Grace Design x Massdrop m9XX DAC/Amp Review: First Impressions
Apr 17, 2016 at 11:23 AM Post #1,368 of 2,148

sheldaze

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Would m9xx be a upgrade from Schiit magni.
Anyone who own/heard both, care to share some impressions?

Look here and in the Magni/Modi threads (m9XX is not strictly an amplifier, so a more proper comparison would need to be made on the DAC and AMP) from a user @Psalmanazar. He has some very interesting comments! 
 
Apr 18, 2016 at 9:47 AM Post #1,369 of 2,148

fjrabon

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Would m9xx be a upgrade from Schiit magni.
Anyone who own/heard both, care to share some impressions?


I thought so, some people disagree.  To my ears the m9XX is a much smoother, more "analog" listen.  Plus I felt the design and feature set of the m9XX were better.
 
Apr 18, 2016 at 2:26 PM Post #1,370 of 2,148

Magick Man

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The m9XX is less powerful (which only matters with a few hard-to-drive planars) yet much more refined, while at the same time more involving and detailed. In many/most ways I'd characterize it as a high-end amp in a little-bitty package.
 
Apr 18, 2016 at 2:41 PM Post #1,371 of 2,148

fjrabon

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The m9XX is less powerful (which only matters with a few hard-to-drive planars) yet much more refined, while at the same time more involving and detailed. In many/most ways I'd characterize it as a high-end amp in a little-bitty package.


even the "less powerful" aspect is kinda weird.  It usually amounts to about 3dB of difference for most headphones.  
 
Apr 18, 2016 at 2:50 PM Post #1,372 of 2,148

OddballStream

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So I joined the drop on this, but I've cancelled it, then rejoined and right now I think I might just cancel this for good.  I have a BiFrost and a Asgard 2, but that's obviously stationary.  
 
I'm looking for portability and quality, but I'm thinking this might be a little too pricey and I could probably get something less expensive.
 
I have TH-X00's, HD598, K7XX, EM-U Teaks and Purple hearts on the way...Not going to be keeping all of those and think the HD800S will be my endgame paired with 1-2 of those mentioned.
 
So, is the m9xx good for this portability or should I look elsewhere?
 
Apr 18, 2016 at 2:54 PM Post #1,373 of 2,148

fjrabon

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  So I joined the drop on this, but I've cancelled it, then rejoined and right now I think I might just cancel this for good.  I have a BiFrost and a Asgard 2, but that's obviously stationary.  
 
I'm looking for portability and quality, but I'm thinking this might be a little too pricey and I could probably get something less expensive.
 
I have TH-X00's, HD598, K7XX, EM-U Teaks and Purple hearts on the way...Not going to be keeping all of those and think the HD800S will be my endgame paired with 1-2 of those mentioned.
 
So, is the m9xx good for this portability or should I look elsewhere?


If you're after portability/quality with those headphones, I'd probably go with the Chord Mojo or DACPort Slim.
 
Apr 19, 2016 at 12:34 PM Post #1,377 of 2,148

fjrabon

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  Quick question, will m9xx have enough juice to power the hd800 and the T1, to bring out the best of those headphones. So I don't have to invest more money. Thanks for the help


It's good with the HD800.  Never heard it with a T1.
 
Apr 19, 2016 at 1:01 PM Post #1,378 of 2,148

Solarium

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Quick question, will m9xx have enough juice to power the hd800 and the T1, to bring out the best of those headphones. So I don't have to invest more money. Thanks for the help


I tried it with both my HD800 and T1. It smooths the treble on the HD800 and made its bass more pronounced, but also narrows the soundstage and made it less airy. If that's your cup of tea then it would work well. Comparing just the DAC section, the bifrost multibit sounded more airy, possibly more refined, with less bass emphasis and more pronounced treble. I think the amp on the m9XX probably drove the HD800 with enough juice, although the HD800's impedance goes up toward 600ohm at certain frequencies so technically it may not have enough power, as the m9XX is rated only at 57mW at 600ohms. I think if you get it as a DAC it should suffice, although ultimately comes down to what sound signature you prefer. However, to get most out of it you do need an amp for higher impedence headphones >300ohm. It did not drive my T1 properly though, I felt like it sounded lifeless and hollow. After I returned it, I certainly miss the m9XX volume pot, which is the best I've seen so far, it's options to crossfeed (which may or may not be of use to you), its LCD display and its looks. I also miss its ability to smooth my HD800's treble, as I have to EQ it with the iDSD. I ultimately returned it because I didn't think it has sufficient power to drive both my HD800 and T1, and was looking for a single DAC/amp combo that has a small footprint.
 
Apr 19, 2016 at 1:47 PM Post #1,380 of 2,148

fjrabon

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I tried it with both my HD800 and T1. It smooths the treble on the HD800 and made its bass more pronounced, but also narrows the soundstage and made it less airy. If that's your cup of tea then it would work well. Comparing just the DAC section, the bifrost multibit sounded more airy, possibly more refined, with less bass emphasis and more pronounced treble. I think the amp on the m9XX probably drove the HD800 with enough juice, although the HD800's impedance goes up toward 600ohm at certain frequencies so technically it may not have enough power, as the m9XX is rated only at 57mW at 600ohms. I think if you get it as a DAC it should suffice, although ultimately comes down to what sound signature you prefer. However, to get most out of it you do need an amp for higher impedence headphones >300ohm. It did not drive my T1 properly though, I felt like it sounded lifeless and hollow. After I returned it, I certainly miss the m9XX volume pot, which is the best I've seen so far, it's options to crossfeed (which may or may not be of use to you), its LCD display and its looks. I also miss its ability to smooth my HD800's treble, as I have to EQ it with the iDSD. I ultimately returned it because I didn't think it has sufficient power to drive both my HD800 and T1, and was looking for a single DAC/amp combo that has a small footprint.


While the HD800 is very high impedance, it's also very efficient (103dB/Vrms) and thus the 57mW available at 100 Hz is more than enough unless you're trying to listen to kick drums at 120 dB.
 

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