Cavalli Audio Liquid Fire Headphone Amp (Playback 45)

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Headphone amps and amp/DACs
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Cavalli Audio Liquid Fire Headphone Amp
  • First, the Liquid Fire uses an entirely DC coupled hybrid circuit, meaning that there are no capacitors in the signal path at all.
  •  All voltage amplification is handled purely by tubes, where the tube complement includes four JJ Tesla 6922 tubes—each of which has burned-in for 25 hours prior to shipment of the amp.
  • The tube section of the amplifier is fed by its own dedicated dual (+/-) 100V power supply.
  • A 20-second tube heater delay circuit (with color-coded LED indicator lights) ensures that tube warm-up is complete before the tube circuit is fully engaged.
  • A combination of conventional and MOSFET transistors handles all power output amplification. (The MOSFET output stage is biased at 100mA and runs in Class A almost all of the time.).
  • The solid-state section of the amplifier is fed by a separate, dedicated dual (+/-) 30V power supply.
  • An opamp servo circuit ensures that DC offset is held at 0VDC.
  • A 20-second output delay/DC offset detection circuit (again with color coded indicator lights) ensures that power output circuitry is properly warmed up, and DC offset is properly set at 0VDC, before the headphone output jacks are enabled.
  •  Key amplifier components (chassis enclosure, RCore transformer, piezo-electric power switch) are U.S. made.

In a move that I consider near-genius, Cavalli offers the amp with two headphone jacks, one providing 1/4 ohm output impedance and the other sporting your choice of 1/4, 50 or 100 ohm output impedance.

The amp strives to provide a best-of-two-world’s design, combining the transparency, harmonic richness, and sonic liquidity of great tube circuits with the cleanliness, precision, and control of great solid-state circuits.

The design reflects this approach. Some tube amps cultivate a deliberately retro, son-of-1950’s-vintage-McIntosh-amps vibe, but the Cavalli Liquid Fire sports a distinctly modern design. The moderately sized amp is housed in a matte black enclosure that sports two front panel tube viewing windows, upon which is imprinted Cavalli’s signature “yin/yang” logo. If you look closely, one side of the yin/yang panel features the schematic symbol for a vacuum tube, while the other features the symbol for a transistor. The Yin/Yang theme is repeated in the top cover ventilation scheme.

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