Monoprice Monolith 7-Channel Amplifier Review

A

Andrein

Senior Audioholic
I read reviews of those whom xpa5 allegedly helped. Hence vought it too and hoped it would work fine. But it did not. Not sure what it was but it was obvious. Avr sounded better. I had to pay for return because technically it was not faulty as dealer said. Then I tried mca 525 and it was completely different from xpa5. But it sounded the same as my yamaha without and it helped me with distortion i had with a860 especially in multichanel stereo.. Not sure whether it was an issue with xpa5 or its incompatibility in some way with avr or something else. Would be great to know the reason to avoid such returns in future.

Also wonder, what was wrong with OP's Monolith as in personally i could not hear the difference between it and mca525.
Many people reported night and day better when they added their xpa-5 to their avrs. I have no idea why you hear the crappy sound with it, 1 dB different in gain won't make such a difference. Input impedance, if on the low side, when matched with preamps that have relatively higher output impedance, could result in audible effects. That does not appear to be your case though.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
I read reviews of those whom xpa5 allegedly helped. Hence vought it too and hoped it would work fine. But it did not. Not sure what it was but it was obvious. Avr sounded better. I had to pay for return because technically it was not faulty as dealer said. Then I tried mca 525 and it was completely different from xpa5. But it sounded the same as my yamaha without and it helped me with distortion i had with a860 especially in multichanel stereo.. Not sure whether it was an issue with xpa5 or its incompatibility in some way with avr or something else. Would be great to know the reason to avoid such returns in future.

Also wonder, what was wrong with OP's Monolith as in personally i could not hear the difference between it and mca525.
Both seem mysterious lol..
 
G

Gunfighter1973

Audiophyte
My question is about the 5ch vs 7ch sound quality - or lack thereof comparing the 5ch vs 7ch...

Specs are identical except that one has 5ch and the other 7ch... yet they have the same 2 power supplies with the same VA rating...so is the 5ch a better amp?

This being the case -- does the 7ch falter in any way driving difficult inefficient speakers dynamically? I have b&w's that hover at 3 ohms much of the time -- and I am wondering if the 5ch will be better suited for the job driving my LCR B&Ws ... which I use for both 2ch and HT use.

I have only seen 7ch reviews - no 2, 3, or 5 ch reviews...

anyone done real world comparisons?
 
M

mars2k

Enthusiast
Add to that speed and agility. One could also add control. I have, in the last year or so become acquainted with ATI AT543NC and ATI AT528NC. These are class D with linear power supply. Using AT543NC at 500 watt/channel across the front 3 channels and AT528NC for 8 channels of 200 watts x 8 channels. Phenomenal microdynamics, musicallity and tight base control. Incredible bang for the buck even compared to my Brystons in mono-block, 2 , and multi channel configurations.
ATI manufactures these Monoliths and while I would not expect the same quality of performance as the ATI NC series I will surely experience a very hi Bang/Buck ratio.
 
Verdinut

Verdinut

Audioholic Ninja
My question is about the 5ch vs 7ch sound quality - or lack thereof comparing the 5ch vs 7ch...

Specs are identical except that one has 5ch and the other 7ch... yet they have the same 2 power supplies with the same VA rating...so is the 5ch a better amp?

This being the case -- does the 7ch falter in any way driving difficult inefficient speakers dynamically? I have b&w's that hover at 3 ohms much of the time -- and I am wondering if the 5ch will be better suited for the job driving my LCR B&Ws ... which I use for both 2ch and HT use.

I have only seen 7ch reviews - no 2, 3, or 5 ch reviews...

anyone done real world comparisons?
It's not necessary to compare the performance of 2, 3 and 5 channel units with the 7 channel one. Since they all share the same components, they obviously ought to have for all practical purposes an identical performance.
 
Last edited:
DigitalDawn

DigitalDawn

Full Audioholic
I'm an ATI dealer and I have asked them to send me information regarding the difference between their products and the Monolith amps. I know that the ATI version of similar Monolith product weighs 10 pounds more so there has to be something going on there.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
I'm an ATI dealer and I have asked them to send me information regarding the difference between their products and the Monolith amps. I know that the ATI version of similar Monolith product weighs 10 pounds more so there has to be something going on there.
It could simply be a heavy chassis, more heat sinks etc., or their specs are not accurate. We already know reportedly Monolith might have misstated the transformers VA rating for the 5X200 W model so what else they might have missed? If they did, they have not corrected it and still say:

Toroidal Transformers2 (1,230VA and 1,025VA)

Weight is an indicator of the robustness of the power supply but not with good accuracy for a variable of reasons. By the way, the monolith 7X200 specs say the weight is 93.2 lbs, the ATI1800, also specified 7X200 FTC FBW at 8 ohm, weighing 93 lbs according to the manual and the spec sheet, and 95 lb according to web page.

https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=14566 (here it says 93.2 lbs)
https://www.ati-amp.com/AT1800.php (says 95 lbs)
https://www.ati-amp.com/manuals/ATIpowerampspecs.pdf (says 93 lbs)

So the Monolith may actually weigh 0.2 lbs heavier, but again, I wouldn't take those numbers to the bank, and 0.2 lb difference is nothing conclusive anyway obviously. Your 10 lbs difference may be from comparing the net weight of the Monolith to the shipping weight of the ATI.

Maybe you can also find out the transformers total VA rating for the 7 channel version of the AT1800. That would be more meaningful and useful than the weight imo..
 
Last edited:
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
Using AT543NC at 500 watt/channel across the front 3 channels and AT528NC for 8 channels of 200 watts x 8 channels.
Sweet.

What pre-pro and speakers are you using with your ATI amps?
 
DigitalDawn

DigitalDawn

Full Audioholic
It could simply be a heavy chassis, more heat sinks etc., or their specs are not accurate. We already know reportedly Monolith might have misstated the transformers VA rating for the 5X200 W model so what else they might have missed? If they did, they have not corrected it and still say:

Toroidal Transformers2 (1,230VA and 1,025VA)

Weight is an indicator of the robustness of the power supply but not with good accuracy for a variable of reasons. By the way, the monolith 7X200 specs say the weight is 93.2 lbs, the ATI1800, also specified 7X200 FTC FBW at 8 ohm, weighing 93 lbs according to the manual and the spec sheet, and 95 lb according to web page.

https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=14566 (here it says 93.2 lbs)
https://www.ati-amp.com/AT1800.php (says 95 lbs)
https://www.ati-amp.com/manuals/ATIpowerampspecs.pdf (says 93 lbs)

So the Monolith may actually weigh 0.2 lbs heavier, but again, I wouldn't take those numbers to the bank, and 0.2 lb difference is nothing conclusive anyway obviously. Your 10 lbs difference may be from comparing the net weight of the Monolith to the shipping weight of the ATI.

Maybe you can also find out the transformers total VA rating for the 7 channel version of the AT1800. That would be more meaningful and useful than the weight imo..
I was actually comparing it to the ATI 6000 series.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Seriously, I have no life.
Those are probably 50 lbs heavier. No comparisons at all lol!!
Wasn't it discussed earlier in this thread with the conclusion the better match between the Monolith and ATI amps was the 1800 series?
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
Yeah, the Unbalanced Monolith 200x7 amp is more like the Unbalanced ATI AT1807 amp.

No way we're going to compare the Unbalanced Monolith amps to any of the ATI Balanced amps.

Now the Monolith HTP-1 pre-pro vs ATI ATP-16 pre-pro will be a lot more interesting. :D
 
R

rickyhgarcia

Audiophyte
For the last month or so, I have been immersed in a search to buy a 3/5 channels multichannel amp to add speakers to my 5.1 home theater rig. I already have 6 channels (three 1980's vintage Moscode 300 stereo amps, upgraded recently by the OEM) in my system. These are hybrid amps (tubes input stage/MOSFET output stage), 150 wpc into 8-ohm, and have no intention of replacing them.

The multichannel amp will be used to power the center channel, rear surround channels, and Dolby Atmos channels. In other words, this multichannel amp will most likely not be used for music listening tasks.

Prices on these amps go from less than $1000 to as high as $10,000 (I stopped looking at Bryston), and perhaps even higher. And within ATI-built amps (since this is a Monolith Amp thread), there is quite a fluctuation in price depending on the brand on the faceplate. So, is an ATI AT-4005 $3000 better than a Monolith-5? Is a Bryston 9B SST2 $9000 better than the Monolith-5? Granted, the Bryston comes with a 20 year warranty, that is a lot of confidence in their products. Among the ATI-built amps, Outlaw has good offerings at great prices, still Monolith is more economical.

Please help me decide....
 
A

Andrein

Senior Audioholic
For the last month or so, I have been immersed in a search to buy a 3/5 channels multichannel amp to add speakers to my 5.1 home theater rig. I already have 6 channels (three 1980's vintage Moscode 300 stereo amps, upgraded recently by the OEM) in my system. These are hybrid amps (tubes input stage/MOSFET output stage), 150 wpc into 8-ohm, and have no intention of replacing them.

The multichannel amp will be used to power the center channel, rear surround channels, and Dolby Atmos channels. In other words, this multichannel amp will most likely not be used for music listening tasks.

Prices on these amps go from less than $1000 to as high as $10,000 (I stopped looking at Bryston), and perhaps even higher. And within ATI-built amps (since this is a Monolith Amp thread), there is quite a fluctuation in price depending on the brand on the faceplate. So, is an ATI AT-4005 $3000 better than a Monolith-5? Is a Bryston 9B SST2 $9000 better than the Monolith-5? Granted, the Bryston comes with a 20 year warranty, that is a lot of confidence in their products. Among the ATI-built amps, Outlaw has good offerings at great prices, still Monolith is more economical.

Please help me decide....
I guess many will tell you that 1-10k amp for atmos and rear surround speakers is not very wise investment. If buying a new amp it would have more sense for LCR channels.
 
Verdinut

Verdinut

Audioholic Ninja
For the last month or so, I have been immersed in a search to buy a 3/5 channels multichannel amp to add speakers to my 5.1 home theater rig. I already have 6 channels (three 1980's vintage Moscode 300 stereo amps, upgraded recently by the OEM) in my system. These are hybrid amps (tubes input stage/MOSFET output stage), 150 wpc into 8-ohm, and have no intention of replacing them.

The multichannel amp will be used to power the center channel, rear surround channels, and Dolby Atmos channels. In other words, this multichannel amp will most likely not be used for music listening tasks.

Prices on these amps go from less than $1000 to as high as $10,000 (I stopped looking at Bryston), and perhaps even higher. And within ATI-built amps (since this is a Monolith Amp thread), there is quite a fluctuation in price depending on the brand on the faceplate. So, is an ATI AT-4005 $3000 better than a Monolith-5? Is a Bryston 9B SST2 $9000 better than the Monolith-5? Granted, the Bryston comes with a 20 year warranty, that is a lot of confidence in their products. Among the ATI-built amps, Outlaw has good offerings at great prices, still Monolith is more economical.

Please help me decide....
I recommend that you get the Monolith amp:
1. You will save money and be able to put it on speakers or other equipment.
2. You wouldn't hear a difference from the more expensive ones. This product is well built, has excellent specs and is as acoustically transparent as any other amp, provided that it operates within its limits.
 
Verdinut

Verdinut

Audioholic Ninja
I recommend that you get the Monolith amp:
1. You will save money and be able to put it on speakers or other equipment.
2. You wouldn't hear a difference from the more expensive ones. This product is well built, has excellent specs and is as acoustically transparent as any other amp, provided that it operates within its limits.
I also suggest that you purchase the 5 channel unit which has two power transformers for more reserve stability and headroom. It could preferably be used to drive the 3 front channels and the surround speakers.
 
Last edited:
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Ninja
For the last month or so, I have been immersed in a search to buy a 3/5 channels multichannel amp to add speakers to my 5.1 home theater rig. I already have 6 channels (three 1980's vintage Moscode 300 stereo amps, upgraded recently by the OEM) in my system. These are hybrid amps (tubes input stage/MOSFET output stage), 150 wpc into 8-ohm, and have no intention of replacing them.

The multichannel amp will be used to power the center channel, rear surround channels, and Dolby Atmos channels. In other words, this multichannel amp will most likely not be used for music listening tasks.

Prices on these amps go from less than $1000 to as high as $10,000 (I stopped looking at Bryston), and perhaps even higher. And within ATI-built amps (since this is a Monolith Amp thread), there is quite a fluctuation in price depending on the brand on the faceplate. So, is an ATI AT-4005 $3000 better than a Monolith-5? Is a Bryston 9B SST2 $9000 better than the Monolith-5? Granted, the Bryston comes with a 20 year warranty, that is a lot of confidence in their products. Among the ATI-built amps, Outlaw has good offerings at great prices, still Monolith is more economical.

Please help me decide....
What's your full system looking like: AVR/AVP and Speakers? Are all speakers up front matched? Is there a reason you don't power your front three the same? Are you bi-amping with two of those amps you mentioned or how are you using them? Atmos goals?

Personally, I'm still completely stoked on my Outlaw Monoblocks. I run them for my Front 3 and Surrounds (so my 5-channel audio experience is fully matched) and leave the AVR to handle my rears and (soon) .4 Atmos. Mind, I'm a Music first guy... at least 80/20 to HT. But I know the center channel needs some good lovin' when it comes to its role in any multichannel usage.

Regardless, Monoliths, Emos, and Outlaws seem to be performing well at their pricepoints. There are always some outlier squawks to be heard from the chickens in the field... but beyond those brands and at a cost effective price, the only thing I can think of goes towards QSC and Crown amps. I haven't seen a good reason to spend 4-5K+ on an amp. Speakers, yes, but not much more! ;)

Please though, do share some info about your rig set up.
 
D

Daniel Steixner

Enthusiast
I just bought this amp and should have it hooked up for the weekend. Going from a 150x2 Classe + 60x5 Adcom. Classe was repurposed to seperate 2ch room, so gave me an excuse to upgrade. Hoping to hear more dynamics.
 

newsletter
  • RBHsound.com
  • BlueJeansCable.com
  • SVS Sound Subwoofers
  • Experience the Martin Logan Montis
Top