This little amp actually gets me interested as it appears to be neutral and transparent from some impressions I have read so far. I have contacted the vendor to find out if it can handle a DC offset of 1.5 volts.
The most transparent setup for me (so far) is the capless diymod (with HO disabled) > the capless UHA > Reference EXK. That transparency has enabled me to identify/delete some albums with some pretty bad hiss I didn't realize before.
The UHA is pretty neutral and transparent, and it does not add much colors to the sound. This may explains your perceptions "softer".
Now the only time I feel it getting softer is when the battery is near drained.
Edited by DMinor - 2/26/14 at 12:46am