Upgrade to Mono X

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nathanc
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Upgrade to Mono X

Postby nathanc » Tue Oct 03, 2017 8:29 am

An opportunity has arisen for me to upgrade my pair of SmartPower Plus (QS) that I run in mono to a pair of Mono X (@ Moorgate).
Given that I still haven't upgraded my speakers and realistically it's going to be a few years yet - is it worth it?

I'm guessing it will only cost me around £300 if I can get £600 for my existing amps so I'm thinking it's a no brainer... but the question is whether my Kefs will benefit. If I didn't do this, by the time I'm ready to upgrade my speakers, I could be looking at X200 or X300 anyway so it's only worth doing it if I'll get a benefit now, not just in the future.

Any thoughts?

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Re: Upgrade to Mono X

Postby callen24 » Tue Oct 03, 2017 8:56 am

i went from two smarties, which were good, to mono x, if it's low cost then worth it
i had sttaf speakers at the time
but kpog4 has some cheaper, though their cases are scratched
cyrus stream X2, CDi, Oppo HA-1SE, IMFs, mfa Baby classicV2, Mono X300,  VA Beethoven Baby Grand
ML binarystar digital, DenchXLR, RFCneptune RCA, VanDamme OFC spk cable. AG 500 ac regenerator and Townsend Seismic sink stand.
rega P3-24, psu, AT95e/paratrace, Clearaudio nano, Project RCM

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Re: Upgrade to Mono X

Postby nathanc » Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:09 am

callen24 wrote:but kpog4 has some cheaper, though their cases are scratched

They need to look good so I'm happy paying the extra.

To put things into context, when the speaker upgrade eventually comes it's going to be at the PMC Twenty5.23 / Spendor D7 level - if the Mono X isn't really good enough to get the best out of those kind of speakers then I might as well hang on... it's not like I don't enjoy my system at the moment!

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Re: Upgrade to Mono X

Postby callen24 » Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:28 am

nathanc wrote:
callen24 wrote:but kpog4 has some cheaper, though their cases are scratched

They need to look good so I'm happy paying the extra.

To put things into context, when the speaker upgrade eventually comes it's going to be at the PMC Twenty5.23 / Spendor D7 level - if the Mono X isn't really good enough to get the best out of those kind of speakers then I might as well hang on... it's not like I don't enjoy my system at the moment!


with that information it sounds like you should save your money for now, but i suspect they will keep their value, to trade in for something better.

In a minute someone will suggest you try a nord amp , as well O0
cyrus stream X2, CDi, Oppo HA-1SE, IMFs, mfa Baby classicV2, Mono X300,  VA Beethoven Baby Grand
ML binarystar digital, DenchXLR, RFCneptune RCA, VanDamme OFC spk cable. AG 500 ac regenerator and Townsend Seismic sink stand.
rega P3-24, psu, AT95e/paratrace, Clearaudio nano, Project RCM

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Re: Upgrade to Mono X

Postby nathanc » Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:44 am

Out of interest, what sort of money do you need to spend on an integrated amplifier that would sound as good as my (or with the MonoX pair) four box Cyrus set up?

The wife hates wires - with the open racks, cables going back and forth between my hifi and AV, filters on the Cyrus boxes etc - I can't blame her, but I've always claimed that I couldn't afford to buy a single box that would sound as good...
Cyrus Pre 2 Dac with PSX-r and 2 x Mono Smartpower Plus (Van Damme Blue 4mm) Kef Q35. Quad CD67 (Digital) & Rega P3-2000/Elys 2/EA Little Belter with GSP Era Gold V + PSU1 and Intel NUC/MF Vlink II (optical) running jRiver + AV stuff

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Re: Upgrade to Mono X

Postby t-roten » Tue Oct 03, 2017 1:09 pm

Personally I thought moving from Mono X + StreamXP to Musical Fidelity M6i was an nptable and worthy upgrade
But as always, that is my personal opinion, and i think a second hand one can be had for £1,000 or so...
Pioneer LX55 + Denon Da-300USB ->
Rega RP3 with TTPSU + Musical Fidelity M1LPS -> Musical Fidelity M6i -> Trond "Ellam 2.5"
Musical Fidelity M1Clic ->

Cyrus Streamline v2 -> "Trond" Peerless HDS-PPB

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Re: Upgrade to Mono X

Postby STodd » Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:12 pm

I think you'll still see the benefit in upgrading now - I made that exact same step (is one of those Smarties not an old one of mine..?), and don't regret it for a moment. :)
MMStreamer (Teddy12/4), Sony BDP ► DAC X Sig/PSX-R || Rega P3-24 (Dino & Dino+)
Pre Xvs/PSX-R ► Mono X ► PMC GB1i || Objective2 ► Sennheiser HD558 || Bluesound PowerNode ► Focal Chorus 705V
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Re: Upgrade to Mono X

Postby nathanc » Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:15 am

STodd wrote:I think you'll still see the benefit in upgrading now - I made that exact same step (is one of those Smarties not an old one of mine..?), and don't regret it for a moment. :)

LOL, it was the Pre X which I later upgraded to the Pre 2 DAC
Cyrus Pre 2 Dac with PSX-r and 2 x Mono Smartpower Plus (Van Damme Blue 4mm) Kef Q35. Quad CD67 (Digital) & Rega P3-2000/Elys 2/EA Little Belter with GSP Era Gold V + PSU1 and Intel NUC/MF Vlink II (optical) running jRiver + AV stuff

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Re: Upgrade to Mono X

Postby nathanc » Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:29 am

Well it's done. I've bought them. Now I need to shift my smarties :-)
Cyrus Pre 2 Dac with PSX-r and 2 x Mono Smartpower Plus (Van Damme Blue 4mm) Kef Q35. Quad CD67 (Digital) & Rega P3-2000/Elys 2/EA Little Belter with GSP Era Gold V + PSU1 and Intel NUC/MF Vlink II (optical) running jRiver + AV stuff

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Re: Upgrade to Mono X

Postby RichardLowe » Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:11 am

Look forward to your review when you get them in your system. I remember the first time I heard MonoX amps. It was a significant step up from the 8 Power/PSX-R I had at the time. I hope you get the same sort of improvement.
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Re: Upgrade to Mono X

Postby callen24 » Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:19 am

even though you might not like the idea, smartpowers are often easier to sell separately, rather than as a pair
cyrus stream X2, CDi, Oppo HA-1SE, IMFs, mfa Baby classicV2, Mono X300,  VA Beethoven Baby Grand
ML binarystar digital, DenchXLR, RFCneptune RCA, VanDamme OFC spk cable. AG 500 ac regenerator and Townsend Seismic sink stand.
rega P3-24, psu, AT95e/paratrace, Clearaudio nano, Project RCM

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Re: Upgrade to Mono X

Postby angelface » Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:16 am

I think Mono X have become a bit of a bargain s/h..

as much as I loved my smarties!
CDXTSE2/PSX-R(Nordost Silver Line)BC DAC3.7VB(Atlas Navigator)MF Baby Mk2(Atlas Navigator)2xMonoX(Coherent 4D)WB Arc
HUMAX Freesat+/Sony BDPS280>AVMaster8 and SP+>Spendor C5e>> Monitor Audio RXW12 sub>>4xSpendor SR5

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Re: Upgrade to Mono X

Postby nathanc » Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:30 am

callen24 wrote:even though you might not like the idea, smartpowers are often easier to sell separately, rather than as a pair


I'm happy to sell them individually and probably will do if I need to resort to Fleebay. It makes sense since they are stereo power amps.

Now I've got a bit of a dilemma since I've got a Black Smartpower for my centre channel - there's probably going to be a much greater difference and the 'balance' I had on the three front AV channels might be lost.

I'm thinking of ditching the centre amp and speaker altogether and maybe getting some more Kef Eggs for the front three channels (I've got two on surround duties).

Ironically, when I upgraded to the PreDac 2, part of the reason I didn't change to a beefy Rega integrated was because I needed an AV channel - if I go down this Kef Egg surround path, I will no longer need this link between my systems! In a way, it makes my future upgrade path a little more straight forward as it was going to be expensive getting better speakers since I'd need a centre too!

I'm not that keen on multi channel music anyway :)

Very excited O0
Cyrus Pre 2 Dac with PSX-r and 2 x Mono Smartpower Plus (Van Damme Blue 4mm) Kef Q35. Quad CD67 (Digital) & Rega P3-2000/Elys 2/EA Little Belter with GSP Era Gold V + PSU1 and Intel NUC/MF Vlink II (optical) running jRiver + AV stuff

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Re: Upgrade to Mono X

Postby STodd » Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:06 pm

nathanc wrote:
STodd wrote:I think you'll still see the benefit in upgrading now - I made that exact same step (is one of those Smarties not an old one of mine..?), and don't regret it for a moment. :)

LOL, it was the Pre X which I later upgraded to the Pre 2 DAC

Ah, yes...lost in the mists of time... ;)

Re. centre, your Smartie should be tonally similar to the Mono X, even if it does not have the same outright power - and if needs be, you could always throw a PSXR at it if you felt the need.
MMStreamer (Teddy12/4), Sony BDP ► DAC X Sig/PSX-R || Rega P3-24 (Dino & Dino+)
Pre Xvs/PSX-R ► Mono X ► PMC GB1i || Objective2 ► Sennheiser HD558 || Bluesound PowerNode ► Focal Chorus 705V
Cables: ML Binary Star, Mark Grant G1500HD | Chord Epic ST
AG500 Mains Regen | http://www.last.fm/user/stetod

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Re: Upgrade to Mono X

Postby nathanc » Mon Oct 09, 2017 7:51 am

I managed to get a couple of hours in over the weekend listening to the new amps - they are mint condition. Very happy.

I didn't expect a huge leap in performance since my old Kefs are still in place - at this point in time I just wanted an improvement and that's what I got. It's very difficult to do any kind of side by side comparison but I listened to a couple of favourite tracks before swapping the amps.

My first observation was that bass lines are much better defined - bass guitar sounds more natural. The high's might have been a bit sweeter - but my overall first impression was that I was enjoying the music - my toes were tapping and I just wanted to turn up the volume. Was that just because I had new amps... who knows :)

After extended listening over FLAC and Vinyl, particularly when comparing a couple of tracks of Fleetwood Mac Rumors I also noticed a wider sound stage on digital over vinyl - that's the first time that I've noticed a difference beyond tone (my Rega setup has a muddier bass and slightly recessed mid range).

Further listening with a wide range of music on FLAC confirmed that wider sound stage - my Kefs have a marvellous ability to throw sounds way beyond the confines of the boxes and I had a greater sense of this.

These amps are reprocessed so I don't know what that means from an electrical component point of view i.e. whether they need running in to get the best. I suspect they are already well run in - I believe they were demo boxes.

I've moved one of the Smarty Plus amps to the centre channel and that is a welcome improvement too.

Overall, not as big an upgrade as the Pre2Dac but I'm very happy and I'm looking forwards to future upgrades - Rega Planar 6, PXR -> 2, Qx module, Speakers... 8)
Last edited by nathanc on Mon Oct 09, 2017 8:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
Cyrus Pre 2 Dac with PSX-r and 2 x Mono Smartpower Plus (Van Damme Blue 4mm) Kef Q35. Quad CD67 (Digital) & Rega P3-2000/Elys 2/EA Little Belter with GSP Era Gold V + PSU1 and Intel NUC/MF Vlink II (optical) running jRiver + AV stuff