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Massdrop x Eddie Current ZDT Jr.

Massdrop x Eddie Current ZDT Jr.

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Product Description
With great control of the entire frequency range and a far bigger sound than its small size suggests, the Massdrop x Eddie Current ZDT Jr. rivals tube amps in the $1,500 category Read More

Customer Reviews

4.6
(27 reviews)
5star
(20)
4star
(6)
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1star
(1)
94% would recommend to a friend
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nspin
18
Aug 31, 2018
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So......... TOTALLY worth the wait! A few years ago I sold all the headphone gear I owned, because I discovered that the headphone jack on my tube loudspeaker amp made my Grado 325's sound about as great as I'd ever heard them. I even sold the 325's! And I bought myself a pair of Grado GH1's to pair up with it, and life has been grand. Except I really wanted a desktop rig...... I knew from past experience that Senn 650's would be perfect, so when the Massdrop 6XX drop came along I dove right in. Shortly after that they did a drop for Cardas cables for the 600-line. Boom. Got me a cable. Then I grabbed the SMSL M8A mini-dac. Perfect! But I had to wait for the amp..... A few years back, I had the rare pleasure of owning an Eddie Current Balancing Act, with the upgraded Alps pot and upgraded tubes. I had it paired with Audeze LCD-3's. Folks.... Steve Guttenberg listened to that rig at a NYC head-fi meet and was boasting about it in his write-up. It was bliss. But for various reasons I decided to reallocate my audio capital to loudspeaker gear, so I sold that stuff. So when I saw that Massdrop was doing an Eddie Current drop for an amp that was perfectly sized for a desktop, I knew I was in. It may not be an actual Eddie Current model, "ZDT Jr" is a made-up name after all. But the Eddie Current logo does at least mean that Craig Uthos said "Lemme see that thing" and started playing around with upgrading parts before deciding it was something worthy of slapping his brand name on. That alone tells me this amp was the worth waiting for. Well, we all know that the wait turned out to be a lot longer than expected. I was originally supposed to receive mine in June, it ended up showing up on August 30. I had read that some people saw some issues with hum, so that was the first thing I was looking for when I powered it up. But as hoped, this thing is quintessential Craig - incredibly low noise floor. There is absolutely no sound whatsoever when music is not playing. Zero. And also quintessential Craig, the volume pot is superb. The zero noise includes when turning the pot to full blast, there's not a hint of hum or buzz, even near my computer and the associated WiFi signal. Musically, I thought it was really good out of the box. I'm not sure if the second batch got extra attention in quality control before they were sent out, perhaps they had some hours already played. But mine sounded really good right away. The only thing I took note of was that the bass wasn't overly impressive. It was there, but I knew the 650/6XX packed more punch than I was getting. Enter the GE 5654W JAN matched pair that I got on eBay for $18. I had seen a few people recommend them, and I can definitely add my recommendation. I'm hearing a lot more detail and a fuller low-end than with the stock 6Z1P. With the new tubes I have to say that I am thoroughly impressed now. I'm not putting it up against a Balancing Act. Nor am I putting 650's against LCD-3's. But this little desk setup cost me under $1000 for the dac, the amp, the headphones, and the Cardas cable. Retail for LCD-3's alone was $2000. The Balancing Act without the upgraded pot or the tubes was $4000. You get the point. What I'm hearing from this amp is the incredibly balanced and neutral presentation that I'd expect from an amp that Craig put his name on. Nothing stands out. Everything is just as it should be. Firm presence at the very low end, and a nice crisp high-end without being overly bright or sibilant. Great extension from cymbals, etc. The amp gets out of the way and let's the music do the talking. Nice wide head-stage, without any artificial airiness. Very clean sounding and "tubey" without sounding overly bloated. Low-end presence at low volume. Fantastic amp. It's a keeper.
WheelHoss
13
Jul 8, 2019
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Sumptuous
ZMF Atticus x ZDTj Impressions: The first song I started with was "Watching the River Go By," by John Hartford. This is an impeccably recorded bluegrass/old time tune that has a tremendous amount of space in the recording that really lets you hear the acoustic instruments. And omg as there so much to hear! I've never heard a violin reproduced with such accuracy and richness—the only way to describe it is that it felt like I was the one playing the fiddle. John's voice sounded so thick and full, so much better than listening through solid state amps (Mojo + Liquid Spark both tested extensively). All the instruments just sounded so much more alive, so much more organic, so much closer to how they sound when you are standing next to them on stage. It must have something to do with harmonics and transients and all that fancy stuff we audiophiles love to talk about but can never quite qualify. Outstanding. Then I decided to switch it up and put on "1979" by the Smashing Pumpkins. I had heard the the ZDTj is bass light—what??? I've never heard the Atticus reproduce such rich and textured bass. When the bass guitar kicked in on the song, I literally stood up and started dancing. And that was another major point in my findings: Atticus + ZDTj produces some of the most layered and sumptuous bass I've ever heard. It was so easy to tell the difference between Flea's Music Man and Paul McCartney's Hofner or Jimmy Jazz Prescott's double bass. Honestly, the bass was so good, I found it distracting, because I couldn't stop focusing on it. From rap to rock to jazz to bluegrass, I can't imagine a better bass. Mids and treble? Perfect. Vocals sounded live. There. In the room. Mandolins sounded thick and chunky while retaining their brilliance. Honestly, when I first listened to the Atty, I loved it, but I found it a tad congested. Those days are over. The ZDTj injects so much air into the midrange and treble, it creates wonderful separation. Holographic imaging. Z-axis depth. Whatever you want to call it, that magic element that sets TOTL cans apart really became apparent when I listened to the Atticus with tubes. I see why Zach always demoes his creations with tube amp technology. What else can I say? I feel I've reached my endgame for now. Sure, there is always more—more detail, more clarity, more immersion. But this is enough. It is enough that I can finally say I understand what some ZMF owners keep talking about when they say "just one more song" turns into 2 hours. This combination is addictive.
Recommends this product? Yes
Bkido
71
Jul 8, 2019
WheelHossThanks for the nice insight in your expierence with the ZDT Jr. I'm currenlty waiting for mine and I'll pair it with my ZMF Aeolus that is using the same driver like the Atticus. Nice to hear that they pair so nicely.
Kumar402
64
Jul 6, 2019
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Very Nice Tube Amp for the price
I have got the latest one and the humming issues reported earlier doesn't exist in the new batch. Rolled in GE Jan5654w tubes and it opened up mids a bit. It has got that tubey mid bass bloom which you will enjoy with HD600 or 800. Mids are good but not as sweet as Cavalli Liquid Platinum(LP). Now LP is hybrid amp and is known for forward Midrange. Treble is smooth and slightly rolled off, however you won't miss details. Imaging and instrument separation is great with good depth. With Hd600 I can easily listen and position various instruments used in the mix.It may not pair well with Planar HP. I tried to use Empyrean, only planar I have and the mid bass just overpowered everything. Empy pairs well with SS or tube hybrids. However some have reported it to work well with Euphoria OTL amp but didn't work with this amp even with Low Impedance out so I would suggest to stick with Sennheiser or ZMF for this amp. Focals can be used with Low Impedance outlet. I generally listen music at low volume and the Gain of this amp seems to be little high. With Airist R-2R DAC output being 2.5v you may have to use some preamp like Schiit SYS to reduce few dBs so that you can move the volume pot above 9'o clock. Now I am suggesting to use above 9 since this amp uses cheaper Volume pot and hence at very low volume you will get channel imbalance(1 star deducted for it) and hence I am suggesting to get a cheaper preamp. I have paired with Schiit Gumby and it makes a very good smooth pair. No harshness and slightly laid back. Gumby is very dynamic DAC and the amp complement it very well. It pairs well with Airist R2R DAC as well if you like the tonality of multibit DACs. At the end I will say with this amp you will get all the goodness of tube amp just pair it with HD6X0 or 800 series and enjoy the magic. A very nice addition if you only own SS or hybrids. Also there are very few options of rolling the tube so you won't go crazy as well and I feel you won't go wrong with stock tube. Now I also compared it with THX AAA 789. Not same category of amplifier. One is tube and other is solid state. Never the less I went ahead with comparison and One noticeable difference I found was the soundstage in 789 was more in 2D plane. It has good depth but height was missing and that’s where ZDT Jr punches above its weight. The soundstage is more holographic with very precise imaging. There is height, width and good depth. PS : All cheap amp has this channel imbalance issue if the gain is high and this issue is not specific to this amp.
(Edited)
Recommends this product? Yes
georgyscholten
11
Jul 27, 2018
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I got my amp 3 days ago, and I am already amazed by how good this amp sounds. I have it hooked up to my Grace sdac and and i listen to it on my monoprice m1060 and my fostex Tr40. My previous tube amp was the little dot mkIII, and I feel a big a big upgrade switching to the ZDT Jr. The bass especially sounds stronger, more define and precise. The sound as a whole sounds richer and warmer to me. Although I am not an expert in audio gear by any means, I would strongly recommend this amp, because listening to it makes me really happy.
tinamou62
83
Jul 21, 2019
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**note - I got upgraded JAN-GE 5654W tubes and am currently using them** I finally get it. I get why people say that Sennheiser high-impedance cans pair brilliantly with tube amplifiers. *Almost* everything is better with these than my old CTH, and I cannot recommend this pairing enough. This is my first foray into tube amps so I can't make comparisons, unfortunately. But man, this is really good - maybe it gets better, but I truly think this is it for me - it's that good. So why do I like these so much? Bass. It's funny, cause I'm a fan of a more neutral sound. I own both the HD800S and the Audeze LCD2C, and when I used my mCTH as my main amplifier, I used the 800S about 90% of the time. Don't get me wrong - I like my LCD2C's but there was something about the clarity, sparkle, and timbre of the 800 that I found beautiful. Once you hear details in songs, it's hard to let them fade back into the background - so I preferred the 800's stunningly detailed reproduction of music. The other selling point was that the HD800S had better timbre, in my opinion. Guitars sounded like guitars. On the Audezes, they sounded like recordings of guitars. That 10% of the time I listened to the Audezes was when I really did want to get that powerful, syrupy bass that defines those cans - when I wanted to just bump Travis Scott or Glitch Mob and jam. But I digress - hopefully you understand my sonic preferences now, which might make this review easier to follow. The ZDT did something I had never heard before with the HD800S. It gave it a powerful, substantial, and present low-end. On the song "Helix" by Flume the first ~15 seconds or so which is just a low bassy hum was no longer just a note. On the CTH, I heard a frequency, there was music, sure. But on the ZDT - to be cliche - I felt it. There was that accurate, real reproduction - but also something more. On songs like Butterfly Effect (Travis Scott) or Kusanagi (Odesza) or Meteorite (Emmitt Fenn), I FINALLY heard that "dynamic slam" that dynamic drivers are capable of doing. Before with the mCTH, there was bass. But now, it was really powerful - I felt those vibrations and it was satisfying. If you like the clarity of the 800S but just wished there was more low end - these are for you. Just...fantastic. I also, to an extent, get what people say about tube soundstage - kinda. to me, the mCTH sounded wider, the ZDT sounds more close-in by a hair. But I definitely feel more of a "vertical" soundstage on the ZDT. When artists have arpeggios in their songs playing high to low, it feels like the notes are moving down your head, which is cool. I felt that a little with the CTH but more with the ZDT. Minor thing compared to the bass but it's a thing. Finally, I feel that the ZDT maintains the clarity of the HD800S almost as well as the mCTH. And that almost is not even an issue, for me at least. I felt that part of the CTH clarity vs. the ZDT is that treble was more pronounced on the CTH - so things sounded sharper, although neared sibilance at times. The ZDT solves these issues by reducing treble ever so slightly, but overall, clarity is like 99.5% of the way there and I don't miss the .5% at all. To put it shortly, sparkles still sound sparkly. Finally - why'd I say the ZDT can do almost everything the mCTH can? Well, I'm a big fan of natural timbre and I feel on certain songs - take Video Games (Lana del Rey) - the instruments sound a tad more recessed and therefore don't come across as naturally as the CTH presented them. At the beginning of Video Games, there is a harp that plays chords, switching between right and left channel. I felt that the CTH highlighted the harps just a bit more, emphasizing them where the ZDT faded them a little. Small things. Anyways...if you can't tell, I really like this amp. It fixed the only 2 issues I had with the HD800S by giving some bass slam and taming a bit of the treble, while retaining the clarity, timbre, detail, and soundstage/imaging that make these headphones great. This is the best pairing I've heard yet of amps/headphones, and I strongly recommend the amplifier to anyone with high-impedance Sennheisers who wants to get into tube amps for the extra oomph. For those wondering, my current chain is a Topping D30 -> ZDT -> HD800S
(Edited)
Recommends this product? Yes
tinamou62
83
Jul 25, 2019
Yup. Out of the CTH, I saw the HD800S as a 95% perfect headphone. Exceptionally clear, detailed, and wide. Timbre near perfect, on songs like "Wish You Were Here", you could close your eyes and imagine a guitar in the actual room. But what it lacked was warmth and that "dynamic slam" that the huge drivers are capable of. Now, listening to tracks like "Follow Me" by Petit Biscuit, the drop at 3:14 sounds, and I know this is cliche, encompassing. There is a new depth and vibrancy to it - as I said, you feel it as much as you hear it. It's that 5% more on the HD800S where I get that clear, detailed, wide, and natural sound, but also low-end without distortion or bloat. This feels like my endgame amplifier/headphone setup and I love it. Now, take the LCD - I got it as a complement to the HD800S because the 2C was known to have a warm, dark sound sig. So pairing it with an amp that pushes it even farther in that direction just makes it a bit over-the-top in terms of presentation. Where the ZDT tames the HD800's Treble and boosts its bass, it takes away the 2C's treble and makes the bass too much. I still love the 2C, and I love the ZDT, they just were not made for each other. I will continue using my 2C out of my Objective2 whenever I want to bump Travis Scott or Glitch Mob and get lost in the rumbles but the ZDT/HD800S is dangerously good, I find myself exclusively using that combo these days.
MRphotographycom
71
Dec 11, 2019
Have you compared this amp to the Darkvoice with your headphones?
Fayne
2587
Jul 25, 2019
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Tubes and Transformers, My New Best Friends.
Day 1: The amp just arrived a handful of hours ago, this is purely an initial frothing at the mouth review. First off, I'm a rather big fan of the Voskhod 6ZH1P-EV tubes. I run them in any amp that can accept 6J1/6AK5/5654/6ZH1P. The default tubes that arrived all appear to be Voskhod, with the same construction style as the 6ZH1P-EV. I'll have to inspect them a bit more when I'm done with my ferret-shock of new toy and start applying DeoxIT. I wired it up to use the Airist R-2R DAC. Figured, if I'm going tube, I might as well take an even larger analog path. Totally worth it. Extra low end on top of the already posh bass of the tubes? Yeah. I spent the first few hours enjoying some of my collection on random while listening through some new Fostex TR-70-250 cans. Very nice pairing that, comfortable, loud, and clean. Once I switched to using the Fostex T60RP and classical musics (Leonard Bernstein - Adagio, check it out on tidal) I fell in love. It is like being in the concert hall and hearing all of the detail (breathing, chair movement, etc.). Strings plus Voskhod tubes is always a great combination. This is without any break-in time on the tubes. How freaking awesome is that. I think it is just pure win. Totally getting back to why I like these Rocket tubes, they sound great from the get-go. They only get better as they age, so in a week or two this amp is going to really kick some ass. I don't hear any easily noticed imbalance between the channels, and the volume pot is silky smooth. No crackle, hum, or anything off-putting comes from any component in this amp. Looks wise, the AMP is very basic and classic. It totally wouldn't be out of place in a 60s or 70s studio. I can totally dig that retro feel with the 7sided volume knob, and the burly power switch. So far, I'm rather glad I got this. Also rather pleased that I ignored the initial drop. If you likes the tube sound, and don't have an endgame single-ended amp, seriously consider this guy. Day 2: Lots of TV and cartoons. Not much music listening till the end. This amp is still kicking some seriously tube ass. Most of the non-music stuff was with the HD6xx cans, totally a great pairing. For the music listening I decided to give the amp a whirl with the HE-4xx. 3 hours later, I was rather surprised that I didn't have a splitting headache. One of the few times recently that the Hifiman cans didn't make my brain bleed, my problem definitely has to be settings. Via the ZDT driven by the Airist, no problems whatsoever. Day 3: Started the day by using the Meze 99 Noir and blasting some Bad Company. In the low impedance socket I can only run these cans with volume at 9'oclock position. That said, I can actually use them unlike with the CTH. Very win, these cans have some nice sound when driven via the tubes. Still happy. Still need to really check out the tubes... when the unit is cold. Day 11: Finally got around to investigating the 6J1P/6ZH1P tubes about the time they were mostly broken in. Looks like I received basic Voshkod 6ZH1P from ~2004 (if I'm reading the markings right), and most sadly... not the mil-spec version. The tubes themselves don't sound horrible, just a touch microphonic... which is a problem seeing my desk has a bit of vibration from fans and pumps. Was only a problem when there was no sound going to the amp, but I can fix this. Sorry my LittleDot1+, you lose your delicious sounding matched 6ZH1P-EV pair from the 80s. Similar sound (same tube design, more or less), just higher tolerances and older... and already fully broken-in. Still digging this amp. Well worth the price. Many Moons later (Final): Upon seeing mention of 6FC7/ECC89 making a major difference in the ZDT, I sourced a pile (30) of these Pro/Comm labeled and likely Mullard made 6FC7/ECC89. Grabbed two from one of the same books, and threw them in the amp in place of the 6N24P, pure lazy without testing on the TV-7B/U. Instant silence. No freaking power hum, even on the ultra-sensitive Meze 99 Noir which worked before, but were prone to catching the power hum. Very much a major win. Quite worth it as it makes this already awesome amp that much more awesome. New New Tubes:
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Old New Tubes:
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With stock tubes:
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(Edited)
Recommends this product? Yes
Fayne
2587
Jul 29, 2019
Yep, when doing pass-through, always try and make sure only one device is actively drawing from the signal path. Otherwise you're likely to drop the overall signal voltage/current by a bit.
tinamou62
83
Jul 29, 2019
FayneMakes a lot of sense. Thank you!
Benny6211
10
Aug 9, 2018
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My unit has noise problem in right channel, reported to massdrop, but no body can provide solution to me, what should I do. Bad experience for my first purchase in massdrop............
LandonD
57
Jul 10, 2019
Benny6211Swap the tubes from right to left. If the issue follows the tubes, you’ll need to replace the failed one. If it stays on the right, you have an issue with your amplifier.
loadexfa
281
Jul 20, 2019
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So far only tried with my HD-800 (with SDR mod). Great tone, really brings these headphones alive. Especially good with properly mixed music, for example Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life is sublime and I re-fell in love with Hotel California today. I normally don't find these headphones very musical but they are just right with this amp. Stock driver tubes are a little harsh, I prefer the GE JAN 5654W drivers which are smooth but still engaging. I also tried the Western Electric 6AK5/403A and the Tung Sol 6AK5 WB 5654 drivers. The Western Electrics are more impactful and have stronger bass but I like the smoothness of the GE tubes better, especially in the mids. I still enjoy the Western Electrics tubes and plan to rotate them with the GEs. I found the Tung Sols were too glaring and didn't live up the bass hype I read about. It's hard to find affordable amps that pair well with the HD-800, I'm glad I gave this amp a shot. Once my Auteurs arrive (later this month potentially), I will update this review.
Recommends this product? Yes
Helpbot
310
Dec 8, 2020
Just happened to be scrolling through again. I definitely agree the MCTH is better for the 6x0 series, they don't sound right on this amp. ZDT jr sounds like it was made for the HD800, other headphones so far are pretty meh!
loadexfa
281
Dec 26, 2020
HelpbotI agree, this is a great HD 800 option but I didn't find any other headphones that I liked with this amp.
PrismaticOrb
50
Aug 6, 2019
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Beautiful sounding amp!
I'm not sure what the one star review is about. Drop has the best customer service I have experienced anywhere. I have full faith ordering from this site; Drop fully stands behind the products they sell. It's easy to tell their main goal is happy customers. Any issue I have ever had has been handled concisely, professionally and they have been fully accommodating. Now about the amp, this was exactly what I was hoping for in tube headphone amp. A nice quiet background, and clean rich harmonics from the tubes. And power to drive almost any set of headphones. Coming from a jds atom amp this sounds SO much better to me personally. I am very happy with this purchase. I have 5 star military spec 5654w nos GE tubes on the way, but I dont see how they could sound any better than the stock nos vokshod rocket tubes. Time will tell. I have used the hd 6xx through this amp and the ether cx and both sound super amazing. I have a pair of lcdx on the way and am curious how those will sound on this. I will update when those arrive.
(Edited)
Recommends this product? Yes
PrismaticOrb
50
Aug 10, 2019
Looks like you ordered a product that was faulty or did not meet your expectations and were offered return/refund or partial compensation(they replace if they still have stock); as far as I can see. That is a pretty straightforward approach to a problem. Drop pays return shipping and the refund is instant. I have returned shoes and high end music gear that were faulty on major sites and not only had to pay return shipping, but also wait over two full weeks for a refund to post.
(Edited)
kkerley
12
Aug 24, 2019
PrismaticOrbI'm very curious to hear your thoughts on the LCD-X pairing. I just got them on Thursday and love them through my Ragnarok but am feeling the itch to get a tube amp again and this one is high on the list. I bet this is great with the Focal Clears as well.
komashita
7
Jul 20, 2019
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Great little amp for HD600
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Just received the amp and initial impression (<24hrs, stock tubes) is that this amplifier definitely resemble my bottlehead sex 3.0. Guys wanting realistic soundstage and air should consider an opt tube amplifier. I'm feeding it with Rpi/Digione > Mimby and listening thru the HD600 connecting to the high output z.
(Edited)
Recommends this product? Yes
MRphotographycom
71
Dec 11, 2019
Can you elaborate on why you don’t like pairing with those other headphones?
komashita
7
Dec 15, 2019
MRphotographycomI listen mostly to heavy stuff and live recording. The ZDTjr tamed the high on high z output, but overall is not doing this technically built headphone any favour. The HD6XX sounds too veil with either high and low z output. I sold my HD800 and still keep the HD6XX. HD6XX does open up with a higher power tube amp like the Bottlehead S.E.X & a good nos dac for my preference.
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