Little Labs Monotor Amp

Who has heard Little Labs?
Feedback from anyone would be most appreciated!
@M0N ? @WaveTheory ?

1 Like

Hmmmmmm I totally forgot this existed lol. I recall hearing it briefly a few years ago and it having a fair bit of control over what was plugged into it, it was good but didn’t blow me away at first listen. Honestly kinda tempted to pick one up and get more time with one, because it was good for the short time I had demoed it, so thanks for reminding me of it lol.

If I had to pull some thoughts (which are based off a short amount of time and limited headphone selection), it would potentially be in between a rnhp and g111 in terms of signature, it was very studio neutral (not neutral smooth like the g111 nor neutral-natural like the rnhp), it’s stage was accurate but not overstated (wasn’t as deep and sharp placement wise as the neve, but nor as wide and spacious as the g111 can be, but the neve can sound somewhat more intimate and the g111 more artificially wide and lack placement accuracy), it’s timbre was solid but not stand out (neve was more timbrally and tonally accurate, g111 is prob more an equal here), detail wise most likely on par with the rnhp and lake people imo, for tonal density it was a slight bit dry but not an issue. It does sound better extended in the bass than the neve and better extended in the treble than the g111 (both of which though can be compensated with the proper dac pairing, same goes for other qualms mentioned with the rnhp and g111).

To me the more stand out thing about it was the control and impact it had, while still having very good microdynamics, it really did punch fairly hard and made dynamics pretty easy to judge. It felt very fast and tight especially in the bass, the g111 has more raw impact but the little labs more likely had more control

But I can’t say all too much, I had only tried it with things like an hd600, 880 600 ohm, and a focal clear. And some closed monitoring can that I can’t recall. Would have liked to try a power hungry planar of some sort. Dac wise I think it had been hooked up to a burl b2 and a crane song dac that I can’t recall the name of, but I would really want to better feel out dac synergy as it seemed to respond well but wasn’t overly dependent on the dac for it’s sound (like the rnhp can be, as that can get really picky on what dac you use) but also wasn’t super source forgiving like the g111 can be

Edit: ah and the little labs was a fairly forward amp, pretty in your face about things in comparison to like a lake people or g111, borderline analytical but not in a bad way


This is a great headphone amp that is on par with the Rupert Neve and G111.

Well, came yesterday (kinda surprised it came so fast with how bogged down shipping has been), and I kinda slept on this thing lol, it is really good. So far, what I remembered above is somewhat close, although I really don’t remember this amp being so tight and punchy, it really can kick with control (something that I think it does better than both the g111 and rnhp). It somewhat reminds me of the sound signature of a phonitor but imo improved (if you can’t tell I’m not a fan of the phonitors lol), and it’s really nice with most things I throw at the monotor. So far the headroom on this unit with cans like the 880 600 or adx5000 is really high, great control over those. So far it also has really nice control of cans like the th900 as well although that combo can get a bit too forward. I will say that the monotor with a headphone like the gjallarhorn is a really fun and engaging combo that works really well together as it gives the horn more tightness and better air in the treble without getting overwhelming, and noise floor is not a problem. It handled something like the lcd 24 surprisingly well, it seems it can provide more current and grunt to the low impedance cans better than the neve can but not to the extent of the g111. So far, it really feels like an inbetween rnhp and g111 but more forward than both, so very solid, so another great option in this price range. If I had some qualms, it might be that it sometimes sounds a bit over emphasized in it’s resolving power and can sound a bit unnatural at times but that’s not really a downside more just a trait to note. For out of the 3, you really can’t go wrong as long as you pay attention to what cans you are using, as all 3 of them have compelling reasons over each other and it will just come down to preference so far.

To quickly touch on dac pairing, this is somewhat picky about what dac you use, not as much as the neve is, but it’s not as forgiving as the g111. So far, I’ve had the best experiences with dacs that lean either a touch warmer or are reasonably neutral, going too far analytical ends up being overwhelming and isn’t that enjoyable imo. Having the dac be a slight bit relaxed would also be a bonus. It did scale fairly well and let though some of the characteristics of a higher end dacs like the neve, so it’s fairly transparent there for the price


Gotta say @M0N you are the furthest thing from an audiophile snob I’ve come across. It would be so easy to turn nose up on a lot of gear as you ascent the bowels of entry level gear. You have a curiosity and enthusiasm about GOOD gear at any price point. It’s something you’ve managed to spread amongst the membership here. I’m glad it’s worked out that way. The community as a whole benefits from it.


It can be a times yes lol

Just because someone has higher end gear doesn’t mean they have to lose enjoyment from more budget/midrange things lol


lmk what you think of some Focals (Clear, Elex) on it!

great review!

It’s more impressions than a review lol, at the moment I only have a utopia on me, and it kinda sounded pretty less than ideal on it, but the utopia is a picky sob, but the clear sounded great on it from my short demo I talked about previously, and comparing how the utopia sounds on the rnhp and g111 (all sub par with a utopia lol) the little labs would be my preference over the g111 for the clear, but I would still prefer the rnhp a bit unless I wanted to prioritize better extension overall for bass (for studio it might be a wash between the neve and the monotor but it would really depend on your chain and workflow, and what you are working with)

1 Like

Also I should note that the feature set on this amp is just sweet for all that it has to offer for studio use, it prob won’t matter for casual listening but this thing is really thought out on how it can be used and how it can integrate into an existing setup without issues. Being able to bypass the volume pot (which really feels like a stepped attenuation which I don’t recall it having, really nice) is cool. The mono options are really really nice to the point where I’d want to use it just for that, super handy and useful (for studio lol). Also the l-r phase option is really cool as it basically will remove anything that is in phase, and will only play back things out of phase which can be helpful


Also a few more notes I forgot to mention, it is a tad lean sounding at times but that’s kinda expected given it’s slightly analytical nature but it’s not to the point where it would really bother me, and also staging depth is a bit more iffy in comparison to the rnhp to where it gets a slight bit convoluted when it comes to placement at times. Also the background on this amp is actually somewhat standout in comparison to the rnhp and g111, it has a much more vacant sounding background (not talking about noise floor, the noise floor on the g111 and rnhp is just fine with most headphones as is the monotor) which is pretty nice for the price


In wine, I still get most excited when something can be on the shelf for $9.99 that is just lovely. Every Car & Driver, I’m going to the econobox shootout rather than the Bentley preview.

This ethos you convey that underlies a good heartbeat of this forum (and Z Reviews) is also my predisposition. Thank You.

1 Like

@M0N copying and pasting my question from another thread, your suggestions are appreciated as always!

For dac pairings that would be transportable? Hmm. A chord mojo might be a pretty solid choice actually, while it’s not true line out it still can sound pretty great, and you can just connect it using a 3.5mm to 3.5mm. Allo would also be nice. Neither of the options are really going to stack up to the higher end dacs you have currently though unfortunately, but they can still provide a pretty satisfactory experience. You could use the enog, but I would wonder what you would use that would be trans portable that has optical or coax spdif output to feed it (possibly some laptops have mini toslink in the 3.5mm I guess). I’d say the allo is a bit higher tier than the enog from my experience, and the mojo trades some blows or might be a bit higher than that

So by forward generally I meant it was more likely to push things toward you, be more in your face about things as it pushes detail closer to the listener and the stage is more up front (despite being potentially larger). So basically what you are experiencing there. I was saying more general forwardness overall, not specifically stage. I wouldn’t call forward similar to intimate to clarify

1 Like

That makes sense, I think that was what I was perceiving as well, RNHP is more intimate but Monotor is more forward.

By transportable I don’t really mean using it during travel, more like carrying it for international flights (which I won’t be able to do with BF2 for example) so sth of a smaller and lighter form factor like the ENOG was what came to my mind originally, and not necessarily a battery solution. With the ENOG I also got a Raspberry Pi with a HAT on it (again, small and light). As there really aren’t many options between 200USD to 700USD stuff (and a) I wasn’t particular a fan of the Modius and b) again it’ll be too large to carry for travel)

I only briefly owned the Mojo but only used it as a combo not the DAC alone and I found it not resolving and too warm for my taste possibly also not enough power for full sizes, so I guess it might be to do with the amp section. With its heating problem with the DAC and the not true line out function I am kinda hesitant to use it as a DAC

Is the Allo a still a bit higher tier than JNOG then?

Btw apparently interference is normal: FAQ — Little Labs

Ahhhhhh ok. Gotcha


I think it can be, but with the little labs it’s prob going to be on equal footing from a technical perspective. That being said the ability to tune on the allo would push it over the edge for me more (also assuming with the allo you also grab the nirvana smps)

Interesting, now that I think about it, I’ve kinda tackled most rf problems I’ve had in the past so I typically don’t get those issues anymore. But yeah try moving to a different room to test. Depending on where you are, it might not be reasonable to break off the grounding pin (in the us it’s easy, but with some of the plugs over seas they have more robust grounds)

Alright, I’ll keep an eye on a good deal but might not be worth it with the Nirvana/Shanti PSU over the E/JONG if the cost is substantially higher (the ENOG is only like 150USD used).

Yeah the UK plug is pretty robust lol, I don’t hear much interference as long as the phone is not next to it tbh.

1 Like

@M0N just a thought, how does Holo Cyan pair with the Monotor?

In the UK it’s even easier, just open the plug and disconnect the ground. (don’t do this unless you understand the repercussions and you want to take the risk).
But if the issue only occurs when your phone is near it, it’s not a ground problem, it’s an RF issue.

1 Like

Thanks. Well I certainly do not understand, but I’ve a feeling it’s more interference than ground issue, which is fine, forces me to keep my phone away when enjoying music :grin:

Possibly pretty well, I haven’t had a holo at the same time as the monotor, but that is likely a good pairing to keep it pretty clean and detailed but give it a bit more spatial pop, a bit of a warmer slightly smoother response, and improve other technicalities


1 Like