Schiit Vidar Impression Thread - UPDATED WITH REVIEW (CHECK FIRST POST)

Discussion in 'Power Amps' started by Rotijon, Jul 17, 2017.

  1. tranq

    tranq Acquaintance

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    Anyone here have thoughts on Vidar with one of the following?

    Magnepan LRS
    Zu Omen Dirty Weekend
    Tekton Lore
    Tekton Enzo XL
    Definitive Technology BP10

    Running Modi Multibit, Saga, Vidar

    I'm currently stuck in an endless cycle of hemming and hawing and can't make a decision. Some ideas or input would be appreciated.
     
  2. Josh358

    Josh358 Almost "Made"

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    I heard the LRS at AXPONA, and I have never heard anything like it for $650. Astounding bang for the buck, and according to Steve Guttenberg, the Vidar works nicely with it.

    Limitations? The LRS has incredible imaging, stat-like clarity, and excellent realism and tonal balance. But it's the smallest Maggie, designed to give a taste of the Magnepan sound, so its bass is limited to 50 Hz and it won't work in a large room without a sub (according to Magnepan, it's too small for the bass to couple properly).

    A lot of guys who got the LRS are getting subs and they say the results are great. But I think I'd listen first, whether you need a sub really depends on what kind of music you listen to and how loud.

    It's definitely the speaker I'd buy in that price range, but of course individual needs and tastes vary. Since there's a free trial, no need to worry whether it's the right choice, I'd just get them, burn them in for a couple of weeks while experimenting with placement (dipoles are really sensitive to placement, and the sound will get clearer and the bass extends as you burn it in and the diaphragm cycles thermally and loosens up). Then you can make a decision about whether to keep them. But I haven't heard of anyone returning them so far!
     
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  3. tlainhart

    tlainhart Rando

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    I've got two sets of speakers that I alternate between: Polk Lsi15 towers; KEF LS50s on loaded stands.

    It's the Polks that are 88db/4ohms. They're an older model, and I had heard for years that they needed more power than what I was giving them to reveal their strengths, and it was with the 2 Vidars that I realized that. The KEFs also sound great with monoblocks.

    Prior to that, I had a Ragnarok that sounded nice at 100w/4ohms, actually better than the Rogue Audio Sphinx that was driving at 200w/4ohms.

    Other folks have mentioned your DAC. I can't speak to that - I don't know your DAC (I'm running an Yggdrasil).
     
  4. tranq

    tranq Acquaintance

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    Thanks, are people puting traditional subs with them, or the magnepan bass panel ?

    I have read subs can be difficult to match with a maggie.
     
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  5. elmoe

    elmoe Friend

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    Thanks @tlainhart , so you sold the Ragnarok and went with monoblock Vidars because the Polk needed the extra juice? Are you happy sound wise with going with the Vidars vs the Rag?

    As far as DACs go that can wait for now. I think I'll go to a few meets with some gear when time permits and see if I can test a few DACs out paired up with my stuff.
     
  6. crazychile

    crazychile Eastern Iowa's Spiciest Pepper

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    This is a personal preference thing. As someone who has owned several pairs of Maggies (and a former dealer) I personally didn't care for them with conventional subs 98% of the time. Using a pair of high quality powered subs, carefully placed... Yeah you can get the bass integration pretty close. But that's a lot of extra coin to get bass. I'd probably just go with a larger pair to begin with and as funds allow consider adding a DWM or two later if you think you need more punch.

    BTW, if you've ever heard any of the Martin Logan electrostatic speakers that use a cone bass driver, and thought the bass integration was fine then you'll probably be ok with a sub. Personally I never liked the MLs unless it was the big-ass expensive model that didn't use conventional woofers. But at that price you can do better IMO with a big-ass Maggie.
     
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  7. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    A single Vidar should be easily capable of driving any of those speakers, with the possible exception of the LRS (depending on your volume needs and how power hungry they are compared to other Maggies). Don’t know if anyone has put them through their paces yet, but since they are pretty small, I assume a single Vidar should do fine with them in most situations. The others you list are all on the higher efficiency side, that 1 Vidar should have no issues driving, and you should have plenty of room to work with on Saga’s volume knob.

    As far as sound compatibility, Vidar is mostly neutral with a bit of warmth, and maybe a touch of etch in the highs (although not tipped up, it’s just not super smooth, delicate or airy - maybe a bit “dry” would be a better term). Bass is powerful and strong with good control. I would say Vidar is great with lower efficiency designs that need good bass control and grip, but that are not characteristically overly warm on the bottom end, or biting in the highs. Although Modi Multibit will roll the highs off slightly, if you upgrade the DAC later you may not like it paired with a bright or metallically sounding tweeter. Smooth tweeter and neutral-to-lean character for a speaker would be my recco. I don’t like metal dome tweeters in general, and IMO, most don’t go well with Vidar (although I had Wharfedale Jade speakers for a while that have a metal tweeter and they were fine, but they have a smooth character). Also, Vidar doesn’t do anything great from a soundstage perspective - it’s ok, but don’t expect it to open up speakers with a narrow soundstage - the speakers will have to have a great soundstage if that’s a preference of yours. As always, YMMV especially with speakers.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2019
  8. Kernel Kurtz

    Kernel Kurtz Friend

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    I ran a Saga and a single Vidar with a pair of Definitive Technology BP-2 bookshelfs for a short while and it sounded really good (with subs as well of course). I expect it would do so with the BP10s as well. Not everyone likes the direct/reflecting (bipole or dipole) sound, but if you do I suspect that would be an excellent combination.
     
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  9. Josh358

    Josh358 Almost "Made"

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    I haven't heard of anyone using the Magnepan bass panel with them yet. I think it depends on what your priorities are. The Magnepan bass panel isn't really a sub, it's a woofer. So it will have the naturalism of planar bass, but not the impact or extension of a sub.

    Beyond that, I agree with crazychile -- it's a personal preference thing. Some people are delighted with subs, others hear that they don't integrate well and sound "slower" than the planar panel.

    If I were listening to something like electric bass that's designed to play through a speaker, I think I'd go for the sub, since it will rock out. But if you love natural bass -- drums, double basses, etc. -- nothing matches the naturalism of dipole bass. And personally, I'd go with a bigger Maggie like the 1.7 rather than laying out for a sub -- though again, that's personal preference, some people just want the slam and extension of a sub.

    If you do go with a sub, make sure to get a sealed rather than a ported one. Rel is a popular choice for Maggies, as is Rythmik.
     
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  10. tlainhart

    tlainhart Rando

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    Right. I tried to use the Rag as a pre-amp into the mono'd Vidars, but there was/is DC on the Rag1 XLR outputs that put the Vidars into protection. Not a bug - part of the design. Schiit offered to mod the Rag1 so that it would work with the Vidars, but I decided to go with the Freya instead and sell the Rag - the headphone output didn't mean that much to me. I did try the Jotunheim balanced into the Vidars - didn't sound so good.

    The Freya/Vidars were a big upgrade for me. That said, I saved that for last. My sources are vinyl and CD, and I started there in terms of upgrades (better phono pre, better cartridge, Yggdrasil, iFi SPDIF purifier, cables, sound absorption) - I wanted to get that up to snuff. Once I did that, I swapped out the Rag for the Freya/Vidars, and that brought everything out.
     
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  11. tranq

    tranq Acquaintance

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    I'm planning on ordering the Zu Omen Dirty weekends Today. Been talking with Zu quite a bit via email and a few (gasp) phone calls. So far customer service has been top notch. Like awesome. I called yesterday, got voicemail, less then two minutes later the owner, Sean, called me back (caller ID is great). I missed his call, but when I played back the message, the guy gave his cell number in case the main line was busy when I called back.

    Being the typical noob that I am, I asked tons of questions. Everyone I dealt with was superb.

    Looking forward to running Modi Multibit, saga, Vidar with some new speakers. The old wharfedales have served me well the last 20 years, but it's time for an upgrade. For those interested, the Omen Dirty Weekends go up for sale today at 12 mountain time.

    About 3 months ago I bought some of their Libtec speaker cables via their eBay promo account. I know cables are a touchy subject, but just the fit and finish alone was worth the 90ish bucks I paid. The oversized pure copper spades I got fit Vidar amazingly well, and the construction looks very durable. It might be the jump to 11ga cable, or the fresh non oxidized connection, but my 2channel Schiit stack loved the sound improvement they brought to the table. Nice to see two small American manufacturers filling my audio needs.

    Vidar saga with foton tubes, and Modi Multibit should all help accentuate the bottom end. Vidar has some awesome control, and plays fast bass passage with ease.
     
  12. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Friend

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    I've made enough changes lately but I'm seriously considering trying a Vidar out on my Dynaudio Focus 260s (87 db/4 ohm), to replace an upgraded Odyssey Stratos Extreme. Just wondering what it would sound like honestly. The Stratos has served me well, but it's also pretty old. I'd love to stick dual Vidars downstairs but I kinda don't want to lose my OG Saga tube. Sucks they have to be run balanced to do mono but it is what it is.
     
  13. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

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    I was biamping my scm19s until I got Freya S so that's an option.
     
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  14. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Friend

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    At the risk of sounding like an idiot, how does "biamping" work with an SE preamp and dual Vidars? My Dyns have just a single input so not really biampable in the strict sense, so is it a case where line level goes to each amp and the mono terminals are used? If I'm understanding that part correctly, is there some additional power benefit to running it that way?

    Also, @elmoe you're going to get a PM. We might be setup twins, basically.
     
  15. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

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    They (schiit preamp) have 2 se outs, and both are always on, it's easy enough, but you do need speakers with double inputs, so I guess that's out for you.
     
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  16. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Friend

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    Gotcha - that makes sense. I wasn't sure what voodoo could be conjured for this but glad to hear I'm not crazy. Thank you.
     
  17. Partytime

    Partytime Almost "Made"

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    I recently purchased a pair of Vidars to run in my home theater. Getting them integrated into system was a bit of pain, but now that I have them dialed in, they sound phenomenal!

    The chain goes:

    Oppo 203/Apple TV --> Yamaha RX-A3070 --> Rolls MB15 --> Vidars --> Polk LsiM 707s

    The integration issue came up because the pre-outs for the front speakers on the 3070 are SE. So, to run the Vidars in true mono mode I needed to convert this signal to balanced. I did not want to buy an expensive balanced pre-amp to run between the Yamaha and the Vidars if I didn't have to. The idea of having an expensive preamp just running in bypass mode bugged me. A lot.

    First try was using Mjolnir 2 to do this conversion. This worked, but was not ideal bc I use Mjolnir everyday at my desk and didn't want to move it, or replace it.

    So, I did some research and found a pro-audio solution in this Rolls box. The Rolls MB15B Promatch is a pro-audio interface used converting SE to balanced. Its basically just a box with SE in --> gain stage --> Bal XLR out. There are several reasons why I liked this option. Supposedly it is a truly balanced/differential circuit, which Schiit says is required for true monoblock performance. Also, it is small and I can easily leave it on all the time. It is also well reviewed out there on the Internet. It also cost $56, the next cheapest solution I could find would be the Freya...

    Now, turning the gain up too high on the Rolls does introduce audible noise, no bueno. This is maybe a power supply/ground loop problem, and Im doing my best to improve this. However, My listening position is about 14' away from the speakers, so there is really a decent amount noise, that in this case, is bearable to me, bc I cannot hear it from the listening position. Aside from the noise issue, I feel that the Rolls is a pretty uncolored box and is not really adding or subtracting too much from the sound.

    I can't imagine I am the only person that has run into this problem of having SE outs and trying to run the Vidars or Aegirs or other monoblocks. I figured I would share my solution in case anyone else is facing this dilemma. Its not ideal, but in this use case, for now, I am happy with it as a $56 solution.

    Now, my impressions on the Vidars.

    These things are great. Great for the money. Great in general.

    My Polks are not the most efficient or easy to drive speakers and the Vidars handle with ease and authority. Huge, powerful and well controlled bass. Very nice instrument separation and as a result of the monoblocking, great stereo separation and imaging. To my ears the Vidars are pretty neutral, I dont think I'm giving anything up across the frequency range. I agree with @rlow on the sound. Maybe a little dry in the highs. Also, the upstream chain in my home theater is not really "optimized" for two channel music listening, I think with upstream gear that was more "audiophile" these things would really sing.

    For use in the home theater context they are perfect, at least to me. The have so much power for all the big surges in movie scores, explosions, etc. They authority and control of the low end really shine in this context. They made a huge improvement over the very mediocre speaker outs on the Yamaha receiver. I am considering getting a third to amp my center channel.

    I hope this long ramble was helpful to someone.

    TL:DR: the Rolls Promatch is an inexpensive and good, but not great solution to go from SE to BAL in order to run these as monos. They are great in a home theater. They are great for two channel music listening. Highly recommend.

    Also, as a side note, these Polks are great and regularly on sale for 50% or more. At the discounted price they are a great deal, and with the right amp(s) sound great. Also highly recommend.
     
  18. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

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    The next step up would be a transformer like the jensen isomax but that's a 250 freedom rubles + tax + shipping deal, so if you manage to sort out your noise issues I'd probably leave well enough alone for HT use ...
     
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  19. Partytime

    Partytime Almost "Made"

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    I hadn't seen those. That could be an interesting solution. I think part of the problem is just two gain stages in a row, Yamaha Pre and then the Rolls. Not bueno.

    Hopefully this weekend I will have some time to dig in and see if I can fix it.
     
  20. Kernel Kurtz

    Kernel Kurtz Friend

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    I've been thinking of trying a passive attenuator, something like a JBL M-patch, in place of my preamp, but my problem is my subs only have SE inputs. Freya lets me run balanced to my Vidars and SE to my subs concurrently. That Rolls box looks like it might do the trick (am also considering Neutrik NA2F-D2B-TX adapters). Jensen and Lundahl stuff is too pricy - would probably be worth it for use with a Goldpoint or such, but don't want to spend more on adapters than the passive volume control itself.
     

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