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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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This comment has been rated as unhelpful by Slickdeals users
Joined Jun 2005
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#91
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?
I got the Magni 3 Heresey and I like this better. It used to be triple the price but now its just double though so makes things very interesting.

I also got the Schiit Modius to go with this to run balanced.

This has a balanced/unbalanced toggle button on the right. I have EQ and tube preamp on the unbalanced loop and I can toggle between them. Conclusion: waste of time to tube and EQ for me.

Only downside is that the footprint is huge on this. It will take twice the space as the schiit stack. But worth it for me since I have a good sized desk. This amp made me just stop looking for better sound since it just has that clarity even at higher volumes. I say go for it.

My headphones are M50x and Sundara.
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#92
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?
Not long ago, Schiit Audio had the exact same scenario. You could literally replace Topping with Schitt and your statement would be completely true. Bad engineering happens everywhere.
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#93
Quote from brucknerfan :
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.
Apparently there is a caveat for this model.

If you DAC outputs high enough voltage, balanced does not clip whereas unbalanced does (because of the lower output voltages).

Not a big deal. You can just turn the volume down on your computer to 70% for this and it shouldn't matter. Or more probably the your DAC is not going to output high voltage anyways.
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#94
Quote from mr0x :
Apparently there is a caveat for this model.

If you DAC outputs high enough voltage, balanced does not clip whereas unbalanced does (because of the lower output voltages).

Not a big deal. You can just turn the volume down on your computer to 70% for this and it shouldn't matter. Or more probably the your DAC is not going to output high voltage anyways.
The only problem with that workaround is that you would degrade the audio signal. Every 6dB drop in volume lowers the bit depth by 1.
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#95
Quote from Rep_Me :
Is this only for headphones or does it also have outputs for speakers? Would love a 2 in one for this price
It has SE pass on the back but it is passive. It is not a preamp for speaker amps. But, the passive output can go to your speaker amps.
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#96
An overpriced glorified DAC/Headphone Amp...
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#97
Quote from Frank_Nitty :
An overpriced glorified DAC/Headphone Amp...
And pray tell, what would you consider not to be overpriced?

At $200, you're not going to beat this level of performance, based on objective, unbiased, reproducible measurements. I challenge you to give a recommendation if you consider this overpriced.
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#98
Quote from dark_velocities :
And pray tell, what would you consider not to be overpriced?

At $200, you're not going to beat this level of performance, based on objective, unbiased, reproducible measurements. I challenge you to give a recommendation if you consider this overpriced.
They say "a fool and his money are soon parted" so stay entitled to your opinion...
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#99
Quote from Frank_Nitty :
They say "a fool and his money are soon parted" so stay entitled to your opinion...
You said this is overpriced, so I'm asking you to contribute and recommend something that in your opinion, is not overpriced.

Clearly, you have nothing to add. Sounds to me like you're just a fool who has no money in the first place. LMAO
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#100
Quote from dark_velocities :
You said this is overpriced, so I'm asking you to contribute and recommend something that in your opinion, is not overpriced.

Clearly, you have nothing to add. Sounds to me like you're just a fool who has no money in the first place. LMAO
Arguing w/ a disingenous shill fanboy over the internet is a foolhearted errand which is why you're entitled to your opinion. I have better things to do w/ my time, you should consider a more productive hobby.
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#101
Quote from Frank_Nitty :
Arguing w/ a disingenous shill fanboy over the internet is a foolhearted errand which is why you're entitled to your opinion. I have better things to do w/ my time, you should consider a more productive hobby.
^ Exhibit A: Classic, insecure projection. LMAO

You made a claim. I asked you to give an example. You promptly felt attacked and lost your mind.

To be clear, no one was even arguing with you. I just wanted to know what you think is not overpriced, if you think this is. Just amazing how easily triggered you are by a stranger on the internet.
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Last edited by dark_velocities September 20, 2021 at 01:39 PM.
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#102
Quote from brucknerfan :
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.
​Balanced outputs resist interference and are often designed to carry more power. If you have no interference and need no more power, then which cable you use depends on what your headphones have. I'd want the option to use balanced headphones. I use balanced connections on my stereo, but only because I have experienced interference issues with single-ended cables. They're a pain compared to RCAs, though.

The THX and similar high end headphone amps are imperfect in the sense that they offer far greater fidelity than is necessary and often more power than can be used, too. But I don't think that's actually snake oil. It's just overengineering. Snake oil is garbage like "tube sound" which is just noise and distortion. Snake oil is, as you said, overpriced cables.
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#103
Quote from PoopyMcPoopyFace :
​Balanced outputs resist interference and are often designed to carry more power. If you have no interference and need no more power, then which cable you use depends on what your headphones have. I'd want the option to use balanced headphones. I use balanced connections on my stereo, but only because I have experienced interference issues with single-ended cables. They're a pain compared to RCAs, though.

The THX and similar high end headphone amps are imperfect in the sense that they offer far greater fidelity than is necessary and often more power than can be used, too. But I don't think that's actually snake oil. It's just overengineering. Snake oil is garbage like "tube sound" which is just noise and distortion. Snake oil is, as you said, overpriced cables.
Regarding the "snake oil" comment THX and their marketing for their amplifier modules reminds me of Bose in the 1990s. THX puts a lot of focus on isosteric specs like low SNR that really doesn't confer any perceptible benefit to the end user. The fact that THX cut their teeth on movie theater and DVD video sound makes them the red headed step child of the audio world. Their technologies always had the veneer of scientific respectability but at base are just plain gimmicky.

For all their purported superiority over traditional IC designs THX module equipped amps continue to be outclassed by more humble and affordable amps.
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#104
Quote from mr0x :
I got the Magni 3 Heresey and I like this better. It used to be triple the price but now its just double though so makes things very interesting.

I also got the Schiit Modius to go with this to run balanced.

This has a balanced/unbalanced toggle button on the right. I have EQ and tube preamp on the unbalanced loop and I can toggle between them. Conclusion: waste of time to tube and EQ for me.

Only downside is that the footprint is huge on this. It will take twice the space as the schiit stack. But worth it for me since I have a good sized desk. This amp made me just stop looking for better sound since it just has that clarity even at higher volumes. I say go for it.

My headphones are M50x and Sundara.
If I'm not mistaken the Modius uses different IC chips for the balanced output which some people on SBAF stated sounded too forward and strident compared to the SE IC chip which yielded a more mellow sound. This might not produce a pleasant synergy with a THX amp.
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#105
Quote from brucknerfan :
Regarding the "snake oil" comment THX and their marketing for their amplifier modules reminds me of Bose in the 1990s. THX puts a lot of focus on isosteric specs like low SNR that really doesn't confer any perceptible benefit to the end user. The fact that THX cut their teeth on movie theater and DVD video sound makes them the red headed step child of the audio world. Their technologies always had the veneer of scientific respectability but at base are just plain gimmicky.

For all their purported superiority over traditional IC designs THX module equipped amps continue to be outclassed by more humble and affordable amps.
I honestly don't care about the marketing or the way the factory makes the sausage. Their product delivers low distortion, low noise, and high power. It does everything well, not just SNR. Nothing to dislike there. As for price, when they came out, they were the cheapest for the performance level by a good amount. Others figured out other ways to make the sausage too. Good for everyone!
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