Review: Monarchy Audio SM-70 pro Amplifier
If you care to read about what musical preferences I am into check out my review of the Monarchy Audio model 33 DAC/preamp. I am kinda lazy and don't really wanna repeat myself here...and I fear I may contradict myself b/c my musical preferences change ever so often.
Anyway onto the review of the about said amps. I originally purchased one SM-70pro to replace an ADCOM GFA-535II amp to drive a pair of Magnepan 1.6QR's(this was about 2 years ago). When I first hooked up the amp it was immediately apparent that this was a more natural and real sounding amp. Details were now pouring out of my system that had been veiled with the ADCOM unit. I was espcially impressed when I played Al DiMeola's "winter nights" cd...this is well recorded cd with lots of subtle sounds which came through clearly with the SM-70pro.
Well I read some more reviews on the SM-70pro and emailed the designer,MR POON...I time, I came to learn that this amp was actually designed to be a fully balanced monoblock amp, so I purchased another one. Let me tell you, if one of these things is great two of them(and now four) are even better.
Adding the second SM-70pro and running them as balanced monoblocks brought the sound up another notch. More of the good stuff...power of course increased as did dynamics, more bass control, cleaner overall and less background noise.
I currently have four of these PROS, each of which is powering individual drivers in my Magnepan 1.6's(one amp per tweeter/mid and one amp per woofer).
-great sound in a nice compact package
-sturdy construction and good looking lil' buggers
-versatility; can be used as a stereo amp or monoblocks(RCA or XLR inputs)
-inexpensive...especially when purchased used(I purchased my first one new direct from Monarchy for $689 then the second one I purchased new for $600 from a Monarchy dealer and my last two for $500 each here off of audiogon)
-deceptively powerful 40w x 2 or 120w x 1 (4ohms)
-excellent sound quality
-they run quite hot(which could be good if you live in Alaska)
-very sharp heat sink fins...I cut my toe once when I was walking barefoot
-there was a hum when I first used them but that was solved by lifting the ground pin
I would give these a 9.5/10 for value and an 8.8/10 for overall sound quality(When I first heard these amps I gave them a 10/10 for overall sound quality but over the last few years I have had the chance to listen to amps that better these...albeit they were far more costly...so 88% of the sound quality for 40-60% less money$$$of course that's just my opinion I hope it helps...if you have any questions for me, just send me and email)
sony DVP-NS315, custom DIY coax digital cable, MonarchyAudio DIP, XLO balanced digital cable, Monarchy Audio model 33 DAC/preamp, SM-70pros, Magnepan 1.6QR
ADCOM GFA-535II, ClasseAudio CA-101