The Monolith features a new headphone technology by Dirac called Sensaround. I would say no. The pass through is only for the RCA inputs. Zero processing. I applaud Monoprice for providing a full complement of performance measurements by THX for the amp as a downloadable ZIP file on its website. I have a very good amp with an independent headphone output and this Monoprice unit outperforms it in spades. Many headphone amplifiers with passthroughs will mute the passthrough when headphones are plugged in and we want to know if this device does that. Or, to call it by its formal name…the SMSL SP200 THX AAA-888 Headphone Amplifier. There are lots of desktop headphone amps out there, but I can’t think of any that deliver anything close to this combination of performance and features for $500. There are a lot of differences, but the primary difference is that one is simply an amplifier and nothing else, and the other is an amplifier, a DAC, and a digital signal processor. When engaged, Dirac Sensaround promises to make your headphones sound more like traditional speakers. Works great with my Sennheiser HD700 and Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital. THX Achromatic Audio Amplifier (THX AAA™) ensures the ultimate no-compromise headphone audio experience by delivering the world’s highest fidelity audio with infinitesimally low levels of noise, distortion and power consumption. Yes I used it with an hd800. On the headphone side, you’ll find both 1/4-inch and XLR (balanced) outputs. Dirac is a well known name in the audio and home theater world. You might have a different experience and preference. It is amplifier only, Dirac is implemented in DAC. It won’t knock off any of today’s top contenders for the crown of best headphone amp at any price, but it will have its peers running for cover. Given that experience, there is likely no need to unplug ordinary headphones when powering the unit on or off. Bass was never anemic nor disproportionately emphasized. The story may be different with highly sensitive IEMs so YMMV. That’s not the case here. If your DAC has digital volume control, you might find that you get better results setting your dac to a fixed output with no attenuation and then using the volume control on this amp. I don't believe it perfectly balanced but it far exceeds anything in its price range performing 2-3X its price. Actually it runs very cool.I leave mine on and it’s barely above ambient room temp even after long listening sessions. I use this amp with a Topping D90 on top as my office rig. Can this be used as a power amp for headphones with a DAC that has volume control and balanced out? The front display shows you when Dirac is enabled. In my reference setup, I personally use two Benchmark AHB2 power amplifiers, which are based on AAA technology. Using a Topping DX7 Pro with balanced out and volume control with Sennheiser HD500’s. This amp is great value for money, and in my view showcases high end headphones outstandingly, provided the other elements in your signal chain don't limit your results. The biggest difference would be that #24459 also includes a DAC (Digital to Analog converter.) The other difference is #39359 uses a slightly updated THX module, the 887 ans as opposed to the 788 pm the #24459. There can be other factors as well. The 887 is getting removed from the unit and it was only on a handful of early units. I don't see those . There’s a main display in the middle of the unit showing you current volume level, input, signal, and settings you’ve made. There’s a large volume knob flanked by Menu and Enter buttons. The Monolith’s specs are eye-catching. Even if the volume is up. The black brushed-aluminum enclosure and … Will there be an updated version of the Monolith THX DAC/AMP (788) that will utilize this new THX technology (887) in the near future? This amp had ample power, gripping firmly any headphone I threw at it. It will look like the images on our site. To shut down stop music then turn down volume unplug headphones then turn off amp. High gain also raises the amps noise floor. Not that $500 is cheap, of course, but Monolith once again delivers a high-performance product that delivers a tremendous amount of bang for the buck. Yes, I am aware of that. Confirmed, when balanced XLR inputs are used, no output to the RCA. They are outputs for your phones. Call it by its formal name…the SMSL SP200 THX AAA-888 headphone amplifier delivers high performance, rich,. Bit flatter on tracks I know that with no audio playing I turn! Half the space on a desk several PEQ filters a well-earned reputation for building high-quality devices and them. Hd800 and use the unbalanced pass through output, there will not pass through output balanced.! Dac built into it, as this one be completely happy with it driving HD800S balanced?. 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