Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by Marvey, Oct 22, 2016.
Can someone please rank them according to the thickness/density of the notes? Thanks!
i must have too much time on my hands.
if it helps anyone, attached is a dimension list of Schiit products. the "Note" section is my own invention of relative sizes in case y'all want to stack Schiit up.
(n.b. the sic for the Bifrost is based on my measuring the multi-bit one on my desk, the website is wrong.)
sorry that the formatting is so buggered up on the attachment.
think i fixed the formatting issue.
Got the Jot in today.
Of the Schiit amps I've owned, the Ragnarok remains numero uno. I scaled down to the Valhalla 2 and have lived with it for some time now. The graph is spot on in illustrating the Valhalla 2's deficiencies vs the top dog. Plankton and micro-dynamics are definitely the standout qualities.
I kinda wish I hadn't heard and owned the Rag prior to the Valhalla 2. I've really missed the slam and authority of the SS behemoth but thankfully, the Jot delivers these qualities in spades. I do notice the slight decrease in plankton and may prefer the shape of the headstage rendered by the Valhalla 2 but overall, the Jot is a rollicking and very engaging little beast. I'm astounded at the bang for buck here.
I did have to engage integer mode 2 in Audirvana to take some of the edge off the upper registers. Integer mode 1 and listening before the amp had warmed up reminded me of the original Mjolnir's fatiguing abrasiveness.
@Olor1n have you tried using the Valhalla 2 as a preamp for the Jot? The Jot is technically impressive but to me is a little thin and boring by itself, putting the Valhalla2 in front fixes that while retaining the Jot's advantages in bass impact and macrodynamics.
No, I haven't. Still getting acquainted with the Jot.
My chain is Audirvana+ (integer mode 2) > Uptone USB Regen (Amber) > NAD M51 > Jotunheim > HD650, balanced from dac to amp to headphone. Thin is the last word I would use to describe what I'm hearing.
I also have the dac module in the Jot. Haven't listened to it yet. Expectations are low on that front.
Yeah I agree it's not really thin with HD650. I'm using HD800 and Utopia and my reference point is tube amps. Was just curious since you have both Val2 and Jot, and I think they sound quite good together.
Edit: Just wanted to follow up to say the use of the Jot by itself is growing on me, maybe I don't even need the val2. The Jot has one hell of an insane performance/price ratio, I don't know how Schiit does it.
Is there any point in the Mjolnir 2 if you don't have a balanced DAC (a.k.a. Bimby)?
Looks like it has plenty of juice, so I assume it handles inefficient planars fairly well?
It should be fine. It's a differential input that will take either balanced or SE. Just make sure balanced out.
ok i tried searching for plankton on google what does that term mean? sorry for the noobness
Searching SBAF will get you some hits...
thankyou tried that aswell i guess didn't try hard enough thanks lol i wish someone would make a big list with all the audiophile terms XD
Got bored and tried splitting them up into separate charts (roughly based on chassis size) and altered the lines for visibility...
can somebody with electrical engineering knowledge commnent on why the Mojo 2 has a 10 in macrodynamics/slam?
Is it power? (Jot seems to be as powerful)
Tubes (magic) + Circlotron (magic).
So after reading about all this Schiit for like forever, I finally went into the Taipei dealer hifi.com.tw to find out for myself what all this Schiit talk is about and how well the HD650 scales. Those who've read my impressions know that my critical listening and verbalizing skills are nowhere near those of the Super Best Jedi Masters, but I want to share what I've learned and perhaps other Younglings can relate more easily at my humble level of audiophility. I have very limited experience with amps/DACs other than my iFi micro iDSD and random gear that headphones I was trying out were plugged into (no chance to do systematic comparisons). I'd heard the Valhalla 2 back when I was trying to like the HD800, but I didn't use a reference headphone with which to make a comparison. So today I went in, armed with the Spider Chart in graphic and tabular form for reference. All listening was done with my HD650Ms, effectively KISS w/ coin mod. Source was my Note 3 via OTG USB to micro iDSD.
1. iDSD amp section vs. Valhalla 2 (using iDSD DAC)
I fed the the Val2 with the line out of the iDSD and compared. I honestly couldn't hear much difference, perhaps a bit more microdynamics and feeling of engagement, but not enough that I'd be confident in a blind test. This made me wonder if the iDSD's DAC was a limiting factor. So I asked for a Bifrost* to feed the Val2. (*They said it wasn't a Bifrost Uber but there was an M2 | Uber | U2 sticker on the back next to the RCA outs. It was different then the holographic "Certified, Original, Genuine" Bifrost Uber stickers I found online, so I don't know.)
2. iDSD DAC/amp vs. Valhalla 2 + Bifrost (S/PDIF coax out from iDSD)
I immediately noticed the deeper, punchier bass of the Schiit stack. Now I know what Moffat Bass™ is. ME LIKEY!!! The imaging was also tighter, highs less grainy, more natural timbre in cymbals, better transients/attack, and better vocal nuances. Now let's try some circlotron action. Borrowed their balanced XLR cable and asked for the Mjolnir 2.
3. iDSD DAC/amp vs. Mjolnir 2 + Bifrost (S/PDIF coax out from iDSD)
Same improvements as above, just raised up a few notches. More sense of engagement and "musicality" or, if I can be permitted to use the term, more Gauravidians. It was a hassle swapping back and forth as I had to change cables each time, but the differences were easily discernable. OK, lets try out this new Jotenheimer thing and see what all the hullaballoo is about.
4. iDSD DAC/amp vs. Jotenheim + Bifrost (S/PDIF coax out from iDSD)
Initial impression is that the sound is very clear and tight, a bit brighter and more forward but not unpleasantly so. Imaging, stage micro/macrodynamics were all better than the iDSD. In general I would rank the Jot on par with the Mjolnir but with different tonal balances as described by @Marvey in the OP. Now lets take the Bifrost back out and go full circle comparing amps with the iDSD's DAC.
5. iDSD amp section vs. Jotenheim (using iDSD DAC)
Obviously not as good as with the Bifrost, but still improved attack/image/stage over the iDSD. Perhaps the differences are noticeable with the Jot when they weren't with the Valhalla 2 due to the Jot's more forward sound signature.
I heard differences between the amps today, but they weren't as big as I thought they'd be. I'm sure I'd be able to get more out of them with time to get more familiar with their individual characteristics. It took great concentration to notice the differences and feel confident that they weren't due to confirmation bias. I was somewhat surprised how much of the differences I heard were due to the Bifrost. I wasn't able to feed the output of the Bifrost into the line in of the iDSD so I couldn't directly compare DAC sections using the iDSD's amp, but I'm confident that the Bifrost is a significant step up in clarity, imaging, and BASS impact/extension.
Question: How much of the improvements I hear with the Bifrost would I get with the Modi Multibit? I could see a Mimby + Vali 2 or Magni 2U stack as reasonably affordable and portable enough I could move it around the house. This question is OT so I'm going to post it in the Mimby thread so you can answer there, please. I would be feeding it S/PDIF coax using my iDSD as a D2D converter.
They also have an EC BA and I asked if I could have a listen. They said it had to warm up first and I needed to make an appointment, then asked what my budget was, and finally poo-pooed my lowly HD650 by saying the BA should be paired with more high-end phones. He pointed me in the direction of a Graham Slee Solo Ultra Linear, saying it was the "Sennheiser Officially Recommended Amp" for the HD650. Anybody had any experience with this? The description has an interesting graphic describing their Z-Match impedance ranging volume control. Does this mean the Zout increases as you turn the volume up?
Anyway, after 3+ hours of intensive Schiity comparo my brain was pretty fried anyway, so I probably wouldn't have gotten much out of it if they'd let me try the BA. Next time then ...
@gixxerwimp cool post. I know that one of the Schiitheads recommends listening with equipment on the hour time scale rather than the second scale when doing A/B comparisons. Consider the fact that your brain does interpretation adjustments we aren't even cognitively aware of. What people describe as "burn-in" for most items is probably more due to your brain changing the way it processes what you're hearing rather than because the equipment itself has changed (not including Schiit Multibit DACs which benefit from being left on 24/7 to stay warm). An example of this for me is that if I listen to unbalanced channel headphones for a while, say a few weeks, eventually my brain compensates for me and they sound balanced. Then when I go back to balanced channel headphones I have to take time to get used to that again.
So listening to an entire album start to finish with one set of equipment, and then changing items and doing it again, may make it easier for you to discern changes in the sound if you are actively focusing on what you're hearing over a larger time frame rather than swapping back and forth constantly. I find that method difficult as well. Also: things like how much sleep you got, if you've had a lot of caffeine, if you have a cold, etc. can influence the way you hear. Knowing yourself and the way your brain interprets sound so that you have a handle on these shifting reference points is probably a significant part of what separates the skilled discerning listener from a green ear. My ear can certainly hear nuances better now than I could 5 years ago, but nowhere near what Marv is capable of. For now, go with what sounds good to you. I think a Modi Multibit and Vali 2 should be pretty awesome, especially for the price.
LOL the store sounds so pretentious when it downplays the HD650s and requires you to make an appointment for the BA. I can't imagine it taking more than 10-15m for it to sound 99% optimal. What is their idea of "high end" anyways? Still, it would be worthwhile to go back to try the BA.
Sennheiser stands at shows do the same, mind.. they look at you like you're an idiot pauper who shouldn't be casting shadow on their HD800S display, and try to sell you Momentums...
They made that shit up. If they think you have cash they let you right in. I went in, talked to them about it, listened then mentioned the newer BA with the HF heater (when I went the old one was there) was an awesome upgrade. The dude's eyes bulged a bit.
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