Massdrop x Alex Cavalli Tube Hybrid Amp (CTH)search

Massdrop x Alex Cavalli Tube Hybrid Amp (CTH)

Massdrop x Alex Cavalli Tube Hybrid Amp (CTH)

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(69 reviews)
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Stickied
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!
AveryC
Are the Carbon X's also on the same boat since the ship date is basically the same?
Stickied
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. https://www.massdrop.com/talk/2167/the-massdrop-x-alex-cavalli-tube-hybrid-in-with-the-new
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CEE_TEE
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.
OG47
The original cth is on his website under diy
Stickied
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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AlexCavalli
Hello, is it safe to use a 7dj8 in the CTH ? Thank You
lugnut
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.
I used the Chord Hugo 2 as a Dac with the CTH and man..what a trip!! amazing clarity, punch and huge soundstage..
Hi - I have one of these Amp's for sale. It's got about 12 hours on it. I have the original box. It's in excellent condition. I'm selling it for $125 plus shipping.
Hello, FYI, if anyone's interested, I bought a silver plated conductor 4-pin XLR to stereo RCA patch cord off Amazon, and was favorably affirmed that headphone amps of the right design can function as superb preamps for my Mackie 824 Mk1's. Quiet, dynamic, clear, detailed, and neutral, with a bass that makes you feel all notes are fully reproduced from top to bottom. I went through a DI in order to allay any impedance incompatibility, and custom silver XLR to XLR to my Mackies. FUN!!!
Hey, having an issue where there is noise/hiss on the right channel of this amp that does not change in volume when I turn the knob. This is the second unit I've had with this same issue. Anyone else have a similar problem, or any idea how to fix it?
Volume pot crackle
I'm getting a bit of static, crackle, when i change volume. This is a first for me, so bear with me please. I looked it up online and I see it's somewhat common, not specific to this amp or anything. - If it doesn't bother me a lot, can I just leave it alone? or will it continue to get worse if I don't clean it? - If I do choose to clean it, anyone recommend a site with very simple and specific instructions?
malaprop
twisting the volume knob back and forth several times does make it go away for a bit, but it comes back eventually
If anyone is interested in this, I'm looking to unload it. Never used, still brand-new. I don't have any current needs for this AM. It's just wasting away in the box. I'm located in the US.
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Yes.
Got it. Thanks. Will message shortly
Update Nov 21st..... Went back to using the Gold Lion with Tidal HI-FI as opposed to Spotify premium that was previously used in my original observations. With additional break-in i can now report that it is definitely worth replacing the stock tube with the gold lion. Extremely detailed with smooth transparent highs. This is a superior tube. All the negatives vs the Harmonix that i originally talked about are gone. BTW i now keep my amp on all the time and the sound continues to improve via greater smoothness. Previous review....... I replaced my stock Harmonix tube with the Gold Lion. No contest, the Harmonix was superior sonically due to its outstanding smoothness using a hifiman 400i. The Lion sounded very course in comparison to the buttery smoothness of the Harmonix. Hence if you have a bright pair of phones you may be dissapointed with the Gold Lion . Massdrop was probably correct that they found the Harmonix to be best overall. The Gold Lion however may be better if you are using a "polite" phone like the Sennheiser hd6xx.
Why not balanced input???? :_-(((((((
Just got one of these. Sounds very good for the money. Obviously since it has a tube it doesn't work with planars, but for dynamics it sounds excellent for the price.
Cokeman
Im getting great results with hifiman 400i planars. Destroys the hd6xx on this amp in my opinion. Hd6xx way to base heavy and lacking tightness.
I have this amp and really enjoy it.
However, it'd be great if Massdrop would arrange for the sourcing and sale of a linear power supply for this amp.
I hovered over the “Join Drop” button for a couple hours before closing my eyes and hitting it. Turns out, I got the last one. I’m hoping this is a sign that it was meant to be. My only hesitation is that I’m not sure if and how I’m gonna use it. How does my plan look in your opinion? - Keep HD58X and Bottlehead Crack for now - Sell Fostex TR-X00 Ebony to help pay for my addiction. They're great, but not as “closed” as I would’ve liked and not really necessary for me to have because... - I really want Focal Elex if ever available - Pick up a Schiit Modi as a decent, cheap DAC (since I have none), use it for both Crack, new CTH, HD58X and Elex (if I ever land a drop). - Use ES-100 for portable use - If all works and I fall in love, Sell Crack? Sell HD58X? - Get therapy for addiction and indecision
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Yeah, everything was fine until after about 5 hours of letting it break in at 10o’clock volume level. The tube has a burn ring at the top. I bought A Gold Lion tube just to try it so I’ll give that a shot. Still a little upsetting for a brand new amp. No word from support yet. I would also love a liquid carbon but the line must be drawn somewhere ;)
Manbear
That's some bad luck, hopefully the Gold Lion tube is a pretty good replacement for the time being. I'm sure support will take care of you though. Yeah, the unfortunate line, I want it all :P. Currently debating putting off an amp purchase as I really need a new gpu, ahh, the dilemma!.
Hi, what kind of linear power supply would i need for the CTH? Would I benefit from the change?
Audio n00b qq: is this amp not intended to pair well with high sensitivity low impedance iem's? I currently run this amp along side a dragonfly red. My fiio f9 PRO's don't play well with this setup. Even if i turn down the output on the dragonfly red, i still hear very audible white noise through the iem's, even with volume turned all the way down on the CTH. These iem's work fine with my o2 amp and the dragonfly red set to max volume. Thoughts?
What is the pair like with HD800S?
For those that have this paired with the X00's, how's the volume? Is it possible to listen at low volume with 25 ohm headphones?
Have a 2 month old Alex Cavalli Tube Hybrid Amp (CTH) available for purchase. Pretty much mint/new condition in original box and packaging. Killer amp, recently picked up an Axe FX III and the headphone amp in it is filling my needs now so I'm selling the CTH. I can do Paypal for $199 shipped.
Thanks,
Adam
Evisious
Interested!
kent10ou
Sure, email me at agreever@gmail.com
Thanks,
Adam
noob question. how often do tubes last for/need replacing? with about 2-3 hours of listening a day
BIGGUY4x4
Probably forever
BIGGUY4x4
Tubes last around 5000 hours.
French customs are asking me 61 euros in taxes for this 215 euros amp. I’m considering returning it (not picking it up actually) just because I didn’t expect such taxes. Do you know if I can get a refund from massdrop (except for the shipping cost)?
TomV
It's important to understand your local customs rules and fees before ordering anything at all from another country - not just Massdrop. In France there may be a website that calculates this for you before you order - I know we do in my country, so I always know what to expect.
SmithyNZ
You’re right. I paid the taxes and picked up the amp.
Is this a worthy upgrade to my first gen magni?
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Oh okay. Well usually people here would recommend upgrading headphones first then the amp/dac. There are some really nice headphones here on Massdrop. Check out the HD58X, HD6XX, K7XX, and the TH-X00s.
The CTH is a REALLY nice amp. It will make your headphones sound a bit warmer, and it has a lot of power to basically drive any pair of headphones. There's no background hiss even with the volume way up, and the way it's built just screams quality. Can't really beat it for $250!
It's up to you whether you'd prefer to upgrade headphones first or your amp. Good luck!
Fai9al023
Thanks for the feedback. I may look for some headpones first. I have a peachtree decco in my living room that I use to power a 2.1 system and I tried the headphone jack on that it's much better than my shitt stack with it's built in dac. So I may get some new cans and then down the line make that final upgrade
Is this amp good for FPS gaming?
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Jeremy.yuk
Nice one ;)
I have a mass drop sennheiser paired with sound blaster X7. I preorder mobius from audeze just wondering any better amp to beat x7 rn. Since X7 won't able to give me a better surrounding sound if I turn on scout mode.
I am doing break-in for the amp and let it running continuously; notice that, sometimes when I plug in the headphone, amp's light turns red (from white) - just like when it is turned on. Is that normal ?
PhucHPham
maybe I should turn the volume way down before plug/un-plug headphones as per best practices.
PhucHPham
Yeah I would stick to what the manual says. Before turning on the amp turn the volume all the way down, and plug in the headphones then turn it on.
Enjoy your new amp!
Im somewhat confused by conflicting information. When does this ship and when does this drop end?
MartinB16
It ships within 2-3 days after joining the drop.
This is an "in-stock" drop so it will be here until they run out of stock. So you can assume it will be here for a while!
For your consideration, Audio Science Review just posted a comparison of the CTH to the JDS O2. The CTH is not recommended based on engineering.
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/review-and-measurements-of-massdrop-alex-cavalli-tube-hybrid-cth-and-jds-o2-headphone-amps.3928/
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Your claims to match other peoples' measurements have been refuted by the authors themselves, who have taken exception to having their work mischaracterized.
Not even going to click on that link. ASR sources have left such a trail of acrimonious destruction across multiple forums that I'm not going to go back there. Reading Jimster's conspiracy-theorist hate mongering there was especially cringe worthy.
G3n3r1c
The 02 is a piece of crap by today's standards. That site is garbage.
Why isn't the huge, gaudy, this-is-all-outsourced-to-China power brick included in any of the photos? The brick is fucking huge, the kind that will block other ports on a surge protector. It's almost reason enough alone not to buy it.
search
Hey guys I am searching for a nice paring with my Beyerdynamics T90 1st gen. Since these cans do have quite an emphasis in the highs, I am looking for a tube amp to give it somewhat more smoothness. I know the tubes can change a lot but I'd like to know if this amp is more on the warm side of audio out of the box? Anyone got a T90 with the cth? Also I would like to know how the CTH does compare to the Bottlehead Crack (both with standard tubes). Any input much obliged. Cheers, B.
Just ordered before lunch, i'm not too pleased with my asgard 2 / senheisser hd6xx combo (sounds boring)
Read the Cavalli is a great pairing with the hd650 so also ordered XLR cables from here: https://periaptcables.com/collections/frontpage/products/professional-xlr-pro-xlr?variant=31412790290
look forward to a more pleasant (and fun!??!?!) sound.
As it's right now i just 'enjoy' (the guy of listening to music without overthinking / pondering about frequency responses and so on) SOME music better straight up a Momentum v1 / laptop headphone jack
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If you are looking for a balanced amp, the LCX is the way to go.
tsuid1
i'm ok for now, just received the amp and even from the start I'm much more pleased with the sound over the schiit asgard ii
hi, I have one of your allex cavalla amps and im trying to find out if I can plug in the power adapter upside down so I can plug it into my surge protector easier. Does anyoone happen to know by chance? thank you