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Schittius vs. Topping 50 Stack - Amp Power vs. DAC Specs?

shinster

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Looking for advice as an audio newbie - Did a bunch of research and narrowed my amp/dac stack to Schiit Magnius/Modius and Topping E50 / L50. I already have the balanced cables so the poor SE perf of the Magnius is not a concern. Both are almost exactly the same price for me.

It looks like to me that one combo has the advantage of an amp with more power (Magnius with the 6V balanced out vs. the L50 with the SE out at 3.5V), while the other (Topping) has the advantage of better specs/measurements, and things like DSD/MQA decoding that I don't care too much about (I use Tidal sometimes and have some ripped DSD files, but 85% use Apple Music for hifi/lossless streaming which looks like maxes out at 24/192).

What's going to make more of a difference for my listening experience? Does power and/or balanced out on the amp outweigh the other benefits? My understanding is that both should be enough power for my current cans with headroom (HD 6xx and Hifiman Edition XS) and my next target headphone (Focal Clears), but that more power/headroom can benefit these headphones. But I also understand that the Topping DAC uses a newer DAC chip (does that mean better?), and that both the Topping DAC and Amp measure significantly better than the Schiitius stack. Does it make sense at all to go Topping E50/Magnius for the extra power/balanced out, or better to stick with the same brand/design?

For what its worth, I tend to prefer a neutral sound, but not too clinical. I care more about a musically enjoyable experience (for me, that means things like tone, timbre, soundstage, staging), and don't care as much for clinical accuracy. I mostly listen to R&B, jazz, pop, classical, and care a lot about vocal presentation. I do care about how things look/feel/are built, but both of these stacks seem pretty equal in this respect to me.

Any advice on these two stacks (or alternatives under $600 or so) would be greatly appreciated!!
 

syzygetic

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You're thinking too hard. Get the Schiit Stack, it's great. I have one, and it has no sound signature at all. If you want one, use EQ. Really, the Schiit Modius/Magnius combo has been going strong for me since they were released, no regrets, used in all balanced mode with HD6XX and Aeon 2 Closed headphones.

The build quality of the Schiit gear is very good. It's not Theta Digital levels of good, but then it's not jewelry, either. They intentionally use a high quality and inexpensive-to-build bent steel case, and the results are functionally top notch. The potentiometer on the Magnius feels wonderful - tight, good channel matching, good turning resistance. That potentiometer is the only control you'll really touch.
 

threni

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For what its worth, I tend to prefer a neutral sound, but not too clinical. I care more about a musically enjoyable experience (for me, that means things like tone, timbre, soundstage, staging), and don't care as much for clinical accuracy.
I can't tell if you want the music to be unaffected by your choice of equipment - something I'd describe as both neutral AND clinical - or if you want an inaccurate representation which, say, makes it more bassy, cuts the treble etc. You can't have both - they are literally polar opposites. I suspect, given that you mentioned vocals, that you are maybe more fussy with some frequencies than others. Really, you probably DO want a neutral/clinical amp/DAC setup (which is good news as that's what you're probably going to end up with anyway) but then to make any EQ changes to alter the sound the way you like it using some sort of EQ at the source, or using some sort of hardware tone control such as the Schiit Loki.
 

eboleyn

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I have both a Schiit Modius/Magnius and a Topping D30 Pro/A50s stack.

My current summary on measurements and things I've used them for:
  • Schiit Modius/Magnius:
    • Strengths:
      • POWER!!! It produces insane maximum power for a headphone amp, you can run it at high power and it doesn't seem to care/overheat. To be clear, I've even used it to drive RAAL SR1a (equivalent to ~6 ohm 90 db/watt speakers) at reasonable listening levels for myself (~75db average with maybe +15-20db peaks) and it works great!
      • Impedance insensitivity: Can drive insanely low impedance loads from the perspective of headphones, and doesn't care.
      • ~$400 + shipping price is really good for fully balanced great stack.
    • Weakness:
      • Doesn't measure as good as the medium-to-high-end Topping products.
      • Low impedance super-high sensitivity IEMs can let you hear the noise floor.
  • Topping D30 Pro/A50s:
    • Strength:
      • Best-of-breed noise and IM-distortion floor.
    • Weakness:
      • Not really any, though costs more than the Schiit Modius/Magnius stack.
Sound-quality-wise, both the Schiit Modius/Magnius and Topping D30 Pro/A50s sound completely neutral/accurate (i.e. you can't distinguish them from each other), which is what I like anyway.

Your E50/L50 stack will probably produce similar results to the Topping stack I have though it measures a teensy bit worse on the low end.

As long as you don't use super-sensitive low-impedance IEMs, the Schiit stack is phenomenal.
 
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