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You would think that there would be some reviews of it before anyone would jump in on this. The market is saturated with some great headphone amps around that price range, to do well, it would need to bring something new to the game.
It seems that THX is on the box to indicate some sort of very low noise floor, so it would be nice to know more about that. I just see a bunch of marketing speak, and normally these days, high end 2 channel amps are not made with regard to THX specs because they far surpass them, and THX is really just minimal baseline.
Hopefully this product brings something new to the market, or just plain great sound would be nice. There seems to not be any way to know as of yet...
I agree, things are getting out of hand with this THX certification stuff now.....
I thought this 'THX Certification' nonsense died a decade ago.
THX had a table and some amp designs at CamJam NYC last year, showcasing some small but very mighty and smooth amp designs in very basic enclosures (think quick Raspberry Pi projects with the two “shelves” of acrylic). They also held a seminar talking about their extremely low distortion figures and the new tech they were using, as well as another seminar about headphones and surround.
Most importantly, they had a working amp at their table. I was surprised at the sound... very open and transparent character, with a very black background and agile response, good impact like when I upgraded to giant capacitors in an old tube amp earlier in my head-fi days. I doubt it will beat TOTL offerings, but I bet first owners will find it punching above it’s price and size peers.
Hi-End amp with 24V brick switch mode power supply? smh
Power supply could be improved, yes. Part of why I prefer the Cavalli Liquid Carbon over the Massdrop Liquid carbon, but they had to do something to lower the price. Same goes here.
Just sharing what I heard. THX was looking to license their amp design, guess they partnered with Massdrop, though that would explain why Monoprice has a different but also THX amp on the way. The THX amps can actually be implimented small enough to be put into portables too, but maybe not this 789 model.
In the right hands, SMPS can be much cleaner than toroid 60 Hz power.
See Benchmark AHB2. I designed the SMPS in there, sitting less than an inch above the AAA amp. 132 dB SNR, and 380 Watts BTL into 8R. Oh, and the product only weighs 13 lbs.
In my opinion there's too much unfounded affinity for toroid power in audio circles, probably because of early SMPS guys who didn't know what they were doing.
Andrew, thank you for your reply and the explanation.
I know British hi-end audio manufacturer Linn did their SMPS' in the right way decades ago, but at a very hefty price. Recently iFi-Audio (an offshoot of Abbingdon Music Research) made a low-noise and inexpensive wall-wart SMPS with a somewhat low functional reliability.
I'd say 99.9% of brick sized outside SM power supplys in the world still made using the same cheap noisy circuits and they are not suitable for use in hi-end or even in mid-fi audio.
If THX team designed low-noise and stable switch-mode outside PS that can be included with inexpensive by hi-end standards MD xTHX AAA it would be a revolutionary achievement. I'm looking forward for reviews from reputable reviewers and may evaluate one myself.
You know what amp the THX AAA reminded me most of (in show conditions)? Questyle CMA 600i.
I hate that amp. Super dry and trebly.
Hope this sounds nothing like that.
I’ve heard worse. I find the Objective2 even more dry, but it’s still quite popular. Violectric is the opposite: super wet, intimate, and dark. I definitely would NOT recommend a Violectric as a great pairing with the HD 650, as that headphone is already fairly intimate.
What stands out to me the most about the THX amps and the Questyle amps (I admit, there was the entire lineup of amps at the store and I listened most to their golden reference “best effort” CMA 800 series amp, I think with the “800r”) is a very honest, uncolored character that also doesn’t have artifacts (Extremely low distortion and background noise). This THX amp would be a good pairing with a headphone like the HD 650, IMHO. If you had something like a DT 880, a more colored, warm, and liquid amp might be a better match, again IMHO. Personal taste rules the day, and to a particular set of ears any piece of equipment can be just what someone was looking for.