Monoprice 50w Hybrid Amp

zingozingo AudiophilePosts: 11,655
The reviews on these amps have been mixed, but seem to be improving as Monoprice has tweaked them over the last few years. I had eyed them out of curiosity, but never felt like spending $200 for a maybe.

But today, Monoprice emailed that the unit is currently 20% off. I went to their website to check the reviews again, and the flash page offered a 20% code. I applied it assuming it wouldn’t work, but it did! I clicked checkout and it applied free one-day shipping; with tax and one-day shipping the unit cost me $136.

I’ll try the unit out and compare it to my Denon PMA-2000, but I see a great value in a Bluetooth integrated amp for under $150 with a warranty.

https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=16153
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Comments

  • zingozingo Audiophile Posts: 11,655
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  • la2vegasla2vegas Posts: 2,745
    Waiting eagerly for your review. What speakers will you be using it with?
    2.3TL, 3.1TL, SDA 2B, SDA II, 7B, 7C, 7 series 2, 10B, 5JR+, 5JR, 5A, 4.5, 4, RTA 11T X2 pairs, RTA 8T, LSI9, LSI7, RTI A7, RTI A3, CSI A4, CSI A6, F/XI A4, RTI4. That's all for now.
  • smglbrthsmglbrth Posts: 1,072
    "Bluetooth audio for grown-ups", had to chuckle at that on their website...
  • ConradiclesConradicles Posts: 5,744
    Thanks for the link. I just bought one for $127.99. Can always send it back if it sounds like garbage...
  • zingozingo Audiophile Posts: 11,655
    It’ll sound better than a “wireless bluetooth speaker”, so that’s good enough, and might make a nice desk amp for work.
  • ZLTFULZLTFUL Posts: 4,576
    Did we already forget about this wonderful thread?
    http://forum.polkaudio.com/discussion/181379/karma-monoprice-fabulousness/p1

    Keep a fire extinguisher handy...all I'm sayin' and good luck.
    "Some people find it easier to be conceited rather than correct."

    "Unwad those panties and have a good time man. We're all here to help each other, no matter how it might appear." DSkip
  • mark090852mark090852 Posts: 740
    Thanks for the link. I just bought one for $127.99. Can always send it back if it sounds like garbage...

    I might try one out for myself for a little living room system. How are folks seeing a price lower than $159.99? That's the price I see when I add it to my cart.

    Yamaha Aventage RX-A840 receiver, Emotiva XPA Gen3 2 channel amp, Polk LSiM 703 speakers.
    Oppo UDP-203 Blu-Ray player.
  • ConradiclesConradicles Posts: 5,744
    Use coupon code GOAL20.
  • delkaldelkal Posts: 287
    I'm not getting any popups for another 20% off. I only see $200 minus 20% so $160. It seems like the price is variable.

    I always run an adblocker with no tracking cookies. I think that is why I'm not seeing the deals. I disabled adblocker for the monoprice site (but still have no third party tracking) but no popups. No one wants to be tracked but I think if they see you looking at all these other audio sites and amps that is when they give you a deal.

    If the reviews are good I might have to turn everything off for a while.


  • ConradiclesConradicles Posts: 5,744
    You put the coupon code in at checkout.
  • ConradiclesConradicles Posts: 5,744
    The coupon is on the home page.
  • mark090852mark090852 Posts: 740
    Use coupon code GOAL20.

    Thanks so much for the code! I applied it at checkout and my price dropped to $127.99. Order placed.

    Yamaha Aventage RX-A840 receiver, Emotiva XPA Gen3 2 channel amp, Polk LSiM 703 speakers.
    Oppo UDP-203 Blu-Ray player.
  • delkaldelkal Posts: 287
    You put the coupon code in at checkout.
    The coupon is on the home page.

    Thanks. I see it now.

    Now the real dilemma........What to do at that price,

  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 18,774
    edited June 24
    The 25 watt morph is... so-so.
    Manage your expectations.

    a0b2mcmecbzd.png

    azxufar1birw.png
    "It's like watching a roomful of people who couldn't get through college algebra discussing the flaws of quantum physics theory. I guess it could be fun, but it's ultimately a waste of time." -- seen on audiokarma

    "Some amps run on self bias, some amps run on fixed bias. But his amps run on confirmation bias." -- seen on audioasylum

    "Writing about hifi is like dancing about architecture" -- paraphrasing some wag (possibly Frank Zappa)
  • zingozingo Audiophile Posts: 11,655
    edited June 24
    I can’t find a ton of info on the 50w version as most of the info seems to be about the 25w as that was the original.

    I plan on testing it with a pair of Klipsch bookshelves and a pair of custom transmission line monitors.
    Post edited by zingo on
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 18,774
    edited June 25
    Sounds good... it'll be interesting to see what you think of it.

    Not to bias your assessment or anything :) but (FWIW) -- the 25 watt morph is kind of hard sounding, and gets kind of congested/muddled with more complicated music at moderate volume (on 104-ish dB sensitive loudpspeakers). I need to try it on some other speakers than the two I've tried so far, though. :|

    I have this urge to throw a pair of 6922s in place of the two Chinese twin triodes that are in the amp. It's not 100% clear to me that 6922s are a proper substitution -- but it looks like they might be. I really should check first and see if the filament voltage in the amp is - as was reported in early "reviews" of the 25 watt amp under another brand name - higher than 6.3 VAC. I don't really want to cook even a cheap pair of 6922s in the pursuit of knowledge.

    As a not completely unrelated aside -- I really (really) wonder whether the AF power pentode tubes in these amps* actually do anything?

    ____________________
    * The tubes in the amp (at least in the case of the 25 watt morph) are Chinese "6P15". The 6P15 is reported to be equivalent to EL86 or 6CW5.


    at7gafdk29vp.png
    Post edited by mhardy6647 on
    "It's like watching a roomful of people who couldn't get through college algebra discussing the flaws of quantum physics theory. I guess it could be fun, but it's ultimately a waste of time." -- seen on audiokarma

    "Some amps run on self bias, some amps run on fixed bias. But his amps run on confirmation bias." -- seen on audioasylum

    "Writing about hifi is like dancing about architecture" -- paraphrasing some wag (possibly Frank Zappa)
  • zingozingo Audiophile Posts: 11,655
    yrkstbt5rtro.jpeg
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 18,774
    thoughts? ;)

    "It's like watching a roomful of people who couldn't get through college algebra discussing the flaws of quantum physics theory. I guess it could be fun, but it's ultimately a waste of time." -- seen on audiokarma

    "Some amps run on self bias, some amps run on fixed bias. But his amps run on confirmation bias." -- seen on audioasylum

    "Writing about hifi is like dancing about architecture" -- paraphrasing some wag (possibly Frank Zappa)
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 29,582
    My thoughts are.....plastic tables melt. :)
    HT SYSTEM-
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    Tad 803 bookies
    Polk 500 surrounds
    Polk s35 center
    SVS SB-2000
    Sonos

    Music-

    Joule la-100 pre
    B&k 1403 amp
    Cary xciter dac
    Cullen modded Sonos
    ERA D5 bookies

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Analysis plus crystal oval ic's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 18,774
    Yeah -- but wooden ones burn.
    "It's like watching a roomful of people who couldn't get through college algebra discussing the flaws of quantum physics theory. I guess it could be fun, but it's ultimately a waste of time." -- seen on audiokarma

    "Some amps run on self bias, some amps run on fixed bias. But his amps run on confirmation bias." -- seen on audioasylum

    "Writing about hifi is like dancing about architecture" -- paraphrasing some wag (possibly Frank Zappa)
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 18,774
    edited June 27
    Not sure if this is a good time to mention it, but Monoprice is actually also selling a pure-play little all vacuum tube mutant variant of these "hybrid" amps. Looks to be PP EL84 (i.,e., somewhere in the 10 to 14 wpc neighborhood depending on operating points). EDIT: Monoprice website sez 10 wpc. Not nearly as cheap, though, of course, as the two hybrids.

    https://www.monoprice.com/product?c_id=109&cp_id=10919&cs_id=1091903&p_id=27222&seq=1&format=2

    PS is it just me or is that Monoprice site kind of tedious to navigate?

    si4gf6dles2q.png
    "It's like watching a roomful of people who couldn't get through college algebra discussing the flaws of quantum physics theory. I guess it could be fun, but it's ultimately a waste of time." -- seen on audiokarma

    "Some amps run on self bias, some amps run on fixed bias. But his amps run on confirmation bias." -- seen on audioasylum

    "Writing about hifi is like dancing about architecture" -- paraphrasing some wag (possibly Frank Zappa)
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 18,774
    yrkstbt5rtro.jpeg
    Those are cute little loudspeakers.
    "It's like watching a roomful of people who couldn't get through college algebra discussing the flaws of quantum physics theory. I guess it could be fun, but it's ultimately a waste of time." -- seen on audiokarma

    "Some amps run on self bias, some amps run on fixed bias. But his amps run on confirmation bias." -- seen on audioasylum

    "Writing about hifi is like dancing about architecture" -- paraphrasing some wag (possibly Frank Zappa)
  • zingozingo Audiophile Posts: 11,655
    mhardy6647 wrote: »
    yrkstbt5rtro.jpeg
    Those are cute little loudspeakers.

    I need to finish the cabinets, thinking glass gray paint and leaving the cherry wood horn raw, but they have been fun and sound great; the tweeter is the Vifa dual ring radiator horn loaded and the woofer is a 7" Dayton reference TL loaded.
  • Toolfan66Toolfan66 Posts: 13,832
    The promo code is expired, I would have tried it for that..
  • zingozingo Audiophile Posts: 11,655
    edited June 27
    After an hour of listening in 24 hours, it would be hard to beat for the price and has a warranty. I will be taking the unit apart to see the build quality and how it's constructed.

    Pros-
    -Build quality well exceeds its price
    -sound quality well exceeds its price
    -all in one integrated with bluetooth, line in, and line out
    -tone controls boosted the bass slightly without degrading the sound

    Cons-
    -Bass shy (I don't know if that a design issue, or the limited power)
    -Stock Chinese tubes are the cheapest (maybe contributes to the bass response?)
    -volume is a little unbalanced at the bottom of the pot
  • ConradiclesConradicles Posts: 5,744
    Got mine today. Very nice looking unit for the money. Build quality is great. Now to figure out which speakers to pair it with...
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 18,774
    tonyb wrote: »
    Well, it should be noted your operating under safer conditions than someone else I know....cough....cough.

    A fireplace right behind it makes for an easy push should things go south. :)

    There's a handy window behind the one here. B)
    "It's like watching a roomful of people who couldn't get through college algebra discussing the flaws of quantum physics theory. I guess it could be fun, but it's ultimately a waste of time." -- seen on audiokarma

    "Some amps run on self bias, some amps run on fixed bias. But his amps run on confirmation bias." -- seen on audioasylum

    "Writing about hifi is like dancing about architecture" -- paraphrasing some wag (possibly Frank Zappa)
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 18,774
    zingo wrote: »
    mhardy6647 wrote: »
    yrkstbt5rtro.jpeg
    Those are cute little loudspeakers.

    I need to finish the cabinets, thinking glass gray paint and leaving the cherry wood horn raw, but they have been fun and sound great; the tweeter is the Vifa dual ring radiator horn loaded and the woofer is a 7" Dayton reference TL loaded.

    Not sure why you'd even want to finish the cabinets; they look great as is (at least in the photo).

    Did you make the horns yourself?
    "It's like watching a roomful of people who couldn't get through college algebra discussing the flaws of quantum physics theory. I guess it could be fun, but it's ultimately a waste of time." -- seen on audiokarma

    "Some amps run on self bias, some amps run on fixed bias. But his amps run on confirmation bias." -- seen on audioasylum

    "Writing about hifi is like dancing about architecture" -- paraphrasing some wag (possibly Frank Zappa)
  • zingozingo Audiophile Posts: 11,655
    The cabinets are MDF which always looks unfinished to me if you don’t do something with it. Is that weird?

    The cherry horns were turned by a gentleman much more talented than I.
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