Amp Help Needed

I think I’m OK with my primary concern - and I’ve had enough electronics to understand about power and the sound produced. There isn’t anything however, that shows the impedence of the energizer. If it’s 8 ohms or better, probably no problem, but if there is a dip at some frequencies to say, 2 ohms, those ICE modules can put out a lot of power. And you’re right, the STI-1000 does sound better than the vintage Sansui, plus with my Rectilinear III speakers, it controls them very well. Bass is much tighter and volume is effortless. And I pay attention to the gain with my speakers too!

The secondary concern is that I have about 10 gauge speaker wire going from the amp to the speakers. There are only 4 binding posts, not 8, and there is no switch from one output to another. Someday, I will upgrade the speakers and the speaker wire, possibly to anticables or to an Audioquest wire in the non-bankruptcy range.

If you look at the energizer, it has a front panel switch for loudspeakers / earspeakers. The cable out the back attaches to the amplifier. (I have it now on an old Onkyo integrated amp) These wires are not anything like the size of my normal speaker cable. They are 1986 vintage maybe like 24 or 28 gauge. I’m then supposed to take my speaker wires and attach to the clip terminals on the back of the energizer.

I could probably get one of those under $300 Chinese tube amps and use that for the energizer from the STI outs. I don’t have room for the 1990 vintage Onkyo or the 54 pound AU-919…

So I just got my Atticus today, and I’ve spent a few hours listening with these setups.

Aune x1s 10th Anniversary Edition to Massdrop Cavalli Tube Hybrid via RCA

Aune x1s 10th Anniversary via USB by itself.

I’ll give it a week or so to see what I prefer but from what I’ve listened to today the MCTH with these just sounded “off” to me. So I tried it with Netflix/TV,and voices sounded what I think is much closer/accurate to what I would hear in the real world with the Aune by itself and much prefer it. That said, I prefer my BeyerDynamic DT 1990 and MD AKG k7XX with the MCTH (music and TV/Movies).

You may have already ordered your headphones by now, I’m a bit late to this thread as I’ve only just got mine, but you should see if there is anyone close by that has a pair you could try out, hopefully with some different amps. What I can say is that they sound amazing, look fantastic and the build quality is top notch.

I’m not sure what was happening when I tried these out the other day, but I turned everything off and reseated the cables and now the Atticus and HiFiMan 4xx are working with the MCTH great.

Good looking out. A lot of people have been talking about using the Atticus with the Massdrop Cavalli Tube Hybrid. I am in the process of building a shed so have not had much time online the last few weeks but thanks for the reply.

I think newbies read too much head-fi garbage threads and this results in the confusion that people have regarding the importance of their upstream gear. I know how it feels, been down that path before when I was first starting out, but since I have been in here for a bit, I could only tell give you one good advice, is to trust your own ears. Reading impressions in a subjective hobby like this can be quite difficult to take seriously if you don’t know the authors affiliation with the product. For all we know, he could be a shill or a really inexperienced listener. Not saying that impressions are entirely worthless but it only goes so far, this is assuming you don’t know their reference point or taste in general. So take a breather, stop taking those threads too seriously and just enjoy your gear. Best way to satiate the appetite to upgrade is by going to meets and talking to other audiophiles, hopefully, try their gear too. That is all from me, don’t get too hung up about amp/dac pairings and just remember your transducers (aka headphones) make the largest difference in sound quality.


I think a lot of the advice is outdated. 10 years ago, cheap electronics were mostly rubbish, but nowadays are much better, to the point that I now advise people who want a whole system, including headphones, for less than about $350 to just buy Bluetooth noise-cancelling headphones and forget whole systems.

One thing I disagree with is the “he could be a shill” part, as after most of a decade being a moderator, there was almost no shilling going on (and I nuked most of what little their was). The main thing was hype from newer members who had gotten caught up in the hobby and discovered that music could sound better than what they’d experienced before with whatever headphones or gear they’d bought.


Thats where I am at pretty much after a sicking amount of reading and listening to peoples opinions. The problem with me is “new ears” . I don’t have a preference because I have not heard enough different equipment. I went ahead and bought the Shure SRH1540’s and am using them with my Aune X1s out of my Asus Xonar DX. It is more of a side grade I think to my MSR7’s. I put them on and they have a familiarity to them. I can hear more space in the music and a similar amount of bass but a bit lower. The goal is still to get a pair of Atticus, but my next step is a new amp. My two Little Dots have grounding problems (I think) and the X1s is fine but I want to play around with something else.

I’m a huge advocate for upgrading headphones before amps. You are running 2 headphones that aren’t really known for taking advantage of better amps. And you already have a competent amp in the Aune and 2 tube amps. I think you will see drastically bigger changes going up to better headphones than you will swapping around amps. I would advise saving your money up until you can get the Atticus. And while Atticus can scale well and will take advantage of better amps, it isn’t a hard to power headphone. I could run it off my laptop if I wanted to. I think you would be fine with the amps you have now and then from there you can save up for a more suitable amp that fits your tastes.


This! What @I_want_all_the_tacos said. Better headphones first =) I went all the way to the HD800 before starting to try and diversify amps and DACs, not that you need to go that route.

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What is it that you are not sure you understand?
Post the terms here and I’m certain someone will help.

Sometimes, all of us have trouble understanding new technology. I know I do.

If you have a language issue also, it is even more difficult. I speak a few languages, and understand the problem.
I’m sure that we can reply in clear language.

It often happens that when people are excited about a subject that they start to say complicated things.
I thank you for reminding us that we are often talking to people for whom English is a second or third language.

I am going through the exact same process right now. I just bought the hd800 and I am getting a new amp dac sometime soon although finding one is somewhat difficult lol. I am thinking about the mass drop Cavalli liquid carbon x because I have a 3 pin balanced cable and that looks like a good option and it’s on the lower end of my budget which is great.

Definitely also consider tube amps for HD800

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I have the MCTH and I really enjoy it. I am also building a Bottlehead crack ( I have the speedball add on but will add that at a later date to better understand what it does different, at the advice of this community, with way more experience than what I have with tubes). I think that the MCTH is a good initial tube/hybrid amp mostly because you don’t have to worry about tube rolling and it gives enough of that tube sound to let you decide if that is the route you want to go. I was switching back and forth with it and my Element/El DAC combo and I notice a differnece in warmth. I think I still need to break in the MCTH more though (still get some pops and crackles here and there, and it isn’t as detailed or wide as what I have been described the burned in sound is). The Element/El DAC has a brighter more airy feel to it, also it is way neutral and I would almost say clinical? I also picked up an NFB 11.28 on a whim while I save up for a RME ADI-2 DAC, mostly because it was available and people seem to really like it, and I think it will help me flesh out my experience with DACs and amps( the NFB has hoppers that allow you to change its sound profile). But I’m pining for the RME very bad…I’m even thinking of seeing if anyone would want to trade for my Focal Elex plus cash for one …