Review: Monarchy Audio Model 33 Preamplifier

Category: Preamps

Since I am young I don't have as much experience as some here at audiogon but I would very much like to share my experiences with the Monarchy Audio MODEL 33 DAC/preamp.

I purchased this product right here off of Audiogon about 5 months ago and have been very pleased with its performance. The Model 33 replaces an older Marantz receiver as the pre amp.

I don't mainly listen to one particular genre of music but usually binge on one type or the other.(I listen to music as if it were the soundtrack to my life so it quite often varies with my mood etc)...but I do have favorite artists:

-PINBACK(my current favorite band)
-Nick Drake
-Stan Getz(one which I use for testing)
-Al DiMeola(anothere
-Yo>Yo Ma
-Jeff Buckley
-Rachmoninov, Bach, Mahler
-Tool(and a perfect circle)
-King Crimson

I even will listen to some electronica on occasion. Since I listen to a wide variety of music I like my system to play it all.

Anyway the Monarchy Model 33 DAC/preamp has really proven to be great piece in my system. I do use it's internal DAC which receives its signal via a Monarchy DIP and Sony DVD player. Let me list its strengths and weaknesses for me:

-Integrated DAC/preamp saves space and money on extra cables
-I can use both the XLR and RCA outputs at the same time to drive my amps and also my subwoofer
-Adds no noise to my system at all
-Can drive long lengths of interconnects
-Handsome design and ruggedly built

-There is supposed to be an upgrade to upsample but its not out yet
-NO REMOTE! that bugs me quite alot

The 33 is just about perfect for my setup in that it does its job as a DAC and preamp. I was not able to compare it side by side with the adcom models I tested nor the Decware model but I can say that I have not been feeling the need to upgrade since I got it which I think says alot for.

If you are looking for a starter DAC/preamp this is great unit to begin with.

Associated gear
Sony DVP-NS315 DVD/CD transport, Monarchy DIP, DIY coaxial digital cable, XLO balanced digital cable,Monarchy Audio SM-70pros(4),Magnepan 1.6QRs

Similar products
ADCOM GFP-535II, ADCOM GFP-750, Decware Zen Triode Linestage
Nice review and a very nicely matched system. Since you are familiar with Monarchy, you might want to try their 48/96 upsampler. I was sceptical at first but decided that it was an inexpensive way to try upsampling with Redbook CD's and no 24/96 or 24/192 DAC. I usually run 2 Resolution Audio Quantum DAC's off of a Cesium Transport but decided to try the upsampler with my old Monarchy DT-40 transport, DIP Super Drive and one Quantum. I don't know why adding dither and reclocking (a second time) makes a difference, but it does. It does not pass and HDCD signal through for some reason, but it's not a problem. All my Redbook CD's sound very HDCD. Better overall than the Cesium/2 Quantum set up. Enjoy!
A step up from the Monarchy Model 33 is:

Camelot Arthur 3.0 DAC
Morrison ELAD

These two pieces used run about $800 or so total.

I used a Monarchy Model 33 for a while and moved to the Camelot & Morrison combo.

My main problem with the Monarchy Model 33 is that it has passive preamplification. This ultimately is not dynamic nor is it detailed.

Personally, I prefer Monarchy amps over their preamplifiers. The SE100 Deluxes are great amps if you can live within their power outpu (100wpc).