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Upgade over Atom amp: THX 789 or...?

raistlin65

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I've decided I want an amp that has a more substantial footprint and weight than my JDS Labs Atom, one that doesn't want to move so much when I plug in headphones. I miss my Schiit Asgard 2 and Audio-GD NFB-11 in that regard. I also liked the size of their volume knobs better. Atom is very wide in diameter, but narrow in depth.

THX 789 look like a good choice. Plus, because of the SE RCA passthrough, I won't have to turn on the headphone amp to run my desktop speaker amp (it has its own volume control).

Don't really care if it has balanced output as I don't want to use balanced cables with most of my headphones. I'd be happy with a single-ended amp with unbalanced connections with similar performance to the Atom. Budget <$500, but less is better.

Any other suggestions? Thoughts about the THX 789 for its single-ended use as an Atom replacement?
 

RickSanchez

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I think the 789 may be exactly what you need. My only other suggestion is the Monoprice THX 887. Really no difference in performance, features, or even looks so it's more about who you are comfortable buying from. The only other note:
  • Drop 789: $299 but no warranty (warranty is +$50)
  • Monoprice 887: $399 w/ a 3-year warranty
 

acbarn

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If stability on the desktop is the main concern, you might want to consider the Asgard 3. The 789 is 3.4 lbs compared to the Asgard at 5 lbs with its internal power supply. It’s the only desktop headamp I’ve owned that didn’t require two hands for plugging and unplugging headphones. It’s not as clean as the 789, but for most use cases it’s likely transparent. I enjoyed mine though it does run on the hot side.
 
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raistlin65

raistlin65

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If stability on the desktop is the main concern, you might want to consider the Asgard 3. The 789 is 3.4 lbs compared to the Asgard at 5 lbs with its internal power supply. It’s the only desktop headamp I’ve owned that didn’t require two hands for plugging and unplugging headphones. It’s not as clean as the 789, but for most use cases it’s likely transparent. I enjoyed mine though it does run on the hot side.

I'm not a fan of class A amps because of their high inefficiency. That's the main reason I got rid of the Asgard 2. It offends my energy conservation inclination too much.
 
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Carlo2AC

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The Modius / Magnius combo can be what you are looking for!

Magnius can deliver so much clean power balanced that i don't see a reason to get anything else bellow 400 U$, check the review here on ASR
 

Count Arthur

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Have you considered:

1609636433022.png
 
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raistlin65

raistlin65

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The Modius / Magnius combo can be what you are looking for!

Magnius can deliver so much clean power balanced that i don't see a reason to get anything else bellow 400 U$, check the review here on ASR

I think you missed the end of my post. I'm not interested in moving to balanced cables for my headphones. And I definitely don't want to spend money on another DAC. That wouldn't improve the sound.

Anyway, I went ahead and ordered the 789. It should be here this week!
 

Acerun

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Maybe this is an old thread but I am very much considering the Atom amplifier. if I read this post correctly you're not interested in sound quality just the weight of the actual device?
 

SJ777

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Maybe this is an old thread but I am very much considering the Atom amplifier. if I read this post correctly you're not interested in sound quality just the weight of the actual device?
That appears to be correct. No issues with SQ, just weight. I seem to recall that, upon request, JDS will add extra weight to the Atom HPA.
 
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raistlin65

raistlin65

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Maybe this is an old thread but I am very much considering the Atom amplifier. if I read this post correctly you're not interested in sound quality just the weight of the actual device?

That's not quite the right way to look at it. I am interested in sound quality, but the sound quality should be the same.

And I got the thx789, and I can't tell the difference in sound between it and the Atom.
 

Acerun

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I did contact JDS and they will add weights to the unit upon request. Seems odd to pay three times the price for something that sounds the same, but I understand that aesthetics play a part in buying decisions.
 
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raistlin65

raistlin65

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I did contact JDS and they will add weights to the unit upon request. Seems odd to pay three times the price for something that sounds the same, but I understand that aesthetics play a part in buying decisions.

I hope it works out for you. If they only double the amount of weights they have in the case already, not sure it's going to stop it from being squirrely.

Scroll forward to 8 minutes in this video.

 

Jimbob54

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That's not quite the right way to look at it. I am interested in sound quality, but the sound quality should be the same.

And I got the thx789, and I can't tell the difference in sound between it and the Atom.

Annoyingly. the left hand side of my 789 seems to have become slippy on the glass of the rack. Used to be "stuck" but down slides when plugging in 'phones etc. Anyone know a method short of blutack or sticky pads to give a rubber foot back its "sticky"?
 

3125b

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Just clean it, that helps a lot already. A microfibre towel for the surfaces, and finger tips for the rubber feet (gets off all the grime without degrading the rubber over time like some cleaners might).
 
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Tks

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Annoyingly. the left hand side of my 789 seems to have become slippy on the glass of the rack. Used to be "stuck" but down slides when plugging in 'phones etc. Anyone know a method short of blutack or sticky pads to give a rubber foot back its "sticky"?

Yeah, take a micro fiber cloth and clean the feat, and also take some windex and get rid of any dust and grim at the amps sitting area. Should be stable as if it were on glue after that.
 

Acerun

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I hope it works out for you. If they only double the amount of weights they have in the case already, not sure it's going to stop it from being squirrely.

Scroll forward to 8 minutes in this video.

FWIW, a note from JDS regarding the channel imbalance claims..

"Yes, of course! That is an old, attention seeking claim which impacted a small number of customers. We quickly resolved.

Please check the footnotes in the specifications section of the Atom Amp page. We have been using hand matched potentiometers since 2019."
 

3125b

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So measuring my Atom with the unattenuated input of E30 I get this:

1615311806592.png

I have an older Atom, before they implemented the manual selection process for the pots.
As long as one is realistic about his expectations from an analog volume control, it's absolutely fine. The lowest few percent aren't useable, but we're down at about 1mV there anyway. If you need a useable volume control down to those levels, either get a more expensive amp or attenuate the signal further up the chain, get a DAC with volume control for example.
 
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