Monitor II headphone amp review
View Single Post
01-12-2011, 12:21 AM
Gave 281, Got 434
I finally ordered the Monitor II last week and it arrived yesterday morning. Great service from Nick, who kept me updated during the build. It really does look a lovely bit of kit, even my wife was impressed with the build quality.
For the past 6 years or so I've been listening to my cd's through the headphone out of my Marantz CD5001. One of the main reasons for getting that particular player at the time was because it had a pretty decent headphone amp for the price and I was quite happy with the sound quality using firstly my now sold Sennheiser HD650's and now my HD600's (I prefer the sound of the 600's). Recently though, I've been thinking more and more about what I'm missing by not having a dedicated headphone amp. After reading many positive reviews for the Monitor II, especially Dave's views in this thread, I decided to go for one a few months back. Unfortunately for me, it was just as Nick was preparing the updated version so I had to put ordering one on hold as I couldn't justify the extra expense at the time. With Christmas coming up, my wife offered to get me one as a gift so here we are. Only trouble is, I have to get her something back in return
I had a few hours using it in the afternoon. I didn't really know what to expect to be honest. As I said, I was happy with the sound quality of my Marantz headphone out, which seemed to be driving my 600's well enough, so I couldn't imagine the Monitor II making that much of a difference.
Still using the Marantz as my cd player with the on board dac, I put the 40th anniversary of Aqualung on. I chose this because I had read many reviews positively glowing on how great the remix and mastering was and I just wasn't feeling it using my Marantz headphone out. What a difference! Clearer, punchier, better dynamics and better separation. I now know what those reviewers were on about regarding Aqualung (great classic album btw). I tried many more cd's over the hours and the improvement in sound quality really did take me by surprise. Listening with my 600's through the Marantz headphone out sounds quite a bit muffled in comparison now, but it's still a great little player which has served me well over the years.
I know a few people were put off the updated Monitor II due to the extra cost and, to be honest, I can't see me getting any use out of it as a pre-amp. But the function is there so I think £365 for what this amp can do and especially what it sounds like is well worth it.
I've sadly got to pack it away now on the wifes orders
Roll on Christmas (I haven't said that for a few years
View Public Profile
Find More Posts by bowenjones
Find the Posts by bowenjones in this Thread