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Schiit Loki Mini+ Equalizer Review

Rate this Equalizer:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 61 33.0%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 81 43.8%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 33 17.8%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 10 5.4%

  • Total voters
    185

mhardy6647

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I could write a lot about my EL84 and EL8 amplifiers. They are among my best. But that would be off topic here...
We could start another thread. ;)

PS I like EL84 amplifiers. I've yet to hear one that wasn't very pleasant to listen to. :)

AF-4rfront.jpg

AF4inaction0222.jpg

OK, I'll stop.
:cool::facepalm:
 

mhardy6647

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Actually, as an on-topic aside ;) that extremely modest (then and now) EICO AF-4 pictured above 'features' a cut-only tone control to minimize the demands placed by frequency response contouring on the extremely limited (4-ish wpc) output of the single-ended EL84 stereo amplifer. :)

1686228727934.png
 

computer-audiophile

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We could start another thread. ;)
Possibly these are old stories that have simply been told to the end already today. Perhaps all has already been said?
Well, sometimes old fashions are revived over and over again.

The separate tone control around which it is here in the thread, will probably hardly prevail, because the front end today is mostly digital, and I can already influence the sound in the playback software at will.
 
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Henreid

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May 29, 2022
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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Schiit Loki Mini+ analog four band equalizer. It is on kind loan from a member and costs US $149/$159 (Black/Silver).
View attachment 287824
We have the usual Schiit enclosure which is fine for this application. Its stamped steel enclosure helps here by making it heavy enough to not get dragged by its dual set of RCA cables. I was happy to see a tone defeat switch on the right. Sadly there is no power switch in front (you have to reach in the back):
View attachment 287825

We have the usual Schiit AC adapter which wastes some power given the heat it generates. Surprisingly, the box itself also got a bit warm. Didn't expect this in a line level type of gear.

I got a kick out of the "no user serviceable parts inside." Does anyone in this day and age expect such parts? I think that vanished back in 1970s if not earlier.

Anyway, the idea is that you tailor the sound using the four controls. Let's see how it performs.

EDIT: Just read that the owner sent me the 500 ma transformer by mistake. The correct one is 1000 ma. I just checked the dashboard and IMD with 1000 ma transformer and performance is identical. The larger transformer may run cooler though.

EDIT 2: I incorrectly labeled all the graphs as "Mani+" rather than "Mini+."

Schiit Loki Mini+ Measurements

Let's start with its frequency response with the tone defeated or not (controls set at detent):
View attachment 287826
Ideally with controls at center we would still have flat line but we don't. Fortunately the error is small at 0.5 dB. Setting the controls to the right at 3:00 o'clock, gives us an idea of what each one does:
View attachment 287827

I was surprised at the effect of the middle controls (C2 & C3). They don't do much boosting but actually lower the response more at one end than the other. The extreme ones work as one would imagine more or less.

I set all the controls at max and min which should just set the unit up for flat response and act as extra or negative gain:

View attachment 287828

Instead of that, we get quite bit of deviation. This will make it hard to interpret what the unit is doing by looking at the controls.

Let's see distortion and noise by operating the unit first in bypass mode:
View attachment 287829

Performance is the same as if I bypassed the unit altogether indicating that the switch simply shorts the input to output. So if you don't need it, you can bypass it more or less completely. I say more or less because crosstalk is impacted:
View attachment 287830

If you enable tone controls, then you take a significant hit in distortion:
View attachment 287831

Noise performance is very good:View attachment 287834

The internal buffer seems to start to saturate at just 0.5 volt:
View attachment 287832

I was disappointed to see fairly steep increase in distortion with frequencies above 500 Hz:
View attachment 287833

Conclusions
If I were to summarize the performance of Mani+ it would be "it could be worse!" Analog equalizers can be quite noisy which I find unbearable. Here, Mini+ is pretty quiet. On the other hand, it throws away fair bit of performance which is hard to accept in absolute, i.e. regardless of cost. But then again maybe it is OK for the price. While I did not try to operate it, I suspect it would be frustrating to make sense out of what the middle controls do. Lack of memory means adjusting it for different types of music, speakers will be hard.

Anyway, I don't have a strong feeling one way or the other for Schiit Loki Mini+ so won't put it on my recommended list.

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

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Thanks for this review. It's good to know about a product's deficiencies before making a purchase (especially for a novice like me on a modest budget).
I have a related question about applying equalization to headphones when listening to CDs (since analog equalization doesn't seem to work very well). I'm using a CD player that outputs a digital audio signal through coaxial, optical, and HDMI ports. Would there be a relatively straightforward way to utilize any of these output sources to insert a digital headphone equalization tool into the signal path? What equipment would I need to accomplish this? (And, could I do this without needing to spend a small fortune?) I have a laptop I can use, if that would be one of the necessary components. I know that CDs can be converted to audio files and headphone equalization implemented in the usual way, but I have a large collection of Classical music on CD that would take quite a lot of time and effort to transfer.

I'm considering this because I realize there are many more high-quality headphones to choose from when you can apply equalization (and you aren't limited just to the few models that have close Harman compliance right out of the box). If this question might be answered elsewhere on Audio Science Review please direct me to the appropriate forum - I'm eager to learn.
 

dzerig

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Sep 27, 2023
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The problem with @amirm 's graphs is twofold: first he assumes that with all the settings at max or min, the frequency response should be flat. Why he sets this as a rule or goal is not clear.

Second, Amir changes the location of the curves, moving them up or down such that the response of ALL the knobs at 1 kHz appears to be 0 db. This is not what the device is doing, it is a result of Amir changing the location of the response curve.

At 3 o'clock, the 2khz knob -- c3 -- does not lower the frequency response at 20 hz by 1.8 db and leave the response at 1khz at 0 db. It actually leaves the response at 20hz flat and increases the response at 1khz to 1.8 db.

DO YOU SEE YET?

ps, The two curves at max and min are also moved up or down so they intersect 1khz at 0 db, but clearly at max response at all frequencies is up as much as 12 db / 6 db.
 
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T.T.

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Dec 9, 2020
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this must be the most disappointing review/thread I read so far on this site. Not because of the result, but because of the esteemed reviewer's failure to reconsider or even admit the possibility of wrong interpretation of the measurements. It made quite a dent in my confidence in Amir's expertise.
And the ridicule instead of giving a proper thought ... that's just lame.
@IAmAlwaysSerious , respect for the way you responded.
 

KenA

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Feb 18, 2023
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this must be the most disappointing review/thread I read so far on this site. Not because of the result, but because of the esteemed reviewer's failure to reconsider or even admit the possibility of wrong interpretation of the measurements. It made quite a dent in my confidence in Amir's expertise.
And the ridicule instead of giving a proper thought ... that's just lame.
@IAmAlwaysSerious , respect for the way you responded.

100% agree.
Ive only seen this review first time today and read it through to this point and I’m amazed, frankly. This device seems to do exactly as it’s intended to do (some tone control) and has a purpose for a good number of people who will put it to good use and enjoy the results. And it’s been rubbished in an apparent poorly executed trial and review that has been countered by members, in a very reasonable manner, offering sound argument.
@IAmAlwaysSerious well done to you sir.
 
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