i first encountered the cma600i several months ago when i went to audition and compare the stax sr009 and sr007 at a local hi fi store. the cma600i's dac was being used in conjunction with a stax amp. after trying the staxen i gave the fostex th900 and grado gs2000e a listen via the cma600i. my focus was on the headphones rather than the cma600i at the time but i do recall how lively, detailed and dynamic they sounded. that hi fi store had a sale this week and as i'm on the look out for a solid state amp/dac combo to pair with the focal utopia, i thought that i should give the cma600i a try. i've since made a second trip to the store to confirm my initial impression of the pairing. the cma600i immediately impressed. It definitely has wow factor. it was as though the utopia had been turbo-charged. bass presence was noticeably increased and so too the treble; the mid-range seemed slightly recessed, however. the utopia is an extremely resolving headphone but it had become hyper-detailed with insane dynamics, enhanced instrument separation and a larger "soundstage". it was an intense headphone listening experience to be sure. and therein lies the problem with the cma600i for me - it made the utopia fatiguing. i listen at low to moderate levels and when i increased the volume, it quickly became apparent that this combination was too highly strung for anything but the shortest of listening sessions. cymbals sounded glassy and the upper mid-range became bothersome. my second audition and comparisons with the burson conductor V2+ and the sennheiser hdvd800 confirmed this for me. they both sounded relatively unforced and less "artificial" to my ears, making for an easier if less spectacular listening experience. i hope that this doesn't come off as overly critical because i think that the cma600i is a terrific piece of audio kit, and i could imagine it pairing well with other headphones that would benefit from its "current drive" amplification.