Drop + THX AAA™ 789 Linear Amplifier
Drop + THX AAA™ 789 Linear Amplifier
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Product Description
Announced at CES 2018, the Drop + THX Achromatic Audio Amplifier (THX AAA™) 789 is a linear bipolar amplifier with feed-forward error correction. It’s designed for objectivists who appreciate an incredibly clean, transparent amp—the sought-after “wire with gain” whose amplification is wholly uncolored by a sound of its own Read More
Here's what our community has to say
All of our reviews are from verified customers.
4.9
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257
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97%
would recommend to a friend
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Squirrel_Jerky
1
Jan 27, 2020
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My Happy Place
I wouldn't be able to tell anyone if this is a good amp or a bad amp. I bought it because it's so highly regarded. What I can say is that when I plug any headphone I own into the THX AAA 789 my head starts bobbing, my foot starts tapping and a shit eating grin covers my face. As far as I'm concerned that means it's a great amp!
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Would recommend to a friend.
Jan 27, 2020
Doggocopter
0
Jan 26, 2020
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The best option for your first serious amp.
We all started somewhere, Schiit stack, O2, etc.; no matter what brought you to this hobby the THX AAA 789 is a fantastic amp for budding enthusiasts or someone looking for a good "placeholder" system until they can afford what they truly want. Depending on your headphone budget, this can even be a fine "endgame" amp in an affordable system. With all the hype about the clean sound of this amp, one of my favorite features that often gets overlooked in reviews is its versatility. It can output sound to a wide range of devices through its 4-pin balanced output and its 1/4" and 3.5mm single-ended outs. Three gain stages give you the ability to play through sensitive IEM's all the way up to planar magnetic headphones. One area of investment not to overlook with this amp is the DAC. Balanced vs. single-ended isn't as important has finding a DAC that sounds good with such a flat amp. DROP carries a plethora of DAC's that go well with this system and I've used mine with a Modi 3, Grace SDAC and a Cambridge Audio DAC Magic Plus all with noticeably different results (I settled on the DAC Magic Plus, fwiw).
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Would recommend to a friend.
Jan 26, 2020
SergioR
22
Jan 22, 2020
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The hype is real, if you want to hear your headphone’s potential then you want this.
I’ll spare repeating all the glowing things it does well but i’ll share that it has consistently been able to drive ALL my headphones to perform above and beyond, even those that didn’t seem to benefit from a powerful headphone amp. Those that benefit from the extra power just stood up and performed beautifully. Effortless, clear, beautiful.  Currently feeding it music from Roon via a Topping D50s. Oh, did i mention i still haven’t tried balanced?  
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My best Drop purchase to date, period!
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Would recommend to a friend.
Jan 22, 2020
Dilda
103
Jan 24, 2020
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There is no difference with balanced other than more power. The amp is just as clean in single-ended connectivity audibly. I love my THX 789 still! Still an amazing headphone amplifier at this cost. Still amazed it's only around the $400 mark.
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Jan 24, 2020
SabreMS
7
Jan 19, 2020
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Power for days!
I decided it was finally time to step up from my Schiit Magni 3 and wow! Sound is amazing and there's more power even on SE than I expect I'll ever need. I use it to drive my DT 1990s, HD 6XXs and Fidelio X2HRs, and I can't go much further than noon on medium gain without hurting my ears. Running it off an SMSL SU-8 DAC balanced and I couldn't be happier. Build quality is amazing, the dials feel super solid quality and it never seems to get even remotely warm for me either. There is a cheaper option out there now (SMSL SP200 anyone?), but the 789 does still have two massive legs up over it. One, at the very least the two SE outputs are both live at once (haven't tested balanced output yet), so you can run two cans at the same time (awesome for A/Bing cans). The second is...no case slant! Worth the price premium for those two features alone IMO.
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Would recommend to a friend.
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Jan 19, 2020
MEV1
16
Jan 18, 2020
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Very clear, and powerful.
I recently replaced my SMSL SH-8 with this Gem, and I am not regretting it. I kept the SU-8 Dac to pair it with this 789, and it is excellent! The SH-8 was not bad by any means, in fact it was very enjoyable to listen to, especially on the SBD setting. I just needed more power for my 6XX's, and that is exactly what I got, plus a new level of clarity that I have not heard before. I even ordered the new Amazon HD service to expand my High Res library. They only get up to 24-96khz. No DSD or anything, but very sufficient for me. The balanced out to me controls the bass a little better, but the SE is great also. I use middle gain for balanced, and high gain for SE. There is not much difference. My HD598's also sound amazing on this amp. My friend from work is going to bring his HD800's, and Mr Speakers closed back's this weekend, and we will see what they sound like. I have a feeling that they will shine as well.
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Would recommend to a friend.
Jan 18, 2020
SmithyNZ
177
Jan 17, 2020
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Got my 789 earlier this week. It took 2 weeks to ship to New Zealand. My other amps: Schiit Asgard 2 (owned for 5-6 years), Beresford Caiman (owned for 10 years) DACs: Schiit Bifrost 4490 (toslink), Beresford Caiman Headphones: HD800S, HD650 - both with balanced cables (and 6.3mm stock SE cables) Good: The 789 sounds clean and detailed and I'm pleased with it so far. To me, its analytical and revealing sound is reminiscent of the Beresford Caiman which always paired particularly well with the HD650 due to the way it lifted the so-called 'veil' of those cans. The Schiit Asgard 2 sounds warmer and more 'full' than the 789 with the HD800S (but just muddy with the HD650), but I appreciate the fact that the 789 doesn't really interfere with the sonic signature of the headphones - I can use EQ if I need to, or switch to different headphones - which is by far my preference for changing tonality. I just like having a neutral DAC and amp and flavouring the sound with the headphones themselves and the 789 fits the bill perfectly in this regard. The 3 gain options are nice, although I will seldom use them as both headphones I use seem to work best on the middle gain setting. I've yet to use the SE pass through connectors, but will give them a try in the near future - it'll hopefully mean I can output to both the Asgard 2 and 789 without having to mess around with cables. Not so good: When the volume is dialed up past 12 o'clock, there's a physical scraping that occurs in the pot. It's like raw metal rubbing against metal, and makes a very unpleasant noise and feels rough. If I pull the dial outward (towards me) while turning it, the scraping stops. I'm a little disappointed by the QC on this. I also wish they had painted a marker on the volume dial - it's very difficult to see the volume level in less than bright lighting conditions. I know that some people paint this themselves, and I may consider that but I'd rather it was done in the factory. I'm not really a fan of the power button. It's very convenient to have it on the front, but it has got quite a 'squishy' feel to it - there's no physical click or haptic feedback to indicate it has been activated. The Asgard's metal on/off toggle switch is much more satisfying to use and feels more premium, even though it's annoyingly placed on the back of the amp.
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Would recommend to a friend.
Jan 17, 2020
SmithyNZ
177
Jan 21, 2020
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If I lived in the US, I would return them for a replacement. The cost of shipping them back to the US from New Zealand, however, would be more than the issue is worth. I think I'll just have to live with it!
Jan 21, 2020
adeadcrab
147
Jan 24, 2020
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I've contacted Drop in the past for a replacement for the Koss 9X electrostatic headphones; not only did they send a replacement before I sent the original back, they emailed me a pre-paid label to send it back to them at no cost!
Jan 24, 2020
Pranaychand246
2
Jan 15, 2020
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The only amplifier you'll ever need!
As good of a headphone amp as you'll ever need! The thx 789 is pretty much able to power any pair of headphones. I also find that it dosent heat up very much. I paired this unit with the hd6xx headphones and a SMSL SU-8 DAC and im very satisfied. The sound is very accurate and full. Distortion is very rare. It has a very "dry" and uncompromising sound which is perfect for mixing, mastering and analytical listening. I also use the unit for casual listening. Great for vinyl as well! I used this amplifier with my Debut Carbon turntable and it was very clear and accurate.
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Would recommend to a friend.
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Jan 15, 2020
jslim2
10
Jan 12, 2020
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Short-lived amp
The amp was good, until it died on me. I’m not getting any sound output from my ports though the indicator is white. For the note, I’m averaging less than 5 hours a week on this, for less than a year (Factoring in the time for forwarding and the time where I’m not in town due to work) , and this unit has not been subject to any form of abuse or power surges (it’s plugged into a surge arrestor). Drop support isn’t particularly helpful either. They didn’t bother reading my query carefully before answering me, and gave me a rather generic reply that “it’s out of the coverage timeframe yada yada” as if you brush the query aside. The oddity observed was that when powering on, the indicator turns white, but there’s no “click” when pressing down the switch. On powering down there’s the lack of the double click, just a single click on the unit. This was my query to the support team which I was hoping to understand if there’s a known issue. At least I got to know that the community support team doesn’t read before they reply, and that they’re more concerned if the product is still under coverage. Be warned if you’re intending to use this for a mid-term solution, I got barely 200 hours out of this one.
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Would not recommend to a friend.
Jan 12, 2020
Jump
2
Jan 7, 2020
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Wow!
Just brought home and installed... my chain: iMac with 24-96 FLAC or DSD files (almost everything from rock to funky to classical) played by VOX, via USB to Grace balanced SDAC, via balanced XLR cables to AAA789, via Massdrop XLR - 2.5 mm TRRS adapter plus balanced cable to Hifiman Sundara cans. Wow! Powerful enough, clear, very analytical, lots of dynamic range. Treble and mid very present, bass is deep and precise but not too oomph... Compared to my Ember Project amp (not balanced) the 789 is definitely more analytical, less warm, but sharp, precise and powerful. And I like it like this. Will add more comments after some hours of listening also with AR-E10 balanced IEMs. Current weakest element in the chain could be now be the SDAC, but I’ll keep it like this for a while and enjoy it. Eager to test it with my FiiO M9, I just have to figure out how to plug it to SDAC.... Any hint? UPDATE:
  • No problems in connecting the SDAC to my FiiO M9 using a printer (USB/ USB-C) cable: the battery drainage of the FiiO is higher than normal, but it can power the SDAC. Not yet tested through the coaxial.
  • great sound also using the AR-E10 IEMs with balanced cable and the XLR Massdrop adapter. Definitely a very very good amp at very reasonable price!
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Would recommend to a friend.
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Jan 7, 2020
hjteq
2
Jan 7, 2020
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Yes
Only thing that bugged me about the unit is that the gain switch is crocked. Still, I would, and perhaps will, buy it again. It does it all for me, game, movies, and music. Equipment used: Input: USB from Desktop to SMSL M500 variable volume. Output: Audeze LCD 2 Classic Gain setting set to II at 70%
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Would recommend to a friend.
Jan 7, 2020
Igor123456789
2
Jan 15, 2020
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How do you like the combo so far? I have just gotten my unity 2 days ago, and while looking into what dacs to get, the M500 was in the list. The cans my unit is powering are the AEON 2 closed back model.
Jan 15, 2020
Fayne
877
Jan 15, 2020
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The M500 is an excellent pairing with all of the Drop Amps as well as a bunch of others. I <3 the ever living shit out it with my 789, LCX, CTH, ZDT, P20, LittleDot1+, TA-20, and ESP-95x. The M500 did so many things right design wise. Great DAC chipset, good opamps, good relay switched outputs, an excellent display, easy to handle UI, and active development of firmware updates. Worth every cent.
Jan 15, 2020
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