Modi 2 Uber

This Schiit is pretty decent


What is there to be said about Schiit that hasn't been said by basically anyone that has ever heard their gear. It punches way above it's price range. I'll be comparing this directly to the Apple USB dongle as it's a great, clean, baseline to compare to. Every built in DAC/AMP will sound different on phones or laptops that have them still fit in, so it seems like a fair comparison to something people have heard, and are cheap to obtain, and my personal baseline for portable audio on the cheap.

Running through the Asgard 3


Comparing the Modi, which is an older AKM version of the Modi that they sell now, to the Apple dongle, it's instantly apparent that the low end was totally missing most of it's body. Schiit's house sound seems to be an emphasis on low end body. Not to say that it's boosted, but it feels more full than many other DAC or AMP products on the market. In most electronic music, it is very noticable that bass just feels like it's there, and commands attention. Not only the body feels like there's more substance, at least through what equipment I've tried, it has a bit more punch and slam. When comparing to the Apple dongle, sub bass exists. I don't have measurements to prove anything, but it feels like there just is no sub bass on the Apple dongle, even when put through an amp with more than enough power.


Credit where credit is due, the Apple dongle actually has decent mids. I wish I had more words to put here, but they are actually fairly close. If I were to really nitpick at high volume, there seems to be some slightly better layering coming from the modi in very busy tracks, but most music I can't hear much difference in this range. Clarity on both is great within their price range, and better that I have heard on many integrated devices I've owned, both phones and laptops. There's a reason I bring an Apple dongle everywhere, and it's mids, where IEM's tend to be best at.


There's little contest when it comes to highs. The Apple dongle just seems to fall off when it comes to the "air" region. Breathy notes come in with much more detail, stringed instruments, especially acoustic sound much more detailed. If you listen to a lot of classical, orchestral, or otherwise raw acoustic music, and have a decently detailed headphone, this is quite a big step up.

Modi 2 vs Modi 3e

Honestly, at $129, with the improvements that Schiit has added on top of the older modi 2 that I have, it's an absolute steal. One of the weak points of the older modi was they used off the shelf USB chips, and they had issues with jitter. Since the modi 3, they have moved to Unison USB, their custom built chip that helps out massively with jitter. This improves the sound quality to a degree, though it's not enough that I would say "You have to have it". I got to demo these at The Schiitr, and they sounded within margin similar to the Modi 2 uber I had at home, though they may have been more detailed. I can't say for certain as I don't have both in front of me to A/B test, but you aren't getting a worse DAC if you buy one new.


Honestly, at $129, with the improvements that Schiit has added on top of the older modi 2 that I have, it's an absolute steal. I won't sit here and pretend like I haven't heard better, but they were all well above this price, and only mattered with headphones that were over $1000. If you aren't planning on going in that deep, it's a no brainer if you want to get a ton out of your mid-fi setup from $100-1000 range of headphones, I can honestly recommend this highly.

Cayin RU6: R-2R USB-C DAC/Amp Dongle

R2R on the go!


Something a bit different coming from me here, but this is a portable DAC/AMP. I'll have to review this as an entire unit as the DAC and AMP can't be separated unlike most of what I look at. It's also not a Delta Sigma, so this is going to be a bit longer than usual. I'll try to break it down as far as I can, because this one is for sure not something everyone will like, but it is wonderful in ways that nothing else I've owned has been able to do.

What is this R2R stuff about?

I'm going to have to leave this at a high level as it can get pretty complex, but the long and short of it is that Delta Sigma dacs are what you are used to. They are the more modern way of creating a DAC that takes a bit stream in series and uses a chip to decode the data. Because the bit stream is coming in and being decoded in a chip, it's down to the chip to how it handles that data. Some chips have different modes and can be configured to how they read the data, including how much it rolls off the ends, or even just a brick wall filter. This can offer a "metallic" sound, or even harshness to the details. R2R in it's purest form doesn't do any processing. It just takes the bits it's been given, and decodes them in a resistor ladder. R2R is short for "Resistor to resistor". It wasn't until recent years that we were able to start producing resistors that were matched close enough to make accurate sound that can compete with Delta Sigma, and not need any fancy tricks like filters to get it to come out sounding detailed without the harshness of the tricks.

What is NOS and OS?

Let's start out with NOS and OS is "No Oversampling" and "Oversampling". Sample rate is about how much you are asking for data out of a source. The nigher the native sample rate, the more actual data is in the source to be decoded, leaving to higher detail. Oversampling happens in all delta sigma DACs to get the amount of data out that you have come to expect. Oversampling is like taking a 720p signal to a 1080p monitor. It will look nicer on a 1080p monitor, but there will be technically incorrect data from antialiasing. That doesn't mean that you are actually getting a better signal from the source, but using tricks to make you feel like there is more. Oversampling is very similar in that regard. There will be artifacts you get from the signal, and some won't hear, or even care that they are there, but true NOS doesn't have any of that. No extra extrapolation of data that isn't there will happen, and it won't sound nearly as harsh and forced as oversampled data. Which sounds better to you is preference, and both have upsides.

Note about this device and NOS mode

Resistor ladders have to be big enough to actually decode enough data to sound good without some oversampling. Due to the portable nature of this device, even NOS mode will do some oversampling, but it will do substantially less than when in OS mode. I will make notes of both modes, and call it "NOS mode", but don't think that's actually NOS. It's just less.

Overall sound

This device is very not like anything you likely have heard. No matter the settings, bass presence is much higher than even Schiit's warm sound. It's not insanely overwhelming, but if you have a very dark set of headphones, this is probably going to take it too far. It sounds much smoother than any Delta Sigma I've tried, no matter the mode of OS or NOS. It fits orchestral, acoustic, and most soft music very well. Female vocals come through with a softness that sounds much more natural than I knew was possible from a digital source.


Bass is apparent, and in your face, even on brighter headphones like the Sundara. The sound doesn't extend too far into the sub bass, but has an authority that somewhat takes over the rest of the sound. It's not insanely fast though, so it has a more natural sound when it comes to acoustic kick drums or similar. Electronic bass is controlled well enough, but I wouldn't suggest this for anything in fast music, especially electronic. Both OS and NOS modes sounded fine in this range, with a slight personal preference to NOS.


Mids are where this device seemed to shine. Vocals came through clear, and mostly natural, but you'll have to see notes in highs to see why I say "mostly". Mole vocals felt a lot closer to life, with good weight. Piano tracks in the mid and low range sounded like you had your head almost in the lid of the grand piano. Resonance and decay felt much more real. It's nothing like I've heard from a delta sigma, and is very much a "love it or hate it" sort of sweet sound that I've yet to find from a delta sigma. This range is what makes this device an interesting device to own, and had me hooked. In OS mode, this range appears much more detailed for stringed instruments, but loses some of the "real" feeling unfortunately. Both modes had upsides, and I can appreciate both. I'm glad that I can switch modes, and while I prefer NOS, there were some parts of some tracks that OS mode just made more sense, even though some of the life was lost from individual instruments.


Highs, especially the air region and above are where this device falls apart completely. In NOS mode, harmonic overtones of every instrument seems to just be missing. Female vocals have many harmonic overtones that really give them their sound, and none of that was there in NOS. In OS, a lot of this came back, but it sounded much more like a Delta Sigma in the previously missing range. I wouldn't call it super harsh like some Delta Sigma DACs start to get, but it did not have the smooth, natural sweet sound that the mid range had in NOS mode. I had said, out loud, "MORE!" more than once while listening to this device. I loved the sound of the mids, and just want more it was so pleasing. If you care about this range at all, this is by far the worst part of the sound.

But it's a portable!

While I can tell you about the sound all day, this device isn't something that just sits on a desk and can be massive. It's a portable, and it had to make some compromises to get the device this small. There's just not enough room to fit a full size R2R DAC without OS in it, and it's unfair to hold it to those standards, not to mention an entire amp has to be in there, as well as pulling power from a phone or laptop through a type-C port. For the size of this device, I can forgive many of it's shortcomings.


For "only" $249, this device is insanely affordable for anyone wanting to try the R2R sound in general, let alone someone that needs a portable DAC/AMP to power your demanding headphones. I would say that any headphone I tested on this from the Sundara to the ZMF Atrium sounded like it had enough power for the level of detail that the DAC could put out, and that's another point of recommendation. There's a lot of drawbacks to this device, and it's not a good general recommendation from me, but I can applaud the device for showing what R2R can do for this price, and portable. If you want a new toy to add to your collection, it's an interesting device, and it makes me very excited to get a larger R2R DAC on my desk, and leaves me wanting more, as it's just a taste of what R2R can do to the sound. For those that want a more "normal" sound, and care about the parts that this device lacks, a Moonriver 2 may be a better bet.

Magni 3

This may be cheap, but this Schiit isn't shit


So you just got your first set of decent headphones and need an amp, but you don't know what to get. If it's under $500, and you aren't looking to break the bank, I can't recommend this enough.

Why do I need an amp?

Everything that makes sound needs an amp, but why a dedicated amp is probably what you meant. Without being pedantic, this is the part of the audio chain that takes the sound from the very quiet "line level" and brings it up to audible volumes. The amps job is to give your headphones both the voltage, and current they need to not only get loud, but have enough power to control the driver tightly so it can make more than one note at a time. Unless you like hearing only one sound at a time, and not something as complex as music, this becomes important.

Voltage VS current?

Someone is sure to get mad at me for try to dumb it down this far, but to keep it simple, voltage is the part that makes it loud, and amps are what give it the control over the driver. Something like 250ohm Beyerdynamic DT 1990 resist a lot more than more common headphones in the 32ohm or so range, so they need more voltage to get louder. Planar magnetic drivers found in the Hifiman Sundara have a low ohm rating, but really take a lot of current to get the low end really going. Without enough current, you will lose a lot of the low frequencies, and there won't be enough power left to get the details out of the high range while it tries and fails to push the low end sounds.

Tested on ZMF Auteur (300 ohm), and Sundara (Planar magnetic)


This is leagues better than things like the Apple dongle, or even most of my integrated amps into laptops, phones ect. The Auteur and Sundara both feel like much of the bass region is alive and bass heavy music is much more listenable than most integrated amps. Bass doesn't feel like it goes on forever, but it's very enjoyable on most tracks, and is a very worthy step up from integrated amps. If you like bass, and you have something that's starting to get into mid-fi, I'd recommend stepping up to some sort of dedicated amp for this range alone.


There's not a ton to say here. I personally didn't hear a ton different on mids, but it's also one of the easiest ranges to get right, at least to my ears. I wouldn't say that it does anything exceptionally correct, but also nothing offensive either.


It turns out that when you don't have a driver that's starved for power flapping around, you can actually get a lot more micro detail out of them. Female vocals come through more clear, stringed instruments get their life back, and you can start to hear even the breath of the singers on some tracks, and not just the words they are singing.


For the cost of $99, I can say that this is one of the top recommended things I recommend to people after they start dabbling into headphones. IEM's being more sensitive means that it will play well with this amp, but headphones can start getting some actual use out of it. Both the Sundara and the Atrium sounded better without question on a dedicated amp to the point that I couldn't recommend them without at least the intention of getting something like the Modi unless you just don't like tracks with any bass in them, and don't mind missing details. Unless you want to step up to something like the Asgard 3, this amp has amazing value, and it even doubles as a preamp so you can control your speakers or headphones with one knob. What more could you want?

Vzbot330: The end of an era

We went really fast

Vzbot was great. It really was. Speeds and feeds were off the charts compared to my Switchwire, or even a fiend's Trident. This machine has been as much of a learning experience as Switchwire was, even though it wasn't my first printer. I built it to be as simple as possible. Less moving parts, less features, less QOL. The bare minimum. I knew that I was going to blow things up. Break them, change them, not be happy with this and that, so I went minimal to leave it as a playground, and it became one.

This time a Voron?

No. Just... Not an option. Voron design is great for a lot of things. Need lots of docs and new to custom printers? Build a Voron. Want something faster than a Prusa but don't know what to build? Voron. need a lot of hand holding and a great modding community that has decent ideas? Voron. I'm past that. Speed is not on their list of actual features, they are hostile to those interested in speed, and I'm over it. I won't say "Don't build a Voron" but unless I'm in need of a print farm asque printer that will have every QOL mod done to it and I need it cheap because kits, they aren't on my list of acceptable printers

Why a Vzbot still?

Because there's so much more room to grow with the minimal nature of the base design. I've been making upgrades, and even taking from some of the great ideas of the Voron modding community, as well as that of Annex, and other Vzbot owners. Not to mention, the speed hasn't even begun to be seen yet.

Basic specs

  • Dragon High Flow hotend/Copper .4mm nozzler
  • Sherpa Mini extruder
  • LDO Stepper Motor - Nema 17 - 42STH48-2504AC (A/B Motors)
  • TMC2209 Stepper drivers (24v)
  • Octopus Pro Mainboard
  • Asus Chromebox (Klipper pi replacement)
  • Quickdraw probe
  • F3D MIC6 Alu bed
  • 120v AC heatbed

Part choice breakdown

I've added a probe to the printer even though I was mostly against it originally. I bought a very flat bed, and it prints great without a bed mesh compensation. I'm using it to automatically calculate the nozzle to probe offset so I can change out hotends/nozzles without recalibrating literally anything. This makes working on the printer much less work as I can get back to testing without a calibration again. It also lets me probe the screw points on the bed and calculate which direction and by how much to turn the screws to level the bed. Super fast bed leveling when I play with things and need to adjust it, which is rare. Wish I had that feature back when my previous hotend exploded, but whatever. It's on there now.

Other smaller changes

  • Better spool holder mounted lower for less resonance
  • Filament runout switch that I didn't bother to wire up
  • Driver cooling fan. Almost 2A got hot
  • WAY more frame braces. This thing shakes
  • Cam mount for c920 webcam
  • Purge bucket/nozzle scrubber. Less cleanup, low effort

What kinds of speeds can it really hit though?

Below is what I used at my daily "quality" print settings. nothing pushing the boundries, but something that would make parts that were strong, look great, and I was happy with them. There was room to push harder, but it was quite reliable.


; External perimeter
{if extrusion_role=~/ExternalPerimeter/};[extrusion_role]

; Perimeter
{elsif extrusion_role=~/Perimeter/};[extrusion_role]

; Overhang perimeter
{elsif extrusion_role=~/OverhangPerimeter/};[extrusion_role]

; Internal infill
{elsif extrusion_role=~/InternalInfill/};[extrusion_role]

; Top solid infill
{elsif extrusion_role=~/TopSolidInfill/};[extrusion_role]

; Solid infill
{elsif extrusion_role=~/SolidInfill/};[extrusion_role]

; Bridge infill
{elsif extrusion_role=~/BridgeInfill/};[extrusion_role]

; Gap fill
{elsif extrusion_role=~/GapFill/};[extrusion_role]

; Skirt
{elsif extrusion_role=~/Skirt/};[extrusion_role]

; Support material
{elsif extrusion_role=~/SupportMaterial/};[extrusion_role]

; Support material interface
{elsif extrusion_role=~/SupportMaterialInterface/};[extrusion_role]

; Thin walls
{elsif extrusion_role=~/ThinWall/};[extrusion_role]

; Other

What's next?

Already in my hands are 2 more motors that will be replacing the front idlers. This both increases torque and decreases resonance. This will both allow for more "yolo" accels just to show off, but it will also increase usable accels. This means getting especially small parts done even faster. I'm replacing the .4mm copper nozzle with a .5mm tungsten carbide nozzle. Not only can it handle abrasives, it will outlast the printer, and it's a high flow nozzle. More melt speed, faster prints. Back pressure of a .4mm nozzle alone was causing flow issues, and greater line widths allow for an imperceptible loss of detail. Also coming is the Mellow meltzone extender. This should add a bit more melt power and really help me get the flow up. I'm massively limited especially on infill with 26mm^3/s of flow (101m/s on x/y motion), so getting the flow up will drag print times way down where flow limits were hit. A short list follows.

  • .5mm TC nozzle
  • Meltzone extender
  • 2 more motors. QuadXY/AWD incoming


On my far list, probably this winter is replacing the frame to fully support a rigid enclosure with a big door. Switching up a few parts with a custom Trident like design, but adding in some Y braces made of 2040 extrusions to cut down on the frame sway due to inability to bolt the printer to the wall. Yes, that's normally the solution at these accels.

Some pictures/videos

Daily print speeds. Testing accuracy. It was dead on, and moved perfectly.

Klicky got replaced with quickdraw, but I tried it.


Nozzle endstop for auto calibration


And... The obligatory speed benchy at 45k accels. Because why the heck not.

Vzbot330 Part 1

Time to go really fast

I spent quite a bit of time designing modifications for Vorons, and couldn't really agree with their limits and bad design choices. That lead me to looking for a better base printer design. I stumbled onto Annex and Vzbot series printers, and for cost reasons alone, I decided that a Vzbot 330 scratch build was what I was insane enough to build.

Why not a Voron?

I've got a few reasons that I am not interested in most Vorons. I won't get into personal disagreements with certain people, but just in design. Voron is not meant for speed. The designs are very well built for the speeds that they target, being "faster than most consumer printers", but they are not really built with the intentions of going much faster. The toolhead for example hangs on the front of the rail, and the rail on the front of the extrusion. That leaves a huge cantilever when doing fast Y movements on a CoreXY system, leading to inaccuracy, larger vibrations leading to ringing, more wear on components like the rails, ect. They pride themselves in looking really cool, and being easy to build for newcomers thanks to great documentation, and they nail that.

Why a Vzbot?

While Vzbot designs are still CoreXY, the design choices they made don't limit it nearly as hard as Voron designs. The toolhead sits on top of the rail, on top of the extrusion, and maintains a very stable center point without being heavy. Reduction of weight means that you will get higher accelerations before you get any ringing or ghosting. Vzbot also has great support for carbon fiber gantries, as well as machined aluminum gantries depending on your needs that weigh much less than 2020 extrusions, once again leading to more power to drive the print head, and less ringing.

Basic specs

  • NF Crazy hotend (Volcomosq Clone)
  • Sherpa Mini extruder
  • LDO Stepper Motor - Nema 17 - 42STH48-2504AC (A/B Motors)
  • TMC2209 Stepper drivers (24v)
  • Octopus Pro Mainboard
  • Asus Chromebox (Klipper pi replacement)
  • No probe
  • F3D MIC6 Alu bed
  • 120v AC heatbed

Part choice breakdown

I wanted a machine that was able to do at least 30mm^3/s, and the NF Crazy seemed like a good deal at only $65. When Vzbot parts were chosen, that was double that of the Switchwire, so nothing to sneeze at. The Octopus Pro mainboard is able to handle stepper drivers up to 60v, so that will allow for 48v stepper drivers to be used once they come back to markets as there is a part shortage at the moment. The TMC2209 drivers are only 24v, but they allow quite a high current as long as you have active cooling, and will do fine for the Z motor and extruder even longer term. As for the extruder, the sherpa mini was chosen due to it's high level of support on so many printers, Annex knows how to make amazing anything printer related, and it's light weight, so it fit right in. No probe and a single Z motor was a no brainer for me. No auto bed level when you can just never let it get out of level after initial calibration. F3D makes a very flat bed, so warping was not a concern, and I can just save all of that wasted probing time, and weight.

What kinds of speeds can it really hit though?


For accelerations, I'm running 10k accel, 10k decel on all visible features, and 15k/15k on features internal that won't be seen. Travels speeds are 1m/s 15k/15k accels.

This is substantially faster than Switchwire. That machines is limited to only 200mm/s and between 2k-10k accels, but most are closer to 2-5k. This reduces print times massively both on small and large objects thanks to the higher average flow rate.


This machine is still not enclosed, so it will get more rigid over time, as well as just being able to print materials like ABS and ASA better in the hotter ambient temperatures. I'm quite happy with the speeds that I'm getting with only 24v, but eventually 48v is a must. Lower current for the same speeds if nothing else, which is better for the motors, especially once enclosed as the temps will creep up. I may add a few more things here and there as I need them, but it's all up in the air, and I'm enjoying the new toy at the moment. I'm sure eating through filament at a rate I've never seen before though.

Some pictures

vzbot_2 vzbot_1 vzbot_first_layer vzbot_battery_Box