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Review and Measurements of Massdrop Alex Cavalli Tube Hybrid (CTH) and JDS O2 Headphone Amps

Headphonaholic

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Maybe massdrops unit isn't made to the original spec?
Someone had claimed that they weren't being built well and that there were other issues with the build quality. I don't recall where I had read that sadly. I have one that I had used at work prior to the JDS Atom and it worked fine.

My advice to anyone interested in the objective 2 is to buy it from JDS Labs, yes it's more expensive (and yes I own a JDS Labs o2 as well), but the quality is top notch. JDS Labs has proven time and time again that they are the real deal.
 

Jimster480

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Someone had claimed that they weren't being built well and that there were other issues with the build quality. I don't recall where I had read that sadly. I have one that I had used at work prior to the JDS Atom and it worked fine.

My advice to anyone interested in the objective 2 is to buy it from JDS Labs, yes it's more expensive (and yes I own a JDS Labs o2 as well), but the quality is top notch. JDS Labs has proven time and time again that they are the real deal.
Yes I totally agree. I have a JDS O2 and JDS has really nice people there you can talk to.
 
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It would be interesting to see how those two actually measure and if there really is performance differences. Considering the price difference, it's obvious that Massdrop did save in some areas (at least their screws are made of butter). Though, now that JDS Labs Atom is out O2 feels pretty obsolete.
 

JohnYang1997

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It would be interesting to see how those two actually measure and if there really is performance differences. Considering the price difference, it's obvious that Massdrop did save in some areas (at least their screws are made of butter). Though, now that JDS Labs Atom is out O2 feels pretty obsolete.
It's actually not. o2 is a modification platform. If you know how to mod, you can achieve lower noise and lower distortion at higher frequencies(2k-10k).
 

Veri

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Hi amirm, do you feel jds o2 sounding any different from atom or thx 789?
The O2 will run into its power constraints much faster than the THX for sure. If you need the power you will notice a difference, in other cases it should perform the same.
 

JohnYang1997

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The O2 will run into its power constraints much faster than the THX for sure. If you need the power you will notice a difference, in other cases it should perform the same.
In real life we hardly use 10mw output power so does that mean there is 0 difference in sound quality?
 

Veri

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Based on same schematic. As long as it says Objective2 it should be the same design. Note though, Atom is basically the O2's sucessor! I fully recommend going for it, instead: http://www.hifiheadphones.co.uk/jds-labs-atom-headphone-amplifier.html
Same-ish price. Why not go for the best
I was looking for an Atom but couldn't find one much cheaper than 150 Euros in Europe (~170) Dollars which is almost double what JDS labs charges in the US so it kinda seemed like a bad deal especially since I'd much prefer aluminium casing, however price on the link you posted seems okay. A big plus for me would be if either my dac or the dac/amp combo would support remote controls, so now I am debating between the DX7s and the DX3 pro (I've had bad experience with the SMSL SU8, however, I am still considering re-ordering it again for the balanced outputs).
Thanks for the link btw
 

Veri

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I was looking for an Atom but couldn't find one much cheaper than 150 Euros in Europe (~170) Dollars which is almost double what JDS labs charges in the US so it kinda seemed like a bad deal especially since I'd much prefer aluminium casing, however price on the link you posted seems okay. A big plus for me would be if either my dac or the dac/amp combo would support remote controls, so now I am debating between the DX7s and the DX3 pro (I've had bad experience with the SMSL SU8, however, I am still considering re-ordering it again for the balanced outputs).
Thanks for the link btw
The DX3 remote is very handy. Can set up everything from a distance, so I can certainly recommend it. Audiophonics stocks said remote, so you could use it with a DX7/DX7s too :)

PS considering I noticed no benefit from using my THX AAA with the DX3 versus its internal amp (except for more power on the thx), I'm certain there's no real improvement to be had with the atom either honestly... the DX3 is one awesome machine. The DX7 amp is a little worse because of its output impedance which can be an issue.
 

amirm

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Hi amirm, do you feel jds o2 sounding any different from atom or thx 789?
Not if you don't exceed its capabilities. If you do, then the other two are better than O2.
 
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The DX3 remote is very handy. Can set up everything from a distance, so I can certainly recommend it. Audiophonics stocks said remote, so you could use it with a DX7/DX7s too :)

PS considering I noticed no benefit from using my THX AAA with the DX3 versus its internal amp (except for more power on the thx), I'm certain there's no real improvement to be had with the atom either honestly... the DX3 is one awesome machine. The DX7 amp is a little worse because of its output impedance which can be an issue.
Are you saying you the DX3Pro by itself sounds as good as THX 789 + DX3Pro? If so the DX3Pro has insane performance and features for its price..
 

Veri

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Are you saying you the DX3Pro by itself sounds as good as THX 789 + DX3Pro? If so the DX3Pro has insane performance and features for its price..
As long as you don't need the surplus power then yes, that is exactly what I'm saying. If you are driving very hard to drive headphones it might not suffice (as in Argon/HE-6 etc), but for "normal" usage it is an insanely feature and power-packed package indeed.

@amirm himself is using the DX3 on his desk as all-around power-horse (as testament to its greatness ;))
 
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This is weird... I'm not quite sure what has happened to my O2 but it doesn't seem have the problems that I had before. I did move to different place and the wall plug is grounded now and I also did open the O2 and pushed down one opamp. Not sure if those could make any difference but the thing is that now both AE-5 HP-out and O2 are within margin of error as it should be (since the ADC is subpar - there shouldn't be any clear differences). I did the retest because I couldn't hear the previous problems any more.

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