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Schiit IEMagni Review (Headphone Amplifier)

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amirm

amirm

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I don’t understand why an amp like this exists. Just buy a dongle for IEMs. Works on the go too. Sitting at a desk why not just wear full size headphones?
They get too hot for me. I have already switched to iems because of that as weather has warmed up.
 

Tom Ace

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Speaking of knobs, the knob on the IEMagni looks nice from the pics--nicer than the knobs on most of the Schiit units in that size box.
 

oryan_dunn

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Speaking of knobs, the knob on the IEMagni looks nice from the pics--nicer than the knobs on most of the Schiit units in that size box.
Looks like a black version of the Magni 2 Uber knob, but slightly larger.
 

Rodrigo Tavares

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the just announced Schiit IEMagni headphone amplifier. It was sent to me by the company for testing and costs US $119.99.

Naturally IEMagni looks like other Schiit products which I tend to like in black a lot more:

View attachment 129355

Operationally I wished the volume control was farther to the left as when you have a headphone plugged in, I had trouble getting my fingers around it.

The back side says "Magni 3" but don't be confused as this design is similar to op-amp architecture of Schiit Heresy:

View attachment 129356

What is new is addition of a third gain settings of -10 dB (company spec -- forgot to measure it). This is naturally intended for sensitive IEMs which then allows the more linear range of the volume control to be used as well. Of course we also need very low noise output so we will have to see if IEMagni delivers there.

Schiit IEMagni Measurements
I test headphone amps at unity gain meaning I feed them 2 or 4 volts (unbalanced/balanced) and adjust the gain/volume control to get the same voltage. I start with the lowest gain setting to get there but in this case, I could not so had to use medium gain:

View attachment 129357

Distortion is well below best case audibility threshold so IEMagni is verifiably transparent with respect to distortion. It naturally lands in top class of all headphone amplifiers tested:

View attachment 129358

Let's test for noise:

View attachment 129359

Most excellent!

View attachment 129360

So the claim of ultra low noise for IEMs is proven.

Frequency response is exceptionally flat and extended:

View attachment 129362

Those of you wondering if your high-res music is amplified by your headphone amp, you see that it most definitely is.

Most important here though is the amount of power so let's start with 300 ohm load:

View attachment 129363

My target here is anything north of 100 milliwatts and the IEMagni delivers more than three times as much so you should not have any issue driving the most inefficient high impedance headphones.

Switching to low impedance of 32 ohm, we see some strain:

View attachment 129366

As long as you stay in low or medium gain though, performance is superb, easily besting the once king of headphone amplifiers, Massdrop THX AAA 789.

We see the same strain as we step through larger set of impedance steps:

View attachment 129368

I was disappointed of the channel matching in this specific unit:

View attachment 129374

Fortunately as mentioned, you have the low gain mode to compensate. I hope other samples do better than this one.

Schiit IEMagni Headphone Listening Tests
I started my testing with the Ether CX 25 ohm headphone. Here, on medium get I could get good volume. Switching to high gain generate far higher volume but I got distinct distortion at the upper end of the volume range. Mind you, I could not listen for more than a second or two at this level so not a practical concern but there it is.

Switching to Sennheiser HD-650 provided absolutely superb performance to loudness levels you can't imagine! This amp loves to drive high impedance headphones.

Conclusions
The race that started a couple of years ago to deliver absolutely transparent yet high power headphone amplification continues with yet another great example and at budget price. Schiit has succeeded in pushing the noise level while at the same time providing a very useful negative gain setting. It is not quite as capable with low impedance and inefficient headphones but for most applications, it should still deliver stellar performance.

I am happy to put Schiit IEMagni on my recommended list. Great to see the Heresy architecture live on in other iterations, demonstrating there is value and customer demand in totally transparent headphone amplification.

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As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/

Hi there, first time posting here. is the IEMagni the more competent amp of the Magnis if only for full size headphones? Thanks!
 
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quimbo

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I don’t understand why an amp like this exists. Just buy a dongle for IEMs. Works on the go too. Sitting at a desk why not just wear full size headphones?

For me it’s not the placement of the volume knob that’s annoying but just how small it is. I’d pay extra to have an RK27 pot like what the Valhalla 2 has.
I like to have the choice when at my work desk between large over the ear headphones and iems, thats why I replaced my work magni, bonus is that it will be gifted as i don't like selling things (will also be gifting my home BiFrost when the BiFrost 2 finally ships)
 

solderdude

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Hi there, first time posting here. is the IEMagni the more competent amp of the Magnis if only for full size headphones? Thanks!

Equally competent, the extra low gain is only handy for sensitive IEM's.
This version is a bit safer to use thanks to the output protection so would recommend it over the other Magni models.
 

don'ttrustauthority

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Seems a little pointless though. The IEMagni can already drive things extremely loud. 4.4 will just be even louder than IEMagni low gain, since it's balanced. Maybe a Tin P1 benefits from that but most, normal/sensitive ones won't.
Probably, but really all these amps are pointless. We just need one. But for people who want balanced from end to end it could be helpful. Some dacs are said to be better in balanced mode.
 

solderdude

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The main reason for using balanced between DAC (and thus usually also PC) and an amplifier is not sound quality but rather the fact that it can prevent groundloops.

The main reason for using balanced out for headphones would be if you want to connect low efficiency headphones to low output voltage portable devices and still get decent SPL out of them.

I do not see the need for having the Heresy and IEMagni next to each other though.
It is a worthy successor of the Heresy as you can also drive sensitive headphones with it with better volpot travel and without having to resort to attenuators, works just as well as the Heresy for all other headphones and has DC protection so a little bit safer to use in the rare case it blows up for some reason.

I have made a speaker amp (about 30 years ago) based on paralleling opamp outputs. A LOT more of them 40 x (dual opamp) L272M capable of delivering 1A per section (so 80 opamp sections per channel).
Every once in a while one of the opamps simply failed. The only way to find which one was to pull all of them (they were in sockets) and measure each one between + and - supply pins.
pics or it didn't happen:
opampamp.jpg
 

aandres_gm

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YOU may very well indeed pay for that product. Tricky part about creating and marketing products is finding a balance between performance, price and aesthetics. Each customer values these metrics differently and thus arrives at a multiplicity of differing conclusions.

What I can tell you is we use an Alps RK09 pot in our small units which, at that price point, is the best one we can get our hands on. We are continuously trying to improve and give customers what they want. IEMagni is another example of that mindset. I still argue we are the best bang for your buck in this industry. I am proud of what we produce.
Congrats on the great product. I just wish your European distributors would get their Schiit together, though. Products like the Magnius/Modius or the Magni(s) and Modi could light the market on fire, if only they were regularly stocked.
 

Vini darko

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The main reason for using balanced between DAC (and thus usually also PC) and an amplifier is not sound quality but rather the fact that it can prevent groundloops.

The main reason for using balanced out for headphones would be if you want to connect low efficiency headphones to low output voltage portable devices and still get decent SPL out of them.

I do not see the need for having the Heresy and IEMagni next to each other though.
It is a worthy successor of the Heresy as you can also drive sensitive headphones with it with better volpot travel and without having to resort to attenuators, works just as well as the Heresy for all other headphones and has DC protection so a little bit safer to use in the rare case it blows up for some reason.

I have made a speaker amp (about 30 years ago) based on paralleling opamp outputs. A LOT more of them 40 x (dual opamp) L272M capable of delivering 1A per section (so 80 opamp sections per channel).
Every once in a while one of the opamps simply failed. The only way to find which one was to pull all of them (they were in sockets) and measure each one between + and - supply pins.
pics or it didn't happen:
opampamp.jpg
Now that's a labor of love :D
 

JasonC331

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Is there any benefit to using this as a Pre after a Schitt Modi+ or Multibit? Or is this the wrong way to use a preamp?
 
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vert

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Regardless of the impact ASR had or not (I remember the train wrecks that the initial reviews were a few years ago), kudos to them for changing course in that way. Not any company or everybody is able to do that. It takes guts and a clear head.
 

temps

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Speaking of knobs, the knob on the IEMagni looks nice from the pics--nicer than the knobs on most of the Schiit units in that size box.
Unfortunately the knob is pretty cheap, feels hollow, and has a pretty unexciting action. That's my only quibble about the unit (and what a quibble it is).

Otherwise, the sound is absolutely spectacular. Oodles of power, extremely clean, and a notable step up from my RME Fireface's built-in headphone amp, which isn't exactly a slouch but is clearly a class below the IEMagni.
 

respice finem

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Business idea ;) Knob upgrades for all models, precisely machined from sterling silver (to remind the user to polish his knob regularly) :cool:

"The ultimate Schiit" collection :)
 

MRC01

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Unfortunately the knob is pretty cheap, feels hollow, and has a pretty unexciting action. That's my only quibble about the unit (and what a quibble it is). Otherwise, the sound is absolutely spectacular. Oodles of power, extremely clean ...
That's exactly how I feel about my JDS Atom!
Feels like a $50 amp, sounds like a $1000 amp.
 

MacCali

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Can you use this as a pre-amp? how does it perform as a pre amp? Trying to get a pre-amp for my Allo Volt+ and I dont know what to choose. The Topping Pre90 is pretty pricey for the budget I am trying to use. I dont listen to this system nearly as much as my main system. Would be nice to find something with a remote, otherwise I would go with the sys and I know this one doesn't have a remove either but wondering if it performs better than the sys
 

solderdude

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Can you use this as a pre-amp? how does it perform as a pre amp? Trying to get a pre-amp for my Allo Volt+ and I dont know what to choose. The Topping Pre90 is pretty pricey for the budget I am trying to use. I dont listen to this system nearly as much as my main system. Would be nice to find something with a remote, otherwise I would go with the sys and I know this one doesn't have a remove either but wondering if it performs better than the sys

Consider the Sabaj a10h... it does exactly what you want. Just doesn't have the Schiit logo on it.
 

MacCali

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Consider the Sabaj a10h... it does exactly what you want. Just doesn't have the Schiit logo on it.
I see after looking at that post, none of that information really matters for my application? I see you are clarifying the HP output power.

I absolutely don’t care about Schitt, I live 20 miles from there store and nothing has really impressed me. They have 8 to 9 units you can demo all of which I tried and didn’t see anything special. But everyone wanted me to buy Schitt

Any suggestion with something that has XLR inputs? Doesn’t have to be but would be preferred as both dacs I plan to use have XLR out.

I am fairly new to audio it’s only been a year I’ve owned legit headphones and 8 months with speakers/home theater. So excuse my ignorance.

Does it make any difference to do XLR in and RCA out? I see that there’s a Gustard P16 review on this forum and there was a better performance with XLR in and RCA, doubt there’s uniformity to that. Also do you only get the dB boost of XLR if the volt+ obviously doesn’t have RCA.

Simply put, any reason for me to use XLR out to the preamp and rca to the amp?
 
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