• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

Review and Measurements of Cavalli Liquid Carbon X

Veri

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Feb 6, 2018
Messages
651
Likes
471
#21
@amirm

Question: Did you redo the tests for the Arcam rhead with the Topping DX3 Pro driving it? If not, your results that show in comparison to it aren't actually scientifically comparable.
Your point is moot. Amir can fully test amps with his AP analyser alone. If a combo dac/amp is used for measurements, that would be explicitly stated as with the A30/D30 vs modi/magni showoff, where he again first measured amps alone, and then the combination.

His RHead comparison picture is taken straight from past measurements, I'm not sure he still even has an RHead(?).

I believe the topping DX3 Pro is just in the picture for foot print comparison (and as a teaser for review to come).
 

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
15,369
Likes
9,362
Location
Seattle Area
#22
@amirm

Question: Did you redo the tests for the Arcam rhead with the Topping DX3 Pro driving it? If not, your results that show in comparison to it aren't actually scientifically comparable.
For measurements of amplifiers, I don't use a DAC. The source of the signal is always my Audio Precision analyzer which has better distortion figures than any DAC.

The Topping DAC was only used for listening tests.
 

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
15,369
Likes
9,362
Location
Seattle Area
#23

Veri

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Feb 6, 2018
Messages
651
Likes
471
#24
I still do and used it recently for some other tests (the ifi iematch).
:) I was not sure it was your own or if a UK member had sent it to you. Apparently it's a combination of both (UK member selling one to you).
 

Sythrix

Active Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2018
Messages
295
Likes
205
#25
For measurements of amplifiers, I don't use a DAC. The source of the signal is always my Audio Precision analyzer which has better distortion figures than any DAC.

The Topping DAC was only used for listening tests.
Good to know. Thanks for clarifying and I apologize for misunderstanding.
 

Urbs

New Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2018
Messages
4
Likes
1
#27
To be fair, they did explicitly say on the Massdrop site and other places (Cavalli himself) that this amp is meant to be used with balanced headphones and that the SE output is for convenience mostly. I don't know if that would change any of the measurements, but did want to put that out there.
 

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
15,369
Likes
9,362
Location
Seattle Area
#28
To be fair, they did explicitly say on the Massdrop site and other places (Cavalli himself) that this amp is meant to be used with balanced headphones and that the SE output is for convenience mostly. I don't know if that would change any of the measurements, but did want to put that out there.
Good to know. I did test the balanced versus unbalanced with 50 ohm load and it does produce more power there.
 

derp1n

Senior Member
Joined
May 28, 2018
Messages
460
Likes
478
#30
To be fair, it's not like they had any prior experience or warning that they wouldn't be good. Calling then suckers seems excessive.
Buying multi thousand dollar "boutique" amps makes you a sucker by definition. Besides, Head-Case gave the world plenty of warning that Cavalli is clueless as a designer.
 

PuX

Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2018
Messages
55
Likes
24
#31
I just received an Arcam rHead from amazon.co.uk, it's also available on ebay (new). The price should be somewhere in $220-250 range.

// did not expect Liquid Carbon to be so awful. It's not even a tube amp where they could say it has some immeasurable magic sound. Massdrop/Cavalli really should test their stuff before trying to sell it. Especially considering how long it takes them to ship their products.
 

Sythrix

Active Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2018
Messages
295
Likes
205
#32
Buying multi thousand dollar "boutique" amps makes you a sucker by definition.
I won't argue about the boutique amps, but the Massdrop version had plenty of buyers who could have been steered into a purchase just by word-of-mouth and reputation on the site. They went crazy for it when it first appeared there, like a king had come down to be among the people. :rolleyes:

I've never read what Head-Case wrote about him though.
 

mi-fu

Active Member
Patreon Donor
Joined
Jun 7, 2018
Messages
239
Likes
202
Location
New York
#34
Let's wait for Amir to measure the monoprice / cavalli Liquid Spark. Then we will see the bad result stemmed from massdrop or cavalli or both.

I expected cavalli's products wouldn't have stellar measurements. But I'm still surprise by how bad it is.
 

Sythrix

Active Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2018
Messages
295
Likes
205
#35
But I'm still surprise by how bad it is.
Take a look at the CTH Review. It was a lot worse. Between this and that... yeah I'd want to see some pretty convincing evidence to prove his designs aren't just inherently flawed.
 

mi-fu

Active Member
Patreon Donor
Joined
Jun 7, 2018
Messages
239
Likes
202
Location
New York
#36
Buying multi thousand dollar "boutique" amps makes you a sucker by definition. Besides, Head-Case gave the world plenty of warning that Cavalli is clueless as a designer.
That's why I would only spend 99 bucks in order to know what is going on :p

But to be fair, many people make purchase decisions largely based online comments. And the Cavalli brand does have a crowd of faithful followers on some forums. I probably would have jumped on the Cavalli boat if didn't come across ASR.

So Amir is doing a great service to the community.
 

Headphonaholic

Active Member
Patreon Donor
Joined
Apr 8, 2018
Messages
134
Likes
104
#37
Take a look at the CTH Review. It was a lot worse. Between this and that... yeah I'd want to see some pretty convincing evidence to prove his designs aren't just inherently flawed.
I'm not trying to defend Alex Cavalli but the CTH does involve a tube which in my mind means automatically that it's not going to be perfect. Granted I'm no expert here, I have no idea what a tube amp should be doing in these measurements. Maybe a good tube amp would have less flaws than the CTH? Then again the flaws might be what people like about them. I have no idea, but I look forward to Amir testing more tube amps in the future. But regardless there is definitely something off with the design of the Carbon.
 

Sythrix

Active Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2018
Messages
295
Likes
205
#38
I'm not trying to defend Alex Cavalli but the CTH does involve a tube which in my mind means automatically that it's not going to be perfect. Granted I'm no expert here, I have no idea what a tube amp should be doing in these measurements. Maybe a good tube amp would have less flaws than the CTH? Then again the flaws might be what people like about them. I have no idea, but I look forward to Amir testing more tube amps in the future. But regardless there is definitely something off with the design of the Carbon.
Per the CTH review:

"Massdrop specs CTH at 0.0014% THD+N with this output. As you see, what I get is about five times higher at 0.009%. SINAD which is our signal above noise and distortion is as a result a lackluster 80 dB. What you don't see is that the number was jumping up and down constantly to tune of 3 dB or so.

Just as well, the significant amount of noise in the 1 kHz FFT on top right was changing in every frame displayed by my Audio Precision Analyzer. To the left, we see significant amount of mains leakage which is most likely due to emissions mitigation in the switching external power supply used. "

I don't know to what extent that could be blamed on a tube. I understand what you're saying, but to me it looks like a poor design, especially with concern to the power supply management. SINAD jumping around is also strange. Tube warm up maybe? Or perhaps we could blame Massdrop on shoddy construction for their new product.

All I'm saying is it doesn't fill me with a lot of confidence in his designs coupled with the review of the Carbon... but they were both made by Massdrop as mi-fu pointed out, so it's something to consider. If the THX comes out bad, we might have to start pointing the finger in their direction.
 

mindbomb

Active Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2017
Messages
276
Likes
130
#39
Compared to the aune x7s, the presence of balanced output on the cavalli makes more sense to me. With the aune, the single ended outputs were powerful enough, so I couldn't imagine why anyone would use the balanced output - it was just more noise and more output impedance. In the case of the cavalli, the se is underpowered, so there is a point to having balanced in this amp.
 

Headphonaholic

Active Member
Patreon Donor
Joined
Apr 8, 2018
Messages
134
Likes
104
#40
Per the CTH review:

"Massdrop specs CTH at 0.0014% THD+N with this output. As you see, what I get is about five times higher at 0.009%. SINAD which is our signal above noise and distortion is as a result a lackluster 80 dB. What you don't see is that the number was jumping up and down constantly to tune of 3 dB or so.

Just as well, the significant amount of noise in the 1 kHz FFT on top right was changing in every frame displayed by my Audio Precision Analyzer. To the left, we see significant amount of mains leakage which is most likely due to emissions mitigation in the switching external power supply used. "

I don't know to what extent that could be blamed on a tube. I understand what you're saying, but to me it looks like a poor design, especially with concern to the power supply management. SINAD jumping around is also strange. Tube warm up maybe? Or perhaps we could blame Massdrop on shoddy construction for their new product.

All I'm saying is it doesn't fill me with a lot of confidence in his designs coupled with the review of the Carbon... but they were both made by Massdrop as mi-fu pointed out, so it's something to consider. If the THX comes out bad, we might have to start pointing the finger in their direction.
Those are all very good points and I totally understand and agree. I wasn't really disagreeing as much as cutting a tube device a touch of slack. Tubes can be susceptible to vibrations and RFI, among other things, which would likely show up in measurements. Mains leakage however is without a doubt a design flaw. I had also seen on a different forum where they did a teardown of the CTH and they had no kind things to say about the build/design. It could be interesting if Amir did a teardown of the Carbon to see if there were any obvious flaws.

What I would also like to see is the Liquid Spark and Liquid Platinum (not out just yet) that Monoprice is releasing be reviewed. Supposedly both Massdrop and Monoprice are releasing his designs (not sure if they are changing them at all, or if so how much) so I would like to see if perhaps it has to do with who is bringing them into production. At this point, until I see evidence otherwise, I have no interest in purchasing any more Alex Cavalli branded products.
 
Top Bottom