TubeMagic D1-Plus came today. I love it!
I think I'll let this thread die after this last update, but the above sentence pretty much sums things up. After waiting a while for the USPS to kick themselves into gear, I got a wonderfully well packaged D1 in the mail around noon, and had it set up by about ten minutes later.
Straight out of the box, it almost sounded a bit harsh. After listening for a couple hours, I think it started to burn in and the edge wore away, but what REALLY made a difference was simply taking off the cover and swapping the OPA2604 and whatever was stock OPAMP (Edit: Was an LF353N) used in the headphone amp circuit... I entirely plan to drop $30 on whatever the dual variant of the OPA637 is and move everything back to where it was intended to be, but back on topic, that swap really warmed things up to where I feel they should be. On another interesting note, it seems to be unnaturally forgiving towards poorly sampled / low bitrate tracks... maybe this is just an outboard DAC thing that I've never experienced before, but I have a lot of very low quality mp3s that, while they aren't at the same level of their superior counterparts, do sound markedly better right now.
After burning it in for a day, I'm loving this little box. Setup consisted of plugging in power, sticking a USB cord into my laptop, and hitting play. Everything sounds so much more fluid and music now - I never realized just how much grain and noise this laptop was putting into everything. Power-wise, it might be a bit excessive for a sensitive pair of cans like the 940s, but it's a very quiet unit. I love looking over and seeing the warm glow of the tube through the top vents. Everything seems to be of great quality for the money... I probably would've dropped some more money into a better volume control potentiometer, but it does its job just fine and has a nice feel to it overall This is an outstanding DAC/Amp combo for the money, and I can easily see myself pairing it with a tube amplifier in the future should I ever get a pair of headphones that call for such. I'm sure I will. Maybe a Schiit Valhalla... I've always wanted one of those for no particular reason...
All that being said, I'll have to drop off a picture of my final setup for the moment until I end up with a pair of 1540s or something else (wood Audio Technicas, maybe) in the fall. I'd have to say that for $40, the earpad replacement is the most important thing I've purchased, but I'm ecstatic with my new outboard DAC just the same. Looking forward to reopening a thread just like this in a year when I still can't decide on my next purchase! Also looking forward to getting myself to one of the upcoming Head-Fi meets once classes are out here at the University, and once work allows for it. I'd love to see what else is out there!
Edited by TheAdmiralty - 4/16/14 at 9:44pm