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I received the THX AAA™ 789 the other day, so I plugged my Hifiman HE500 to the SE output and even though the sound quality was pleasing, power was extremely anemic even at the highest gain setting using Foobar2000 as source.
The HD650 sounded very transparent and clear and vol was adequate at middle gain setting. Bass goes very deep and fast.
Finally I decided to custom build myself balanced cables for the HE500 and after plugging it to the XLR output..... Holy crap!! The sound quality is sublime, crystal clear highs and extremely deep base, the mids are in balance with the highs and lows and very present.
So even though this amp sound very nice out of the single ended output, the magic really happens when using the balanced output.
The only thing I am not fan of, is the sandblasted texture of the casing and the volume knob, it makes my hand sweaty. Also the gain knob do not align perfectly with the middle setting printed on the face plate, but that is a minor quality control issue.
I believe at this price point it is a very good deal, get one!
Aha! So the gain knob alignment issue is not exclusive to my unit. Interesting to know. Though I agree it's no big deal because it works just fine.
Nope, I also received a unit with gain knob pointing at III when its supposed to be pointing at II. Some report their unit's gain knob to be perfect aligned, but I doubt it. My friend also received one with the gain knob misaligned.
I bought two: one had good gain knob alignment but a horrible volume pot, the other had a good volume pot but a misaligned gain knob. Massdrop exchanged the one with the bad volume pot and the replacement I received had a perfect volume pot and a misaligned gain knob. I can live with it, but it's a shame that these otherwise great looking and flawless sounding amps are marred by such poor quality control.
" it's a shame that these otherwise great looking and flawless sounding amps are marred by such poor quality control."
Exactly my feelings, but its a great sounding amp. I could complain to MD and send it back, but I decided to keep it and enjoy it. I just wish that gain knob was straight, lol.