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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

Hybrid Amp From a Top-Tier Designer

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.

Massdrop x Alex Cavalli Tube Hybrid Amp (CTH)

The Resurgence of Tube Amps

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.

Massdrop x Alex Cavalli Tube Hybrid Amp (CTH)
Massdrop x Alex Cavalli Tube Hybrid Amp (CTH)
Massdrop x Alex Cavalli Tube Hybrid Amp (CTH)
Massdrop x Alex Cavalli Tube Hybrid Amp (CTH)

A Revision of an Early DIY Design

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.

Massdrop x Alex Cavalli Tube Hybrid Amp (CTH)
Massdrop x Alex Cavalli Tube Hybrid Amp (CTH)
Massdrop x Alex Cavalli Tube Hybrid Amp (CTH)
Massdrop x Alex Cavalli Tube Hybrid Amp (CTH)

Specs

  • Massdrop x Alex Cavalli
  • Chassis: High-grade CNC-milled aluminum with bead-blasted finish, silicone pads on feet
  • Frequency response: 20 Hz–20 kHz, -0.2 dB
  • Maximum power, 50 ohms: 1W Rms per channel
  • Output impedance: < 0.5 ohm at 1 kHz
  • THD: < 0.008%, 20 Hz–20 kHz 1 Vrms
  • THD: 0.0014% at 1 kHz, 1 Vrms with 50R load
  • IMD: 0.002% CCIF 1 Vrms
  • SNR: -97 dB, 20 Hz–20 kHz (1 Vrms into 45 ohms)
  • Crosstalk: -85 dv at 1 kHz
  • Topology: Capacitor-coupled tube hybrid using 6922 tube, single-ended
  • Gain: 8x (18 dB)
  • Input: RCA
  • Output: 4-pin XLR, ¼ in (6.3 mm) TRS headphone jacks
  • Protection: Delayed start with muting relay and DC offset detection
  • Power supply: Wall wart with 28V DC 1.25A
  • Power consumption: Maximum 35W (28V, 1.25A), ~9W idle
  • Dimensions: 8.3 x 9.1 x 2.2 in (210 x 230 x 57 mm)
  • Weight: 3.6 lbs (1,625 g)
  • Individually serialized

Included

  • 6922 dual-triode vacuum tube
  • Cloth storage bag
  • Switching power supply that handles 100–240 VAC (add plug adapter for your country’s outlet)
  • 1-year warranty

RETURNS & EXCHANGES—NO QUESTIONS ASKED

We get it. Sometimes what you ordered just doesn’t work out. If that’s the case for you, don’t fret! All customers (both US and international) may return or exchange this item in new, unused condition within 30 days of delivery.

Shipping

Estimated ship date is Dec 2, 2020 PT.

Payment will be collected at checkout.

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User Photos78
chame1i0n
My Home PC Set Up so far
JoeIke
Cheers to a great sounding headphone amp
Rboggyz
W A R M T H
NZMLN
Currently burning it in. Will probably write a review soon.
Sirclay
Gift to my son
bxironman
Best Purchase this year
911Turbo
Collecting dust becuase its a permanent addition to my desk setup 😄
adog_beer92
Paired with a JDS Atom
MasterChief
CTH Unboxed
tieuhuynhtrieu
Cowon+...+6xx
Aegis700
CAVALLI AS A PREAMP TO A PARASOUND POWER AMP! GREAT SOUND!!
BarBarrio
My trinity, complete at last!
Customer Reviews0
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Recent Activity
Out of the current production stuff, the JJs are about the best in my opinion. All of the Russian variants tend to be very clean sounding, but much brighter. Great for classical strings, but a bit harsh for electronica with high frequency sounds. I'm currently running NOS Siemens made in 1954 West Germany. Lucked out and found 5 of them for $75, with 4 of them being a matched quad. They're a bit less heavy on the bottom end than the JJ, and a bit less painful on the Treble than all the Russian tubes. Pretty balanced sounding overall. [image] They're pretty nice sounding, but I'm likely going to switch back to the JJs just because of preference. NOS Tesla 6DJ8/ECC88/E88CC are also pretty awesome, but JJ is making tubes on the old Tesla gear so paying the price for NOS doesn't make too much sense when you can get new production built almost 1:1 with the old stuff. You can try the 5670/2C51/396A with an adapter for taking 5670 to 6922, and they work very nice. The NOS GE 5670W will be cold and analytical sounding, but stupid easy to come by for the cheap (I've bought 20 from this vendor, and they've all been same batch, clean and balanced). They're pretty much electrically the same as the 6922, just with a different pin-out and much more rugged design. [image] I find the 5670W to be pretty good for tube amp gaming. If you can score a NOS Tungstram, Amperex, or GE 6DJ8/E88CC/ECC88/6922 for a good price (less than 50), they're also highly recommended. The biggest problem with most of the popular varieties of NOS is the cost. Edit: Yeah, I do find that I use my LCX a lot with planar cans. It needs a bit of warm-up (15-30 minutes) before it sounds the best, but it does absolutely wonderful things with my Hifiman, Fostex, and Dan Clark cans. I also find it to work pretty well with my Beyer T1.2, but I've got a strong <3 for those cans on pretty much any amp that can drive them properly. If you get the urge to turn those HD6xx up to 11, consider nabbing something like the xDuoo TA-03s. Won't work with the planar cans very well as it is OTL, but holy crap it makes high Ω cans like the 6xx and 58x do some amazing stuff with the bottom end. I very much <3 the 6C19P drivers it uses. Just gotta make sure you swap those stock tubes out, especially the drivers. The Chinese 6C19 are microphonic and best replaced with Russian 6C19P-EV or 6C19P-V. Picture below is with the EV. [image] Another one to keep an eye out for is the Gemtune PA1502A APPJ, which rocks a 12AX7 and a pair of 6V6. You can swap the 6V6 out with 6L6 and experience some of the better big bottle sounds. Has absolutely some of the best tube rolling potential for sub $300 price. Best yet, it is compatible with just about every set of headphones I've tried on it, as well as a few IEM. Some examples of it rolled: [image] [image] [image]