Monolith RCA Cables - Monoprice "Higher End" Offering - Thoughts?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by TheVinylAddict, Dec 4, 2017.

  1. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict Forum Resident Thread Starter

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  2. Standingstones

    Standingstones Forum Resident

    South Central PA
    The cables I would be looking at are the SVS speaker and normal interconnects.
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  3. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Thanks. I have tried both...

    Was kinda hoping for anyone who has tried the Monolith cable, or would offer up their expertise at the detailed description and pics in the ad.

    Not being a cable innards expert, does that construction match a good cable? This is definitely Monoprices way of offering higher quality at a decent price.... but it is all relative, and I just don't know.

    Also please don't assume I am asking because I am looking to buy them - well at least not at the moment.... I am truly wondering as I have never seen these before, and they are semi-new on the Monoprice site.
  4. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    They look very decent. Don't like the plastic on the connectors but otherwise they look okay.

    By the time I add shipping they're not any cheaper than what I currently use, and I'd rather stick with what I know works for me.
  5. ti-triodes

    ti-triodes Forum Resident

    Be aware that the price is for one cable only. People with those new fangled stereos have to buy two. :)
    SandAndGlass and Strat-Mangler like this.
  6. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Yes, I saw it was for one cable. I liked your comment about new fangled stereos, most alive today probably don't get that! :)
  7. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Yes they do, and why I posted... I do have to come clean a little - it has been in my profile the whole time, but I actually bought one pair of the 6 ft cables a couple months ago. I use them from my Denon to my 2 channel amp....

    I actually got them for 20% off, then if you bought two they were marked down even further. Like all things Monoprice, wait for the sales and discounts.

    I am thinking of upgrading more cables in my system, and after hunting around, thinking of more Blue Jeans (which are not cheap either - more expensive) I kept coming back to these, thinking "are the specs / cable as good as they look?"

    But not being a cable expert, I then asked for help. The fact they show such meticulous pictures of the construction, use Litz wire.... I was hoping someone with a high degree of experience could help me out on the pros and cons.

    Also, I am not looking to start a cable war - I know how these topics go and why people avoid them - just looking for comments on these cables and their own merits (or not).
  8. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    @Vinyl Addict, if you want some cables that are inexpensive but similar quality to BJC, I can recommend Complete Cable Concepts. They have many different types of cable available and will make almost anything you want to order. Nothing wrong with BJC either, I use their speaker cables. Also not looking to get into a cable war.

    For me the most important things about cables is that they are well shielded, have good quality connectors, and are the length I need. I don't get into cable voodoo and have no need for expensive tone controls.

    With BJC and CCC, all the specs are out in the open (including capacitance). No BS whatsoever.

    If I was on a really tight budget, I would certainly look closely at those Monoprice cables, especially if I could get them during a sale. Amazon Basics has decent cheap cables as well - had some of those hooked up to my tape deck before it started acting up.
    TheVinylAddict likes this.
  9. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Thanks, I will definitely look into to those also. Of course I have tried MANY cables over the years - you probably have too, but I am one that does not buy the cheapest, but doesn't spend a mint - I try to find the sweet spot.

    BJC is the most expensive cables I have (the Ebay Shearer cables are very similar in construction, a little cheaper), but always on the lookout for something in that range.

    Thanks again for the rec, they are on the radar.

    EDIT: BTW, when I saw your budget comment - did you click the link and view which Monoprice cables I was referring to? Just checking - these are not the cheapies... now you are making me wonder if folks aren't checking into the thread because it says "Monoprice!"
  10. carrick doone

    carrick doone Forum Resident

    Vancouver, Canada
    I've tried them. In comparison to home made cables of varying types the Monolith RCA cables I tried are not impressive. They sounded dull to me and I took them out. I really wanted them to be an addition to my mid to high end system.

    Caveat: this was a few years ago and I purchased the black covered cables with the more substantial plug but they were promoted as higher end cables. If Monoprice has a new version I can't comment.

    Their 14 gauge speaker wire is great though - maybe not cryogenic high, high end great but for the price and for short runs, fantastic.
    rbmitch2 and TheVinylAddict like this.
  11. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Yes, I did click the link. For me, budget is anything under $30 or so.
  12. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Good branding. Opens them up to a whole new customer base. Continues to stay relevant in the audio world; able to add more products the service the enthusiast, whichever direction they pursue. Good for them.
  13. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Thanks for sharing.... I think these are different, these only came out earlier this year.
  14. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I will say these cables are getting some interesting reviews - for instance on Amazon (yeah, I know, just quoting :)) one reviewer says they are worse capacitance than the cheaper Monoprice, then the next reviewer says they are better than BJC: Typical Amazon all over the map - but sometimes you can get good info, you just have to find out for yourself which one.

    I will say they bear a striking resemblance to these now that I have looked around: ETHEREAL EXS-D2 Silver Plated 4x Shield Digital Coax Audio Cable 6.4ft

    Rumor has it that the Etereal were slashed in price (as you can see in the ad) AFTER the Monolith was put to market.... so Monoprice found their supplier, then undercut them I would think.

    All in all, I am seeing that it is not a BAD cable... but the 65pf capacitance the one Amazon review quoted would be concerning - although the next reviews refutes that.

    I should measure mine.... just out of curiosity.
  15. ralf11

    ralf11 Forum Resident

    I would not pay the xtra $$ for those. Use balanced cabling if possible.
  16. wwaldmanfan

    wwaldmanfan Forum Resident

    NJ, USA
    These are admittedly 4x the price of the ones you are considering, but you buy them once, and they last a lifetime. The screw-down connectors are much better than the push-on type, that can damage your equipment.
    I would not advocate spending more than this, but $120 for a custom made in the USA, high-quality 1-meter pair is a good deal. Don't just buy a barely adequate, cheaper Chinese product, support a mom & pop American business, the owner of whom is also a veteran.
    Douglas Connection BRAVO Analog Interconnect Cables
  17. How tightly do the Monolith cables grip on the RCA jacks? The other Monoprice cables grip tighter than I like. Not quite a grip of death, but tighter than I like.

    A lot of my gear has the RCA jacks just soldered on to the circuit board, and the solder joints are the only thing supporting the RCA jack. Every time you plug a cable on and remove a cable you're stressing those solder joints. The tighter the cable grips the more stress you put on the RCA jacks. I don't like that.

    One thing I like about the Blue Jeans Cables is the Canare RCA plugs they use have have a sort of leaf spring connection that makes contact. Makes secure contact but does not have a grip of death. Secure contact but easy and safe to plug in and remove often. I like them.

    The screw-down style RCA plugs are able to get a good grip. But I know I'd forget that it's a screw-down connector and try to unplug it without first unscrewing it to loosen the grip. I don't want cables where I can make a mistake like that and end up damaging the RCA jacks on my gear. Cables aren't worth potentially damaging your gear.
  18. wwaldmanfan

    wwaldmanfan Forum Resident

    NJ, USA
    C'mon, how do you forget that you have to unscrew the connector, and damage the amp? These prevent wear and tear if you operate them correctly.
  19. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I hear ya - I tried the cheap Monoprice cables a few years back on the system in my woodshop (trying to save a buck) - the reviews all said "grip of death" and sure enough. That was a nightmare, I tried them for a couple of days and sent them back.

    Funny thing - I bought some of their RG-6's recently for sub in the shop, and they were way too loose! So loose that if I accidentally hit the cable while moving things around, it would send feedback into the sub - that always makes your heart skip a beat. Took those off too - want to send them back also! I think Monoprice got the message on the "too tight" and took it 180 the other way it seems, now some are too loose.

    I have BJC cables also (and the Ebay knockoffs) in my main HT and I like them. If I could get the same quality for cheaper, I would but it is easier said than done. This system I am upgrading the cabling is the HT my sons' and wife often use, and it has lower end cabling now (Kabeldirekt).

    These Monolith RCA cables - as I said I have one pair currently that connects my pre to the amp for my fronts in the main HT - do NOT have the grip of death - in fact sometimes I wish they were a tad tighter, but they are not bad. They are fat on the ends where they touch on amps / connections where the L/R are close together. (like the Denon 7200 pre-outs I am using them on now.) It is plastic jackets that touch, no metal.

    At this point it is either these, maybe the ones patient_ot recommended above, or just spring for more BJC. The Kabeldirekt are not bad, but since I upgraded the speakers and amp in the other HT room, they gotta go... they are the weak link at this point. (although I bet some would debate that).
  20. I've studied psychology and industrial engineering human factors and understand how and why I, or someone else, would make a mistake like that. The screw-down connectors violate a number of human factors design principles. They're a mistake waiting to happen. I generally avoid using devices and processes that have design flaws that I know I'd possibly fall for and end up making a mistake due to that design flaw. Because I know how susceptible people are to making those mistakes, even if they think they're smart enough to avoid those mistakes.

    Good design take into account that people will make common mistakes based on how things are designed. Design things correctly and people will make fewer mistakes while using those devices. The screw-down RCA connectors are an example of what I would consider bad design. A design that will cause some people to use them incorrectly and possibly damage equipment. If they can figure out how to do that sort of connector in a way that avoids common user errors then I'd be all for it. But as they are currently designed I will never use a screw-down RCA connector.

    There are also cable RCA connector designs that are more dangerous to hot-plug while the equipment is on. I refuse to use cables like that even if they are better audiophile cables. Because I know that I or someone else would end up making a mistake and damage gear due to that sort of cable and connector design.
  21. wwaldmanfan

    wwaldmanfan Forum Resident

    NJ, USA
    Is this a serious post? How old were you when you learned to open a jar of peanut butter? If you have memorized how to do that, you can operate a screw-down RCA plug. Same principle. Twist it one way to tighten it, the other way to loosen it. You are not building a moon rocket, you are connecting two stereo components with a piece of wire.
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  22. I'm old enough and smart enough to have a double degree in industrial engineering and computer science and to have taken graduate level courses in human factors. I'm also old enough and smart enough to know how fallible and stupid I am when confronted with poor design. Screw-down RCA connectors are an example of poor design from a human factors standpoint, but good design from an audiophile standpoint.

    Three Mile Island and numerous airline disasters were caused or made worse by poor human factors. Those accidents weren't caused by the operators at Three Mile Island not being smart enough or the pilots of the airplanes not being smart enough. But the human factors in the design of the equipment they were operating conspired against them and made the accidents worse or more likely to happen. That's bad design. It's not the fault of the pilots or the operators. It's the fault of the engineers that designed the equipment and the interface.

    The screw-down RCA connectors are an accident waiting to happen. I can consider myself smart enough to know that I've used screw-down connectors and need to unscrew them to remove them. But I'm also smart enough to know that I'm not smart enough to make sure that I never make the mistake of trying to remove them after forgetting that they're screw-down connectors. I also know that someone other than me is going to try to disconnect my equipment and they won't know to unscrew the RCA connectors before removing them. It's bad design. Design that is going to cause human error.
    Doc Diego, basie-fan, 4xoddic and 2 others like this.
  23. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Me? I was 11... or maybe 12. So them screw down RCA connectors, I figure after four or five go-rounds I would probably have them mastered.... then again I am a real quick study.

    I'll be honest though, I would probably need a cheat sheet - I think I am going to scribble that down on a sticky and put it on the back of the amp.... "Twist one way to tighten... other way to loosen." See - no problem here.... :)

    EDIT: I hope you have fun with this reply and take the way it was intended - your reply made me laugh, not at anyone, but just because it was funny.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
  24. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict Forum Resident Thread Starter

    The part in bold is what made me see this from both sides of the problem.... this is a good point.

    I had some Monster screw down connectors, and my son ripped the jack out of my phono stage a couple months back... my fault for asking him to do it... I forgot to tell him.

    I still see both sides of the equation - even though they could be construed as a bad design for that reason, in a controlled environment where they are used by knowledgeable people, the tighter connection is a plus. Don't want to continue the argument, I respect both sides, but good points on both sides.
  25. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Yeah, I will be back to that point soon... I have an A21 coming for 2 channel amp, it has balanced, I plan on getting a pre with balanced and HT bypass to match that....

    But I will still have a lot of RCA cables in use regardless (I have 3 different HT setups) - the balanced will be targeted at a couple of high return areas - like my 2 channel listening in the main HT room.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017

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