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NM24

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Subject: NM24 and DIP Combo in the Yukon! 
 
My new NM24 and DIP Combo arrived this morning. I'd been using an older Theta CasaNova as my DAC/pre but this new unit beats it hands down. The first thing I noticed was a lot more volume on tap. The single SM-70 Pro I'm running in stereo is much bigger sounding. Second thing I noticed was the increase in percussive punch - it's like all my speakers have had their timing and aim improved.  
 
I've been consistently impressed with the natural "musical-ness" of the SM-70 Pro and I had hoped the addition of the NM24 would just add to that effortless feel. And it sure did. Big time. Nothing sounds bad on this system - I can easily and immediately tell the difference between good or bad recordings, but this arrangement lets me still enjoy the bad recordings while still allowing me to revel in the great recordings. That's a super-important consideration in a stereo form me. Even my Polk Audio 703LSiM's have lost their "maybe a bit bright" feel.  
 
I'm wondering if a second SM-70 Pro might be a bit much given how much volume I'm getting now. I'm not going to be turning the volume on the NM24 past 12:00 as it is. What do you think? 
 
Thanks for everything, Ching! 


To: CCPOON <monarchy@earthlink.net>
Subject: RE: VAA120 mechanical layout

I have to tell you that I added the M24 to my main system (Sony SSAR1 speakers) and the sound was spectacular.   My brother and I were amazed at the sound for the price of the unit (even without considering the price, the sound is superb).   You really should make another run of that unit.   I am shocked that more of the reviewers did not jump on the unit as superb value/sound (but I do realize the politics with mags such as Stereophile and Absolute Sound).   You have seen the "Save the Stereo" marketing survey and something like the M24 would be perfect to introduce superb sound to more people.

Tim


To: monarchy@earthlink.net
Subject: kudos to you

Mr. Poon,

I just wanted to write you a brief note to tell you how much I have been enjoying your older Monarchy Audio M-24 pre/dac.   The build quality and sound are just spectacular.    I was fortunate to purchase the unit used (<$600) and I now feel like I have stolen a gem from someone.  I am presently using the dac out to a VTL integrated and then to Proac Anniversary speakers (great match).    I am about to move the unit to my main listening area, where it will compete with pricer components, but I have a feeling it will exceed the competition.    But, I am not telling you anything you don't already know.

I was wondering if you have any replacement tubes for the unit (mine are still testing/sounding fine, but looking toward the future).   Also, do you have any more of the M-24s lying around?    I know you make a newer product, but love the sound of the M-24.   Lastly, I am thinking of purchasing your integrated kit amps (VAA120) and wonder if you have any upgrade options on the kit.

Thank you so much for all that you have done --- you have literally given great sound to many people without price gouging.    I also have one of your upsamplers and it is an amazing product as well.

Tim



Subject: question about nm24

Dear Mr. Poon:

I recently acquired two SE 100 delux Mk II, to replace my 21 year old Bryston 3B. First, I just wanted to say I like the sound and they are a great value, thanks!

I am using them with Vandersteen 2CE Sig speakers.

My digital front end is the Slimdevices/logitech Transporter...I just use the analog output of that unit straight into your amps. With the Bryston the sound has always been a little harsh; it is a little more mellow with your amps. It is better now that I discovered a firmware setting for a rolloff filter on the DAC, I set it to be slower.

However, I think I can do better and I am very intrigued about the NM24, and feeding it the digital signal from my Transporter. I really like the idea of exploring the tube sound as well, which I have never done.

I am just skeptical about the age of the NM24? Does it still use the same DAC as it did when you released it? If so, are you thinking of refreshing this line soon? I found over the past two decades that every 4-5 year or so, at a similar price point, digital components are just much better in sound quality.

Do you have these in stock? I live near San Francisco and would want to pickup if I decide to make a purchase.

Thanks!

Cheers,
Fred Livingston



Subject: Gold Point Attenuator

Hello Mr Poon

The Gold Point attenuator was definitely worth the money and is a very highly recommended mod to the NM24. Super clean detail with more presence and a higher level of being at the event. Really really happy with everything. The sound is simply breath taking. For $5000 I have a super Hi Fi signal that will bring the best out of practically any speaker. MAC PRO Optical signal thru Pure Music player MN24 with Gold Point attenuator DR-1 reference interconnects SM 70 Mark 2 amps mono configuration M150 AC power filter TDK PCOCC super accurate speaker cable Bi-wired B&W 804 Diamond speakers = Musical Bliss


Subject: Re: NM 24 Parts Question

Hi Mr. Poon,

Thanks very much for your quick reply. (I tested the preamp for about 5 seconds and then turned it off until I had gotten assurance from you that it won't harm the preamp.) I have one of the 10,000pf Polystyrene caps connected and the other has a broken lead as I mentioned. What I will do is just listen to the preamp for the next couple of weeks and see if I can hear a better sounding channel. Initially I installed some Solen Silver capacitors which seem to just give a bit more detail to the music over the Wima's. The Wima's are a very good cap for the money but you can squeeze even more information with the boutique caps. The Mundorfs so far really take the unit into the exceptional sound level. They really do separate the instruments from 'sounds layered together' to individual instruments and add a blackness and silence to the background which allows you to hear the subtle details like reverb trails and echo on the vocals you didn't even know were there. And quality vocals on a Diana Krall cd are just breathing and life like in your room. It's not in-your-face noticeable like turning up the bass and treble. I would say it's akin to adding your AC regenerator or DIP Combo unit or using a really good AC Power Cord or using a really good NOS tube. It's very subtle. Like lowering the noise floor, blacker background and finer detail which is very minute sonically, but the effect is to enhance the musical experience making it sound ever-so-slightly more 'real' or 'organic' and '3 Dimensional' separation of the soundstage. Again, it's subtle. I would not describe it as the 'Holy Grail' or 'transform my system' completely. I also wouldn't recommend it to anyone who isn't really competent with soldering in tight places. This is something people who are experienced kit builders and modifiers should be doing. I wouldn't recommend a beginner just giving it a try. You could easily end up breaking or burning another component. But for someone skilled it could be a nice upgrade. If I find it's better with the bypass cap I'll get some more of these from you down the road. If I don't need them I will
just uninstall the one I have.

Thanks again,
Jason



Subject: NM24

CC,
I have had my current CD player for 6+ years. It (Cary303/300) hasn't been beaten yet by any layer I've tried to this point. Last night, after the introduction of your NM24/DIP combo into my system, it went from the king of the hill to retired!

How good will the NM be once broken in??? I can't wait! Though I can tell the NM isn't near ready for it's best performance, I (we, wife included) are VERY pleased.
Thank you!

What Samsung were you suggesting as a transport? My Oppo is a little more balky and slow for CD use.

Thanks! - Rick


Subject: RE: products shipped.
Date: Sat, 13 Jul 2013 01:16:10 -0700

Mr. Poon,

Just received the amp, DIP and NM-24. Hooked up (except the DIP (awaiting cable delivery tomorrow). All I can say is the NM24 is a WOW!! Most certainly the best value I have heard in high end value. Assuming the DIP doesn't do a thing, to make it better, I would be totally satisfied with your creation, and the equipment isn't even broken in yet. Thank you again for your great products and the time and attention you have given me in the process.

Best regards,
Joel Bennett


Kurt W., Singapore:
Equipment:

Speakers: Apogee Duetta Signature
Amplifier: Wyred4Sound SX-1000 Monoblocks
Pre-Amplifier: Aragon Aurum
CD Player/Transport: Oppo DV-981HD
Speaker Cables: Pure Silver (sometimes Siltech sometimes Clear Day)
Interconnects: Pure Silver/Gold (Siltech)

DAC: Monarchy NM24

Too often, we invest in new hifi equipment only to return with "improvements" or "differences" that we strain to hear. There has really only been ONCE, I have experienced "audible differences/improvements", that was in the early years of my love for hifi when I moved from pure copper cables to pure silver cables. On the first plug-in of my newly received NM24, I am enthralled once again in a new "day and night difference". The (tube) DAC brings very substantial improvements in separation clarity, very substantial expansion of staging, and clear definitive solid bass. My old Apogee Duetta Signatures came back to life "with a subwoofer"! The voice of Whitney Houston, liquid and alive. I personally believe this is really one of the best DACs across the whole price spectrum. Definitely no snake oil here. Unpretentious, definitive. Though the solid state selection was also an improvement, it was less lively and less authoritative. The NM24 is one piece of equipment which you feel you get more than what you pay for.

Kurt W.



Hi Ching,

I have hooked up an old mac G5 via toslink to the dip combo and nm24 , playing through Itunes and the sound is very good.
Not sure if playing the best format yet still learning.

Thanks,
Andy


Dear Mr Poon,

Thanks for the NM 24 which I have had in my system now for a number of months. I am running a turntable through the line in and a Logitech Touch (flac files) through the optical. I must say the sonic improvement has been extraordinary on both of the inputs when compared to other pre amps I have used. The vinyl side of things is smooth transparent with a stage that one can almost touch.

As for the flac files I am using mainly the Tube Dac side of the amp and have astounded a number of my audiophile friends with how good a flac file can sound. Initially there was a burn in period (felt like at times the artist was shouting) but that soon smoothed out.
I am using some NOS 6NIP EV gold pin and plate valves and these sure have made a difference by taking the sound to another level.
I wont be changing pre amps for some time.

Interested in your thoughts on the Mundorf caps...I note that these can also improve things. What do I need to know regarding the caps as I see there are a number to choose from?

Regards,
Andy


Chi C.:
I got the NM24 yesterday and I must say that it made an even bigger improvement to my system than I originally anticipated. What I am really surprised at is the amount of bass that I am now getting from my Magnepan MMGs. It turned my laid back CD player (an Audio Analogue Puccinni) into a beast. The music now is much more detailed and more rhythmic. Any looseness that I had the bottom end has been tighten up.

This was a good purchase.

Thanks again.


Brad G.:
Greetings!

I wanted to let you know I received the DIP combo and NM24 and I rebuilt my audio system around them..

I'm using an Apple TV optical output and some older adcom amps driving a pair of PSB stratus gold speakers bi-amped. It sounds amazing and I'm so happy with the purchase!

My next step is to build an audio server to replace the apple TV and then to find some tube amps to replace the adcom ones.

Thanks for making such a fantastic set of hardware.

BG


Ezra:
The monarchy model 24 is one of the Finest dac's that I have ever heard. It competes with cost no object dac's. The preamp section is also way up there. What CC has proven, is that there is a lot of chutzpa in the world of digital. A feather in your cap CC.

Regards,
Ezra


My first introduction to Monarchy Audio was in 2007 when I heard the amazing M24 at David Manley's home in France. He had the M24 feeding a pair of vintage Manley monoblocks and into custom speakers. On the spot I bought an M24 along with a pair of Manley 100W monoblocks. For 3 years I've been in musical heaven, especially after upgrading the M24 with vintage Mullard 6DJ8 tubes. I've added a DIP 24/96 and later a DIP Combo, and the quality of digital music is on par with the Linn LP12. Well-mastered digital sounds smooth, dynamic and involving to the extent I feal that the performer and instruments are inside my listening room. The experience improved after upgrading my Acoustic Energy AE1 monitors to Harbeths SHL5. I have to admit that the DAC chip (PCM63K) is a true gem which was produced with little regard to cost, albeit its only 20-bit.

I was having lunch with a few colleagues and one of them mentioned that he paid $7,200 for a famous sound system and he was very proud. I told him that he'll regret his purchase if he listens to my system and he agreed to visit. All three colleagues visited my home not knowing what to expect and were flabbergasted at what they heard. They brought along their CDs (mostly Jazz) and got the shock of their life. Naturally, the other system was destroyed. The owner of the $7,200 system regretted his purchase and said that his system sounds like "a battery-operated radio from the 1980s" compared to what he'd heard. To cut a long story short, two of my colleagues completely replaced their systems with Monarchy equipment. Everyone bought the marvelous NM24 (which is really special when going to 24-bits) along with the entire Monarchy line of digital and analog cables (and the DIPs too). One of my colleagues got a pair of the new SE-100mkii monoblocks which made me jealous (very smooth, non-fatiguing, with ample power reserve, solid-state but tube-like). I asked one of the owners for feedback about his all-Monarchy system (apart from speakers which are Lenehan Audio ML-1); his reply was that it was "perfect, just perfect."

After-sale support: during shipping, one of the boxes had a very bad fall which affected one of the DACs channels (the analog preamp was 100% fine, only digital had one muted channel). So I wrote to CC Poon and he responded by shipping a replacement unit without asking for any additional funds. I received the replacement unit, checked that it was 100% in order, and returned the defective unit after ensuring that problem was solved. I live thousands of miles away, and to get that level of support makes one a life-long customer.

Summary: Kudos to Dr Poon for bringing back logic to high-end audio. Why pay outrageous margins and commissions for inferior components when you can get superior quality (and value for money) when buying direct from the source? A Monarchy system can easily beat others costing twice/thrice its cost because Monarchy doesn't squander margins on dealers and advertising. Makes perfect economic (and audio) sense. Keep up the excellent work.

Fahad M.



Hello,

I have now received and set up everything.

I am very satisfied on both configuration:
i) uplampler +direct dac, very musical
ii) upsampler +and using my old Alchemist Dac + NM24 line mode,
sounds different but gives this old DAC 96k a new youth.

Both are more musical than all the 192k, even if less precise sometimes (but no matter). No mods necessary as you suggested. The DR-1 cable is a real improvement.

Regards.
Jean.


Mr. Poon:

I am enjoying the M24 very much, thank you.

I had an unusual chance to compare it directly to an mhdt Havana, and although both have different strengths, I enjoy the M24 more - it is clear as rainwater and creates a more believable experience of people really playing instruments.
- the Havana is a bit fuller in the midrange which is very pretty, but in the end, not quite my cup of tea.

Anyway, feeding the DAC into my integrated amp, I find a lack of gain (the Rogue Tempest only has a passive preamp). Although I do like the preamp in the M24, it does tend to lose a bit of the "clearness" the DAC alone gives me. I am thinking that maybe a DIP would cure this - that is, that I would get enough additional gain from the DIP to the DAC that I could run it directly to the amp without this gain problem.

If you think that is right, then I need to choose the right DIP. I am not a fan of upsampling really, but then again, I've not heard yours. You told me that you have a new version of the standard DIP - can you maybe help me choose which one you think I should buy. If it is any help, my system is a bit forward sounding and is a bit prone to "digititis."

I will await your response, and thanks for making such a wonderful product at this price point - unbelievable!

John

Thanh N.:


Hi, Mr. Poon

I want to THANK YOU, THANK YOU, AND THANK YOU or recommending the NM24 preamp/dac. I have only burned it in for about 10 hours now and I have to say it is the BEST PREAMP/DAC I have ever used. Vocals comes out so clean, smooth, and airy. Instruments sounded so "real". The bottom end is fast and tight.
The sound stage has so much width and expansive depth. I could not ask for anything more. Over the years I have used Audio Research Ref 3, Ref 2, Ref 1, LS 25 Mk II, LS 22, Bat VK 30, VK 51SE, Conrad Johnson LS 17S2, and Conrad Johnson PV14L. These are good preamps in certain ways but never fullfil the whole audio spectrum of an audiophile. For example, Audio Research is clean but not musical. Conrad Johnson vocals are smooth and airy but bottom is sluggish. BAT is dark sounding. The NM24 fulfills what other preamp lacks.

I am certain with the passage of time, the NM24 will only sounds better. My Magnepan 3.6R speakers are now at their full potential of musical bliss. I am VERY happy with the purchase. Once again
thank you for recommending the NM24. Keep up the good works.

Thanh N.

Michael M.:


Hello Mr. Poon,

I wanted to thank you for designing the NM24. This is an incredible piece of electronics. It has encreased my dynamics, my sound stage, my liquidity, my musicality, my imaging and has given my music more weight, more of an organic/natural flavor and a heightened sense of Realness.It has afforded me the sound I have been trying to achieve.

How long do the tubes last on average? What tubes would you consider to be a step up from the stock tubes which by the way,are fantastic? Can I purchase tubes from you? How many hours on average does it take for burn-in for the NM24? Thank you again.

Regards.
Michael M.


Hello sir Poon

I start this e-mail by thanking you for advising me the Mundorf silver oil capacitors, and for helping me installed them. I have done a lot of upgrades, as audiophile. But the Mundorf Capacitors
silver oil upgrade is the most efficient, ever. Thank you very much for your help.

Sir Poon, I should have listened to you years ago when you told me, not to use the M24 just as a DAC. You told me to use it as a preamp. But I have been using, all the time my Legendary Conrad-Johnson PV9A Preamplifier and the M24 as a DAC. My musical life has changed since I remembered (after you helped me install the Mundorf caps) that you told me years ago to use the M24 as DAC/PREAMP.

So, after the Mundorf caps were installed, I listened to the music and I was not too happy. Because after we spoke about the Mundorf silver oil caps, I went over the internet and read about these capacitors. But after you helped me installed them, what I was gaining, as improvement, was not really convincing. I was still using that time, the Conrad-Johnson Pv9 as my preamplifier and the M24 as the DAC. (Please for those who don't know the
Conrad-Johnson PV9 preamp, read the reviews about it). And I remembered that Mr Poon told me once to use the M24 a DAC/PREAMP. I decided then to remove my lovely Conrad-Johnson Pv9 (I told myself, I would never quit that preamp) then I connected the M24 as a preamplifier directly to my BRYSTON
power amplifier 4 SST.......That was it......Everything changed at that point. The music was transparent, open, airy, clear. The sound stage was far more spacious than it used to be.

Everything (cymbals, strings, drums) went higher in details. The bass was so deep, I have now to turn off my subwoofer from time to time. I have immediately put the conrad-johson PV9 on sale and it is sold by now. I never thought the Mundorf caps will be so active to make me quit my Conrad-johson. Just unbelievable. All my CDs, from Beegie Adair (embraceable you), Misterioso(K.Burrell etc), Back to back(Duke Ellington)Diana reeves(quet after the storm), Louis Armstrong, Duke E.(the master takes), Verse ( Patricia Barber), Sugar (S. Turrentine) Art Blakey, Joe Sample, Diana Krall, Ben webster, sound with incredible details. even my
old Dire strait(brother in arms) and Dave Brubeck (take 5 )and shirley Horn(the main ingredient), the best of Montgomery etc, everything has now details I had never heard before.

The Mundorf caps were all My stereo system needed to come alive, and right now the M24 with this capacitors, could compete with any tube preamp $8,000 and even more. This is not a joke.

I'm reiterating my appreciation and gratitude to Mr Poon for making me know about the Mundorf silver oil capacitors. As I said, I made a few upgrades, in cables, tubes, etc, (check equipments listed bellow). But this one with the Mundorf capacitors is the most revealing. I'm staying with them. Thus, they say the Mundorf capacitors are rated at 1200V which means they take longer to break-in than average 200V-600V capacitors. I do believe in break-in. Right now, I don't have a 1/4 of the breaking, and I'm happy with what I'm getting. so there is more yet to come.

Thank you very very much again for your help and advises.

Sincerely yours,

Raoul


Dear Mr. Poon,

Thank you for your responses regarding my latest modifications to the NM24 DAC/Pre. I removed the four 1800 uF capacitors in parallel with cathode resistors to reduce gain to the preamp section, and replaced the four Wima output capacitors with 2.7 uF Mundorf Supreme capacitors. The absence of the 1800uf caps added another needed three clicks to the volume control
to reach my normal "ideal" listening level, and the over all mod brought some noticeable improvements in soundstage, details, clarity, and well define bass. But what I really enjoy is how smooth, effortless and naturally my system now fills my living room with music.

I'm using the combo of NM24 with the DIP Upsampler and the DR-1 digital cable for over three years now with much satisfaction.
My original intention was to use the NM24 as a DAC and adding a high-end preamp later on to my system. Over the years, I have made other modifications to the NM24, such as replacing the volume control with a Goldpoint 24 step-attenuator, upgrading to NOS tubes and HiFi fuse, adding Bybee filter to the power supply
and the digital input. All these modifications brought the NM24 which is already a great DAC/Pre to a performance level that exceeded some of the much more expensive preamps I was looking to buy, but no longer have a need for one.

Thank you again for your great customer services and great products, and keeping this hobby fun.

Sincerely,
Nhan N.


Gary D.:
Hello Mr. Poon

I purchased a NM24 Dac about 6 months ago....on you recommendation. Your DAC has been a very wise choice for me. I want to thank you....you are right the circuit is very clean. I have made one upgrade....I replaced your Wima 2.7 coupling caps with Mundorf 2.7 M-supreme caps. I also replaced the stock tubes with Amperex 6922 D-getter 1950's. The tubes really opened the soundstage...but the cap replacement was simply magnitudes better. More of everything....clarity richness, smooth as silk, a highly resolving quality that has to be heard to be believed.

The use of the Mundorfs is not practical on a manufacturing basis....but I think all the positives I hear are due to your designing ability....my hat is off to you....Thank you.

Gary D.


CC,

I know you probably will not get to read this until you return from China, but I got so excited that I have to write you this report on the NM24 tube change. I replaced the 2 Phillips 6DJ8¡¯s on the DAC side with 2 Siemens E88CC Holy-Grails, and the 2 on the line amp side with 2 Siemens E88CC CCa¡¯s. For 2 days I replayed a sizable number of CD¡¯s that I am very familiar with. The difference in every aspect due to these new tubes are NOT subtle! Of all the improvements in space, detail, liquidity, color, none impresses me as much as how these tubes further unleashes the feelings of the NM24. Boy, does this unit know how to emote!! These past 2 days, it is not uncommon to find me in tears when something I heard just hit me, REAL bad!

Thanks for recommending the E88CC¡¯s, and thanks for building the NM24!

Adolfo


Dear CC,
Date: Wed, 1 Feb 2012

Just a note to let you know the NM 24 continues to delight and surprise me (and my friends) - now nicely run in and it is so GOOD! Now a quick question or two if I may?

The Valves (Tubes) Do you have a reccomendation for an upgrade and can you supply such a valve upgrade? I use mostly the Tube DAC. So please advise, would I need two matched or a quad set to effect an upgrade.Current tubes are Phillips 6DJ8's

DIP Combo. Is it possible to order a UK Votage version? I was pleased to see on your website the plans to demonstrate setting up a Mac based server - count me in please!

No question this is my favourite source - Vanilla CD at 44.1khz is so much improved through the current NM24 it is way better than any DAC I auditioned prior to contacting you: Moon,200/300, Wyse, Bel Canto, Musical Fidelity, Arcam, REGA; just did not cut it. Best I heard was The 'North West' from Italy it is a great product, better than any of the aformentioned but Solid State only and your product is still out in front on sound quality, irrespective of price. I did not bother to listen to the cheap'n cheerful DACS. SO one happy camper here in Blighty.

Look forward to hearing from you.

With Kind regards
Steve


Just a quick note to say how pleased I am with the dac. I am powering my Sennheiser HD650's off the line stage and it blows my Naim Headline into the weeds.

Thanks for making world class products at affordable prices, keep up the good work.

Kind regards
John

Dear Mr. Poon,

It was a pleasure to see you again. As you know, I have been a fan of your M24 DAC, but your "new" version is absolutely what I needed: a separate sub-woofer output. I noticed that in the previous version (without the solid-state DAC output), if I used the tube DAC output while also using the pre-amp out for the main speakers, the pre-amp output suffered some degradation (I am guessing that having both outputs of the DAC and the pre-amp used at the same time caused some impedance problems?). With the solid-state output connected to my amp/sub-woofer and the pre-amp output connected to my main amp/speakers, the sound is incredibly detailed, clear, warm, and "present." The sound-stage is deep and wide, and the bass is clean and powerful, while the high frequencies are smooth and open. In short, my system has never sounded better.

I truly appreciate the high quality and affordability of your M24 DAC. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Eli H., Professor at UC Santa Cruz:


Dear Mr. Poon,

Thank you for the Svetlana tubes. My initial impressions: the tubes haven't had a chance to "break in" yet, but they seem very detailed and open sounding; I head things in the music I was not aware of before, and there is a "thrilling quality" to the sound. I will have to see if they are "too bright" for my system, but they seem better than the Phillips stock tubes.

And by the way, I am absolutely happy with the DAC... since I got it I have replaced your stock tubes with Tesla E88CC 1970s NOS tubes in the DAC section and with Amperex 6922 "pinched waist" tubes for the pre-amp section.

Compared to the original Philips tubes, the Svetlana tubes sound more detailed, "airy," three-dimensional, and much more dynamic. The sound stage is MUCH wider and deeper, as well. When I went back to the Philips tubes, the sound seemed "dull" and flat. Overall, for me, the difference is very obvious.

I will have to live with the Svetlanas for a few days and listen to a variety of music and let them break in--then I'll be able to tell if the sound is not too "bright" to my taste (and for my system). I'll also let a friend of mine who also has a Monarchy DAC try them and see what he thinks with his system.

I'll send you an update.

Thanks again,
Eli


Hello,

I have now received and set up everything.

I am very satisfied on both configuration
i) DIP Upsampler +NM24 dac, very musical
ii) DIP upsampler +and using my old Alchemist Dac + NM24 line mode: sounds different but gives this old DAC 96k a new youth. Both are more musical than all the 192k, even if less precise sometimes (but no matter). No mods necessary as you suggested. The cable is a real improvement.

Regards.
Jean.


Gerry M.:

Dear Mr. Poon, I finally got the NM24 about three hours ago and eagerly installed it in my system! My anticipation for it has been great together with a big sense of curiosity and "buyer's remorse" about not having chosen competitive equipment from Benchmark and PS Audio.

From these usits I have only had the Benchmark USB in my system but three things made me not to buy it at the time:

The first reason was the fact that in using it as a headphone amp it limits the user into only listening to CDs. I am an avid LP collector and a big part of my listening is from LPs.
The second and more serious reason of not going with the Benchmark was its sound! Despite all the hoopla going around (it seems that people run after "hoopla" like sheep in a herd) I found the sound dissapointing for my taste. Yes, it did extend the music extremes over my CD player but the sound sounded too analytical with my present stereo setup. By the way I lived with the unit for about a month so I did have all the time to play with it. One last issue thing I had with the benchmark is the size and built quality of the thing...Too light and diminutive for its price! This for me is a purely psychological issue and it has nothing to do with a unit's sound quality but...still it affects my way of perceiving the gear...

Now back to the NM24! When UPS left it at my door and I picked it up I got a BIG surprise from the weight of the box! It is heavier than a lot of small receivers! When I opened the box the SECOND surprise was its looks! Understatedly gorgeous! Nothing pretentious but still elegant. I give it A+ for its looks alone (again this is MY taste, it may not be everyone's cup of tea).

The final and biggest surprise came as soon as I started it up! Last night I went through and found my "nastiest" sounding CDs form the early 80s just to see what would happen! In a nutshell this thing SINGS! My "Madness" CD is one of my favorites but it sounds thin and shrill at times. With the NM24, even with the unit still cold out of the box, this CD took on a life of its own! As the NM24 warmed up the sound became warmer, melodical and enticing! About 30 minutes ago I started playing a little with better sounding CDs and the sound over my CD player is just so much better I can hardly believe my ears. Diana Krall never sounded better in any of the systems I have had over the past 15 years. Sawn Colvin sounds as if she is in the room with me right now. The bass is extended and natural sounding. The highs sound so airy it is like I am dreaming!

And all this in a few of hours of listening. I am really looking forward for my evening listening session with the unit well warmed up.

All my 'buyer's remorse" is gone just by the sound alone. Still, with the built in amp I can use my headphones with my precious LPs and (yes!) tapes. Still, I have not listened to the headphones critically because I am too busy listing to the speakers. I doubt I will sleep too much tonight!

Thanks for a great product at an unbelievable price. Please feel free to use this mail anyway you can Mr Poon! It has been a real pleasure doing business with you.

Best regards
Gerry M.

PS: I will be placing an order for the DIP combo and the speaker cables in a while. I am a new believer in Monarchy Audio.

Read more: http://monarchyaudio.boards.net/index.cgi?action=display&board=m24&thread=5#ixzz24a7nHvhB


NM24 vs. Benchmark

Dear Mr. Poon, I finally got the NM24 about three hours ago and eagerly installed it in my system! My anticipation for it has been great together with a big sense of curiosity and "buyer's remorse" about not having chosen competitive equipment from Benchmark and PS Audio.

From these units I have only had the Benchmark USB in my system but three things made me not to buy it at the time:

The first reason was the fact that in using it as a headphone amp it limits the user into only listening to CDs. I am an avid LP collector and a big part of my listening is from LPs.

The second and more serious reason of not going with the Benchmark was its sound! Despite all the hoopla going around (it seems that people run after "hoopla" like sheep in a herd) I found the sound disappointing for my taste. Yes, it did extend the music extremes over my CD player but the sound sounded too analytical with my present stereo setup. By the way I lived with the unit for about a month so I did have all the time to play with it. One last issue thing I had with the benchmark is the size and built quality of the thing...Too light and diminutive for its price! This for me is a purely psychological issue and it has nothing to do with a unit's sound quality but ...still it affects my way of perceiving the gear...

Now back to the NM24! When UPS left it at my door and I picked it up I got a BIG surprise from the weight of the box! It is heavier than a lot of small receivers! When I opened the box the SECOND surprise was its looks! Understatedly gorgeous! Nothing pretentious but still elegant. I give it A+ for its looks alone (again this is MY taste, it may not be everyone's cup of tea).

The final and biggest surprise came as soon as I started it up! Last night I went through and found my "nastiest" sounding CDs form the early 80s just to see what would happen! In a nutshell this thing SINGS! My "Madness" CD is one of my favorites but it sounds thin and shrill at times. With the NM24, even with the unit still cold out of the box, this CD took on a life of its own! As the NM24 warmed up the sound became warmer, melodical and enticing! About 30 minutes ago I started playing a little with better sounding CDs and the sound over my CD player is just so much better I can hardly believe my ears. Diana Krall never sounded better in any of the systems I have had over the past 15 years. Sawn Colvin sounds as if she is in the room with me right now. The bass is extended and natural sounding. The highs sound so airy it is like I am dreaming!

And all this in a few of hours of listening. I am really looking forward for my evening listening session with the unit well warmed up.

All my 'buyer's remorse" is gone just by the sound alone. Still, with the built in amp I can use my headphones with my precious LPs and (yes!) tapes. Still, I have not listened to the headphones critically because I am too busy listing to the speakers. I doubt I will sleep too much tonight!

Thanks for a great prod cut at an unbelievable price. Please feel free to use this mail anyway you can Mr Poon! It has been a real pleasure doing business with you.
Best regards
Gerry Maroulis

PS: I will be placing an order for the DIP combo and the speaker cables in a while. I am a new believer in Monarchy Audio.


Letter


To: Poon Monarchy audio <monarchy@earthlink.net>

Hello sir Poon

I start this e-mail by thanking you for advising me the Mundorf silver oil capacitors, and for helping me installed them. I have done a lot of upgrades, as audiophile. But the Mundorf Capacitors silver oil upgrade is the most efficient, ever.

Thank you very much for your help.


Sir Poon, I should have listened to you years ago when you told me, not to use the M24 just as a DAC. You told me to use it as a preamp.But I have been using, all the time my Legendary Conrad-Johnson PV9A Preamplifier and the M24 as a DAC. My musical life has changed since I remembered (after you helped me install the Mundorf caps) that you told me years ago to use the M24 as DAC/PREAMP.

So, after the Mundorf caps were installed, I listened to the music and I was not too happy. Because after we spoke about the Mundorf silver oil caps, I went over the internet and read about these capacitors. But after you helped me installed them, what I was gaining, as improvement, was not really convincing. I was still using that time, the Conrad-Johnson Pv9 as my preamplifier and the M24 as the DAC. (Please for those who don't know the Conrad-Johnson PV9 preamp, read the reviews about it). And I remembered that Mr Poon told me once to use the M24 a DAC/PREAMP. I decided then to remove my lovely Conrad-Johnson Pv9 (I told myself, I would never quit that preamp) then I connected the M24 as a preamplifier directly to my BRYSTON power amplifier 4 SST.......That was it......Everything changed at that point.

The music was transparent, open, airy, clear. The sound stage was far more spacious than it used to be.

Everything (cymbals, strings, drums) went higher in details. The bass was so deep, I have now to turn off my subwoofer from time to time. I have immediately put the conrad-johson PV9 on sale and it is sold by now. I never thought the Mundorf caps will be so active to make me quit my Conrad-johson. Just unbelievable. All my CDs, from Beegie Adair (embraceable you), Misterioso(K.Burrell etc), Back to back(Duke Ellington)Diana reeves(quet after the storm), Louis Armstrong/Duke E.(the master takes), Verse ( Patricia Barber), Sugar (S. Turrentine) Art Blakey, Joe Sample, Diana Krall, Ben webster, sound with incredible details. even my old Dire strait(brother in arms) and Dave Brubeck (take 5 )and shirley Horn(the main ingredient), the best of Montgomery etc, everything has now details I had never heard before.

The Mundorf caps were all My stereo system needed to come alive, and right now the M24 with this capacitors, could compete with any tube preamp $8,000 and even more. This is not a joke.

I'm reiterating my appreciation and gratitude to Mr Poon for making me know about the Mundorf silver oil capacitors. As I said, I made a few upgrades, in cables, tubes, etc, (check equipments listed bellow). But this one with the Mundorf capacitors is the most revealing. I'm staying with them.

Thus, they say the Mundorf capacitors are rated at 1200V which means they take longer to break-in than average 200V-600V capacitors. I do believe in break-in. Right now, I don't have a 1/4 of the breaking, and I'm happy with what I'm getting. so there is more yet to come.

Thank you very very much again for your help and advises.

Sincerely yours,

Raoul


Mr. Poon,

I realize this is all "old news" to you and other owners of the Monarchy M24, but… I must confess… I was a skeptic regarding the Monarchy M24, and it's ability to transform the sound of "Red Book" CD's into great sound that rivals that of the best vinyl and digital playback systems. Having the Musical Fidelity Small X Series components (i.e. XDAC v3), as well as the legendary Cal Audio Alpha and Sigma II DAC's, and the Music Hall MMF CD25 1+ - I found it hard to believe any digital system could really and significantly exceed the wonderful sound quality produced by these great pieces of equipment… especially the Cal Audio equipment, which even though dated a few years, still produces sound quality rivaled by very few other, far more expensive DAC's.

But… after reading all the reviews and comments, both hear and on other forums, of how the sound produced by the M24 exceeded that produced by most other digital players, and was equivalent to the best analog and digital systems costing as much as $17,000 – I was seduced into giving the M24 an audition.

Skeptical though I was… it took the M24 about 3 weeks to convince me that all those claims by other reviewers and commentators were… absolutely, 100% correct! Although… it was clearly obvious "right out of the box" that the M24 produced exceptional sound – with great extension, soundstage, bass, mids and highs… but, with simply incredible presence and a textured, organic, weighty sound that is hard to imagine could be produced by such a modestly priced DAC.

I guess what struck me as most amazing… is how it literally transformed my Sennheiser HD650 headphones into "World Class" headphones. The HD650's, are known to be a bit too dark and warm, without the fast, bright, detailed, clear highs of several other headphones (e.g. Grados, ATH's, etc.) – being overly dominated by their bass and lower mids – and… very hard to drive to their full potential. But… the M24 quite literally "wakes them up" – bringing out their upper mids and highs and making them seem much brighter, clearer and more detailed than other DAC's do. I had often read that the HD650's "scaled up" well with much more expensive equipment – well… it's true, even with some modestly priced equipment like the M24. I have no idea, what the M24 provides, that others don't, that makes them perform, but it clearly does. In fact some have suggested… it brings the HD650's to the level of the one, or two best headphones available (e.g. Senn Orpheus HE90 / HE60, AKG K1000, Sony R10, ATH L3000, etc.). And… of course it excels with my other headphones as well – Sennheiser HD600's, Grado RS-1's, and ATH AD-2000's.

I will never allow myself to spend $17,000 on any DAC, or any piece of audio equipment, or a lot less quite frankly… so… it's a pleasant surprise to find that I really don't have to. "Suffice it to say," I won't be looking any further for a great, value-priced DAC – I finally have a truly "World-class" DAC right here in my rack!

R C Albin
Dallas, TX


Upgrade NM24
Dear Mr. Poon

Thank you for the Svetlana tubes. My initial impressions: the tubes haven't had a chance to "break in" yet, but they seem very detailed and open sounding; I head things in the music I was not aware of before, and there is a "thrilling quality" to the sound. I will have to see if they are "too bright" for my system, but they seem better than the Phillips stock tubes.

And by the way, I am absolutely happy with the DAC... since I got it I have replaced your stock tubes with Tesla E88CC 1970s NOS tubes in the DAC section and with Amperex 6922 "pinched waist" tubes for the pre-amp section.

Compared to the original Philips tubes, the Svetlana tubes sound more detailed, "airy," three-dimensional, and much more dynamic. The sound stage is MUCH wider and deeper, as well. When I went back to the Philips tubes, the sound seemed "dull" and flat. Overall, for me, the difference is very obvious.

I will have to live with the Svetlanas for a few days and listen to a variety of music and let them break in--then I'll be able to tell if the sound is not too "bright" to my taste (and for my system). I'll also let a friend of mine who also has a Monarchy DAC try them and see what he thinks with his system.

I'll send you an update.
Thanks again,
Eli


Hello Mr. Poon,

I wanted to thank you for designing the NM24. This is an incredible piece of electronics. It has increased my dynamics, my sound stage, my liquidity,my musicality, my imaging and has given my music more weight,more of an organic/natural flavor and a heightened sense of Realness.It has afforded me the sound I have been trying to achieve.

How long do the tubes last on average? What tubes would you consider to be a step up from the stock tubes which by the way,are fantastic? Can I purchase tubes from you? How many hours on average does it take for burn-in for the NM24? Thank you again.

Regards.
Michael Miguest

Reply:
The tubes supplied in your unit are Military Grade 6DJ8(the marking on the tube: JAN 6DJ8, stands for Joint Army Navy)Properly used, and without surge from your AC line, they should last ten years or more in regular use.

If you can find some Telefunkun or Siemens ECC88(made in Germany) , you might experience better sound.but a pastor in the Chicago area said he had to pay $500 for two Telefunkun tubes from Europe to install into the M24. I don't think it's worth the investment. Because for the same amount, you could get a brand newAC-Regenerator from us, that will elevate the NM24 to a higher level, plus giving you good protectionagainst AC line surges or other RF interferences.

The AC-Regen normally sells for $850.
You may get one from us for just $550.

Many thanks for supporting Monarchy Audio products.
Mr. Poon:


I am enjoying the M24 very much, thank you. I had an unusual chance to compare it directly to an mhdt Havana, and although both have different strengths, I enjoy the M24 more - it is clear as rainwater and creates a more believable experience of people really playing instruments - the Havana is a bit fuller in the midrange which is very pretty, but in the end, not quite my cup of tea.

Again, my thanks for making such an affordable product that sounds this good. I've been doing digital since the early 90's, and I would never have thought back then that redbood CDs could sound this good for any money, much less the amount I spent on this DAC. For example, I once owned a Classe CDP1, which used their then-touted-as-the-best DAC with a superb transport in one box. It was good. But it was still digital - mushy bass, digital "goo" stuck to all the instruments, brittle transients, etc. - all of which are pretty much gone with the 24. The biggest thing for me is that the digital lethargy of many mediocre recordings is gone - the recording may still stink, but the 24 has a way of letting you listen around it and hear people playing real instruments. Very nice, indeed.

J. Kugler – Kennebuck, ME


The monarchy model 24 is one of the Finest dac's that I have ever heard. It competes with cost no object dac's. The preamp section is also way up there. What CC has proven, is that there is a lot of chutzpa in the world of digital. A feather in your cap CC.

Regards Ezra


Thanks for your letter, I appreciate it. I will certainly "play" with the 24 over time, including tubes. I already have a PS audio power regenerator, so although yours is likely better, I won't need it for now. I will say the DAC is sensitive to it (and a decent power cord) and is much better with both.

I will save up for the combination DIP.
Re: the caps, I read about this in several website strings. Can you tell me the values of the Wimas so I might start looking for the Mundorfs?

Again, my thanks for making such an affordable product that sounds this good. I've been doing digital since the early 90's, and I would never have thought back then that Redbook CDs could sound this good for any money, much less the amount I spent on this DAC. For example, I once owned a Classe CDP1, which used their then-touted-as-the-best DAC with a superb transport in one box. It was good. But it was still digital - mushy bass, digital "goo" stuck to all the instruments, brittle transients, etc. - all of which are pretty much gone with the 24. The biggest thing for me is that the digital lethargy of many mediocre recordings is gone - the recording may still stink, but the 24 has a way of letting you listen around it and hear people playing real instruments. Very nice, indeed.

Thanks for your comments. If you could let me know about the Wimas at your convenience, I'd appreciate it.
John


Mr. Poon:

I am enjoying the M24 very much, thank you. I had an unusual chance to compare it directly to an mhdt Havana, and although both have different strengths, I enjoy the M24 more - it is clear as rainwater and creates a more believable experience of people really playing instruments - the Havana is a bit fuller in the midrange which is very pretty, but in the end, not quite my cup of tea.

Anyway, feeding the DAC into my integrated amp, I find a lack of gain (the Rogue Tempest only has a passive preamp). Although I do like the preamp in the M24, it does tend to lose a bit of the "clearness" the DAC alone gives me. I am thinking that maybe a DIP would cure this - that is, that I would get enough additional gain from the DIP to the DAC that I could run it directly to the amp without this gain problem.

If you think that is right, then I need to choose the right DIP. I am not a fan of upsampling really, but then again, I've not heard yours. You told me that you have a new version of the standard DIP - can you maybe help me choose which one you think I should buy. If it is any help, my system is a bit forward sounding and is a bit prone to "digititis."

I will await your response, and thanks for making such a wonderful product at this price point - unbelievable!

John


I have used the NM-24 DAC in my audio system for almost 3 weeks now, replacing a very capable MSB Link 3 I had for 6 years. As I listen to old and new CD's, DVD's and Blu-Ray discs, I continue to be amazed at how much enjoyment it wrings out of them. It is more transparent than the old DAC. I hear things I didn't before. The soundstage is better. It's highly musical. I find myself forgetting about the equipment much more and getting into the performance. And isn't that what it's all about? I prefer the solid state setting best; more transparent and less distortion. It's a bonus to be able to press the button and hear a tube DAC. Maybe I'll prefer it later on certain recordings. Thank you Mr. Poon and company for a wonderful product an average Joe like me can afford.

Robert Parker
Hickory, NC


Hello Mr. Poon,
I wanted to thank you for designing the NM24. This is an incredible piece of electronics. It has encreased my dynamics, my sound stage, my liquidity,my musicality, my imaging and has given my music more weight,more of an organic/natural flavor and a heightened sense of Realness.It has afforded me the sound I have been trying to achieve.

How long do the tubes last on average? What tubes would you consider to be a step up from the stock tubes which by the way,are fantastic? Can I purchase tubes from you? How many hours on average does it take for burn-in for the NM24? Thank you again.

Regards.
Michael Miguest


Hi, Mr. Poon,
I would like to get more clarity on your design of the NM24. Am I correct in assuming it is different than the ubiquitous Delta-Sigma design of most of todays Dacs? I am presently using the Musical Fidelity X-DAC v3 which Upsamples to 192. I know the limit of your NM24 is 96. So my question is how will the Musicality be affected with only 1/2 of the Upsampling of the NM24?

Your 48/96 Upsampler has made me a believer in you and your products and I presently have the Musical Fidelity DAC and Power Supply for sale on Audiogon so I can purchase the NM24. I would just like to gain a greater understanding of your NM24 and the difference in Sound that I can expect from it compared to what I presently have.

Regards,
Michael Miguest

Reply:
The NM24 uses the "Staircase" DAC technology that Burr Brown first made famous in the 80's (their part PCM63, which we used exclusively in our Model 22/33 series and won rave reviews from both professional reviewers and audiophile users)

The newer version, for 24/96 sampling, is Burr Brown's PCM1704, also a staircase technology. And if you have read more of the professional reviews (on other DAC's) you will find that reviewers prefer the wider dynamics of staircase DAC's rather than the Delta-Sigma type. (If you are technically oriented I will try to dig out a paper that discusses the virtues of staircase converters in technical terms)

And I think the 96 versus 192 sampling is a numbers game. You can buy many 24/192 DVD players for less than a hundred dollars
with mediocre sounds. Yet none of these, other than the Panasonic H1000, uses staircase case DAC's due to additional costs. The best way to be certain of the superior sonics of the NM24 is to read all the professional reviews and user comments, many of which are posted in our Website.


Dear Mr. Poon,

It was a pleasure to see you again. As you know, I have been a fan of your M24 DAC, but your "new" version is absolutely what I needed: a separate sub-woofer output. I noticed that in the previous version (without the solid-state DAC output), if I used the tube DAC output while also using the pre-amp out for the main speakers, the pre-amp output suffered some degradation (I am guessing that having both outputs of the DAC and the pre-amp used at the same time caused some impedance problems?). With the solid-state output connected to my amp/sub-woofer and the pre-amp output connected to my main amp/speakers, the sound is incredibly detailed, clear, warm, and "present." The sound-stage is deep and wide, and the bass is clean and powerful, while the high frequencies are smooth and open.In short, my system has never sounded better.

I truly appreciate the high quality and affordability of your M24 DAC. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Eli Hollander



Just a quick note to say how pleased i am with the dac.
I am powering my Sennheiser HD650's off the line stage and it blows my Naim Headline into the weeds.
Thanks for making world class products at affordable prices, keep up the good work.

Kind regards

John

 


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