Oh wow! Having finally received and hooked up Jan's impedance match for my LCD-2, I am STUPIFIED! News flash! With the hiss completely eradicated, my LCD-2 sound better on the MG3 than my Definitive Technology SM45 speakers - by far!
For three weeks I've been thinking there's no way the MG3 could sound any better than it does on those monitors. Wrong!!!
It has all come together for me, finally, with a factory refurbished HiFiMan HM-801 having arrived five days ago and the impedance match today. Joy!
44/16 and 96/24 FLAC on SD cards > HiFiMan HM-801 Line Out (from its two PCM1704U-K DACs) > 25.2V LiPo-powered TBI Millenia MG3 > impedance match > LCD-2
The is the best sound I've personally ever heard - and that includes some fine gear at the Dallas meet in June. I hate to admit that I'm so competitive and deficient in humility, but I cannot WAIT to show up with this at the September 29 Dallas meet. In addition to my ignoble desire to just make people envious (shame on me!), there is at least an equal measure of desire to eagerly showcase Jan Plummer's amp, giving him some well-earned praise. I hope he doesn't tire of making those impedance matches, because he will likely be getting at least a couple of more orders after this meet. People are spending WAY too much money on dedicated headphone amps, in the shadow of such greatness that can be had for $600 (with the match box).
Given all the hoops I've had to jump through in the past five days to ferret my way through the HM-801's mine field of undocumented "limitations," allowing it to beat me into submission (Yes Master, your wish is my command!), the MG3 is all the more attractive. Apples and oranges, yes, trying to compare a DAP to an amp, but then again, no - the MG3 is trouble-free, offers what is, for me, unprecedented performance, and is accompanied by the stellar support of a man who obviously lives to please others. The cantankerous, "my way or the highway" HM-801 does, however, manage to be a sublime source for the magic that is the MG3.
I first reached for Stew's recommendation - Lawrence Juber (solo guitar doing Beatles' cover) - I don't even want to switch to a different album - every note is so very, very sweet - real - natural - organic - effortless - unforced - and yes... musical. Amid everything else, I'm hearing something I've never heard before in any guitar solo - the wood in the neck of the guitar creaking from time to time - this is happening at a very low signal level, but the background is so inky black, and the micro details so apparent within the spectacular transparency of this rig that I find myself grinning as much as I find myself slack-jawed. My face is starting to hurt! Crazy good sound.
On to more music - enough typing for now!