Monoprice Monolith 7-Channel Amplifier Review

Steve81

Steve81

Audioholics Five-0
It almost (not totally) sounds like the phase is reversed in one or more of the channel. On time I have similar trouble and it turns out the RCA interconnect have the phase reversed on one channel, I had to open it up to fix it. It is unlikely, but worth checking.
Auto-calibration *should* check for that as well. YPAO and Audyssey certainly do, but not 100% sure about AccuEQ.
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
I'm listening in Pure Audio mode which is the same as Direct mode.
There is no EQ enabled and the sub is not enabled in Pure audio mode.
I am using Elac Uni-fi UF5 towers.
I just feel that the sound is not as warm as just using my AVR. It almost sounds like the mids are lacking and the tweeters are brighter.
1. Did you keep the same master volume setting on the Onkyo after you installed the amp? The Monoprice may have higher voltage gain and sound louder. So 0.5dB or 1dB louder might tip the scale of "brightness/harshness".

2. It seems like the Onkyo is powering the speakers just fine without the amp. Why did you add the amp in the first place?

I was looking at the response of the UB5 since I can't find the UF5. It doesn't look "bright" in the treble. But it doesn't look "warm" either. It's more like "flat" or "neutral".

https://www.soundandvision.com/content/elac-uni-fi-ub5-speaker-system-review-test-bench
 
Last edited:
M

Mark M

Junior Audioholic
1. Did you keep the same master volume setting on the Onkyo after you installed the amp? The Monoprice may have higher voltage gain and sound louder. So 0.5dB or 1dB louder might tip the scale of "brightness/harshness".

2. It seems like the Onkyo is powering the speakers just fine without the amp. Why did you add the amp in the first place?

I was looking at the response of the UB5 since I can't find the UF5. It doesn't look "bright" in the treble. But it doesn't look "warm" either. It's more like "flat" or "neutral".

https://www.soundandvision.com/content/elac-uni-fi-ub5-speaker-system-review-test-bench
I added the amp for a more quality sound. The RZ-900 does sound good on it's own though. I just wanted to see what kind of a difference adding the Monolith/ATI amp would make.

I went ahead and reset the Onkyo to default. I skipped the Room Correction setup as I don't ever use it.
The Monolith is more revealing in the highs. I think this is why I'm hearing what I detected as "harshness". It's possible I just got used to the colored Onkyo sound.

I think the Monolith provides a larger sound stage as it reveals sounds from music I never heard through the Onkyo. I also have a 4 channel ClassDAudio amp for another zone that I tested next to the Monolith. The ClassDAudio amp sounds great but is definitely warmer and misses many of the higher frequencies compared to the Monolith.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
I added the amp for a more quality sound. The RZ-900 does sound good on it's own though. I just wanted to see what kind of a difference adding the Monolith/ATI amp would make.

I went ahead and reset the Onkyo to default. I skipped the Room Correction setup as I don't ever use it.
The Monolith is more revealing in the highs. I think this is why I'm hearing what I detected as "harshness". It's possible I just got used to the colored Onkyo sound.

I think the Monolith provides a larger sound stage as it reveals sounds from music I never heard through the Onkyo. I also have a 4 channel ClassDAudio amp for another zone that I tested next to the Monolith. The ClassDAudio amp sounds great but is definitely warmer and misses many of the higher frequencies compared to the Monolith.
It seems that you are not really sure and that is expected, if Onkyo by itself has more than enough power already for your need. Time for a series blind comparison session.
 
M

Mark M

Junior Audioholic
It seems that you are not really sure and that is expected, if Onkyo by itself has more than enough power already for your need. Time for a series blind comparison session.
You have the monolith as well correct? I read that you didn’t notice a difference.
Do you still feel that way?
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
I added the amp for a more quality sound. The RZ-900 does sound good on it's own though. I just wanted to see what kind of a difference adding the Monolith/ATI amp would make.

I went ahead and reset the Onkyo to default. I skipped the Room Correction setup as I don't ever use it.
The Monolith is more revealing in the highs. I think this is why I'm hearing what I detected as "harshness". It's possible I just got used to the colored Onkyo sound.

I think the Monolith provides a larger sound stage as it reveals sounds from music I never heard through the Onkyo. I also have a 4 channel ClassDAudio amp for another zone that I tested next to the Monolith. The ClassDAudio amp sounds great but is definitely warmer and misses many of the higher frequencies compared to the Monolith.
I believe you are experiencing the placebo effect first hand. :D

No human is immune to bias.

The Onkyo also measures flat (20Hz-20kHz) especially in Pure Direct mode.

A “warm” sound probably means that the treble tapers down around 8-16 kHz, not flat from 20Hz-20kHz.

A “bright” or “harsh” sound probably means the the opposite- goes up or spikes in the treble region.

Thus, in Direct modes, the Onkyo and Monoprice amp are both flat or neutral from 20Hz-20kHz. Neither one is harsh or warm sounding.
 
M

Mark M

Junior Audioholic
I believe you are experiencing the placebo effect first hand. :D

No human is immune to bias.

The Onkyo also measures flat (20Hz-20kHz) especially in Pure Direct mode.

A “warm” sound probably means that the treble tapers down around 8-16 kHz, not flat from 20Hz-20kHz.

A “bright” or “harsh” sound probably means the the opposite- goes up or spikes in the treble region.

Thus, in Direct modes, the Onkyo and Monoprice amp are both flat or neutral from 20Hz-20kHz. Neither one is harsh or warm sounding.
Are you saying all amps with the same listed measurements sound the same?
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Mark, what would be the greater influence on the sound, Onkyo alone or the Onkyo pre-amp and the Monolith amp? Here's an experiment, hook up your left speaker to the Onkyo, the right to the Monolith (and calibrate the avr after)....then put it in mono and go back and forth between the two and see if there's a distinct difference.....
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
You have the monolith as well correct? I read that you didn’t notice a difference.
Do you still feel that way?
No I don't have one, but I have a quite a few amps including some that are better build and have better specs than the Monolith, none sound better than any of my AVRs. "Better" is subjective anyway so actually I should say none sound audibly different... and that is not to say they don't sound slightly different.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
Mark, what would be the greater influence on the sound, Onkyo alone or the Onkyo pre-amp and the Monolith amp? Here's an experiment, hook up your left speaker to the Onkyo, the right to the Monolith (and calibrate the avr after)....then put it in mono and go back and forth between the two and see if there's a distinct difference.....
"back and forth.." includes swapping the left and right connections multiple times as well right?:D
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
Maybe I misunderstood. I appreciate your help.
I guess he's one who might have recommended people not to add an external amp to something like your Onkyo for "better" sound quality, but for more power output and other reasons.:D
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
Maybe I misunderstood. I appreciate your help.
Bottom line, if you don’t hear any improvement when adding the external amp, return the amp and just use the AVR.

I feel that your Onkyo has plenty of juice for your speakers all by itself.

In general I do feel that power is overrated in this loudness/power war. Back then 50WPC was all we needed. Now it’s 150W and 200WPC.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
"back and forth.." includes swapping the left and right connections multiple times as well right?:D
Might be too much to expect to do a thorough comparison....or a blind test. Much better to trust urban myth of amp power :)
 
M

Mark M

Junior Audioholic
Bottom line, if you don’t hear any improvement when adding the external amp, return the amp and just use the AVR.

I feel that your Onkyo has plenty of juice for your speakers all by itself.

In general I do feel that power is overrated in this loudness/power war. Back then 50WPC was all we needed. Now it’s 150W and 200WPC.
I do hear the highs better with the monolith. It’s almost as though certain instruments are brought out to the forefront and stand out more. No question about it. I didn’t notice these sounds with the onkyo by itself.
I also think that when I turn the volume to reference level the music remains very clear. Although, This could be a placebo effect.
I played the gun battle scene in the movie Heat last night and it sounded awesome. I’ll have to test it with just the onkyo again. But again, there just seems to be extra sounds that are revealed through the monolith. But like you said, it could be a placebo.
I’ll have someone come over and do a blind test.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Kinda hard to understand how the power amp could expand the frequency response or create additional soundstage with audio sourced via the same unit.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
Bottom line, if you don’t hear any improvement when adding the external amp, return the amp and just use the AVR.

I feel that your Onkyo has plenty of juice for your speakers all by itself.

In general I do feel that power is overrated in this loudness/power war. Back then 50WPC was all we needed. Now it’s 150W and 200WPC.
Now that you mentioned it, I wanted to take a look of the specs and wow, that thing got some impressive power:

Power Output All Channels 200 W/Ch (6 Ohms, 1 kHz, 0.9% THD, 1 Channel Driven, FTC) 140 W/Ch (8 Ohms, 20 Hz–20 kHz, 0.08% THD, 2 Channels Driven, FTC) Dynamic Power 320 W (3 Ohms, Front) 270 W (4 Ohms, Front) 160 W (8 Ohms, Front)

and the specs of his speakers:

Recommended amplifier power: 40 to 140 wpc
Peak power handling: 140 wpc
Nominal impedance: 4 Ω; minimum 3.4 Ω

seem like a good match, with ample headroom already without the Monolith, but of course more is better even if not needed.:D
 

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