MICRO-REVIEW - MODI/MAGNI COMBO:
I gave my son his Modi/Magni combo for his 15th birthday this Monday, and we've put only about 12 hours on the rig so far. When I offered to let him return it for something better he declined.
The sound with his HD25-1 II and his HD600 + APS V3 cable, paired with a Macbook Pro and lossless music is wonderful for the price. The combo outperforms my $169 Audioengine D1 DAC/amp and $249 Nuforce Icon that he's been using, and comes in closer to the performance of my $449 Nuforce HDP. Not bad for $215 shipped.
I'd say the HDP has a slightly better (more detailed) USB DAC, but the Magni amp beats the HDP amp in refinement and spaciousness, and seems to present a little extra micro-detail when paired with the HDP DAC rather than the Modi. Basically, when I fed the HDP DAC RCA output into the Magni the soundstage size opened up a little with better ambience, the sound was slightly more transparent, and it was a little more refined than the slightly aggressive sounding HDP amp.
All these "slight" improvements added up to a more believable performance overall. It was a good match for both headphones, and effortlessly drives the 300 ohm HD600 (as does the HDP). It drove the HD600 better than other comparably priced rigs like the D1, Icon, or uDAC-2, although the $169 HiFIMan EF2 does a very respectable job although it's DAC is fairly behind the Modi.
I imagine that this combo could improve a bit more after putting a couple hundred hours on the gear. Bravo Schiit !!