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Monoprice Monolith THX 887 Balance Headphone Amp: New Champ?

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All secret until someone buys a production unit and performs a tear down. I can't do it with mine.
Tear down may tell, or not, what was changed between the 2 reference designs.
My question was more on the type of reference design provided by THX, or what is the freedom given to the companies buying the reference design?
It can be a base schematics and they choose components and layout
Or a turn key solution, just build.
Or anything in between.
 

Veri

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I wish it had XLR outs too, it would make a perfect preamp.
The 789 could be modded to make the XLR inputs, outputs. I believe @AndrewMason explained this modification here and on massdrop discussion but you need to have some DIY skills.

Might be interesting to ask him if the same mod can be done to this THX 887, too :) you'd have to use SE in XLR out though, of course.
 

graz_lag

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I was wondering whether one should buy this Monolith THX 887 from Monoprice at $399 right now or - better would it be to wait that Drop launches the drop for a Monoprice Monolith THX 8XX version at - say $299?
 
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Veri

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I was wondering whether one should buy this Monolith THX 887 from Monoprice at $399 right now or - better would it be to wait that Drop launches the drop for a Monoprice Monolith THX 8XX version at - say $299?
Either would do, both will probably be in demand and short on supply lol.. alternatives of these will keep coming imo, can't keep waiting for next best thing. I mean, you could, but the market keeps coming up with new stuff lately...!

Maybe SMSL/Topping will also make a THX AAA killer. Who knows ;) there's also @tomchr/neurochrome's coming budget amp. @March Audio upcoming HPA amp. There's no lack of options nowadays :D
 

graz_lag

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Either would do, both will probably be in demand and short on supply lol.. alternatives of these will keep coming imo, can't keep waiting for next best thing. I mean, you could, but the market keeps coming up with new stuff lately...!

Maybe SMSL/Topping will also make a THX AAA killer. Who knows ;) there's also @tomchr/neurochrome's coming budget amp. @March Audio upcoming HPA amp. There's no lack of options nowadays :D
You're right, however I do not understand what the reasons are for which the supplies are so short, unless inside these amps there are some magic ingredients coming from Mars ...

The HPA-1 from TCA at $549 pre-order intrigues me a lot, the $150 difference is totally justified by the fact that @tomchr has no problem in shipping the unit to Europe, the 100% Made in Canada, and last but not least, I feel there is a true honesty behind his project.
 

daftcombo

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Hi @amirm ,

Thanks a lot for the nice review & complements of this splendid unit.

You mentionned in your listening test the joy of not having the slightest hint of distortion. I saw that you tested with the MrSpeakers Ether CX. Is that new phones you bought? How are they? They seem to have a dip in the 2kHz - 4kHz range.
(See plots here: https://drop.com/buy/drop-mrspeakers-ether-cx-closed-headphones=

What was the DAC used?

Thx.
 

helloworld

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Either would do, both will probably be in demand and short on supply lol.. alternatives of these will keep coming imo, can't keep waiting for next best thing. I mean, you could, but the market keeps coming up with new stuff lately...!

Maybe SMSL/Topping will also make a THX AAA killer. Who knows ;) there's also @tomchr/neurochrome's coming budget amp. @March Audio upcoming HPA amp. There's no lack of options nowadays :D
smsl will provide a 120+db thx headphone amplifier soon
 
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There are some planned but not ready yet. This is their press release:

-----

Amongst various offerings, Monoprice will highlight the following products at CEDIA this year:

• Monolith Tower Speakers
o Engineered to deliver the highest level of accuracy and reproduce the finest dynamics of home theater soundtracks and music. Each speaker is planned for THX Certification and features four 6 ½” woofers, and a silk dome tweeter and dome mid-range.
o Without Atmos ($849.99/each)
o With an up firing Atmos enabled driver ($999.99/each)

• Monolith M-215 Dual 15" Subwoofer ($2,499.99)
o Pending THX Certification, the Monolith subwoofer builds on the outstanding reputation of the Monolith subwoofer line up. It sets the standard for bass output, low distortion, and unleashes chest thumping and pant leg vibrating bass, while also having the ability to convey and articulate the subtle nuances of music.

• Monolith Home Theater Processor ($3,999.99)
o A 16-channel processor engineered to deliver a higher level of sound. This processor boasts the most modern technology in multichannel surround sound with Dolby Atmos and DTS: X decoding, advanced room correction with Dirac Live, the latest generation AKM4493 DACs, and plenty of inputs for all sources. Coming Winter 2019.

• Monolith Liquid Gold Balanced Headphone Amplifier and DAC by Alex Cavalli ($999.99)
o A smaller version of the Cavalli Audio’s Liquid Gold Amp, The Liquid Gold X is a fully balanced, differential front-end, solid state amplifier. The Liquid Gold also introduces Monoprice’s new MCU based products with computerized control of all features – including turn on sequencing and DC offset detection.

• Monolith Liquid Platinum DAC by Alex Cavalli ($499.99)
o The Liquid Platinum Balanced DAC will bring out the best in any hi-res track or CD recording. Utilizing an AKM4499 chipset and featuring single ended and balanced analog XLR inputs, along with USB, optical, and coaxial digital inputs, this product is the perfect component to pair with a headphone amplifier for an end game head-fi experience.

• Monolith Liquid Spark DAC by Alex Cavalli ($99.99)
o The Monolith Liquid Spark DAC utilizes an AKM4493 chipset and brings massive performance for a very low cost, and will substantially improve sound from any computer, smartphone, or tablet. Pair this with the Liquid Spark amplifier, and you have the makings of an exceptional head-fi experience.

• Monolith Balanced Headphone Amplifier featuring THX AAA Technology ($399.99)
o THX Achromatic Audio Amplifier (THX AAA™) in 887 configuration promises high fidelity audio with infinitesimally low levels of noise and distortion. Capable of powering even the most demanding headphone to deliver an audio experience like no other.

• Monolith M1570 Balanced Planar Headphone ($599.99)
o Features a 106mm planar driver, a wide padded headband, 4 pin balanced connectors and an open back design that delivers uncompromising audio performance, exceptional transient response, and a holistic soundstage.

• Monolith M1070 Planar Headphone ($399.99)
o Features a 106mm planar driver, wide padded headband, 2.5mm connectors and an open back design that produces a stunning aural landscape and resolves minute sonic detail. Spectacular imaging, low distortion, and perfectly balanced sound.

• Monolith M570 Planar Headphone ($299.99)
o Features a 97*76mm planar magnetic driver enclosed in gorgeous wood, open back housing, and plush, padded headband and earcups for comfortable listening. With an extended soundstage, lush, rich sound, and excellent build quality, the Monolith M570 brings a massive price to performance ratio to the headphone market.

• Monolith M350 In Ear Planar Earphone ($149.99)
o Combines the transparent sound of a planar driver in a small, comfortable in ear enclosure for best in class sound. With low distortion, fantastic bass response, and a wide soundstage, the Monolith M350 sets the bar for sound quality while on the go.
Hi Amir, great review. I always look forward to seeing more "golf swinging" Pink Panthers.

Any chance you may get sent some early units of the new Amps and DACs above for measurement/review like you did for the 887?

Again, thanks for the time and effort to put out all of these reviews.
 

amirm

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Any chance you may get sent some early units of the new Amps and DACs above for measurement/review like you did for the 887?
My contact is only responsible for Monolith products. Not the rest. I asked for the DAC and was told it is not ready. But yes, I am quite anxious to test that AK4499 based DAC. :)
 
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My contact is only responsible for Monolith products. Not the rest. I asked for the DAC and was told it is not ready. But yes, I am quite anxious to test that AK4499 based DAC. :)
I'm anxious to see your review of AK449 DAC. I'd like to see some less expensive THX amplfiers for speakers too. And less expensive, high performance Class D amps.
 
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My THX 789 will not come until 11/15, so IF I choose to cancel I guess I can! They are ALREADY running another drop. It may PAY to wait to see how things shake out. Drop HAD talked about raising the price of the THX 789 and I guess they gave up that idea.

While neither company has a perfect record of customer service I do like the look of the Monoprice unit better.
Both come with free shipping at the moment. BUT, and this is a biggie, Drop did NOT charge me tax. That is almost a $24 cost difference in Pennsylvania. Most places do charge tax. There would have to be SOME sort of a discount for the 2 to be priced the same for me.

But while one technically has better specs, those better specs do NOT result in an audible difference from what I have read here.
This sounds like a wash to me which is a good thing. Should I get a discount coupon to Monoprice that will save me at least $24 I would switch just because I should be able to, given it has NOT been shipped. I may have chosen poorly for price to performance with the SMSL VMV D1 but at least I can say I REALLY like it. Wish I would have come here first before getting it but at least I know its a SOLID unit...

Those amps are so close in looks and design is ALMOST scary isn't it? My spare cash for audio toys is really limited so I ALWAYS rack my brains out over ANY decision... When I pre-ordered the Cavalli Liquid Carbon 2 I was told how wonder it would be. TBH it sounds good but it really lacks in the power dept. and the POT feels like crap compared to any other device I own and use daily. Pretty sure there is no market for the Cavalli since the Drop unit came out so I will keep it for an office unit or something. Everybody raves about the THX 789 and I am sure they will rave over the Monoprice offering too, at least I am done with DACS for a bit...
 
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garbulky

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You guys this amp seems to tick a lot of what I've been looking for - namely balanced drive, amazing distortion figures, and spot on price.
It is missing two things - nowhere near as powerful as my current headphone amp and lack of class A. I'm honestly more concerned about power. Just looking for something with say 600 mwatts @ 300ohms. Though I hear over and over that power doesn't matter, I can't get over that I've got something way more powerful that sounds great.
 

nemesisrobot

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You guys this amp seems to tick a lot of what I've been looking for - namely balanced drive, amazing distortion figures, and spot on price.
It is missing two things - nowhere near as powerful as my current headphone amp and lack of class A. I'm honestly more concerned about power. Just looking for something with say 600 mwatts @ 300ohms. Though I hear over and over that power doesn't matter, I can't get over that I've got something way more powerful that sounds great.
Why does it matter that it’s not class A?
 

garbulky

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Why does it matter that it’s not class A?
I guess the best answer would be it only matters to me. I care about things like that though they don't necessarily mean that they would sound better. I like a certain look, a certain build quality, certain philosophy etc. I prefer separate class A balanced monoblocks with large torroids wherever possible (like my XPA-1 gen 2 for speakers). I love how it looks, how it sounds etc. But my Emotiva A-100 headphone amp is none of those things and sound great on headphones. Same goes for the Emotiva PA-1 which aren't class A and don't have torroids.
 
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