I don't know why or how this is possible, but my Fiio E9 and Micro Amp seem to have better imaging than the Magni.
I thought my ears were playing tricks on me. When switching it's very obvious. Not a huge difference, but my ears are kind of confused when I'm using the Magni.
Both of those amps sounds smoother in the upper mids and treble. I know the E9 has some very minor treble roll-off.
The Micro should be ruler flat..
Maybe imaging worsens when you have more treble (or an impression of it) and a larger soundstage. I've noticed this a lot with mods and the difference between the Q701 and K702 and switching to flat pads. The Magni doesn't seem to have a bigger soundstage than my other amps right now. Just very very slightly thinner sounding overall and that might explain some things.
This is all with the ODAC as a source. It could be that the Magni is more revealing of the actual recording, but highly unlikely.
I said the Magni wasn't bright, but it still seems to have some slight forwardness somewhere. I mean probably not measurable.
This is one of those days where the HD-650 with the Magni isn't as good as I remember. I need to give my ears a rest I think.
Despite the Magni being "probably" technically better than the E9 (says who?) it's not really that much better. Just different.
I mean the Magni is very good, but it doesn't "blow away" the E9 or anything. Of course none of my headphones are bothered by the E9's 10 ohm output impedance.
The E9 to my ears sounds good with everything I have, but it's not that transparent of course. It has some of it's own coloration, but not too bad.
I'll get the O2 and compare it to the Magni. I still think them sounding the same is a bit of nonsense, but maybe i'll eat my words!
Another thing..sometimes the Magni sounds less clear than my other amp. I know not to be fooled by this, because it can often just be that it's more revealing of the source file and it's not so much the amps fault. Generally the Magni sounds crystal clear with the right music. Some recordings sound muffled and not clear and it's easy to be fooled and blame the headphone or equipment.
Strangely enough, Youtube music videos (higher quality ones) sound much worse on my HD-650 than my Q701. I won't try to explain that one. I do think the HD-650 can be quite revealing with the ODAC though.
I would say the Magni I like about as much as the E9. I know a lot of people love to hate the E9 for whatever reason. The Micro still sounds better than both and not because it's more colored etc. It's really not.I guess comparing a $350 amp to something that's $100 is a bit stupid. Not that price matters much anymore these days!!
NOTE: I like the Magni and these things are just me nit-picking. I always liking picking apart my amps/dacs and headphones. Even after 2 years I still found out stuff about my amps I never realized! I do believe the Magni is pretty transparent, but I still need an O2!
Edited by tdockweiler - 1/23/13 at 9:37pm