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Schiit Skoll Balanced Phono Stage Review

Rate this phono stage:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 6 4.3%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 9 6.4%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 78 55.7%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 47 33.6%

  • Total voters
    140

Digital1955

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Feb 26, 2022
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I get radio station demodulation on the XLR in which doesn't occur on the RCA input

This interference is likely from an AM broadcast station. To address this, you can use ferrite "chokes" to reduce the interference. Opt for a ferrite mix that operates in the medium frequency range, typically 300 kHz to 3 MHz, such as Fair Rite #31. A single snap-on ferrite might not offer enough RF resistance, especially if the interference is high. Consider using a toroid (donut-shaped) and make multiple turns through it for better results.

It's worth noting that while it's unusual to encounter RF interference on the balanced connection and not the unbalanced one, it's still solvable with proper measures. Even though these devices may have some built-in RF filtering, external wiring length and proximity to a radio station can overwhelm them. That's where ferrite chokes come in handy.
 

ChrisMag2099

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Jun 5, 2021
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Beaverton, OR
This interference is likely from an AM broadcast station. To address this, you can use ferrite "chokes" to reduce the interference. Opt for a ferrite mix that operates in the medium frequency range, typically 300 kHz to 3 MHz, such as Fair Rite #31. A single snap-on ferrite might not offer enough RF resistance, especially if the interference is high. Consider using a toroid (donut-shaped) and make multiple turns through it for better results.

It's worth noting that while it's unusual to encounter RF interference on the balanced connection and not the unbalanced one, it's still solvable with proper measures. Even though these devices may have some built-in RF filtering, external wiring length and proximity to a radio station can overwhelm them. That's where ferrite chokes come in handy.
You're probably right about it being AM radio. I think I could hear the Lars Larson show (ugh!) when it occurred. RF demodulation is bad enough... but to get conservative talk radio makes it worse :facepalm:
 

AaronJ

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Nov 9, 2021
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Is there any benefit to the Schiit Skoll over the Mani if you are not going to run balanced?
Not really. Most of Schiit’s components are designed for consumers who are already invested in their lineup. They needed a medium sized phono stage for their similar sized Schiit stack. The great thing about Mani is it can be easily placed out of sight. I have one for my office setup.
 

ChrisMag2099

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Is there any benefit to the Schiit Skoll over the Mani if you are not going to run balanced?
If I recall, the overload margin is higher on the Skoll. Also, it has more gain for MC cartridges. If you're running something with 0.2-.35mv at 5cm/sec, you'd probably want more the option of > 60db.

Finally, the ability to change settings on-the-fly from your listening position via a remote control beats having to rely on dip switches. For example, if you're adjusting gain or resistive/capacitive loading by ear, it's really nice. I use that function on my Mola Mola Lupe every time I swap in a different cartridge, a somewhat frequent occurrence. I can measure frequency response vs loading w/ Analog Majik, but final settings are by ear.
 

Angsty

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I've recently learned that overload margin is very important if surface noise is a big concern. I was sceptical but it turned out to be true.
How did you learn this?
 

Angsty

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See page 4 and 5 for an explanation.
Interesting article, but I was secretly hoping that you’d identify one of the several threads on this topic within ASR as your source of enlightenment. This topic has received at lot of attention. Regarding the article, the topic of feedback or no feedback seemed like a closed one for me.
 

ErVikingo

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Joined
Dec 16, 2022
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Location
FL USA
I bought one 3 or so weeks ago. Replaced my old Stanton cartridge with an AT33EV and it sounds great!

Easy to make adjustments to suit the cartridge without having to find a loupe to deal with micro switches.

Love choice of outputs.
 

nilov

New Member
Joined
May 4, 2024
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0
Hi.
Received a week ago a Skoll.Nice phono,but!Today left chanel started started playing much quieter,
and the sound became blurry.Tried it with SE and XLR - same result.Connected my old Mani 2 for turntable - everything sounds great.Means problem in Skoll.Any body faced with simillar problem?
 

WDeranged

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Apr 8, 2022
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How did you learn this?

By purchasing a phono pre with a massive overload margin. Some clicks that were previously abysmal are now almost nothing at all. I'd got a stack of rejected records that I planned to replace. Many of them are now keepers. Most clicks aren't affected as I assume they weren't clipping the input stage but the really bad clicks are far less intrusive.
 

Dagnabbit

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May 8, 2024
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Hi all - I just discovered this site when trying to understand why my new Skoll was buzzing. After learning here & elsewhere how many other people have the same issue, even with replacement units, I sadly sent it back for a refund.

After experimenting with mine and reading all the posts online, it does seem like this buzz is a result of the design, which makes me wonder…why do some Skoll owners *not* experience this?
 

Digital1955

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Feb 26, 2022
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Hi all - I just discovered this site when trying to understand why my new Skoll was buzzing. After learning here & elsewhere how many other people have the same issue, even with replacement units, I sadly sent it back for a refund.

After experimenting with mine and reading all the posts online, it does seem like this buzz is a result of the design, which makes me wonder…why do some Skoll owners *not* experience this?

Phono cartridges operate at very low signal levels, which makes them highly susceptible to interference from ground loops, Radio Frequency Interference (RFI), and Electromagnetic Interference (EMI). If a system isn't well-shielded or properly isolated, it might be more vulnerable to these disturbances. Therefore, Skoll owners whose audio setups incorporate robust shielding and isolation (whether intentional or not) are likely to avoid such issues, explaining why some users do not report the buzzing noise. Additionally, it's worth considering that some people might not be as bothered by or even notice this noise, and thus might not report it.
 

Dagnabbit

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Phono cartridges operate at very low signal levels, which makes them highly susceptible to interference from ground loops, Radio Frequency Interference (RFI), and Electromagnetic Interference (EMI). If a system isn't well-shielded or properly isolated, it might be more vulnerable to these disturbances. Therefore, Skoll owners whose audio setups incorporate robust shielding and isolation (whether intentional or not) are likely to avoid such issues, explaining why some users do not report the buzzing noise. Additionally, it's worth considering that some people might not be as bothered by or even notice this noise, and thus might not report it.
Makes sense!

I guess I just had the impression that, in this case, the interference might be coming from inside the Skoll itself, so it might be present for everyone, independent of other shielding & isolation.

Certain folks not noticing and/or not being bothered by the sound seems very possible too.

I don't have any other gear with balanced connections, so I wondered if folks who were able to utilize those on the Skoll might have a different experience.
 

antcollinet

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I guess I just had the impression that, in this case, the interference might be coming from inside the Skoll itself,
That is a very rare fault.

Noise - especially hum - is most commonley ground loop related. This is a system problem, rather than a component problem.
 

Dagnabbit

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May 8, 2024
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My Skoll, arrived Tuesday, it’s a quiet as can be, no noise from either channel, so far I’m very happy with its operation

Interesting - glad to hear that yours is quiet!

Would you be willing to share the rest of your setup & cabling? Just curious about how other components etc might affect the potential noise issue.
 

jruser

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Aug 19, 2019
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So, out of the phone pre’s Amir has reviewed, ignoring the cost, which one would you use if it were free?

My brain wants the say the Skoll, but it seems like they all have some shortcomings.
 
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