Massdrop Cavalli Tube Hybrid Amp

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

  1. westermac

    westermac Friend

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    Very interested in your impressions; I have a MCTH incoming to drive my HD600, if the LPS provides a notable improvement (especially in the bass) I'll go ahead and give one a shot.
     
  2. scapeinator1

    scapeinator1 Once You Go Black You'll Never Go Back

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    That's interesting that you found the MCTH to have prickly treble with the HD650. I actually quite liked the combination and I thought the treble was pretty airy and smooth, though certainly brighter than I'm used to. I've never heard a gumby before though so maybe that's the difference, I used a mimby. That's good to know though that some people might perceive the treble as a bit much. I did try mine with a nighthawk and I did get a bit too much treble and eventual ear fatigue on that one.
     
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  3. mrflibble

    mrflibble Friend

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    I am very sensitive to treble. But as you say the MCTH with HD650 is generally smooth and airy. The prickly treble seems to be down to the tube and is more of an issue with certain music.

    The treble characteristic of the MCTH / EH tube is unlike the treble of the early production Jotunheim, which I found to be very offensive. At least with a tube amp there is the possibility of rolling tubes to remedy the issue, unlike with a solid state amp.

    Even with Vali 2, I can hear the prickly nature of the EH tube. But the Vali 2 treble roll off mitigates its effect.

    I will be trying a few more tubes out on the MCTH in due course. Need to find a tube that is very forward and clear like the EH but without the prickly treble! :)
     
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  4. Gaspasser

    Gaspasser Flatulence Maestro

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    I just got it hooked up and running! No critical listening needed here. It is EASY to hear the huge upgrade especially in the bass, but also in the the top-end and the space around instruments. No prickly treble to be found here. Silly good. I dare say that the Acopian A28MT210 MCTH combo can easily meet Lyr 3 in battle. I will let the fighting commence in the near future and report back.

    I call bullshit on the naysayers above. This is as big an upgrade as the SOLAHD was for the TC-750, if not larger.

    System is JRMC-IVS --> Bimby (Gen 5) -->Acopian A28MT210/ MCTH --> HD650K
    A picture or it didn't happen :)

    EDIT: big thanks to @dBel84 and @atomicbob for the help!

    IMG_2208.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
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  5. mrflibble

    mrflibble Friend

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    Weirdly, I have been listening to the MCTH with EH tube this evening and the treble isn't bothering me - I can't hear the prickle any more. But I could hear it earlier in the day, I swear. I don't know what has changed. Mostly likely nothing has changed, probably just me! Feeling confused :confused::) I definitely didn't imagine it though.

    @Gaspasser Looking forward to your further reports on MCTH with LPS versus Lyr 3.

    I am considering a 28v 65VA or 100VA Chinese LPS for MCTH, similar to these:

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/ZEROZONE...ly-DC-19V-TOP-LPS-for-amp-DAC-PC/321906781523

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Sep-ZERO...DC-15V-TOP-LPS-for-amp-DAC-L1510/111814143469

    Are these good choices? Is there anything I should look out for in an LPS? They do tend to vary in design and implementation. It is difficult to know how good a unit is from looking at the internal pictures, especially for someone challenged in analogue electronics like me!

    Plus there is the unit mentioned earlier in this thread to consider (I noticed there is also a 100VA version of this design available).

    I will ask the vendors what the current output is at 28v if I decide to go ahead. Referring to @atomicbob 's post in the other thread (http://www.superbestaudiofriends.or...echnical-measurements.6119/page-2#post-201390), One should be aiming for 1.5A minimum? 2A being preferable?
     
  6. rtaylor76

    rtaylor76 Can't wipe his tag

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    I think Bob has ordered one very similar to that same basic Chinese design...same box, same R-core transformer. He is supposed to test when he gets it and has time. I know it takes awhile to do all of that. We are privlidged to have him around satisfying our curiosities with scientific data.

    I think just over 1.5A is preferred due to the inrush turn on current of the EH 6922. Other tubes may or may not draw higher current when first turning on. It looks like it finally settles around 400mA or .4A. So anything higher than 2A is just unnecessary.

    In a related story, looks like mine will be in on Wednesday, so stay tuned to my thoughts later this week.
     
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  7. JustAnotherRando

    JustAnotherRando My other bike is a Ferrari

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    Thanks for posting the photo- it saves me time by nuking any idea I had of exploring this as my setup is in the living room which has kids running around in it. I knew that a DIY LPS approach wasn't child friendly, but that photo really hammers it home visually :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
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  8. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Professional tricycle rider

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    ^This!!! Would never get approval to put this in the corner of the living room where I barely got approval to put my little stack. She just discovered Cthulu over the weekend while cleaning and I got an earful. ("You said it was only going to be a small stack of schiit!")
    Eagerly awaiting @atomicbob's test results and impressions. This one is doable from a financial and spatial point of view.

    The ZEROZONE HIFI Linear Power Supply mentioned by @mrflibble and the Finished-65VA-Ultra-Low-Noise-Linear-Power-Supply look rather similar except for a voltage display and single cap on the former versus a grid of 9 smaller caps on the latter (which also a bit cheaper). Are there any advantages/disadvantages to having a single or multiple caps?

    LPS w/ meter
    LPS Zero Zone with meter.jpg

    LPS no meter
    LPS Finished no meter.jpg
     
  9. Br444m

    Br444m Acquaintance

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    They use the big cap instead of the 9 small ones when voltage required is > 15v (it's in the description). You can see on the PCB there were holes drilled for the 9 caps in the first pic.
     
  10. Ice-man

    Ice-man Friend

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    Here are my findings after sampling the CTH with the Acopian LPS over the course of the weekend.

    *the ability of the CTH amp to scale and yield better performance is clear and can easily be heard, even by my wife

    *the noise floor reduction was the most obvious improvement with the dedicated LPS in line. I could easily make out this difference with 650, AFO but the difference was more dramatic from a borrowed pair of Nightowls and my ciems.

    *however, the difference that I appreciated the most was the improved bass response. The result was tighter and deeper from the low frequencies. This improvement showed the most benefit for the 650.

    *and then there was an x factor improvement with the LPS in play. The CTH just seems to have a little better clarity and it's hard for me to pin point where in the frequency range that this extra clarity was coming from. Possible lower treble but that's just my best guess.

    CONS: This is an industrial power supply and it looks the part. To be more direct, it's somewhat fugly. It looks like something the Russians would use on American spies during the cold war era to get them to "talk." In an ideal world an LPS that could yield the same results would come in a nice black aluminum chassis to match the CTH. For me that would be an instant buy.

    And then there's the cost. This LPS at around $300 is more than the amp itself. It's hard to justify that kind of expense even when the performance benefits are considered fully. Something of similar performance at around $125-$135 seems more reasonable.

    Many thanks to @atomicbob for his time and efforts getting the LPS to me for evaluation. He is a gracious dude!
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
  11. Gaspasser

    Gaspasser Flatulence Maestro

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    I have some time this morning and am listening to Clear via MCTH/Acopian combo. This is basically the Clarity Plus system Bob talked about albeit with different DACs. I am now confident that the MCTH/Acopian combo scales with better headphones, I will try HD800SDR this afternoon. I heartily agree that the HD650 really scales nicely with this setup (I think even better than T3). However with the Clear, I can quickly discern layers of detail that were more difficult to appreciate with HD650K.

    I purchased mine off of Bonanza (thanks to dbel84) for $68. Other Friends are buying them off of eBay for similar prices I suspect. As per my experience with the SOLAHD LPS, all of these should be readily available on the used market for a fraction of the price. The seller on Bonanza shipped priority (included in $68) and offers a 30-day warranty. Yes, the PS is yellow and industrial looking, but at least it is in a case (cp to SOLAHD which is open). After the picture I took above, I moved the PS to the floor behind the desk so as to prevent any harm to small children or random tiny woodland creatures.
     
  12. Ice-man

    Ice-man Friend

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    If you got similar results at $68 it's a no brainer. I was thinking that I could make a small shelf attached to the back of my desk for an out of site and harmless to others solution.

    Still though, there is some sex appeal to a matching LPS that would stack.
     
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  13. rtaylor76

    rtaylor76 Can't wipe his tag

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    There are Acopain's on fleabay available, at even lower BIN prices for those interested.

    Maybe I should do a tutorial on how to hook these up for users that might be more afraid of the Military Industrial Complex cage box.
     
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  14. atomicbob

    atomicbob dScope Yoda

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    Unit ordered evidently is on slow boat and won't arrive until late May or June.
     
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  15. atomicbob

    atomicbob dScope Yoda

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    If I were to use an OEM LPS outside of my acoustic lab where kids and pets are possibly at risk, I'd build a nice wood box with some additional room for air to move a little inside. Probably put a real 60320 C14 AC inlet with fuse and switch in the back. Something like this:
    IEC60320 C14 AC inlet with fuse and switch.png
     
  16. atomicbob

    atomicbob dScope Yoda

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    I've had tubes change on me during first 100 hours. A most notable recent experience affected the same treble prickle you describe but with the Lyr 3 and a Shuguang CV181-Z Black Treasure. At first light it sounded pretty good. After 50 hours or so it gave me the same treble prickle you describe. Not a good combination with Lyr3 and Focal Clears. Haven't had a tube cause me this yet with MCTH.
     
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  17. westermac

    westermac Friend

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    Thank you! This is EXACTLY what I was hoping to hear. Now to order one of them Bonanza boxes post haste.

    Low end control is the only thing that's ever bummed me out with the HD600/650 on mid-priced tube amps (going high end is not an option for me right now). Getting the same, or close to the same tightness I've come to expect from good SS amps on an affordable tube amp would just be... so nice.
     
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  18. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    @westermac what amp(s) have you used previously with the 650?

    @Ice-man Using the 650, what amp do you find with comparable bass to the LPS/MCHT combo?
     
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  19. westermac

    westermac Friend

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    So far...
    Meier Corda HA-2 Mk2
    Meier Corda Classic
    Liquid Carbon
    Mjolnir 2
    Magni 3
    LH GO2A
    Woo WA3
    Woo WA6
    Ember v2
    Random vintage integrated amps

    Out of all of them I enjoyed the Mjolnir 2 the most with the HD600/HD650M. Super dynamic and involving. If my budget allowed I'd have just sprung for a Lyr 3 and been done with it, but with another baby on the way the lower price point of the MCTH made it the easy choice.
     
  20. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Professional tricycle rider

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    Can you elaborate on this?
     
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