I think Vinnie's mod is the natural extension of what is ultimately possible with the DAC's available, the no compromise, no holds barred solution. It is specialist and I feel will take a long long time to beat in terms of sonics as Vinnie has taken presently what is available to manufactures to its ultimate level.
Now, if and when new hard wear in terms of components come out then that will alter but from what I can see around there is nothing new in the parts catalogue that says that so the new players coming out now can only change the sonic signature, not I feel improve it unless of course subjectively.
Then there is the aspect of Bugs and usability. Its why I went the AK route in the main. I have had next to no issues with mine compared to my 801. I loved the sound of the 801 and am sure I would love its successors sound but to me they are half products, continually needing firmware updates as well as other issues.
It was lauded that the 901 was better value over the AK120 but when it became clear that to achieve the same levels of sonic greatness it needed the balanced amp card the price became the same.
And though it does not matter in terms of sonics having now had a 901 in my hands it feels like a plastic toy from the 1970's in terms of build feel.
Add to that the reviews outside headfi from the serious HiFi press who I have grown up with and value their opinion who say the AK120 is a remarkable machine and worthy of many awards as the best in it's field ( the 901 not even showing!) then I am happy with what I have. I may end up after a year doing the RWA mod if I feel like getting a small amp for ultra portable use but until then this unit gives me immense sonic pleasure, ease of use and plenty of memory combined with exceptional build quality.
Anyway, off Topic i know. Bmichels, what factory code is on your DF96's? did you get them from the Canadian or US supplier?
With more use the similarities between these and the Stuttgart made Lorenz's show they are inseparable in terms of sonics.
Gavin. I am very much looking forward to the day you do some tube rolling. I know your so happy with the stock sound so it will be interesting to see what you feel like about the influence of other tubes.