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Schiit Magni Heretic Headphone Amp Review

Rate this headphone amplifier:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 2 0.8%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 41 17.2%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 196 82.0%

  • Total voters
    239

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Schiit Magni Heretic headphone amplifier. It was sent to me by the company and costs US $109.
Schiit Magni Heretic Headphone Amplifier Review.jpg

You can get it in silver or back. Either way, the side and back panels are in red which I like. As you see, there is not much to the functionality other than volume control and three stage gain settings which I appreciated. Previous Schiit Heresy model lacked this which likely hurt its performance in noise department. Back panel is as you expect:
Schiit Magni Heretic Headphone Amplifier Back Panel Power supply Review.jpg

As is typical of Schiit gear, the on off switch is in the back. There is no indicator on the front that the unit is on which is a miss. There is however a red LED inside which you can kind of see. Power is provided using AC transformer which is larger than switching units.

Operationally my only wish was a better detent for medium gain. You can easily go from low to high gain which can have a large impact in levels you hear.

Schiit Magi Heretic Measurements
Let's start with our usual unity gain dashboard (2 volts in/out):
Schiit Magni Heretic Headphone Amplifier Measurements.png

Very nice! Distortion is extremely low at close to -130 dB. Noise then sets SINAD which nicely lands the Heretic in the top 20 of all headphone amps tested:

best headphone amplifier review.png


Speaking of noise, we have definite improvement over previous generation:
Schiit Magni Heretic Headphone Amplifier Dynamic Range Measurements.png


This is very apparent when outputting just 50 millivolts for sensitive headphones and IEMs:
most quiet headphone amplifier hiss review.png


Frequency response is flat and hence excellent to 100 kHz:
Schiit Magni Heretic Headphone Amplifier Frequency Response Measurements.png


As noted distortion is very low and is reflected in our multitone test:
Schiit Magni Heretic Headphone Amplifier Multitone Measurements.png


Power is just about everything for a headphone amp so let's see where the Heretic lands:
Schiit Magni Heretic Headphone Amplifier Power 300 ohm Measurements.png


I like to see minimum of 100 milliwatts for 300 ohm and the unit nicely clears that hurdle with 3X the power. Same story is true for 32 ohm load:
Schiit Magni Heretic Headphone Amplifier THD 32 Power Measurements.png


I expect the unit to be able to drive just about any headphone with this level of performance.

I have modified my load sweeps to have much higher resolution around the clipping point so don't compare this directly to previous measurements:
Schiit Magni Heretic Headphone Amplifier Power vs load vs distortion Measurements.png


There is a limiter that kicks in at 32 ohm and lower to protect the unit. You have basically 4 to 10 volts of output depending on load you put on it.

Finally, here is channel balance:
Schiit Magni Heretic Headphone Amplifier Channel Balance Measurements.png


There is gradual and early deviation but fortunately it holds below my 0.5 dB threshold until 33 dB which is very good.

Schiit Magni Heretic Listening Tests
I started testing with my everyday Dan Clark Expanse headphone. Using high gain, at about 2:00pm I was at the limit of what I would want to listen to everyday. This left me a bit of headroom as after 3:00 PM it started to distort. By max volume there was good bass dynamics but the sound was clearly distorted. So I would say the Heretic is perfectly fine for general listening with Expanse. Just don't push it to the limit of the unit and your hearing!

Switching to Sennheiser HD650 remedied the amplifier limit and now there was thundering dynamics and super fidelity with as much volume as I wanted. Absolutely excellent fidelity was to be had.

Conclusions
It was nice to see the Schiit Heresy bring measurement grade headphone amplifier to the offerings of the company. In the Heretic version, that performance is improved yet again with addition of gain control, fixing the only weakness in that otherwise excellent unit. You get state of the art performance at bargain prices in solid metal enclosure for English speaking company.

I am happy to add Schiit Magni Heretic to my recommended list.

----------
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/
 

okok

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Oct 31, 2020
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there was not a thing called Topping while Schiit was hot in the business back in the first Trump era, and then everything upside down, not sure what happened.

Schiit strongest label is or was made in the US of A, domestically.
 

sweetchaos

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VintageFlanker

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Topping, a Chinese company, who pushed state-of-the-art technology forward, has forced other companies to improve on their products?
Or:
ASR, an international forum, who promoted state-of-the-art technology forward, has forced other companies to improve on their products?
I believe so.
 

ItsJoshh

New Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2022
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Thanks Amirm!

But now how am I supposed to decide between the Heretic and the Topping L30 II on sale for $126?? o_O
 
Last edited:

Stokdoof

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May 14, 2019
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242
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Schiit laat de rest een poepie ruiken.

Translation : ”Make someone smell a poop” .
Sorry, this makes more sense in the Dutch language..
 

DSJR

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Not available in the UK yet. Heresy out of stock and was £145 here. Got to say I like the cheeky red trimmings in the case - pleases these eyes anyway and if the eyes have it with a performance like this, it'll 'sound' good too :D

It's been said that Jason et al chooses components to 'fine tune' the sound. No idea really, but I don't mind at all if at the same time, he can get such good basic performance out of it - a bit like doing a basic good design on a cheap car, then fine tuning the already good suspension to 'finish it off' before production.
 

AudioSceptic

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Joined
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Northampton, UK
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Schiit Magni Heretic headphone amplifier. It was sent to me by the company and costs US $109.
View attachment 246179
You can get it in silver or back. Either way, the side and back panels are in red which I like. As you see, there is not much to the functionality other than volume control and three stage gain settings which I appreciated. Previous Schiit Heresy model lacked this which likely hurt its performance in noise department. Back panel is as you expect:
View attachment 246178
As is typical of Schiit gear, the on off switch is in the back. There is no indicator on the front that the unit is on which is a miss. There is however a red LED inside which you can kind of see. Power is provided using AC transformer which is larger than switching units.

Operationally my only wish was a better detent for medium gain. You can easily go from low to high gain which can have a large impact in levels you hear.

Schiit Magi Heretic Measurements
Let's start with our usual unity gain dashboard (2 volts in/out):
View attachment 246181
Very nice! Distortion is extremely low at close to -130 dB. Noise then sets SINAD which nicely lands the Heretic in the top 20 of all headphone amps tested:

View attachment 246182

Speaking of noise, we have definite improvement over previous generation:
View attachment 246183

This is very apparent when outputting just 50 millivolts for sensitive headphones and IEMs:
View attachment 246184

Frequency response is flat and hence excellent to 100 kHz:
View attachment 246185

As noted distortion is very low and is reflected in our multitone test:
View attachment 246186

Power is just about everything for a headphone amp so let's see where the Heretic lands:
View attachment 246188

I like to see minimum of 100 milliwatts for 300 ohm and the unit nicely clears that hurdle with 3X the power. Same story is true for 32 ohm load:
View attachment 246189

I expect the unit to be able to drive just about any headphone with this level of performance.

I have modified my load sweeps to have much higher resolution around the clipping point so don't compare this directly to previous measurements:
View attachment 246191

There is a limiter that kicks in at 32 ohm and lower to protect the unit. You have basically 4 to 10 volts of output depending on load you put on it.

Finally, here is channel balance:
View attachment 246192

There is gradual and early deviation but fortunately it holds below my 0.5 dB threshold until 33 dB which is very good.

Schiit Magni Heretic Listening Tests
I started testing with my everyday Dan Clark Expanse headphone. Using high gain, at about 2:00pm I was at the limit of what I would want to listen to everyday. This left me a bit of headroom as after 3:00 PM it started to distort. By max volume there was good bass dynamics but the sound was clearly distorted. So I would say the Heretic is perfectly fine for general listening with Expanse. Just don't push it to the limit of the unit and your hearing!

Switching to Sennheiser HD650 remedied the amplifier limit and now there was thundering dynamics and super fidelity with as much volume as I wanted. Absolutely excellent fidelity was to be had.

Conclusions
It was nice to see the Schiit Heresy bring measurement grade headphone amplifier to the offerings of the company. In the Heretic version, that performance is improved yet again with addition of gain control, fixing the only weakness in that otherwise excellent unit. You get state of the art performance at bargain prices in solid metal enclosure for English speaking company.

I am happy to add Schiit Magni Heretic to my recommended list.

----------
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/
The performance is affected by the time of day???
Using high gain, at about 2:00pm I was at the limit of what I would want to listen to everyday. This left me a bit of headroom as after 3:00 PM it started to distort.
;) ;) ;)
 

AndreaT

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The previous Heresy had a 2-level gain switch (on the rear panel) and the volume pot was too close to the headphone jack. It sounds as if Schiit listens to Amir and ASR. I am reporting flawless function of the Heresy v.1 and its PS after at least two years of occasional use.
 
Last edited:

AdamG247

Fishing Permitted-Must Eat catch!!
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@amirm you can bask in the glow of the trending improvement of audio product development and the quality of tech you can acquire for the money. To some extent, your persistent test measurement publications, has pushed the industry in the right direction for the average consumer. Take some pride in the actualization of your efforts. Thank you Sir! We are indeed lucky to have you as our advocate for change. :cool:
 
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