Cavalli Audio

cavalli

#1

While Alex Cavalli is technically retired now, his legacy lives on at Massdrop and soon Monoprice/Monolith.

The Liquid Crimson is one of my favorite headphone amplifiers of all time (it’s definitely my favorite clean-sounding amp).

The Massdrop Cavalli Tube Hybrid is a really great bang for the buck that turns into a very good amp with a linear power supply.

Soon we’ll be getting the Monolith Liquid Platinum and Liquid Spark from Monoprice.

The Liquid Platinum has me more excited than I should be. A balanced Liquid Crimson for way less money? Yes, please. I imagine it will suffer a bit using an SMPS, but I already have a nice linear power supply ready and waiting.


#2

I get my CTH this upcoming week! Pretty stoked to try it out. It will be my first “tube” amp. What exactly does the Linear power supply provide to that makes it better? I’m curious if I need to buy one. I get that it controls the power but what is the benefit? Honest question not trying to be snarks McGarks.


#3

You definitely don’t need it. If you want slightly lower noise floor, slightly better bass quality, and a much larger footprint on your desk, it can be worth it.

If you have some DIY chops, you can spend less than $100 on one, otherwise you’re looking at ~$150 on eBay.

I’m willing to go the extra mile for that additional few percent of performance.

With any luck, the Liquid Platinum will play nice with an atomicbob Noise Nuke, which is an inexpensive option and an easy DIY project (it doesn’t work well with the MCTH, but does wonders for some amps).


#4

Nice, I am getting a Bottlehead Crack with speedball kit here soonish… hopefully(they are slow on shipping out orders) to brake my soldering chops on. I looked up a couple of the DIY LPS on Ebay…I might have to look into it. Thank you for bringing this to my attention…now to try and prevent my ADHD from ruining it :crazy_face:


#5

I wound up picking up a Massdrop x Cavalli Tube Hybrid recently and was pleasantly surprised by how good it is and how well it scales. The supplied tube is actually unusually good for a pack-in item as well - and being a hybrid design the effects of tube-rolling are much less pronounced than with pure-tube designs, so it pays to stick with the stock tube for most cases.

If you ordered anywhere after May 4th, then it’ll be an extended wait due to a) the $100 sale they had on the Crack starting that weekend and b) the Seattle/Bottlehead meet, which tends to generate additional sales. Either way, you can check shipping status here.

Since you’re local, if you didn’t manage to make it to that meet this year, it’s well worth doing next year.


#6

I enjoy my Cavalli amps. I’ve had an EHHA for the past few years which has served me well. I bought a Mjolnir 2 thinking it would be a suitable replacement but I actually found it to sound worse. I really should get a case for it because this is what it looks like now:
image

I’ve also had Liquid Fire on loan for a bit too. I originally wasn’t the biggest fan of it because I thought it was a bit rolled off at both ends and didn’t have the same sense of bass authority the EHHA has (seriously, that thing put the Mjo to shame in sub bass—I even had some friends compare the two to make sure I wasn’t crazy) but I’m starting to enjoy the warmer and more refined sound over the EHHA.

The Liquid Platinum is definitely in my radar too.


#7

I am literally this guy…lol I picked it up during the sale. I was actually going to go to the meet, but then “life” happened, work got crazy and I had to get a whitepaper started for DC on some technology they were interested in. I plan on eventually heading out that way just to stop in, but I will do my best to make it to the next meetup.


#8

Did you order from the May 5th sale?


#9

Yup, I was actually planning on going in and buying the kit but the sale was only good for online purchase.


#10

You’d still have wound up waiting … they didn’t have kits available from stock on the 5th. And, in fact, I don’t think they generally do that anyway … unless you happen to get lucky.


#11

Might be worth making this thread a resource over time.

Some info I’d like to gather:

  • All of the products (including DIY)
  • User manuals (I have some and will mirror them)
  • Internal shots
  • Modifications that have been performed
  • Recommended linear power supplies
  • Links to reviews
  • Maybe fun: Lineage tree of the amps

Assuming I can edit the main post forever (is that a thing here), I’d like to compile it into the first post.

Perhaps I can convince dBel84 to come over here since he’s the expert on all things Cavalli.

atomicbob did some amazing work measuring the effect of LPSUs on the Massdrop Cavalli Tube Hybrid (he does this sort of thing for a living and as a hobby). He also gives good advice about floating ground and how to connect an OEM supply correctly.

TLDR: The stock SMPS is fine. A linear supply built by diytalen86 on eBay is better.

If you’re willing to go with a lab or OEM power supply you can get further improvements with: BK Precision 1627, Acopian A28MT210, Keysight (HP/Agilent) U8001A

Unmeasured but what I’m using: Power Designs 5015D. This is a lab supply that does 0-50VDC at 0-1.5A, so it’s suitable for the MCTH and upcoming Liquid Platinum.

Some useful info from the man himself (Alex Cavalli) on Head-Fi:

On Linear Power Supplies:

  • “As you guys think on linear supplies, note that you will need 36V 1.5A. The platinum runs about 650mA at idle.”
  • Later, responding to to a question about using two iFi PSUs in series: “I can’t say that it won’t work, I just suggest that you be really careful what you do. Do not exceed 36.5V under any circumstances.”

Also, he provided a picture of the Liquid Platinum board that was at the recent CanJam:


#12

Apologies if I’m collecting stuff and dropping it in here too quickly. This’ll be my last post for a bit.

Here are some internal shots of the Cavalli Liquid Crimson. Unlike most of the audio equipment I buy, I never felt the need to modify this thing.



And some Cavalli Audio manuals for most of the commercial amps:

These are all of his DIY designs that I’m aware of:

DIY Designs
CTH Rev A
EHHA Rev A
CTH
Bijou
SOHA II
EHHA I
eXStatA
SOHA
Cavalli Kan Kumisa III (CK2III)
Cavalli-Jones
Cavalli Lovell MK I & II
Broskie Cavalli Jones I & II

Designs that I don’t think ever saw the light of day:
Super Bijou
EHHA II


#13

Anybody using the Massdrop Cavalli CTH with the Sennheiser HD800 and HD650? How are the pairings? I know there’s been plenty of stuff already posted on the net regarding these but I wanted the opinions of you guys. Thanks.
-Paul-


#14

Yes to the HD650. Works great with it. Airy and fairly punchy. Clean. HD800 I can’t speak to because I’ve never gotten along with them (treble sensitivity). The MCTH does not smooth over treble much, though.


#15

Thanks very much for your reply. Yes a slightly warmer sounding amp either hybrid or tube may pair well with the HD800. Personally I like lots of treble and not too much bass. But those are my personal tastes. I do however get on well with the HD650’s.

Returning to the subject in hand, I would like to try out some tube amps. Only used solid state as of yet.
-Paul-


#16

I am getting the mcth with my hd800’s soonish so I will let you know how it is once I get them. However Tyll said that he thought that it would make an excellent pairing


#17

I Can confirm this…great pairing


#18

I would like to hear this pairing myself. Thanks for your feedback Jarod.

-Paul-


#19

Nice… my problem is that I want to hear and buy everything. :grin:.

-Paul-


#20

I know these feels lol