Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by Vtory, Feb 12, 2019.
Do you compare the rag 1 with the rag 2?
Listening to them what differences did you notice?
This unfortunately is a deal breaker for me, but with that being said I'm still happy with my Rag 1 and mostly use it as a pre-amp to powered monitors or for my lcd-4 w/ EDM which is a treat (in my humble opinion). I did get a chance to hear the rag 2 at canjam nyc and it does sound great though (imo).
3 questions answered at the Schiit audio booth @ CanJam:
Can you stack Yggdrasil or ragnarok on top of each other ? Yes, Ragnarok runs cold, just be careful with initial placement.
Can it drive the HE-6 or HE-6se? Yes, volume knob is at 3/4 (my testing).
What does it sound like? Sounds good but slightly steely, might be the built-in cheapy dac they were running.
Was quite shocked how cool it ran, I would say it was cooler than the Yggdrasil. This was in headphone mode thought.
It's almost cold when running speakers as well (speakers with 4 ohms/86 dB efficiency), slightly warmer in the back than the front. Way cooler than Vidar, even my Jotunheim gets warmer.
Does the Rag 2 have more real-world power for speakers than the Rag 1?
With my HE6 I definitely picked up on some of the steely-ness you were describing with your 6SE too. I wonder if it's just the built-in DAC card they were using at CanJam that was causing this (I wish they had a Yggdrasil or other standalone Schiit DAC feeding the Rag 2 there).
Definitely had quite a bit of grain in the treble, not nearly as smooth as the F7 I run at home. Dynamics were solid and the amp had good grip and extension, but it felt a bit dry and scratchy in the upper mids and above to my ears compared to what I'm used to. I felt the Phonitor setups did a better job at least with HE6 (thicker, less lean timbre and a smoother top-end) even though they didn't quite have as much slam.
Getting my Ragnarok 2 tomorrow. Will report back feeding Matrix & Yggdrasil A2.
Any updates on how the Ragnorak 2 sounds in general and any comparisons to the Ragnorak or other amps?
My Ragnarok 2 arrived today. I'll let it marinate for a bit and then write up some impressions against MJ2.
This was challenging, but fun.
My setup was Tidal into Gungnir MB (think I'm the warmer Gungnir Multibit version) into Rag 2 or MJ2 and then out to either Ether 2 with suede pads or HD800 SDR with Dekoni suede pads.
While it's not EARS, I like to match volumes before listening to music using the Decibel X Pro app on my iPhone. For example, I'll run pink noise until I have the headphone giving me 70 dB on both amps, so I won't be fooled by mismatched volumes. I don't have an A/B switcher, I need to move cables around to switch between things, so it adds convenience.
Rag 2 has three gain levels and MJ2 has two gain levels plus tubes. I don't hear much difference between MJ2's gain levels but I do on Rag 2.
Rag 2's lowest gain seemed cleanest. Highest gain added some body but also detracted from transient response. For electronic music I loved this setting, but for vocals, classical, and acoustic I thought Rag 2's lowest gain sounded quicker and more natural. Using 6DJ8 National tubes, MJ2 on high gain sounded as clean as Rag 2 on low gain. I can't say which is superior here, you'd probably have to measure it.
With the HD800 SDR, Rag 2 surprised me and actually took some bite out of the 5.5khz peak. I am guessing the spike is attenuated a couple dB, it seemed noticeable, even when MJ2 had milder tubes like the EH 6CG7's. Not that it was a transformation for the HD800's, the 5.5khz mound and brightness was still there, just Rag 2 blunted the point somewhat.
Slam is incredibly strong on both amps, photo finish as to which hits harder. MJ2 seemed the faster amp and the bass seemed quicker but in high gain Rag 2 feels like it has a little more weight in the glove. Again, really close.
Assuming you're using tubes with good extension, the combination of drier treble and faster bass I think gives MJ2 a more aggressive character. You can make Rag 2 more aggressive running in low gain, but MJ2 is still a bit fiercer. That may or may not be your taste.
For me, Rag 2's pairing with the darker Ether 2 is what made me buy the amp. I think Rag 2 may fill out the frequency response for Ether 2 better, especially in the lower treble. MJ2's extra peakiness in the 4khz to 8khz range still comes out on Ether 2 and Rag 2 is more natural here.
In the non-sound department, the remote is very solid in the hand but you practically have to stand in front of the amp to hit the IR receiver on the front panel. And when the remote command does register there's a bit of lag. It's not the most responsive thing, but hey, it's a remote. Rag 2 also runs cooler than MJ2. And as the manual says, the 128-step relay switched volume knob does click a lot. Not a big deal to me but might annoy some.
Overall, great amp.
How about the sound stage and space?
Saw that coming. I deliberately tried not to comment on staging because I read Marv's post about how headstage discussions can get nonsensical...and I wasn't sure I knew how to not be nonsensical. But I'll risk it anyway. I bought the HD800 because I wanted its mystical headstage, so I can't deny it was never a factor for me, it's just less of a factor now that I've heard more gear and realized man cannot survive on headstage alone, and maybe, it's more chimera than trophy buck. Meeting someone that bought thousands of tubes mainly in search of headstage added to this notion.
Anyway, what I hear on the HD800 SDR is that MJ2 with the National tubes is wider than Rag 2. I'll attribute it to MJ2's transients seem quicker and the dry (possibly exaggerated) treble that's a little sharper at the peaks giving the perception of more separation. On Ether 2, I'm not discerning much if any headstage difference between the two amps. E2 has a smaller headstage than the HD800, but has much better layering and headstage than other planars I've heard.
Quick Ragnarok 2 review, used as a headphone amp only.
My setup: Roon Rock ->Allo Signature-> Yggdrasil a2/Matrix xsp/ADI-Dac -> Rag 2
Woah this thing has a ton of power! Can drive the He6se comfortably. Tested various Zmf headphones and other dynamics, even on low gain with the volume low just too much power. Difficult to listen to most dynamic driver headphone. Every gain setting changed the sound curve to a large degree. Lowest gain on dynamic headphones pretty much killed the bass and mids but was bearable to listen to. Mid gain got the bass back but sound was definitely U shaped with the mids scooped out. High gain, everything sounded like it's supposed to but waaay too loud to enjoy anything for more than a couple of songs.
Tested 4 different planar headphones... here is where the magic lies. Just drives everything thrown at it with authority and their familiar sound signature. Actually sounded better than the HPA4.
Was ready to go all in and make this my dedicated planar amp, then started to do more critical listening of various test tracks.
One of the test tracks I use to determine resolution is Eurythmics - Sweet Dreams. At the beginning of the song on good resolving equipment you can hear a voice reverb sample right away. This was nowhere to be found using the Rag2. Tested various headphone, nope.. just gone. Next tested Sara Bareilles Live - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. At 3:14 she belts out the chorus and you can cleanly hear the piano and vocals. I've tested these two tracks on the Jotunheim, MJ2 and other schiit amps and was able to distinguish every note and familiar tone. Also tested the "audio show" standards (Hotel, Get lucky, etc) with similar results. The Ragnarok 2, was just a big gray mess on most of these tracks. Just sounded off. Initially thought I had connected something incorrectly because it almost sounded mono. Switched out the cables, same exact results.
Resolution to me was not very good, would rank below the Jotunheim and MJ2 but slightly better than the Magni 3.
Soundstage, was on par with most SS amps.
Pre-Amp was very transparent with all 3 dacs. Only issue I had was that there is no way to have fixed output so you have to use the volume control for whatever you're outputting to.
Was super excited as this was going to be the end all solution for me but didn't work out. Did I get a bad unit? Not sure, but I did end up returning it.
Ton of power can drive HE-6 and other hard to drive headphones
Many inputs and outputs, preamp was good
Sounds best with Planars
Dynamic headphones, too much power/gain altered sound too much
Lower than average resolution (for the price)
Thank you for taking the time to share. I have decided that I am just going to stick with my Ragnarok 1. I am very happy with the way it sounds and I am concerned that I may not like the Rag 2 better for headphones or speakers. My speakers are efficient and higher impedance so the lower impedance power the Rag 2 gives really will not benefit me much if at all. Will probably put the money toward my vinyl rig instead.
Long time viewer, First time poster. Please excuse my nervousness.
I realize it’s early yet, but have any other new Rag2 owners experienced the same resolution issue as @neogeosnk?
I had my sights on the Rag2 for the near future but this will make me reevaluate things. Which can be a good thing. Hope this symptom isn’t something permanent.
Thank you for the review, @neogeosnk. I look forward to any future updates.
In this episode of Audiophile Hoarders, Mr. Guttenberg takes us through his initial unboxing of the Ragnarok 2, including his frustration with the "dopey" functionality linking preouts to headphone output on the Ragnarok 2*, his initial impressions, and a tactful slow zoom shot of the remote:
Get excited folks. The review is imminent.
* I actually agree with him on this.
I’m actually still really puzzled about this one too...just do not get it. I really think they should change course on that. The preamp outs should just be on all the time...I don’t understand why only in headphone mode.
I think they should be off in headphone-only mode, just like with the original Ragnarok. So there is one mode where you can listen to just headphones and no powered subwoofers / external speaker amp.
Don’t disagree, that’s where my head went originally too. Then Jason said some headphone users want to run subs - ok fine. But at least don’t DISABLE the preouts in speaker mode!!
Edit: just read one of the headfi posts again. I guess if you have it in the mode where both headphones and speakers are on, then the preamp outs are on. Just make sure you don’t have your headphones plugged it if you’re cranking it up to listen to speakers I guess...
That's right. I'm using a subwoofer (and don't want to use it with headphones), so even if the preouts were on all the time (as I had expected when I ordered it), I'd still have to turn off the subwoofer when switching to headphones. So while I was surprised initially, it's not worse than I expected upfront.
It actually has the benefit of allowing me to turn off the subwoofer with the remote, or listen to just the subwoofer. Sometimes I wonder how much the subwoofer contributes to a given song, so this is an unexpected handy feature. Others may want to bypass it late at night because of their neighbors.
That said, I think Jason needs to get over his aversion to buttons and give each output its own on/off button. And give each input its own button. Even a "previous channel" button would only be convenient when you want to switch between adjacent inputs. Easier to achieve with Saga, but with Rag 2 not all inputs are made equal, so even if you use only two you might have to always skip unused inputs to get to the one you want.
Personally I'd be fine with exactly the same hardware as now, but a way to get more direct control with a programmable remote (i.e. the firmware would just have to support more codes, nothing else). Though admittedly that's easier when I can use an existing remote to learn the codes from.
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