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Little Labs MONOTOR.... WOW
Old 3rd April 2016
  #1
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Little Labs MONOTOR.... WOW

Got a chance to have a first look at the Monotor. We've been waiting for a worthy solution to get a good headphone option in our control room from our API 3288 from 1977.

None of the amps we tried were impressive. Most had their own noise and or were shaping the playback in a false way. We have the very first unit out there from Little Labs and we are so appreciative for Jonathan letting us put it to work! The most surprising asset this box possesses is that it is completely quiet. There's no hiss or hum at all!!

We can hear just how loud OUR API's control room monitor section really is... But skipping your monitor section and hitting mix out directly or listening to your converters, HOLY ****! Being so quiet it also sounds enormous. Bigger than any headphone presentation I've heard in another studio. Every studio should have one of these just so they have square one. Forget what your modern console came with, forget your headphone input on your interface, put this thing in front of your outs and have a listen.

I want one in my car to bypass the iPhone ! The modes are extremely handy as well. Especially for checking a mix in mono or to flip the phase in a mix in mono it's just a turn of the knob. Anyone looking for a great control room headphone amp, look no further. This box is SERIOUS !

I know Jonathan said they'll be shipping in late April. The price point is a steal. This easily some of the most audio file headphone amp out there. I've listened to some other audio file headphone amps that cost upwards of $1000, no comparison.

I realize this should be a review but no one has any of these guys yet, and won't till May once they ship. I'm happy to answer any questions to the best of my ability. Just got it hooked up the other day, will be putting it through the paces this week!
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Old 3rd April 2016
  #2
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natpub's Avatar
Really exciting, looks great. Thanks for the info. Don't suppose you got a ballpark figure on the price?

Cheers
Old 1st June 2016
  #3
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Just picked one of these up to go between my Apollo 8p and power my Sen HD800's. Hoping this will do the trick.
Old 1st June 2016
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdvmi View Post
Just picked one of these up to go between my Apollo 8p and power my Sen HD800's. Hoping this will do the trick.
You're gonna love it! I love it even more now than when I first got it. It gets used EVERY day in my room.
Old 1st June 2016
  #5
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Thanks, glad to hear! I was originally going to spend about 2K on a DAC2 but thought it would give this a go as the Apollo DACs should be good enough. I was also looking at the Dangerous Music Source but there was no way to go digital from the Apollo 8p into the Source so it was overkill. Haven't seen much mentioned about this box but taking a leap of faith.
Old 1st June 2016
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by natpub View Post
Really exciting, looks great. Thanks for the info. Don't suppose you got a ballpark figure on the price?

Cheers
Little Labs Monotor is $540, and frankly, it is one of the best sounding headphone amps I have ever witnessed. I had an identical experience to Hamburg58
Old 5th June 2016
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hamburg58 View Post

None of the amps we tried were impressive. Most had their own noise and or were shaping the playback in a false way. We have the very first unit out there from Little Labs and we are so appreciative for Jonathan letting us put it to work! The most surprising asset this box possesses is that it is completely quiet.
What other amps did you try, lake people g103/109 or the new portico amp included?
Old 5th June 2016
  #8
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Hd800 tend to need a tube headphone amp in my opinion, I've been using a Schiit Valhalla 2 with mine and LOVE it, however, I'm always open to new options. Has anyone tried one of these with a pair HD800 yet? If so, how'd it sound?
Old 15th June 2016
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hamburg58 View Post
Got a chance to have a first look at the Monotor. We've been waiting for a worthy solution to get a good headphone option in our control room from our API 3288 from 1977.
...
I read the manual and it seems practical and well thought but i want to make sure, when u use the through outputs with speakers connected can u hear the 3.5mm mini jack input in ur speakers?
Old 2nd July 2016
  #10
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Little Labs has a winner with the Monotor, John has out-done himself!
Old 3rd July 2016
  #11
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InMyGalaxie's Avatar
 

Somehow all the Little Labs stuff is amazing, at a super affordable price. Dude knows what he's doing.
Old 18th July 2016
  #12
Gear Nut
 

Can't wait to read about this Little Labs Monotor vs Rupert Neve's RNHP. At first glance I like the extra stereo/mono/phase options on the little labs. Both units are praised by their owners. Price wise they are pretty close.
Old 17th September 2016
  #13
Here for the gear
 

I heard the MONOTOR at the TonyShepperd Mix Factory event. I was pretty blown away. I would't have loved an A/B with a 'regular' headphone amp, but even without it, it was really impressive. Clear as HELLLLLLLL!
Old 17th September 2016
  #14
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The Valhalla has a preamp out so you can run your monitors off it. Wonder if the Monotor or the RNHP can do that? Wonder if it matters?
Old 18th September 2016
  #15
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The Monotor can do signal pass through to your main speakers (most likely actually your main monitor controller). The inputs are wired in parallel on the combo and trs jacks so one set can be outputs.
Old 18th September 2016
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazy4Jazz View Post
The Valhalla has a preamp out so you can run your monitors off it. Wonder if the Monotor or the RNHP can do that? Wonder if it matters?
I think it'd matter more the Valhalla doesn't have balanced inputs/pass through.
Old 23rd September 2016
  #17
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Ribbonmicguy's Avatar
can't wait to try (and buy) next week!
Old 23rd September 2016
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audslu View Post
What other amps did you try, lake people g103/109 or the new portico amp included?
Haven't tried either. Tried some HIFI amps and a few other solutions. I can guarantee you the Neve will not be as quiet as the Little Labs. It's DEAD quiet.
Old 24th September 2016
  #19
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So yesterday I stopped by vintage king and tried out the neve, monotor, SPL phonitor 2 and mini phonitor. They had them setup with an iPad feeding hi rez files through a burl dac. I used some hd650s and audeze LCD-3 they had at the store. The neve was slightly less detailed in the highs, making it sound a little warmer than the others. My thoughts is that if I was buying one for purely listening it would be a contender. For working though, it was between the monotor and the SPL mini, which sounds the same as the bigger Phonitor 2. I'm leaning towards the SPL mini, because of the cross feed, which is better to my ears than the plugins I've tried. To me the monotor and SPL sounded very similar, much closer than either sounded to the neve. The monotor had the most output level by far. Very impressive. I feel like I'm going to end up with the SPL mini for now, and probably add a monotor for tracking. I'm going back to VK next week with my own cans (LCD-X) to make a final decision and bring one home.
Old 11th October 2016
  #20
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Just put them to use this week. One of the best buy for this year!

I have an SPL 2Control and Monotor smokes it. The SPL sounded broken in comparison to the Monotor.

I am using Sony MDR-CD900ST and I can't wait to put my custom IEM to use as well!
Old 27th October 2016
  #21
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LuXx View Post
Hd800 tend to need a tube headphone amp in my opinion, I've been using a Schiit Valhalla 2 with mine and LOVE it, however, I'm always open to new options. Has anyone tried one of these with a pair HD800 yet? If so, how'd it sound?
I'm another Schiit user. As a full time IEM bass player I have an Asgard II which I have been using as an IEM amp for about 3 years now. It's been flawless and can really bring big booty to my 4-way IEM's and is extremely easy to listen to in my particular application.

The Neve RNHP has piqued my interest but I guess I really need to check out the Monotor as well. Though the Schiit is not a pro level amp I've been running it using +4dB outputs over a long distance, it's got headroom to spare and is quiet. When I bought it, I conversed extensively with the Schiit guys about the inputs and if they could take +4db. Once they convinced me, I was like well then build a version with proper XLR connectors on it! I think they missed the boat.

Still, props to Schiit though. For the money it's hard to touch them, but alas as a G.S. I'm always wanting to try other alternatives.

Last edited by scowboy; 4th November 2016 at 04:58 AM..
Old 27th October 2016
  #22
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Hafler HA-15 is another amp in same price range, has anyone compared to Monotor or Schiit Asgard-2.
Old 20th December 2016
  #23
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Can anyone say how this compares to the headphone out in the Crane Song Avocet IIA? I have the Monotor now but just ordered and Avocet IIA and it might now be redundant.
Old 20th December 2016
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audiotechnica View Post
Can anyone say how this compares to the headphone out in the Crane Song Avocet IIA? I have the Monotor now but just ordered and Avocet IIA and it might now be redundant.

No idea but I could guarantee you it's quieter than the Crane Song. It's for critical listening.
Old 20th December 2016
  #25
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hamburg58 View Post
No idea but I could guarantee you it's quieter than the Crane Song. It's for critical listening.
Interesting. I have the Monotor and the Crane Song Solaris right now and they're both silent as a tomb and sound pretty much identical (listening on DT1770s and DT770s). I'm assuming the headphone out on the Avocet IIA will be the same quality as the Solaris at least, and likely better. We'll see when my Avocet IIA arrives in January.
Old 21st December 2016
  #26
Gear Head
 

does someone has listened to both little lab monitor and the headphone amps on Benchmark DAC1/2/3?
Would love to hear your comment.
Old 22nd December 2016
  #27
Gear Addict
 

I opened my Monotor the other day and found that it's full of huge caps, a bunch of relays with a bunch of resistors (assuming this is the stepped volume control) and only two absolutely tiny SMD chips near the actual headphone outs (plus two slightly larger chips near where the power comes in).

Some pictures here:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/0t0mbzlkb...selY_Sx7a?dl=0

I'm really curious how these chips don't require any heatsinking - they're microscopic! Very interesting. Was expecting a fully discrete circuit.
Old 22nd February 2017
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by legolee View Post
does someone has listened to both little lab monitor and the headphone amps on Benchmark DAC1/2/3?
Would love to hear your comment.
Testing the Monotor out now and right out of the gate it's far better than my DAC2 HGC. I'm very impressed, probably selling the DAC2, which I bought as a DAC/HP combo, but it can't touch the Weiss DAC2 paired with the Monotor.
Old 11th September 2017
  #29
I saw someone mentioned the SPL Mini, which like its more expensive counterparts is specifically designed to simulate a monitor / room environment for mastering via headphones. How does this Monotor compare with that aspect?? Can it be used exclusively for headphone mastering and account for MID/SIDE splitting, etc? Thanks
Old 12th September 2017
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sd270 View Post
Hafler HA-15 is another amp in same price range, has anyone compared to Monotor or Schiit Asgard-2.
I haven't done any side-by-side comparisons, but I just auditioned a couple of the Hafler headphone amps this past week and I was quite favorably impressed.
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