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DROP + THX AAA 789 Headphone Amplifier US$199 + US$15 Shipping (~A$294 Shipped) @ Drop


The extremely well reviewed Drop + THX AAA 789 amp is on sale this weekend. If I didn't already have a Schiit Asgard 3 I would jump on this. The 789 is a balanced (sort of) amp that supposedly has lots of power, clean sound and very low distortion.

It was originally $399 but has been $299 for a while now, so $199 is pretty amazing price. Sale ends on Monday (September 20th).

Some reviews:
- Darko audio
- Head-Fi

Video reviews:
- Currawong
- Z reviews
- Joshua Valour

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  • +18

    I read the reviews…then wished I hadn’t. Another stark reminder of the insane levels of BS that drive the audiophilia market. I have no doubt that this is a good product but can the reviewers please bring their hands back up where we can see them!

    • +1

      I have one. Among four amps that I currently have, I do think it's and excellent amp. I use it for comparing amps and DAC's especially when I'm trying to hear difference in resolution. For $199, I wouldn't think twice recommending it to a friend or a family member who wants a first decent headphone amp.

      • @smurfz:
        Any recommendations for DACs to pair with this?

        • +5

          Personally, I find my ears not good enough to hear the difference between a number of sub-$1000 DAC's. Others say they can. Since I can't tell the difference, I honestly can't recommend anything :) sorry! May be others can help.

        • +2

          For this price range to pair it, Topping D30.

          I have topping D10s and D70.

          • +1

            @zan5hin: Out of curiosity, why would you go for D30 over E30? I thought the E series was upgrading and replacing the older models

        • +1

          As @zan5hin said, Topping D30 is a great choice.

          For about $200 you could get the Topping D10 Balanced (review https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/t...) - the biggest downside is USB input only - if you only ever use it with a single windows/mac machine, that shouldn't be a hassle.

        • I went down a huge rabbit-hole: Qudelix 5k came out on top. It's bluetooth with LDAC, Parametric EQ, portable, and really reasonably priced. Can drive most headphones.
          I bought one for about $170 on Amazon.

        • Thanks everyone for the honesty and advice. I'll read upon the suggestions.

      • +2

        isn't it $294? 199 is usd not aud

      • What’s it like to my asus xonar?

      • It's $199 USD. Do you still recommend it for $294 AUD?

    • You're asking them to define things that aren't readily present in current measurement techniques. It's a challenge, and it will come through via music they are very familiar with.

      If you want to read some more, check out the Schiit Asgard 3.

  • -1

    Does this take AAs?

    • +5

      Why would a AAA amp take AAs?

      • +6

        cuz they lost A brotha

        • Pour one out for a homey 🍻

  • Do I need a DAC to use this on my PC?

    I just want to plug headphones in and listen to non flac audio and game.
    on board sound card is ok, but a little quiet.

    • +1

      Yes, but if you already have an onboard sound card, you already have a DAC.

      Simply connect a 3.5mm to 2x RCA cable, to the green output to the RCA input on the headphone amp.

      • Well, technically yes it’s a DAC. But is it any good? Probably not unless your motherboard has a fancy audio chipset.

        External (USB) DAC tends to be much better but it’s more cost of course.

        • +3

          OP just wants to listen to non flac audio, and games. So yes probably good enough for their best use case.

          I currently do this through my HD650's + Schiit Lyr (ditched my DAC Magic to simplify my desk) - just use it for games, more than good enough.

          • +1

            @jonnoyeo: True, didn’t read it properly, but they did mention it’s a bit quiet but headphone amp should help with that. I guess they’ll hear the quality and can decide from there.

  • +3

    I got this https://jdslabs.com/product/atom-amp/ but if i hadn't i'd have probably got this one. Its a good value.

  • +1

    I wish it had a built-in DAC.

    • Loxjie D30 or Topping EX5

      • Where to purchase you recommend, Amazon AU?

        • If you want it fast, audiophile store. If you have patience the Shenzen audio or AliExpress

          • @zan5hin: Yep +1 for Shenzen Audio - ask for a discount on the live chat, they're very accomodating

          • @zan5hin: Ok Thank you brother

      • +1

        Yeah, nothing says in built dac like a $500 topping ex5

    • +1

      Built-in DACs are a bit limited. A standalone DAC will allow you to use it in different configurations. If you would like to try a tube amp for example. Decent DACs are pretty cheap. The Schiit Modi for example.

      • I feel if you’re considering tube amplifiers you’re in a very different league already lol.

    • You really don't, as they're so hard to implement correctly. Tends to destroy the value of both products when they're giving off this much EMI.

  • Already have a schiit stack but wouldn’t mind a balanced cable input. Wonder if it’s worth it with my sundaras

    • Also in same situation

    • Not worth for sundara. If you're looking to upgrade in the future to an Ananda then maybe.

      • Yeah I doubt I'll be upgrading the Sundara's anytime soon - I just bought them.

  • +1

    what do you think if i'm hooking it up to my pc speaker, rather than a headphone? does it make a diff to my speakers?

    edit: don't forget 1.5% shopback cashback lol

    • +1

      Depends on your PC speakers but if they're small PC speakers connected via a 3.5mm cable, I'd say you probably are better off upgrading the speakers.

      Given you're considering spending A$300 on this, either your PC speakers are better than I give you credit for, or you would probably be better served upgrading to speakers with an inbuilt DAC/amplifier for not much more.

    • +1

      You say PC speakers, so I assume they are not passive speakers? Unless they are passive speakers they already have an amplifier built in. This is a headphone amp though so will not drive speakers.

  • Planning to use this with the HD6XX, any DAC recommendations to make the most of it? Considering this is not a truly balanced amp, should I fork out the extra to get a balanced DAC?

    What do I need to wire this up and switch between headphones and a pair of powered bookshelf speakers?

    Not wanting to go down too deep the rabbit hole - famous last words :D

    • +1

      Having balanced DAC would still help with THX Amp, essentialy increasing the power input and separation.
      Don't bother with the fact that is not truly balanced, it acts like it is because it has very good channel separation.
      There are bunch of balanced dac options nowdays. If you want cheep look at Topping, SMSL or low end Schiit.
      One thing I would stay away is ESS Sabre dacs that have high IMD, they tent to be bright which does not pair well with THX AAA, end result is overly sharp and sibilant sound.

      • I agree. While it is not a true balanced amp, I am pretty sure the practical function of it is exactly like a balanced amp. I have the Schiit Modius, which is a balanced amp for US$199.

  • This or the JDS Atom for $190aud..

    Extra hundred, not sure how much a difference it would make using it with hd6xx and no dac

    • TXH is league above Atom, hence the price, and yes it makes a difference, 6xx is quite resolving headphone, you would be suprised how well it sounds on higher end Amps.

      • Yeah guess you are right, and shipping is cheaper. More than I really wanted to spend but ohwell lmao. They seem to hold their price well for resale if I decide its overkill for just the 6xxs

      • +1

        is it league above Atom other than balanced output? AFAIK, it's almost the same with 786 being slighty more powerful. Build quality is no contest, Atom is built cheap. In terms of imaging, it's about the same.

        If you're going to be using the 6.5 only, is $100 USD extra worth it?

        Quick google will give you prolly the same summary as above. Some people prefer atom, some 789. For most, can't pick the difference.

        Imho, run with your budget, next amp you can jump higher like lyr or something.

  • +2

    Save money and get jds atom? I'm not sure what the sdvantage of the thx is ?

  • How do you connect this to a computer? Do you need an interface or something?

    • +2

      You can connect it directly from you headphone output (internal sound card/DAC), but an external DAC via USB will be much better.

      • From the headphone port on the PC to which port on the amp itself? I look at the back interface and it totally confuses me

        • +3

          you will need Y canble…3.5mm to 2 RCA (L and R)

        • If you're taking this route, make sure you don't turn up the volume of your computer too high. Another alternative is to get the optical to analogue converter which is heaps better than the headphone output. Assuming that you have the optical output in the first place from your computer.

  • The THX AAA 887 is also on sale at US $249 and seems to have better reviews than the 789. Not sure if it's worth the difference though.

    • The AAA 888 seems to be on the same ball park with a similar price as well.

    • DHL Express - Intl - $155.05
      Shipping break the deal :(

      • Yeah I didn't notice it. The AAA 888 comes with free shipping at US $220 though.

        • SMSL SP200 Headphone Amplifier THX AAA 888 is $300 on Amazon https://www.ozbargain.com.au/node/651275

          which would be better?

          • @RunJumpSplat: I'd think so.

            789 is the original(but cut down) version of thx 888
            789: opa1602 + opa564
            888: opa1612 + opa564 + flying supply
            flying supply adds headroom and voltage swing without exceeding the operation maximum of the opamps.
            887 is the upgrade/optimized version of 789
            887: opa1612 + opa564 + low noise optimization
            887 has lower noise than 888
            788 is opa1602 + ad8397 so it's very different from 789
            789 is essentially "886" in a sense.


  • At this price, this is a no brainer. If I don't already have one which cost me around $450 a year or so ago would have gone for it. The shipping cost from Drop is more than reasonable.

  • Just ordered an Asgard 3 as an upgrade from an Atom. Might have considered one of these if I knew earlier! Though I hear some people saying the Asgard 3 is more fun sounding.

    Anyone experienced both?

  • (profanity) i just bought a heresy a few weeks ago

  • Would I see any difference coming from Creative Sound blaster X3? Using AKG K712 Pro.

  • Wow what a price!

    Probably the only amp you'll ever need.

  • is it a good match with the BEYERDYNAMIC DT 177X GO?

  • I already have the Topping DX3 Pro should I upgrade to this?

  • will the power brick work for AUs voltage?

    • Mine has a power brick with a figure-8 mains cable which you can easily replace.

  • Hmmmm. I think I'm sold on Schitt.

    Got powered monitors so want a dac as well

    Great deal tho

  • How does this compare to Schiit?

    I have 600ohm Beyers so I just need something versatile.

    • +1

      I have a T1. I find even Magni has enough power to drive it without any issues, and I find it does a fantastic job. If you want something really different, perhaps look into the Darkvoice (or similar, not hybrids). But be careful, it's a very slippery and deep rabbit-hole.

      • Is that a Tube amp? How do they sound versus a regular one?

  • Just bought some passive bookshelf speakers (8 ohm). Anyone got suggestions for something power them + hifiman HE 350s? Or should i really just get two different amps?

  • +1

    If I didn't already have a Schiit Asgard 3 I would jump on this.

    Awwwww Schiit

  • Should I buy this, I mean….to my ears, my Apple wireless earphones sound better than my mates Sennheiser HD 650. Am I going deaf or just not able to hear what constitutes a better music experience?

    • +2

      You might just prefer the different type of sound.

      HD650s are very neutral. To some people that are used to skewed headphones, they might sound boring and uninteresting

    • It depends. Wireless headphones include a (tiny) built in DAC/amplifier. The HD 650 have to be connected to a source, if it's not a good source then the headphones will not sound good. If you are listening to the HD 650 plugged in to the headphone jack on a phone or a laptop they're not going to sound great.

      On the other hand, the Apple AirPods Pro and Max are both very good and there's no reason why you might not prefer them to the HD 650. The HD 650 (with a proper source) are going to give you more detail but the tonal balance of the AirPods is very good.

  • Will connecting this to an audient evo 8 (for its DAC) with normal TRS to XLR cables work for a balanced headphone out signal to hd58x?

  • +1

    How does this amp compare to this deal https://www.ozbargain.com.au/node/651275?