Monoprice Monolith 7-Channel Amplifier Review

RichB

RichB

Audioholic Field Marshall
I don't know how Anthem defines "truly balance", so no comment. We do know the Denon AVP-A1HDCI is truly balance but it was listed for $7,500. ADTG had one, that failed after 8 years. I wouldn't expect a $3,000 unit, AVP or power amp, to be fully/truly end to end balance, without sacrificing something else along the line, but that's just my opinion.
A Monoprice HTP-1 post stated that it was fully balanced. The $4000 RMC-1L is fully balanced. The $3000 XMC-2 is fully balanced with DACs in mono-mode for the front three channels. Emotiva posts indicate the XMC-1 other channels DACs are stereo but use balanced outputs.

I think it may be easier to keep the noise in check with balanced hardware than not when you have 16 channels.

- Rich
 
gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
Gene, he's currently using an AVR, the SR7005 that was launched almost 10 years ago, not the 2018 prepro AV7705. I would think that the AVM60 is an upgrade compared to the SR7005 even just in terms of analog preamp, at least on paper, if no audible difference. I am just wondering if you thought he's comparing it to the AV7005.
Ah I misunderstood and yes agreed.
 
gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
Whether XT32 is as good or not is mostly a matter of personal preference, and is subjective. There notable differences in their approach, for example, AARC apparently eq bass such that it would ramp up towards the low end whereas Audyssey would aim to flatten it the best it could but you can do a custom curve yourself using the Audyssey Editor App. Both can EQ without down sampling to 48 kHz, but when it is done on board the device, there may not be enough processing power to do it at higher sampling frequencies, so all D&M AVRs/AVPs, even the flag ship models do down sample to 48 kHz when running Audyssey. AARC, the AVM would down sample to 96 kHz for the digital inputs and 48 kHz if analog inputs are used. To a lot of people, 48 or 96 kHz is academic, makes no difference in sound quality.

There are probably more positive reviews on AARC than XT32, but I think that had a lot to do with hearsay started after Harman did a shoot out between 5 or 6 REQ systems including an earlier version of Audyssey, and in that shoot out, the main thing that caused MultEQ to score low was the fact that it tended to level/flatten the bass, forced a mid range compensation (aka BBC dip), and EQ all the way to 20 kHz. It turned out a lot of people just didn't like the resulting sound signature. Note that Harman ranked them according to their scores, but never identify them, though most guessed Audyssey was among the one(s) with the lowest score. All 3 factors have been dealt with to some extents with the introduction of XT32 and the Editor App, but I am not aware of any such re-match/review conducted by any credible/reputable group.

I don't know how Anthem defines "truly balance", so no comment. We do know the Denon AVP-A1HDCI is truly balance but it was listed for $7,500. ADTG had one, that failed after 8 years. I wouldn't expect a $3,000 unit, AVP or power amp, to be fully/truly end to end balance, without sacrificing something else along the line, but that's just my opinion.
I doubt the AVM60 is a fully differential design from input to output especially since their STR is NOT. The Anthem engineer I spoke to prefers converting to single ended between stages as you can see in my review:
https://www.audioholics.com/av-preamp-processor-reviews/anthem-str-preamp-power-amplifier
 
Jon AA

Jon AA

Junior Audioholic
All 3 factors have been dealt with to some extents with the introduction of XT32 and the Editor App, but I am not aware of any such re-match/review conducted by any credible/reputable group.
That's a very good point. These days any comments about Audyssey "sounding bad" "messing up" "sounding better without" etc, need to be taken with a large grain of salt if they're talking about XT32 and a device capable of using the App. With the addition of the App, the end result is basically infinitely variable. If it really sounds that bad, chances are very good whatever is wrong could be eliminated or a much better result achieved by a user with more effort and/or knowledge.
 
D

Daniel Steixner

Enthusiast
The system sounds louder and punchier if that means anything. Although I do miss the Classe CA-150 I had driving the main L&R channels for 2CH music. The Classe sounded softer or more musical. Maybe it rolled off the highs more or ran more into Class A? The Monolith is awesome for movies. My main fronts are JM Lab Cobalt 815s so maybe they sound better with a "warmer" amp, or maybe I just got use to how they sounded with the Classe.

One thing I have taken note of is my AVR preouts are rated at 1.2 V and the Monolith needs 1.5v for rated output, so I don't think I'm taking full advantage if I actually wanted to play louder. I will upgrade at some point to a pre/pro for Atmos/DTS X and looking at Anthem AVM 60, which is rated at 2V and has better measurements than the Marantz SR7005 I am currently using in terms of THD and SNR.
Well, I must have been dissatisfied enough with the way 2CH music sounded with the Monolith 7X. I put my Classe CA-150 back into service for the main fronts, leaving 5 channels on the 7X to do the rest. Movies are not as loud/dynamic, but the 7x probably has a higher gain than the Classe. But, I am MUCH happier listening to music again. The 7X was just fatiguing to me. Perhaps the Classe is biased more into class A topology. Warmer.
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
Well, I must have been dissatisfied enough with the way 2CH music sounded with the Monolith 7X. I put my Classe CA-150 back into service for the main fronts, leaving 5 channels on the 7X to do the rest. Movies are not as loud/dynamic, but the 7x probably has a higher gain than the Classe. But, I am MUCH happier listening to music again. The 7X was just fatiguing to me. Perhaps the Classe is biased more into class A topology. Warmer.
So you think the Classe amp’s frequency response tapers down like -3dB in the treble?
 
Verdinut

Verdinut

Audioholic Samurai
So ideally, the OP should sell the Monolith multi-channel amp and get additional Classé amps to complete his system and to please his ears. I don't think he'll be satisfied until he does.
 
D

Daniel Steixner

Enthusiast
So ideally, the OP should sell the Monolith multi-channel amp and get additional Classé amps to complete his system and to please his ears. I don't think he'll be satisfied until he does.
All I'm saying is I like listening to music with the Classe over the Monolith.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Warlord
No, it's the extra warmth the amp throws into the room.... :)
Well I think my Monolith has greater clarity and airy, crystalline highs... well, until I put these microwaved cryogenically treated cables on.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
This is nothing unusual, happened to me before all the time years ago every time I changed something. It took a long time to realize it was just Placebo effect+expectation bias. You think something that has good reputation, cost a lot more money, and has better specs and build quality, simply and naturally have to sound better regardless of other facts, and they therefore sounded better to you.

Aside from that it is also possible that someone has well above average ability to discern minor differences introduced by different amplifiers, but that only makes logical sense if all the other components in the signal chain, as well as the quality of the media source has resolution and audio specifications/performance that match or exceed that of the amplifiers being compared. That would be a tough one because the final component of the chain is the loudspeaker, and I am not aware of any loudspeaker that has all the relevant audio specs comparable to that of the Monolith 200X7 amp, not even close.
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
it is also possible that someone has well above average ability to discern minor differences introduced by different amplifiers
R —————————- I —————————— G ——————————- H ———————————- T :D
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
It’s .................... SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE......... Starring Chevy Chase as....... Warm Amp-Man. :eek:


R —————— I ——————- G ——————— H ——————— T :D
 
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P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
I am still wondering, or more accurately, dreaming, if we might, some day, have enough interested parties/crazy audioholics/addicts etc., to organize some blind comparison sessions (near Toronto). It would be costly, and I doubt anyone will sponsor/fund such an event because depending on the results, it may have negative impacts "high end" manufacturers. :D
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Overlord
I really don't know. I just prefer it for music.
You seem open minded, and not upset by our comments so far, so thank you. Seriously, sometimes people may come across as being sarcastic, but I am sure most of us do mean well, and just like to share our experience. It has been costly in the process for me, and I think for many others too.
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
You seem open minded, and not upset by our comments so far, so thank you. Seriously, sometimes people may come across as being sarcastic, but I am sure most of us do mean well, and just like to share our experience. It has been costly in the process for me, and I think for many others too.
True. I was just trying to be funny. Nothing more. Doesn't really matter to us either way. :D
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
I am still wondering, or more accurately, dreaming, if we might, some day, have enough interested parties/crazy audioholics/addicts etc., to organize some blind comparison sessions (near Toronto). It would be costly, and I doubt anyone will sponsor/fund such an event because depending on the results, it may have negative impacts "high end" manufacturers. :D
Keep dreaming. :D

Didn't they already have those blind-tests for amps long time ago?
 

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