Schiit Aegir Power Amp Impressions

Discussion in 'Power Amps' started by rlow, Oct 16, 2018.

  1. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    Climate change dude!!

    Unfortunately I’m only half joking.
     
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  2. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    seriously, my toaster oven has higher energy consumption than a pair of Aegir monoblocks running full blast. Why are people worrying about this?
     
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  3. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

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    Here in italy it would also be about half the max power of the average home, which usually have 3kw hookups.

    That's fairly significant tbh.
     
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  4. Wilhelm E Vormer

    Wilhelm E Vormer Rando

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    How much toast do you eat??
     
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  5. crenca

    crenca Friend

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    I understand electrical "rationing" (looking for the right word), whether it be from high cost or regulatory enforced is pretty par for the course in Europe. I have a 6.5 kw solar panel system (I live in sunny desert south west USA) and I still end up paying the electrical company a bit in the summer and winter (I just about break even in the fall/spring). I have read more than one European music lover say they choose high quality class D (hypex, etc.) because of this rationing.
     
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  6. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

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    Getting anything 8kw or greater is a legislatory nightmare for a private home.

    I have a 6.5 and a 3 and I could probably run Aegirs no problem, but the surcharge for that kind of power is more than most can really justify.
     
  7. Utpal Aradhye

    Utpal Aradhye Rando

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    Just got a pair of Aegir amps from the store and here are my findings:

    Rest of the rig: Oppo BDP-105D as DAC, Schiit Freya preamp, Harman/Kardon HK3490 (previous amp), Project Debut carbon DC TT, Schiit Mani Phono pre, JBL L890 speakers.

    Original setup had the HK (an integrated) being used as a power amp, which sounds great for its price.

    First off, they are much better than using the Harman/Kardon as a power amp. The initial difference is not as significant as going from the HK pre-amp to the Freya with XLR connection to the DAC. That was an AHA! moment after some tube rolling. So was going from the HK phono to the Schiit Mani. Total game changer. Sounds like pre-amps indeed matter a lot more than power amps.

    The Aegirs have plenty of power to drive the 91dB JBL L890s. No need for bi-amping though I will be trying this out. Anyone concerned with lack of power should not worry at all for efficient speakers when running mono mode with XLR. I can't get the volume past 50% on the Freya without pain. They run about as hot as the Freya with tubes.

    Initial sound impressions:
    Initially there was harshness and listening fatigue. Some kind of sharp edge that made them unpleasant even though the detail was great. After 2 or 3 days they seem to have relaxed a bit and gotten smoother/ sweeter. The harshness is not all gone. Maybe it is that the rest of the system is very bright with the Freya in tube mode and the JBLs. They need to relax more or else they won't stay. Or maybe I need mellow tubes. The solid state also sounds harsh though and vinyl is also too bright. Is it too much gain in the pre's? Switching from TIDAL to local flac files and hi res helped. Much nicer than streaming. From day 1 they pulled more detail and improved the bass noticeably but is it worth the price ($1800 vs $350 for HK)? Not sure yet. Stereo imaging is wider but not much deeper. It seems to be improving with use though and getting smoother while not losing detail. Will play around with speaker placement, more time and update more.

    I wasn't sure if the improvement is due to the Aegirs or due to running enough power and using XLR so I have ordered a Marantz MM 7025 power amp ($800) and a PS Audio S300 class A/D power amp ($1600) and I will be doing comparison tests with all 3 since they can all run balanced all the way through. The best setup will stay.
     
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  8. hifiandrun

    hifiandrun Almost "Made"

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    Please consider this as just a friendly my 2 cents. I am not trying to start a Schiit war.
    When the gears reaches the Aegir level (especially that you have two of them), the synergistic plays a big role. The speakers are among the biggest factors in a stereo system, then that the Oppo Blu-ray player as a DAC. I haven't own nor heard the Oppo 105. But from what I read, the Oppo BDP-95 had better audio circuit than the BDP105, although they used the same Sabre 9018 dacs. The Oppo BDP-95 combines 4 channels into one to lower noise. It couldn't not be done in Oppo 105 to keep the specifications looks as good due to the added functions on BDP-105. I would assume that the Oppo BDP 105 share the same traits of other 9018 DACs. I once owned another $1200 (2016 dollar) 9018 DAC, which sounded very detailed but also very bright to me. The other factors would be cables, tubes, and yeah the voodoo of room treatments. In another word, what I meant was that before start doubting about your Aegirs's musicality, many other things could be experimented. In addition, if you have a Freya, you may also try your Aegirs as two monoblocks rather then bi-amp your speakers. One setup may sounds more in your favor to the other.

    Congratulation to your Aegirs ownership.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2019
  9. purr1n

    purr1n Building Magnis part time because it's peaceful.

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    ^ I see the brightness from Aegir with the Oppo BDP-105 (which uses the Sabre 9018 chip) and the L890 as mostly a good indicator for the Aegir.

    BTW, I have x2 Aegir coming in. Will test in monoblock and as single 2ch amp. The other will go on the loaner program.

    FWIW, the use case for Aegir is moderate / high to high efficiency speakers. Or moderate efficiency speakers if used as monoblocks.
     
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  10. zonto

    zonto Friend

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  11. Alfredo Prada

    Alfredo Prada Rando

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    Hello, everyone! I am new to the forum, I am interested in getting an Aegir, just one for stereo. It will be powering Klipsch Heressy III, anyone using a similar set up? these are very efficient, so one amp will be fine. Small 9x10 room

    thanks
     
  12. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    So now that I've got some time listening to these I think I can offer up a review.

    Overview
    So I'm replacing a Nuforce/Optoma STA200 that I've had for a little more than a year or so. The Nuforce replaced a Cayin TA-30 EL34 integrated that I managed to keep in my system for the better part of 10 years. All comparisons are directly to the STA200.

    TL;DR
    Boldness. That's the one word summary. Aegir does better detail, even tonality, and much, much better macro and micro dynamics. There's a cleanliness to the lower treble that very much reminds me of the Lyr3 I had for a bit. Bass is tighter, more defined and has a greater sense of tactility than STA200. Soundstage is quite a bit more cohesive, and image height/diffusion around instruments seems to extend much further around them.

    My Chain
    Sources—Roon/Tidal to RPi+ALLO DigiOne coax out, Technics SL-1200 w/ DL-103r to Cambridge Audio 640P (modded), Sangean HDT-20
    DAC—Gungnir Multibit Gen5 (coax in)
    Preamp—Freya w/Psvane CV181 Orange base
    Amps—AegirX2
    Speakers—Audio Note AZ-3 (Hemp drivers, silver VC tweeters, upgraded x-over)

    My Preferences
    I listen to mostly electronic weirdo music, but my library contains pretty much anything except Country. I'm on a pretty big Erased Tapes label kick right now, so I used quite a bit of Nils Frahm and Olafur Arnalds to audition. I prefer tonal accuracy to soundstage-type fireworks; I'm a tone-and-body kinda guy.

    Treble
    OK - this, to me, is where this amp is the fucking business. I got a taste of this type of presentation when I had the Lyr3, and I dug it on HD650M, but for HD800 it was a touch too forward. Anyhow, this ain't a Lyr3 review. Aegir has presence region nailed. For me, it's just the right balance of upper treble detail that doesn't over emphasize lower treble crunch and bite. It's like the upper treble is presented with warmth, and the lower treble has just the right amount of coolness/clarity.

    Mids
    If there was anything that changed considerably during break-in, it was the mids becoming less confused/cupped in/tight-sounding. Now that there's a few hours on the amps, they still exhibit a little less upper bass fullness than the STA200, and don't verge into muddiness. I think this is the only place where I can fault the Aegir, is in the midrange palpability. There isn't quite the density (or slight muddiness) that I think I enjoy about the STA200, but the midrange punch and dynamics of the Aegir seems to make up for it. This is one of those things where better transient response can initially be perceived of as an upset tonal balance, but in the case of the Aegir, I think it's a more honest presentation.

    Bass
    Boy, the difference a good power supply can make. Authoritative is what I'd say to describe the Aegir's bass response. I do most of my listening around 75-80dB but have been most impressed with how the extension just keeps going, and going, and not loosing any definition. Cranking things up to 95dB or so, and it's truly impressive how there's an ease to things, while still being forceful.

    Macro/Micro Dynamics
    If there's a single thing that these amps do better than the STA200 without question, it's macrodynamic ability. Dead silence to 100dB doesn't tax Aegir one bit. Dynamics are so effortless and clean; in my listening room it's more about all the shit in the house rattling to pieces that keeps me from hitting plus on the volume control than things getting too rowdy for Aegir. Microdynamics are equally impressive - texture and palpability come forward while not overshadowing the tonal center of any instrument/musical cue. "Bigger, better, bolder" was what I wrote in some notes while I listened to the Aegirs for the first time.

    Soundstage
    This one's easy, too - better on all counts than STA200. And it's not insubstantial. There's a cohesiveness that, again, reminds me of Lyr3. No, there's not "imaging outside the speakers by 15 feet" but from speaker to speaker there's just a consistent, even soundfield, with appropriate depth and attack and decay. Image height is better, and although things settled to "speaker-plane" front-to-back, for many hours the Aegir's imaged a bit forward. As I mentioned in a prior post, before break-in, they were "front row" amps, but have since settled into being 3rd-5th row amps.

    In Conclusion
    Yeah, I'm gonna keep 'em.
     
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    Last edited: Apr 19, 2019
  13. purr1n

    purr1n Building Magnis part time because it's peaceful.

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    It should work very well. I've got them on similar type speakers, but bigger (JBL4498).

    ---

    Got x2 Aegir in today. They are legit. Only using one for now. Will report on monoblock configuration later this weekend.

    Better than I expected - more resolving and immediate than from what I remember from the early prototype.

    The sound is full-bodied with present bass and extended highs. The amp needs to be on for half an hour for the highs to calm down. It does get quite hot to the touch!

    Bass transients and bass control are slightly rounder than the Vidar (which is first class in these areas regardless of price). The overall presentation is in the opposite direction of Benchmark. Not extremely so. But I figured I'd say this so people who like the Benchmark or THX AAA 234 feed-forward sound can simply avoid the Aegir. The sound of the Aegir is on the more relaxed side, but this does not mean start-stop transients are blurred. Quite the opposite, I found myself surprised at times at the articulation and focus.

    The Aegir seems quite tonally compatible, that is a good drop in replacement for a 300B speaker amp with a little bit of feedback (specifically ECSTJR with cheapo EH tubes). Aegir does have a bit more bass heft/kick/articulation (expected - I pulled the speakers from the back wall a bit to adjust for this) and is just a teeny bit more full-bodied (not expected).
     
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    Last edited: Apr 19, 2019
  14. Alfredo Prada

    Alfredo Prada Rando

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    Thanks, but I could not find JBL 4498, do you mean 4430?
     
  15. purr1n

    purr1n Building Magnis part time because it's peaceful.

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    Sorry, JBL 4698b. Slight difference from Heresy in that mids on JBL are cone and only the tweeter is a horn (buttcheek) type, but same idea with the big drivers, high SPL / low distortion, simple xover, big square cab approach.
     
  16. zonto

    zonto Friend

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    @purr1n, using the Freya as preamp?
     
  17. wbass

    wbass Almost "Made"

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    I've been enjoying my Aegir (x1), too, and agree that they seem to mellow out slightly on top after being on for a while. (And they do get warm but not alarmingly so.) I'm still finding them nicely clear and detailed without being glassy or strident. And I'm running them with Klipsch Forte IIIs, which can sometimes be a bit bright/forward. I think my tube setup has better staging/depth, but the Aegir's have more transparency and cleaner, better articulated bass. The bass is where I especially hear transients being quicker/cleaner than my Quicksilver SETs, though I do like a touch of bass bloom, so there's a trade off perhaps. Both set ups are groovy.
     
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  18. purr1n

    purr1n Building Magnis part time because it's peaceful.

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    Passive JBL Nano Patch. This will do balanced too, so will work with Aegir as monoblocks which require balanced.
     
  19. purr1n

    purr1n Building Magnis part time because it's peaceful.

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    Reporting back on Aegir in monoblock configuration (which requires balanced input).

    With the 98db to 100db efficient JBLs, I honestly did not think I would get a significant increase in sound quality, but I did. Can't explain this. Don't know why. But it's probably like cars: there is no such thing as too much power. I can be putting along at 40mph lightly modulating the gas pedal, and the 707hp Hellcat is still gonna feel more powerful than a 485hp Scat Pack (or the 485hp Scat Pack to the 375hp HEMI).

    Now, I know that the balanced outputs of the Gungnir A2 do sound better than the SE outputs, but the difference with the monoblock Aegirs is greater than what I know the difference to be from between the SE and balanced DAC outputs.

    A single Aegir sounds great. Two in monoblock configuration is out of this world and something I would say is "True Hi-Fi" -capable of competing with the best TOTL stuff out there. The only things remaining would be component synergies or personal preferences.

    The monoblock Aegirs are not as quite rounded as a single stereo Aegir. The presentation is a bit more squared up with tighter attacks, transients, and focus. However the sound still isn't quite as square as those squarish fake Hi-Fi sounding amps. In fact, the presentation is even more delicate and nuanced than a single stereo Aegir. Microdynamics, clarity, and spaciousness are also a notch better. The sense of ease and flow are two notches better. The tonal balance is more neutral: the "less rounded" resulting in more neutral bass and less laid-back upper mids.

    The x2 voltage gain is equating to x4 more power, 80W now into 8-ohms. I am assuming the full x4 power is possible because we are not being limited by current by the power supply. I would be curious how much more power we would get for 4-ohm loads.

    In a word or three: delicate, spacious, and oh so seductive!

    Other thoughts:
    • For 0.00001% THD measurbators: Don't even bother. You don't want this.
    • I won't miss the 300B prototype so much when I return it (have on loan from EC to help troubleshoot a few issues.) Different strengths, and really need to save up to help kids for college in few years.
    • Second coming of the Pioneer M22. Slightly different presentation though and Aegir has way more power in monoblock configuration.
    • Where were these this winter?
     
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    Last edited: Apr 20, 2019
  20. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    Anybody who tried to drive (relatively less efficient) headphones with aegir via speaker outs?
     
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    Last edited: Apr 21, 2019

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