This article was written by Steve Guttenberg and originally published on CNET's website here.
Five years ago, I reviewed the Schiit Asgard headphone amp, and since then every Schiit product I've reviewed boasted an extraordinary sound quality/price ratio. I also like that their products are all designed and built in the US. The Magni 2 Uber's all metal chassis houses a fully discrete FET/bipolar, class AB amplifier, it's built just like a miniature audiophile speaker amp.
The Magni 2 Uber has a 0.25-inch (6.3mm) headphone jack upfront, and the amp's rear-end sports stereo analog RCA inputs, and output jacks that can be used to drive either desktop speakers or a stereo power amp. There's also a high/low gain switch for running full-size or in-ear headphones. The little amp has enough power to drive inefficient high-end planar magnetic or very high impedance headphones with ease.
The Modi 2 Uber digital converter handles USB, Toslink optical, and coaxial inputs, so it can be hooked up to computers, AirPort Express wireless devices, TVs, games, CD/DVD players and so forth. High-res files up to 192 kHz/24 bit are welcome.
I listened to the two Schiits with a bunch of headphones, starting with my Grado RS-1, and the stereo soundstage was bigger and wider, dynamics hit harder, and the treble was clearer than what I heard from the RS-1 plugged into my Oppo BDP-105 Blu-ray player's headphone jack.
Next, I tried my Oppo PM-3 headphones with the Magni 2 Uber/ Modi 2 Uber stack, and the headphone's newfound transparency took by breath away. This headphone is the one to beat for the price (US $400, UK £349, AU$549). Pairing it with the two little Schiits is the most affordable way to unleash the PM-3's sound potential.
Then I tried the Ubers with my Hifiman RE600S in-ear headphones, which I usually listen to with my iPod Classic or FiiO X5 music players. The Ubers pumped up the RE600S' bass, it went deeper and had a lot more impact than it does with portable, battery-powered music players. Clarity and soundstage depth improved -- the RE600S/Schiit combo was a knockout.
Both Schiits are sold with two-year warranties, and they're the same size, just 5 by 3.5 by 1.25 inches (127 by 89 by 32mm), so the stack easily fits on desktops. You could start with just the Magni 2 Uber headphone amp and add the Modi 2 Uber digital converter at a later date.
In the, US Schiit sells direct from its website, where the Magni 2 Uber and Modi 2 Uber go for $149 each; in the UK they're £130 each; in Australia they run AU$279 each. The lower-cost Magni 2 and Modi 2 models have fewer features, different power supplies and sell for one-third less than the Magni 2 Uber and Modi 2 Uber models in each country.
If you don't like your Schiit, send it back within 15 days for a refund, minus a 15 percent restocking fee. You could buy the standard Magni 2 and Magni 2 Uber, or any two Schiits and compare them at home. That way you can hear the difference Schiit makes with your headphones for yourself, and return one or both units.
Here is the much awaited review of the HiFiMAN HE400s.