I own both and, to my ear, they sound more alike than they sound different. Both are extremely nice phono preamps. The only area where I find the Mani to be a slight “second" to the XPS-1 would be its noise floor.
If you’re using a MM cartridge whose output voltage may be just a bit on the low side, the Mani can become slightly “hissy” at idle when its gain stage is set to anything above its 30dB minimum. But once you drop the needle, who cares…?
At $129, the Mani is not only an excellent performer, but an absolute bargain. At the current price of the XPS-1 ($199), I’d recommend spending an extra $50 and get the Vincent PHO-8. I personally consider the Vincent to be an appreciable step up from both.
But for the difference in cost, I have no doubt that you’d be perfectly content with the Schiit Mani. Many are, and I can fully appreciate why.
Last Edit: Aug 19, 2020 15:15:01 GMT -5 by doc1963
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Thanks Doc1963. The Vincent does look nice, love the separate power supply. Currently researching it.
BTW, there’s a guy on YouTube with a huge review (multi-episode) on a bunch of phono preamps, including all the aforementioned units and he says go Mani by a wide margin. An entertaining watch.
Yep... I’ve seen his videos. He’s a very colorful personality with (apparently) a lot of money to burn. Unfortunately, I’ve often disagreed with many of his opinions. Especially during his preamp “shootout”. The Mani is a very fine preamp, and I do recommend it, but I wouldn’t have given it “quite” the praise that he did. There are better choices, but they are more expensive.
His cartridge shootout was entertaining as well, and I do agree with his praise of Nagaoka cartridges, but I guess that could be because I already owned two of them... 😁
EDIT: Which reminds me... The Nagaoka MP-110 combined with the Shiit Mani is an excellent pairing for not a lot of money. Probably the best bang for your buck out there...