In a long post on Head-Fi, Jason Stoddard announced the latest iterations of the highly-regarded Modi DAC, the Modi+, and both versions of the matching amp, the Magni+ and Magni Heretic.
Starting with the Modi DAC, Mike and Dave of Schiit Audio worked on improving the sound quality of the older ESS ES9018 DAC inside. While not having as good a reputation as the newer 9028 or 9038, I have experienced at least one implementation of this DAC that sounded good, so it will be interesting to see what they managed to extract out out of what was once ESS’s flagship chip.
Like the previous Modi, the Modi+ has separate USB-C connectors for power and input are included, so that it can be used with devices such as smart phones without drawing power from them. The inputs also include an S/PDIF and a Toslink optical input, all of which can be selected from the front.
For the Magni+, a complete redesign includes 3 gain levels, including a negative gain for IEMs and a new, stamped chassis that places the headphone socket on the far left, away from the volume control. This placement is not only more convenient, but Jason states that it reduces noise, necessary for sensitive IEMs. The top of the chassis also uniquely screws directly into the RCA jacks, reducing parts still further.
Unlike the previous versions, that reserved black and red for the Heresy version, both the new Magni+ and Magni Heretic versions can supposedly be had in any combination of silver and gray, or black and red, though the web site shows a Magni+ with a silver and red chassis (which I reckon looks awesome… Jason!).
Technology-wise, the Magni+ is designed in the manner of Schiit’s own Vidar speaker amp, with a stated 2.8W RMS per channel at 16 Ohms. The Heretic version switches to using 7 of the newer Texas Instruments OPA1656 op-amps and has the same maximum power output as the Magni+.
Originally sold as $99 components, the prices of each have increased slightly, with the Magni+ now $109, and the Modi+ or Modi Heretic at $129, but, especially once you count for inflation and the feature improvements over the years, $238 for a DAC and amp that is made in in the USA is still a great bargain.