Today’s laptops and sensible units pack numerous efficiency and excessive tech. Their audio prowess, nevertheless, usually leaves one thing to be desired. The largest shortcomings sometimes lie with their onboard amplification and the DACs that convert a digital sign to analog). As audio fans with premium headphones know all too nicely, these deficiencies can rob their headphones of peak efficiency.

Monoprice’s $279.99 Monolith Portable Headphone Amplifier and DAC goals to deal with these shortcomings whereas offering gobs of energy, a sophisticated DAC, and including premium options in a small bundle.

Meteoric rise onto the audio scene

Monoprice blasted onto the scene seemingly out of nowhere years in the past, promoting high-value, high-performance HDMI cables. At the time, Monoprice shattered the market held by ridiculously priced HDMI cables.

Thanks to some nudging from audio fans inside the firm, Monoprice then launched a line of high-performance, high-value audio gear beneath the Monolith model. The Monolith line is geared in the direction of the audiophile and residential theater crowd. I had the chance to review the Monolith 7, a seven-channel 200-watt-per-channel amplifier whose value and efficiency left me awe-struck.

Theo Nicolakis / IDG

The Monolith transportable headphone amplifier related to an iPhone XS. The two are comparable in dimension.

Since my evaluate, Monoprice’s Monolith lineup has grown exponentially to incorporate audio system, headphones, subwoofers, a Dolby Atmos multichannel preamplifier, in addition to desktop and transportable headphone amplifiers and DACs.

Beautiful construct and styling

The Monolith Portable Headphone Amplifier and DAC is fantastically constructed with a black, brushed steel face; matte black sides, and a again plate with a flush, imitation leather-based grain that goes virtually edge to edge. The unit’s monochrome display screen is small however legible. The display screen serves as a dashboard letting you already know the enter, quantity, and battery standing. If you’re related through USB, it can present you in case your audio supply is PCM or DSD together with the supply’s sampling fee.

Monoprice Monolith Portable Headphone Amplifier and DAC sports a brushed aluminum front. Theo Nicolakis / IDG

Monoprice Monolith Portable Headphone Amplifier and DAC sports activities a brushed aluminum entrance.

The Monolith measures 5.35-inches x 2.84-inches x 0.57-inches (concerning the dimension of a typical smartphone) and weighs in at half a pound. There are 4 bodily buttons on the right-hand aspect for menu features.

While the Monolith sports activities a small kind issue, it doesn’t imply it’s a sensible on-the-go amp and DAC. I discovered the Monolith a bit cumbersome to hold round along with my iPhone XS, and the tangled net of cables cumbersome to make use of when strolling. I’d say that is actually supposed for somebody who desires portability however gained’t be shifting round while you’re utilizing the Monolith Portable Headphone Amp.

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