Monoprice 50w tube/hybrid bluetooth amp.

M

MrBoat

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,298 3 1
#1
Tubes in the preamp, solid state for the amp. It's actually not bad. I currently have it hooked up to Paul Carmody's Classix 2 bookshelf kit speakers. This amp also has pre-outs that could be used for a subwoofer etc. I've tried the Bluetooth and it works well and my phone found it instantly. I also hooked it up to my PC to the analog in with a 3.5mm to RCA Y cord.

Whether the tubes really do anything notable, I can't really tell but, it does sound good. I'm not really a tube guy, and to be honest and since I'm not real big on Bluetooth, for about the same $, I would prefer the Emotiva Basx A-100.


Still, the thing feels like it's well built. I can see it being useful for what it is intended for and for those who like the tube thing. Be a great little bedroom rig with the Classix2 speakers. It plays plenty loud. Tone controls work with plenty of variation with the bass and treble, but the VU meter is more for looks.



Ah well, maybe it will grow on me and I will find it handy for something. If not, I can gift it to one of my kids for Christmas and save myself a trip.
 
M

MrBoat

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,298 3 1
#3
So the VU meter works or is just for looks like the tubes :) ?
The tubes supposedly actually work. There have been videos posted of people changing them out with higher quality tubes and it changing the sound. Not that you can tell the 'quality' via a youtube video, but you can tell there is a difference of sound from one set of tubes to the next. One video has vintage tubes in one channel, and the stock in the other and it is switched back and forth. Others have noted the difference as well. Not that it wouldn't play with a different connection, just that the tubes must color the sound somewhat.

And yes, the VU meter moves, but does not show what is actually happening.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
4,174 16 37
#4
The tubes supposedly actually work. There have been videos posted of people changing them out with higher quality tubes and it changing the sound. Not that you can tell the 'quality' via a youtube video, but you can tell there is a difference of sound from one set of tubes to the next. One video has vintage tubes in one channel, and the stock in the other and it is switched back and forth. Others have noted the difference as well. Not that it wouldn't play with a different connection, just that the tubes must color the sound somewhat.

And yes, the VU meter moves, but does not show what is actually happening.
LOL sorry the whole tube thing sounds like eq is more convenient :) So you've got some replacement tubes on order now?

Not sure what you want from the VU meter it isn't doing?
 
M

MrBoat

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,298 3 1
#5
LOL sorry the whole tube thing sounds like eq is more convenient :) So you've got some replacement tubes on order now?

Not sure what you want from the VU meter it isn't doing?
No, it sounds good enough as it is. This amp was under 200 bucks. I wasn't really expecting a whole lot from it. If I took that little chip amp I bought from PE for $29+24v power supply and fashioned a somewhat presentable box for it, I would have $200 of my time in it at least. Still, the little chip amp actually sounds good, so I expected this could sound $200 worth of good.

Years ago, you could walk into radio shack, get what you went after and find some novelty in there as well to play with, like that solar cigarette lighter deal and be amused by it. That's pretty much how I looked at this amp. I dunno, it's monoprice. It's cheap imported stuff.

I have used Miller (True Blue!) welding machines for years. They have pushed the inverter machines on us and all the circuits are made in China. Lots of issues with the machines and they are very expensive now. The Miller machine I have here at home is from 1978, made in USA and is a basic transformer machine with zero problems for nearly 40 years by now. So, with that said, can we really even rely on the price point, or even name brand reputation as a reliable measure of quality overall anymore? The Behringer NU 3000dsp I bought was $229. It works pretty much as advertised. I just don't believe that things under say, $1000, differ in quality 'that' much.
 
M

MrBoat

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,298 3 1
#6
LOL sorry the whole tube thing sounds like eq is more convenient :) So you've got some replacement tubes on order now?

Not sure what you want from the VU meter it isn't doing?
This is a bit different than EQ. It's a different personality, for lack of a better explanation and it probably is the tubes that make the difference. As far as a "have to have" difference? Meh. I think this would look cool with a full range horn build or something like that, perhaps.

I saw this talked about on this forum and it made me curious is all. I expect if I dug into it, there would be some familiar parts and predictable circuitry. Just a brief look into the rear cover on the black box that sits atop this thing shows what appears to be a pretty substantial toroidal transformer at least.
 
speakerman39

speakerman39

Audioholic Warlord
Ratings
2,707 5 4
#7
Thanks for the info MrBoat! I have always been interested in tubes. However, I think it is in my best interest to focus on SS amps. This hybrid does look nice though. Love the look. It certainly looks a bit bigger than I thought it would be. Thanks for the pics! :):):)


Cheers,

Phil
 
M

MrBoat

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,298 3 1
#8
Thanks for the info MrBoat! I have always been interested in tubes. However, I think it is in my best interest to focus on SS amps. This hybrid does look nice though. Love the look. It certainly looks a bit bigger than I thought it would be. Thanks for the pics! :):):)


Cheers,

Phil
I'd be more excited about it if it was an old Dynaco that I dug out of the attic, and it would have more interest as a restoration project than an actual purchase.

If I was serious about an SS amp, it would not be in the $200 range either. We go thru this all the time with the budgeteers. I already have nice amps, or nice enough, with the rest relying on speakers which I also have plenty of.
 
speakerman39

speakerman39

Audioholic Warlord
Ratings
2,707 5 4
#9
I'd be more excited about it if it was an old Dynaco that I dug out of the attic, and it would have more interest as a restoration project than an actual purchase.

If I was serious about an SS amp, it would not be in the $200 range either. We go thru this all the time with the budgeteers. I already have nice amps, or nice enough, with the rest relying on speakers which I also have plenty of.
Oh I agree 100%! Not planning on buying a SS amp in the $200 range. In fact, I am very fond of the Nad and/or Parasound brands. Right now I could not buy myself out of a wet paper sack. But, down the road I hope to own a good SS 2-CH amp. The Parasound Halo's are a bit out of my price range. Chances are, I will end up with a Nad. Hence, they are not exactly cheap either. :):):)


Cheers,

Phil
 
slipperybidness

slipperybidness

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
2,380 7 3
#10
Oh I agree 100%! Not planning on buying a SS amp in the $200 range. In fact, I am very fond of the Nad and/or Parasound brands. Right now I could not buy myself out of a wet paper sack. But, down the road I hope to own a good SS 2-CH amp. The Parasound Halo's are a bit out of my price range. Chances are, I will end up with a Nad. Hence, they are not exactly cheap either. :):):)


Cheers,

Phil
Just my 2 cents....

On the Parasound Halo, I think their real competitive advantage is that the transformer is encased in epoxy, that should really reduce any possible chance for mechanical hum.

But, I have been very leery of any Parasound Halo gear at all, due to recent problems with their motorized pots. I can't remember, but I think it was the P7 integrated that has had several problems, reported right here on AH (search for the threads before you get all worked up to purchase a Halo).

Regardless, those types of (design) problems make me nervous!

I do own and use mid-90s Parasound 1206 Amp, it is a beast! And, a zCD, which I really like and fits my needs perfectly, but it does run hotter than any other CD player that I have ever used.
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Warlord
Ratings
4,379 22 4
#11
I do own and use mid-90s Parasound 1206 Amp, it is a beast! And, a zCD, which I really like and fits my needs perfectly, but it does run hotter than any other CD player that I have ever used.
Do you have any transport noise?
I have one of these and it "whirrs". Always assumed it was poor design. It is not loud and might go unnoticed if you sit far away or have it enclosed, but in my bedroom setup, it is readily heard!
 
speakerman39

speakerman39

Audioholic Warlord
Ratings
2,707 5 4
#12
Just my 2 cents....

On the Parasound Halo, I think their real competitive advantage is that the transformer is encased in epoxy, that should really reduce any possible chance for mechanical hum.

But, I have been very leery of any Parasound Halo gear at all, due to recent problems with their motorized pots. I can't remember, but I think it was the P7 integrated that has had several problems, reported right here on AH (search for the threads before you get all worked up to purchase a Halo).

Regardless, those types of (design) problems make me nervous!

I do own and use mid-90s Parasound 1206 Amp, it is a beast! And, a zCD, which I really like and fits my needs perfectly, but it does run hotter than any other CD player that I have ever used.
Thanks for the info. As mentioned above, the Parasound Halos are more than I really want to spend anyways. The Nads are more doable for me. Of course, I am NOT referring to the "Masters" Series either. As Kurt pointed out to me the Outlaw 5000 could easily power my Wharfies. Therefore, the 5000 is high on my radar as is the 2160 stereo receiver. Just all depends on my funds at the time of purchase. Right now, that is looking much later down the road for me. :):):)


Cheers,

Phil
 
slipperybidness

slipperybidness

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
2,380 7 3
#13
Do you have any transport noise?
I have one of these and it "whirrs". Always assumed it was poor design. It is not loud and might go unnoticed if you sit far away or have it enclosed, but in my bedroom setup, it is readily heard!
Hmm......no, I can't say that I've heard whirring from it. I have used it in several setups and for testing gear, etc. That is the main reasons that I bought it: small, and has the option for built in volume control. I'll give it a closer listen to the mechanics when I get a chance.
 
slipperybidness

slipperybidness

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
2,380 7 3
#14
Thanks for the info. As mentioned above, the Parasound Halos are more than I really want to spend anyways. The Nads are more doable for me. Of course, I am NOT referring to the "Masters" Series either. As Kurt pointed out to me the Outlaw 5000 could easily power my Wharfies. Therefore, the 5000 is high on my radar as is the 2160 stereo receiver. Just all depends on my funds at the time of purchase. Right now, that is looking much later down the road for me. :):):)


Cheers,

Phil
Oh yeah, I think I remember the other item that turns me off on the Halo line--I think these are all "balanced XLR inputs", but NOT "fully differential from input to output" designs.

Honestly, I think you could likely do better than NAD for the same $ too. Don't get me wrong, the NAD that I have heard sounded fantastic (even the 80W rated integrated)! And, I also like the understated aesthetics for the NAD. But, I think their reliability isn't what it used to be (not from personal experience, just from online observation).

EDIT: OH YEAH! I have been drooling over the RR21xx ever since I first laid eyes on it! Several times, I have thought about selling off my Para 1206 and my Emo USP-1, to fund a RR21xx!

In reality, I will likely eventually just replace my Pio Elite AVR with a new HT AVR, then move my Pio to 2Ch duty, then perhaps sell the Para/Emo, or just go with my 3rd setup.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
4,174 16 37
#15
Thanks for the info. As mentioned above, the Parasound Halos are more than I really want to spend anyways. The Nads are more doable for me. Of course, I am NOT referring to the "Masters" Series either. As Kurt pointed out to me the Outlaw 5000 could easily power my Wharfies. Therefore, the 5000 is high on my radar as is the 2160 stereo receiver. Just all depends on my funds at the time of purchase. Right now, that is looking much later down the road for me. :):):)


Cheers,

Phil
You don't have a receiver any more? Or are you still set on using an amp as a tone control? :)
 
speakerman39

speakerman39

Audioholic Warlord
Ratings
2,707 5 4
#16
Oh yeah, I think I remember the other item that turns me off on the Halo line--I think these are all "balanced XLR inputs", but NOT "fully differential from input to output" designs.

Honestly, I think you could likely do better than NAD for the same $ too. Don't get me wrong, the NAD that I have heard sounded fantastic (even the 80W rated integrated)! And, I also like the understated aesthetics for the NAD. But, I think their reliability isn't what it used to be (not from personal experience, just from online observation).

EDIT: OH YEAH! I have been drooling over the RR21xx ever since I first laid eyes on it! Several times, I have thought about selling off my Para 1206 and my Emo USP-1, to fund a RR21xx!

In reality, I will likely eventually just replace my Pio Elite AVR with a new HT AVR, then move my Pio to 2Ch duty, then perhaps sell the Para/Emo, or just go with my 3rd setup.
To be quite honest here I really want the Outlaw 2160. Just do not want to spend that much albeit $799. Not sure if that includes shipping or not. But, the 2160 would fit my needs very well. On the other hand, the model 5000 amp is quite the bargain at $599! The only caveat is it weighs nearly twice as much as the 2160. I know that could be a good thing, but I have a pinched nerve in my neck and can't lug heavy things around very much anymore.

I can dream all day of the Nad Master Series or the Parasound Halo series, but both are out of my reach anyways. I have always wanted to own a Jolida tube amp as well. Vincent Audio also has some nice stuff. There is no doubt that the model 5000 is the biggest bang for your buck out there right now. The 2160 is just as impressive, but also more expensive. Thus, everything is a trade-off. I have read good things about the mid-range Nads though. Even they would be a stretch for me. If I ever win the lottery though look out......LOL!!!! :):):)


Cheers,

Phil
 
Last edited:
speakerman39

speakerman39

Audioholic Warlord
Ratings
2,707 5 4
#17
You don't have a receiver any more? Or are you still set on using an amp as a tone control? :)
Actually, I own 2-receivers. I use my Cambridge SR 20 every single day. Never have even hooked my new Denon X3300. In fact, I plan to upload a lot of my gear very soon. Have a little bit of everything that needs to go as soon as possible. May be moving very soon. Thus, that will be less that I have to move. Plan to simplify things a lot. Just not able to move like I used to as mMy health is not the greatest. But, I am hanging in there one day at a time enjoying my music. :):):)


Cheers,

Phil
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Ninja
Ratings
2,005 9 17
#18
Actually, I own 2-receivers. I use my Cambridge SR 20 every single day. Never have even hooked my new Denon X3300. In fact, I plan to upload a lot of my gear very soon. Have a little bit of everything that needs to go as soon as possible. May be moving very soon. Thus, that will be less that I have to move. Plan to simplify things a lot. Just not able to move like I used to as mMy health is not the greatest. But, I am hanging in there one day at a time enjoying my music. :):):)


Cheers,

Phil
You go through a lot of cycles buying equipment, selling it, then replacing everything every few months it seems. I wouldn't be able to keep up with you... Well, my bank account wouldn't be able to! :p

Have you considered sitting on what you have for a year or 2, let all that upgrade money build up and get into something that you won't want to upgrade again? When I started this journey my end goal was to end up with something special. Something that I wouldn't want to keep upgrading from because buying equipment and speakers gets very expensive, very fast.
 
slipperybidness

slipperybidness

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
2,380 7 3
#19
You go through a lot of cycles buying equipment, selling it, then replacing everything every few months it seems. I wouldn't be able to keep up with you... Well, my bank account wouldn't be able to! :p

Have you considered sitting on what you have for a year or 2, let all that upgrade money build up and get into something that you won't want to upgrade again? When I started this journey my end goal was to end up with something special. Something that I wouldn't want to keep upgrading from because buying equipment and speakers gets very expensive, very fast.
Honestly, that's my approach in all my hobbies. I typically spend "just enough that I won't feel the need/want to upgrade for several years".

For mountain biking, my next bike will likely be in the $2-3k range, but that won't be for several years yet. Same for telescopes/astronomy--I want a $2-3k scope, but I'm having a lot of fun with my $400 scope right now too!

For audio/HT--I really haven't felt the urge to upgrade or add anything for the last couple of years. I would really like to build those JB Solstice kits for $1k for the pair. And, the day is coming to update my 10 year old TV and AVR......
 
speakerman39

speakerman39

Audioholic Warlord
Ratings
2,707 5 4
#20
You go through a lot of cycles buying equipment, selling it, then replacing everything every few months it seems. I wouldn't be able to keep up with you... Well, my bank account wouldn't be able to! :p

Have you considered sitting on what you have for a year or 2, let all that upgrade money build up and get into something that you won't want to upgrade again? When I started this journey my end goal was to end up with something special. Something that I wouldn't want to keep upgrading from because buying equipment and speakers gets very expensive, very fast.
I have not bought any new gear in a while now. Not planning to buy anything new anytime soon. Just want to simplify what I have for the time being. Plan to move in the next few months and it would be less to move. Most of what I plan to sell has not even been used/opened. Just want it gone and out of my way.

Doing most of my music listening now when I am using my desktop. Therefore, my plans are going to enhance that experience. But, my wallet is empty as well. As such, it is going to be a good while before I can do much of anything new. In fact, it will be at least the 1st of the new year or so. :):):)


Cheers,

Phil
 

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