BTW, you shouldn't call it the C2. That was a whole other A-GD amp they no longer sell, lol.
What Schiit stack, the Modi/Magni?
Better. Not as bright. I preffered the ODAC to the Modi, which was more fleshed out and not as bright. The internal DAC on the Compass 2 sounds basically the same as the ODAC to my ears, mneaning better than the Modi by a hair. The Compass 2's amp sound basically as good as the SA-31 (without the SA-31's ability to drive things needing 10watts at 40ohm, lol). Still 3.5watts at 40ohm is more than enough for most headphones.
It's clear, energetic, and I could swear the mids on the HE-400 sound their best with this setup. I haven't heard the HE-400 sound this clean.
Here's my initial impression on the Compass 2 thread:
I love the simplicity of having everything in one package. Less clutter, and cables. Yes, you can use your own DAC with the Compass 2 if you want (like testing the ODAC with the Compass 2's amp), and it has a fixed line out (for using as a DAC only for another amp which I find unnecessary unless you wanna try tube amps) or variable line out for something like speakers that don't have their own volume control (I hooked up my cheap desktop speakers to it which don't have their own volume control). In default, it's variable, so if you want fixed, you'll have to add a jumper (as mentioned on A-GD's website.) I say that unless you plan on using another amp, I'd leave it at variable.
The Compass 2 is full of energy and clarity. I honestly think it pairs up better with the HE-400 than the SA-31 did (I could swear the mids are clearer with the Compass 2). Of course, changes are subtle, but I really love the Compass 2 so far. The Magni and O2 are very neutral amps, while the Compass 2 is neutral with a hint of musicality/warmth. I much prefer to have some warmth. Trust me.
The initial setup (on the computer) is a bit of a pain, but not too hard.
This is my 3rd Audio-GD device, and I'm a true fan of Kingwa's stuff. I don't see myself getting another main amp/dac in the future, instead probably just getting a portable one for a laptop or something (like the E17...for the 3rd time, lol).
edit: Hmm, I may have to change from ES9018 direct to using the DIR module, as I'm getting some crackles here and there. It's a very rare occurence, but it did happen. Had a feeling my PC's sound card was gonna be a piece of crap.
The Compass 2 have built in DIR module (Users can choice either DIR9001 and WM8805 install while place the order, in default install WM8805 and SPDIF feed to ES9018 direct ) .
Users can choice the SPDIF signal feed to either ES9018 direct and through DIR module with 3 jumpers setting , which is simply for users choice different sound flavors .
If match with low end PC sound card have large jitter cause the sound interrupt by feed to ES9018 direct, users can setting through DIR module for help . In default SPDIF feed to ES9018 direct
The setting guide:
1, Pull off the power cable at first .
2, Take off the top cover of the chassis.
3, Setting the jumpers .
4, Get back the top cover and push into the power cable tight .
I specifically asked for the DIR9001 as it's more neutral than the stock DIR chip. I guess I'll change it when I come home from shipping out the SA-31.
Edited by Mad Lust Envy - 1/15/13 at 11:03am