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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. sacd lover
    Could you clarify your question a little more? My reply may answer your question or maybe not?

    The Spark sounds better. The hybrid amps are not what I consider a tube amp. Hybrids have a SS output stage driving the headphones. So, they run into the same power limitations with high impedance headphones that any SS amp does. The tube adds a little character but does not make a hybrid better at driving a 300 ohm senn 650. The other tube amps are transformer coupled and one has a tap for high impedance headphones and they sound really good with all my phones. But the Spark does everything right per my preferences = more musical and enjoyable. All the other amps I still have, except the Millet max, were much more expensive and if I remember correctly even Millet Max's were 2-3 times the Spark's cost unless they were DIY builds.

    I have had so many really good sounding tube headphone amps over the years .... Singlepower PPX3/ MPX3 /Extreme,/ SLAM, DV 336, Eddie Current, heavily modded Doge 6210, Cavalli hybrid built by dbel84 (most amazing hybrid amo I ever owned amp but best with lower impedances) and a bunch of Millet Max types. A good sounding amp just sounds right and the Spark sounds very right.

    The Spark is the best sounding pure SS amp I can remember hearing. I have had the Gilmore amps (probably my favorite SS but still a touch sibilant/ much more expensive) and many others I soon dismissed in favor of the tube or hybrid amps. The Spark is a great listen. I have not heard the more expensive Cavalli liquid carbon but I do not care enough to buy one because the Spark is so good. For pure musical enjoyment the Cavalli Spark with the headphones I mentioned is as good sounding and enjoyable as anything I have owned. For $99 this amp is crazy good.

    One more thing .... the Spark is the only SS amp I have ever preferred to use over my tube amps for any length of time. This little amp shocks you how right it sounds.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2018
    davidmthekidd and trellus like this.
  2. dBel84
    Great to hear your favorable impressions E. I would echo that this amp is "crazy good" , I have actually been deferring to using mine which sits on top of a much more expensive amp..dB
     
  3. sacd lover
    dbel84 how are you? Nice to see a friend still around.

    I hate how this summation sounds so hyped and over the top. But, I am so shocked how good this amp sounds. I am shocked how good the M1060 planar headphone sounds with this amp and how much I like the hd58x with the Spark. I am one who usually can not leave well enough alone. But this amp is so enjoyable I can not imagine liking something better. This amp has a signature sound I love plus an intangible coherency consistent from sub bass to the highest treble that is unmatched. Now If I bought a CLC or CTH or the Liquid Platinum I should get better sound but I doubt I get more enjoyment.
     
    davidmthekidd likes this.
  4. avitron142
    Wow, thank you! I definitely don't have the extensive listening experience you do :) All I was referring to was that some people like SS (Magni ex) more than hybrids (Vali ex). But with the ount of amps you've owned, it's definitely not that beginner difference - looks like the Spark is just that good to hold it's own against all the others.

    Yeah, I feel the same way about enjoyment. Sometimes I get a really good setup, just to find that I don't... really like the combination all that much. Can I say exactly why? Not really. But even though the detail is there, the soundstage is there, etc the enjoyment isn't. I'll definitely keep an eye out for a used Spark to drive my 400S/K7XX.

    Thanks!
     
  5. sacd lover
    https://s79.photobucket.com/user/6bx7gt/media/076.jpg.html

    The Spark does not sound as good as the Cavalli hybrid amp on the left in the picture but the Spark is equally enjoyable and about a tenth of the cost.

    EDIT: But that is with Tung Sol black glass round plate 12sn7's and my favorite 5u4g rectifier tube and Alessandro MS-2's. Change the tubes to say Raytheon or Hytron 12sn7's and not nearly as good with the Alessandro's. The Spark always sounds top notch.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2018
  6. JazzVinyl
    Spark makes my HD-580's sing beautifully. It is more dynamic and sharp than I am used to. It is a "front row" amp, where it is keen to feature bold dynamics. My other SS Amps are more "10th row" and the dynamics are not as pronounced. Lots of details and it has a surprising 'deep throated' bass note. Also really like the preamp function. That is really convenient for me, as I keep powered speakers near, for times when I do not want to headphone. Just unplug phones and we're sending signal to the speakers..works out perfectly for my setup.

    Sound quality is outstanding, quite a bargain for its modest price tag.

    :)
     
    davidmthekidd likes this.
  7. Shane D
    A little off topic, but what do you think of your LG V30 vs the LG V40?
    My V30 is my out and about DAP.

    Shane D
     
  8. Shane D
    Has anybody tried this with a M1060C yet? Or the HiFiman HE4XX's?

    I don't think I need the power of an amp as I never max out my DAP, but was wondering what the Spark might add to the sound. Also wondering if it would add some bass to my Grado's?

    Shane D
     
  9. Sharpty
    I doubt anything will add bass to your Grados since any good amp will have a perfectly flat frequency response. It might improve transient response as it's a very fast and low impedance amp. I'd try to find a response graph for the Grados and play with an EQ if I wanted extended bass
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2018
  10. Shane D
    Yes I do EQ. I have read many reports of the Spark having good strong bass and wondered if it might add to the Grado's.

    Shane D
     
  11. Sharpty
    It's definitely very clean and controlled bass, sub bass was a big improvement when I switched from a USB DAC/ADC integrated headphone amp. It Is accurate to well below what you can hear and what your headphones can reproduce. More than enough power to drive pretty much any headphone. Also dead silent
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2018
  12. Shane D
    Yes, that aligns with the rest of comments. Have you used any of the headphones I asked about with it?

    Shane D
     
  13. Sharpty
    nope, sorry
     
  14. sacd lover
    I tried the M1060C with the Spark but I did not like the headphone. The Spark seemed to drive headphone fine ... tha bass was very powerful and I did use much of the volume control even on low gain. The M1060C has some sort of upper midrange peak that makes the vocals sound wonky. If you had an EQ that could address the peak the headphone would probably sound excellent.
     
  15. Shane D
    Interesting. Thanks for the reply.
    Monoprice had a really good Black Friday sale ($199.00 for M1060's). I figured that if nothing else outstanding shows up, I was always curious about the M1060's and now the M1060C's.

    Also, that little Liquid Spark sounds like a keeper.:grin:

    Shane D
     
    davidmthekidd likes this.
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