Monarchy 22C Anyone have Input?

Hey, I'm considering throwing my pre-amp out the door and using this DAC/Preamp. Anyone with any input. System PSB Goldi ---- B&K 4420 ---- B&K PT-3 ---- Toshiba 3109 DVD Like to switch to: PSB Goldi ---- B&K 4420 ---- Monarchy 22C -----Toshiba 3109 DVD as transport.
I did consider this unit when looking for a DAC. Monarchy is currently selling theses at about 50% of their advertised retail. I never got a clear answer as to why, but I suspect that competition from other high quality DAC’s at lower prices drove them to it. I was told by one guy (via email) that Monarchy had some kind of “incident” at their factory and that these discounted units may have some minor cosmetic defects. I was not able to confirm this. C.C. Poon did tell me that a customer-installable remote control volume kit is in the works. He hopes to keep the price down around $50. That would really add to this unit’s appeal, IMHO. I found a used 22C for $500, but I didn’t go for it, mostly because I haven’t seen this unit favorably compared to the latest upsampling DAC’s. I suspect that the 22C is based on the (somewhat outdated) 18 bit Monarchy DAC which has been discontinued and remaining stock sold off for about $250. Upsampling DAC’s seem to be evolving very quickly, and the 22C is one of the older ones. My personal assessment of the 22C is that is probably is a good sounding, well-built unit, but there is better sound to be had for the money. Still, if you only listen to a single digital source, you could keep your system really simple with just a 22C between your player and your amp.
I owned the unit for a while and used it with a ARC CDP-One and a rega Planet. The unit sounds very very good and is competitive with costlier units. I know that there is a 24/96 ket availabele for about $50.00. I know nothing of cosmetic defects. CC is a really nice guy, just call him and ask if there is any truth to the cosmetics rumor. They also have a 30 day return policy with a restock fee (check with CC for the restock charge). It is my guess that you would be very happy with the unit. It is built very well and appears to be a costlier piece than the asking price. Regards, Mike