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Schiit Vali 2+ Review (Tube Headphone Amp)

jomo

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That was my question, when was this model released?

11/2020. I don't get why there is so much hate generated toward Schiit on this product they certainly don't make any claims as to low distortion for the Vali. Schiit has proven that they can make very low cost solid state amps that perform very well. Regardless of how perfect an solid state amp is, there are going to be folks that are intrigued by the tube's sonic mist. They are catering to this. There is no denying that it looks cool and allows you to "tweek" the sound a bit which may be fun.

Maybe Schiit should take an Asgard chassis with a hefty internal power supply, put in a IEMagni amp section and have a couple tubes for visual interest that do little, but light up. Now that would check all the "audiophile" boxes.
 
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amirm

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Maybe Schiit should take an Asgard chassis with a hefty internal power supply, put in a IEMagni amp section and have a couple tubes for visual interest that do little, but light up. Now that would check all the "audiophile" boxes.
Add a couple of VU meters to it and it would be killer!
 

virtua

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Maybe Schiit should take an Asgard chassis with a hefty internal power supply, put in a IEMagni amp section and have a couple tubes for visual interest that do little, but light up. Now that would check all the "audiophile" boxes.

Well, it would until they find out about the negative feedback and opamps. Then all the sudden it wouldn't sound good anymore for some reason.
 

abdo123

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Why not? Amplify that enough and it becomes audible with sensitive IEMs and such.

it’s just that our hearing threshold is really low at these frequencies.

my Cambridge Audio Duo phono stage has around -60 dBFS mains hum and it’s absolutely inaudible to me.

Sure some equipment might have it worse and it might become audible then, perhaps like you mentioned with IEMs, but I don’t think this is one of those cases.

Did you hear any noise or hum when you used the device?
 
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amirm

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Did you hear any noise or hum when you used the device?
Headphones I used are very low sensitivity so no. IEMs are in entirely different class and can produce noise and hum easily.
 

charleski

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The progress in this case is solid-state :cool:
Well, yeah :). But if you look around there are some EEs who are tube enthusiasts and have been posting tube designs that improve on the classic circuits from the ‘60s. These are almost all DIY projects, though, as the vast majority of ‘hifi’ tube gear is deliberately designed to have this level of distortion, and it sells….
 

solderdude

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The myths, the looks, the mystery of tubes is very attractive for a lot of people.
Buyers of these devices don't care about measurements either.
That doesn't mean all tube amps are good or poor designs or sound good or crappy.
 

pavuol

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I've just saw this nice commercial, reminds me some analogical message like "sure the fancy glowing cars look cool and can bring joy too but they just stay behind.." :)
 

mhardy6647

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The back of this amp does indicate it is the 2+ model. See small white label just to the right of the RCA Out jacks.
Ahh, the Calvin & Hobbes approach to continuous product improvement. :cool:

1631720310939.png
 

dfuller

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When looking at measurements from SBAF it is clear that the used tube determines how much hum there is.
Marv measured it with several tubes.

Could be the heater being AC fed and heater/cathode construction, could be plate surface (picking up hum), could be the anode current.
Yes, this is my thought - probably a faulty tube with lots of h-k leakage. I'd be interested in seeing what happens with a replacement - and considering it can take any ECC88/6DJ8, a JJ from Eurotubes (who tests for H-K leakage and noise!) may be worth looking into.
 

lhimelfarb

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The Schiit product line has received almost universal positive noise all over the internet. I own the Magni 3 that I use as a cuing headphone amplifier in a tube/solid state system because the Conrad Johnson preamp (the solid state piece) does not have a headphone out jack. The Magni 3 really has trouble producing a pleasant sound above 5K. If it is so good why did they come out with the Heresy? After auditioning many Schiit products, I would say none are for me. Obviously, the company does a good job of packaging products to a price point and then marketing them. It is very difficult to produce a horrible audio product today due to tremendous advancements in manufacturing and engineering. Schiit manages to produce adequate equipment... but is it really good or excellent? There are many other domestic and foreign choices out there that surpass Schiit in sound quality at similar price points. PS- I use a domestic solid state headphone amp in one of my headphone setups that sells for the same price and is so much better than the Magni 3. It sounds correct on headphones and IEMs from 12 ohms to 600 ohms with no graininess at all.
 

Steve Dallas

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Not defending this Schiit, but be aware that modern production vacuum tubes have a failure rate for noise and/or microphonics of around 40%. Even if it passes QA at Schiit, it may fail by the time it endures shipping. I know this from formerly being a guitar amplifier manufacturer. A ridiculous number of preamp tubes failed our in-house QA, and we replaced many more under warranty after shipping. New Sensor actually canceled my account for excessive returns.

Some of what you see in the review could be the fault of the tube.

As much as I like tubes, it is solid state all the way for my hifi gear.
 
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nyxnyxnyx

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Speaking of which, I assume that if a person still wants to get a tube amplifier no matter what, then at this price range are there still possibly better options? For example, the ones that are even more "tube-like" in many aspects? I'm thinking of something like cheap Little Dot amplifiers (mk2-mk3), darkvoice 336se and such. Yeah I know they're OTL designs but they are pretty much more "tubey" than Vali 2+ in probably all criteria and definition of what and how a tube amplifier could be.
 

pseudoid

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In answer to Merkurio , amirm replied:
It is not an easy thing to teach unfortunately. It took me six months of intensive work to get there. Best advise is what I said in the review: use a low impedance headphone with this amp and turn it up. You can easily hear the distortion there. Then you can move up the impedance ladder where the effect becomes less.
I maybe thinking that additional suggestions for sum1 seeking tips for "How to Listen"; would be to forget about trying to learn/look for faults in a system; and rather strive to enjoy the music (the passion).
I may prefer floor-standing speakers, but that does NOT mean that I must stop enjoying the music when it is coming out of the cheezy bookshelves (sourced from an equally cheezy FM tuner), in my garage.
Yes, it is true that performance bench-marking quality is very important to the sound-waves impinging on your ears. Indeed! But your true benchmark should be to immerse yourself in LIVE music and often.
I can't; but some people thoroughly enjoy the music which comes out of those puny earwigs they shove in their ears or even via $4K, over-the-ear headphones (no matter, the source). But I am 100% certain that is still music enjoyment, none-the-less... simply because music is a personal and emotional experience. Yet, asking for a 'video' to learn how to listen to music sounds oxymoronic; especially in light of the alternative recommendation to experience LIVE music and often... as your ultimate benchmark and education.
 

ElNino

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Speaking of which, I assume that if a person still wants to get a tube amplifier no matter what, then at this price range are there still possibly better options? For example, the ones that are even more "tube-like" in many aspects? I'm thinking of something like cheap Little Dot amplifiers (mk2-mk3), darkvoice 336se and such. Yeah I know they're OTL designs but they are pretty much more "tubey" than Vali 2+ in probably all criteria and definition of what and how a tube amplifier could be.

DIY is an option I'd consider here, if you're at all curious about getting into audio DIY. The Millett NuTube hybrid should be pretty tubey in a classic sense, even though it's a hybrid, because the NuTube is basically a DHT and has a very DHT-like distortion profile. Years ago I built the original Millett hybrid for fun and it was great, in the sense of being fun to build and pleasantly colored. It's a good starter project too, being low voltage and having an available PCB. Lots of other kits and from scratch options are out there too.
 

respice finem

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...your true benchmark should be to immerse yourself in LIVE music and often.
Yes. Many listeners "spoil" their hearing, mainly by totally overblown bass, followed by... cranking up the volume, because the bass "soup" drowns all detail. One of the reasons is the relative non-popularity of classical music, covid restrictions not making things better either.
 
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