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Schiit Magni 3+ and Heresy Headphone Amp Reviews

Tks

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What the plot shows is channel imbalance over the volpot range.
So on the left of the plot you see the channel balance with the pot fully 'open' and on the right of the plot you see the channel imbalance with the pot set to minimum volume.
The pot is turned by hand over a certain time period which Amir tries to do a bit linear.
This means the middle of the plot is around the middle of the volpot position as well.

Now here comes the thing. Each magni 3+ and each Heresy will have a different channel imbalance over the entire volpot range.
When you are lucky the imbalance is smaller than 0.5dB but could well be higher.
Certainly nearing the minimum volpot setting.
By chance the Heresy got a better matched pot as the 3+ but they are both the same make/model pots.

What does the plot tell you... the quality of the used volpot.
The Schiit stuff is cheap so cheap pots are used which means tracking is not that well.
The one you buy will certainly differ from the devices measured but will very likely be in the same 'range, being within +/- 0.5dB over the biggest part of the volpot range.

Now 0.5dB isn't reall much and is not audible. Consider that headphones by themselves usually have bigger channel imbalances.
As long as channel imbalance stays below 1dB you won't notice it.
Hey solderdude, I was wondering, (barring housing issues and clearences with other PCB components), is it possible for someone who knows electronics to somehow add one of these in most amps we see today on the market (that aren't digitally controlled of course I suppose)? Or would this require heavy modifications not possible in most designs we see today of amps?
 

JohnYang1997

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Hey solderdude, I was wondering, (barring housing issues and clearences with other PCB components), is it possible for someone who knows electronics to somehow add one of these in most amps we see today on the market (that aren't digitally controlled of course I suppose)? Or would this require heavy modifications not possible in most designs we see today of amps?
Regardless of the dimensional issues. It's compatible to most amps. Just remove the original and put it in, wire the pins and you're done. 6pins total, 3 left 3 right.
 

Tks

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$416 pot on a $100 amp :D

I wouldn't know what to do with it even if you gave it to me for free. I'm totally oblivious on how various parts actually connect to portions on PCB's. Or if they have effects on power, or resistances when changing pots.
 

solderdude

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You would have to increase the height of the Magni.
Instead I would simply mount an RK271 pot but here too the height of the amp is not enough.
As John said. If there were enough room for it it would be a matter of removing the pot (which isn't that easy when you never unsoldered parts), solder some short wires on the attenuators and then solder the wires in the correct position where a pot used to be.
You could use the 47 steps $246 V47-2-xx.
 
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I would think noise would be increased, if that matters to you. It would be hard to say how k
Hey solderdude, I was wondering, (barring housing issues and clearences with other PCB components), is it possible for someone who knows electronics to somehow add one of these in most amps we see today on the market (that aren't digitally controlled of course I suppose)? Or would this require heavy modifications not possible in most designs we see today of amps?
i would think noise would be increased as well, when looking at amps trying to hit the floor. Mods with wires will bring that up. Can’t say for sure without measuring, but that would be my first thought. Possible, yes.
 

solderdude

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What would be the reason for increased noise ?
a few cm of added copper wire to the already present copper PCB traces running to the front of the PCB ?
 
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What would be the reason for increased noise ?
a few cm of added copper wire to the already present copper PCB traces running to the front of the PCB ?
The question should be asked as to why wouldn't there be more noise? It'll be more than a few cm as the size of the pots are drastically different. If flush mounted relative to the front of the PCB, you're probably looking at up to 6cm horizontally (tab positions), and then you need to go vertical, with enough slack to install and remove the pot and to not have too much strain on the joints. There's also another solder joint, and it's building an antenna, albeit short. That's not taking into account the choice of a replacement case and where you place the pot on the panel.

If chasing amps that go for the floor measurements, any fraction of a percent is increased noise. Are you saying there will be zero, or a positive, impact? If you've done it and have had zero negative measurable impact, then I'd like to see that, and how it's done. I'd like to understand that part. I'm not talking about discarding the delta in measurement as imperceptible, or falling in the margin of error. An increase is an increase, whether it's perceptible or not. I'd take it that one of the goals of the amp is to hit as low a floor as possible, and air wiring something in will likely go against achieving that goal.

I'd also think crosstalk may be affected as well, but that would fall more heavily into execution, I would think.

I also say that it might not matter and we'd need confirmation.

I would think noise would be increased, if that matters to you.
Can’t say for sure without measuring, but that would be my first thought. Possible, yes.
The most probable conclusion is increased noise. If you have to ask if you can supplant a pot, then I'd wager that you're not the most experienced, and that probability of noise will increase due to probability on execution. PCB layout can also effect results, if given the same parts to build. I don't see why something as coarse as air wiring would not have a measurable impact.

Can you point me to examples where air wiring something in had no impact, or improved measurements? Perhaps my conclusions are incorrect, but I'd like to understand that as well. I'm sure someone has modded it, and re-cased it as that's an inevitable.
 

Alobar

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So is changing out the pot something I need to worry about doing to mine? I don't hear any scratchiness, nor any imbalance L to R, either. Of course that's subjective, but it's all I can really go by for my particular unit. I also more or less set the level and then use digital volume in JRiver for small volume adjustments. My main concern is the pot somehow failing. But I suppose for $99 for a good performing hp amp that sacrifices must be made, both for the mfg and the consumer.. I'm sure there are better quality headphone amps I could have bought, for double the money..
 
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So is changing out the pot something I need to worry about doing to mine? [...] My main concern is the pot somehow failing....[...]
Generally, no. Generally, pots won't fail. They do sometimes, but it's rare and I'm not sure why the RK097 would be of concern over others. The RK097, while not great, is reliable, but with less precision in terms of resistance. If you have problems, it's best to warranty it. If it's beyond the warranty, buying numerous samples of RK097 and measuring them before hand to determine a replacement, is probably cheapest. That is probably less costly than putting something in that doesn't fit, and all the casework that goes with that, or if hand drilling cases, having it look mediocre compared to the case that came with it. FWIW and IMHO. Cases aren't cheap, and precision milling/drilling/finishing panels aren't as well. Both, combined, will probably exceed the cost of the amp. It'll be cheaper to go plastic, if that's the case, but then it's plastic. $99 and economies of scale are hard to beat.
 
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All this talk about putting a $100 + volpot in a $99 amp ???

IMHO it is better to spend another $99 and get the Asgard 3...AND it has a better volpot :)
 

majingotan

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All this talk about putting a $100 + volpot in a $99 amp ???

IMHO it is better to spend another $99 and get the Asgard 3...AND it has a better volpot :)
Asgard 3 performs much worse than Magni Heresy despite the better pot it has
 

majingotan

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Sorry though he was upgrading a Magni 3+
Both units have the same pot. What measurements are showing is the variability of the cheap pot they put in there. Best pot without going crazy expensive for perfect channel balance in the analog section would be the stepped attenuator that my Saga preamp use
 

Tks

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What would be the reason for increased noise ?
a few cm of added copper wire to the already present copper PCB traces running to the front of the PCB ?
I think it has something to do with these sorts of volume controls. The Benchmark HPA4 exhibits some of this in the 50mV performance being lower than that of something like the 887 for example.

Amir concludes in the end: "Yes, the baseline noise is bit above the best we can get. If you have ultra sensitive IEMs and blast the volume when nothing is playing, you may hear some hiss. That is the only negative thing I can think of to mention. The solution for this would require and analog attenuator which is not in the cards in the architecture of the HPA4."






vs

 

solderdude

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Amir concludes in the end: "Yes, the baseline noise is bit above the best we can get. If you have ultra sensitive IEMs and blast the volume when nothing is playing, you may hear some hiss. That is the only negative thing I can think of to mention. The solution for this would require and analog attenuator which is not in the cards in the architecture of the HPA4."
The Heresy is only 1dB 'better' (89dB) than the HPA4 so would need the same warning.
Besides... with the output powers these devices have I would most certainly use a passive attenuator anyway unless one really only wants to use the very bottom part of the volume control and risk blowing the IEM up by accident when it is lying on the table and accidentally turning up the volume a bit.
You get a 20dB better S/N ratio with a passive attenuator.
I don't think we will see amplifiers with a better than 95dB S/N ratio at 50mV anyway because of physics.
 

JohnYang1997

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Did I say something bad?
Not necessarily. Actually I was looking at the guy who said a few cm of wires would degrade noise performance.
Then you used benchmark hpa4 to support it.
To me it's the fault of lacking information. I don't blame you guys. I didn't want to write about 500 words just to explain how this works so I just posted that.
 

JohnYang1997

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The Heresy is only 1dB 'better' (89dB) than the HPA4 so would need the same warning.
Besides... with the output powers these devices have I would most certainly use a passive attenuator anyway unless one really only wants to use the very bottom part of the volume control and risk blowing the IEM up by accident when it is lying on the table and accidentally turning up the volume a bit.
You get a 20dB better S/N ratio with a passive attenuator.
I don't think we will see amplifiers with a better than 95dB S/N ratio at 50mV anyway because of physics.
I can get 100+db S/N at 50mV test but APx555 is not good enough to measure it.
And yeah besides output impedance (i love to see Zo in mOhm), it's best suitable for sensitive iems.
 

Tks

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The Heresy is only 1dB 'better' (89dB) than the HPA4 so would need the same warning.
Besides... with the output powers these devices have I would most certainly use a passive attenuator anyway unless one really only wants to use the very bottom part of the volume control and risk blowing the IEM up by accident when it is lying on the table and accidentally turning up the volume a bit.
You get a 20dB better S/N ratio with a passive attenuator.
I don't think we will see amplifiers with a better than 95dB S/N ratio at 50mV anyway because of physics.
Oh, don't confuse me with someone that has the faintest of clues with the theoretics of this level. I was providing perhaps the rationale @IAmHolland and you were deliberating on.

As for me personally, I'm doing alright IEM wise, the RME seems good enough for that purpose (close to that 95db theoretical limit you mentioned).

But I do value channel matching, and low-level volume control. I feel like you could slash the power output of nearly all amps on the market in half and I feel like I'd still be getting more power than I need. The 789 for example I got going with the RME is just overkill. There is only one album that I feel I can put up with for more than a few moments maxing out volume with both devices on low-gain.

Power amps it seems to me, seem to have their performance gated due to the power-scaling issues I presume (seeing as how it's been half a decade and no one seemingly has come close to Benchmark ABH2's performance). I wouldn't mind dialing back the power of some of these headphone amps these days if it means we can get even better performance metrics. Because as it stands, even with HD6XX's and LCD2C's, the power available on tap is overkill.
 
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