I stumbled upon Schiit Audio a few years ago while searching for a new DAC on Amazon. Founded in 2010, they are based in Valencia, California.

Ever since then, it has been making some very cool and excellent-sounding DACs and amps for both headphones and desktop speakers. I purchased the first-generation Modi desktop DAC and Magni desktop headphone amplifier a few years back and they are still my favorite DAC/amp setup for headphone and desktop listening. Here are a few of my thoughts after owning this set up for some time now.

Schiit Audio Mode and Magni Headphone DAC and Amp

The Modi

First up is the Modi, probably my all-time favorite mini-desktop DAC. It has been powering my personal desktop audio for years now and I am very happy with it.

  • The sound – What can I say? It sounds extremely good for a $99 DAC. It continues to produce crystal-clear audio without ever missing a beat.
  • Inputs – I have the base model and it only has a USB input; not an issue for me as it feeds directly from my custom PC via AudioQuest Cinnamon USB cables. It’s good to note that it is powered entirely over USB, no wall outlet required. In case you need it, the new Modi 2 Uber also offers an optical input, very handy indeed.

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Here is something interesting; in an interview from Digitalaudioreview.net in 2013, Jason Stoddard, one of Schitt’s founders, commented on the Modi DAC:

“A lot of inexpensive DACs use the output straight from the D/A converter which can mean higher-impedance outputs and limited ability to drive long cables. We added an active filter output stage for better control over the filter characteristics, and to drive longer cable runs. There’s also some pretty heroic power regeneration going on in Modi: four separate regulated power supplies, separate supplies for the analog and digital side of the D/A converter, significant filtering and isolation from the USB input. I think this is one of the reasons it sounds so good. We packed quite a bit of tech into this little piece!”

Schiit Audio Modi and Magni Back Panels

The Magni

And then there’s the Magni, one of the most impressively-small headphone amps I have seen and heard to date. My initial thoughts as I listened to it for the first time, were “wow, this thing can get loud!”

  • Build Quality – Very, very good. The volume knob seems to be of good quality as well as the case it is in. I love its clean and modern look.
  • Very smart of Schiit to have a ¼” jack, although I do use an adapter for my headphones which have a 3.5mm mini-plug.

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One of the most common impressions I get with the Magni is just how amazing its value is. At only $99 retail, it puts a lot of higher priced amps to shame. Putting out up to 1.2 watts of power, quite a lot for a headphone amp, is just another perk.

I have been quite impressed by Schiit Audio for some time and probably will continue to be in the future. They are a really cool company putting out some really cool products at great prices that, most importantly, sound fantastic! I can’t wait to get my hands on the upcoming Modi 2 and Magni 2.

Schiit Audio Modi And Magni

  • stalepie

    I agree completely! I just got the Fulla 2 today and it easily beats several other similar devices I’ve tried that cost more.

  • Indiana Lang

    Congrats on getting the Fulla 2, that’s what I love about Schiit, they cost less and sound better!

  • stalepie

    I have a hard time telling the difference between these cheap DAC/amp solutions (haven’t heard expensive stuff much) and there’s times where I do comparisons back and forth and really have a hard time developing a preference. Even the cheap X5 PCM2706+CS4344+TDA1308(x2) product I ordered off eBay last year sounds, in some ways, maybe better than this Schiit Fulla 2, as well as better than the $300 Beyerdynamic/Astell & Kern A200p, the $200 TEAC HA-P50 and others.

    It’s confusing.

    The Fulla I’d say has a fast, sort of “biting” sound to it — maybe a touch mechanical or cold? Definitely not “warm.” It’s very exacting, kind of razor sharp in its delivery, but it might lack a fullness in the sound.

    I really don’t know how any of this works.