I definitely agree with this take. Yes, the RME sounds better than the Modi 3, mainly in terms of a blacker background, but it’s a small improvement relative to price. The RME’s headamp is awful and unless you need the EQ, preamp, etc. features of the RME, the Modi is the best cheap AKM choice. The Topping stuff doesn’t even rate. The Crane Song Solaris is the best AKM DAC I’ve heard, but that’s partly because it doesn’t really sound like a “velvet” DAC.