Upgrade to first serious audiophile gear
May 24, 2013 at 11:26 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 2


New Head-Fier
Nov 5, 2011
(After writing about 10+ elaborate paragraphs I deleted it all and reduced it to this)
I just landed my first job and would like to invest my first paycheck into something meaningful - you guessed it! I want some great audio-equipment. (I've been eyeing DACs, Amps, and good headphones for years)
Headphones I own: ATH-M50 (I'm underwhelmed), Sony MDR-V6 (comfortable backpack headphones; currently $55 on Amazon, get them!), UE9000 (main headphones, enjoy them a lot!).
Current setup: MacBook Pro and iPhone 4S. Will upgrade to new MacBook Pro this year (most likely).
What I want is more than an entry-level experience to the audiophile world. I had been eyeing the Fiio E10 for a while, but I'd rather go one level up from there. The two DAC/Amp combos that seem to fall in that category are the ODAC/O2 and the Modi/Magni. I'm gravitating towards the Modi/Magni (same features, 30% cheaper, looks nicer). On top of that I've listened to the AKG K701/K702 a few years ago and they were mind-blowing; they'll be my next purchase (first open headphones for exclusive home-use).
Ok, so my ideal setup as I imagine it would be: New MacBook Pro with 320kbps (Spotify/iTunes) tracks through Modi/Magni into ATH-M50/Sony-V6/UE9000/AKG K701. What's the weak point here? 
My concerns are: Will the USB connection transfer noticeable static noise into DAC/Amp (opposed to optical). Will Modi/Magni deliver noticeable improvement over the newest MacBook's headphone jack ($200 is a lot for "maybe, maybe not"). Do the headphones match well with the Amp? Will I be able to use Modi/Magni with a full media system (5.1 surround sound and all that stuff) down the road?
I love the idea of tubes; my dad built a radio with tubes in the 60s and I like the idea of taking those exact tubes and listen to them just like my dad did 50 years ago. What is the technical benefit of tubes? The way I understand it's pretty much just a warm mid-range, correct?
I really appreciate the help. Is my setup sanctioned, or should I change something?
PS: If it helps for recommendations at all: I listen to all kinds of music (very little electro/dubstep/techno); $500 for DAC/Amp and K701 is the maximum I can pay.
May 26, 2013 at 2:26 AM Post #2 of 2


Headphoneus Supremus
Dec 16, 2011
grand rapids, mi
First, I'd recommend looking into the AKG Q701s, too, since they are a little cheaper right now than the K701s, and yet are considered by many to be comparable phones with a slightly different sound signature that some people prefer. A revision of the K701 is a good way to think of them.

Yes. The Modi/Magni setup should improve the sound over the headphone out on your MAC. Whether or not the difference will be worthwhile to you is of course a personal evaluation.

Not sure by what you mean regarding using "Modi/Magni with a full media system (5.1 surround sound and all that stuff)." As a 2 channel USB DAC, you can use the Modi to plug your laptop into a receiver to send 2 channel audio. Or you can use the Magni as a headphone amp with a receiver that has some kind of preout (or a tape monitor rec out on vintage receivers) to plug the Magni into.

If you like the idea of a tube amp, you could look into a Bravo Audio Ocean or Indeed G3 (check Ebay) to pair with the Modi. I have a Little Dot I+, which would fit within your budget if you went with the Q701.

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