ok, here goes. vali's not full burn in - but wow do they sound good out of the box. Anyway here's a very quick impression against the ifi Ican + itube - which maybe slightly unfair given the combo - but hey, im just trying to compare two of the rigs i have ;) So please be nice ;)
source is macbook pro-> audioquest cinamon usb-> iusb power -->igemini--> idsd then to
setup A - vali
setup B - iTube micro + iCan micro ( no xbass boost, and no 3d settings enabled)
headphone is just hd 800 for now
Canon (acoustic guitar)
Stay by alson kraus
and If by if marianna leporace
im in mood for vocals and instrumentals hence these songs.. no special reasons
So there's the ringing on the vali that went away after 10 or so seconds. I find it full bodied specially during the vocals -sort of more juicy and energetic compared to the ifi combo - at least for these songs. The Ifi combo is more laid-back and natural - and really beats vali in terms of details - specially low level ones. The separation is better too on the ifi's. And although there's ever so slight sibiliance, it's nothing compared to what i heard on the vali - which has a very mild sibilance - but detectable. Also it looks like the vali has longer decay though the cymbals are crisp. Not sure if I am contradicting myself, but that's what i thought i heard. The iCan combo is ever so slightly ahead in terms of speed compared to the vali. Not sure if it's the decay of the vali that's making it seem that way. And it seems that the ifi combo is more articulate than the vali overall. At higher volumes, the vali started sounding more steely to me. Still nice to listen to, but the word steely very much accurately describes what i heard compared to approximately same volume level of the ifi combo. That roughly translates quicker ear fatigue for the pair I have.
To wrap up, the vali for me wins in terms of body and energy and not to mention value for money. But the ifi combo is really obviously more laid-back and natural for this genre, and this is without turning on the the 3D and xbass effect. I really didnt expect vali to drive the hd800 this well compared to the ifi combo - especially at the price point. So yeah, im keeping the vali - maybe as my pseudo portable office setup. There's about four things i think the ifi combo is really glaringly better for these ears: 1 - less sibilance (though really, this is really mild) 2 - naturalness - the vali tends to be more steely as you crank the volume up more and 3 - detail 4- separation of instruments - not sure if layering is a better term though. As for the soundstage, they are not too discerningly far apart on these songs with these ears so i didnt really bother to compare too much. But of course, when i flipped the 3d switch on the ifi, it's a whole different ballgame.
i will try to report more as i try different headphones - although i may wait for the ifi attenuators. but yeah, im impressed by the vali especially considering the price point!