There is a difference for sure, I use my M&M for travel and I enjoy it immensely. They are not so drastically different that you will not enjoy one or the other. In my opinion having a DAC is important, so to start off without one wouldn't be the way to go. If you could swing a Modi and a Valhala that would be awesome. But, if that is not possible then I would recommend the M&M stack. Others will have a different opinion. Make sure you have the highest quality audio files possible. Also, understand that some music is just poorly engineered and recorded and no amount of gear that you can purchase will fix that. Most importantly don't let anyone on this site or anywhere else tell you what you can or cannot hear. This is a very subjective hobby, we all hear differently, we all have our own taste. Enjoy the music and it will all be good.