Audio-GD HE-7 MK I
Schiit has been offering products for fantastic value for a long time. I've recently picked up the Modi 3 and Modi Multibit. I'm going to be comparing these two products and look at the pros and cons of each, along with comparing them to a higher-priced DAC, Audio-GD's 2018 HE-7 Singularity. The AMPs used to power these two devices are the Yulong A18, and Feliks Audio Euforia. The headphones used will be the Sennheiser HD-650 and Audeze LCD 2 rev. 2.
Let's start with the specifications. The Modi 3 and Modi 3 Multibit comes with a USB input that pulls audio data and power from a PC or Mac. There is also a TOSLINK and coaxial input. The Modi 3 Multibit, however, comes with a wall input as well.
The Modi 3 is fun, warm, and slightly more colored DAC. Its presence is likely its most enjoyable quality. It respectably delivers the ranges with its apparent lushness. Its staging is not the best, but it makes up for it in engagement, and some of the finer details may get lost along the way. Despite this, it manages to sound clean with good extension.
The Modi 3 Multibit is neutral, sweet, ambient, mellow, possesses forward mids, and has a more holographic sound. Bass is realistic and is of quality. It's much more distributed across the ranges and brings more rhythm when compared to its sibling the Modi 3. Its presents fluidly and is layered.
To compare the two, the Modi 3 Multibit has a more graceful presentation. You get a sound that is more lively and dynamic. It seems the Modi 3 is tuned towards a warmer signature with a smaller stage. For more detail-specific sound, where you get a little more clarity, air, and space, the Modi 3 Multibit is the way to go.
The Modi 3 Multibit provides more dynamism, distributing all notes into their own space in the spectrum, providing a more "out of the head" experience. The Modi 3 gives you clean and centered imaging.
If you want all the details and a more open sound stage, the Modi 3 Multibit is the way to go. While losing nothing of sound-stage itself, the Modi 3 doesn't exactly shine in its depth and imaging.
The Modi 3 Multibit offers a more versatile sound with its obvious superiority in detail retrieval. At $250, I found that it is similar to Audio-GD's HE-7 Singularity. It offers tremendous value at its price point. It's an excellent standard for entry and even end-game Hi-Fi and has a certain soft, rich tonality about it that captures your attention and makes music enjoyable.
During my subjective listening tests, I found that the HE-7 Singularity is the more technical product. What the Modi 3 Multibit offers in holographic sound, instrument separation, the HE-7 Singularity offers to a higher degree, with a bigger soundstage to top it off.
The HE-7 Singularity presents with more airiness, clarity, openness, cleanness, sweetness, better instrument separation, but a bit of emphasized, quality bass. The Modi 3 Multibit has a more toned down and has realistic bass. While it is behind on some of the qualities mentioned above, it makes up for it in energy, and on some tracks, this quality can make it more enjoyable to listen to, depending on taste.
The HE-7 Singularity is a much more cleaner, neutral experience than the Modi 3 Multibit, and makes the latter sound a bit closed. There is more space with the HE-7 Singularity. However, the Modi 3 Multibit brings more forwardness that can make it more fun sound to listen to.
Diminishing returns surely make its' point when it comes to the two products. The 2020 HE-7 Singularity retails for around $3991 (including VAT), but even at that price, I would still say the Audio-GD HE-7 Singularity would still be a worthy purchase for any setup.
The Modi 3 Multibit brings the same energetic spirit and puts it near the level and class of the HE-7 Singularity. The Modi 3 Multibit delivers and says, "Hey, I'm shining, too." The Modi 3 Multibit has a warm signature and impactful notes with the expansiveness and great imaging that completes with the HE-7 MK I. It's a more forward presentation that is absolutely a joy to listen to.
The Modi 3 certainly brings the capable audiophile-grade sound, but at times can sound too congested when compared to the products used in this comparison. If someone were never exposed to a wider stage, this isn't an issue. For someone who has been exposed to a broader sound, the point is that it can be better.
The Modi Multibit may be the better choice for anyone who is vested in a more dynamic rendering of music that competes with higher-priced products. It is a bargain at its price point, as it takes music and lifts it, and it does it more than satisfyingly.
With listening being subjective, there isn't any way I can prescribe a product with preferences being different for each individual. The Modi 3 Multibit stood its ground against the HE-7 Singularity, but in the end, I feel that the HE-7 Singularity offers more dynamism and clarity.
Neither product would disappoint. And of course, if someone is disappointed with the Modi 3 Multibit, Schiit has higher-priced products that could probably compete with the HE-7 Singularity. I look forward to buying the Yggdrasil in the future to compare it with the HE-7 Singularity.
Schiit Modi 3+ Black (latest version of Modi 3): https://amzn.to/3uAjPSu
Schiit Modi 3+ Silver: https://amzn.to/2Yc4yLk
Schiit Modi Multibit: https://amzn.to/2Ya4LPs
Audio-GD HE-7 MK2: http://audio-gd.com/HE/HE7mk2/HE7mk2EN.htm
Audio-GD HE-7 MK I
Matrix Audio X-SPDIF 2
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