Michael Green Designs MGD Modified Monarchy Audio SE-100 Amplifiers

MGD Modified Monarchy Audio SE-100

Single ended solid state monoblock amplifiers with mechanical grounding technology used on components inside the chassis

User Reviews (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2  
Brian Tracy Barry   an Audiophile [Oct 30, 1998]

I have owned MGD (Michael Green Designs) modified Monarchy Audio Delux SE-100 solid state single ended mono block amplifiers now for about three months. The modifications performed by MGD involve incorporating mechanical grounding technology on the components inside the chassis. The end results of these modifications are amplifiers which are extremely fast, neutral in sound, capable of reproducing very natural sounding harmonic structures and are essentially transparent to source components feeding them. Having upgraded my digital front end from an already fine source, I found that these amps were capable of even more outstanding performance and detail than I was already enjoying up until the point of adding an even better sounding and more detailed digital front end. All types of music sound good through these amps, from small ensembles to large orchestral selections. Jazz and vocals are extremely well reproduced with an incredible amount of realism spread out over a wide and deep soundstage.
I wrote a previous post here at Audio Review on my system's variable tuning capabilities from the source components, to the speakers to the acoustics of the room itself using MGD products. As outstanding as the performance was, after listening for about a month or so through careful listening, I noticed something about the mid-bass/lower midrange that I didn't particularly like and could not "tune out" on certain recordings. These were usually recordings which were not the greatest in terms of recording quality. What I have found using a variably tuned system is that even lesser quality recordings can always sound better on a variably tuned system and that these recordings, more often than not, have levels of detail that are not only more than acceptable, but whose sound is actually much better than that reproduced by a nonvariably tunable system. The only component I could single out as a possible culprit was the stock power cords on the Monarchy amps.

After perusing the Monarchy Audio web site, I found that they had an upgrade power cord, the AC-1. After studying the information at the web site and making an inquiry by e-mail of Mr. C. C. Poon of Monarchy Audio, I was pretty well convinced that the AC-1 upgrade power cords could perhaps alleviate whatever it was I was hearing that I didn't like. C. C. Poon informed me by e-mail that the AC-1 would give an immediate and substantial increase in performance. He was right. I purchased the AC-1 upgrade power cords, installed them and the "problem" disappeared, with no burn-in time on the power cords. Now that the AC-1s have had break-in time, the amps are now transparent, to my level of satisfaction, and I can find no sonic faults with the amps at all on any program source material. Only better tunable speakers might reveal something that I currently cannot detect with my current tunable speakers and system. The preamp that I am using is a MGD modified Monarchy Audio 10A preamp which has a phono stage added (also by MGD). This preamp has the same level of transparency and sonic (non) characteristics as the Delux SE-100 mono block amps. Both the preamp and amps can reproduce dynamics from source material with incredible realism and impact. Music with very low levels or amounts of instrumentation (i.e., a vocal with a single or multiple guitars) can be just as moving and involving as fast paced selections with strong, rhythmic bass lines.

The AC-1 power cords extended and tightened the bass even more than what was an already excellent bottom end. The AC-1s also extended and opened up the top end produced by the amps, as well as producing more detail throughout the entire audible range. The best part about the AC-1 power cords is that they only cost $75 each (total $150) for this performance increase! That is more than reasonable, in my experience, for a high quality power cord. The cheapest upgrade power cord I have ever used that made a difference over a stock power cord cost $150 (for one!) from Tice Audio. Anyone owning or considering purchasing the Monarchy Delux-100s should definitely purchase the AC-1 upgrade power cords in place of the stock power cords, based on the performance boost I found that I have experienced using them; especially at such an affordable price. These amps are what I consider to be my last purchase in amplifiers. That's how pleased I am with their and the AC-1 upgrade power cords' performance.

Up until now, I have been using Kimber 4TC speaker cable with spade connectors to connect the amps to my speakers. This is truly outstanding cable for the dollar (or so I thought). After several conversations with MGD (Michael Green himself and his hotline staff), I was urged to try some of MGD's solid core speaker cable. Knowing that I have a pair of MGD's top-of-the-line fully tunable (including variably tunable external crossovers mounted in their own ClampRacks) Chameleon speakers on order, I figured that I should consider the MGD cables, but I had great concern about their cost. Kimber advertises their cable as costing $7.00 per foot, but if you add the cost of spade plug termination, the cost balloons to ($140 total retail) $17.50 per foot for an 8 foot pair of 4TC speaker cables. I could only imagine what MGD speaker cable that goes on their top-of-the-line $15,000 speakers must cost. After a year (yes, a year!) of avoiding the question, I finally braced myself and inquired as to how much was the MGD cable cost per foot. The response I got back was $1.99 (that's one dollar and ninety-nine cents) per foot! How could a high end manufacturer offer speaker cable of any quality at this price, I asked myself? But, if this is what Michael Green himself uses in his totally variable tunable listening room (walls, ceiling, floors including joists) where he individually voices all his speakers for customers, I had nothing much to loose considering the fact that I only needed two 6 foot runs for a total cost of $24. MGD burned in the cable for about two weeks for me prior to shipment. Well, the solid core MGD cable finally arrived and it outperforms the Kimber in sound quality, detail, airiness, delicacy in reproducing harmonic structures, depth of soundstage, and tightness of sound throughout. To add insult to injury, I was told to use the MGD solid core cable by connecting it "bare wire" (for a better connection, I was told) to both the amps and speakers. The MGD speaker cable consists of what appears to be 3 twisted thin jacketed solid core cables per leg, going to each speaker, with "tinning" of some sort on the outer surface tips at each end. The MGD solid core speaker cable, used "bare wire", really works and is definitely another recommendation for the Monarchy Delux-100 mono blocks and the Monarchy AC-1 upgrade power cords.

Brian Tracy Barry

System Components: (all components except turntable, VPI LP cleaner and tuner are clamped and variably tuned)

MGD modified Monarchy Audio Delux SE-100 mono block amps
Monarchy AC-1 upgrade power cords
MGD modified Monarchy Audio 10A preamp
Tice Power Block Signature Series 3B Line Conditioner
MGD Monitor 5 variably tunable speakers
MGD Hubbell AC Outlet
Kimber Silver Streak Interconnect cables
XLO digital cable (for digital recording purposes)
MGD ClampRacks
MGD tunable Monitor 5 speakers using MGD solid core speaker cable
MGD modified Marantz CD-67 CD player
Oracle Delphi Mk. V turntable with MGD custom MTDs (brass spikes), SME Series V tonearm (damping device disengaged) with Benz Micro Glider cartridge
15 MGD Pressure Zone Controllers (variably tunable acoustical devices)
Carver TX-8 tuner
Phillips digital tape recorder
VPI 16.5 LP cleaning machine
Last stylus and record cleaner

jason   [Feb 21, 1999]


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