Monoprice Monolith Liquid Gold (X)
Aug 3, 2021 at 10:42 AM Post #466 of 617

Odin412

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Hi, I'm kinda new to this headphone game, had a shiit magni heresy + dt990's for a year (as a gift from a friend), looked around audio forums and seemed like I could do better, and finally decided to upgrade. I just bought the Liquid Gold x (+m1570, I was given a monoprice giftcard... ) and it sounds a lot better than my previous setup (like a loooot). Although I'm not really an audiophile guy, I love how smooth and relaxed it sounds (I did get balanced cable made for the m1570). Now my other friend, lives far away and I can't really just try and give it back, is offering to sell me his topping d70 dac for around $300. As I understand the dac in LGx is not really the best, so would the d70 be a worthwhile upgrade or not? By the way I mainly stream my music from spotify. I could also spend up to $500 on another better dac but not sure if I need to. Would love any recommendations.
I don't think the built-in DAC in the Liquid Gold X is bad by any means, but I prefer my Schiit Bifrost Multibit, mostly because I like the multibit sound. If you're curious about trying a different DAC flavor I recommend the Schiit Modi Multibit.
 
Aug 3, 2021 at 10:50 AM Post #467 of 617

geoffalter11

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I haven't heard the LAuX, so can't speak to how good the DAC is. But, there are a lot of really good DACs at $750 or less.

Denafrips Ares II - especially if you can find used.
Soncoz SGD-1 Not sure I got all the letters right. Their balanced version is pretty great for $460.
Schiit Modi or Bifrost Multibit- the Bifrost is better but both are really good.
 
Aug 3, 2021 at 11:16 AM Post #468 of 617

9r337k4m4197

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I don't think the built-in DAC in the Liquid Gold X is bad by any means, but I prefer my Schiit Bifrost Multibit, mostly because I like the multibit sound. If you're curious about trying a different DAC flavor I recommend the Schiit Modi Multibit.

I haven't heard the LAuX, so can't speak to how good the DAC is. But, there are a lot of really good DACs at $750 or less.

Denafrips Ares II - especially if you can find used.
Soncoz SGD-1 Not sure I got all the letters right. Their balanced version is pretty great for $460.
Schiit Modi or Bifrost Multibit- the Bifrost is better but both are really good.
what do you think about the topping d70?
I'm not really sure how dac's work. Would the more expensive ones sound better? I like how the LGx sounds but I'm not sure if I can do better. This upgrade I just realized how much I was missing, the clarity, smoothness etc.
I should also mention with my previous setup I had dt990 - felt a bit sharp, SHP9500 felt a bit light (not as powerful, or impactful?)
 
Aug 3, 2021 at 12:49 PM Post #469 of 617

geoffalter11

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what do you think about the topping d70?
I'm not really sure how dac's work. Would the more expensive ones sound better? I like how the LGx sounds but I'm not sure if I can do better. This upgrade I just realized how much I was missing, the clarity, smoothness etc.
I should also mention with my previous setup I had dt990 - felt a bit sharp, SHP9500 felt a bit light (not as powerful, or impactful?)
I don't know the D70. I would upgrade your headphones before the DAC. The DAC in the Liquid Gold is designed to match the amplification side of the unit and will most likely be all you need for that unit.

If you want to truly realize an upgrade in sound, start with the headphones. You have a really competent unit in the Liquid Gold. Perhaps look at spending that $500-$600 on a nicer headphone. An Aeon 2, DT1990, HD660s, or my favorite in that price range, the Quad ERA-1. You could get an LSA HP-2, or an Aeolus or Atticus as well. My point being that you will see the biggest dividend from upgrading your headphones. The Liquid Gold has a great amp and a really good DAC. In my opinion, DACs only become super important when your amp and headphones are resolving enough to hear the differences. Otherwise, you won't realize much of a SQ increase. Once you shore up your headphones and amplification (which I believe you have with the Gold) then the DAC becomes an integral part. At that point I'd look at a M400 from SMSL, D90, Ares 2, Bifrost Multibit, Pegasus, Singxer SDA-6, Gumby, TEAC UD-505, etc.

I'd look at your headphones first. The headphones you have are good, but for a bit more you can get something exponentially better that will enable you to maximize the Liquid Gold's potential. I wouldn't judge the DAC of the Gold until you upgrade your headphones. Just my two cents...
 
Aug 3, 2021 at 12:55 PM Post #470 of 617

Odin412

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I don't know the D70. I would upgrade your headphones before the DAC. The DAC in the Liquid Gold is designed to match the amplification side of the unit and will most likely be all you need for that unit.

If you want to truly realize an upgrade in sound, start with the headphones. You have a really competent unit in the Liquid Gold. Perhaps look at spending that $500-$600 on a nicer headphone. An Aeon 2, DT1990, HD660s, or my favorite in that price range, the Quad ERA-1. You could get an LSA HP-2, or an Aeolus or Atticus as well. My point being that you will see the biggest dividend from upgrading your headphones. The Liquid Gold has a great amp and a really good DAC. In my opinion, DACs only become super important when your amp and headphones are resolving enough to hear the differences. Otherwise, you won't realize much of a SQ increase. Once you shore up your headphones and amplification (which I believe you have with the Gold) then the DAC becomes an integral part. At that point I'd look at a M400 from SMSL, D90, Ares 2, Bifrost Multibit, Pegasus, Singxer SDA-6, Gumby, TEAC UD-505, etc.

I'd look at your headphones first. The headphones you have are good, but for a bit more you can get something exponentially better that will enable you to maximize the Liquid Gold's potential. I wouldn't judge the DAC of the Gold until you upgrade your headphones. Just my two cents...
This is good advice. For differences in sound, the priority order IMHO is headphones then amps and finally DACs.
 
Aug 3, 2021 at 1:11 PM Post #471 of 617

9r337k4m4197

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I don't know the D70. I would upgrade your headphones before the DAC. The DAC in the Liquid Gold is designed to match the amplification side of the unit and will most likely be all you need for that unit.

If you want to truly realize an upgrade in sound, start with the headphones. You have a really competent unit in the Liquid Gold. Perhaps look at spending that $500-$600 on a nicer headphone. An Aeon 2, DT1990, HD660s, or my favorite in that price range, the Quad ERA-1. You could get an LSA HP-2, or an Aeolus or Atticus as well. My point being that you will see the biggest dividend from upgrading your headphones. The Liquid Gold has a great amp and a really good DAC. In my opinion, DACs only become super important when your amp and headphones are resolving enough to hear the differences. Otherwise, you won't realize much of a SQ increase. Once you shore up your headphones and amplification (which I believe you have with the Gold) then the DAC becomes an integral part. At that point I'd look at a M400 from SMSL, D90, Ares 2, Bifrost Multibit, Pegasus, Singxer SDA-6, Gumby, TEAC UD-505, etc.

I'd look at your headphones first. The headphones you have are good, but for a bit more you can get something exponentially better that will enable you to maximize the Liquid Gold's potential. I wouldn't judge the DAC of the Gold until you upgrade your headphones. Just my two cents...
Thats makes a lot of sense, I've just never really owned a dac so there was that unknown factor. I've heard a lot of good things about hd660s, and the Aeolus or Atticus look sick. Thanks for taking the time to reply, this helps a lot!!
 
Sep 4, 2021 at 11:18 AM Post #473 of 617

WhiskeyJacks

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I wanted to ask if anyone feels like his amplifier is worth purchasing if I already own the liquid Platinum with decent tubes installed, and I have some money I'm using in the hifiman Arya.
 
Sep 4, 2021 at 11:46 AM Post #474 of 617

Odin412

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I wanted to ask if anyone feels like his amplifier is worth purchasing if I already own the liquid Platinum with decent tubes installed, and I have some money I'm using in the hifiman Arya.
That's a great question. I have both - and enjoy both, but I don't feel that the amps are hugely different. I prefer some headphones with the Liquid Gold X and some with the Liquid Platinum. For example, my Audeze LCD-2 and DCA Aeon Flow Open and Closed sound better to my ears with the Liquid Gold X using the balanced output. Others, like the ZMF Aeolus sound better from the Liquid Platinum using the single-ended output - again, to my ears.
 
Sep 5, 2021 at 11:17 AM Post #475 of 617

Ham Sandwich

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I wanted to ask if anyone feels like his amplifier is worth purchasing if I already own the liquid Platinum with decent tubes installed, and I have some money I'm using in the hifiman Arya.

The two amps are more similar than different. But still different enough from each other to justify having both if you're a fan of the Cavalli sound and want to explore and want to be able to amp roll instead of tube roll. I'd rather have both the Liquid Platinum and Liquid Gold X than roll through $1000 worth of tubes for the Liquid Platinum.

One interesting thing I discovered from listening to the Liquid Gold X is how much of the imaging and sort of sonic holography comes from the solid state side of the Liquid Platinum, Liquid Fire, and Liquid Crimson. Before getting the Liquid Gold X I had assumed that the bit of sonic holography came from the tube side of the hybrids. I now realize that most of that sonic holography is from the solid state side with the tubes adding just a bit more depth. The downside is that the tubes seem to take away just a bit of transparency. The Liquid Gold X sounds more transparent to me but loses some imaging depth in the center. My definition of transparency here is the ability to hear through the amp and into the source and into the headphones. Sort of like removing a veil. When I want more of that style of transparency I listen to the Liquid Gold X. When I want more of that tube sound and a little more imaging depth and a little more center I use the Liquid Platinum or Liquid Fire. It's fun to have choices like that.
 
Sep 5, 2021 at 12:10 PM Post #476 of 617

Odin412

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The two amps are more similar than different. But still different enough from each other to justify having both if you're a fan of the Cavalli sound and want to explore and want to be able to amp roll instead of tube roll. I'd rather have both the Liquid Platinum and Liquid Gold X than roll through $1000 worth of tubes for the Liquid Platinum.

One interesting thing I discovered from listening to the Liquid Gold X is how much of the imaging and sort of sonic holography comes from the solid state side of the Liquid Platinum, Liquid Fire, and Liquid Crimson. Before getting the Liquid Gold X I had assumed that the bit of sonic holography came from the tube side of the hybrids. I now realize that most of that sonic holography is from the solid state side with the tubes adding just a bit more depth. The downside is that the tubes seem to take away just a bit of transparency. The Liquid Gold X sounds more transparent to me but loses some imaging depth in the center. My definition of transparency here is the ability to hear through the amp and into the source and into the headphones. Sort of like removing a veil. When I want more of that style of transparency I listen to the Liquid Gold X. When I want more of that tube sound and a little more imaging depth and a little more center I use the Liquid Platinum or Liquid Fire. It's fun to have choices like that.
I agree - using different amps for their slightly different sound signature is fun. Plus, some headphones seem to prefer/pair better with certain amps.
 
Oct 12, 2021 at 3:14 PM Post #477 of 617

Odin412

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Cavalli Liquid Carbon – Schiit Jotunheim 2 - Cavalli Liquid Gold X Listening Comparisons

(I’ve taken the liberty of cross-posting this across the three amp threads – apologies in advance if you subscribe to all of them.)

Since I now have three balanced solid-state amps I thought that it would be fun to compare them using the ZMF Aeolus using the single-ended outputs. I plan to try the balanced outputs at a later date. My playback chain is a Windows 10 laptop running J River - Schiit Bifrost Multibit – Lokius (in bypass mode) – SYS – distribution amp – headphone amps.

Here are my impressions:

  • The Liquid Carbon is a great match with the Aeolus and delivers a very enjoyable sound with the trademark Cavalli liquid midrange. The tube-like character of this amp lets the best aspects of the Aeolus really shine.
  • The Jotunheim 2 sounds very similar to the Liquid Carbon. This was a bit of a surprise for me. In fact, if this were a blind test I’m not sure that I would be able to reliably tell them apart. The Liquid Carbon has maybe a slightly more expressive and liquid midrange, but the differences are small.
  • The biggest change when switching to the Liquid Gold X is more bass body and impact. The midrange also comes across as slightly more open and clear, but with the trademark Cavalli liquidness.
Other random observations:

  • All of these three amps sound great to my ears and the differences between them are surprisingly small – we’re talking different flavors here.
  • The Cavalli Liquid Carbon is still a great amplifier after several years – it was released in 2015.
  • The Jotunheim 2 is a great amp – especially considering its price of only $399.
  • You can tell that the Liquid Gold X is a step up from the Liquid Carbon, but the family resemblance is still there.
  • The Aelous is one of the most enjoyable headphones that I have ever heard. It really lets you forget about technology and just immerse yourself in the music.
So which one of these amps is my favorite? Actually, none of them – my favorite pairing with the Aeolus is the Cavalli Liquid Platinum with a pair of vintage Amperex tubes or the Woo Audio WA3. YMMV, as always.
 
Oct 28, 2021 at 10:47 AM Post #478 of 617

WhiskeyJacks

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Hi, I'm kinda new to this headphone game, had a shiit magni heresy + dt990's for a year (as a gift from a friend), looked around audio forums and seemed like I could do better, and finally decided to upgrade. I just bought the Liquid Gold x (+m1570, I was given a monoprice giftcard... ) and it sounds a lot better than my previous setup (like a loooot). Although I'm not really an audiophile guy, I love how smooth and relaxed it sounds (I did get balanced cable made for the m1570). Now my other friend, lives far away and I can't really just try and give it back, is offering to sell me his topping d70 dac for around $300. As I understand the dac in LGx is not really the best, so would the d70 be a worthwhile upgrade or not? By the way I mainly stream my music from spotify. I could also spend up to $500 on another better dac but not sure if I need to. Would love any recommendations.
Hey I know it is has been a couple months since you were asking around, so you may of already purchased a new DAC or headphone. I just wanted to give some words from experience when I was newer into the hobby this was when planar magnetics were much more expensive and far fewer in between things like the Hifiman He6/500 Audeze LCD2. I am just saying this for context, but the Amp you have is more than enough for any headphone both sound quality wise and wattage via balanced jack for pretty much anything out there. The DAC though I am sure is not the end all in resolution does a good job converting your files into audio. As far as headphones wasting 500$ on a 'upgrade' headphone is what you would be doing buying a most 400-600 $ headphones because the M1570 is a very good headphone that is in that price bracket already and belongs there. If you want a different sound signature then it is definitely no waste in buying things like Sennheiser HD6xx/660, Hifiman Sundara/Ananda(can be found used for around 500 and is imo better technically than the others listed here), Beyer DT1990s, Grados Hemp, LCD 2C, etc. Or if you need something on the go you could get a decent IEM or closed back. I personally like the Hifiman Deva Pro which is an open back bluetooth dongle attached to a headphone. Anyways Like I said most headphones you are not going to get a straight up upgrade from the M1570 unless paying a bit more than they are worth but as long as you know what sound signature you want to try then that is alright.
 
Nov 8, 2021 at 11:16 AM Post #480 of 617

Odin412

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Cavalli Liquid Carbon – Schiit Jotunheim 2 - Cavalli Liquid Gold X Listening Comparisons (Balanced)

(I’ve taken the liberty of cross-posting this across the three amp threads – apologies in advance if you subscribe to all of them.)

Following my initial comparison of the three amps using the single-ended output I thought that it would be fun to do the same using the balanced outputs. My playback chain is a Windows 11 laptop running J River - Schiit Bifrost Multibit – Lokius (in bypass mode) – SYS – distribution amp – headphone amps.

However, this task turned out to be harder than I expected. Using the ZMF Aeolus I wasn’t able to hear any meaningful differences between the amps. I then switched to the Beyerdynamic T1.2 and heard only very minor differences. Finally, I switched to planar magnetic headphones and tried the DCA Aeon Flow Closed and Audeze LCD-2.

Here are my impressions:

  • The Liquid Carbon is a great match with all four headphones and delivers a very enjoyable sound with the trademark Cavalli liquid midrange.
  • The Jotunheim 2 sounds very similar to the Liquid Carbon, but with a very slightly fuller sound in the upper bass/lower midrange area. I found the sound from the Jotunheim 2 to be really enjoyable.
  • Switching to the Liquid Gold X there was a slightly punchier bass and an ever so slightly smoother treble. The midrange also came across as slightly more open, but with the trademark Cavalli liquidness.
In summary, all of the three amps sound great to my ears and the differences between them are very small (and smaller than the differences that I heard using the single ended outputs) – we’re talking very slightly different flavors here.

So which one of these amps is my favorite? It depends on the headphone. I really enjoy the Jotunheim 2 with the T1.2 and I enjoy the Liquid Gold X with the LCD-2. However, I could live happily with any of the three amps. YMMV, as always.
 

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