Monarchy Audio DIP 24/96 Others

Monarchy Audio DIP 24/96 Others 


Monarchy Audio Digital Interface Processor DIP 24/96


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[Sep 28, 2010]

Colombo - Sri Lanka, California - USA

The review is for the Monarchy Audio DIP 24/96 latest model which looks like the newer 48/96 unit. There has been so many versions in the DIP, older generation is vertical shaped when placed facing forward and the newer units take the horizontal position and slightly larger in size overall.
To my understanding in the newer model 24/96 is discontinued and the 48/96 has replaced it, the never looking DIP Classic 44.1K is still current and still being manufactured and it is a completely revised circuitry in comparison to its ancestors. Since the unit I am reviewing is the newer version of the DIP 24/96 I dated as 2000 and information I gathered are of my personal research knowledge and opinion, correct me if I am wrong.

I used to have the DIP 48/96 and the Classic 44.1K hooked in series between the Transport and DAC. On one review I followed it is recommended to do so for maximum performance but Mr Poon at Monarchy does not seem to agree on that comment, I still ignored Mr Poon and bought both units directly from Monarchy, I should have taken Mr. Poons advice. At the time I had the Musical Fidelity X-Ray V3 as the transport, X-DAC V3 as DAC fully modified, X-10 V3 Tube buffer fully modified, X-PSU V3 with revelation audio connector cables and extra dampening around the casing. Musical Fidelity has a Toslink connection problem with the X-DAC V3 most of you should know this hence my idea DIP to correct this problem, Musical Fidelity believes toslink a superior connection to COAX, to make this review short lets say I was a fool to believe that.

So with this souped up front end I introduce the DIP Classic and the 48/96, I heard no improvement. Let it sit, break-in, still nothing. As time passed my front end completely changed to a fully balanced system and now I was a proud owner of a Monarchy M22B Special Edition with piggy back upgrade in my humble opinion greatest sounding DAC I have ever heard and to prove that, I, to this day own it I will never sell this unit. M22B outperformed a fully upgraded Musical Fidelity X series cubes paired with a Tascam CD-401 MKII as a transport. So even with the fully balanced system the Classic and the 48/96 showed minor improvement but definitely more significant in comparison to the Musical Fidelity X-Series cubes. To me that was not good enough so I sold them, again this is a foolish mistake.
Four years later with a Denon 2800MKII, Monarchy M22B, Audio experience A1 SE and Bi-Amped with still the same speakers Dahlquist DQ20i's I found a DIP listed local for $80 on Craigslist the unit sat for three days listed with no takers, seller said I was the only person inquired, I guess that unit was meant for me. I was certainly looking for a DIP but not a 24/96 I was interested in a Classic 44.1K, and seeing the price tag of only $80 I just could not pass on the deal, I HAD TO GET IT!
Brought it home popped the top appearance is much different in comparison, it did not have the Jumpers 48/96 has, which I do not fancy, I prefer the signal flow to have less interference as possible, and that jumper is a chin scratcher, at least to me so I was glad in a way the 24/96 was free of jumpers.
Cleaned up the unit conditioned the connections, got my Audioquest Raven 72v DBS and jumped the DIP to my M22B, Straightwire SilverLink II linking the 2800 MKII to the DIP 24/96.
My only concern was the background noise and this would be a concern for most people who are researching about this unit, and this particular issue is never addressed in any reviews or comments. My system has pitch black background, even if your fingers were an inch away from your eyeball you still would not see it. My speakers disappear, music just appears from everywhere, depth and separation is phenomenal so adding any component is a major concern for me. I have put countless hours and thousands of dollars for it to sound this good for some reason I happen to take this hobby very seriously. Adding a new component especially in the Digital section got me worried, in the past adding mini components has not been successful and I did not recall if the other DIP’s I had added noise or not but again for $80 I think I can take my chances this was a smart move.
Pressed “PLAY” on my Denon DVD 2800 MKII, very first thing I noticed was "BOOST" signals had balls!!! I don’t want to say gain, that term could be wrong according Monarchy Audio's description about the DIP. Mr Poon claims "output signal boosted 5 times" so go figure, signal strength was too apparent I couldn’t miss that.
Highs and upper mids were well pronounced, sharper, cleaner, focused, even the micro details sounded natural. Bass had very good definition and "Thump", tight clean punch, lows had a mean growl. Overall it improved the whole spectrum giving more presence and life... wait a minute all of this was not my main concern though, I believe back ground noise was, well to keep it short this was the best $80 I spent on my system PERIOD! If anything it further improved the darkness in the back ground it is darker than ever.

I promised myself not to give 5 Stars on my reviews in future because I have been proven wrong several times but the Monarchy DIP in any system should be an improvement, trust me I have tried many Digital processors, Meridian, Genesis, Theta, Sonic Frontiers and flow noise had been an issue but not in the 24/96's case. For a Low-fi or a Mid-fi system like mine Monarchy Audio DIP is well worth the upgrade even at its full MSRP, I gave it 5 stars on performance and Value due to the fact it would definitely be a performer and I saw NO DRAWBACKS, absolutely NONE! True Performer. Maybe a Classic or a 48/96 would outperform this unit which I don’t know but that’s a different model all-in-all, I can’t judge this unit in comparison. 5 stars are towards solely on its performance and price. If you have a DAC or Transport equipped with an Ultraclock, to this date September 2010 Ultraclock MKII is the pinnacle of all clocks, correct me if I am wrong, a DIP should be the last thing in your mind. Ultraclocks are planted on ultra-high end components and upgrade companies who charge an arm and a leg, an owner of such component are sure to turn their head on the poor DIP anyway.
Hope this helps….. Cheers!

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