THX and Massdrop Launch Audiophile Headphone Amp

I was not familiar with Massdrop until my fearless S&V Editor Bob Ankosko turned me on to it. Good thing he did. This looks like a heck of a headphone amplifier.

Massdrop is not an audio company. Rather, it is a community-driven commerce platform. It features products and content that appeal to enthusiasts such as audiophiles. It helps small companies scale up their products, and also allows large companies to develop specialty products. Massdrop members can request certain products and features in limited-time sales events.

The site has a very active audiophile membership. Past Massdrop-branded audio products include headphones from Sennheiser, Fostex, AKG, and others, as well as JBL powered speakers, a TEAC CD receiver, a TEAC portable DAC/amp, etc. Now, THX has joined the party with the Massdrop-made THX AAA-789 desktop headphone amplifier.

This is not just another desktop headphone amp. If you follow the numbers, you'll see just how audiophile-grade this thing is. It is billed as "the world's most linear amplifier with THX AAA Technology." AAA is the acronym for Achromatic Audio Amplifier (AAA) technology. Using it, THX advises that the amp delivers "the world's highest fidelity audio signal, achieving high peak output power and maximizing battery life."

Further, "THX AAA reduces harmonic, intermodulation, and crossover distortion by 20-40 dB to guarantee a realistic and fatigue-free listening experience. It accomplishes this using a patented feed-forward topology to null conventional distortion and noise mechanisms, resulting in the world's most linear amplifier."

Those are big words. What are the specs? Power is rated at 2 channels x 6 W into 16 ohms. S/N ratio is 136 dB. Distortion is rated as -140 dB THD at 300 ohms, 2 volts. Impressive. Also, the amp can drive pretty much any headphone in terms of high impedance, high current, and high sensitivity.

I am still looking for a photo of this amp, and will post it if I am able to find it. Meanwhile, Bob, thanks for the tip on Massdrop - a site well worth keeping an eye on.

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