Schiit Jotunheim impressions

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by Bill-P, Aug 30, 2016.

  1. xLn

    xLn Acquaintance

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    Anyone try the jot with the garage1217 offerings as a pre?
     
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  2. Colgin

    Colgin Friend

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    Ouch. My ears are bleeding just thinking about that setup.
     
  3. murray

    murray Friend

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    "Deaf Con"
     
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  4. andrejc

    andrejc Rando

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    Fostex TH900mk2 with the Jot and Modi MB?
    Yes or no?
    E-MU Teak?
     
  5. Yeskey

    Yeskey Friend

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    I have the project polaris sitting on top of the jot and usually use the jot as a pre, but never the other way around. Time for science!
     
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  6. Yeskey

    Yeskey Friend

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    @xLn Initial impressions with the polaris as a pre into the jot with the hd650k aren't really to my tastes. Mid bass feels shifted to a lower octave with less definition / faster decay (Where's the impact) and low-treble sharpness is more present. Most of my gains swapping over from usb to spdif are absent. But sound stage is interesting, I can't put my finger on it yet, but rather than the 3-blob presentation of the hd650, it's more left-right and behind. (pretty cool)

    My polaris is lowest impedance switch with high-pass bandwidth. Polaris knob is 2 o'clock and Jot at 9 o'clock. Overall listening volume increased slightly to match my bass preference, but treble becomes fatiguing with increased volume. I'll keep it for the rest of the night and see if my opinion changes. But it's mostly meh, can't comment on any of the other g1217 amps because I've yet to hear them.
     
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    Last edited: Jan 29, 2017
  7. cskippy

    cskippy Creamy warmpoo

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    Yeah, Polaris as a solid state pre isn't going to do any favors for Jot. Best to use them separate.
     
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  8. purr1n

    purr1n Super Friend

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    Technically DEFCON 4, which is what I meant. Maybe 3.

    Yes, DEFCON 1 would be something as you described.
     
  9. wormcycle

    wormcycle Friend

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    Thank you that is the post I have been waiting for. I was looking for a DAC and was gravitating towards Gungnir but just realized that I can have Modi Multibit, which everyone here likes, plus Jot without a DAC for the same price. USB DAC USB powered is an immediate deal breaker for me anyway. I have pretty much decided on this setup unless of course I find out that the USB DAC section on Modi Multibit is USB powered.
     
  10. a44100Hz

    a44100Hz Friend

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    You were comparing apples and oranges anyway. The "stock" Gungnir is not multibit. The multibit version of the Gungnir is $1250.
     
  11. jexby

    jexby Posole Prince

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    neither the DAC inside the Jotunheim nor the Modi Multibit is powered by USB cable.
    both DACs are fed from mains power wired up side the case.
     
  12. wormcycle

    wormcycle Friend

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    I was not looking to buy that one - just the base model and maybe upgrade later. This is not so much about the benefits of multibit but how to start introducing Schiit into my setups considering opinions from SBAF where people seem to have a lot of experience and knowledge about Schiit products. Certainly more than me. I needed a DAC and after lots of reading and steering some discussion in the DAC advice thread I settled on starting with Modi Multibit, and adding no-DAC Jotunheim. That would be around $650. Why Jotunheim when I was looking just for a DAC?. It is very hard NOT to buy it when I have a budget.
     
  13. a44100Hz

    a44100Hz Friend

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    The multibit DACs are the real stars of the show, so I personally wouldn't bother with a delta sigma DAC at this point. I have a Bifrost Multibit and a Jot and am going to get a Saga as a pre-amp for the Jot sooner or later. (Right now I use a Vali 2 as a pre.)
     
  14. topfunky

    topfunky Rando

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    I'm impressed by Schiit's customer service and logistics. If you're worried about the note that says "units ordered now will ship in two weeks", go ahead and order now and you might get lucky.
     
  15. AstralStorm

    AstralStorm Friend

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    Excellent, my Schiit Jotunheim arrived, but it arrived before the necessary line balanced cables from China, so I'm currently limited to its internal USB DAC. No glassy mess of cheap DAC though. If I were to guess, this is very similar to Modi 2 Uber or even exactly the same.
    Which is pretty good, at least on par with what Lynx Hilo has on headphone out - but better amplifier. Excellent job on building the amp quicker than expected.
    Note: 230V version.

    Immediage impressions with built-in USB DAC:
    - Balanced Sennheiser HD650, equalized - nanodetail is the name of the game here. There are some interesting interactions between gain setting and bass output, low gain cuts bass. DAC is probably holding back the amplifier, albeit it is very good regardless. Soundstage is wide, slightly wider in high gain mode, very 3D and accurately position, with very good height rendition. High gain has hard bass slam which, for delicate HD 650, is quite an achievement. (Not planar overslam or FET oiliness.) Macrodetail is not lacking anything in high gain mode, low gain smooths things over very slightly. (Difference in gain knob setting is ~45% knob vs ~65% knob.)
    If I were to knock points for anything... it might be depth accuracy.
    Extremely detailed, energetic and live sound, while being very capable of subtlety when called for. Given some other reviews, I was expecting glassy or sharp sound. Which is somewhat true in low gain mode but not at all in high gain. It does make HD 650 sound brighter than many common outputs, so FR has to be adjusted about 6 dB at the main 8k peak and likewise at the air boost. 1,5 dB less cut in bass. Minor Q adjustments. Once adjusted, sounds excellent. Yes, Jotunheim evens out HD650s.
    - In-Ear Stagediver SD-2, equalized (40 Ohm, BA), single-ended - digital hum is audible at high knob settings,low gain. Sounds like some sort of grounding issue, changes if I touch the case to be even more audible. (>50% knob, very loud) High gain has mildly audible noise floor (guessing -80 dB) somewhat lower at high gain at same loudness, but still very mildly audible (high frequency, breath, -90 dB?) Slightly better than Lynx Hilo output though. Again high gain presents more solid sound, farther soundstage. The IEM frequency response is not really affected by the gain setting. Again high gain works better due to added solidity, which works even better with the BA IEMs. However the noise is slightly disappointing at very quiet passages.
    Detailing easily kills what Hilo can produce on headphone output.
    - USB DAC is properly recognized in Linux 4.8 (rt/ck). 32-bit audio, all typical sample rates, low latency works fine. No digital volume control. There is an interesting control to pick clock validity, not sure what it does. Probably allows base sample rate switching by forcing output off and toggling this. It's visible as "S2" device: Schiit Audio Schiit USB Audio Gen 2 at usb-0000:06:00.0-1, high speed

    Unfortunately, I lack a balanced Westone cable for these to test that feature with IEMs.
    I can't wait until the proper cables finally arrive.

    More random impressions:
    - Excellent volume knob, just the right amount of resistance, very smooth. I'd prefer a stepped knob myself to simplify setting, but I know those are difficult to make.
    - Both balanced and SE outputs work at the same time.
    - Amp takes a few minutes to properly warm up, runs cooler than Lynx Hilo by a few degrees - still warm. Sound very mildly improves.

    Super top seekrit review against not fully twinked ECP Tornado III incoming too. Missing proper tubes, Electroharmonix ones are decent but not best. Mundorfs are in, Cinemags too. Original regulators. Waiting on the darn cables, should arrive in a few days - this will also allow me to test Jotunheim with single-ended line input from Hilo.
    I've tested the Tornado as far as I could electrically, but not sonically at all...
     
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    Last edited: Feb 6, 2017
  16. dark_energy

    dark_energy Friend

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    @AstralStorm, this amp does benefit from a better DAC(by this i mean R2R). I heard it from Yggdrasil and Soekris R2R. Nuts how good this thing can sound. Although i agree, internal DAC is decent, above average DS DAC ime. Maybe be one of the best for me..

    This will not be a TOTL amp, but it does some things really well and hides masterfully what it dosen't have.
     
  17. AstralStorm

    AstralStorm Friend

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    Well, TOTL is always flavor of the day. I never trust this label. There are definite styles in amps and DACs.
    Jotunheim is a very good representative of solid state sound with a few minor flaws. I wouldn't be sure Ragnarok beats it, but my memory on that listen is very old - plus not on my setup. If there is anything clearly better in solid state that is out there, I'd be anxious to listen to it.

    The most interesting part is in how much a better DAC will improve the sound. Lynx Hilo is a way better DAC than Modi 2. It's not Yggdrasil or that old PWM2 or what was it called, but pretty close.

    I also have to build another proper 230V isolated power supply - or buy a good UPS to also run audio hardware. Apparently what I have in filtering has trouble.
    Tube amps also expose the problem with some single channel hum. (And not on the lab test bench.)
     
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  18. dark_energy

    dark_energy Friend

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    Good point, i haven't heard better SS either.. It is really good. Keeping mine.

    My next amp will be a Cavalli EHHA with a shunt PSU or T3 (haven't heard one).

    Yah, would love an EC 2a3 amp. No kidding..
     
  19. a44100Hz

    a44100Hz Friend

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    Huh, I hadn't even tried high gain. It seems you're right: on high gain the bass has more slam. Cool. Why would this be?
     
  20. AstralStorm

    AstralStorm Friend

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    I'd suspect higher voltage swing. Neither sounds compressed. Alternatively something of different distortion pattern. FR stays the same in subbass region ruling out output impedance.
    Well, without understanding fully the topology of the amplifier I can't say much more other than it was probably designed for 8x gain at the slight expense of 2x gain setting. (And no, I won't be taking mine apart, not in 5 years at the very least.)
    And the topology of the amp is such that I'd have to shine light on the traces and see the exact components to get a handle on it. It's not typical seeing the opened pic from Schiit page.

    More random impression:
    - The orange internal LEDs look pretty cool at night, though not quite as cool as vacuum tube heaters. For future models, I'd swap the front white LED with one of those too - it's on the edge of being too bright and masking tape would mar the looks of the very pretty aluminum case. Plus it leaks back marring the orange light effect.
    - This amp w/ HD650 exposes lossy encoding artifacts due to its plankton capability, especially in highs.
     
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    Last edited: Feb 6, 2017

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