Schiit Amp Compendium - Guide to Schiit Amps (headamps)

Discussion in 'Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by Marvey, Oct 22, 2016.

  1. Marvey

    Marvey Loves sex and records

    Staff Member Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    20,876
    Dislikes Received:
    26
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Calabasas, CA
    Schiit Amp Compendium - Guide to Schiit Amps (headamps)
    What Schiit Amp Should I Get?
    How do the Schiit Amps Sound Different From Each Other


    By request. In as few words as possible. Go to Schiit's website for specs. Life's too short for me cut and paste them here.

    Introductory Notes
    1. Does not include all Schiit amps.
    2. Not science. Rankings are approximate and subjective. Give or take one point. Some rankings correlate to measurements, but my bet is that "objectivists" will be the ones too stupid to figure this out.
    3. Feedback is welcome.
    Technicalities

    Scores are relative, not absolute. Observed differences will likely be smaller than the chart implies.
    SchiitSpider.png

    Headstage

    Headstage is pretty much the same more or less for all Schiit amps, which means the stage is fairly upfront, with the exception of Valhalla 2 which does have a deeper and more open stage. Jotunheim is very precise in imaging with good separation. Rag has good depth despite being upfront. Some have slightly wider stage than others. The Magnis have the most compact stages relative to the other amps. None of the amps have a headstage that bothers me. I don't really notice these things anyway with headphones.


    Tonal Balance

    Here are some tonal balance notes. Good to know for headphone pairings. Tubes may affect things. There are no showstopper issues. Just tendencies.

    Jotunheim BAL - slightly upper-mid forward / slightly glarey treble.
    Ragnarok BAL - lean
    Magni 2U - neutral / slightly laid-back
    Magnu 2 - neutral
    Lyr 2 - warm
    Valhalla 2 - slightly warm / dry treble
    Mjnolnir 2 BAL* - warm
    Vali 2 - slightly laid-back

    Jotunheim - great extension at extremes
    Valhalla 2 - lacks ultimate extension in bass
    Vali 2 - lacks ultimate extension at extremes


    * Mjolnir 2 is balanced. I forgot to indicate so on the chart. The circlotron designs get severely gimped from their SE outputs. The summing circuit gets in the way and defeats the point of the circlotron. Macrodynamics and plankton take a huge hit. All the other areas take a minor hit. The Jotunheim SE doesn't lose much. Maybe a point in speed and macrodynamics. Maybe a half point in plankton.

    Conclusions and Tidbits

    There is no one Schiit amp that does it all the best. The best all-around Schiit amp is the Rag. If you are poor and want a good all-rounder, get the Magni 2U. All the others have certain strengths and weaknesses. The Jotunheim and Valhalla 2 are like siblings with different personalities, but I like them both. All are highly recommended at their price points.


    Table For the Retinal-Challenged
    SchiitSpider2.png
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2016
    Pe8er, Claritas, econaut and 69 others like this.

  2. jowls

    jowls Something related to poop - Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,516
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Australia
    Holy balls, this is awesome...
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2016
    jayeshrc likes this.
  3. DrForBin

    DrForBin Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2015
    Likes Received:
    223
    Dislikes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    The Great NorthWet
    hello,

    @ jowls, it certainly is. but some of us are colour blind.:(

    (could we get a listing as well?)
     
    Thomas Crown likes this.
  4. Marvey

    Marvey Loves sex and records

    Staff Member Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    20,876
    Dislikes Received:
    26
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Calabasas, CA
    Table of scores added at the end. Had been in my head for a while, but finally had time on the plane to scribble down on a napkin and adjust numbers. Here they are.
     
  5. k4rstar

    k4rstar Friend

    Friend Banned
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2016
    Likes Received:
    1,418
    Dislikes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Canada
    No Asgard 2? Psalm would be disappoint.

    Sure, I'm sure there was probably a better way for me to type it but here ya go.

    Speed / Transients / Control / Focus
    Jotunheim BAL > Ragnarok BAL > Mjnolnir 2 = Lyr 2 > Magni 2U = Magni 2 > Vali 2 > Valhalla 2

    Clarity / Blackness / Lack of Veil
    Jotunheim BAL > Ragnarok BAL > Mjnolnir 2 = Lyr 2 = Magni 2U > Vali 2 > Valhalla 2

    Macrodynamics / Slam / Lack of Compression
    Mjnolnir 2 = Lyr 2 > Ragnarok BAL > Jotunheim BAL > Vali 2 > Valhalla 2 = Magni 2U = Magni 2

    Microdynamics / Granularity of Volumes / Contrast
    Ragnarok BAL = Valhalla 2 > Vali 2 > Mjolnir 2 > Jotunheim BAL = Magni 2U > Magni 2 > Lyr 2

    Plankton
    Ragnarok BAL = Valhalla 2 > Jotunheim BAL = Mjnolnir 2 > Vali 2 > Magni 2U > Magni 2 = Lyr 2
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2016
    zonto, PoochZag, vtrinidad87 and 4 others like this.
  6. Merrick

    Merrick Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2016
    Likes Received:
    3,252
    Dislikes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Seems like the Ragnarok is the best all rounder, doing the most things right, but not being the best in any single category.
     
  7. Dino

    Dino Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2016
    Likes Received:
    2,237
    Dislikes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    113
    I'm a little color blind as well. If I stare long enough I start seeing them well enough. But if I lose concentration, I have to start over again.

    Thanks Marv and k4star for helping out the Retinal-Challenged.
     
    Wilson likes this.
  8. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Friend

    Friend Banned
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,591
    Dislikes Received:
    20
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Be sure to take into account fatigue (treble fuckery) when I would say:
    Asgard 2 > Vali 2 > Rag > Magni 2U = Jotun > Valhalla 2 > Lyr 2

    Actually fuck that. The Asgard 2 and Vali 2 have the least fucked up treble by far. Everything other Schiit amp is kinda fucked in the treble.
     
    starence and geomaso44 like this.
  9. DrForBin

    DrForBin Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2015
    Likes Received:
    223
    Dislikes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    The Great NorthWet
    hello,

    @Marvey, thank you ever so!
     
  10. geomaso44

    geomaso44 Rando

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2015
    Likes Received:
    12
    Dislikes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    8
    ...
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2016
  11. numbercube

    numbercube Acquaintance

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2015
    Likes Received:
    28
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Germany
    Can you make an overall Bass ranking? I thought the Magni2 is more slammy and punchy than Vali1 for example.
     
  12. Marvey

    Marvey Loves sex and records

    Staff Member Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    20,876
    Dislikes Received:
    26
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Calabasas, CA
    That's kind of a combination of speed and macrodynamics and bass extension.
     
  13. Marvey

    Marvey Loves sex and records

    Staff Member Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    20,876
    Dislikes Received:
    26
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Calabasas, CA
    Made some minor changes. Not significant.
     
  14. Wilson

    Wilson Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2016
    Likes Received:
    2,332
    Dislikes Received:
    25
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Ohio
    @Marvey, this is helpful not only in terms of Schiit amps, but in how to conceptualize amplifier performance in general. Another thought - at some point definitions of the terms you used = the complete package.

    EDIT: spelling and added thought.
     
  15. Kattefjaes

    Kattefjaes Mostly Harmless

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2016
    Likes Received:
    2,588
    Dislikes Received:
    34
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    London, UK
    This is great, but...

    I feel that you're being overly generous to the Magni 2U- when paired with the stock HD650, a very popular headphone, the bass is very lacking in definition/detail. It's very pooly-controlled and definitely in "wet fart" territory in some respects.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2016
  16. zerodeefex

    zerodeefex Unpaid LH Labs volunteer - Admin

    Staff Member Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2015
    Likes Received:
    4,086
    Dislikes Received:
    21
    Trophy Points:
    113
    This is for you and like four people.

    We need an automatic caveat appended to your posts.
     
    drbobbybones, Gaspasser, auri and 7 others like this.
  17. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Friend

    Friend Banned
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,591
    Dislikes Received:
    20
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Agree 100%. Moving up the line, I heard kick drums hits that just weren't there on the Magni 2U to the point where I think that even though it's a decent amp, newbs should start higher up the line for Sennheisers to hear what the headphones are truly capable of. The myth that the HD 600/650 are slow and veiled is a lie that continues to be believed.
    Not my fault you don't mind the sound of glare and steel, like when the sun reflects off the sword in every samurai movie ever.
    [​IMG]
    All this Schiit is still better than JDS Labs/Chi-fi/Japan-fi, which sound like getting repeatedly stabbed with the sword.
     
    kiss m, mori39, FlySweep and 3 others like this.
  18. Kattefjaes

    Kattefjaes Mostly Harmless

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2016
    Likes Received:
    2,588
    Dislikes Received:
    34
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    London, UK
    You don't even need to go too far, either- the Vali 2 actually drives the 650 markedly better, given a decent tube.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2016
  19. tdockweiler

    tdockweiler Rando

    Banned
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2016
    Likes Received:
    20
    Dislikes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Would you get the same results if you used the Jotunheim without a balanced headphone?
    That's on my radar, but it sounds like it might be not such a good choice for a Q701.

    Wonder which one is as far away from the Asgard 1/2 sound as you can get :D
    Wasn't clear enough for me and a bit too warm sounding for my preferences.
    The Magni 1 was closer to my kind of amp, but a bit bright at times with some headphones. Overall it was pretty good.
     
  20. Kattefjaes

    Kattefjaes Mostly Harmless

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2016
    Likes Received:
    2,588
    Dislikes Received:
    34
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    London, UK
    The SE out of the Jot is pretty decent. Obviously, the balanced out will have more power/control of cranky drivers- but the SE out can drive most things pretty powerfully, too.

    I can't comment on the quality of the pairing of the Q701, mind, not a fan of the AKG 7xx, and the fact that it requires so much surgery to cable them balanced is a bit of a turn-off too. Hopefully someone who has actually heard this pairing will chime in.
     

Share This Page