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jbukka0104

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As the title states, I am currently trying to decide between the Element II DAC/AMP Combo vs a Modius/Asgard 3 stack.
Currently just have the HD6xx, Sundara, and X2HR. I know that both of these options are overkill for the headphones that I currently own, but I am trying to future proof a little because the Element/ Schiit Stack will be gifted to me. As a result, I want something that will also be able to drive other headphones that I may get down the line.

The way I see it: Both setups look (and apparently sound) fantastic. I give a slight edge to the Element II for looks more because of that giant knob, which I love. On the other hand, getting the Schiit stack may provide more power and leaves the door open for future upgrades (maybe going balanced at some point?) due to having two separate units.

All in all, both options cost the same ($400ish for my parents, $0 for me ;)) so I am having tough time making up my mind over which one to get.

P.S. I am in the US so availability/shipping of any of these are not an issue.
 
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Just playing devil's advocate here but since both the Sundara and HD6XX are capable of being driven balanced, why not consider the Schiit Modius / Magnius stack at the same $399? You pick up AES, Optical and Coax digital inputs (future updates?) and full balanced connectivity.
You get even more potential power reserve and the option to run balanced headphones. Seems to be a more future proof solution?

SE performance on the Magnius is much debated / discussed here but I am REALLY enjoying my Modius / Magnius stack with my HD6XX balanced.

Another option would be to order the Asgard 3 with the Multi-bit DAC card - again same price point at $399.

Good luck!
 

Zensō

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I owned both of these and eventually sold the Schiit stack. The Element is more compact so it sits better on the desk, it has a switch for changing between headphones and the preamp out, and it runs much cooler. I also very much disliked the micro-usb plug on the Modius (micro-usb connectors are notoriously fragile, the Element uses a more robust USB-B.) As for sound, they’re both essentially transparent, though the Element measures better (the Asgard did have a slightly audible hiss with some IEMs.) Either provide more than enough power for any mainstream headphone.

I‘d stay away from the Schiit add-on DAC cards as they only output 1.4V and measure poorly.
 
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jbukka0104

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The reason I am not jumping on the balanced-wagon because the increased investment that I might have to make for future headphones and I just don't know if I want to sign up for that at this point. My main reason for shelling out on these Single Ended options is because it'll be a gift, whereas future headphones are on me lol
All of that being said, I have read that the Modius is a fantastic DAC andis better than the multi-bit. For the same price, I figure I might as well get the stack, doesn't hurt that it looks fantastic as well.

I guess all of this really boils down to whether I want the Element 2 for for convenience and aesthetics where as the Modius/Asgard3 stack has some more power and leaves the door more open for upgrades down the road, such as finally making the jump to balanced when I am a richer man
 
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I also very much disliked the micro-usb plug on the Modius (micro-usb connectors are notoriously fragile, the Element uses a more robust USB-B.)

Good point - I do wish Schiit would move to USB C. As the Modius sits on my desk 24/7 with no stress I don't find the micro USB an issue. If I was exercising the plugs daily then I would probably look elsewhere.
 
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Zensō

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The reason I am not jumping on the balanced-wagon because the increased investment that I might have to make for future headphones and I just don't know if I want to sign up for that at this point. My main reason for shelling out on these Single Ended options is because it'll be a gift, whereas future headphones are on me lol
All of that being said, I have read that the Modius is a fantastic DAC andis better than the multi-bit. For the same price, I figure I might as well get the stack, doesn't hurt that it looks fantastic as well.

I guess all of this really boils down to whether I want the Element 2 for for convenience and aesthetics where as the Modius/Asgard3 stack has some more power and leaves the door more open for upgrades down the road, such as finally making the jump to balanced when I am a richer man
There are really no advantages to balanced desktop headphone amps. Much marketing and hype, very little benefit. Balanced portable amps on the other hand provide some benefits.

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...nly-to-get-balanced-output.17573/#post-571185
 
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The reason I am not jumping on the balanced-wagon because the increased investment that I might have to make for future headphones and I just don't know if I want to sign up for that at this point. My main reason for shelling out on these Single Ended options is because it'll be a gift, whereas future headphones are on me lol
All of that being said, I have read that the Modius is a fantastic DAC andis better than the multi-bit. For the same price, I figure I might as well get the stack, doesn't hurt that it looks fantastic as well.

I guess all of this really boils down to whether I want the Element 2 for for convenience and aesthetics where as the Modius/Asgard3 stack has some more power and leaves the door more open for upgrades down the road, such as finally making the jump to balanced when I am a richer man

Makes sense although you do already own two pairs of headphones that are balanced ready - so you'd be out of pocket for cables.

The Schiit Modi / Asgard combo does give you more options for future upgrade.
 
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jbukka0104

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There are really no advantages to balanced desktop headphone amps. Much marketing and hype, very little benefit. Balanced portable amps on the other hand provide some benefits.

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...nly-to-get-balanced-output.17573/#post-571185

In that case, this decision really just boils down to aesthetics and the fact that the Schiit stack is separate so there is some space for upgrade or something of the sort in the future.
Just for my own knowledge because I am pretty new this this audiophile stuff, as far as single-ended performance goes, is there an audible difference between the Modi3+/Heresy Stack and the Modius/Asgard3?
 

Helicopter

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In that case, this decision really just boils down to aesthetics and the fact that the Schiit stack is separate so there is some space for upgrade or something of the sort in the future.
Just for my own knowledge because I am pretty new this this audiophile stuff, as far as single-ended performance goes, is there an audible difference between the Modi3+/Heresy Stack and the Modius/Asgard3?
No. Any of these should sound the same. Especially the DACs. Power might make an audible difference in extreme cases. Magnius SE is the weakest, then the Magnis are tied, then the Asgard, and then the most power is in Magnius XLR output. For most headphones it will mever matter. You would need low sensitivity, high impedance and high volume to notice.
 

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I own the Element 2 and I find the form factor quite handy. I don't hear any difference between it and my other DAC and headphone amplifier combos (O2/ODAC combo also from JDS and my Okto), other than the volume difference that is, but I'm not the most discerning listener so make of that what you will. The Element 2 gets stupid loud with at least the X2 and HD600 cans that I have on hand, but so did the O2 IME.

The knob isn't as satisfying to twist as pictures would suggest though, it doesn't have more heft to it than more regular sized ones. But it is easy to reach and adjust.
 

Zensō

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No. Any of these should sound the same. Especially the DACs. Power might make an audible difference in extreme cases. Magnius SE is the weakest, then the Magnis are tied, then the Asgard, and then the most power is in Magnius XLR output. For most headphones it will mever matter. You would need low sensitivity, high impedance and high volume to notice.

Agreed.
 
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jbukka0104

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No. Any of these should sound the same. Especially the DACs. Power might make an audible difference in extreme cases. Magnius SE is the weakest, then the Magnis are tied, then the Asgard, and then the most power is in Magnius XLR output. For most headphones it will mever matter. You would need low sensitivity, high impedance and high volume to notice.

So if the main difference between the different Schiit stacks is power output, shouldn't the magnius sound the same as the heresy and the Asgard on headphones which are not too demanding, like the Sundara? Sorry if this is way off base, I'm new to all of this and want to gain a better understanding audiophile jargon and measurements. I figure this knowledge will also help make me less susceptible to subjective reviews lol
 

Zensō

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So if the main difference between the different Schiit stacks is power output, shouldn't the magnius sound the same as the heresy and the Asgard on headphones which are not too demanding, like the Sundara? Sorry if this is way off base, I'm new to all of this and want to gain a better understanding audiophile jargon and measurements. I figure this knowledge will also help make me less susceptible to subjective reviews lol

Some people claim the Asgard is "warmer". The measurements don't bear this out. It's highly unlikely anyone could consistently identify which is which in a level-matched blind test (even the owner/designer of Schiit has admitted to being stumped at times when comparing his own amps blind). In any case, if there are differences, they are likely to be so subtle as to be inconsequential in normal listening.

As you get more into this hobby, I think you'll find audiophiles generally have very vivid imaginations (we're all susceptible to expectation bias, it's part of being human). It's not unlike wine tasting and other pursuits that involve using our flawed senses in an attempt to detect subtle characteristics.

More on this topic:

http://nwavguy.blogspot.com/2012/04/what-we-hear.html
 
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jbukka0104

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Some people claim the Asgard is "warmer". The measurements don't bear this out. It's highly unlikely anyone could consistently identify which is which in a level-matched blind test (even the owner/designer of Schiit has admitted to being stumped at times when comparing his own amps blind). In any case, if there are differences, they are likely to be so subtle as to be inconsequential in normal listening.

As you get more into this hobby, I think you'll find audiophiles generally have very vivid imaginations (we're all susceptible to expectation bias, it's part of being human). It's not unlike wine tasting and other pursuits that involve using our flawed senses in an attempt to detect subtle characteristics.

More on this topic:

http://nwavguy.blogspot.com/2012/04/what-we-hear.html

Holy cow... That was a very fascinating read. Certainly put some of this stuff into perspective
 

Zensō

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jbukka0104

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It’s pretty crazy. If you’re interested in learning more about this, Dan Ariely’s book is excellent:

https://www.amazon.com/Predictably-Irrational-Revised-Expanded-Decisions/dp/0061353248/ref=nodl_

I'm absolutely going to check this out. Thanks for all of the help! Honestly I'm more excited to check this book out now!

All in all, I think I will go for the Element for the looks and convenience. I'm sure there will be another stack that just entices me and down the line and I might even be looking for more features then too, like a dang usb c haha
 

Zensō

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I'm absolutely going to check this out. Thanks for all of the help! Honestly I'm more excited to check this book out now!

All in all, I think I will go for the Element for the looks and convenience. I'm sure there will be another stack that just entices me and down the line and I might even be looking for more features then too, like a dang usb c haha

You’re very welcome. It’s nice to be able to help out someone who’s just getting into it. You‘ve dodged a bullet by finding this forum so early on. There are people who waste tens of thousands of dollars due to misguided recommendations by subjective reviewers promoting overpriced, poorly engineered gear. This site helps to cut through a lot of that BS.
 
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jbukka0104

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I actually asked this question on a few different forums and while all say I cannot go wrong, they recommend the Schiit stack because of
1) upgrade options with separate units, which is a very reasonable point
2) the headphones that I own just slightly synergize/ match the sound of the Asgard 3 more that the Element (Questionable)
When I asked about the #2 I've been told that two units can measure the same but sound different. My educational background is in science and statistics so I tend to favor hard numbers and evidence to anything else so just being told that things sound different doesn't quite sit right with me
Who knows... Maybe I can justify future purchases to myself under the guise of science ;)
 

Zensō

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I actually asked this question on a few different forums and while all say I cannot go wrong, they recommend the Schiit stack because of
1) upgrade options with separate units, which is a very reasonable point
2) the headphones that I own just slightly synergize/ match the sound of the Asgard 3 more that the Element (Questionable)
When I asked about the #2 I've been told that two units can measure the same but sound different. My educational background is in science and statistics so I tend to favor hard numbers and evidence to anything else so just being told that things sound different doesn't quite sit right with me
Who knows... Maybe I can justify future purchases to myself under the guise of science ;)

I agree that you’re likely to be happy with any of the above mentioned gear. The “synergy“ as described above though, would undoubtedly disappear in a proper blind test.
 
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