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Review and Measurements of Cavalli Liquid Carbon X

gikigill

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Wes

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I hate to use expectation bias, but if an "audiophile" product says "carbon" on it, I expect poor performance, at least on a pricewise basis....

call it a working hypothesis
 

trl

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I do like Kevin's measurements from https://www.head-case.org/forums/topic/13268-massdrop-cavalli-lcx/?do=findComment&comment=789400. The CTH is inverting the phase (180 degrees shift) and does some "nice" spikes when the square signal starts.

Next one is the LCX that shows a little bit of the ringing of the LCX with 50 Ohms resistive load and it's a bit slower too, like 1.2uS slower (maybe the LPF is a bit too restrictive). I wonder how the measurements will look like with real headset or with few nF capacitance added on top.

However, for a 20KHz square signal applied I think that both headamps are measuring respectable, although I don't understand why CTH is inverted.
 

JJB70

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A product I do have a soft spot for which has carbon in its name is the Audioquest Nighthawk Carbon headphone. Partly because I actually liked the way they tried to go for eco-friendly materials, partly because they did their own thing and partly because it was somehow nice to know that even out and out snake oil selling shysters like Audioquest occasionally make an impressive product. Even though their sound signature wasn't my ideal I did enjoy it. Which somehow makes it even sadder that they abandoned a very promising line of headphones to revert to making $$$$$$$$$'s selling hideously priced cables and snake oil (albeit a commercially understandable decision if they can make more profit with less effort by fleecing the gullible).
 

FireLion

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The reviewer Joshua Valour doesn't know jack about shit. Case in point:

https://www.head-case.org/forums/topic/13268-massdrop-cavalli-lcx/

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...measurements-of-cavalli-liquid-carbon-x.4947/

Check his review of the LS50W and the Ora Graphene. I am a backer of Ora though and waiting for my set to be delivered shortly.

The LCX more like 65-70% and that is maximum shillery on JV's part. Hell, he didn't even review the combo unit and recommended it and he really hypes the poop out of drop products. The combo unit is convenient but that's it, It has the lowest gain of all the inputs.

The LCX does a reasonable job when a decent balanced DAC is used due to the extra gain. The D10 actually sounds alright on it too. If you can get it for $150-200 it's a decent deal.

The THX is another league for resolution, dynamics and power.

His review of the graphene headphone was a 24 minute rant. He didn't go at it in a professional manner at all.
His source was an iPhone, no mention of codecs and nothing of substance was brought to the table on that one.

I'll bet the THX panda is amazing.
 
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Shane D

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I have and like the LCX for a certain pairing. But I think that is because of the "softness". It sounds more "tubey" than my Schiit Vali 2. I am feeding it with an SMSL SU-8. Balanced out sounds great with my Beyer T5p.2's as it kind of rounds off the sharp edges.

Not nearly as clear as my SMSL SP200 or even my Liquid Spark or Vali 2. It fills a niche Very well, but I wouldn't want it as my main/only amp.
 

Shane D

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Have you tried XLR headphone to measure? There is no way for Liquid Spark to compare with Liquid Carbon on the XLR headphone.

My comments are purely subjective. I am just going by my ears. The Liquid Spark is an Amazing value with a sweet, warm sound. I have described the LCX as "tubey". I think what I was trying to describe is just a little bit of distortion. On my model at least.

I would rank my collection, in order of preference:
1) SMSL SP200. This is somewhat new and I had to warm up to it.
2) Burson Fun-Classic. An old favourite.
3) Cavalli Liquid Spark. I got this for $80.00US as an open box. Best audio deal ever.
4) Vali 2. Very clear with the right tube. Not at all tubey to me.
5) Cavalli LCX. Excellent in certain situations, but does have distortion. I think this what "tubey" is supposed to sound like.
6) XDuoo TA-20. Brand new toy less than a week.


Shane D
 

Shane D

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Liquid spark and Vali 2 are budge AMP and they do not even have a XLR output for hi-end headphones. Take a look at here, https://www.head-fi.org/threads/cavalli-audios-liquid-carbon-owners-impressions.787608/page-194. My experiment shows, under XLR headphone output, the Liquid Carbon completely beats JDS Atom. There is no match at all. More Powerful, more clean on both my Hifiman Ananda and Sennheiser HD6XX with Liquid Carbon X.

I have no doubt your experiment is correct, after all this is ASR. I was just speaking of my personal preferences.

Going forward, I don't see a future for me with hybrid tube amps or the LCX. I have learned to love the SP200 and really like the Burson and LS amps.

I was on a HUGE buying binge in 2019. I bought way too much entry level/mid level stuff. 2020 is focused on less cheap amps/headphones and more nice headphones.

Shane D
 

gikigill

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Liquid spark and Vali 2 are budge AMP and they do not even have a XLR output for hi-end headphones. Take a look at here, https://www.head-fi.org/threads/cavalli-audios-liquid-carbon-owners-impressions.787608/page-194. My experiment shows, under XLR headphone output, the Liquid Carbon completely beats JDS Atom. There is no match at all. More Powerful, more clean on both my Hifiman Ananda and Sennheiser HD6XX with Liquid Carbon X.

Wheres the link. The link you posted only refers to the thread where it shows aluminum dust from the screws used that's deposited on the PCB.
 

MalinYamato

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Yes, if you look at the FFT in the second graph you see why:
View attachment 16728

We have our main tone at 1 Khz. But with distortion, we now have a bunch of harmonics which keep increasing in frequency. That naturally increases the level of high frequencies, making the sound bright and tiring.
I am looking for an amp to pair with Sundara and Denon AH-D7200, possible also in the future with less sensitive 300 ohm headphones. I was about to order this unit based on reviews at Drop and head-fi. As far as I grasp from comments by owners of the unit, SE-out sucks. Having a useless SE out, they regard this unit as a balanced-out only unit. Have anyone here used it in that mode?
 

SMc

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I am looking for an amp to pair with Sundara and Denon AH-D7200, possible also in the future with less sensitive 300 ohm headphones. I was about to order this unit based on reviews at Drop and head-fi. As far as I grasp from comments by owners of the unit, SE-out sucks. Having a useless SE out, they regard this unit as a balanced-out only unit. Have anyone here used it in that mode?
I gave up using mine because I don't have balanced compatible headphones. Maybe the LCX was a bit better with balanced input but still disappointing single-ended. For comparison purposes, I use a NAD D 1050 dac/amp. Headphones were the NAD HP50 and various Grados, the Sony MDR 7506, and the Creative Aurvana Live!
 

MalinYamato

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I gave up using mine because I don't have balanced compatible headphones. Maybe the LCX was a bit better with balanced input but still disappointing single-ended. For comparison purposes, I use a NAD D 1050 dac/amp. Headphones were the NAD HP50 and various Grados, the Sony MDR 7506, and the Creative Aurvana Live!
Assuming a full balanced circuit, not knowing the wiring of this unit, my question may seem odd: do you really need phones that are balanced by design to take advantage of balanced out? Have you tried to use a balanced cable with your LCXs?
 

SMc

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Assuming a full balanced circuit, not knowing the wiring of this unit, my question may seem odd: do you really need phones that are balanced by design to take advantage of balanced out? Have you tried to use a balanced cable with your LCXs?
I've read that the HP 50 has a common ground wire for the two channels, making balanced operation impossible. The Grados and possibly the others could be modded by someone who knows more about it than I do. Shorter answer: maybe you can't have a common ground.

If I really wanted to give the balanced output a chance, I'd try Sennheiser 5xx or 6xx and a balanced replacement cable.
 

Wes

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Does the Arcam rHead contain any Liquid Carbon??

I am ALWAYS suspicious of products with BS in the name.
 
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