Pros: Beautiful aesthetics, solid build, great customer service, no signs of distortion, ¼ inch jack, price, neutral, low output impedance and powerful output.
Cons: Lack of gain switch.
Headphones Used: Meelectronics NS63, Fischer Tandem, Audio Technica Ad2000 and Focal Spirit One
The Modi and Magni were sent in a white cardboard box with a Schiit “S” on the sides. They were tightly packed, no complaints there. There’s really nothing to discuss about the packaging though, it’s simple and it lets the amp and DAC speak for themselves.
Build Quality and Design
I sold my O2 and ODAC in order to fund my purchase of the Magni and Modi stack primarily because of the beautiful aesthetics of the stack. The design is minimalistic and would easily fit in next to the sleek aesthetics of a MacBook Pro. My biggest complaint with the O2 and ODAC is that the inputs were all located on the front. This creates a very cluttered appearance and made it a bit difficult to turn the potentiometer when using a 90 degree angled jack. Even if the O2 and ODAC had the inputs on the back, the Magni and Modi still would beat it in aesthetics due to its sleek steel casing. The O2 and ODAC are mismatched in size and shape and the cases are very utilitarian. On the other hand the Schiit stack looks like something out of an Apple store.
Sleek looks aren’t everything though, especially if the build quality isn’t up to par and I am happy to say that the Schiit Magni and Modi look as good as they feel. The potentiometer on the Magni gives moderate resistance, enough to feel sturdy, but not too tight as to make it a pain to change the sound. The Magni comes standard with a ¼ inch jack which I feel is sturdier when plugged in, or at least it gives the perception of better durability and connection. On top of the Magni are holes, lined up perfectly with the potentiometer, to dissipate heat. The Magni feels a bit warm, but it’s been on for hours. I will say though that the O2 never felt warm, even with no seen heat dissipation. I do feel the holes add a nice aesthetic touch though.
On the back of the Magni are RCA jacks used to connect the Magni to the Modi, again this gives a higher quality feeling than the 3.5mm interconnect of the O2 and ODAC. The Magni’s power switch is also in the back, a thin metal switch, that gives a satisfying click on and off when flicked up and down. The Modi simply has RCA jacks on the back and a USB port, though it’s a type b instead of mini-USB so you’ll need to buy a cable for it if you don’t have one of these laying around. Schiit doesn’t provide the cables at all actually, you’ll need an RCA and USB cable.
I don’t believe in solid state electronic burn-in, but for posterity’s sake I made sure to use the Magni and Modi stack for at least 100 hours before commenting on the sound. During this time I noticed no changes in the sound quality.
How does it sound?
Well the Magni and Modi were designed to provide a clean sound with a powerful amp at an affordable price. I’m not sure if Schiit put this out to directly compete with the O2 and ODAC, but it certainly seems so. How does it measure up though? Well I can honestly tell no difference to my ears. The Magni and Modi do nothing to colorize the sound, the Magni and Modi quite simply provide a clean and powerful signal to any of the headphones I’ve used with them. The Magni and Modi allow for the recording to pass through without being altered which allows for my headphones to put their spin on the recording. This is how I prefer my amp and DACs to be, something that stays out of the way and lets the headphones and recording speak for themselves.
Should you buy the Magni and Modi over the O2 and ODAC? I can safely say that there is no reason that I can see to purchase the O2 and ODAC over the Magni and Modi. The Magni and Modi are cheaper, have a higher build quality, and look more aesthetically pleasing, all the while providing the same experience as the O2 and ODAC to my ears.
The Modi and Magni can be purchased from Schiit.com for $99 each. More pictures can be seen here.