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First thing to mention: If you participated in the launch of the Cavalli Tube Hybrid standalone version and you want this combo version with the Grace Design Standard DAC, you may contact customer service to upgrade. (You can cancel your previous transaction if you are switching to the purchase of this version. To do so, click in the upper right-hand corner on your profile icon to access the drop down menu. Select “Transactions” from the menu, find the CTH order and click on the “CONTACT SUPPORT” link to submit your request. Please note that the combo unit launch does not guarantee serial numbers below 550.)
EDIT 9/11/2017: If you contacted customer service to upgrade from CTH, we will be reaching out to you even if you received a reply over the weekend that you could not cancel (things were not fully set up for the upgrade but many of you were helped).
About this collaboration…
I came to work at Massdrop as a customer and a fan of custom products. Massdrop brings audiophile community desires directly to partners in order to make customized versions of our favorite products.
The next exciting step in the evolution of the audiophile custom product program was to commission a new design and enable scaled-up production of a favorite boutique designer such as Alex Cavalli. Massdrop’s new production & supply chain makes much higher volumes possible and higher volume allows for lower pricing.
Today’s introduction of the Cavalli Tube Hybrid, in combination with the Grace Design Standard DAC, adds the new ability to bring together our best partners and create novel product combos that wouldn't normally be possible.
This DAC/amp combo is the culmination of Alex Cavalli's amplifier design capability, Grace Design's DAC engineering capability, the community's desired product features, plus Massdrop's hub of partnership & manufacturing capability- resulting in a new, accessible, high-performance product.
The specs for the DAC show a micro USB input and the specs for the amp show an RCA input; can the DAC be bypassed?
Yes, there is a button on the front of the CTH+SDAC combo for input selection.
If pushed in, amp will use the internal SDAC. If not depressed, will take external RCA input to the amp.
Hi, I believe the dac chip ak4452 (velvet sound) has several options that can be utilized, depending on the build and the preference of the designer. One of which are the filters. Cavallis amps have been described as warm, while maintaing detail. Do you know if the filter choice utilized will maintan that signature? Also, is there the ability to switch the filters on the chip? I also read that these chips have the ability to daisy chain? I think I saw another amp/dac using a dual Akm chip for balance. I'm not very knowledgeable of the electronics, so I'm just trying to understand what I have read.
If I remember correctly, the amp has a variable gain. Is this auto or are there switches? I do wish it had a pre-amp, but this looks like a very nice piece. Will it have another long wait time? Thanks!
It looks like we lose one output from the SDAC compared to buying these separately. Can you confirm? If so, would you consider adding balanced or unbalanced fixed line-level outputs as well?
What are the chances of MD pulling another stunt like this in the future but with an upgraded DAC section that supports 384khz/DSD?
I'd be pissed if that happens when we already received our unit with no chance to upgrade except through a new purchase.
Why not just make the chassis modular in the sense that whenever there is an upgrade, we can just slot/swap in the upgraded/separate chip board?
In fact, do I understand that there is no line output on this unit? We cannot output the included SDAC to another receiver or amp? Strictly headphone outputs (balanced and 1/4 regular)? In comparison, the standalone SDAC has in fact 2 line outputs: one RCA set and one 3.5mm... This is another reason to prefer separate components (standalone SDAC and standalone O2 or CTH amp) rather than this all in one design. This design may or may not suit your needs compared to the standalone solution, depending on your usage.
Yes, I was looking at the SDAC because of the two always-on line outs, but this would have been great to keep the total number of boxes on my desk lower. To be fair I've only ever found pro-audio solutions to fit my needs (balanced line outs, separate volume pots for line out and headphone out, none of that auto-switching on headphone plug-in stuff) at a price level I can afford.
I did exactly what you said and contacted customer support, but I got a reply saying neither an upgrade nor cancellation is possible. Maybe they weren't informed of this?
Could you please look into this matter and let us know by today, before the CTH + SDAC drop goes live tomorrow?
Sorry about this. The word may not have reached everyone and we will honor upgrades. I'll look into tomorrow for sure!
So when we use this device as just an AMP, will the AMP perform completely same as Massdrop x Cavalli CTH Amp or that combo design can cause some distortion or something negative?
Why not just announce this at the same time as the CTH standalone and also include the SDAC as a bundled standalone option. Massdrop obviously knew they were going to release this product soon after the original drop. This type of marketing really annoys me...
Any chance the Astell & Kern AK240 Blue Note DAP will drop again soon? Really interested in that and just found Massdrop a month to late.
They now announced the cavali liquid carbon x version, they should really announce the series at the same time
Hi. Any chance I can order the stand alone amp without DAC please?
Same here , Grace's dac is not really a buildin dac, it's a separated piece and I hate the name , shes broken my heart!
Piece of advice(if I may):
Since you guys have now collaborations that take 6 months of production. Instead of dispatching all orders at same date why not tier it? Like first 500 will get it shipped 2 months later and the next 500 will have to wait 2 more. I think will be convenient for all.
The pic doesn't show any USB output. I take it this is not an actual picture of the product?
I suggest you take a look at picture 6 out of 11. Above the top blue arrow of the bottom bunch you can see the MicroUSB input. and I couldn´t find any sign of advertising USB output in the description.
@CEE_TEE Is it still possible to opt for a CTH amp only from this drop? Thanks!
Will the DAC Line out work with the rest of amp turned off?
Reason not to use the tube unnessecerally If I only want to use the SDAC.
Any way to hop on the standalone CTH or do we have to wait for the next drop?
Hi @kidau & @Heex,
Sorry...at this time we are not re-opening the standalone CTH drop. But thank you for asking!
Can the CTH work with the additional filament current draw of an E80CC tube?