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Monoprice Monolith 7 Amplifier Conclusion

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Monoprice Monolith 7 Multichannel Amplifier

The Monolith 7 is a formidable amplifier regardless of price point. At $1,500, it's one of the great bargains in high end audio.

By definition, a monolith is a single, massive stone or rock.  In practice, the Monoprice Monolith 7 is a single, massive pillar of power that will rock even the finest reference setups. Whether you chose to designate the Monolith 7 with multichannel channel duty or give it the sacred task of anchoring a high-end two-channel setup, the Monolith will excel in both.  There’s absolutely nothing second rate about this amp—from parts to performance. Monoprice deserves any and all accolades for their foray into high-end audio and home theater. You’ve got one shot to make a first impression. And what an impression it is!

That Monolith is going to stay right there. It’s found a permanent home in my setup. That’s how much I liked it.

The price/performance and build quality of this amplifier is nothing short of astounding. For $1,500 you get real, unadulterated, unbridled power that will rock the very foundations of Middle Earth.  Do the math. That’s just over $200/channel and, in my book, ranks as one of the biggest bargains in high-end audio and rightly deserves a place in our annual awards. There are also two channel ($999), three channel ($1099), and five channel ($1,299) models available too, though their value ratio isn't as great as the Monolith 7.  In our opinion, the Monolith 7 represents the best value investment of the bunch and you can always use the extra channels for multilple zones and immersive audio if you don't need them immediately.

Monoprice Monolith Amplifier YouTube Review

At just shy of 94 pounds, some people will need to think long and hard about where and how to place it.  For me? Well, all I know is that the  Monolith 7 isn’t going anywhere. “It’s just too heavy to send back!” (nudge, nudge; wink, wink) I told my wife. That’s right, I’m not packing this beast back up. That Monolith is going to stay right there. It’s found a permanent home in my setup. That’s how much I liked it. Highly recommended.

The Score Card

The scoring below is based on each piece of equipment doing the duty it is designed for. The numbers are weighed heavily with respect to the individual cost of each unit, thus giving a rating roughly equal to:

Performance × Price Factor/Value = Rating

Audioholics.com note: The ratings indicated below are based on subjective listening and objective testing of the product in question. The rating scale is based on performance/value ratio. If you notice better performing products in future reviews that have lower numbers in certain areas, be aware that the value factor is most likely the culprit. Other Audioholics reviewers may rate products solely based on performance, and each reviewer has his/her own system for ratings.

Audioholics Rating Scale

  • StarStarStarStarStar — Excellent
  • StarStarStarStar — Very Good
  • StarStarStar — Good
  • StarStar — Fair
  • Star — Poor
MetricRating
Frequency Response LinearityStarStarStarStarStar
SNRStarStarStarStarStar
Output ImpedanceStarStarStarStarStar
Measured Power (8-ohms)StarStarStarStarStar
Measured Power (4-ohms)StarStarStarStarStar
Multi-channel Audio PerformanceStarStarStarStarStar
Two-channel Audio PerformanceStarStarStarStarStar
Build QualityStarStarStarStarStar
Fit and FinishStarStarStarStar
Ergonomics & UsabilityStarStarStarStar
FeaturesStarStarStarStar
PerformanceStarStarStarStarhalf-star
ValueStarStarStarStarStar

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About the author:

Theo is a serious audiophile and home theater enthusiast—a passion he's enjoyed for over 20 years. He heads up many of our speaker system and receiver reviews as well as covering the latest in streaming technologies and Ultra HD video.

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Recent Forum Posts:

tparm posts on June 16, 2020 16:14
With Class D amplification being en vogue and ATI having success with their AT52XNC series, how long until there is a Class D Monolith variant? Thoughts? Insider info????
RichB posts on June 14, 2020 15:51
Pogre, post: 1397880, member: 79914
Boom! Thanks Peng!

I am going to conclude that scooting a little closer will definitely take a little heat off my speakers at high volumes. The folks over at Ascend have been a little bit hit and miss to contact lately, with everything going on but they always eventually get back to me. I think I'm gonna shoot Dave an email and ask him ask about max spl at 1 meter, like you suggested I do with Ed for my Ultras.

You know what's interesting, tho maybe not overly surprising? My Monolith runs MUCH cooler powering my 4 ohm Sierra towers than it does my “8 ohm” Ultra towers. It's gets good and warm with the Ultras, but barely more than lukewarm with the Sierras. Even after some some very spirited listening sessions.

In general, when you consider stereo and room gain the volume at the listening position can be surprisingly close to rating at 1 meter (when accurately specified).
Ascends are among the best manufacturers at accurate sensitivity specifications.

Here is recent article on Audio Science Review:
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/speaker-sensitivity-advertised-vs-measured.14072/

Adding power to speakers that perform will with power (with good distortion characteristics) can lead to listening at higher levels. A small radio can seem too loud because the distortion is makes it unpleasant. That said, I have found I enjoy my Salons for casual listening at less than one watt. Of course, I'd like a near perfect 1'st watt

THX specifications are for a single speaker but this is not representative of any realistic listening session.
To estimate my power usage I used the following procedure.

I played 250Hz, 1kHz, and 2kHz 0 DBFS (maximum volume) sine-wave tones and measured the voltage at the speaker adjusting the processor until it was as close as possible to 2.83 volts. The volume matches the speakers sensitivity rating. While playing the tone, I measured the SPL at my listening position of 11 feet.

The Salon2s are rates are 86 dB at 1 meter. The measured SPL was also 86 dB (with two speakers playing). The Salon2s are basically 4 ohm speakers that doubles to power. For my spreadsheet, this means -31 is 86 dB at 11 feet. From there I computed the attached power levels. Since I know my habits, the left column indicates those levels. Fortunately, the AHB2 amplifiers have accurate and clip meters per channel that illuminate for 1/4 seconds when the amp hits 1% distortion.
With music, they clip as expected with recording that peak at full scale (too many recording are maximized for volume).

Into 4 Ohms, the AHB2s deliver 180 WPC and they are not clipping at -10 so these numbers are conservative.
I also plugged in these numbers into the Crown power calculator: 3.5 meters, 101 dB, 83 dB sensitivity (for 4 ohms) and the required power is 773 watts.
My measurements and calculation show 64 watts stereo or 128 watts for a single speaker.

37113
37114

The Aquaman 4K BD has some formidable bass and I turned it up -15 (which is 3 dB louder than I found comfortable) and there is no clipping and the Salon2 3 8 inch woofers are really moving.

Unfortunately AVR amps are seldom measured as diligently as dedicated power amps and not going into protection is not a good indicator of distortion driving reactive loads. Those measurements don't really exist. We know a lot about how amps play 1 kHz sine-waves into reactive loads.

- Rich
operamatt posts on June 14, 2020 08:31
Verdinut, post: 1397824, member: 80194
Those Monolith amplifiers are really well designed affordable amplifiers. You won't regret your purchase.

Are you an opera nut too? Because of my user name, it's not hard to guess who is my preferred Italian composer. If that is the case, maybe we could exchange comments at some point. In my collection, I have the complete Verdi Parma Opera series on Blu-ray, apart from all his operas on CD. That's only part of my opera collection.

I know quite a bit about opera singers and I am very critical about them. I studied classical singing. As a lyric tenor, I used to sing solos with choirs, and also sung in restaurants as a hobby. It was indeed a passion.

Cheers!
very cool, i also trained as a classical musician. my mane instrument was voice but i was a pianist & director as well. i’ve chosen a different path for my life but the love for classical music is still there.
PENG posts on June 13, 2020 09:23
Pogre, post: 1397880, member: 79914
Boom! Thanks Peng!

I am going to conclude that scooting a little closer will definitely take a little heat off my speakers at high volumes. The folks over at Ascend have been a little bit hit and miss to contact lately, with everything going on but they always eventually get back to me. I think I'm gonna shoot Dave an email and ask him ask about max spl at 1 meter, like you suggested I do with Ed for my Ultras.

You know what's interesting, tho maybe not overly surprising? My Monolith runs MUCH cooler powering my 4 ohm Sierra towers than it does my “8 ohm” Ultra towers. It's gets good and warm with the Ultras, but barely more than lukewarm with the Sierras. Even after some some very spirited listening sessions.

I just clarified my comments a little, but we were typing at the same time.

The Ascends are likely more sensitive and have better phase angles than the Ultras. I discussed power requirements with Ed before, you (may be not you but people who think amps are always needed for 4 ohm speakers) will be shocked if you know what he said..
Pogre posts on June 13, 2020 09:18
PENG, post: 1397878, member: 6097
Okay then, the Ascends in your system will still be the bottleneck as it is only rated 500 W maximum short term peak. You will need about 660 W to hit reference level with one speaker from 15 feet.

The Monolith can output only a little more than 500 W average short term dynamic peak, that's 1,000 W peak, two channel driven into 4 ohms.

Calculated results based on Ascend specs, for one single speaker:



Input data required:
Input data
Unit


1) Speaker nominal impedance (Ohms)
4.00
Ohm


2) Sensitivity in dB/W at 1 Meter


dB


3) Sensitivity in dB/2.83 V at 1 Meter
90.00
dB


4) Seating distance (1 foot = 0.3048 Meter, 1 Meter = 3.281 foot)
4.57
Meter


5) Room gain for speaker placement near walls/corners, enter 0 to 3 dB max., to err on the conservative side
3.00
dB


6) Desired additional amplifier headroom (dB) Recommended minimum is 3


dB


7) Target SPL - THX reference is 85 dB, with 20 dB of headroom
105.00
dB









Calculated values from the input data:
Calculated values



Sensitivity loss at seating distance (dB)
13.20
dB


SPL/W at seating distance calculated from the input data
79.80
dB


Amplifier power output based on 2.83 V and the assumed impedance at 1 Meter
2.00
Watt (W)


Power increase in multiples needed to achieve target SPL
331.46



Power increase in dB needed to achieve target SPL
25.20
dB









Calculated amplifier output power required:





For the target SPL at seating distance
663.66
Watt (W)


For the target SPL at seating distance, with the desired headroom included


Watt (W)


Boom! Thanks Peng!

I am going to conclude that scooting a little closer will definitely take a little heat off my speakers at high volumes. The folks over at Ascend have been a little bit hit and miss to contact lately, with everything going on but they always eventually get back to me. I think I'm gonna shoot Dave an email and ask him ask about max spl at 1 meter, like you suggested I do with Ed for my Ultras.

You know what's interesting, tho maybe not overly surprising? My Monolith runs MUCH cooler powering my 4 ohm Sierra towers than it does my “8 ohm” Ultra towers. It's gets good and warm with the Ultras, but barely more than lukewarm with the Sierras. Even after some some very spirited listening sessions.
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