I unplugged the MG Head and plugged the Vali last Tuesday evening and I had only Three or Four hours of listening since tuesday and my opinion is not done yet. Vali & MG Head sound differently so my brain needs to be used to his new environment.
I really love my MG Head sound but I really feel it lacks too much transparency. With the Vali, transparency is back but at the cost of the brightness. That been said, I can't say the sound become harsher. More transparent, more detailed, less warm but still enjoyable for good recordings. Right now, if I could ask Donald North to tune my Sonett2 for my tastes, i'd ask him to tune it between the MG head and the Vali. The ideal amp for my tastes would keep the transparency and speed from Vali with something of the warmer/mellower tone of the MG Head. That's why I'm looking forward Eee Pee's impressions.
I really thought the lack of transparency and the slightly unnatural ( with HD800) warmess came from the REGA DAC. But with the Vali, my REGA sounds much more detailed for sure. I tried the AudioGD NFB12.1+ Vali combo too & the NFB12.1 is obviously darker than the Rega. with the NFB12.1 I didn't detect the analytical & slightly bright nature of the Vali. The REGA dac is a good dac for HD800 and I thing i'll have to spend time & money to find a real upgrade. I thought to someting like a Metrum Octave MKII maybe but i'm not convinced the upgrade worthes the extra money. I hope i'll have a chance to try it somewhere.
You realy must take what I say with a big grain of salt. I know my brain ( and maybe the vali not burned enough too ? ) is not fully accustomed to the Vali but right now I consider the Vali is a bit overhyped here. For example I remember to have a better result with my Meier Corda Jazz ( very good dynamics & transparency but more neutral with a fuller tone & better bass extension from what I remember) . Ok it's a 400$ Solid state amp but it offers more features ( Crossfeed, gain settings) more power & less shortcomings ( Output impedance , microphonics) and I read many times the Vali is a killer amp under 1000$. So the comparison is not so unfair I guess.
I really would like to have my Jazz at home to compare directly to this Vali.
Work in progress :). as I said above, my opinion is not definitely made. I need much more time to evaluate dacs or amps.
Edited by Sorrodje - 3/14/14 at 2:38pm