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. It’s quiet enough for sensitive headphones like the Massdrop x Fostex TH-X00 and powerful enough for higher-impedance headphones like the Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 6XX. With the supplied 6922 vacuum tube, the sound is smooth, natural, and resolving with precise detail and just a touch of tube character. And at this price, this amp is an easy addition to any desktop setup—especially when you consider that Cavalli’s desktop amps start at $800, and his tube amps at $3,500.
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The founder of boutique brand Cavalli Audio and a longtime favorite of the audiophile community, Alex Cavalli has, by all accounts, a pretty impressive background. He earned a PhD in plasma physics from Dartmouth, where he also studied thermonuclear fusion. He then worked on CAD software and semiconductors, and went on to help create one of the first internet search engines and commercial-quality web browsers. But it wasn’t until his son needed an idea for a science project that Cavalli revisited his first passion: tube amplifiers. He had experimented with tube amps when he was a kid and was surprised to discover that they’d seen a resurgence over the years as headphone amps. Smaller and easy to work with, tube headphone amps had inspired many new manufacturers and a vibrant DIY community, and Cavalli decided to get in on the fun.
Over the next few years, Cavalli helped design several tube amps that could be built by anyone with patience and a soldering iron. He began developing his own ideas, and after some encouragement from the community, started making prebuilt amps for purchase. Soon after, Cavalli Audio was born: premium amps in limited runs, raved about by audiophiles everywhere. The Massdrop x Alex Cavalli CTH is a revision of one of his early DIY designs: the CTH (Compact Tube Hybrid) amplifier. He reworked every section of the original circuit based on knowledge gained at Cavalli Audio. The chassis is made of CNC-milled aluminum with a clean design and a lack of visible screws, and the ventilation pattern resembles the silhouette of the Golden Gate Bridge in our native San Francisco. Better sounding and made with the desktop user in mind, this amp is no longer “compact”—instead, the “C” stands for Cavalli.
All orders will be shipped by Drop.
Estimated ship date is May 27, 2019 PT.
Your payment method will be charged 2 hours after purchase. Cancellations are accepted until that time, after which the request will be submitted to vendors to deliver the best delivery time to members, making all sales final. Be sure to check the discussion page for updates.