Monoprice Monolith Headphone DAC/Amps with THX AAA Technology Unveiled - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 10 Old 12-12-2017, 11:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Monoprice Monolith Headphone DAC/Amps with THX AAA Technology Unveiled

Monoprice has partnered with THX to create the Monolith Desktop and Portable headphone DAC/amps using THX AAA amplifier technology.

https://www.avsforum.com/monoprice-mo...logy-unveiled/
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post #2 of 10 Old 12-12-2017, 02:26 PM
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These two DAC/amps have been listed on Monoprice's website for months now.

One feature the portable unit is missing: 4.4mm balanced-out.
One feature the desktop unit is missing: XLR line-out/pre-out)

A major feature these units have (surprisingly not mentioned in the article) is called Sensaround, which was designed by a Swedish company named Dirac

"Dirac Sensaround II: Music is usually mixed with loudspeakers in mind, not headphones. As a result, headphone listening is often plagued by a distorted soundstage—instruments and voices may seem incorrectly placed and trapped inside your head, causing an unnatural listening experience that can result in listener fatigue. Dirac Sensaround II takes a different approach. Listeners can enjoy their favorite media in a way that seems to spread instruments, voices and objects out into space, enveloping the listener exactly as the artist intended. Dirac Sensaround II creates a vast, clear and realistically immersive soundstage free from the constraints of the space in your ear, much like a multi-speaker home theater system. This feature can be toggled on or off."

If implemented correctly, Sensaround could be a game-changer for enjoying music on headphones.
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post #3 of 10 Old 12-12-2017, 05:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattris View Post
These two DAC/amps have been listed on Monoprice's website for months now.

One feature the portable unit is missing: 4.4mm balanced-out.
One feature the desktop unit is missing: XLR line-out/pre-out)

A major feature these units have (surprisingly not mentioned in the article) is called Sensaround, which was designed by a Swedish company named Dirac

"Dirac Sensaround II: Music is usually mixed with loudspeakers in mind, not headphones. As a result, headphone listening is often plagued by a distorted soundstage—instruments and voices may seem incorrectly placed and trapped inside your head, causing an unnatural listening experience that can result in listener fatigue. Dirac Sensaround II takes a different approach. Listeners can enjoy their favorite media in a way that seems to spread instruments, voices and objects out into space, enveloping the listener exactly as the artist intended. Dirac Sensaround II creates a vast, clear and realistically immersive soundstage free from the constraints of the space in your ear, much like a multi-speaker home theater system. This feature can be toggled on or off."

If implemented correctly, Sensaround could be a game-changer for enjoying music on headphones.
These units might have been on Monoprice's website for months, but I only learned of them yesterday in the press release about THX AAA technology being used in them. As a result, I focused the article on that particular feature. I didn't know that they also implemented Dirac Sensaround, which I'll add to the article.

Meanwhile, here is Monoprice's response to your "missing features" comments:

"On the desktop amplifier, the front balanced headphone jack can just as easily be used as a XLR preamp output if the user wants it to be. And on the portable, we did not use a 4.4mm balanced jack, as it is not widely used. The unit does, however, have a 3.5mm optical in, which is a feature not generally found on portable devices."

You would need a breakout cable to use the balanced headphone output as a 2-channel XLR balanced line out.

Last edited by Scott Wilkinson; 12-12-2017 at 06:07 PM.
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post #4 of 10 Old 12-13-2017, 04:43 PM
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Hi Scott,

If you have a connection at Monoprice, mind asking them if there's going to be any remote control capability for the desktop amp? I asked the question on their site but I haven't received an answer yet. Having the capability to remote control the volume would greatly simplify how I could integrate one into my system.

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post #5 of 10 Old 12-13-2017, 11:32 PM
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The desktop one might make a good home theater headphone amp, that Dirac Sensaround sounds interesting. Remote control would be handy for cutting down on the length of interconnects needed.

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post #6 of 10 Old 12-15-2017, 05:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tenthplanet View Post
The desktop one might make a good home theater headphone amp, that Dirac Sensaround sounds interesting. Remote control would be handy for cutting down on the length of interconnects needed.
Yes, I am desperatley searching for a good home theater headphone amp (with some kind of "virtual surround"); there seem to be no products (except the expensive Smyth Realiser)...
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post #7 of 10 Old 12-15-2017, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by FLIR View Post
Yes, I am desperatley searching for a good home theater headphone amp (with some kind of "virtual surround"); there seem to be no products (except the expensive Smyth Realiser)...
That's why I still have my old Yamaha receiver with Silent Cinema doing headphone duty at night. Fed the right material, more than once I thought the I had flipped on the speakers at 3am only to fight out I hadn't. Works nice with music also. But a whole receiver is a little bit of overkill to be a headphone amp.

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post #8 of 10 Old 12-15-2017, 09:11 PM
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The desktop unit is promising, but the portable is DOA because of an odd blunder from Monoprice: no MFi certification. What’s the point of a portable headphone amp that doesn’t work with phones?

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post #9 of 10 Old 12-17-2017, 02:49 PM
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The desktop amp looks really interesting if it's fully balanced in/out. Monoprice has frequent sales which may make it a giant killer.
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post #10 of 10 Old 12-17-2017, 05:29 PM
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Being an owner and a chearleader of the AAA THX amplifiers, I would strongly consider this amp if I were sitting somewhere and wanting to listen to headphones.

Monoprice pricing coupled with AAA technology is likely to be an excellent deal and sound phenomenal.

On the other hand, the little lightning to analog DAC/dongle thingy that comes with iphone x sounds really good now on my Shure 846's. It is amazing what they are doing in such tiny sizes now.

What I am REALLY LOOKING FOR: A hybrid of Shure 846 headphones coupled with Apple's wireless tech in the Airpods. That would be my earbud nirvana.

Blazar!
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