Ok, very quickly will summarize why there is a Modi 3E: AKM factory burned down. Schiit used up AKM4490 parts. ESS parts easily obtainable. Don't know if Modi 3E uses the 9018 or 9016. Will pop the hood to find out. Normally I start out with subjective impressions before measurements to avoid confirmation bias (because sometimes I think I hear things when I don't because of measurements). This time around, I'm going to pull off an ASR. AmirNAD is 114db Schiit Modi 3E AmirNAD being defined as SINAD with a steady-stage 1kHz tone at 0dbFS output using 20kHz bandwidth using an APx555 with the cheat-mode High Performance Sine Analyzer turned on. SINAD of 114db is actually kind of disappointing these days. It would have been superb two years ago. However, the world has moved on and we all know that SINAD is a race where those at the top win. Let's take a look how far from the top the Modi 3E fares in this race: Topping D90SE 123db AmirNAD $899 Gustard X16 121db AmirNAD $499 SMSL M400 121db AmirNAD $859 Matrix X-Sabre Pro 121db AmirNAD $1999 Topping DX7Pro 119db AmirNAD $509 The Schiit Modi 3E at 114db AmirNAD is a bit off the pace. In Formula 1, the Modi 3E would finish near the back of the pack. Therefore if you believe that AmirNAD is a primary determinant of sound quality and state of the art-ness, then I could only somewhat recommend the Modi 3E. Part of what limits the 3E is that the powerplant isn't as good. The 9018 (or 9016) isn't anywhere as good as the ESS9038 parts used at the top. However, some credit should go to Schiit as they've betterered the prior AKM4490 based Modi 3+'s AmirNAD by 3db or so! But then again, are we truly looking at this the right way objectively? The fact is, $500 is still a lot of money for most of us to spend, so let's take look at it from a value respective. At $129, the Schiit Modi 3E provides immense value! This seems to fit with Schiit's business model: they may not be the best, but they provide extreme value. AmirNAD (db) per US Dollar The Modi 3E slaughters its competition when it comes to AmirNAD per USD. It's not even close. In fact, scientifically and objectively speaking, we cannot hear anything different when AmirNAD is better than 110db. This said by the man himself (not I). Therefore there is no reason to get any other DAC if you looking at this objectively and belong in the cult of AmirNAD.