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Matrix m-stage or Schiit Asgard?

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 

I've been looking for a headphone amp to pair with my Audinst HUD-MX1 DAC and Senn HD600s. From what I've read the m-stage and Asgard both have great reviews and are both at the same price point. Which one should I go for?

post #2 of 38

I'm in the same boat. Would also like to get some feedback. My headphones are the D7000 and maybe the new HE 300 along the way.

post #3 of 38

That's a good question Trist. I have the Audinst myself and have been thinking of buying the M-Stage, or perhaps the Fournier HTA-1 tube amp.


Well, in project86's review of the Audinst, he really liked the combination with the M-Stage: 


Next I tried the Audinst as DAC with the M-Stage as amp. This was the best yet, and I can safely conclude that the mx1 is a better DAC than the Gamma1, and the M-Stage is clearly a better amp than the mx1. This explains what I was hearing before; the mx1 DAC providing better resolution but the M-Stage driving the signal better. When you combine the 2 of them, you have a combo that is very hard to beat. The power is there, the control, the resolution, the micro-dynamics as well as the tiny details being presented very clearly. There is a great tonal density and very accurate timbre, and it just feels like you are listening to performers in the room with you rather than a recording. This was especially evident when playing the high resolution tracks with the better headphones, LiveWires and K702 being my favorites of this bunch. Even an album like “The Slip” by Nine Inch Nails, which doesn’t initially come across as being audiophile fodder, sounds startlingly real on some tracks. There is a point on one track in which Trent Reznor’s voice seems to come at you from the extreme side of your room. It is possibly one of the best examples of “outside the speaker (or headphone in this case)” realness I have ever heard, and it is coming from a lowly $430 setup. Of course the great recording in high resolution deserves most of the credit, but still.


Since I bought the Audinst mainly on the strength of this review, I have been leaning towards purchasing one for myself.


I have not heard any of the Schiit amps, so I cannot speak to how well they pair with the DAC.  I have the DT 990's (250) and an Audio Technica W1000X on the way, but like jronan2 I've been eyeing the HE-300s for an early birthday present... beyersmile.png

post #4 of 38
post #5 of 38

The main problem I have with the m stage is that many say its a warm amp. That scares me a little because I don't want my denon's to be warm I want them to have that edginess towards them and want the treble to remain what I am used to hearing.


This review shows how much this guy likes the asgard even against the other schiit amps, I already have the LYR and think its one hell of an amp so his opinions grab my attention. You will also notice at the end of the review in the comments section many people ask which mike would prefer: either the M stage or Asgard. He liked the Asgard more, especially for dynamic headphones.




At the end of the day I see its almost 50/50 who prefer the m stage or asgard.

post #6 of 38
Thread Starter 

From what I've read, the Asgard is warmer than the m-stage :/

post #7 of 38

No...the m-Stage is just slightly warm, but opamp rolling can change that, along with Class A biasing. I have owned both and would easily recommend the m-Stage over the Asgard. It seems to pair excellently with many headphones, and ime the Asgard is pickier. Add to that the opamp rolling, and gain switches and it seems like a no brainer. I also felt like the Asgard was slower sounding than the m-Stage, which may or may not be to your liking...depending on the headphones.



post #8 of 38

I dont want to change opamps I already play with tubes on my other amp I want a maintenance free amp so opening up and doing tweaks is not what I'm looking for. Not to be a ****** but I been doing a lot of reading on the m stage and asgard and you praised the asgard when you had it, so it can't be all that bad. If I had $700 to blow and room on my night stand I would buy a burson HA 160 and call it a day, unfortunately I have neither so I'm left with choosing one of these. What kind of music do you listen to and what headphones did you like more on the matrix?

post #9 of 38

You just roll opamps once, lol.  Not that the amp is bad with the stock OPA2134 jellybean.  Thing is, people keep ordering OPA627 from Tam Audio and then when they compare them to authentic OPA627 chips bought from Farnell/Digikey/Newark, shock!  Tam Audio sells fakes.  Buy a pair of AD797ANZ and a 2x1 socketed adapter and you are set.  (No soldering required.)

post #10 of 38

The only positive I noticed about the Asgard was that it powered the AKG's just fine (and DT 990/600) and had good separation that was very noticeable with vocals, instruments etc. However it was extremely HARSH. That is the one word I would use to define the Asgard in my experience with it. The m-Stage clearly had more power with both the 72? ohm AKGs and the 600 ohm Beyers. Those are both somewhat sibilant headphones to begin with, which is also why I probably preferred the ever so slightly warm m-stage with them. The m-Stage (modded Class A w/ opa627) was also a MUCH smoother Class A sounding amp to my ears than the Asgard, which was also class A. The separation I noticed was pretty much the same between the amps, and the m-Stage seemed to have better overall dynamics, and was quicker sounding with excellent transient response. I believe a lot of my positive comments were because the Asgard was the one of the few times I heard the AKGs properly amped-but overall I couldn't stand the harsh sound signature. I eventually even preferred the AKG straight out of my uDac1 over it. Keep in mind both the Asgard and m-Stage were fully burned in for a couple of weeks each.


And regarding modding the m-Stage, the browndog/op627 is available right on Tam's site, and is a 3 minute plug and play effort that is WELL worth it. So if you have 3 minutes...rolleyes.gif And after reading both of the big Asgard and m-Stage threads in their entirety, I think it's safe to say that the consensus is that the m-Stage is the *better* all-around amp for a wider range of headphones.



post #11 of 38

Thanks for the input, I'm still undecided and not really in a rush to make a choice. Has any used D7000's with both amps besides "Frank I", who has already gave me his honest opinion. I previously had a E9 to my MSII+ which honestly was quite amazing for the D7K, I'm looking for that same aggressive sound.

post #12 of 38

I have also been debating between a couple of amps, including the Asgard and M-Stage. After reading everyone's opinion on here it sounds like the M-stage is the way to go...

post #13 of 38

I'm in the same situation as well, I'm looking for a good amp to take the edge off my PRO2900s treble while still keeping the aggressive and fast sound.

post #14 of 38

matrix m-stage for sure.  do your class A mod as mad max stated. worth all the effort going that route compared to stock op. M-stage is a great amp no doubt about it, solid construction to boot.   REAL 627's in class A will make 80 percent of people totally happy (just my 2 cents).  


ps if you do some digging you'll find i just sold myn but only because im switching to gear that can work with both my 2 channel speaker setup and headphones, so the maverick gear fit my bill. The matrix was the hardest thing i've ever had to sell.



post #15 of 38
Thread Starter 

Which amp has a better soundstage? It's quite important to me since I listen to a lot of ambient and atmospheric music.

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