Monoprice Monolith Liquid Platinum Headphone Amplifier by Alex Cavalli

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by Vtory, Apr 4, 2018.

  1. TheloniuSnoop

    TheloniuSnoop Friend

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    Ordered mine on Thursday. Just missed the price increase. :cool: Anyone try the Amperex 7308 tube? I have one and
    may order a second.
     
  2. songmic

    songmic Gear cycler East Asia edition

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    I tried the Amperex 6922 PQ, which should sound similar. Tube rolling definitely made a greater improvement compared to CTH, albeit not as significant as LG.
     
  3. lcmusiclover

    lcmusiclover Friend

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    Amperex 6922 PQ here, I’ve been looking at 7308s. Please post impressions if you do get to listen to a pair.

    After getting my LP for $600 shipped, I feel for new purchasers paying the new price <commiserating, not gloating, really>.
     
  4. songmic

    songmic Gear cycler East Asia edition

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    I ended up selling my Liquid Platinum yesterday, not because it was a bad amp per se but because I was aiming for a wetter presentation a la CTH or LG. The LP/Code-X was too dry sounding for my tastes, but YMMV with other phones. I have a feeling it would provide better tonal balance with the likes of Auteur, Vérité or PMx2.
     
  5. nickwin

    nickwin Acquaintance

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    @songmic, I found it very dry sounding with HE500s as well. Did you notice any change with break-in? How big of a difference did you find between the CTH and LP in terms of seperation and detail?
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2019
  6. Aeron

    Aeron Facebook Friend

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    Absolutely correct, the LP combined with the Vinshine R2R DAC, hooked to the Autuer is a marriage made in Heaven, also plays well with the Abyss 1266. Hopefully my Clear return from warranty repair soon so I can try that combination out.
     
  7. John57

    John57 Rando

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    When a amp is too dry sounding. What does that means?
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2019
  8. jexby

    jexby Posole Prince

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    not wet.
    (find the thread to introduce yourself, read for weeks to months first before posting naive questions.)
     
  9. DEATHxMACHINE

    DEATHxMACHINE Friend

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    In the world of a billion audio terms where most are subjective there is no naive questions.

    Dry means there is no added distortion or coloration. Wet obviously means the opposite. The goal with tubes is to color the sound and it appears the LP is lacking.
     
  10. AllanMarcus

    AllanMarcus Friend

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    Google audiophile glossary here's a decent one
    https://www.stereophile.com/content/sounds-audio-glossary-glossary

    For some, wet vs dry is a reference to reverb. For others with might be how much color the thing being described is adding to the sound. For some, dry means a little dull and lifeless, possibly light on the bass and "brittle" on the treble.

    Unfortunately you need to either know the person's taste and terminology, or PM that person to ask what they mean.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2019
  11. Skyline

    Skyline Double-blindly done with this hobby

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    Introducion

    I've had the LP for a few days now. I can't describe the sound of the amp any better than some of our senior members already have, so I won't try. My goal here is simply to add another data point for those that may still be on the fence.

    I was on the fence myself. I don't trust Monoprice since this is their first foray into serious headamps. I was expecting multiple reports of shoddy build quality or exploding amps and it kept me from pulling the trigger at first. A huge thanks to @Ice-man , @Hands , and @atomicbob for pushing me over the edge. They know what they're talking about, and everyone would do well to listen.

    One caveat to my impressions is that moving up from the Lyr 3 meant that my Gungnir Multibit was also going from SE use to balanced use. That means that any improvements I hear may be a mix of the amp itself and also utilizing the Gungnir Multibit more appropriately. There's no way for me to reliably distinguish between the two.

    All listening is Gungnir Multibit A2 (USB V)-->LP (stock EH tubes)-->HD650 (stock).

    Packaging

    Yes, the packaging from Monoprice sucks. A huge box with two pitiful packing bubbles, which means the amp is bouncing around all over the place during shipping. On the plus side, I was quite impressed with the amp box itself. It feels appropriate for a $700 (or $770 now, I suppose) amp. There's a nice bag for the amp itself, and everything is well packed inside custom-cut foam. I know, who cares, right? It's all about the sound. I only mention this, because value is the big question here. $700 is a lot for someone like myself and I want to feel like the money was well spent. Monoprice has done well here...it feels like a luxury product.

    Build Quality

    I thought this was a hideous amp when the prototype pics were released. In person, though, it's quite nice. Everything feels solid, and the case is well-aligned. The dark gray on the front plate blends into the black body nicely, and makes the whole thing look very sleek. I have no idea why the left and right balanced inputs are switched on the amp. I originally plugged them in incorrectly and was shocked when I heard the channels switched. But, hey...I always tell my students to take the time to read before answering a question and yet I was apparently incapable of reading the L & R printed above the sockets. So, that's on me. The construction is all metal, there's a good weight to it, and again...it feels like a $700 amp should. This does not feel like a cheap toy.

    Tubes

    Yeah, they were hard to insert. Oh well. The right tube took some force, but went in without too much difficulty. The left tube felt like I was pressing against a brick wall. I finally realized the tube pins were just a tad crooked, and things went more smoothly after straightening them out a bit. I've got some NOS tubes coming in this afternoon, so we'll see if it gets any easier after repeated tube rolls.

    **Update - 1/15**
    Tube rolling is definitely easier at this point. They still take some work to remove, but putting tubes in is painless at this point.

    I can also confirm what others have said that tube rolling makes a significant difference. I'm currently running a pair of 1972 Amperex A-frames (Holland made), and the sound has become significantly warmer and sweeter. If you find the stock configuration to sound a little dry, then tube rolling can alleviate this. I initially thought this was coming at the expense of staging, but after about 20 hours the sound has opened up and I won't be going back.
    *****************


    Sound

    This is a step up from the Lyr in nearly every way. This isn't a criticism of the Lyr, which I enjoyed quite a bit.

    The LP isn't aggressive, but the improvement in dynamics from the Lyr are obvious. The stage is also improved, especially in width. Instruments have their own spot in the mix, and the sound is very immersive. Once again, I don't think the soundstage of the Lyr is bad. In fact, I think it's pretty decent relative to some other Schiit offerings. The LP is simply better.

    Everything sounds very natural and easy, without crossing over into the realm of boring. Clean sound, but not clinical.

    The sound, in one word?

    Convincing.

    Enough said.

    Misc.
    • GAIN - This appears to be the big issue people have with this amp, but it's a non-issue for me personally. 5x isn't extreme. I'm typically somewhere between 9-11 on the dial and it's smooth and accurate enough that I don't have any problem getting the volume exactly where I want it. This about the same experience I had with the Vali 2 and Lyr 3 on high gain. Of course, YMMV. I'm only using the HD650, so more sensitive headphones will struggle. Attenuation seems simple enough and is worth the effort for what you're gaining with the LP in sound quality.
    • HEAT - Yep, it runs hot. So what?
    Conclusion

    This amp seems like a bargain to me. I've owned a ton of amps in the $500 and under category and I questioned whether this would be a clear step up.

    It is.

    Yes, reliability is a question that remains to be answered, but with a 5-year warranty it doesn't feel like much of a risk.

    Final Conclusion

    Upgraditis Status: Cured.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2019
  12. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    The LP has SE inputs though doesn't it? /nitpick

    I'm still lusting after this amp and convincing myself to get it and drop the MCTH...

    Thanks for your impressions!!
     
  13. TheloniuSnoop

    TheloniuSnoop Friend

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    Great, common sense review. Love it.
    Pretty well shuts down the nitpicky whining. I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment.

    I might add that the construction is top notch. When I first saw pix, it looked like the case was plastic. Nope. The main body appears to be extruded aluminum, and the front/rear plates are machined aluminum, as is the knob.

    Removing one of the flat head screws from the back panel or bottom reveals how exquisite the machining really is (you need a
    T-9 Torx). This ain't no cheapo hump.

    When I insert/remove tubes, I move the top of the tube in a circle. It seems to make it easier. FWIW
     
  14. Skyline

    Skyline Double-blindly done with this hobby

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    Yep, but I'm too lazy to test them out. I'm not nearly as altruistic or dedicated to the masses as @atomicbob and therefore have no desire to experiment and report back. :p
     
  15. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    I just finished chatting with a rep at Monoprice regarding warranty/returns and shipping. TL;DR: it's all good.

     
  16. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    Ok that's what I thought too... I guess if you had an A/B switch or used on SE-out from Gungnir to LP, it would take that BAL/SE question/quibble from the dac out of the equation. Regardless, it seems like the amp is stellar and I'm trying to resist buying lol.
     
  17. atomicbob

    atomicbob dScope Yoda

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    Lyr3 and Liquid Platinum are my two favorite small footprint desktop amps. I typically pair the Lyr3 with Soekris dac1421. Currently undecided on favorite DAC for LP. Giving the Gungnir MB A2 and a host of others coming through the lab opportunities for evaluation.
     
  18. Rustin Cohle

    Rustin Cohle FKA jazztherapist

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    I'm trying to figure out a good DAC match for my LP right now, so I'm super interested in your take on this.
     
  19. AllanMarcus

    AllanMarcus Friend

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    Is it ever really cured, or is it just in remission?
     
  20. HotRatSalad

    HotRatSalad Friend

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    Liquid platinum cured my upgraditus and HD6xx. I kind of lust after a pair of lcd2 even though I've never heard them ! Modi Multibit actually made me want a Gungnir Multibit but I just can't afford it. I'm happy. No overtime and being grateful for what I have cured mine.
     

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