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Monoprice Liquid Spark DAC by Alex Cavalli Review

Hemi-Demon

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Excellent performance, great price. I too wish they would have released this last year, more importantly, I wish they would hurry up with their AK4999 dac. That is the one that I want.

Amir do you think they will send you the new amp, that has this dac included?
 

Labjr

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Other than the tiny flaw in the multitone test, it looks great! Personally, I prefer to have a display or at least LEDs for sample rate display.

Shouldn't be be long before someone breaks the $150 price/performance barrier with a balanced output model.
 

PeteL

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Excellent performance, great price. I too wish they would have released this last year, more importantly, I wish they would hurry up with their AK4999 dac. That is the one that I want.

Amir do you think they will send you the new amp, that has this dac included?
right now nobody can hurry up with ak anything
http://www.semimedia.cc/?p=8523
 

infinitesymphony

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Shouldn't be be long before someone breaks the $150 price/performance barrier with a balanced output model.
The MOTU M2 is $170 and if the DAC and preamp sections are the same as the M4, we may be even closer.
 
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dtaylo1066

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It is amazing what 100 clams will get you in a DAC these days. I wonder if the Liquid Spark has special capabilities when converting Traffic's "The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys?"
 

Labjr

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I like the name better than some of the Chi-fi brands. Loxjie sounds a rare disease. :D
 

ElNino

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Cavalli's best product name IMHO was the "Cavalli Kan Kumisa III", which for some reason always reminded me of a starship name from the original Star Trek. Civilian freighter Cavalli Kan Kumisa III has struck a gravitic mine in the Klingon Neutral Zone....
 

Michael Kelly

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Early word is a year delay. No planning circumvents that.

Very sad situation. AFAIK no one was hurt so that's a silver lining. My rep said the US sales manager was telling customers there may not be any of the higher end parts going forward. Seems that they were not doing all that well against ESS. But as we've seen, AK4493 can really sing when done right!
 

restorer-john

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My rep said the US sales manager was telling customers there may not be any of the higher end parts going forward.

When excellent D/As get discontinued and not replaced with something better, they take on a legendary status, prices skyrocket after stocks are exhausted and people talk in glowing terms for decades about the magical properties they possessed.

Manufacturers sitting on stock can market the product when others can't.

This D/A could double in price and people would still buy it.
 

Vasr

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Really, for $99 and exemplary metrics all around should get a golfing/football/trophy-hoisting panther!

Unfortunately, the panther award is a time-dependent raising bar metric and not absolute. May make sense for people who follow this regularly but new people who come in may see the top award for a poorer measuring unit than this one and not realize that history-dependence.
 

ROOSKIE

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I use my LG V series phone for the vast majority of listening these days.
While I understand that this DAC is generally for laptops, phones without decent DAC's and other such connections, out of curiosity does anyone think that there would be audible differences between an LG phone with the "quad" DAC and this little unit?
 

Ron Texas

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Thank you for another detailed review @amirm . Inexpensive DAC's with great performance are becoming common. Don't pay more unless you need some feature, usually balanced outputs.
 

PeteL

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I use my LG V series phone for the vast majority of listening these days.
While I understand that this DAC is generally for laptops, phones without decent DAC's and other such connections, out of curiosity does anyone think that there would be audible differences between an LG phone with the "quad" DAC and this little unit?
you mean when using your phone jack plugged into a line in? I don’t think there is any issue with this, but the gain structure might not be optimal in this use case. They are not really comparable, since you cant’t drive headphone with this, and you obviously can’t separate the headphone amp from the DAC on your phone. You will not get the same voltage output from your phone, and you can’t have much current with this DAC, but it as nothing to do with the DAC, so nobody can really answer this.
 

PeteL

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Early word is a year delay. No planning circumvents that.
Are we talking about the product reviewed here? If it got in the hands of Amir, it’s already in production and they have parts for the first batch, You don’t just stop everything and « cancel » You sell whatever you have, and Yes, bigger manufacturers plan their procurement for more than a year ahead. You can´t make a 100$ Dac if you buy a handful of chips at a time. the big guys have tousands in hand. It will be difficult for small players tough.
 

wwenze

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$99 with a proprietary cast metal case.

I no longer wish to hear that such a case is justification for much higher prices of similar products.

Maybe the case costs $50. So when a $50 bare board comes out, you can use this justification.

Other than the tiny flaw in the multitone test, it looks great! Personally, I prefer to have a display or at least LEDs for sample rate display.

Shouldn't be be long before someone breaks the $150 price/performance barrier with a balanced output model.

The flaw in the multitone looks like the "grass floor" is too low that the 60Hz coupling issue becomes visible. And even that single peak is lower than the tallest peak in, say, Gustard A18. And it actually beats Gustard's RCA-out 60Hz performance, too.
 
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