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Interview with CC Poon


The Philosophy and Driving Forces of Monarchy Audio

..and then some!

How did you come about the name “Monarchy” for your brand of equipment?

Answer: 30 years ago we attempted to import audio products from UK, known for their leading position in high end audio, with products like the BBC monitor and the Quads, B&W’s,  etc. But being in San Francisco instead of in the East Coast, we found the cross-country inland freight to be quite inhibitive. We decided to import audio from the Far East instead. And we had been offering  some  high end audio kits from Luxman Japan , until their ownership changed hands.

What is your story of how you got into the business of producing components?

Answer: After Luxman we could not find any high end audio from the Far East that met our objectives, and decided to go into production ourselves. Our objective being: High End at Low Cost.  It has become our motto.

Please share how you acquired military tubes (and other components?) used in your designs, and how you feel they are of special quality in your products.

Answer: The Defense Department auctioned off their stock of tubes, and we won the bid to acquire the 6DJ8’s. These tubes have a JAN (Joint Army Navy) marking on them and are known for their ultra reliability, meeting Military requirements. We believe reliability is as important as sound quality.

What make and type of tubes do you use in the M24? Why did you select these tubes for the M24?

Answer: The 6DJ8 is actually a radio frequency tube that the Defense Department used in their communication equipment. Later  Hi End circles found out that it had very good sonic characteristics as well. This tube was subsequently used in many high end tube  gear and can be found in famous brands.

What is the design of the tube dac in the M24? I have seen preamps with a mu-follower design and this looks similar. Did you use the mu-follower design I the M24? If not, what is the layout?

Answer: All the four sections of tube amplification use a proven (by  extensive listening) SRPP circuitry that has a triode gain stage and a direct-coupled cathode follower(mu-follower) for relatively low output impedance, which is capable of driving headphones directly. Each 6DJ8 contains two triodes and are used in the above configuration.

Why make a DAC that is both solid state and tube? What are the advantages of this design?

Answer: The solid state output is included to:

1: challenge other SS DAC’s with similar 24/96 functions
2: provide a separate set of output for sub-woofer connections
3: allow the user to compare SS  DAC out versus Tube DAC out.
4: give the user the best value for money: the M24 is actually a 3-device combo: SS DAC, Tube DAC, Tube Line Amp all in one package.
5: allow the M24 to operate even without tubes(as a stand-alone SS DAC).
6: allow the user to use both the SS DAC and the Tube DAC at the same time.

What do you say to someone who insists that a tube DAC cannot be as good as a solid state dac because by using tubes it adds distortion?

Answer: All the professional reviews and user comments on the M24 attest to the most enjoyable listening experience using the tube DAC.  Musicality far outweighs slightly higher distortion, and in actually listening it is never a concern with any listener. The SS DAC undoubtedly yields lower distortion and is part of the reason its being included in the package. The two DAC’s provide a slightly different sonic perspective and can be easily compared by the front panel Push Button.

Why design a DAC/preamp with Home Theater pass through circuitry and yet not have a remote?

Answer: We agree a Remote would be a welcome feature although it adds more to the cost. We might very well be offering either a retrofit or a new version with Remote but we must always keep our motto in mind: High End at Low Cost.

I have had two experiences with blown fuses, one on the amp and the     other on the DAC. It is very good that the units are designed to allow for easily replacing fuses. Are there things an owner can do to prevent blowing fuses?

Answer: Fuses are for protection of the unit. We admit that we had used marginal ones that could blow on a cold start. We have included extra fuses for the convenience of the user and also we now use fuses of a slightly higher rating to avoid the hassle.

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Monarchy Audio
380 Swift Ave., #21 South
San Francisco, CA 94080, USA
Call: 650.873.3055
Fax: 650. 588.0335
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Product of the USA