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Would I notice much of a difference with the Modi Magni combo

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by Saxi, May 14, 2018.
  1. Saxi
    I am currently using an MSI M5 Gaming Z270 which is suppose to have a very good onboard sound card with amp. I used to use a Xonar STX II but switched to on-board as the new motherboards shipped with better options on board.

    I always wanted to try a Dac/AMP combo to see how much of an improvement there would be. I know the Modi/Magni is a popular combination here, but a while when I had the Xonar I was told it wouldn't be a big improvement so I never got one.

    I have been looking at the GSX 1200 Pro as I'd love to have physical controls and easy access to turn 7.1 on/off for gaming (some games do better with or without 7.1 so having easy access to it would be really nice) but I am skeptical about how good of a dac/amp it is.

    I currently have a dt800 but they broke so I ordered an HD598 after a lot of debating, between the HD 598, HE 560, and HD 700. I'm on the fence about a dac/amp, I'd get one if I would see a huge improvement and it wouldn't affect how well it works for gaming (I do equal amount of gaming/music while working) but if the difference is minor I'd rather not bother.
  2. Wiljen
    The M5 board uses the Realtek ALC1220 Codec which is nothing special as far as DACs go but is certainly adequate. The place where you normally see the biggest issue with on-board audio is the amplifier section which is typically underpowered and has an output impedance that is way too high for most headphones. I could not find a specified output impedance for the MSI boards but other implementations of the 1220 Codec have an output impedance of 24 Ohms which would indicate at least that the M5 board could suffer from the same if both use the reference implementation of the codec.

    I would say the Magni would make a solid difference as it lowers the output impedance, provides a better SNr, and gives you a good bit more output power than a typical on board. The issue then becomes if you cannot run a line out off the motherboard, you are just bringing any deficiencies it introduces to your amplifier. That is the reason for doing the Modi. It may not do the decoding of the signal any better than the onboard chip, but it doesn't introduce all the motherboards bad habits to the Amp.
  3. Saxi
    Thanks, seems to me if I am doing the Magni, I might as well do the Modi as well. You think the difference would be hugely noticeable, or only to those who know what to look for? I like fine audio, but I really don't have experience with really high-end stuff, I just know when something is crap. I tried to do something a bit better with the DT880's and I always felt a bit "meh" about them. I ended up choosing HD 598 as their replacement as they broke. I was thinking about the HD 700's but the amount of raving about the HD 598 and soundstage (which it big for my gaming use) I had to give them a try.

    A big turn off of the Magni / Modi combo is yet another 2 power adapters (likely Wall Warts) I have to find a place to put in my cable nightmare.
    Last edited: May 14, 2018
  4. twitch133
    If you get just the regular modi. Not the Uber or multibit. It draws its power from the USB. Not sure which one you are going to go for though.
  5. Wiljen
    I think you would notice the difference but I don't think it will be earth shattering.

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