Massdrop Cavalli Tube Hybrid Amp

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by purr1n, Aug 11, 2017.

  1. Xen

    Xen Friend

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    DIY for $50 is going to be tough due to small numbers. Even in lots of 100, a suitable transformer from digikey is still about $30. Electrolytic and film capacitors are more expensive than most people expect (probably another $10). These prices are for quality parts (nichicon, rubycon, TDK, Panasonic, Vishay, etc). Don't even want to think about boutique passives...
     
  2. dBel84

    dBel84 Friend

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    The power supply is actually pretty clean in this amp. It takes the smps dc and splits off 3 separate supplies. Split rail for the LV, heater and high voltage B+ for the tube; all regulated and filtered. I wouldn't fuss with a linear supply. Listen to the amp as designed, it is exceptionally good. The original CTH was a gem that was a fairly well kept secret, this embodiment improves on the original design and is being sold for less than it would cost me to build it. (With a similar chassis) . I think this amp is going to rock the budget end of headfi.

    ..dB
     
  3. Vansen

    Vansen Gear Master (retiring)

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    Okay, I’m back from making the rounds on the West Coast and backpacking around the John Muir Trail and Yosemite!

    In my impressions from the road, I previously noted that with HE-500 and a hot source (Modi MB) the CTH would activate the protection circuit if I turned the volume well past my comfortable listening levels. The HE-500 is my hardest headphone to drive. Not as hard to drive as an HE-6 but much harder to drive than a Sennheiser.
    I tried this without the headphones on to see what would happen/how far I could turn the pot. Alex has stated that there is protection circuit will activate if the amp sees a current level that it deems as potentially damaging to headphones.

    Testing this specifically again since I just got home, here is how hard I can drive my HE-500 (NOT on my head):
    -With RSA F-117 phono preamp at it's normal minimum gain setting while being fed from an Ortofon 2M Blue cart, I was able to get full range on the volume pot without activating the protection circuit on the CTH. At max volume, the HE-500 was able to produce about 102 decibels as measured by an iPhone app with the microphone placed near the point where an ear would be.
    -With a Modi MB, which has a higher output level than the RSA F-117 at its minimum gain setting, I can get the volume pot to the 4 o'clock position before the protection circuit kicks in. At this point, the HE-500 produces about 106 decibels before the protection circuit activates.

    I cannot really think of any sane person that would listen to music at these levels. Actually, OSHA's 29 CFR 1910.95 (Occupational Noise Exposure) lists that hearing protection be required for 106 decibels if exposure to this sound level exceeds 52 minutes over an eight hour period (as a weighted average).
     
  4. pandather

    pandather Acquaintance

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    At the risk of sounding like a rando (Which I basically am), does anybody have in-depth thoughts on pairing the (new) CTH with the HD800 (SDR modded if it matters)? I read through the entire thread, and only saw a few basic impressions like "it's good" or that it doesn't exacerbate any of the wonkyness of the HD800. I am having a hard time deciding if I should order the CTH or a Vali 2. I do not mind waiting a few months, as I'm sure uni will keep me quite busy, and I have an Asgard 2 to tide me over. I also have a nickel/damplifier/spider modded HD650, which the CTH seems to pair really well with from what I have read. I am mostly interested in amplifying the HD800 though.

    Thanks!
     
  5. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    If you don't mind springing a bit extra for the CTH, as well as waiting, I'd do that over Vali 2. It's a little warmer and bassier sounding to me, which should pair a bit better with the HD800.

    But that's just a hunch, so take it with a grain of salt!
     
  6. Maxx134

    Maxx134 Dunning–Kruger effect poster boy

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    I searched and no reault so I would like to ask,
    Will there be a SBAF loaner of this amp?
    Would be nice to hear.
    Dont need burn in.
    I have like 100 tubes lol.
     
  7. mrflibble

    mrflibble Friend

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    I'm very interested in this amp. I live in the UK, I would therefore have to pay shipping and at least 20% on the total to import it. Will the amp be made available again at a later date? And will it still be $250? I'm not totally familiar with how Massdrop works! Thanks :)
     
  8. DigMe

    DigMe Needs a baby bottle

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    MOST COMMONLY - items do get dropped again. No guarantees.
     
  9. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Professional tricycle rider

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    @mrflibble, shipping to Asia was only US$25 for me. You're gonna pay VAT on anything coming to the UK and 20% of $250 isn't that much. If you're curious and have a spare ‎£250 ...

    And if it does drop (become available) again later, the lead time will probably mean you won't get it until the next decade!
    How does Massdrop work?
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2017
  10. mrflibble

    mrflibble Friend

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    Probably a somewhat premature question. But would this amp be able to power an E288CC tube?

    By looking at the picture it appears that it would be incredibly difficult if not physically possible to insert a WE396A family tube with adapter into the amp.
     
  11. Vansen

    Vansen Gear Master (retiring)

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    I've said it before and Inner Fidelity echos it in its r review: Stick with the darn stock tube. Seriously. Unless you have extra stuff laying around, you're probably just going to end up wasting your money.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2017
  12. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    Looking at @mrflibble signature it looks like he may some laying around so hopefully it'll work and can report back!

    But ultimately @Vansen is right.

    Cables and tubes should make up a percentage of your overall equipment budget. Like if you have a $1000 total system, maybe a $50 tube could change things slightly towards your preferences. I don't know what a meaningful proportional number would look like but it's not over 20% that's for sure.

    While looking for 12AU7 et al. tubes for a preamp, I came across various forums of people recommending insanely expensive tubes that were almost as expensive as the equipment they were going in to. No mention of upgrading the inferior transformers, caps and internal wiring I'm sure their gear had but a $200 tube will blow your socks off!
     
  13. mrflibble

    mrflibble Friend

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    That is good advice, I agree. However, I happen to have an E288CC that I use with my Vali 2. It has higher voltage(?) requirements than E88CC, therefore I was just wondering if the MCTH could use it. :)
     
  14. AllanMarcus

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  15. mscott58

    mscott58 Friend

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  16. Doctorjazz

    Doctorjazz Rando

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    Didn't go for this, have a Liquid Carbon and MicroZOTL2 (modded by Mojo Audio), but interesting responses here. Particularly regarding the LC; on the other site, it seems to be the best thing since white bread. I didn't check the related thread here yet, but seems the reception to it is much less enthusiastic, to say the least (never felt it matched the ZOTL, even stock; the ZOTL was a bit more expensive, though. I did have to send it in for a channel imbalance in the single ended output; Alex was very nice).
     
  17. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    The MicroZOTL 2 is kind of a bad amp in many ways, even with the LPSU. I'd much rather listen to the Massdrop CTH. Can't speak for the Carbon, but I've heard it works well if you need a really quiet amp for IEMs and the like.
     
  18. crazychile

    crazychile Eastern Iowa's Spiciest Pepper

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    I bought the SBAF Loaner Tour MZ2 with the LPS. It was a big improvement over the Lyr 2 I was using at the time, not a shock given the price difference. I confess to not having tried a Torpedo 3 or any of the other popular options in the $1K to $1.5K range, so maybe among it's peers the MZ2 doesn't stack up. I think it's a little under powered for rocking HD-650s. Normal volume is fine. A solid match with TH-X00s. The latest iteration of MZ2 pushes the pricing higher which potentially makes it less competitive.

    I'm encouraged by your comments on the CTH. I ordered one and thought it might end up at work to be used with a Bifrost MB. But I'll definitely do some comparisons with the MZ2 before it gets moved.
     
  19. damaged-goods

    damaged-goods Acquaintance

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    Could anbody of the people who have this for testing please let me know if there's a "CE" printed somewhere on the chassis or on the PSU?
    Many thanks!
     
  20. ckwong

    ckwong Rando

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