I've had the Modi/Magni stack for a couple of days now.. been running it continuously for much of yesterday & today.. so far, I'm very impressed.
Out of the box, it was slightly on the bright side.. but that quality seems to have subsided after three or four hours. I can't say if the brightness was attributed to the DAC or amp since I've used both the Magni & Modi only with each other. The rig is remarkably transparent. The Modi sounds very resolving & detailed.. imaging and instrument separation is excellent, tone and timbre are quite accurate to my ears. Again, transparency is the overarching quality of the DAC. In terms of overall performance, I'd put it on par with the ODAC.. but I'll have to A/B the two to confirm.
The Magni is equally impressive. "Uncolored," "dynamic," "well controlled," and possessing a "spacious, well proportioned, accurate soundstage" are the qualities that immediately come to mind. The Magni seems to combine my favorite aspects of my UHA-6S MKII (w/ OPA209) & Objective2 amp. The clean, well controlled bass, quiet background, high degree of clarity, and very good instrument separation remind me of the UHA.. while the Magni's spacious soundstage & dynamics reminds me of the Objective2's performance. I like how detailed, clear, and resolving this rig sounds.. but it never feels clinical or overly analytical.
The resolving, transparent nature of the rig will easily show the flaws in your recordings.. but not in an overtly harsh manner.. of course, the headphones used play an important role in this equation, too. I've been listening with the HD600 & DT770 AE & both sound fantastic with the M/M stack. I like how they sound out of the M/M stack more than I do out of the ODAC/O2 or ODAC/UHA, in fact. High praise coming from me since the latter two combos are truly special, IME. The high power output combined with excellent control offers a spacious, vibrant sound that drive the HD600 & DT770 AE in an effortless manner. My Paradox is on tour right now, but I'm confident it would pair well with the M/M. The Magni packs quite a wallop, too.. It drives the HD600 to uncomfortably loud levels just after 10pm on the pot while remaining exceptionally well controlled.
As noted by others, there is some very low level sound bleed when the pot is "off" & some channel imbalance (near the very beginning of the pot). Both of these things haven't been an issue for me.. even with some pretty sensitive IEMs. I do like the roll resistance of the pot. Despite me only having to use a small part of the pot (between 8-10 pm), the resistance allows for fairly precise tuning in such a limited area. The Accidentally running your finger into the pot isn't going to send it flying, either.
I'll A/B with my other amps, in time.. but for now.. I'm very happy with the purchase. The clean, sharp look of the stack is very easy on the eyes as well. The gray LEDs are attractive but not distracting and the rig has a substantial feel to it without being unnecessarily bulky.
I haven't heard a lot of amps and DACs in the $50-$300 range (I tend to carefully research as much as possible, buy something, and stick with it), but the fact the M/M gives the ODAC, O2, and UHA a run for it's money is impressive enough for me. For $200, I'd say it's one of the best values around. I wasn't sure if this rig would get much use since i didn't really 'need' it (the TubeDAC-11 being my primary desktop DAC/amp) but the M/M was pleasantly surprising & more than holds its own. It's definitely something I see myself using on a daily basis & the performance doesn't leave me wanting.
All in all, I'm happy to report this Schiit "does not stink."
Edited by FlySweep - 1/3/13 at 7:26pm