I completely agree with everything the reviewer said. I know some of my earlier gushing impressions may have been glossed over by some, but this thing really sounds that good. I'm very experienced with high end gear and this things gets you really close to a high end "desktop" rig. It's a good deal better than any midfi setup I've owned or heard. There's an initial shock upon first listen that this thing can't possibly sound this good. I took it to a friend's house who owns around 60-70,000.00 worth of high end gear, and he was more impressed than I was. He thought the dac was as good as his more than 2,000.00 byrston, and the amp on the same level as his 2500.00 peak/volcano.
I've lived with it for a while, so I can pick out the minor differences that separate his setup from the m8. But upon first listen I can understand why he would say that. It does take a bit of going back and forth to do that. But it has a better dac than my 800.00 stagedac, and the headphone amp is as good as anything I've heard in the 700.00-800.00 range, and better than some from a few years ago in the 1000.00 range. IMO portable gear has never been good cost/performace ratio performers. You are paying a premium to get good sound out of a battery powered device that fits in the palm of you hands. For example, a 500.00 portable amp won't sound as good as a 500.00 desktop amp relatively speaking. That changes with this device. Not only does it sound as good as a 700.00 desktop combo, it exceeds many and approach the performance of combos much higher. This thing still impresses me every time I turn it on.
I am torn between hoping that this is true and I can sell my other gear and have just the M8 and hoping that it isn't true since I really like my main rig. I might move out of the country soon and it would certainly be convenient to only have the M8 but not miss much from a full desktop rig.