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Schiit Magni2 Uber/Modi2 Uber vs Vali/Loki

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by chimmycham, Feb 13, 2015.
  1. chimmycham
    I'm going to purchase a modestly priced Amp/DAC for my Sennheiser 598s 
    Current setup:
    I've got a MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Early 2013) > Audirvana Plus > HD598
    Of the 4 options, what do you guys suggest would give me the best sound?
    Magni2 Uber
    Modi2 Uber
    And is the GEEK OUT 450 USB DAC AND AMPLIFIER even worth discussing?
  2. episiarch Contributor
    chimmycham, I own both of those amps and between the two I think I enjoy the Vali a little bit more.
    I can't put that down to any macroscopic difference:  to me it's not the case that the Vali is "warmer" or that the M2U is "more detailed."  It's much more subliminal.  For some subliminal reason the Vali pleases me a little bit more than the M2U does.
    That said, I would suggest that the M2U is the somewhat safer choice:
    1.  It has a gain switch.
    2.  There is no chance of tube microphonics.
    The gain switch is relevant because it will let you use the amp with a wider range of 'phones. IIRC the HD598 is a pretty efficient headphone and you may find that the M2U's low gain setting of 1.5 gives you a nice range of volume adjustment without straying quickly into too-loud territory.  (My HD598s are in storage so I can't test this for you I'm afraid.)  The Vali's gain is fixed at 4, which isn't particularly high but may give you less of the volume knob's range of motion to actually work with.
    (I use my Vali with an ODAC, which has an adjustable output level, making this a non-issue for me.)
    Tube microphonics:  nice as the Vali sounds, some users have reported ringing when the unit is tapped or even when it's sitting on a desk while they're typing.  I do not have that problem, which may be because my unit is a new one (early 2015) built after they started adding some extra cushioning around the tubes.  But maybe I just got lucky with this particular unit.  I don't have any good way of knowing.
    As for the DACs, it depends what you're looking for, and there I can't advise you.  The Loki does one thing only: DSD audio.  If all your music is DSD it's a good choice, but that would make the Modi irrelevant.  And if your music isn't DSD then the Loki's irrelevant.  If you have a mix of the two then buying both would be appropriate. 
  3. carterxl
    I also have Vali and  Magni 2 and I am also thinking, which of these 2 I like more. I think the Magni is a little bit "clearer" in sound but they are close. I think it depends a little bit on the Headphones you are going to use. With the AKG 701 I like the warmer sound of the Vali, with the Sennheiser HD 650 i prefer the Magni 2.
    Except one thing. The Vali becomes much hotter. As a DAC I use here the Schiit Modi 2 Uber.
  4. carterxl
    And I forgot to say the Modi 2 Uber is very close th the Bifrost in my feeling. I have on the second station a Lyr 2 and a Bifrost Uber in use.
  5. CallMeDaddy
    Im in the same boat. I have akg 7xx and from what I've been reading others report a "warmer" sound with tube amps.

    Im trying to keep my setup budget friendly. I was wanting the magni2u, but now i think im leaning towards the vali.
  6. carterxl
    A minor detail here is if you go with the vali it has the grey finish, not the aluminium housing like the uber devices. So my Vali on the Modi uber does not look perfectly alligned
  7. CallMeDaddy
    I hear that the magni2u and modi2u have the same aesthetic problem. Some say the housing material is the same but the shade is slightly off.
  8. notfitforpublic

    Listening to the 7XX on the Vali now, its a fantastic pairing IMO. The points made by episiarch are really what should be the deciding factor. If you can work with in the limitations of the Vali, its an outstanding little amp for the price. 
  9. M3Man
    I have the Modi 2 Uber, and before I decided I wanted the additional inputs for my TV and CD player,  had the non-uber version. The Uber gets a brushed aluminum case, the less expensive Modi 2 gets a painted metal case. I'm guessing the amp matches the Modi 2. So if you care about them matching, and don't need the optical and toslink connections, just buy the Modi 2 and save yourself $50.

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