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. nickwin

    nickwin Facebook Friend

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    These are tapered as well. I'll get an actual measurement when I have the tubes out but I think chances are they are the same as always. I bet they just seem bigger to me because the sockets and cutouts are lined up correctly on this one. If its bigger it's a couple mm at most.

    This is what I always do but I did double check. I didn't find anything that would explain the difference. Whatever is going on the result is volume level is noticeably easier to dial in so Im definitely not complaining about it.

    On a different note, have you guys seen the LP measurments over at Audio Science Review? The guy is clearly avidly again tube amps but he calls the LP the best tube amp he's ever measured. Interestingly his measurements look a little different than @atomicbob, participially in regard to the power supply. ASR measurements show the PS being substantially more noisy. Im not knowledgeable enough to even guess why that would be. Any thoughts?
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2019
  2. Luckbad

    Luckbad Traded in a unicorn for a Corolla

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    TLDR: The guy at ASR is an amateur and atomicbob is a professional. That explanation can be applied to anything you read at that site.
     
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  3. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    I don't know how the guy at ASR manages to fuck up PSU related noise and the like in his measurements.

    Could be anything from a problem with his house, a messy measurement environment (wires picking up noise), or purposeful sabotage to make certain products look better than others.

    I suppose you could say there's merit to not having to be careful with cable management when it comes to noise, but it's pretty far down the totem pole in terms of pros/cons.
     
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  4. Luckbad

    Luckbad Traded in a unicorn for a Corolla

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    Maybe they fixed the site? I see 5 years now.
     

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  5. Ash1412

    Ash1412 Friend

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    Yep says updated today at the bottom
     
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  6. RatSalad

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    What's up with the shady business practices MP ?
     
  7. nickwin

    nickwin Facebook Friend

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    I wouldn't say its shady. I think they were always going to honer the 5 year warranty for those that purchased one with the 5 year warranty. When they changed it to one year this was clearly stated on the product page. Shitty maybe, but shady?, I wouldn't go that far.
     
  8. RatSalad

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    I think it's the definition of shady, I would never spend almost $800 on an amp with 1 year warranty. Why should the next guy not get the same warranty ?
     
  9. ChaChaRealSmooth

    ChaChaRealSmooth SBAF Gearmaster

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    Yeah, it sucks for the new buyers. Except for the fact that the product page has been updated already to say 5 years again as @Luckbad pointed out.

    Manufacturers reserve the right to change policies as they see fit. Yes, this sucks as the consumer, but this isn't shady. And they're definitely not obligated to give the same warranty to those who buy a used unit.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
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  10. RatSalad

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    Who said anything about used? I don't see how they deserve defending. This is the second time they've done this. Just because they can change policy doesn't mean it doesnt suck or isn't shady.
     
  11. ChaChaRealSmooth

    ChaChaRealSmooth SBAF Gearmaster

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    Herp, I read "next guy" as meaning the second owner of the same unit. I'm dumb.

    Point still stands. I'm not happy whenever things like this happen; I think it's a shitty thing to do. All I'm saying is that it's their prerogative to do so.

    Again, the website has been updated back to 5 years. For all we know it could have been a mistake.
     
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  12. dBel84

    dBel84 Friend

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    If a quality amp doesn't break down in a few weeks, it won't ever until the user screws it up = 1 year vs 5 years, just longer for someone to screw up , not a manufacturing fault.
     
  13. RatSalad

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    I see what you guys are saying I love the amp and have no issues going on 300 hours of use. Few tube swaps. Love it be my last amp I hope it lasts. Monoprices weirdness does not instill confidence in them is all I'm saying.
     
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  14. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    Maybe someone fucked up while updating the webpage. Sure is weird, but seems to be back on track regardless.
     
  15. RatSalad

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    I saw someone in the other place say they asked MP and they said 1 year and they had to argue the fact ... Good still be a mistake. Anyways someone should delete all these posts probably .sorry to add to the noise .
     
  16. ChaChaRealSmooth

    ChaChaRealSmooth SBAF Gearmaster

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    Now to get back to the Liquid Platinum's functionality....

    I did test the SE out on the amp again. Yes, it's worse than the balanced out for sure. But I don't think it was fair of me to say earlier to just pretend it doesn't exist.

    Don't get me wrong; my recommendation to use the Liquid Platinum's balanced-out still holds. However, if you have a particular headphone that doesn't have a balanced cable (or maybe one where this is impossible), it's worth checking out. The AKG K7XX is much better out of this out versus a Magni 3.

    All this being said, I did see someone (Marv?) recommend somewhere on SBAF to buy amps/DACs based on its sonic merits rather than "does it have a balanced out," and I fully agree with this sentiment.
     
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  17. futbutts

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    I just got this amp in today, which I ordered to audition since I'm getting impatient waiting for my 789 Drop, and was getting pretty annoyed with my Asgard 2.

    Overall, I like it. The build quality is surprisingly robust, as in knob feel and the overall heft of the thing, just the buttons feel a tad cheap (they shift about ever so slightly when you play a finger over them, as if they're mounted to a very light gauge spring, despite the buttons themselves having the same solid feel as the rest of the unit). Tube installation wasn't too bad, it helps to shine a light through the vents on the side because the sockets are pretty far down, so it's a challenge to blindly gauge where the pins are lining up otherwise.

    Sound-wise, its strengths seem to me to be its holographic presentation and detail retrieval. I'm using a single-ended source (Bifrost Multibit) but I'd guess another pro is the truly balanced topology. There's ample power -- I'm a quiet listener, but with the 800's, 8 o'clock on the pot brings me to listening level, and maybe 7:30 via balanced, 7 o'clock being 'off'. Unfortunately if I go much quieter than my usual listening levels (which, like I said, is pretty quiet) there is a channel imbalance, and I only get the right channel. (Confirmed via flipping the headphones.)

    Compared to other Cavalli amps I've heard (Massdrop/Cavalli, I guess-- the CTH and the LCX) I'd say this falls somewhere between them signature-wise, while mopping the floor with both as far as overall fidelity and clarity. I loooved the CTH while I had it, to the point I regret having sold it off. It was (to my memory) a really engaging and balanced listen with nice presence, with just a kiss of liquid-ish warmth, while also being just a tad serrated in its details, which wasn't unpleasant actually and provided some nice definition. (Maybe from the tube?) The LCX I found personally to sound too murky for my taste; it was sorta laid back or relaxed, and even aggressive music lost some impact. Detail retrieval was about the same as far as I remember to the CTH, but it all felt a bit sapped of energy, so those details weren't particularly captivating.

    Anyway, the Liquid Platinum (so far) has detail retrieval for days, and with that holographic imaging I mentioned, it is a really enjoyable listen. It had been awhile since I'd picked out new details in some of the songs I'd heard a million times, but it's happening with this amp; albeit not 'huge' details like from my first ventures into mid fi, but rather little nuances -- guitar fretting, errant open notes that are just barely played, the microphonics of a guitar amp, ghost notes on a ride cymbal, all sort of effortlessly presented. It somewhat reminds me of the 650's (bear with me) where details in the mids and up top are not accentuated, and you'd think may be buried in the mix, but are still there and available, ready for your ears to detect them in a naturalistic way...

    Yet, the LP somewhat shares that same restraint that LCX had, and it similarly makes music feel a little... bland? Sleepy? Even my wife, not into this audio bullshit whatsoever, remarked upon listening to some Fleetwood Mac that it sounded sort of relaxed, and she does not take pains to formulate opinions on the equipment I've had her sample. I also noticed that the bass has just a hint of boominess, though I wonder if that'd settle down with the tubes, which are probably not fully burned-in. (So maybe these impressions are premature -- but considering the LCX didn't have tubes to burn in, I'd be personally surprised if that relaxed quality ever dissipated.) Just to paint in shades of grey, the darker, laid-back sound is not as prominent or troublesome as it was with the LCX; but it is there, even if it's somewhat diluted by the amp's clarity and resolution.

    It also seems like the balanced out may be something of a blessing or a curse, depending on your situation. The SE really does sound more overall compressed than the balanced overall, it lacks quite the same naturalistic depth. (I say this having A/Bed the HD800's and ZMF Ori's using a 1/4"-to-XLR adapter.) It's not like, a huuuuge difference, but it's enough of one that it's a bit of a comedown switching over to my single-ended HD600's from the balanced 800's, which hasn't really been the case with other amps where I'm switching between the two using the same output.

    I think the mix of high gain and channel imbalance at levels I sometimes do listen to makes this an automatic DQ for my listening habits, though I also think the laid-back sound signature would make me hesitant to keep it for $600 clams -- let alone the usual $770 asking price. I imagine there are people for whom this will be just what they're looking for;I don't think it's for me. But I've got a couple more weeks to listen so I guess we'll see.
     
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  18. nickwin

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    Nice write up! Im really surprised that you are getting normal listening levels at 7:30 on the knob, I was listening around 9-9:30 with my HE500s (balanced out) on the first two units I had and around 10:30-11 on my current one which is from the latest batch.

    Has anyone else that had one of the earlier units had a chance to play around with one of the current production batches yet? Really curious to hear if others are hearing the same thing with regard to gain. After spending a few months with this one there is no doubt in my mind that the gain is lower on this unit than my previous two. I wonder if it is possible for volume pots to have very different behavior from sample top sample? If not there may actually be something wrong with mine? Ive noticed on this one that I get a gradual ramp up of volume until about 10:30 and then it ramps up QUICK. I can't help but think it sounds slightly different too, slightly softer/more laid back but can't say for sure without having them side by side.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
  19. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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  20. Ice-man

    Ice-man Friend

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    The rumor is that there was a slight revision on this amp to make the volume swing more useful. That's what I heard anyway.
     
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