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Powerful, underated amp: NJC Monitor II

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Has anyone heard this;

 

http://www.njc-audio.co.uk/html/monitor_ii.html

 

It looks a great product and probably deserves more exposure than it's gotten so far.

 

Look at the specs, 2.2W per channel into 50ohm!!

 

Not bad for a mid-priced solid state model, I wonder if this is a real contender to enter the elusive group of headphone amps that can drive the Hifiman HE-6 well...

 

A look at the first 'customer review' seems to indicate that this is the case, although from what the customer wrote I can't tell if he's using the Monitor II as a preamp to control a speaker power amp that is driving the HE-6... Hmm...

 

Anyway, if you've heard this amp, particularly if you've heard it with the HE-6, I wanna hear about it!!

post #2 of 16
Thread Starter 

bump...!?

 

Seriously, no-one has heard this thing? The specs are very promising!! It also seems to offer extreme power at the price point.

 

I need some comments about its sound signature/frequency response before I go ahead...

post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 

bump!!

post #4 of 16

I think you may have better luck on a forum where more British people frequent, a lot of people here I see are in the US & since NJC Audio are a British audio company, they are naturally going to be more well known on their home turf than in America, vice versa as some of the American brands we have never heard of over here, & they might be quite famous to you guys over there.

Having said that, over here NJC Audio are not quite as well known as the mass produced brand's which heavily advertise, but like in the old days with the more prestige end of the market, there were makes of equipment back then that were not being pumped out of a factory in the hundred's or thousand's, but instead were more niche/quality & made in small number's. They were never as famous as the likes of Pioneer, Technics etc, which were the large companies catering for the mass market & still are today.

Here on Headfi I always see the usual recommendation's, Burson, Matrix, Schiit etc, as they are the more mass produced makes & so more people will have them.

I have also been looking at this for my next upgrade, what I have read has been impressive, rather than just going with the usual flow & getting something mainstream, I like to seek out some of these more niche product's, the uniqueness really appeals to me, but it's easier for me since i'm in the UK, no international shipping or import duties, a reason I rarely order from the states.

post #5 of 16

I did a bit of reading on this thing. It sounds like the same quality as the SRG Solo II, perhaps a little better, but at a MUCH MUCH better price tag.

 

I'm REALLY interested in this thing now.

 

And since I'm in the UK this makes it easy. :D

post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 

I'm actually in the UK too despite what it says on my profile on here.

 

This thing offers a LOT more power than Graham Slee Solo though. Of course, the Slee Solo's sound signature is well documented whereas you'll have to buy blind with this one as there is little to no info online on it's sound signature.

 

From what I have read however, most people think it's pretty neutral, which I take to mean 'lean on bass.' Since I enjoy a heavier, darker sound, I may have to pass up on this.

 

But regardless, if you're heard this amp, please post in this thread!!

post #7 of 16

Honestly, I prefer it that way. From what I've read, it's extremely neutral. What you put in is what you get out.

 

I'm not too fond of the amp altering my sound. I'd rather change the headphones. This sounds perfect for me, honestly.

 

Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

post #8 of 16
Quote:

Originally Posted by cactus_farmer View Post

 

From what I have read however, most people think it's pretty neutral, which I take to mean 'lean on bass.' Since I enjoy a heavier, darker sound, I may have to pass up on this.

 

Neutral is err well neutral regular_smile%20.gif, if an amp is lean on bass then it would be a bright amp, since the highs would become more prominent, that definately would not be neutral.

My take on neutral is that it means a completely even response with all frequencies, not in favour of bass, mids or the treble end, from what I have read a good amp should be transparent & ideally neutral, otherwise you get some headphones sounding better than others. Course its all personal taste in the end.

 

You might want to look for a tube based amp with a rolled off high end (there are some that have this), or even something with a mild bass boost built in to make it more heavy sounding. But you then have to pick the headphones carefully, since a bassy headphone might become too damn bassy. basshead.gif
 

 

 

post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tephnos View Post

Honestly, I prefer it that way. From what I've read, it's extremely neutral. What you put in is what you get out.

 

I'm not too fond of the amp altering my sound. I'd rather change the headphones. This sounds perfect for me, honestly.

 

Thanks for bringing it to my attention!



+1

 

I dont believe in all that warm, cold or bright amp pairing, it just causes so many problems, some of the AKG headphone's are weaker on bass so people search around for a bassy amp, I saw on another forum somebody saying just that, he then got a mild bass boost installed in his amp, a week later he was complaining that his senny 650's were too muddy sounding & had to get the mod removed.

I think the same as you mate, if I dont like my headphone's I will change them for a better pair.

post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by pinkfloydfan View Post



+1

 

I dont believe in all that warm, cold or bright amp pairing, it just causes so many problems, some of the AKG headphone's are weaker on bass so people search around for a bassy amp, I saw on another forum somebody saying just that, he then got a mild bass boost installed in his amp, a week later he was complaining that his senny 650's were too muddy sounding & had to get the mod removed.

I think the same as you mate, if I dont like my headphone's I will change them for a better pair.


Exactly. I did email Nick with a few questions and such too:

 

 

Quote:
The only thing I can say is that while no doubt all of those you have mentioned are fine amplifier's & DAC's, I believe an amplifier should always remain completely neutral, with the Sennheiser HD650's you mentioned, these have a warm signature, as such it is even more important that the amplifier does not add to this, in the case of the Burson I am told that this has a warm signature of it's own, this might prove to be too much with the HD650's but fine for more sterile headphones. This is exactly why I designed the Monitor II to remain neutral, therefore headphone's sound exactly as they have been designed to sound, not coloured or changed by the amplifier.

 

Quote:
I am glad I could help,  I do fully agree with what you said,  there does seem to be a case where people find they dislike the sound character of their headphone's & instead of changing those they go down the expensive road of changing their amplifer in an effort to change the sound of the headphone's,
this is simply not the right way to go about this.
 
The Beyerdynamic DT880 in their 600ohm variant are also an excellent choice, again I have made amplifier's for people using those with very positive
feedback, you will find they sound different to the Sennheiser HD650 headphone's,  the midrange is more forward with the HD650's but the Beyerdynamic
DT880's really do sound very musical.

 

I think I'm gonna grab these and see what they're like. They definitely tick every box I was after.


Edited by Tephnos - 1/11/12 at 8:27am
post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tephnos View Post


Exactly. I did email Nick with a few questions and such too:

 

 

 

 

I think I'm gonna grab these and see what they're like. They definitely tick every box I was after.


Did you grab it, then?

 

If so, how does it sound?

 

post #12 of 16
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by cactus_farmer View Post


Did you grab it, then?

 

If so, how does it sound?

 



Not yet, will order in a couple of days. So it'll be another week or so till I can give impressions.

post #14 of 16

Back.

 

Received the amp and DAC today. Along with the DT880s/600. Now whilst they've had no time to burn in, I nevertheless gave them a listen along with the DAC/Amp

 

First of all, Nick is extremely communicative in emails, I was impressed with his responses, good service there.

 

The amp and DAC came in separate boxes, packaged very well (air bags, that 'cheesy puff' looking white polystyrene stuff, etc) and then the amp and DAC themselves were wrapped up in a white paper further. It was like opening a christmas present that was lovingly put together.

 

First impressions were good. The amp came with test results that Nick had run on it, showing me it was fully working. It came with the usual instruction manuals, a USB cable and a TOS-Link cable (Plus interconnects as I ordered them too). The build quality on both are EXCELLENT. Could not fault them at all. Sturdy, made of strong metal, looked good together, etc. Everything just screams quality.

 

I eagerly set them up and gave them a listen. All I can really say is wow, just wow. The sound is completely neutral and what I put in I get out. Just perfect. The sound isn't 'perfect' right now but that's of no fault of the amp and DAC, I just need to give the DT's time to break in.

 

The amp itself has enough power to literally drive anything on the market today, using the 'high' gain setting. I'm using my DT880s with the gain on 'medium' at around 11 o clock and that is loud enough for me. Definitely has the power to drive the really high end demanding stuff.

 

Even my father, who was a big audiophile back in the 70s, was very impressed with what he heard. Now that says something.

 

Completely recommend the NJC amp and DAC combo.


Edited by Tephnos - 2/3/12 at 5:35pm
post #15 of 16

 

Very tempted to get this for my HE-500 (and any future ones).

 

Philosophy and general trust factor looks great compared to lots of stuff that's out there. Like even the look. And the price is just what I would pay for an amp max.

 

Also considering Violectric V90/G100, but that's probably too safe choice..

 

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