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I just picked up a Modi 2 Uber based on Z-Reviews and everything else I've read on Head-Fi. Now to figure out is the Vali 2 is worth it to pair with the TH-X00's.
Don't get the Vali 2. It's nothing special. Garage1217 offers a similarly priced hybrid tube amp that sounds better anyway. Besides, you would want a SS amp to pair with the TH-X00. Something like the O2 or Magni would be better.
Ivince... What sounds better to one is not what sounds better to another... That being said the Shiit Vali2 is an amazing Hybrid tube amp for the money, at $169 it is far less then the $229 at Garage1217 is charging for a built Starlight with aluminum "case" closes to the Vali 2 you can get (the like of the build design and looks are going to be subjective as far has having a fully enclosed case (shiit) or a DIY open case design (Garage1217)) .
OK I am not knocking Garage1217 for their amps in anyway. The Starlight at is price range (starts at about $159 for a DIY, which makes in an awesome value). To compare the two amps is rather difficult, they are designed for two very different type of people. The Shitt audio amps are right out of the box ready to go, just plug play and enjoy. You will not have to mess with Tube rolling to get the best out of the amp. The Vali 2 uses only 6volt tubes so there is limitations on what tubes you can use anyway, but really you won't need to. Now "if you've owned a tube amp an your into the "tube" hobby grab the Starlight, an be ready to adjust your bias daily, an try at least like 10 tubes in a week to find the right one! Oh an don't forget about rolling the Op Amps to :D you'll need to customize that too once you find the right tube!" (Quote taken from the Head-Fi forum review of the Starlight vs Vali 2: http://www.head-fi.org/t/791955/schiit-vali-2-vs-garage-1217-starlight-comparative-review ).
I own 6 headphone amps at this moment, some good some not so good. I have gone through 20 or so in he last 10 years trying to find the Holly Grail of amps. I can tell you that "sounds better" is extremely subjective and should never really be used to describe something when it comes to comparing audio equipment. "batmanwcm" I hope this helps with the whole "is the Vali 2 worth it" I have paired the Vali, Vali 2, the Valhalla 2 and I currently own the Mjolnir 2. A well built tube amp (hybrid or not) will make a the Fostex sing so nicely. A well built Solid State amp will make do great too, I prefer the sound of a tube amp, even if it is just added "distortion" in the signal path :P
Sorry to burst your bubble buddy, but this hobby is mostly based on subjectivism.
I'm not sure why I should not describe something as better sounding when that is exactly what I feel and what my ears tell me when comparing the 2 amps. It's not like I'm asking you to agree with me , it's just my subjective impressions lol.
Yes you are right when you compare equipment for your own personal enjoyment, you should find what sounds better to you. However to be fair to someone else and to offer a better comparison between two completely different amps, since you were making a comparison using "sounds better" as the reason for going with Garage 1217 (by the way you didn't recommend a model so I picked the closest one that represented price range), but both amps sound nothing like the other. The Garage 1217 Starlight has a wonderful warm sound witch roles off on the highs at the top. Then of course you can change the tubes for any you want, which will make it sound different from stock form. The Shiit Vali 2 add very little "warmth" to the sound but does tame the highs at the upper limits of hearing range. This helps prevent that fatiguing sound some headphones can produce. The Fostex tend to be warm anyway on their upper end headphones though. Throwing a Solid State headphone amp at them would provide the power they need in order to play properly and sound amazing, but a Tube amp or Hybrid tube amp is never a bad way to go either. It all depends on what sound you want to get out of the headphones. Normally a Tube amp add warmth and depth, mostly in the mid range. With out boosting the highs and lows too much. Some even roll the highs off pretty drastically though. So it all depends on what you find as "good" will depend on what works for you. I recommend doing a hands on with something before buying. That is why getting stuff online can be a real pain in the butt. Brick and mortar places offer services that no online stores just can't. Like being able to try something before you spend you money. But you pay a premium at places like that due to that type of hands on ability. Usually it is no more then 10 dollars, but to some 10 bucks is a lot of money :D