Value Proposition of the Asgard 2 in 2021

Discussion in 'Advice Threads' started by macabea, Mar 17, 2021.

  1. macabea

    macabea Rando

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    At the time of this post, Schiit has a few Asgard 2's as B stock for roughly the same price as the Magni 3+. My budget is roughly $350. This would include both an amp and a dac. My plan was to get the Asgard 2 and a Modi Multibit. For headphones, I already have a pair of Koss Porta Pro's. My listening goal is to build a system that presents realistic timbre of voices and saxophones and acoustic instruments in general. I listen to a lot of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, (ie, jazz musicians), as well as classical music and baroque. I listen to very little rock or EDM or electrified music of any sort.

    I suspect the Asgard 2 has a classic mid-centric sound, sort of like old-school gear from the 1970's, whereas the Magni 3+ has a more modern and "correct" sound for lack of a better term. I also suspect that this "correct" sound would lend an unnatural edge to acoustic music, which I wouldn't like. I believe that, through an Asgard 2, acoustic music would sound more, whereas through the Modi 3+ it would it would have a more edgy, amplified sound. Am I right in my assumptions? Are there any gotcha's with the Asgard 2? Is the Modi 3+ better in all respects?

    I'm a total noob. I've never had a nice headphone amp before, so I really have no clue.
     
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  2. ChaChaRealSmooth

    ChaChaRealSmooth SBAF Gearmaster

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    Well, since we're literally starting from square one (btw, nice choice with the Porta Pro's; I approve), I would advise saving a bit of money and going cheaper (but still not bad) by going with the Modi 3+ and a Magni 3+. Reasons why:
    • You might like the descriptions of sound some people give, especially on here as a lot of our impressions are comparative. However, using comparative impressions to triangulate necessitates you having some sort of baseline. Thus, you need to get started in the first place.
    • Thinking you like something and actual preference, especially in the early stages, is basically nothing but pointless speculation. Trust me; I thought I was a warmpoo fan when I first started this hobby. It took me way too long and way too much money to figure out that notion was completely false for me. Thus, might as well make your initial baseline cheap, but still pretty good sound. Decide for yourself afterwards if you want to spend more in this hobby.
    I would also like to address this point you made:
    Unfortunately, we all have different ideas of what is "realistic" timbre of various instruments. The unfortunate nature of audio systems is that everything has a sound; there is no such thing as "wire-with-gain." Every transducer, for better or worse, has its own timbre (yes, this includes the HD600/650 which is very loved here). A SET amp from Eddie Current is not going to sound like a SET amp from Donald North, despite both being tubes. Even more confusingly, a Geshelli Erish doesn't sound like a Schiit Magnius despite both amps having extremely good measurements (think 0.000X% THD), and neither the Erish or the Magnius would be anywhere near as resolving as the Eddie Current or Donald North amp despite the [flawed] line of thinking that "less distortion = moar better." And the DAC world is just strange; DACs with the same chips/R2R ladders can sound very different even though they might carry the same part for the digital/analog conversion.

    Last piece of advice: do your best to be patient. Cycling gear quickly only ensures you can't develop a solid reference and waste tons of money.
     
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  3. macabea

    macabea Rando

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    Thanks. I can't afford to be cycling through money. I decided against the Modi Multibit dac. I think that's a good strategy: keep the risk small when starting out.
     
  4. Aelms

    Aelms Facebook Friend

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    I’ve been lurking over half a decade now and my main setup comprises a HD650 I got after reading Marv’s epic thread, a Lavry DAC I’ve had for 10 years when my dad let it go and some CMoys - including one I built into a peanut butter jar. Most of my money spent on audio otherwise is on CDs and vintage headphones on bargain (I love using the Yamaha YHD2 out of my laptop).

    I check this place out often because I love the context it gives to gear, but I don’t feel pressured to spend out of my means. In the same spirit, I recommend giving the CMoy a go; it’s cheap if even you get the prebuilt JDS lab one, a fun but still substantial project if you build one into something lying in your house and good enough that I like it better than the amp implemented into the Lavry. Also small enough and can be battery powered so you can bring it wherever you bring your Portapro. It’s also not a one stop thing, since it’s easy to fine tune by swapping the main component (opamp) inside.

    Too bad the Pi2Design DAC isn’t available anymore, because I imagine that with a Pi, the CMoy and a Portapro is a really flexible setup that covers the whole signal chain and is within your budget. You’d also be setting yourself up for tinkering with your gear, since each comes with years of modding (or debates on what software to install in the Pi’s case) that you can dive deep into without spending significantly more.
     
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  5. Zimmer266

    Zimmer266 Rando

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    I started with Modi and Magni last year, because I hadn’t had headphones except for an old Audio Technica for 20 years. There was a novelty item aspect, a toy like quality that didn’t sit well with me, although at one point it might have made an interesting computer system add-on. I was trying to be frugal until I had I bead on my headphone listening preferences.

    I sent them back to Schiit, and for slightly more money, got a Modius and an Asgard 2. This seemed to have more overall control, and the Modius was very flexible with an AES input along with an spdif input. The Asgard 2 was warmer in presentation with first a HFM Sundara, and then after reading here for a while, an HD650. Impact or thwack, or body, was more substantial, and I was pretty settled for a bit.

    It was a relatively cost effective start, in branching out from a mostly two channel background. The Modius had balanced outs, which have come in handy with a Jotunheim 2. The Asgard 2 is a solid player for the price, and gives a flavor that may be to one’s satisfaction.
     
  6. roshambo123

    roshambo123 Friend

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    For $40 more than B-stock Asgard 2 you can get a Vali 2+. If you're unsure of your sound, it's inexpensive to roll different tubes in that amp because it only has a single driver tube. It is also has a laidback character like Asgard, but with different technical characteristics.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2021

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