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

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AveryC
1564
Feb 15, 2018
Stickied
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Hi Everyone, The Massdrop x Alex Cavalli Tube Hybrid Amps are on their way to our warehouse in New Jersey! Once they arrive they will go through receiving and quality control checks. We are on track to meet our estimated ship date of February 27. We are looking forward to everyone receiving the first production of the Massdrop x Alex Cavalli Tube Hybrid Amp!
Feb 15, 2018
EniGmA1987
493
Feb 16, 2018
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Are the Carbon X's also on the same boat since the ship date is basically the same?
Feb 16, 2018
CEE_TEE
3327
Collaborations
Aug 11, 2017
Stickied
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Oh boy... Where do I start?? The journey, the designer, or the amp?
As an enthusiast myself, the coolest thing at Massdrop is getting to work with and know the people who make our favorite stuff. I’ve had the privilege of being able to speak with and learn from Alex Cavalli over the past year while working on this new amp with him. I understand more about the design decisions in amplifiers and what’s possible given different goals and constraints. (Though Alex would probably half-joke that “it still isn’t much”.)
Entry-level End-game Amp? Is that a category?
This project started out as a conversation to take a community-favorite DIY amp engineered by a community-favorite designer and make it accessible at an entry-level pricepoint. But when the prototype arrived, it had been completely re-worked by Alex. In comparison to the original Compact Tube Hybrid, it was a whole new amp. Sticking to the original vision, we worked toward the most accessible pricepoint possible while keeping the high-end sound that Alex passed down from his more expensive and more powerful amps. The amp needed to be audiophile-approved, more affordable, and simple to use. It also deserved a nice chassis, one that has some room in it and some stackability…
I’m sure there will be a lot more discussion these next few weeks. We’re working with Alex to have some information for those interested regarding the differences between the Compact Tube Hybrid and the Cavalli Tube Hybrid. Alex happens to have some travel during the drop so we may have a Q&A session where we’ll collect questions and Alex will answer them during the second half of the drop.
This is an important step for Massdrop, it marks the evolution of our ability to work with the best partners and designers to bring you the best versions of products for our communities. Each one of these collaborations is the result of our coming together to keep growing and moving our hobby forward.
Thanks for your participation!
EDIT 8/12/17: Here is a link if you are interested in the differences between the original COMPACT Tube Hybrid and the new CAVALLI Tube Hybrid. https://www.massdrop.com/talk/2167/the-massdrop-x-alex-cavalli-tube-hybrid-in-with-the-new
Aug 11, 2017
pshanks01
40
Jun 1, 2019
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Good, that would give me more confidence.
Jun 1, 2019
bfitz
421
Jun 2, 2019
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I have never had any issues using the EH tube, it was just very easily seated and removed. The Matsushita, however required some effort on my part to get seated. I suspect that if I tried to lift the amp by the tube, the EH would just pull right out of the socket and the M would allow me to lift the amp off the stand it's on before it loosed from the socket. Something I am not willing to put to practice. I am glad for your reply though and will post pics of both tubes side by side for a visual comparison of their pins. If it does make any difference, the M is a Platinum grade, cryo treated tube. Not sure if that would be something to consider, in terms of how securely the tube is seated.
Jun 2, 2019
AlexCavalli
289
Cavalli Audio
Feb 24, 2018
Stickied
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Hey folks. Here's a post I made at headfi. In case it's useful.
I see that many of you have or are about get your CTHs. Since I happen to have Serial #00001 I thought I might make a few comments on break in. First, the amp sounds pretty good out of the box, at least to me. But, as we all know tubes take about 50 hours to clear out the impurities still clinging to the various internal parts and SS portions do need some time. I don't think it's necessary to do a marathon break in session for 10,000 hours before listening. My experience has been that after about 25 hours playing music the amp begins to take on its full character. And then after that it evolves into is inherent sound signature. For me, I was able to listen fairly happily even with no hours, noticing the changes at about 25 hours and then better over time. I still have less than 100 hours on the amp. YMMV some. I hope you all like it. It has a long history from a popular and very compact DIY project to a much more sophisticated amp.
Feb 24, 2018
Dogfaceriley
1
Nov 27, 2018
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Hello, Love the amp! Would listening to the hard to drive HE6 cans at moderate levels be likely to trip the protection circuitry of the amp and shut it down, or would the CTH amp be likely to run out of gain before moderate levels were reached? HE6 sensitivity 82db, The amp has no problem with my HE5 cans which are 87db sensitivity; terrific sounding as well.
Nov 27, 2018
AlexCavalli
289
Cavalli Audio
Nov 28, 2018
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The max output power is a little over 1W per channel. You might find this ok, but often not enough to satisfy with power sucking headphones like HE6.
Nov 28, 2018
Gurbakhshish
110
Sep 22, 2019
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Don't get me wrong, THIS IS A VERY GOOD AMP but its too solid state sounding for my taste. Tube rolling doesn't really do anything for this AMP. i have the full stack with this, Airist R2R DAC and THX AAA 789
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but i am thinking about replacing this with the Staving Student 2 that i just put together from the Kit.
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i feel like SS2 is more fun and dynamic
Sep 22, 2019
jesse04030
150
Sep 13, 2019
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No shipping to the EU anymore?
Sep 13, 2019
vncsnty
22
Sep 10, 2019
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Noob question, What cables do I need to connect CTH Hybrid Amp, THX789, Airist DAC as a stack? Only one that has a pass through is the 789.. Any help would be greatly appreciated. :)
Sep 10, 2019
vncsnty
22
Sep 19, 2019
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oof thanks for the reply! I have it setup now the way you suggested and I'm loving it. Now need to upgrade headphones. Still using my 6XX.
Sep 19, 2019
ls13coco
71
Sep 19, 2019
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Your welcome, glad to hear that! (Pun intended) Truthfully I still use and love the 6xx regularly, while having 6 other pairs of headphones. I'd say most headphones would be side-grades more so than upgrades altogether. Most, not all anyway! Also, I wasn't the biggest fan but the option may be good for some headphone combinations but if you have your headphone plugged into the 789, with both your amps on the CTH will slightly tube-ify the sound coming through the 789. I thought it softened dynamics a little, but it's something you could always play with. I was unplugged the CTH and plugging them back in while listening to verify the difference
Sep 19, 2019
Paullieb213
26
Sep 10, 2019
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Heads up.... I just bought on ebay the NEW version of the Genalex 6922 Gold Lion. Wow! This is superior to my old version that died on me. The new version ( out of the box)
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is more laid back and smoother with better bass and a bit less forward. Very clean sounding. Hence a great match for the elex since it tames it down a bit. The seller on ebay is wpc1896. The new versions have plates that are spoked ( see pic) as opposed to being square in shape. Also the box on the new version has a bar code. It is my understanding that he only has the latest version and hence you won't be stuck with old leftovers. Great price at 36.95 free shipping.
Sep 10, 2019
ls13coco
71
Sep 19, 2019
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How is this new Gold Lion compared to the stock Electro-Harmonix?
Sep 19, 2019
Paullieb213
26
Sep 19, 2019
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I have had the stock EH and the gold pin version. I would say this is smoother at the top end with deeper bass. Better transparency also. Ater living with this for over a week i would say that this tube in my opinion is especially great with the sennheiser 6xx.
(Edited)
Sep 19, 2019
Marcus22687
85
Sep 8, 2019
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Headfonics review of the DROP Liquid Carbon X + SDAC https://headfonics.com/2019/09/drop-liquid-carbon-x-sdac-dac-amp/
Sep 8, 2019
Newbie82
0
Aug 21, 2019
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Anyone using this with Audeze LCD 2 Classics?
Aug 21, 2019
Newbie82
0
Aug 28, 2019
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Thanks for your input. What’s an LPS?
Aug 28, 2019
ls13coco
71
Aug 29, 2019
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Linear power supply, instead of the supplied power brick. I loved the amp without the LPS, but it seemed to bring even more bass, body and slight soundstage to my ears.. I was originally considering the Liquid Platinum amplifier so this is still a nice cost savings. I read the MCTH with LPS comes pretty close to the Platinum amp, too. This is the one, for reference. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Custom-make-Hifi-linear-Power-supply-DC28V-1-25A-for-Alex-Cavalli-CTH-L6-1/123174266920?hash=item1cadc22828:g:n78AAOSwGNxbFppt

Aug 29, 2019
bfitz
421
Aug 15, 2019
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Wondering if I can get a question answered from you guys. I and currently running my CTH being fed LI form the LO on the Monoprice THX AAA. There does not seem to be a setting to set a fixed LO mode, so my question is what would be the best volume to set the THX when listening from the CTH? Volume ranges from -80db to +15db
(Edited)
Aug 15, 2019
rawrus
59
Aug 27, 2019
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Can you elaborate? Luckily I haven't had to route anything through the THX AAA 789 yet... but you are saying the volume of the pass-through is affected by the volume knob on the THX??
Aug 27, 2019
bfitz
421
Aug 27, 2019
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Correct, setting the DAC to LO from settings I can control the volume from both devices. So far I have been leaving the THX at -20 and that seems to give me the most headroom on the CTH volume knob
Aug 27, 2019
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