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Monarchy DIP Combo (was "Classic" - impressions pg. 2)

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
Does anyone have any feedback on their experiences with this little black box? I'm not really interested in the upsampler, although the classic can now be had with the upsampling installed as well. I am looking for a good upgrade over the stock clock in my DVD player, something to feed a true 44.1khz signal to my DAC, and I'm curious as to how well this will perform. Reviews state that it makes anywhere from a slight improvement to a dramatic improvement depending on source (with lower end sources benefitting the most), giving jitter reduction, improved imaging and soundstage, and boosting the output signal fed to the DAC. If anyone's used the one with upsampling, did you notice any SQ improvement with the upsampled signal? I know upsampling or not is contentious, so try to keep the arguing about it to a minimum please...lol. Thanks in advance!
post #2 of 33
Thread Starter 
Ok, well, let me put it this way then...has ANYONE used one of these, any of the models (Classic, Upsampler, whatever...)? Was it worth it, was there an improvement in sound, or was it too minimal to make much of a difference in your rig?
post #3 of 33
As you say, it will depend on the initial jitter of your source, and of the ability of the DAC to correct or re-clock jitter. If you have a poor source and a DAC that lacks jitter reduction, you stand to gain the biggest improvement. However, one thing that an intermediary re-clocking device like this can't correct are disc read errors. If the transport/source inaccurately reads the disc or doesn't properly send the information, it will never be corrected.

So, it might make more sense from an economic standpoint to buy a better transport or source to ensure that the disc information is being properly read and transmitted.
post #4 of 33
Thread Starter 
Yeah, good point. Monarchy offers a 30 day guarantee, so I suppose I could try one out. My source seems to be pretty ok, jitter-wise (not that I could really tell). It reads really well too - I have several CDs that although there are no visible scratches, skip like mad on other players, but track just fine on the Denon. I never seem to hear any pops or anything either...hmm...
post #5 of 33
If you run a trial please report back. I've been wondering about this too.
post #6 of 33
Thread Starter 
I'm pretty sure I'll pick one up. I guess I'll get the Classic with 48/96 upsampling, what the heck, it's only $20 more.
post #7 of 33
Oooh, how apropos that I found this thread via Google search... PLEASE report back if you ended up getting this device. I'm just starting to research this topic, as I'm looking to get a de-jitter device to run between my Apple TV (which has only optical TOSLINK out) and receiver (a Cambridge Audio 540R). I might be forced to go this way instead of getting a DAC that will re-clock (i.e. Benchmark DAC1) b/c I'm pretty sure the 540R will do ADC/DAC post processing regardless of whether an analog or digital in is used, thus rendering an external DAC a waste of money. I probably won't be looking at DAC's until I finally make the move to separates (amp & analog pre) in a few months.
post #8 of 33
I have 2 of the early units between transport players and DAC's and find they made a notable improvement. These don't upsample. I paid $100.00 each but the the connecting cables need to be considered but I got some of the bargain silver cables being sold a while back for $39.00/pair.

Both of the transports are older but fairly high end for their time, a Denon DCD 3000 and a CEC 5100Z belt drive.

The DACs are a Musical Fidelity X24K with XPSU and a later A324. I remember that when Stereophile reviewed the latter DAC they liked it but noted that a jitter reducer still helped.

I believe these units not only relock the signal but also raise the signal level so its not entirely clear what is doing what.
post #9 of 33
Thread Starter 
Thanks Ed. My understanding is that the lower end the transport, the more difference they make. Yeah, they boost the voltage on output to deliver a stronger signal to the DAC, and the newer ones (the Classic does not upsample, and outputs a 44.1khz signal) have user switchable upsampling via a jumper setting inside.

Guess I'll be the guinea pig for this, and will be getting one in about a month, new. Nobody in the forums here or on Audiogon are selling the model I want. I'll be sure t oreport back on my findings guys, don't worry.
post #10 of 33
Just found this thread, I'll post my limited experience. I bought a used DIP Classic on Audiogon a while back.

I had a Panasonic DVD player and Panny XR-25 digital receiver. I had heard all the good things about a direct digital feed into the Panny amps sounding very good.

Well, it WAS good, but not the most musical thing. I thought the highs were etched and a bit dry, the mids lacked fullness, and the bass was just OK.

I decided to try the DIP (cost me a little over $100 IIRC), and it DID make a nicer difference. Mostly in the mids on up, it focused and smoothed some things out. Still not the best sound, but a major over-achiever at the price. I lived with this combo for ~6 months, before upgrading again (this was a downgrade, when my son was younger and I didn't have much time to listen).

I'd suggest keeping an eye on Audiogon for used. I think they are worth the price, and you'd be able to resell at minimal loss most likely if they didn't work out as you wanted.
post #11 of 33
Thread Starter 
Well, I took the plunge and ordered the DIP Combo (with built-in switchable upsampling) from Audio Advisor. Should be here by Tuesday next week. ALso trying out some new Tributaries Silver Series cables for coax. Impressions to come, stay tuned.
post #12 of 33
Several years ago, I tried the DIP Classic in between a Sony DVD player and my Ack Dack D/A converter. I thought it made the sound worse. I can't remember exactly what I did not like about it though. It has been too long ago.

I ordered directly from Monarchy and do remember that a very nice lady handled the phone calls and she seemed genuinely disappointed that I did not like the unit. She called me back offering a free upgrade to the upsampling version. I declined since my DAC is non oversampling and won't work with it.
post #13 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kontai69 View Post
Several years ago, I tried the DIP Classic in between a Sony DVD player and my Ack Dack D/A converter. I thought it made the sound worse. I can't remember exactly what I did not like about it though. It has been too long ago.

I ordered directly from Monarchy and do remember that a very nice lady handled the phone calls and she seemed genuinely disappointed that I did not like the unit. She called me back offering a free upgrade to the upsampling version. I declined since my DAC is non oversampling and won't work with it.
Yeah, Ori told me much the same thing - that a poorly implemented/designed upsampler or reclock job can actually degrade the SQ. I have really wanted to try the DIP out for a while now, and it has a 30 day guarantee, so if I don't like it, no loss (shipping was free anyway, so NO loss, lol). Since you can choose upsampling or not on this model via internal jumpers, if I don't like the up-version, I'll try the regular 16 bit, 44.1khz setting and compare. If I'm not happy with either, back it goes. The thing has gotten overwhelmingly positive reviews over the years, so I have hopes for it to perfom well. Come Tuesday we'll see...
post #14 of 33
Thread Starter 

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

Well, it came, I saw, and it's kicking ass. I have to say, I was fairly skeptical about this thing, but wanted to satisfy my curiosity anyway. I'd read a lot about it, and the usual hyperbolic statements that are used about a lot of tweaks also applied here - "massive upgrade", "amazing improvements", "must have", etc. I wasn't really worried about the effects of jitter in my system, but as the DIP also reclocks the signal with precision Fox clocks, upsamples, offers ground isolation, and boosts the signal fed to the DAC, it sounded like it was worth a shot...I mean, SOMETHING positive should come out of it, right?

I listened to a few tracks to get my head in the game, swapped in my new digital cable, and listened again for a bit. The Tributaries cable does a great job - more bass impact, clean highs, slightly more low level details, much better shielding and RCA connectors. Considering I got these retail $330 cables for $30, I'm very pleased .

Next step was to drop in the DIP. A little sticker on the back told me it was set to 96khz, but the paperwork says the default setting is 44.1khz. Ok, opened it yp and verified the jumpers were set at 96. Spent some time admiring the soldering and huge caps. The layout and build quality is very clean and tidy. The only reason the case is so big is because of the power supply and caps, but it pairs perfectly with my OMZ on top of my cd player. Anyway, connected it up (coax out on cdp > DIP > DAC) with the other Trib cable, and used my last Parasound power cable I'd been saving for just this day. The Belden cable it came with is better than most power cables included with components, but the big Parasounds just look and feel so beefy...anyway...there's no power switch, just a "lock" led on the front, and jacks for coax, optical, xlr, and a little selector switch on the back. Powered on, it does nothing until the source is on, then the lock lights, and that's it.

At first, it didn't seem like it's doing anything. I A/B'd for a while, but wasn't expecting anything "dramatic", "extraordinary", or "must have(!)" until it had at least a couple of hours of burn-in. Let it rock some Eminem for a few hours, and came back. Popped the 650's on, and...wow...

Hate to leave a cliffhanger, but I gotta do some stuff around the house for a bit. It's garbage night. More impressions to come...
post #15 of 33
So there's no 44.1 kHz mode? Everything must be upsampled? If so, then I would expect it to at least sound different. 44.1 kHz -> 48 kHz is not a lossless operation.
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