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Is Shiit Modi / Vali combo a joke compared to (Woo Audio WA6-SE, Burson, Graham Slee,...

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

I am just curious. My Shiit Modi / Vali is arriving today and I'll be using it with HD598 and soon maybe with HD650 ... I know that just like many rave about high end $2,000 amps, same amount of rave you can see for cheap stuff simply because that's what people can afford and don't know any better (this applies not only to audio).

 

So my question ... as I am about to listen to a $240 total spent (Shiit Modi / Vali) product ... should I know that if I had spent $1,000+ the sound I'd hear would be at least 30-40% better? Are those other devices in such a different league that Shiit Modi / Vali is just a joke of a sound compared to them??? 

 

Those expensive items I am talking about as an example are;

 

http://wooaudio.com/products/wa6se.html

 

http://www.musicdirect.com/m-189-graham-slee.aspx

 

http://www.tubeampdoctor.com/product_info.php?products_id=1148&url_node_name=EARMAX_Brocksieper&language=en

 

http://www.moon-audio.com/mytek-digital-stereo192-dsd-dac.html?___store=default&gclid=CIX6keOOwr0CFSho7AodaksAEg

 

 

 

thanks

post #2 of 19
I just heard a Vali and a Woo this past weekend with the same 'phones.
Considering that the Woo was worth approx. $700 it was a lot of money for a better souinding amp.
In fact, I was extremely surprised at just how good the Vali actually was!

The headphones were Grado RS-2i.
DAC was NAIM.
post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris J View Post

I just heard a Vali and a Woo this past weekend with the same 'phones.
Considering that the Woo was worth approx. $700 it was a lot of money for a better souinding amp.
In fact, I was extremely surprised at just how good the Vali actually was!

The headphones were Grado RS-2i.
DAC was NAIM.

 

but was it 3 times better sounding? :-)

 

that's the question ... I am sure that a $1,000 woo amp is going to sound better than $129 Vali .... question is ...by how much? to keep in mind, not soooo trained ears as I've been in this hobby for less than a year and have not heard the best.

post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pianist718 View Post
 

 

but was it 3 times better sounding? :-)

 

that's the question ... I am sure that a $1,000 woo amp is going to sound better than $129 Vali .... question is ...by how much? to keep in mind, not soooo trained ears as I've been in this hobby for less than a year and have not heard the best.

At some point I am not sure if it is a matter of trained ears or having more imagination of what you think you are hearing really. I have not tested such an expensive headphone amp but have tested expensive dacs for speakers and the law of diminish returns seems to hit this type of gear sooner than later in my opinion.

In any case, based on your own comment I doubt you will get anywhere near 3 times better sounding or a WOW factor for the money. I could be wrong of course. :)
When it comes to the audio world I always played it like this, speakers first, acoustic treatments a close second (of course does not apply to headphones unless you reshape your head/ears lol), then electronics then cables (mostly cables for Aesthetics purposes)

I wanted to try that Schit combo but I need some bass boost option some times sadly. :/

Regards


Edited by shaolin95 - 4/2/14 at 12:55pm
post #5 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pianist718 View Post
 

 

but was it 3 times better sounding? :-)

 

that's the question ... I am sure that a $1,000 woo amp is going to sound better than $129 Vali .... question is ...by how much? to keep in mind, not soooo trained ears as I've been in this hobby for less than a year and have not heard the best.

 

LOL!

The Woo really was incrementally better.

It doesn't magically transform the Grados into far better headphones!

 

Let's just imagine I decided to buy the Grados and didn't have an amp.

So for arguments sake, I buy the Grado RS-1i and Vali.

I could easily live with the Grado RS-1i and Vali and be quite pleased with the sound.

But I would probably be saving my cash for a better amp to go with the Grados....:tongue_smile:

post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pianist718 View Post
 

 

but was it 3 times better sounding? :-)

 

that's the question ... I am sure that a $1,000 woo amp is going to sound better than $129 Vali .... question is ...by how much? to keep in mind, not soooo trained ears as I've been in this hobby for less than a year and have not heard the best.

Let me put it this way:

Does a 100$ wine bottle taste 5X better than a 20$ bottle?

When we're talking of subjective enjoyment, you can't put numbers like that.

The best you can do, most of the time, is telling: Yes, it's better, or no, it's worse.

IMO, a 1000$ amp should give you more versatility, looks, features, better circuit design, but sound quality is only up to your personal experience, which no one on this forum or this world can guess, except you, with your ears.

post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 

sooo ...... here are my initial impressions after hooking up Modi / Vali to my PC and listening through HD598 .... (by the way, will have a chance to test that combo with HD600 possibly tonight).

 

It's weird .... mostly good weird :-)

 

So for anyone who heard HD598, you know that these are considered warm and somewhat bright (not as bright as Grados, but still on a bright side, maybe for lack of deep forward bass).

 

What I noticed when I hooked up the modo/vali combo.

 

Right off the bat, sound quality did NOT double or holly molly what a crazy difference ... let's not kid ourselves. The biggest return on investment is buying a headphone ... then all upgrades are somewhat marginal.

 

so ... I am still surprised how sound was modified due to the combo. Not to skew my result, I really tried to keep sound volume identical. I noticed that HD598 became a bit brighter and thus ... sounds like it now has more detail. It's strange, I always felt like HD598 were kinda on a bright side and yet after listening to modo/vali, going back to no amping HD598 started sounding a bit dull and muddied. Can that be???

 

I also noticed that cymbals, guitars, etc became more forward. Not sure if I love how female vocals changed. I am almost ready to say that modi/vali is not a natural dac/amp .... they do brighten up the sound. Or maybe it is a natural sound? 

 

The crazy thing is, going back to not using this dac and amp, is like reverting to something not as good, so does that mean I am hooked now? :-) 

 

I have a feeling that HD600 will be a much better match for modi/vali. Reason is ... when I listened to HD600 using just my PC sound card, they sounded kinda dull. Also not loud enough. When compared to HD598, I felt like HD598 shined and sounded better than HD600. Now with the DAC and AMP, I feel that modi/vali is exactly the medicine that HD600 needed.

 

anyway, I am eagerly awaiting this evening to hear my friend's HD600 with Modi/Vali. 

I feel like this testing may never stop. Now I am curious to hear the famous HiFiMan HE-500

 

Is what I am saying making any sense to you guys?

post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pianist718 View Post
 

The crazy thing is, going back to not using this dac and amp, is like reverting to something not as good, so does that mean I am hooked now? :-) 

 

 

Is what I am saying making any sense to you guys?

Well I have to say, I feel the same in many cases. Like somehow the changes are more obvious when going back to not using it. No idea why lol

post #9 of 19
It all makes sense to me.
I find that poorer quality amps and DACs often sound duller than a better amp or DAC.
The better equipment usually sounds more open, more of a sense of space, almost like comparing mono to stereo.
And it's not usually "holy molly what a huge difference!"
I have been suprised by massive differences a few times, but generally, an upgraded amp or DAC is often rather subtle.
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris J View Post

It all makes sense to me.
I find that poorer quality amps and DACs often sound duller than a better amp or DAC.
The better equipment usually sounds more open, more of a sense of space, almost like comparing mono to stereo.
And it's not usually "holy molly what a huge difference!"
I have been suprised by massive differences a few times, but generally, an upgraded amp or DAC is often rather subtle.

 

so what was the "massive" difference? :-)

 

also ... does it make sense to try a $600 DAC/AMP?  or is what I have good for the return? Remember, this cost me $250 total while my headphones were $180

post #11 of 19
I started the other way around, from Valhalla, icon HDP, Asgard, now to Modi and Valid (sometimes). I am also surprised of how good budget DAC/amps have become. Yes you hear the difference between a Valhalla and a Call, of course, but its not 3x better, but that's OK, its the law of diminishing returns.
post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koolpep View Post

I started the other way around, from Valhalla, icon HDP, Asgard, now to Modi and Valid (sometimes). I am also surprised of how good budget DAC/amps have become. Yes you hear the difference between a Valhalla and a Call, of course, but its not 3x better, but that's OK, its the law of diminishing returns.

 

noticeable difference between Valhalla and Asgard?

post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pianist718 View Post

noticeable difference between Valhalla and Asgard?

Yes, there is. They store though very close in their sound signature. The Valhalla is more tubey, smooth and silky with slightly rolled of highs, not as detailed and analytical as the Asgard...

Both are great to listen to and very engaging.nsome headphones work better with the the Asgard, some with the Valhalla. For lower ohm headphones like the HD598, the Asgard is the better amp, also when you want to use iems at some stage with the amp. My T90 with 250 ohms sound better on the valhalla .
post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pianist718 View Post
 

 

so what was the "massive" difference? :-)

 

also ... does it make sense to try a $600 DAC/AMP?  or is what I have good for the return? Remember, this cost me $250 total while my headphones were $180

 

Over a year ago I decided that I would get more out of my vinyl if I got a different phono pre-amp.

I tried three different $600 and 700 phono pre-amps.

Frankly,  I wasn't expecting much....I thought I'd have to spend over $1,000 to improve on the pre-amp that I had.

What really happened was I was quite surprised how much better those phone pre-amps sounded compared to the tube pre-amp I had been using for the past twenty years.

The new ones sounded more open, more detailed, more transparent, more spacious, more lifelike, the difference was quite obvious and, dare i say it? dramatic.

post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 

this is so weird ... since my DAC (Modi) connected via USB ... if I listen to music and do browsing on PC, it doesn't play smoothly. Pretty much any tasking on PC that may slow it down is reflecting on sound. How is that possible>?

 

I plugged into my new USB3 card.

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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphone Amps (full-size) › Is Shiit Modi / Vali combo a joke compared to (Woo Audio WA6-SE, Burson, Graham Slee, EARMAX-Silver, MyTek, etc) ?