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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. PlantsmanTX
    It's feeding the power amp in the speaker.
    gargani likes this.
  2. gargani
    Okay, thanks
    PlantsmanTX likes this.
  3. mafyou12
    Wondering about this preamp stuff myself.... I have a class T amp (Amptastic Mini-1) that can be put into a "power amp mode", bypassing its volume knob. Would this be appropriate for hooking up to the Liquid Spark to control my speaker volume? Not sure how this relatively low-power speaker amp in such a mode (with passive speakers of course) really differs from "powered speakers" (which are basically passive speakers with a built-in amp, right?).
  4. gargani
    According to the description of the magni 3 on amazon; you can use the magni 3 with a stand-alone power amp.
    Active speakers have a built in or onboard power amp, but you just don't see it; and that amp is designed specifically for the speakers.
    So you should be able to use the volume controlled pre amp outputs on the magni with your amp. In theory, at least.
    How it willl sound, you just have to try it.
  5. mafyou12
    Thanks I'll give it a go soon. I was confused regarding the Amptastic because I see talk online of using it with a "passive preamp"... But some powered as well it seems.

    I'll have to try and remember the skiing signature and volume power before hailing it apart and changing the jumper. Not ideal A/B'ing... But I'm interested to see how the Spark might change things
  6. mafyou12
    *sound signature. Can't seem to used Edit on phone..whoops
  7. mafyou12
    Well crap... Very nice improvement. Would never want to put the Spark's knob above 12 (low gain) when doing preamp out, unless I'm playing some real quiet vinyl. Loads of power. Bass is improved to my ears.

    Speakers are PSB Image 2B fwiw. They're efficient and nicely matched to the Amptastic on its own. The Spark takes it all up a notch. Plus I can put away the RCA switch I had between headphone and speaker amps.

    If anyone thinks I'm going to do some damage, please chime in :)
    gargani, nick n and PlantsmanTX like this.
  8. Wheel Hoss
    Can anyone who has both the LS and the Cavalli Tube Hybrid comment on their differences, especially with 650-type cans?

  9. Hansotek
    The Spark has a little warmer tilt and is slightly more intimate relative to the CTH, whereas the CTH is a little bit more linear, clean and neutral with a little larger stage. They are both super fun amps that sound really, really good at the end of the day.
    Wheel Hoss likes this.
  10. Wheel Hoss
    Hey thanks. Found your review of the Spark comparing it to the other Cavalli amps.

    For my Atticus, I want more air and space (museum?), so the CTH sounds better. But will probably pick up the Spark later on, too.

    One other dilemma: one poster said the CTH wouldn’t really bring out the best in the Atticus and I would need the Liquid Platinum. But another equally experienced user said he enjoys his ZMF cans with the Spark as much as any of his amps including ones that cost 50 times as much.

    Any thoughts? If I get the CTH will I have buyer’s remorse and upgrade to the LP (and a balanced cable and a balanced DAC . . . see where this is heading?)? I just want to buy the CTH and be done. I don’t have tons of time to listen to music atm and I have a move coming up. $250 for CTH (Mojo for DAC and OFC ZMF cable) vs $2,000+ for LP + RME ADI-2 + cable. Is the second setup really ten times better?
  11. Hansotek
    Well, first off... on the Platinum, you can absolutely use the Mojo. The Platinum has a phase splitter, so you can use a single ended source, Platinum will split into positive and negative phases and you can still get the full benefits of the balanced output. You don’t have to necessarily buy a new DAC, if you don’t want to. I also think having a source with adjustable volume (like mojo) is a good thing, because it negates the Platinum’s “hot” input. You’ll never have to worry about headroom.

    None of those posters are wrong. The Atticus does scale nicely, and it does sound very, very good with all 3 amps. I’ve done extensive listening with Atty on all 3, no matter which one you pick, it’s going to sound great. I absolutely agree with the poster who said he enjoyed the spark as much as amps that cost 50x as much - I’ve literally had it on the table with 2 $5k amps before, and it is every bit as enjoyable. It doesn’t mean it can necessarily do everything they do - but when you’re listening on it, you forget which amp you’re plugged into pretty quickly. The tonality of the Spark is so good, it doesn’t matter.

    That being said, I’d be BSing you if I didn’t tell you the Platinum is the best of the 3. It is simply a superior amp. It does things on a technical level the others cannot. It has more heft, a bigger stage, etc. I owned one when it was called the Liquid Crimson and it cost $3k, and it was a steal at that price too. So yeah, the Platinum will get the most out of it of the three.

    In my experience, you save the most money by biting the bullet and getting the thing you REALLY want. Otherwise, you may end up wasting a bunch of other money buying filler, hoping you can get what you want for cheaper. In the end, you could have bought that first thing you really wanted twice over. So think about what will ultimately make you happiest.
  12. Wheel Hoss
    Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I’ve had my eye on the Platty for a while, so I think you were the proverbial straw on my proverbial camel’s back.

    Problem is I’m moving soon and need to save. CTH was more than I wanted to spend until after I get settled. So that makes it easy. I’ll get a $99 starter amp to tide me over.

    I’m thinking the Liquid Spark. Alex/Wildcat listens to his over many TOTL setups for ZMF cans. LS over the JDS Atom? Atom appeal to me for possibly more air, but the LS seems to have that magic Cavalli tone.

    Help me one more time brother?
  13. Hansotek
    I’d go for the Cavalli tone, personally on the Atticus. The Atom is incredible though, and I might pick that one for a different headphone, depending on the tonality I wanted.
    JazzVinyl and Wheel Hoss like this.
  14. Wheel Hoss
    Using my Mojo as DAC for Spark

    At 1.9 volts (Line Out minus 4 presses down), Mojo caused the Spark to go into safety mode and was distorted

    Turned it down and issues stopped

    This wasn’t even at the recommended Line Out level (3 volts)

    Any idea what is happening? I know I can just play the Mojo at a lower level, but I’ve used the Mojo as a DAC for my Samsung DA-750 just fine.
    PlantsmanTX likes this.
  15. PlantsmanTX
    The first unit I had went into safety mode just once, but it had a persistent problem with distortion in one channel. I'm pretty sure it didn't have anything to do with the dac. I sent it back, and haven't had any problems with the replacement.
    Wildcatsare1 and Wheel Hoss like this.
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