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Drop + THX AAA 789 Linear Achromatic Audio Amplifier EXPIRED

$199
$299.00
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Drop has Drop + THX AAA 789 Linear Achromatic Audio Amplifier on sale for $199. Shipping is free.

Thanks to Community Member dlfdr43 for posting this deal.

Specs:
  • Note: All parameters measured at 0 dB gain, 1 kHz, with balanced inputs and 300-ohm load unless otherwise noted
  • Inputs: Stereo XLR-3 gold-plated Neutrik; Stereo RCA gold-plated
  • Outputs: 1/4 in (6.35 mm) TRS gold-plated Neutrik; 3.5 mm TRS gold-plated; XLR-4 balanced gold-plated
  • Frequency response: + 0.01 dB / - 0.03 dB 20 Hz–20 kHz; + 0.05 dB / - 0.15 dB 10 Hz–50 kHz
  • Input impedance: 50 kOhms balanced or unbalanced
  • Chassis: High-grade CNC-milled aluminum with bead-blasted finish
  • Power supply: 24 VDC inline brick, universal input 100–240 VAC
  • Dimensions: 8.3 x 9.1 x 2.2 in (210 x 230 x 57 mm)
  • Weight: 3.4 lbs (1,520 g)
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Edited September 18, 2021 at 01:18 PM by
Through September 20th or while supplies last, save $100 on the Drop + THX AAA™ 789 Linear Amp.

https://drop.com/buy/drop-thx-aaa...-amplifier
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$199
$299.00
Questions & Answers BETA
kmogilinedi asked this question on 09-20-2021 at 10:44 AM
09-20-2021 at 10:44 AM
Chord Hugo is a $2500 product 🙄. Cobalt is a portable and you can get better alternatives for this like TempoTec Sonata E44 which is 79 bucks.

I like the 789 for IEMs and full size headphones (not many THX based amplifiers support IEMs like 789) and desktop setup with SU-8s.

The below recommendations from Andy vault.
1 TempoTec Sonata E44
2 Ovidius B1 Apogee Groove
3 Hidizs S9 Pro E1DA 9038SG3
4 Astell & Kern PEE51 Hidizs S9
09-20-2021 at 10:44 AM
If you own a chord hugo there's not really a reason to buy this imo. You could connect the Hugo output to the amp since the Hugo is very transparent, and you can gain the sonic properties of this amp. But most people probably want to keep the transparent output of the Hugo or go into a tube amp.
09-20-2021 at 10:44 AM
Chord Hugo has a very good but not state of the art DAC. The THX aaa 789 doesn't have a DAC. The Chord Hugo has a good headphone amp. The THX has a great and far more powerful headphone amp with cleaner sound.

Chord is great stuff, and is likely not worth replacing, but the THX headphone amps are better.

At the same time, I bet 99.9% of people wouldn't know the difference.
shilderb asked this question on 09-20-2021 at 10:43 AM
09-20-2021 at 10:43 AM
Yes, assuming you have a decent source/dac.
If the source is flawed, this will just make it louder.
09-20-2021 at 10:43 AM
Yes, I use it to power both hd6xx and 58 jubilee
MellowRain3662 asked this question on 09-20-2021 at 09:55 AM
RunningOnEmpty asked this question on 09-21-2021 at 12:06 AM
MarvinB asked this question on 09-21-2021 at 02:56 PM
natecmu asked this question on 09-22-2021 at 08:24 AM

114 Comments

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#76
Hi guys, saw this one on the market when I was looking to get my first dac/amp a while back. Ended up getting the Schiit Magni/Modi (3+) and got a couple headphones I've been rotating between (Senn 58x, Audio Technica 900x, Koss KPH30iRB) for uses.. would you guys recommend this amp over my Schmitt Magni 3+?

Thank you to anyone who can chime in. Have a great day!

edit: been reading through all the comments and I see lots of people recommending the JDS atom. Are those better substantially than my current setup?
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Last edited by gimmekith September 19, 2021 at 11:12 PM.
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#77
Quote from gimmekith :
Hi guys, saw this one on the market when I was looking to get my first dac/amp a while back. Ended up getting the Schiit Magni/Modi (3+) and got a couple headphones I've been rotating between (Senn 58x, Audio Technica 900x, Koss KPH30iRB) for uses.. would you guys recommend this amp over my Schmitt Magni 3+?

Thank you to anyone who can chime in. Have a great day!

edit: been reading through all the comments and I see lots of people recommending the JDS atom. Are those better substantially than my current setup?
Nothing you have is hard to drive so this wouldn't make a difference unless you plan to run a difficult to drive headphone in balanced output (possibly a future headphone?). In single ended output the 789 is actually less powerful than a Magni. As far as Magni vs Atom they're both chip based budget amps with similar measurements and a neutral/clean output. If you already have a Magni it's just a sidegrade and the Magni has a bit more power.
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#78
Not sure if it matters whether the amp uses a chip or a chimichanga as long as it works well.

Also, you guys should not be saying chi-fi. First, it's derogatory. Second, it's not even a clear concept since so much familiar-branded gear is made in China.
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#79
Quote from wighty :
Saying it is a total waste of money when it offers different features than the JDS atom? Balanced cables being the big one (granted, I admit a good majority of people don't need balanced inputs/outputs (and IIRC there's an argument about the 789 being truly balanced).

This is an overall great deal. I remember people bidding up to like $800 or something on ebay with the first run of these.
Bloggers with audio engineering backgrounds have made compelling posts explaining that BO audio does not discernably sound better than SE. So I think that BO is just another example of feature creep in this hobby that some companies resort to in order to demand a higher product price under the false veneer of "higher quality". BO's primary benefit is to provide more power output more efficiently but SE circuits are plenty strong and in the case of wall-powered amps the additional power efficiency of BO is not pertinent.

As for end-to-end balanced topologies I haven't seen any compelling measurement data to support the added cost for these designs. The inexpensive Atom Amp in fact measures better than many pricier balanced amps.

That's the problem with this "hobby". Mystic beliefs and snakeoil permeate throughout it. Many of these companies, including Audioquest and component makers like THX, exploit the naivete of consumers. Forums like Head-fi are sponsored by boutique audio companies and propagate myths that encourage overspending on products that fail to deliver objective tangible benefits.
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#80
Quote from Hxx :
If you stick with major chi fi brands you will be fine : topping smsl etc.
That's not necessarily true. Topping had a major defect with one of their popular headphone amps in 2019 that resulted in headphones becoming damaged from DC being directly dumped into the output. An embarrassing public relations faux pas unfolded when the company's representative on the AudioScience forums initially denied the defect and rejected warranty coverage as well as compensation for damaged headphones. Eventually, after much consternation and delay Topping finally made good on warranty replacements of the amplifier and did compensate some of the more higher profile ASR members. But the entire ordeal tarnished the company's reputation and validated the suspicion that Chi-fi equipment is inferior in build quality.

Personally, I'll continue to steer clear of gear designed AND made in China. Setting aside the poor build quality in various product categories should we even be sending our money to a country that unleashed this pita pandemic/lockdowns/masks/vaccine nightmare on the world?
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#81
And I'm sure your next automatonic comment will reference virtue signaling. I'll steal a line from your COVID-denying crew here: do your own research. There's an incredible amount of affordable, China designed-and-built, well-received gear out there. Screw this racist.
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#82
Quote from aboriginal_sin :
And I'm sure your next automatonic comment will reference virtue signaling. I'll steal a line from your COVID-denying crew here: do your own research. There's an incredible amount of affordable, China designed-and-built, well-received gear out there. Screw this racist.
Roll Eyes (Sarcastic)
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#83
Quote from brucknerfan :
That's not necessarily true. Topping had a major defect with one of their popular headphone amps in 2019 that resulted in headphones becoming damaged from DC being directly dumped into the output. An embarrassing public relations faux pas unfolded when the company's representative on the AudioScience forums initially denied the defect and rejected warranty coverage as well as compensation for damaged headphones. Eventually, after much consternation and delay Topping finally made good on warranty replacements of the amplifier and did compensate some of the more higher profile ASR members. But the entire ordeal tarnished the company's reputation and validated the suspicion that Chi-fi equipment is inferior in build quality.

Personally, I'll continue to steer clear of gear designed AND made in China. Setting aside the poor build quality in various product categories should we even be sending our money to a country that unleashed this pita pandemic/lockdowns/masks/vaccine nightmare on the world?
Right so most if not all items sold by Drop are designed and made in China because thats what Drop does. Nothing wrong with that i just think its funny you would choose Drop based on that fact laugh out loud
If you want to stick with a US made amplifier then Schiit audio , mayflower electronics , jds labs are well known and sell very capable gear.
All of these companies fark up at some point or another, the real test is how they deal with it.
Don't let the whole made in china stereotypical bullshit steer you away from other well made comparable products
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#84
Quote from Hxx :
Right so most if not all items sold by Drop are designed and made in China because thats what Drop does. Nothing wrong with that i just think its funny you would choose Drop based on that fact laugh out loud
If you want to stick with a US made amplifier then Schiit audio , mayflower electronics , jds labs are well known and sell very capable gear.
All of these companies fark up at some point or another, the real test is how they deal with it.
Don't let the whole made in china stereotypical bullshit steer you away from other well made comparable products
Well, in the context of headphone amplifiers I don't see the point in going with a Drop branded Chi-fi product when there's better options for US made gear at the same or lower price point.
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#85
Quote from brucknerfan :
Well, in the context of headphone amplifiers I don't see the point in going with a Drop branded Chi-fi product when there's better options for US made gear at the same or lower price point.
that's exactly the point although i wouldn't call US options "better" they are just... options.
I think the fundamental takeaway here is that all these $200 ish amps are capable, more than capable and usually punch above their price point. You wont be disappointed with a schiit Asgard 3, or this drop thx, or a topping d50, or jds EL amp , or the SMSL whatever its called... etc etc etc...and it will all come down to 1) price, 2) features, and 3) aesthetics, looks, design.
This thx amp is rather old but its a good one, the asgard 3 is super powerful but lacks features, topping d50 is feature packed and compact but not as powerful , cant say much about jds labs element but usually their gear is top notch from my experience with the cheaper options. So you see where this is going
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#86
Quote from Hxx :
that's exactly the point although i wouldn't call US options "better" they are just... options.
I think the fundamental takeaway here is that all these $200 ish amps are capable, more than capable and usually punch above their price point. You wont be disappointed with a schiit Asgard 3, or this drop thx, or a topping d50, or jds EL amp , or the SMSL whatever its called... etc etc etc...and it will all come down to 1) price, 2) features, and 3) aesthetics, looks, design.
This thx amp is rather old but its a good one, the asgard 3 is super powerful but lacks features, topping d50 is feature packed and compact but not as powerful , cant say much about jds labs element but usually their gear is top notch from my experience with the cheaper options. So you see where this is going
Yes, it's a great time to be headphone enthusiast.

The Asgard 3 was a disappointment for me. I bought one this past year.
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#87
Is this only for headphones or does it also have outputs for speakers? Would love a 2 in one for this price
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#88
Anyone have experience with Topping amps? How is this compare to Topping L30 or L50? I am looking at the L50 as well. thx
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#89
Quote from gimmekith :
Hi guys, saw this one on the market when I was looking to get my first dac/amp a while back. Ended up getting the Schiit Magni/Modi (3+) and got a couple headphones I've been rotating between (Senn 58x, Audio Technica 900x, Koss KPH30iRB) for uses.. would you guys recommend this amp over my Schmitt Magni 3+?

Thank you to anyone who can chime in. Have a great day!

edit: been reading through all the comments and I see lots of people recommending the JDS atom. Are those better substantially than my current setup?
You should leave it alone - that's a great stack and these would be roughly lateral moves. You can stick with your Schiit forever unless you want to throw a lot of money at fancy features or you need a balanced amp.
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#90
I don't know what it is about this amp but it just sounds a step above all of the $100-$200 amps out there.

For $300, it was always a compromise between a $100-$200 vs $300. Now, its brain dead simple if you want an entry level headphone amp.

Still has drawbacks:
- volume pot gets scratchy - Fiio has a knob that digitally controls and is nicer to use and no scraches. But, that unit doesn't sound as good.
- external power even though its not wall wart but still external power supply.

I think the next generation is coming out - esp integrated with DAC and a screen. https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=24459
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