Monolith by Monoprice Liquid Gold Balanced Headphone Amplifier and DAC by Alex Cavalli

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by jexby, Sep 10, 2019.

  1. jexby

    jexby Posole Prince

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    For new impressions, technical details and all things sonic. no unboxing videos please.

    https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=38967

    "The Liquid Gold X is a smaller version of Cavalli Audio’s most popular amp, the Liquid Gold. It is a fully balanced, differential front-end, solid state amplifier. In addition to the great analog sound of the original Liquid Gold, this amplifier includes a built-in fully balanced DAC section based on the AKM 4493 DAC. It has two gain settings and features USB, Coaxial, and optical digital inputs, as well as balanced and unbalanced analog inputs. The Liquid Gold also introduces our new MCU based products with computerized control of all the amp features including turn on sequencing and DC offset detection, giving you nearly everything you need in a single, compact package. "
     
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  2. Stuff Jones

    Stuff Jones Friend

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    These things are so ugly. Sometimes it's ok to be square (or rectangular).
     
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  3. rtaylor76

    rtaylor76 Can't wipe his tag

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    Looks like those China tariffs are affecting prices.

    I would doubt there are digital outputs.

    Looks like two rows of three lights on the far right: OCU, DBS. Optical, Coax, USB and Digital, Balanced, Single Ended.
     
  4. Clemmaster

    Clemmaster Friend

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    The Liquid Platinum looks much better in person.
    I expect the LG to be the same.
     
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  5. dBel84

    dBel84 Friend

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    Have a late night at work so will not get much time on the unit Alex has sent me but will update this thread soon.
     
  6. dBel84

    dBel84 Friend

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    Longer day at work than anticipated but that is only if you call smoozing around a table with excellent wine, work.

    Got home to find the gold (along with an unexpected surprise). Packaging is top notch, unit is a similar sized to the platinum, it is solid, has a good heft to it. No instructions but seems to have 3 input options and 3 output options.
    High and low gain setting.

    Using the HD600 as my baseline, sound is astonishingly good. Subbass rumble is actually possible with the HD600.

    Alex tells me that this unit only has 50 hours on it, so going to run it on continuous play for a day or 2.
     
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  7. songmic

    songmic Gear cycler East Asia edition

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    @dBel84 What’s the output power rating? I expect it to be more powerful than LP.
     
  8. fp627

    fp627 Friend

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    dBel - do you by any chance have an "original LAu" to compare to?

    While LP and Liquid Spark don't really have "comparable" original Cavalli amps to compare to, it'd be interesting to see if something being presented as a "direct clone" is significantly cheaper due to a due to potential changes in parts and design (and hence sound) or if it's just due to things like economies of scale, smaller cases/chassis, streamlining business operations, etc.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019
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  9. dBel84

    dBel84 Friend

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    Not sure about exact power output - hopefully Alex will comment himself

    and no, I don't have an original Gold to do a direct comparison.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Buttons on the front choose between SE/Balanced/Dac input and second set choose which DAC input USB/Optical/Coax

    ..dB
     
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  10. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better gear impressions than you

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    What amps have you owned/heard so we can get an idea of where this amp falls in relation?
     
  11. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    I don’t see the point of making an amp at this price point an all in one. The Liquid Gold is a revered amp by many and this would be a slam dunk at a lower price point without the DAC. Anyone spending this much on an amp almost certainly has a higher quality external DAC.
     
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  12. Baten

    Baten Almost "Made"

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    Perhaps they were shooting for the 'perfect' $1k all-in-one? No sound impressions yet so who knows. Maybe it is.
     
  13. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    I consider “perfect all in one” to be an oxymoron at any price, but that’s just me. I think the best you could get is “good enough all in one”.
     
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  14. fraggler

    fraggler A Happy & Busy Life

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    Fair, though I can still dream of a smallish box that hits a nice sweet spot. No one seems to hit that balance, though I think a better amp with an innocuous DAC is better than a good DAC with a mediocre headout. This promises to be the former.
     
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  15. westermac

    westermac Friend

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    Ah man... It's unfortunate that they (Alex? Monoprice? who knows) decided a built-in DAC was necessary; hopefully a DAC-less option will be made available at a lower price.

    I'm sure it's perfectly capable, but for anyone who already owns dedicated DAC it's just an expensive redundancy, and with the assumed lack of line out/pre out capability it's not able to act as a replacement either. As soon as I saw the digital inputs my interest level went from high to "eh."

    If it's as faithful to the OG LAu as we're all hoping then maybe it's a moot point at this price; just an unfortunate direction to take it. Such a beast of an amp shouldn't need any bells and whistles.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019
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  16. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    This I 100% agree with!
     
  17. Ice-man

    Ice-man Friend

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    TBH, the LG while a good headphone amp never really blew my socks off. Yes, it had gobs of power and did have some of the Cavalli magic. But, for me, it never really delivered the spine tingling experience of the Glass or the Crimson. Now if Monoprice could work up one of the boxes with the Glass inside, that would be something I'd campout for.
     
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  18. DEATHxMACHINE

    DEATHxMACHINE Friend

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    Hopefully we will get a loaner. I will be glad to compare to my OG LAu. See if can handle an HE6 like the OG can.

    Shame they added the dac but they probably simply added two of the stand alone liquid spark dacs that are also releasing. So probably only added $150 to the price. At $850 as a amp only, not sure what the marketability would be. 9watts into 50 ohms is overkill for most people. I can understand the thought process of how a powerful all in one unit would be more marketable.
     
  19. Jozurr

    Jozurr Almost "Made"

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    Has anyone seen the specs yet to see if they're comparable to the OG LAu?
     
  20. rtaylor76

    rtaylor76 Can't wipe his tag

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    The only reason I see, and probably the ONLY reason is for convenience, like say someone wants to jump in the deep end, but does not want to spend two arms AND a leg for headphones, amp, and DAC, or thinks that a 4493 is all they will need.

    I see your point though. Mosty going to be bypassed.

    However, all of Schiit's new (big) amp offerings have DAC input cards, including Rag 2. Just saying.
     
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