Schiit Mjolnir 3 Impressions

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by ColtMrFire, Aug 18, 2023.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    LOL, I don't know if my CD is legit or not! @rhythmdevils did send us an mp3 bootleg. For all we know, somebody could have transferred the tape to digital and made a "limited" run of the CD.
     
  2. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    Further thoughts on Mjolnir 3:
    • People always bitch about the closed in headstage of Schiit amps. No longer. Again, it's wider than deep, but still plenty deep and definitely expansive (even with the Gungnir A2)
    • If one word comes to mind: nuanced. If another word: soulful. Third word: refined (this is what happens with chokes in the power supply and why the amp weighs a ton).
    • Chameleon like blackground. That Bob Marley recording is live. Sounds pop from nowhere, a blank canvas, guitar plucks, congas. Yet at the same time, it doesn't sound simplified as with gear that typically has super black backgrounds.
    • Similar with transients. Transients sound fast, but yet at the same, they don't sound zippy, sharp or square. Perhaps it can be said that the ends of the transients have a soft landing but once they get going, they are fast.
    • vs MHA150: The MHA150 belongs in the school of transparency. Similar to DSHA 3F, but leaner and be brighter. Because of component matching is easier with the Mjolnir 3 and Mjolnir is 1/4-1/5 the cost, what I am going to say? Besides the Mjolnir 3 is more soulful, albeit a bit more colored / harmonically rich.
    • Slightly colored but not overly so like Folkvangr. Definitely not bright, not lean, full bodied for sure, but not fuzzy or phat.
    • No monstrous bass slam as with Mjolnir 2, but excellent sustain in the low notes plus plenty punchy.
    • Superb layering, separation, instrument localization in the headstage.
    • vs Mjolnir 2. Mjolnir 2 is "no-man's land" mid-fi. Mjolnir 3 is straight up high-end Big Boi when it comes to solid-state headphone amplification. At this point, there is no better, just different, regardless of price.
    • Use balanced outputs for best results (don't know if balanced inputs are needed - have not tested). Big difference in punch, refinement, dynamics (macro and micro).
    • Great control and textures with ZMF Caldera (which I find to be missing things here or there, or too cloudy on less optimal amps). Listening to Family Man from Hall & Oates - nice being able to make out the vibrations on the drum skins of the toms.
    • Prefer Class A SE mode and no feedback. Rounder and more nuanced microdynamics.
    • Strangely works with many ZMF cans (I tend to prefer solid-state for most ZMF cans).
    • Does everything, all aspects of sound reproduction very good or better. While not super strong at many things the Mjolnir's greatest strength is zero weaknesses. No treble oddities or pricklies. No MOSFET mist. No veil. No fuzziness or phatness. Coherent from lows to highs. Can grip orthos. Can still keep things interesting for those with dynamic cans and Uber toob amps.
    Interesting tidbits:
    • Based on the "buffer" mode circuit in Freya+ which I have remarked as one of the most transparent solid-state active preamp stages I have ever heard.
    • Small proof on concept was Jason's PCB business card. A proto using this PCB was actually made, but it was cap-coupled and ran off a wall-wart. Dynamic fun and lively sound. Think of it like a mini Folkvangr.
    • Mjolnir 3 is that idea taken to the n-th degree. I believe similar to the business card amp but paralleled and no-caps (servos and fancier PS). Jason decided to throw in chokes.
    I had tempered my expectations. The production unit exceeded them.
     
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    Last edited: Aug 28, 2023
  3. JK47

    JK47 Friend

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    Have you tried it with efficient BLH speakers yet, like MJ1?
     
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  4. AlPastor

    AlPastor Facebook Friend

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    Well said.

    Camp silver top but could easily be persuaded into a new black Gungnir+ to pair it with.
     
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  5. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    I‘ll take a B or C stock silver top. That silver Gungnir A2 is banged up.
     
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  6. jexby

    jexby Posole Prince

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  7. joch

    joch Friend

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    Yes, please.
     
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  8. tranq

    tranq Friend

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    @schiit

    Please produce/sell us a silver top for MJ3... For the love of god. please please please... I dont even care that I ordered a black top for my Bifrost 2 so I have something that matches.... I'll be a day 1 order for silver. I'll sign a waiver, whatever it takes....

    Edit - (Context/tone/intent is hard on the internet. While truthful, the above was all typed with an over exaggerated flair and laugh. Silver MJ3 would be awesome, but I'll live either way...)
     
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    Last edited: Aug 28, 2023
  9. Emojiless

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    Very intriguing. Several questions from me:

    1. How is it compared to SW51+?

    2. Would it synergize well with Bifrost 2?

    3. Would it go as a recommended amp for HD800S?
     
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  10. TomNC

    TomNC Friend

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    To my ears, M3 wins in almost all aspects. SW51+ is not a particularly tube-sounding amp while M3 has some tube-like characteristics. SW51+ has an overall solemn sound signature; M3 is more neutral, organic, and realistic. M3 has better dynamics in macrodynamic swings. micro transients, and rhythmic drive. M3 is more powerful. As purr1n put it, M3 is a truly hi-end amp (not price), which cannot be said about SW51+ despite its decent performance.
     
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    Last edited: Aug 29, 2023
  11. rfernand

    rfernand Almost "Made"

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    Oh wow! Knocking down MJ2 that decisively is a big deal for me. Seems like the bass has fast, precise transients and there is no bloom anywhere (so, pretty solid state).
     
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    Last edited: Aug 29, 2023
  12. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    Even with dynamics, the SW51+’s speciality, the Mjolnir 3 outclasses it. More resolving of microdetail, more expansive stage (holy shit, Mjolnir 3 makes Grado RS2X with the F pads sound big!) Also Mjolnir 3 is generally easier to pair, being not as lean and also richer, and much more dynamic. I prefer punchy NOS DACs / classic sounding R2R DACs with the SW51+ regardless of headphone.

    With respect to Bifrost 2, I would say yes, but this depends on headphones. The Bifrost 2 pairing should bring quite a bit of heft in the lows. Would be an excellent combo with the HD800S, although I would probably pair an LIM (fairly similar to Bifrost 2, like a growed up version, not 2/64) or MHDT Orchid DAC, but higher price points. Heck, try MMB2 in NOS mode! (Mjolnir 3 seems care much more that the output is balanced as opposed to inputs - SE inputs are fine - to back up @D Rob’s assertions)

    I haven’t updated the best amps for HD800 thread in a while (chacha wrote the last update), but Mjolnir 3 would be top of the list for solid-state amp recommendations. Lastly on the topic of DACs, the Mjolnir 3 is very capable of allowing us to discern differences in DACs. The Gungnir A2 I currently have paired sounds like a Gungnir A2, all the good and not so good. I’m at the point where I like to have different sources. My headphone/amp combos are already decided and have changed little throughout the years. The Caldera was the most recent addition (knocked off VC and just outdid Atrium by a bit) to my regularly used headphones (JAR600, RS1X/RS2X Grados, and Caldera). Mjolnir 3 happens to be the last piece because it can make the Caldera sound not boring (Caldera sounds boring with most amps) while having better grip in the lows compared to my SET amps (moved out of the bedroom a while ago).

    BTW, the top heatsink gets f’ing hot. Like can’t touch for more than a second hot.
     
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    Last edited: Aug 29, 2023
  13. dasman66

    dasman66 Self proclaimed lazy ass - friend

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    Was pondering a Kara purchase to put with my Mogwai (and have bonus SS amplification as a different flavor). Now pondering M3 if the preamp is up to snuff.

    Would also be interesting to listen side by side with my 3f at the office.
     
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  14. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    I don’t have any super articulate high-end planers like the D8000 or a grade A- or higher Audeze, so I cannot say for sure. The Caldera is more dynamic like with occasional hints of planar. However I am pretty confident given what Mjolnir 3 does for the Caldera (and the cheap HE5XX) that the grip and tight transients will be more than acceptable. I do not hear the Mjolinir 3 as sounding super fast, zippy, or square, at least in class A SE mode. Feedback on tightens up the bass though at a small expense of liveliness and expansiveness. Be sure to play with SE/PP and feedback modes! In putting in these switchable modes, @schiit is allowing us to be audio gear designer wizard on the fly!

    Not bloomy, but perhaps a tad rich (this taking into account the AD57xx based Schiit DACs, Gungnir A2 in this case, which taste like cake).

    The thing with the Mjolnir 2 was its bass slam, thick lows, and metallic highs. The bass slam was both a blessing and a curse (lack of nuance). The Mjolnir 3 is just a more complete and even package. Less sins of commission and less sins of omission. If there’s anything against the Mjolnir 3, it’s that it doesn’t bring much attention to itself. It doesn’t scream "look how powerful I am" or "let me serve you up details galore" or "let me zap you with my lightning transients" (although the head stage continues to impress me)
     
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    Last edited: Aug 29, 2023
  15. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    No plans because no powah for speakers, MJ1 actually had decent power at 32-ohms and even if current limited by 8-ohms, still a few watts. I guess I can try.
     
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  16. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    P.S. the asshole who remastered Peter Gabriel’s So CD should be shot and run over on the highway by six pickup trucks. Need to find the original CD or burn Luis’ remaster onto a CDR.
     
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  17. schiit

    schiit SchiitHead

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    I still use it as my card.

    IMG_3809.jpg
     
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  18. zerodeefex

    zerodeefex SBAF's Imelda Marcos

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    @purr1n the question is: if I already am using Tyr with EQ for my code-x, should I buy this for code-x/HP1000?
     
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  19. rfernand

    rfernand Almost "Made"

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    Which remaster? The CD reissued from the early 2000s are less compressed than whatever is on Qobuz (in your eyes was a little thin in the original I think)

    the 25th anniversary vinyl sounds very good.. but then again, vinyl masters in good hands do that…
     
  20. M3NTAL

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    Stupid question is stupid. Can I still run this behind the Freya N, or is that redundant with the Freya front end in the MJ3? I know it works, but does it degrade anything?
     
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