Massdrop x Alex Cavalli Liquid Carbon X Ampsearch
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Massdrop x Alex Cavalli Liquid Carbon X Amp

Massdrop x Alex Cavalli Liquid Carbon X Amp

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(19 reviews)
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Verified Purchaser
Its not as clean as similarly priced or even cheaper amplifiers. I have personally noticed channel imbalance at times (especially in the lower 1/4 of the potentiometer) and it is likely due to the pretty inexpensive potentiometer that isn't calibrated properly. I know other manufacturers who use these on portable amps and even they have to test them all and usually only half pass the mark. Price is high enough to justify an Alps Blue or reasonable clone, honestly. Output impedance is VERY good and the balanced output is so much stronger than the 1/4' that is a joke. Amp actually runs better in short sessions with less distortion when its relatively fresh than being left on a few days which is weird because the amp is not warm.... For a DAC, I am running a fully balanced dual-mono unit from TEAC which reveals some flaws here. The very top end gets shrill. I LOVE sparkle, but this is not sparkle and unlike any other amp I have. Perhaps, the design was compromised by cost-cutting or QA here as Cavalli is generally known to produce nice stuff. Save money and get an Aune X7s. This sounds no better than many of the dual TPA chip balanced amps that can be had for half the price. I had high hopes, just disappointed given the pedigree. Its not horrible, but it isn't great and its certainly not "a great $$$ deal". I might rip the thing open and see if replacing a couple parts fixes anything. 🤷‍♀️ Meh.
chilofthehorn
I completely agree with you on it not being clean. It honestly has a weird distortion in the volume pot, where the sound will be grainy. It’s really evident on Hd 600s. my dap never makes noise that badly.
Verified Purchaser
I was honestly awed by the sound I was getting from this amp, I've been used to listening to amps far more expensive then the LCX. Overall, it is a thumbs up on design, look & feel plus on balanced side you have all the power you'll ever need for most any headphone, simply put this amps sounds wonderful it is well worth it's low price, get one you won't regret this buy..
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What about the THX 789? Is that an upgrade over the X7S?
Mark_M
I'll let you know when mine comes in 😉.
Verified Purchaser
The Liquid Carbon X is a great headphone Amp. I use it with balanced input, balanced output, and Audeze LCD2, Sennheiser HD650 headphones. Single ended with Fostex TH900 headphones. Great SQ with Jazz and Classical music.
Verified Purchaser
I've gone through a ton of headphone amps, some of them embarrassingly expensive. Who knew my favorite would be among the (if not THE) least expensive.
Verified Purchaser
I would actually rate this 3.5 stars. I hear slight distortion when I'm not playing anything at all and I burned in about 100hrs into the amp within 5 months. The amp powers up any headphones but lacks crisp detail for the lower bass and upper mids and highs for me. I ended up selling mine to fund for a monoprice liquid platinum and the mass drop thx 789 (distortion free amp). I don't regret at all, I would only recommend this amp if it was cheaper and if people are on a budget. Build quality and tonality is a 3.5 star for me. Price should be $225 at most because there are better amps priced at this range.
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Verified Purchaser
It sounds good, but I prefer the CTH by a wide margin.
The LCX sounds a little faster, as if the slew rate is better. It has the positive traits of a solid-state amp without the glare, glassiness, or coldness often found in inexpensive transistor-based amplifiers.
But, it does not provide the fun of the CTH. The CTH's smooth, round punch at the bottom and tubey sparkle at the top are missing here.
But, it does have a pleasant, smooth character about it.
The only real gripe I have about the LCX is that the bottom end sounds strained. If you are listening to music with sharp transients on the kick drum for example, or music mastered with a lot of compression and low-end presence, the amp sounds like it struggles slightly to deliver on the bass notes.
I am surprised by the power rating and wonder about its accuracy. Even with the LCX's gain set to high, and with the hardware volume on my USB DAC (Hifime Sabre 9018 USB) all the way up, I can get louder levels before distortion with the CTH than I can with the LCX, and the bass is more impactful and powerful-sounding on the CTH than the LCX. Maybe the gain stage is insufficient to drive the output stage to full power?
Note that the strained bottom end I mentioned is something with the LCX and not the USB DAC's output op-amp being overdriven, because it is still there when I throttle back the hardware output on the DAC, and I don't have this issue when I use the same DAC and same headphones on the CTH.
For comparison, the balanced HP amp on the SMSL DP3 provides a notably more impactful and solid bottom end than the LCX despite having a much lower power output rating, but the rest of the spectrum definitely sounds better on the LCX.
Also note that thus far I have evaluated the LCX with single-ended inputs and balanced outputs only, using the HD6XX and HE4XX headphones.
Bottom line is, I like this amp, but I don't love it like I do the CTH.
Verified Purchaser
GREAT amp for the price! Amazing value.
Verified Purchaser
Excellent amp for supporting hifiman he series, focal high-end line. Will be good match with having low-impedance headphone, low sensitivity. My elear really sing on high gain!
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