Monolith Balanced Headphone Amplifier and DAC with THX AAA Technology


#21

dang sorry man.

Just got back home, and playing around a little bit more. There are some things I like about the DX7 more. The remote makes things easy to switch settings quickly. On the MonoTHX, everything is run through the Menu and Enter button, so just switching sources is annoying. I have it hooked up to my computer as well as using an old DVD player as a digital transport via Coax to the DAC.

Another annoying thing is that you can the Line Out is not active all the time. It requires switching from HP out to Line Out, but the option is buried a few steps in from the main menu.


#22

Oh wow, I really feel for you. I hate it when I am all keyed up and then they F**k up. It’s happened to me before and I don’t take disappointment like this well. Sad but true. I would have to fire off some angry email’s to someone. Hope it works out ok for you. Happy Thanksgiving to all you Americans out there. I think it’s soon isn’t it?:slightly_smiling_face: :turkey:.


#23

Thanksgiving is today. Thank you for the sentiment, and eat an early Christmas meal for the effect.


#24

Yeah, first world problems right, lol, I’m over it but I did hype myself up for it, I think the thing that irks me is that I was waiting at home all day for it so it wouldn’t be left on the front door or have to be re-delivered.

Any how happy over consumption day! I’m chilling with the daughter and family all day so nothing can get me down today :smile:


#25

FedEx infuriates me all the time with their delivery schedule/reschedule etc. The package can sit in Seattle for days before delivery because they have a “scheduled” delivery day they must hold to even if it comes in early. Or they’ll just send it from Kent to Tacoma to Auburn to Seattle to Redmond to Kent again to Bothell just for fun. Seems like a waste of carbon emissions. This is never an issue with USPS or UPS or DHL for me. DHL has risen to above FedEx level for me.

Monoprice seems to use their own shipping service which is usually very fast and reliable for me. I guess since you live a little further out of the city, that you were probably at the end of the route?

Anyway, this THX amp would benefit from a remote in a future revision or update. Other than that, I really do like how it sounds and the Dirac sound feature does work better than expected. I still havent messed around with the EQ settings yet.


#26

Yeah CSO is monoprices service of choice and they use courrier type service (random people using their own cars I think) which is horrible, I’ve rarely had a good experience with them, I’m sure being out in the burbs doesn’t help.

I’m really, looking forward to playing with it next week…it might be my new work setup.


#27

When you turn it on the first time, please, please, make sure you dont have your headphones plugged in or on your head. The default volume is -20dB which is quite loud on balanced, especially for the efficient Focals. It’s still pretty loud for my HE560 but not deafening loud.


#28


#29

@antdroid thank you for the heads up! Did you mod it for balanced out already? Was it pretty easy? I might try it also, if within my skill limit. Looks clean inside!


#30

Yea its so clean - that I’m nervous about doing the mod. LOL. I havent yet. I looked through the guide from Andrew of THX and where the pinouts are. It seems doable. Getting wires attached to patch over seems tricky without removing the connectors completely and reattaching it though. Was hoping that wouldn’t be necessary. I guess another way would be to connect through the solder points below the board.

Essentially, you need to de-solder two of the three pins from the XLR-Inputs on the back of the board and then connect those pins to the headphone out 4-pin XLR.

Here is my beautiful drawing of it.


#31

I like that board…it would be cool to do a acrylic case for it lol


#32

Nice work. Thanks, and great pictures too.


#33

Man, finally getting some head time with this (last minute delivery today). I’m really liking it so far, granted only a couple songs into it. I’m using DIRAC right from the get go though, figure that is the cool tech might as well get used to it first, then see how it sounds without it. It also fits fairly nicely under my MCTH to save on limited desk space and limited power plugs (ordered a solution from Amazon that will be here next couple weeks).


#34

Been getting more head time (now that turkey day has gone…and family departed).

I really like this setup, it isn’t as good as my RME-ADI-2DAC Jotunheim combo, but almost there. I will probably, make this my work setup, now I’ll need to get another balanced cable for my Focal Elegias (or repurpuse the clear/elex ones, I just don’t like the jank of those).

The Dirac setting is neat, but when listening to music I didn’t like it… I’ll have to try it with games to see if that is a better fit…and if so I’ll probably switch it off my Mac and keep it with my gaming PC.

when using it without balanced cables it is still a good DAC/amp but looses a bit of its magic, not enough to make it not worthwhile but enough to want to keep balanced cables on hand, or as the preferred listening setup.

It is very neutral, and airy, which I really appreciate, but tubes are starting to call to me like sirens on the rocks of a chaotic sea :wink: it has enough oomph also, and for the price is probably one of the best dedicated headphone DAC/amps you can get in its price range. I haven’t heard personally the Schiit equivalent so this is based purely on my comparing it to my ADI-2DAC with Jotunheim/MCTH which isn’t really a fair comparison, but it gets you almost there for a 1/3rd(ish) the cost. Also I’m starting to realize the problems with using lossy HQ Spotify to listen to my gear (good enough for relaxing but when evaluating, the higher end gear starts to get bottlenecked by it). It isn’t a night and day difference with my FLAC files but it is enough for me to realize I’m missing some aspects to the music with the lossy streams. I’ve been putting off getting Tidal, in hopes of getting Qobuz as my first lossless streaming, but they are on the slow boat to America it seems :wink:

Back on track…this is a solid option and I would put it up against other DAC/amp combos up to the $900 range strong words :wink: but it does enough right, and gives enough options to keep most people happy.


#35

Isn’t the schiit equivalent the jotenheim have?


#36

yeah, but I don’t have the equivalent DAC…mine is just the amp :slight_smile: but I hear great things about the multibit module…may invest in it down the road…


#37

AudioScienceReview just roasted this guy in a preview:


#38

Of course he did…I can attest to the horrible shipping service…but honestly I’ve had zero problem with mine with it USB’d into my Mac… a little clunky with the UI, but no different than others at the end of the day, just takes time to get used to. I was up and running and changing EQ and other setting on the fly within a couple minutes. I’ll have to check my firmware though…that could be interesting…

Also I take this with a grain of salt due to him throwing a fit and not actually measuring or doing anything with it. Purely an emotional response…which now puts his other reviews/measurements into question…how much of it is biased?
I have no skin in the game though so…as I am not a measurebator…I use my ears to determine if I like a thing or not, everyone else be damned :wink:

SMH


#39

I’m just the messenger…yeah, he does get surprisingly cranky from time to time for a ‘science’ site. He sometimes gives up on listening tests too. I take his views on tube amps with less than a grain of salt myself.


#40

Until he actually reviews a production unit, the rest of it is just whinging about a beta-unit (which could vary in operation, and potentially performance, significantly from what he has) and a bad shipping experience.

Not that this excuses Monoprice for anything here. And I’ve no thoughts on the unit one way or another as I’ve never touched one. But until he does an actual review, and measurement, of a production unit, his commentary so far is about as much use as a chocolate tea-pot.

Given how often he claims to be listening at excessive volumes, I’d personally have to ignore anything he presents from a “listening” perspective, as I’d be concerned as to what level of hearing damage he may already have (only takes a moment to cause permanent damage if you take it too far).