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Schiit KARA Preamp and Headphone Amp Review

Rate this preamp and headphone amp

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 5 2.1%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 18 7.4%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 95 39.3%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 124 51.2%

  • Total voters
    242
It is mind boggling to me that they didn't include a front power switch and/or a 12v trigger. I would have bought one already if it had either one...
Very true what you state and must agree.

And as I discover the Kara in time, it is mind boggling that they offer two active gain stages + a passive mode + a sophisticated volume relay matrix with remote for volume control.

This is the most expensive Schiit item I have purchased; I progressed up the line and the Kara impresses with its quality and refinement.

I have a Khozmo passive preamp now shipping from Spain and I'll be comparing the Kara Passive Preamp (PP) to it. This will be used for a second system in my home.

My wife states my stereo system is becoming complicated; made more so with the power switch at the rear of the Kara. I see it as a powering up geek process. :)
 
If I'm reading the headphone graphs right, my Dan Clark Audio Aeon Open X with an impedance of 13ohms will sound like crap?

Nope, they will sound fine acc. to the measurements. Distortion of the Aeon open will be higher than that of the amp at high volume.
 
Very true what you state and must agree.

And as I discover the Kara in time, it is mind boggling that they offer two active gain stages + a passive mode + a sophisticated volume relay matrix with remote for volume control.

This is the most expensive Schiit item I have purchased; I progressed up the line and the Kara impresses with its quality and refinement.

I have a Khozmo passive preamp now shipping from Spain and I'll be comparing the Kara Passive Preamp (PP) to it. This will be used for a second system in my home.

My wife states my stereo system is becoming complicated; made more so with the power switch at the rear of the Kara. I see it as a powering up geek process. :)
I agree, the toggle switch at the rear of my Freya S is annoying. The remote is also obscure - I would like a rotary dial to choose between inputs.
 
My Kara sounds (really… sounded) perfect but I too find the input switching, which requires stepping through each of them in order, pretty annoying. There’s no way to simply toggle between the two I would use. My Kara also broke. Left channel started making loads of static/crackling noise after about 3 months of almost daily, but very light, low volume use. It’s currently in the mail back but rather disapointingly, Schiit wants to repair it so I have to sit around for weeks without a system. Don’t understand why they can’t drop ship me a replacement and sell it on as refurbished. Pretty crappy service IMO. Wish there was something similar with at least 1 balanced input and a couple regular inouts, that was priced reasonably. Everything comparable I’ve found is much more expensive and/or contains a bunch of features I don’t want or need.
 
My Kara sounds (really… sounded) perfect but I too find the input switching, which requires stepping through each of them in order, pretty annoying. There’s no way to simply toggle between the two I would use. My Kara also broke. Left channel started making loads of static/crackling noise after about 3 months of almost daily, but very light, low volume use. It’s currently in the mail back but rather disapointingly, Schiit wants to repair it so I have to sit around for weeks without a system. Don’t understand why they can’t drop ship me a replacement and sell it on as refurbished. Pretty crappy service IMO. Wish there was something similar with at least 1 balanced input and a couple regular inouts, that was priced reasonably. Everything comparable I’ve found is much more expensive and/or contains a bunch of features I don’t want or need.
Exactly why I always have a working product that can be put in place of a piece of gear that has been sent for repair.
I have 2 systems & spares (not necessarily duplicates but something that can be substituted for each item in my main system [whether it would be pulled out of the second system or is just an item I kept for it's ability to be substituted into my main system]).
 
Well, I should have a spare sometime this week (if I get the last few parts I ordered and have enough time) when I finish restoring the Luxman C-02 I had been using for years, but which started having channel imbalance issues due to failing power supply caps and loads of cold solder joints earlier this year.
 
It is mind boggling to me that they didn't include a front power switch and/or a 12v trigger. I would have bought one already if it had either one...
Is the Kara meant to be powered up continuously with the the mute switch intended to act as a pseudo-standby?
 
A little bit of user friendly would get Schiit extra sales. A front panel power/standby switch and the ability to switch sources in either direction would be nice.
 
My Kara sounds (really… sounded) perfect but I too find the input switching, which requires stepping through each of them in order, pretty annoying. There’s no way to simply toggle between the two I would use. My Kara also broke. Left channel started making loads of static/crackling noise after about 3 months of almost daily, but very light, low volume use. It’s currently in the mail back but rather disapointingly, Schiit wants to repair it so I have to sit around for weeks without a system. Don’t understand why they can’t drop ship me a replacement and sell it on as refurbished. Pretty crappy service IMO. Wish there was something similar with at least 1 balanced input and a couple regular inouts, that was priced reasonably. Everything comparable I’ve found is much more expensive and/or contains a bunch of features I don’t want or need.
I'm now using a Khozmo passive preamp with 1) remote control (volume and on-off) and 2) dimmable display.
It sounds great and I'm loving the features of the dimmable display when we watch movies. I also own the Kara and yes, little things can matter.
 
My Kara sounds (really… sounded) perfect but I too find the input switching, which requires stepping through each of them in order, pretty annoying. There’s no way to simply toggle between the two I would use. My Kara also broke. Left channel started making loads of static/crackling noise after about 3 months of almost daily, but very light, low volume use. It’s currently in the mail back but rather disapointingly, Schiit wants to repair it so I have to sit around for weeks without a system. Don’t understand why they can’t drop ship me a replacement and sell it on as refurbished. Pretty crappy service IMO. Wish there was something similar with at least 1 balanced input and a couple regular inouts, that was priced reasonably. Everything comparable I’ve found is much more expensive and/or contains a bunch of features I don’t want or need.
I'm fairly certain Schiit doesn't sell repaired units on their B-Stock section, only ones that were returned after a demo period, have minor blemishes from the factory or a return, or are discontinued. That's probably why you'd have to wait for a repair. Not convenient.
 
Is the Kara meant to be powered up continuously with the the mute switch intended to act as a pseudo-standby?
Kara and Freya+ are considered, "powered off," simply by switching the unit to Passive mode.

-Ed
 
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