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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. Shane D
    My Spark is in town and due to be delivered on Monday. Very pumped!

    Wonder if it will be similar to the LCX?

    Shane D
    JazzVinyl likes this.
  2. JazzVinyl
    Thanks, MM

  3. JazzVinyl
    Congrats Shane! It is a really nice amp. Feed it some well recorded music...and enjoy!

    Shane D likes this.
  4. buke9
    Don’t know about the LCX but I do hav a original Carbon and they share the similar Cavalli sound that has that bit of warmth to it but I do think the LC is a lot better amp in many ways but for $99 the Spark is really hard to beat its a great little amp.
    Shane D likes this.
  5. Shane D
    It will be hard to compare as one is balanced and one is SE. I don't listen loud so the Spark probably has enough power. To be a little more accurate I will volume match with my little cheapie decible meter.
    Even more curious how it compares to the Burson Fun-Classic.

    Man, I wish I had it today!:L3000:

    Shane D
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2019
  6. Shane D
    I have a pretty broad selection ranging from the 1940's (Miles Davis) to last week. Rock, pop, jazz and blues. MP3, AAC and ALAC. I'll try with the clearest stuff first and then work back to 60/'s70's rock, Motown and assorted oldies/compilations.

    Pretty psyched!

    Shane D
  7. Shane D
    Got my Spark today and it sounds pretty good.

    LOTS of power for me. Using my Beyerdynamic T5p.2's, I can't get past 9:00 in low gain.

    With lesser, older stuff it wasn't sounding great. I then put on Florence and the Machine and it sounds nice and clear.

    Over the next few weeks I am curious to compare it against my Burson Fun-Classic in SE and against it's distant uncle in the MassDrop LCX in SE vs Balanced (volume matched of course).

    So far though, I am very impressed. Especially as an open box for $80.00. Of course I am still in the shiny new toy phase.:ksc75smile:

    Shane D
    jumpa likes this.
  8. Shane D
    Sitting here for last few hours comparing the LCX (balanced) against the Spark (SE). I have volume matched the amps using my little cheapie decibel meter.

    Talk about the law of diminishing returns! The LCX has a touch more bass when it booms, a touch more detail with the instruments and a bit better midrange, but boy is it close.

    If I was going to compare, I would say the LCX is a 10 and the Spark is a 9. But with someone having more technical skills than me, I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't more like 10 to 9.1, or 10 to 9.2. The differences are very subtle.

    I left the cables plugged into each amp. I just switched back forth with the 3.5mm jacks on my Beyerdynamic T5p.2's. Took less than 5 seconds to switch back and forth. Source was ZX300 DAP through an SMSL SU-8 DAC. I would replay the songs through each amp. Sometimes I changed over in mid song (my DAP plays both outputs at once, so both are always on).

    Comparing against the Burson Fun-Classic will be a lot trickier unless I get some RCA splitters.

    I doubt that I will keep the Spark, as I already have the LCX. But, if you do not have an amp, you should consider starting with this. If you turn out to like the Cavilli sound and I do, it is great value. Supposedly the JDS Atom is a much better amp, technically.

    For those of you that already own it, upgrading would be a very tough call for me. If you look at $109.99 (mine were open box for $80.00!!) vs $300.00, that is crazy. It is not three times better or even close to being twice as good. If you have money to spare and every incremental gain is worth it, go for it.

    If you have a good DAP (or any good source), one quality pair of headphones then this would give you a great little set-up on a budget. One caveat: I don't listen loud and I don't have any hard to drive phones. If you do, my words are probably meaningless.

    I am much more impressed with this little cheapie than I thought I would be. Great time to be getting into the hobby!

    Shane D
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2019
    PlantsmanTX, jumpa and GearMe like this.
  9. buke9
    The Liquid Carbon will run the Abyss the Spark not so much ; )
  10. Shane D
    What are the specs on the Abyss? Is it a hard to drive product? All of my stuff is easy to drive AND I don't listen loud.

    Shane D
  11. buke9
    47 ohms 88 dB/mW not real easy to drive.
  12. Shane D
    It will never be a problem for me as I could never afford them.:blush:

    Shane D
    waynes world likes this.
  13. Shane D
    Another great match for the Liquid Spark: The Meze 99 Classic's. These headphones really don't need amping, but the Spark seems to bring a little bit more out.
    A smoother, cleaner sound than with the Shure 1540's, IMO.

    I think the LCX is better in every way, but this is one hell of an amp!

    Shane D

    PS: It also matched very nicely with my Grado GH2's.
  14. SigmaOrionis
    Could someone test something for me?

    With your Liquid Spark plugged in but powered off do you hear a hum through your headphones when you plug them in?

    The hum is only there while you’re plugging the headphones in it’s not constant. Sounds like plugging in a guitar.

    Seems odd that it would do this powered off. I’m using an Oppo HA2 SE as a DAC so obviously it’s not grounded.

    Other than this one oddity I love the amp and don’t want to return it if this is normal.

    Last edited: Oct 12, 2019
  15. runeight
    Whether normal or not depends partly on the rest of the system. Does it hum during normal operation playing music?? Does it hum when the amp is on and you plug in the headphones??

    If it only hums when plugging in the headphones when the amp is off then it's probably a grounding issues that is resolved when the plug is fully inserted.
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