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
1540
Marketing
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
480
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
3048
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
bfitz
335
Mar 5, 2019
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Aother quick question since I've got you on the line. Amp came today, and sounds great, really well packaged and presented 👍. Not a single problem, however, this being my first bit of tube kit, I am just wondering if tubes naturally sit loose in the socket. Tube slipped right into socket no problem, it does not wobble or move at all, but minimal to no effort is needed to remove it. Normal?
Mar 5, 2019
CEE_TEE
3048
Collaborations
Mar 11, 2019
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That sounds good and normal- like no pins were bent and the tube was inserted well. :)
Mar 11, 2019
AlexCavalli
286
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
0
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
286
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
Paullieb213
24
May 23, 2019
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Has anyone tried this new DAC from Hifime? It uses the latest ESS Sabre 9038. You purchase cable separately. Currently using old ESS 9018 version with amp.
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May 23, 2019
MaybeINK
0
May 14, 2019
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Hey guys, should i leave the amp on 24/7 since I use it every day?
May 14, 2019
loadexfa
177
May 17, 2019
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No, you'll wear out the tube faster.
May 17, 2019
mabukor
0
May 9, 2019
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Voices
May 9, 2019
mrpolobrown
0
May 7, 2019
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Hi, I am looking at buy this, paired with a Schiit Multibit DAC (around $249). Should I get this pair, or go with the Ifi Micro Black Label ($499)? I am looking to pair with Ananda or Sundera. Thank you...
May 7, 2019
mrpolobrown
0
May 11, 2019
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Hey thanks a lot. Got to ask you one more thing - how do you like the LCD2C and what do you pair it with?
May 11, 2019
loadexfa
177
May 12, 2019
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I ended up selling my LCD-2C, I felt my other favorites handled my tastes better (Elex and HD 800). I did like them and I definitely think they're worth trying. For pairing I liked the LCD-2C with the ifi BL and the La Figaro 339.
May 12, 2019
mechkbfan
0
May 7, 2019
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Hi, I'm in Australia and using am forced to user a power converter. If I wanted to buy a replacement power supply so that i don't need a converter, can there be any variations in the supply? e.g. 24V instead of 28V? or 1.5a instead of 1.25a? Cheers, Andrew
May 7, 2019
bostonjack
3
Apr 26, 2019
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My dream amp would be a Cavalli designed chassis similar to this amp but containing JDS Labs Atom electronics. I would pay for that, as the industrial design on this unit is great and the Atom does incredibly well on THD and power. (A full differential version would be nice).
Apr 26, 2019
Jupiter78
3
Apr 22, 2019
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I seek for advice. I perhaps do something wrong I dont know.. but I have fostex hp-a4bl and I have Darkvoice OTL SE and also CTH. And now for cans .. 6XX, 58X, AR-H1 and Fostex Purpleheart. I have balanced cables for all. All those cans sounds better either directly on fostex DAC/amp or on Darkvoice for my Senns running on jack (as no balanced on 336). CTH makes treble less visible and bass muddy. Perhaps more burn in needed or another tube?
(Edited)
Apr 22, 2019
raicorl
1
Apr 27, 2019
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Just found out after almost one year of usage ( plus 5 weeks straight not using this amp) I think sound quality has dropped, lifeless, congested during busy passages, muddy bass. After quick search I decided to order a new tube. Might report back later.
Apr 27, 2019
defeyter
0
Apr 17, 2019
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Is there a way to connect this DAC to my Macbook pro 15" from 2012? Thanks!
Apr 17, 2019
Mike-48
0
Apr 18, 2019
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Are you sure it's a DAC at all? Glancing at it, it looks like analog in.
Apr 18, 2019
Tiesto
0
Apr 18, 2019
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The 250 USD one is Amp only, they have another model that includes an SDAC module
Apr 18, 2019
JoeBi
71
Apr 16, 2019
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This CTH, or Valhallah 2 for 6xx and others? Ah... I see CTH wins here. I worry about not having enough power, and also did not like Magni 3 sound.
(Edited)
Apr 16, 2019
Ro0omi7xx
2
Apr 12, 2019
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This or Topping stack or Topping DX3?

I need an answer please I have 2 weeks before I take my decision.
I want something around 300$. Any more recommendations are welcome.
Apr 12, 2019
Yeenhowe
2
Apr 7, 2019
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Exactly 1 year old now and my unit has microphonics and a constant hiss in both channels which vary with the volume adjustment. What can be done about this?
Apr 7, 2019
dwang040
147
Apr 12, 2019
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Your best bet would be to contact massdrop support. I don't know what their warranty policy is so yeah, that's all you can really do about it is ask and see if you can get a replacement or some fix.
Apr 12, 2019
Yeenhowe
2
Apr 15, 2019
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Just to update... It was the tube. I've replaced it and the ringing, hissing and microphonics are gone.
Apr 15, 2019
Jordanpop1
0
Apr 4, 2019
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Will this amp handle a pair of Audeze LCDX?
Apr 4, 2019
Paullieb213
24
Mar 28, 2019
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Has anyone tried the electro harmonix GOLD tube with this amp? Any noticable difference in sound from stock EH?
Mar 28, 2019
danpan
1
Mar 26, 2019
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I am looking for an amp to drive my Hifiman Sundaras. Currently I find them to be a bit too bright in the treble and it hurts my ears a little on the top end. I am looking for an amp that might round this out a bit and I heard a tube amp might do that. I'm currently using a cheap fx-audio dac/amp combo to drive them. Any advice would be appreciated. Under $350 is my budget
Mar 26, 2019
TomV
0
Mar 24, 2019
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is it possible that the CTH inverts the electrical phase? Or maybe it’s the power supply I’m using it with. But it seems to me I get better results when I switch the plug in my schuko power bloc.
Mar 24, 2019
DareToBe
124
Mar 23, 2019
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I got a used CTH from eBay and it sounds strange - I mean lack of clarity. I was expecting something between pure tube and pure solid state in a good way. Comparing to THX 789 and La Figaro 339, it's just way behind. I don't notice any advantage (other than power) over portable amps like xd-05 and nx4 either. Is there something wrong with my copy?
Mar 23, 2019
TomV
0
Mar 19, 2019
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Hi, I just got the zerozone power supply for the CTH and the included DC output connector fits very loosely in the cth (it’s impossible to plug it in completely). I’m wondering if anyone experienced the same problem. The thing works, but I’m afraid it might not be optimal or even cause some damage to the amp.
(Edited)
Mar 19, 2019
Jmunandar
131
Mar 16, 2019
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So I was doing some moving around on my desk, and my monitor fell on top of the tube part. Any potential things i should worry about? I don't really know anything about the structural integrity of a tube in a tube amp. Amp still works however, so should i suspect everything is all good?
Mar 16, 2019
Nargilsven
0
Mar 6, 2019
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Whats up with the power supply? Do does it come with one that can be used with 220v? im in south korea. I see it comes with one but it also says to add one for your country? But at check out i dont see an option to get an AC plug..? Whats the dillyo?!
Mar 6, 2019
bfitz
335
Mar 5, 2019
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Just got it.. So far, so good no noise, no scratchy pot, tube sits a little loose(very easily pulled out), but maybe that's just how it is? @ max volume, song paused there is no audible hiss, or noise from any headset :) HD58x, HD800 and To400 all get uncomfortable at around 8-9 o'clock(track dependent), no distortion. HE4xx gets uncomfortable at around 10-11 o'clock(track dependent), no distortion.
(Edited)
Mar 5, 2019
August_West
5
Mar 5, 2019
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I've got about 36 hours of burn in on this and the HD6xx headphones. I've never heard anything like this in my life! Oh... My... God... (And I've got some decent equipment, too. )
Mar 5, 2019
ashway
1
Feb 26, 2019
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I was unlucky to receive a faulty unit - strong scratching in the left channel when adjusting volume, sounds like a faulty potentiometer. Judging by a large number of similar complaints here in discussions, very poor or even full lack of QA process at Massdrop. Very disappointed.
Feb 26, 2019
bfitz
335
Feb 26, 2019
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This is a bit worrying to hear :(
Feb 26, 2019
bfitz
335
Feb 26, 2019
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It's on its way👍😀. Sure wish I could have chosen faster shipping(Canada).
(Edited)
Feb 26, 2019
cell201135
55
Feb 20, 2019
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Would this amp have enough power to properly use a Beyerdynamics DT 770 250 Omh.
Feb 20, 2019
cell201135
55
Feb 20, 2019
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The 4 pin xlr on this unit balanced?
Feb 20, 2019
bfitz
335
Feb 23, 2019
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It is not.
Feb 23, 2019
DDAR
1
Feb 5, 2019
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Could someone perhaps weigh in on how this Amp compares to the JDS Atom? I’m on the fence between the two and super can’t decide. I’ll be pairing them with a dragonfly red as a DAC (will upgrade that later) and a pair of HD650s as well as Sure SRH 840s.
Feb 5, 2019
dwang040
147
Feb 5, 2019
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Based on my research, my understanding is this, the jds atom is better if you want a "clean, no distortion" listening experience. Like many tube amps, you won't get that "clean" output. So if you want an amp that will make the signal louder without adding any sort of distortion, the atom would be better where as if you wanted to add some color/ distortion (not like crappy distortion, but the good kind), then the cth might be a good option. Just know that you can't go wrong with something like the jds atom where as tube amps can be hit or miss depending on what kind of sound signature you use.
Feb 5, 2019
Dcal
1
Feb 4, 2019
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I just received my MCTH, is it normal for the tube to be kind of loosely connected to the socket or should I push it in harder?
Feb 4, 2019
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