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Schiit Midgard Balanced Headphone Amp Review

Rate this headphone amplifier:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 5 2.4%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 4 1.9%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 48 22.9%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 153 72.9%

  • Total voters
    210

honjr

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Just a simple output on/off switch is all you need for the line output. Unplug the headphones when not in use. Best of both worlds and no unnecessary relays or switched HP sockets.
I usually have my head amp within arms reach.

I would guess it has something to do with the whole Halo deal.
Might be the Halo. I happen to already own a balanced switch box and spare cables for the line outputs so I can mute the speakers when using headphones. Midgard integrates well with my (AKM chip version) Modius. Running on low gain, with low distortion. And running USA-made, USA-serviced gear. But I still have to get balanced headphone cables to test Halo.
 

solderdude

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If 'Halo' really does something it will probably only do something for low impedance headphones with substantially varying impedance head/ear phones and even then the measured effect most likely (has not been measured by Amir) will be very small and well withing the 'placebo' range (where no actual changes of the signal occur but are perceived that way, which is what Jason hinted at).

I can see this 'Halo' thingy do more with speaker amps and speakers with huge impedance swings.
 

honjr

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If 'Halo' really does something it will probably only do something for low impedance headphones with substantially varying impedance head/ear phones and even then the measured effect most likely (has not been measured by Amir) will be very small and well withing the 'placebo' range (where no actual changes of the signal occur but are perceived that way, which is what Jason hinted at).

I can see this 'Halo' thingy do more with speaker amps and speakers with huge impedance swings.
So the XLR headphone and line outs share the same circuitry including feedback? Would make sense.
 

solderdude

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There is supposed to be some 'extra' feedback coming from the -terminals which is created by a small resistor (approx 2 ohm) that is 'combined' with the regular overall feedback.
As that is voltage feedback and the - terminal also adds some (much lower voltage) feedback, which basically is the headphone current, the output voltage/current ratio needs to be small for this to work. It is probably why no effect was observed with the high impedance HD650 but still could do something with low impedance (and variable) impedance of a headphone.
Alas this was never tested so we'll probably never know as only a fixed low load resistance was tested.
 

Jeromeof

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There is supposed to be some 'extra' feedback coming from the -terminals which is created by a small resistor (approx 2 ohm) that is 'combined' with the regular overall feedback.
As that is voltage feedback and the - terminal also adds some (much lower voltage) feedback, which basically is the headphone current, the output voltage/current ratio needs to be small for this to work. It is probably why no effect was observed with the high impedance HD650 but still could do something with low impedance (and variable) impedance of a headphone.
Alas this was never tested so we'll probably never know as only a fixed low load resistance was tested.

What about IEM's with some variable impedance say like the Truthear Zero :

index.php
 

solderdude

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Edit:

Marv measured it with Grado RS2X.
Showed no actual differences either.

Seems to be a gimmick that does nothing other than 'bias the mind'.
For the subjective crowd it will probably sound 'better'.

It actually even could be for another reason. When one uses 3-wire cables with low impedance headphones and XLR with the same headphone but that is 4-wire.
So who knows it that is the only thing that happens in practice. That would also not be measurable at the output but is measurable at the headphone.
Perhaps that is what Jason heard and hinted at.
 
Last edited:

kelesh

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The asymmetricity of that 4-pin front XLR connector would drive me nuts, though, I'd have to keep something plugged in all the time so I don't see it :D.

 

LegionOfHell

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So are the power specs on Schiit's website and ASR's for balanced input/output ? what are the power ratings for single ended(unbalanced) input/output ?
 

oleg87

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So are the power specs on Schiit's website and ASR's for balanced input/output ? what are the power ratings for single ended(unbalanced) input/output ?
It is a single-ended amp. The XLR output is not balanced, it just needs separate ground pins for the Halo thing.
 

LegionOfHell

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So the following specs are for RCA-ins / 1/4” headphone out ?:

Maximum Power, 16 ohms: 5.5W RMS per channel
Maximum Power, 32 ohms: 4.8W RMS per channel
Maximum Power, 50 ohms: 3.2W RMS per channel
Maximum Power, 300 ohms: 750mW RMS per channel
Maximum Power, 600 ohms: 375mW RMS per channel
 

staticV3

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So the following specs are for RCA-ins / 1/4” headphone out ?:

Maximum Power, 16 ohms: 5.5W RMS per channel
Maximum Power, 32 ohms: 4.8W RMS per channel
Maximum Power, 50 ohms: 3.2W RMS per channel
Maximum Power, 300 ohms: 750mW RMS per channel
Maximum Power, 600 ohms: 375mW RMS per channel
Yes. Though you'd have to input 3Vrms via RCA to clip the Midgard's output at high load impedances.
With low impedance headphones, 2Vrms is enough to get the full output.
 

solderdude

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So the following specs are for RCA-ins / 1/4” headphone out ?:

Maximum Power, 16 ohms: 5.5W RMS per channel
Maximum Power, 32 ohms: 4.8W RMS per channel
Maximum Power, 50 ohms: 3.2W RMS per channel
Maximum Power, 300 ohms: 750mW RMS per channel
Maximum Power, 600 ohms: 375mW RMS per channel
Yes AND for the XLR out.
Also for XLR in the max output power is the same.

As @staticV3 already mentioned you can only reach the power levels with the needed input voltage which, in turn, depends on the gain setting and XLR/RCA inputs.
 

Svperstar

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Anyone have a SMSL SP200 and a Midgard and can compare? I am wondering if its worth it for me to bother getting a Migard. On paper it does give about 40% more power so should be decent futureproofing if I get some edge case headphone.
 

staticV3

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Anyone have a SMSL SP200 and a Midgard and can compare? I am wondering if its worth it for me to bother getting a Migard. On paper it does give about 40% more power so should be decent futureproofing if I get some edge case headphone.
40% more power equals just 10% more volume. Keep that in mind,
 

solderdude

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Anyone have a SMSL SP200 and a Midgard and can compare? I am wondering if its worth it for me to bother getting a Migard. On paper it does give about 40% more power so should be decent futureproofing if I get some edge case headphone.
What headphone do you want to use that needs that amount of power.
40% more power is only 1.5dB louder and basically insignificant.
When you want to go noticeable louder than you need at least 500% more power, not just 40%
 

Svperstar

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What headphone do you want to use that needs that amount of power.
40% more power is only 1.5dB louder and basically insignificant.
When you want to go noticeable louder than you need at least 500% more power, not just 40%

I thought I mentioned it earlier in this thread but not sure. I was at a meetup and got to hear the legendary HE-6, I'm not sure what specific revision. I had my SP200 set to hi gain and the volume maxed. The HE-6 had good bass and was loud but no wiggle room. The DAC was my RME ADI-2, I'm not sure I had the output volume high enough on that because I don't recall the gain setting. I assume it was locked at 7, which might not have been enough gain to get the HE-6 loud enough.

Either way, the Midgard is waaay cheaper then a Violectric amp, which is something else i was thinking of picking up.
 

solderdude

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The HE6 is one of the very few headphones that needs quite a bit of voltage.
If you want impressive bass with those just use a 100W poweramp on the speaker output tabs.

Midgard is cheap power. That said is only 1.5dB louder which is inconsequential.
 

LegionOfHell

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Though you'd have to input 3Vrms via RCA to clip the Midgard's output at high load impedances.

Can I input 3Vrms via RCA with these DACS:?

Creative X7
Creative G6
SMSL SU1
Atom DAC+
Zorloo ZuperDAC

also, do these DACs pair well with the following amps ?

Schiit heresy
SMSL SP200
Sabaj PHA2
Douk U3 mini
 

solderdude

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Can I input 3Vrms via RCA with these DACS:?

Creative X7
Only from the headphone out. Not from RCA out.

Creative G6
Only from the headphone out. Not from line-out.

no

Atom DAC+
no

Zorloo ZuperDAC
no

also, do these DACs pair well with the following amps ?

Schiit heresy
SMSL SP200
Sabaj PHA2
Douk U3 mini
There is not much to 'pair'.
 

Svperstar

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The HE6 is one of the very few headphones that needs quite a bit of voltage.
If you want impressive bass with those just use a 100W poweramp on the speaker output tabs.

Midgard is cheap power. That said is only 1.5dB louder which is inconsequential.

What balanced solid state amp do you recommend as "end game"? Something that could easily power an HE6 or Susvara?

My RME is a great DAC so I am fine there but been on the fence what amp to get for ages.
 
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