Little Labs Monotor Audiophile Headphone Amp
The Little Labs Monotor features a cutting-edge, full-voltage low-noise internal linear regulation system with outstanding capacitance that delivers power on demand for each rail.
In Jonathan Little's own words:
"The Little Labs MONOTOR is designed with what I call a zen circuit topology.
Only a single state of the art active stage is used in the circuit path of each headphone ear, with all else, straight wire passive (this includes all the mono functions as well). All passive components in the audio path were selected for sonic neutrality, this includes dale/ vishay resistors, nichicon muse series caps and specialized polystyrene film decoupling caps.
The MONOTOR uses a full voltage state of the art super low noise internal linear regulation system (4 uVrms) with massive capacitance for power on demand on each rail. Just one internal filter capacitor used (there are 6) is bigger than a whole USB dongle digital to analog converter/headphone amp. This allows for a noticeably improved dynamic range over other headphone amps.
You will also be able to drive even high impedance phones to full volume without any strain whatsoever, and no detectable hiss even at the highest volumes. The Little Labs MONOTOR when I say it is state of the art, it truly is, and could not have been built just a year ago. I’m proud to say, this is not a rehashed old analog circuit, with this labor of love, we’ve taken analog to another level."
The Little Labs Monotor Features:
- Dual 1/4” AND 3.5mm separately amplified headphone jacks, for no “where’s that adapter” hook up and partner monitoring.
- Extensive mono monitoring capability: left plus right, left, right, and even left minus right, for phase check and digital compressed audio file artifact analysis.
- Internal state of the art super low noise linear voltage regulation, providing audiophile full current/voltage (unlike USB wimp powered headphone amps).
- Easy input interface for balanced or unbalanced gear.
- Minimal audiophile (almost completely passive) zen circuit path using a single, truly state of the art active stage per headphone output (0.5Ω independently verified output impedance, beware of false .04 ohm output impedance claims).
- XLR/TRS combo jack inputs in parallel with TRS jacks for easy in-line monitoring hook up.
- Stereo mini aux input for talkback communication or easy portable player hookup.
- Quality stepped volume attenuator with internal bypass for remote volume control capability.
- Rack-mountable: Up to 4 Little Labs devices fit in a 1u space.
Little Labs Monotor Notable Users:
“Headphones are more important in mastering than some may think, they’re useful for intricate restoration jobs and a useful reference for clients in attended sessions. The Monotor sounds clean and punchy and seems to suit every set of headphone load we’ve tried. It’s also a great touch that the box supports 1/4inch and 3.5mm terminations.” - John Webber (AIR Studios). Read our press release here.
"The Monotor allows me to hear all those little inner details, the noises that shouldn't be there as well as everything that should. It's like an aural microscope. I'm using HD 600s with a Chord 2Qute or Eastern Electric MiniMax Plus as a DAC depending on my mood. Certainly, the HD 600 is a nice neutral headphone and works wonderfully with the Monotor. I also have a STAX system with the coveted Sigma Pro earspeakers but I find these are rarely used since switching on the Monotor"! - Chris Malone (Audio Restoration Engineer).
Watch our video interview with Jonathan Little here.
Little Labs Monotor Tech Specs
XLR/TRS input impedances:
- Measured in stereo mode with TOA ZM-104 impedance meter.
- Balanced signal measured between pin 2-3 xlr or tip ring trs.
- Balanced input impedance with level control in 5k-11kΩ*
- Balanced input impedance with level control out 8kΩ
- Un balanced input impedance with level control in 4k-5kΩ*
- Un balanced input impedance with level control out 20kΩ
*Front end passive level attenuator varies input impedance depending on setting.
- Headphone output impedance: 0.5Ω
More detailed specs to come. They are so good that Little Labs are looking for independent testing. Check back on the Little Labs website.