6922 and 6DJ8 tubes are both compatible.