I have had the Magni for about a week. Just wanted to post some impressions. I'm no expert or anything, I don't have an expensive setup to compare it to, but FWIW, here are my findings. My Magni serial number is in the high 700's for those who were wondering how many have been sold! I have no pot or other issues. Mine operates as expected. Mine was shipped a few hours after I ordered and arrived only two days after ordering. Wonderful service!
The Schitt Magni has a slightly forward presentation with a tinge of brightness. It excels with live music and laid back recordings with greater soundstage separation between instruments. Recordings with compression are simply heightened thereby greatly magnifying their poor sound. Tightly recorded rock music with a slightly forward presentation, as most rock recordings are, tends to have the affect of squeezing the instruments further together, blurring their separation and creating a semblance of an overly bright or forward presentation. I must note that Metallica's Sandman did sound wonderful through the Magni, but I have always found this to be a fairly well recorded album. The Magni excels with laid-back headphones, such as the Sennheiser HD-650, which I used exclusively to evaluate them. I would imagine with more forward headphones, they will sound too bright and focused. The Magni really is like a magnifying glass. I have heard things on recordings that I never knew were there and detail that is unlike what I have experienced without a headphone amp. I use the Magni primarily directly connected to my iPhone via a line out cable, and directly connected to my macbook via a 3.5MM stereo to RCA Cable with volume at around 66% with Amarra as a source. The Macbook, with it's superior DAC, provides a quite livable sound. I have not heard the Magni through an external DAC.
The stringed guitar instruments on various recordings, such as Ryan Adam's Heartbreaker, and Chris Isaak's Baja sessions, have a very round detailed slightly metallic sound which gives the feeling of hearing the pick literally scrapping over the metallic strings and is very punchy and plucky. The vocal harmonies on Heartbreaker's Amy for instance, are clearly recognizable and give a haunting affect and are almost bright. The stringed instruments accompanying the track sit high above the soundstage, with the guitar plugging along the edges of the soundstage, while the occasional drum fills reverberate across the soundstage to amazing affect with great dynamics and punch. Oh My Sweet Carolina also has a great guitar sound and the vocals are very clear and crisp and round, but a bit forward again. In My Time of Need, which is my favorite track on this album (makes me tear up on occasion!), sounds the absolute best with my current setup. The guitar is perfect. I play guitar and know what a guitar should sound like. The vocal presentation isn't quite as forward as other tracks. It's very breathy and airy and the subdued female vocal harmonies are clearly audible.
Evil Ways, from Santana's self titled album, the Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab recording, sounds absolutely perfect. Everything is clear and punchy. This is a highly recommended recording. The dynamic ability of the Magni is clearly put to good use for this track. The punchy guitar, organ and driving rhythm section are all good fodder for the Magni.
Beck's Mutations, the Geffen Records / DGCD 98174 / Canadian Advance Promo - Audiophile Mastering / CD version, is another favorite album of mine. Nobody's fault but my own is quite a conundrum, it manages to sound focused and forward, yet still airy, creaky, distant and soulful.
Swing Live, the 24 Bit DVD version, includes the track Lester Leaps In, and is a good test for dynamics. I would expect the Magni to produce a bit more dynamics, roundness and punch here. There's just something missing. It's as if the Magni has focused in on the mids and high's and lost some of the depth and punch of the drums. But I haven't heard this recording through an expensive amplifier, so I can't comment further here, but the sound is a bit too thin and forward for me. It's almost too focused and detailed, which is a bit unexpected for a live recording. Here, I played with some of the EQ settings and decided to try out the Apple Headphone EQ preset in Amarra. This accentuated the bass a bit and dialed down the high's ever so slightly and offered a much more pleasing sound at the detriment of pushing back the woodwind sound a bit too far into the soundstage.
I will be playing around with the advanced EQ settings offered by Amarra, but for now I am throughly enjoying discovering the Magni.
Massive Attack's Angel is a good track to give the Magni a bass workout. The driving bass line that holds the track together sounds deep, focused, and very good. The rimshots on top sounded good as well, clear, but not too bright. The separation between the various electronic sounds was excellent and I heard details in this recording I had not heard before. The more driving parts of the song sounded great with nice dynamics and detail. The Magni seems to like well recorded electronic music oddly enough. One would think this would sound too bright. But it does like dryer electronic recordings and seems to breath a unique life into them. This track sounds a bit more alive, but still oddly robotic, which is exactly how I would expect it to sound. The cymbal crashes, driving drum sound, guitars…everything sounds great. Wonderful drive, pace and detail.
Emmylou Harris track Where Will I Be, from the album Wrecking Ball, is another track I chose to highlight. I have 16/44 vinyl rip of this album that I enjoy. The drum rhythm that drives this track sounds great off in the left channel. Emmylou's voice is breathy, airy and perfectly staged. The guitar melody is slightly further left of the drums providing a wide soundstage. The bass sits a bit further back and slightly surrounds the other instruments. This track is pure bliss through this setup.
I'm sure there are better amps, but for $100, it sounds very very good. It can be a bit forward, a bit bright, a bit metallic, a bit dry, but it's a very nice amp and depending on what you throw at it, it can sound really really good. I recommend more laid back headphones and more laid back recordings. Even hard rock can sound great through the Magni, just as long as it's not compressed and too forward with its presentation. The Magni really is like looking through binoculars. Focus it in on something beautiful and distant and it will provide some wonderful images, but try to look at something that is too close to you, and it will be overwhelming.
Those are my findings anyway. Hope that was helpful.
Edited by Jules - 1/6/13 at 11:29am