I've spent a couple of days with my new M-Stage - mostly paired with my k701s and listening to a variety of different music (Alt Rock, Vocals, Acoustics, Blues). So far, at the risk of the placebo effect of falling in love with new gear, I am incredibly impressed. Specific to my k701s - I really have never heard them sound even close to this good - by a wide margin. I only have ever heard them out of my LDI+ and MKIII (sold) and although I have no negative comments on these amps (and plan on keeping the LD I+ for a long time) - It's obvious to me that they were just never able to bring out the best in these awesome phones.
The vast soundstage and incredibly detailed presentation from the k701s is really apparent to me - a night and day difference I think. This is the the amp I decided on when looking for a great SS match for the AKGs (I considered the Sheer Audio, GLite, Heed Canamp, etc.). I obviously have no comments on those other amps and am sure they are great - I have never heard them. I can only tell you the M-Stage and k701s really seem to be a fantastic match for me.
I briefly tried the k271s (an outstanding/under-rated phone IMO) and felt it sounded fantastic as well. A notch or 2 below the k701s but I expect that. I only listened to my D2000s for a short while with the M-Stage. It sounds great but didn't blow me away the way the k701s did - however I plan on doing a more intensive comparison between the M-Stage and the LD I+ with the Denons. Plus - whenever I pop the Denons on my head after listening to my AKGs for an extended period of time I need a bit of an adjustment period before they grab me again. I'll reserve judgement on those cans for now.
Great power while being dead silent - it absolutely reveals every minute detail in my source (which can be good or bad depending on what you have feeding this little beast). What a great addition to my set-up - just a superb value for the price. I'm very pleased I made this choice!
im very curious, have you tried any iem's on it yet? iwas hoping that gain switch would be good for the iem