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Massdrop x Alex Cavalli Tube Hybrid Amp (CTH)

Massdrop x Alex Cavalli Tube Hybrid Amp (CTH)

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Product Description
Built from the ground up by Alex Cavalli, a legend in the world of headphone amps, this hybrid amp combines a solid state section, a tube amp section, and an entirely new circuit design. It delivers the current required by planar magnetics, along with the voltage drive that dynamic headphones need to perform their best Read More
Here's what our community has to say
All of our reviews are from verified customers.
4.5
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189
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91%
would recommend to a friend
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DudeDudeson
6
Jul 22, 2021
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A little splash of tube with your solid state
Fantastic amp with plenty of power to drive high impedance headphones. Paired with the 6XX gives you a bit of tube richness (not much, but a splash of it) without the heat and clunkiness of larger tube amps.
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Would recommend to a friend.
Paullieb213
107
Jul 20, 2021
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Doesn't last. Fell apart.
Pretty good sound for the first year. Did a lot of tube rolling in the beginning and was fun. However the amp literally fell apart. Once again the pot went first with tons of static. Sound now is total crap. A waist.
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Would not recommend to a friend.
habitus
0
May 20, 2021
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Sounds alright, build quality is not what i expect a Cavalli to be
Consistent buzzing through my cans. Build quality is horrid the power cable/adapter looks like a cheap toy adaptor.
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Would not recommend to a friend.
WhoaThereGirl
13
Feb 5, 2021
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Sounds great.
Powers all of my cans well. Slight buzzing/interference occasionally, despite trying different DACs. Would recommend THX 789 AAA over this.
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Would recommend to a friend.
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Hewnrai_74
42
Jan 23, 2021
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Decent Amp for the price
I had bought the Cavalli Tube Hybrid as my first entry to a desktop audio system. I had a topping D50 on hand and found that it ca be a bit dry at times, so i decided to go a tube hybrid, hoping it would sweeten up the sound a little. The Cavalli Tube is quite dry for a tube hybrid, but sounds clean and somewhat uncoloured. I do notice a slight increase in soundstage on my headphones. Noise floor isn't the cleanest and can be heard with more sensitive gear, in particular IEMs and some headphones. I have the DT-177x and when nothing is playing, a slight hiss can be heard on the right channel but doesn't affect audio enjoyment in any way for me.
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Would recommend to a friend.
matpra
3
Jan 17, 2021
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Impressive amp as a standalone or with companions
I love the aesthetics of this amp, the tube gives it a nice flavour. Being an audiophile noob I really can't comment on the sound characteristics. I think it is a nice fit for an entry level amp.
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Would recommend to a friend.
ClementN
12
Jan 5, 2021
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A very impressive amp for a very little price
For those of don't want to read my whole review, you can just know that if I could give 6 stars to this product, I would. You can jump to the pros/cons list and my edits at the end of this review for more informations. I've used several amps in the past, ranging from a Shanling M0 DAP to recently the Bravo Audio Ocean, purchased here. I was very impressed with the price/quality ratio of the Ocean, which if it was not perfect was really incredible for just $55 when using a JJ Electronics 12AU7 tube. After one month of wait, I received this new Cavalli amp, and after plugging all cables to my DAC (a Topping E30) I was immediatly amazed by the sound. For a tube amp, it's more on the bright side, probably due to the stock Electro Harmonix 6922 tube which has the reputation of being a bit bright. The soundstage is incredibly wide. With an HD 58X, which not known as the best performer on this aspect, the music spreads on all axis with ease, and it's very easy to track the location of all sound sources. The instruments separation is amazing as well, following a specific instrument in an orchestra is a breeze. On the sound now, the bass quantity is clearly there but the quality as well. You can almost feel the fingers of the bassist playing. Now, if you're a basshead this amp is good enough but may not the *best* in that regard, the Ocean with a JJ tube clearly has more bass, even though it loses on almost all other aspects. I think replacing the stock 6922 tube with a JJ one may increase the bass quantity, but I'm afraid the sound would change and not for the best, unlike the Ocean which had a relatively crappy stock tube this one has a really good one. Unlike some other tube amps, mids are absolutely not forward. They just sit where they're supposed to, which increases the felling of a very lively and 'natural' presentation. The highs are very good as well, but this amp being on the 'bright' side (for a tube amp) if you're overly sensitive to highs (like I am) it may require a bit of time to get used to this amp. The amp itself is very well built, doesn't heats much, and the tube isn't too bright (fortunately, as this is only a pre-amp tube). To compare with the Bravo Audio Ocean as there are not many reviews on it currently (with a JJ tube as it really does improve the Ocean's sound), the Cavalli does a clearly better job at delivering an effortless presentation with a wide and depth soundstage. It's not night and day, but almost! The Ocean has more bass, but the Cavalli delivers a better bass quality with more details. The Ocean has a more forward presentation, where the Cavalli is more neutral. The Ocean with a JJ tube is more of a forward, bass-heavy amp, while the Cavalli is more on the neutral side while still keeping this warm sound tube amps are famous for. To conclude: + Incredibly "natural" and lively sound + Bass goes really low + Very well built + Excellent Quality/Price ratio at $250, incredible at $150 + The LED to indicate when the amp is ready (very nice in real usage) + Circuit protection to avoid damaging the headphones when turning the amp on/off + Tube installation and removal is extremely simple (no tools required, you don't even have to open the amp) - No 3.5mm to 6.35mm adapter :( - No pre-out - Good power but may have a hard time driving extremely demanding headphones at high volumes - Power adapter is US only - Cable is not removable, so can't be replaced if it needs to - It's a relatively big amp Overall, if you want a nice and relatively transparent tube amp but with a warmer side, this amp is for you. But if you want an extremely linear amplifier or a very warm one, take either a Topping L30 or something like a Bravo Audio Ocean of if you can afford it an Xduoo TA-20/30. Hope this will help decide weither you'll buy this amp or not ^^ NOTE : After getting a new EH tube identical to the stock one (see my edit from 25/03/2021 below) the sound is even better than before, so imagine everything I told in this review, but even better. In some recordings, I truly have the impression that the singer is in the room. EDIT (10 March 2021) : I just received a JJ Electronics tubed, recommanded by another user on Head-Fi. As I really liked their 12AU7 tube, I wondered what it would be worth as an 6922 in the CTH. Well, the result is as expected a warmer and more relaxed sound, although this is not to the point of the Bravo Audio Ocean, probably due to both the tube being an 6922 and the amp being more on the neutral side itself. There is an important details loss, the width and height are less impressive, the positioning of instruments less precise, and altogether this gives a less "Hi-Fi" sound, although pleasantly warmer. Even though I love warmer sound signatures, the drawbacks of the JJ tube is too much a trade compared to the stunning quality of the CTH's stock Electro-Harmonix tube, even though it may please some who like warmer sounds more than everything. EDIT (24 March 2021): This morning I got a blowing sound in the right channel of my headphones, and after testing I found it to be the fault of the tube. Hopefully this is the cheapest and most easily replaceable part of the amp, but this is still unfortunate. I won't remove a star for this though as the tube isn't made by Drop nor Alex Cavalli's company, but by Electro Harmonix. Just no luck I guess. EDIT (24 March 2021): Drop generously offered to refund me the cost of the tube at my local vendor (which is a bit higher than in the US due the fact it's not as easy to find). 5 stars for the support as well ;) EDIT (25 March 2021): Today I got the new tube, and after a dozen hours of burn-in, the sound is more open and detailed than it was before. The bass goes deeper, instruments can go even further in the sound stage, everything is better and more impressive. It seems like the stock tube was indeed defective and was holding back the sound.
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Would recommend to a friend.
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fuifui
5
Dec 29, 2020
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Great but weird buzzing noise
It was working great for about 3+ months. Now i get a lot of static that is fixed if i tap the tube, or raise then lower the volume. Like interference. Source is a modi. For 150$ it seemed like an ideal upgrade for the HD58x. Plenty of Power with a lil somethin.
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ZvideX
2
Jan 6, 2021
In my experience, static on tube amps means the tube is nearing is end of life, especially if you can 'tap' it into working. I have a used unit, and on my second tube when my first did similar. I picked up a similar JJ Electronics tube, which can be had for under $20 and sounds subjectively the same.
Drue
235
Dec 17, 2020
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Love it!
At $150 this was an absolute bargain for me. I was looking at them for $150 used, so I quickly hoped on this deal. I love them on everything I own. Unique sound from the 789 and can easily justify having both on my desk. The CTH gives a little more bass and pushes the vocals just a bit more forward. Excellent amp. Headphones:Aeon 2C, Ether CX, LCD-2C, Campfire Solaris.
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Would recommend to a friend.
Aegis700
14
Dec 7, 2020
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For 150 Bucks Black Friday this is a STEAL for Plannars
Im using it with LCD 2Cs, but check this out pplz, I have a 1962 NOS Telefunken E88CC (Which costs more than this amp at upscale audio). Needless to say this NOS Tube, allegedly the best 6922 in existence, elevates the euphonics in this amp to mind blowing levels. The measurable second order harmonic distortion is there and its beautiful, and with the LCD 2Cs its just this powerful yet buttery sound which curves those solid state edges. Also the headphone output makes for one hell of a preamp as another dude said before. With my parasound power amp and powerful Bowers and Wilikins speakers this preamp elevates the bass to mind blowing levels. Those 1.5 amperes make a heck of a difference. I would not use this with IEMs though, with the Drop Noble X which I already own it doesn't sound right but these are probably too sensitive for this amp. If you have plannars and cant afford a transformer coupled tube amp like Woo Audio than this amp will give you a suitable taste of tubes. What this really needs to sing is a linear power supply instead a noisy switcher that it comes with. Does anyone know where I can get a good linnear power supply for this? The ones at apos audio are not for 28 volts or 1.5 amperes.
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Would recommend to a friend.
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