As promised...1st stage of the comparisons...Same sources, same headphones, Vali and Magni impressions.
All auditioning done with iMac/iTunes as the source, running through USB to the Modi DAC and into the amps to Audez'e LCD-2.1's
The Lee Shore (Crosby Still and Nash Box Set, ALAC, 16/44)…Vali: great…nice imaging, miss and treble are smooth and liquid. Very good micro detail extraction. Magni: Good left to right imaging…less depth. Highs are a little grainy, but not bad. Mids a little less lush…maybe a bit recessed. Preferred the Vali.
IGY (Donald Fagen The Nightfly, ALAC, 24/48)…Vali: Loads of air. Good snare attack, but not wow. Very digital sounding recording rendered very listenable. good space between instruments and Fagen's voice. Lots of shimmer, but not bright. Magni: Definitely brighter. Voice blends into the BG more. Better bass impact and control. Preferred the Vali on this track.
Lofty's Roach Soufflé (Harry Connick Jr. Tro, Lofty's Roach Soufflé, ALAC, 16/44)…Vali: Good presence. Piano feels a little thin. Another sample of good imaging. Magni: Again better and more impactful bass. The bottom register of the piano is a little more fleshed out. The cymbals a a little brighter. preferred the Magni on this track.
Church (Lyle Lovett, Joshua Judges Ruth, ALAC, 16/44)…Vali: A little more three blobby (left center right imaging, with little in between) than the RWA, but still nice and wide. This notably sibilant recording was nicely controlled on top. The complicated passages near the end were rendered with good detail…tho not as good as some of the amps with more vice-like control and speed. Magni: Very 3 blobby. The hand claps that should span the sound stage are only coming from the extremes. Very sibilant…that's in the recording, but the Magni does nothing to help tame it. Preferred the Vali
Couldn't Stand the Weather (Stevie ray Vaughn Greatest Hits ALAC, 24/96)…Vali: Great dynamics! 650mW, you say? The opening snare attack in the intro is a kick in the head! Super fast. Achilles heel the bass perhaps. The baseline is muddy. Magni: As good as the attack was with the Vali, it was better with the Magni. The snare is intense! The baseline is less prevalent, but better controlled…less bloat. Preferred the Magni.
Battle w/o Honor or Humility (Tomoyasu Hotel, Electric Samurai, 256k iTunes MP3)…Vali: Struggles with the really loud and complicated sections at high volume. The horns sound a little thin. Bass is slow. Magni: Definitely more control in complicated patterns. Tho it still feels like it's running a little short of current with the LCD-2's on very dynamic passages. I get a feeling like it's clipping just a little…might be the lower bit rate recording. Preferred the Magni…but neither one seemed to blow me away.
Lotus Flower (RadioHead, The King of Limbs, 320k MP3 from their site)…It's not the whole bass region…just the really deep bottom. The upper base intro was rendered very well with nice control, but the really deep stuff feels a little bloated and slow. Very tubey. Magni: Bass is better, but the treble is way bright. The cymbals are like knives. I can live with the slow bass on this track to get the smoother highs. Preferred the Vali
Bloom (Radiohead, TKOL Remixes, 320k MP3 from their site)…Vali: The super deep electronic bass is there, but slow. Great job delving to the 20-30hz area…just don't have the control to keep it super tight. Still impressive head vibrating experience. Magni: Definitely less bass, but much more controlled…probably just feels like less because of the lack of bloat…but on this track I like it…I want MOAR boom boom! Preferred the Vali.
In the end I found the Magni to be a more accurate amp with a little grain in the highs and good control over the bass…but perhaps a little lean there as well. The Vali was more 'Euphonic' with smoother highs, a more warm and liquid midrange and deep but bloated and slow bass.
I wish these were so inexpensive that I could have both so I could listen to the one I preferred for different types of music.
WAIT! They ARE!!