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Monoprice Monolith Liquid Spark - By Alex Cavalli

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by ufospls2, Apr 4, 2018.
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  1. legion1capone
    I let my buddy borrow my Aune x1s acting as dac and my liquid spark to power his K7xx. His comment to me when I asked him how it was, " I now know what my headphones can sound like." He was using a modi 2u andagni 3 before. He really really liked it. He was really impressed and thought it was quite a step up from his current setup.
    trellus likes this.
  2. lantian
    In my case liquid spark is quite a step up aswell, now that it has been burned in more or less it sounds fantastic with my 600ohm cans. My previous magni 3 could not even power them properly not to mention sound good. It could handle my 300ohm cans but not theway that this does. All my headphones sound fantastic. Could not be happier with my purchase.
  3. GearMe
    Have the Spark and the Magni 3...

    Surprised there's a difference in the ability of the Spark to drive 600 ohm cans compared to the Magni 3. Thought I'd read they were pretty much equally powerful.

    I typically use my 600 ohm cans on an OTL amp but will have to try them on these two...
    trellus likes this.
  4. Sharpty
    Hello everyone, I've been lurking for almost 10 years on this forum but just now decided to make an account.

    My good friend recently rekindled my interest in headphones and this amp has me curious. So I ordered one and am currently waiting on my early Christmas present.

    I notice it says that there are no caps in the signal path, has anyone measured for DC on the output??

    I'm guessing that can be adjusted with the trim pots, but correct me if I'm wrong.
  5. runeight
    It is auto adjusted and under normal conditions keeps the DC at the output very low. There is also a detector that disconnects headphones if it senses that the average DC at the output goes above a certain threshold.
    Sharpty likes this.
  6. Sharpty
    Thanks for the quick response @runeight , seems like a well thought out design indeed.

    Do you think pairing the Liquid spark with a linear PSU would offer any real world advantage in audio quality over the standard SMPS?
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2018
  7. runeight
    I don't think LPSs help a lot. The noise floor is pretty low on the Spark and the SMPS has plenty of juice. IIRC the noise floor is about -115db A weighted. Don't quote me on this though bc I should look it up. :smile_phones:

    Also, as per comments on the Platinum thread certain LPSs can pose risks to the carefully matched design of all the pieces of the system.
    Sharpty likes this.
  8. atomicbob
    Liquid Spark residual noise measures as follows:

    -115 dBu A weighted (standard used by most manufacturers - attenuates 1/f noise and mains noise)
    -107 dBu unweighted (includes 1/f noise and mains noise)

    Most manufacturers prefer to report A weighting. Liquid Spark with supplied SMPS does quite well with the unweighted measurement and outstanding with A weighted.

    03 20181212 spark SMPS 1 A07 SNR noise FFT - A and unweighted 30R with gnd.png
  9. Sharpty
    Thanks for the detailed measurements @atomicbob , looks very promising.

    Does the standard SMPS have a ferrite at the end of the cable? If not I'd be curious to see if one would have any effect. Probably depends more on environment as to whether a ferrite would have a positive effect, and seeing as the HF noise floor is very low it would probably be very minimal anyway.

    Sure wish I had an audio analyzer to play with :smile_phones:
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2018
  10. runeight
    It does not.
    Sharpty likes this.
  11. atomicbob
    There are some lower cost options available:

    Quantasylum QA401
    While this doesn't have the noise floor or advanced level SW measurement sets, it does well enough for most standard amplifier measurements. I have one in my lab that I use from time to time.

    RME ADI-2 Pro + HpW-Works
    With some cleverness one can achieve close to the measurement capabilities of the major players, Avermetrics, Audio Precision, Prism Sound, Rhode & Schwarz, etc.
    And it is a damn fine DAC for recreational use.
    Sharpty likes this.
  12. Sharpty
    Thanks for the links, the QA401 is much more affordable than I assumed an analyzer would be. Although I can't justify the price currently, and especially not the price of the RME
    Right now I just have a couple budget USB recording interfaces (Steinberg UR22 MKII, Tascam US-2x2) that I use as a DAC for some JBL monitors. The line Inputs are clean enough for recording but don't have enough headroom for measurements
  13. mushin1989
    Does anyone happen to have any experience with whether this amp edges out the Atom with regard to driving planar magnetics like the T50 RP? I know there's a lot of stuff to consider like current and such. Wondering if anyone has compared their performance.
  14. lantian
    Does someone know the polarity of the dc barrel plug used on liquid spark or perhaps could measure it with a voltmeter, would appreciate it a lot.
    Never mind, found the symbol on stock psu.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2018
  15. avitron142
    Has anyone compared these to the Vali 2? I've seen them against the Magni 3 but perhaps the Vali is a more comparable option.
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