Massdrop x Alex Cavalli Liquid Carbon X Amp
Massdrop x Alex Cavalli Liquid Carbon X Amp
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Product Description
Made in collaboration with Alex Cavalli, a legend in the world of headphone amps, the Liquid Carbon X is a solid-state, fully balanced, bridged amp with a clear, transparent, non-fatiguing sound. It has the same topology as the celebrated Liquid Carbon, along with updates to the form factor, switching power supply, and input and output jacks ... Read More
4.4
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22 Reviews
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austin1908
12
May 29, 2019
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Warm sound, can drive anything I throw at it!
May 29, 2019
Moonsand1
286
Apr 7, 2019
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I have used this amp for about four months now. My dac is a Modi 2 Uber using FLAC files. The headphones I currently own are the Audeze LCD-2C, LCD-X, Sennheiser 6XX, 58X, Hifiman 4XX, and Fostex TR-X00 Ebonys. I have balanced 4 pin XLR cables for each of these headphones and have used them in both modes. I can say that after all these months, I'm disappointed in this amp and wouldn't recommend it to most people. It has a darker sound signature then say a Schiit amp that I have used in the past. Some might say "smoother", but that problem is that the 6.3mm jack was an after thought and really lacks power. You can also hear distortion at higher levels on the Audeze models and the Fostex X00's. If your going to use the standard 6.3 mm jack then I would only recommended it for headphones that are really not very resolving. It doesn't even sound that great with the 6XX, but it is also not a good sound signature pairing. Using the XLR does give the "sense" that it sounds better with the increased power. The problem is that you start to hear that it is just not very "clean" sounding. My cheap Schiit Magni 2 that I have laying around sounds cleaner. I just ordered the SMSL SU-8 to see if running the dac in fully balanced will do anything to help the sound. If it does, then I will update a star. The bottom line though, is that you can do better for cheaper and it is not a good pairing for the headphones that I own. Update: Just got a new pair of Denon D7200 headphones. These sound really good on this amp. Treble is really extended and can be a little too bright on my Magni 2. However on this amp, it takes off just enough that it is not as bright. Unlike my other headphones, this is a really good pairing.
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Apr 7, 2019
sturok
157
Jul 17, 2019
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any updates?
Jul 17, 2019
Moonsand1
286
Jul 18, 2019
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Not yet. Waiting for August 30th ship date for THX 789.
Jul 18, 2019
usura
3
Feb 24, 2019
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sounds a little bit dry in a SE setup. begins to flourish but never shines even if been coupled with a capable balanced dac such as Wyred 4Sound DAC-2. awful build quality. skinny in dynamic and muscular in lows. still enough for minimal/deep house and downtempo lists.
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Feb 24, 2019
chilofthehorn
178
Jan 10, 2019
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Its not as clean as similarly priced or even cheaper amplifiers. I have personally noticed channel imbalance at times (especially in the lower 1/4 of the potentiometer) and it is likely due to the pretty inexpensive potentiometer that isn't calibrated properly. I know other manufacturers who use these on portable amps and even they have to test them all and usually only half pass the mark. Price is high enough to justify an Alps Blue or reasonable clone, honestly. Output impedance is VERY good and the balanced output is so much stronger than the 1/4' that is a joke. Amp actually runs better in short sessions with less distortion when its relatively fresh than being left on a few days which is weird because the amp is not warm.... For a DAC, I am running a fully balanced dual-mono unit from TEAC which reveals some flaws here. The very top end gets shrill. I LOVE sparkle, but this is not sparkle and unlike any other amp I have. Perhaps, the design was compromised by cost-cutting or QA here as Cavalli is generally known to produce nice stuff. Save money and get an Aune X7s. This sounds no better than many of the dual TPA chip balanced amps that can be had for half the price. I had high hopes, just disappointed given the pedigree. Its not horrible, but it isn't great and its certainly not "a great $$$ deal". I might rip the thing open and see if replacing a couple parts fixes anything. 🤷‍♀️ Meh.
Jan 10, 2019
A community member
Feb 7, 2019
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I completely agree with you on it not being clean. It honestly has a weird distortion in the volume pot, where the sound will be grainy. It’s really evident on Hd 600s. my dap never makes noise that badly.
Feb 7, 2019
abvolt
3
Dec 21, 2018
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I was honestly awed by the sound I was getting from this amp, I've been used to listening to amps far more expensive then the LCX. Overall, it is a thumbs up on design, look & feel plus on balanced side you have all the power you'll ever need for most any headphone, simply put this amps sounds wonderful it is well worth it's low price, get one you won't regret this buy..
Dec 21, 2018
abvolt
3
Jun 15, 2019
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awesome I look forward to hearing impressions..
Jun 15, 2019
Mark_M
177
Jun 16, 2019
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Saw this amp here for sale used. Good option for the price (Canadian)? https://www.canuckaudiomart.com/details/649514426-cavalli-liquid-carbon-x-headphone-amplifier/
Jun 16, 2019
Spyder1
14
Dec 20, 2018
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The Liquid Carbon X is a great headphone Amp. I use it with balanced input, balanced output, and Audeze LCD2, Sennheiser HD650 headphones. Single ended with Fostex TH900 headphones. Great SQ with Jazz and Classical music.
Dec 20, 2018
BobJS1
21
Dec 15, 2018
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I've gone through a ton of headphone amps, some of them embarrassingly expensive. Who knew my favorite would be among the (if not THE) least expensive.
Dec 15, 2018
ludachris
226
Dec 14, 2018
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I would actually rate this 3.5 stars. I hear slight distortion when I'm not playing anything at all and I burned in about 100hrs into the amp within 5 months. The amp powers up any headphones but lacks crisp detail for the lower bass and upper mids and highs for me. I ended up selling mine to fund for a monoprice liquid platinum and the mass drop thx 789 (distortion free amp). I don't regret at all, I would only recommend this amp if it was cheaper and if people are on a budget. Build quality and tonality is a 3.5 star for me. Price should be $225 at most because there are better amps priced at this range.
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Dec 14, 2018
A community member
Aug 2, 2018
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It sounds good, but I prefer the CTH by a wide margin.
The LCX sounds a little faster, as if the slew rate is better. It has the positive traits of a solid-state amp without the glare, glassiness, or coldness often found in inexpensive transistor-based amplifiers.
But, it does not provide the fun of the CTH. The CTH's smooth, round punch at the bottom and tubey sparkle at the top are missing here.
But, it does have a pleasant, smooth character about it.
The only real gripe I have about the LCX is that the bottom end sounds strained. If you are listening to music with sharp transients on the kick drum for example, or music mastered with a lot of compression and low-end presence, the amp sounds like it struggles slightly to deliver on the bass notes.
I am surprised by the power rating and wonder about its accuracy. Even with the LCX's gain set to high, and with the hardware volume on my USB DAC (Hifime Sabre 9018 USB) all the way up, I can get louder levels before distortion with the CTH than I can with the LCX, and the bass is more impactful and powerful-sounding on the CTH than the LCX. Maybe the gain stage is insufficient to drive the output stage to full power?
Note that the strained bottom end I mentioned is something with the LCX and not the USB DAC's output op-amp being overdriven, because it is still there when I throttle back the hardware output on the DAC, and I don't have this issue when I use the same DAC and same headphones on the CTH.
For comparison, the balanced HP amp on the SMSL DP3 provides a notably more impactful and solid bottom end than the LCX despite having a much lower power output rating, but the rest of the spectrum definitely sounds better on the LCX.
Also note that thus far I have evaluated the LCX with single-ended inputs and balanced outputs only, using the HD6XX and HE4XX headphones.
Bottom line is, I like this amp, but I don't love it like I do the CTH.
Aug 2, 2018
Zachik
20
Jul 25, 2018
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GREAT amp for the price! Amazing value.
Jul 25, 2018
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