The same reasons many companies use things that the community deems inferior and get modded to hell and back. Lack of R&D and extensive testing, perhaps. They probably focused on the actual drivers, and less on the pads. I mean if you look at the HE-4 pads... the mechanism to attach them is THE WORST THING EVER. I mean, WTF were they thinking?
I hear you there
Audio-gd Compass 2 8741? It makes more sense to go with the warmer Wolfson chips one ($429) and then move to (or buy same time)the high-detail ESS chip if need-be vs buying stock ESS model ($499) from the get-go....then you have the OPA upgrades as well for even more dial-in... Earth/Moon/Sun modules
That is one tweakable DAC/amp !
I honestly like NOS and PCM dacs the best, both of my hifiman DAPS have the nicest sound signiture! The AGD 1oES2 with with ESS Sabre 9018 is great with my Dt 880 and HE 400 but it makes the w1000x to thin, the w1000x how ever sounds a smidge heavier and a little warmer SE out of the HM 801 and pb1, that said I hope to move to a Refrance 10.33 at some point my self
still wish I'd know about the compass 2 when I got my M Stage :/