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Schiit Vali 2+ Review (Tube Headphone Amp)

pseudoid

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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.
Yes, exactly! I initially wanted to say "Visit Opera Houses and Often" "Visit Famous Opera Houses and Often" but considering different musical tastes, costs and covid forced me to go for the word 'live' instead. At one point in my life, I was able to do this sort of "Ear Calibration" on yearly basis for over dozen years. Each such musical journey was awesome, regardless of the venue and artist(s). The impossible recommendation would be to suggest getting a job in a recording studio. I had such a luxury at Sound Master Recording Studio.
 

Jimbob54

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Is there another way to "induce" distortion in not-so-flawed designs?

I have a DX3 Pro and would like to train my ears for this.

I am sure competent people could do it on the electrical side in an amp but the obvious answer is some DSP plugins added after the source player on your PC/Mac. Of course , you would need to know how to dial it in to match Amirs measured distortion profile and it might not get to "sound" like the Vali , but would work for you to train your ears to detect it.

Have a look at some of @pma recent listening tests he has put up, the last I saw was audible harmonic distortion.
 

rebbiputzmaker

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Funniest statement I've ever read in a review. Please don't change. : )
Or maybe just missguided. This is not as bad a sounding unit as it is made out to be. There is much more information on the web about it, for example the use of better tubes different tubes etc on the sound. It is what it is.
 

rdenney

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Time & again I've mentioned that I gave up on LPs largely because of the tedium of wrangling fragile 12" discs plus the intricacies of maintaining turntable and tonearms. But then I've often been told that it is the rituals of LP retrieval and handling to gives them pleasure, not to mention the full-sized album art and liner notes
Yes, the point is that the buying and using experience is part of the hobby, and that includes fiddling with the equipment.

Back to the review. Without having read all the comments yet, I have to ask a question: What is Schiit's business model for this product? Are they merely trying to cash in on the love affair with archaic hollow-state technology? Do they actually believe it offers something unavailable using solid-state devices? I'm not talking ad hype, I'm interested in the conversation between the product design manager and the owner (who may indeed be the same person).

(Recognizing that an early comment mentioned the possibility of a faulty power supply, it seems to me that expansive power-supply noise is not something even a tube amp should tolerate, though that doesn't seem to have been the only problem with this one.)

I once worked for an engineering consulting company that would have been fine with me selling bagels in the lobby of the building instead of doing engineering, if it brought more profits. That company, which had been at one time one of the most glamorous of companies in my narrow specialty field, no longer exists, and that lack of focus is at least part of the reason. I moved on after three years there. So, I don't have good experiences with the notion of just selling stuff that isn't really good just because people will buy it. Eventually, it will be found out.

But, I have to say (and I've said before) that naming a brand based on a scatological pun isn't a good sign, even if it works in the short term. I wouldn't buy their stuff just for that reason, unless I was able to hide it from guests in my home, not all of whom would appreciate the joke.

Rick "seeing cynicism in this product design" Denney
 

rdenney

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actually it’s mostly the mains hum, which is not audible i would assume.
I can sure hear 60-cycle hum, especially listening loudly to music that has quiet bits.

Plus, 60 Hz is a sharp low Bb, and will beat with a tuba playing a well-tuned low Bb (at 58 Hz). Ask me how I know.

Rick "who threw away a mixer because it developed a 60-cycle hum at -30 dB and wasn't worth fixing" Denney
 

rdenney

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In answer to Merkurio , amirm replied:
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.
So, we should accept distorted and nonlinear equipment and focus on the art when we are listening to music.

I agree.

But the job of playback equipment is to transmit the art, not to create it. Anything in the playback equipment that calls attention to itself interferes with the art. Some might think it an improvement, but that doesn't say much that is positive about the art. That some listeners are deaf to that interference, or can talk themselves out of being distracted by it, doesn't mean we should admire it. The operative phrase in the review was: "without adding anything positive". There was no tradeoff between distortion and some positive quality. There was just distortion.

Rick "a musician with more experience than most listening to music live" Denney
 

Gorgonzola

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Yes, the point is that the buying and using experience is part of the {LP} hobby, and that includes fiddling with the equipment.

Back to the review. Without having read all the comments yet, I have to ask a question: What is Schiit's business model for this product? Are they merely trying to cash in on the love affair with archaic hollow-state technology? Do they actually believe it offers something unavailable using solid-state devices? I'm not talking ad hype, I'm interested in the conversation between the product design manager and the owner (who may indeed be the same person).
...

I'm quite sure that the business objective of the Vali 2+ is to provide a cheap option to potential buyers enamored of the tube mystique. No doubt Schiit knows perfectly well that their s/s models have far better performance.
 

rdenney

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Or maybe just missguided. This is not as bad a sounding unit as it is made out to be. There is much more information on the web about it, for example the use of better tubes different tubes etc on the sound. It is what it is.
Why should I buy a product if I have to buy six tubes for it to find one that works well? Okay, for some, rolling tubes is the hobby. But if that's the case, why doesn't Schiit provide a tube collection, and serve those people directly instead of trying to persuade others that the tubes offer some worthy improvement.

Rick "who owns vacuum-tube equipment and just wants it to work" Denney
 

ShadowFiend

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Why should I buy a product if I have to buy six tubes for it to find one that works well? Okay, for some, rolling tubes is the hobby. But if that's the case, why doesn't Schiit provide a tube collection, and serve those people directly instead of trying to persuade others that the tubes offer some worthy improvement.

Rick "who owns vacuum-tube equipment and just wants it to work" Denney

Because Schiit can not produce vacuum tube, and stockpile different kind of tubes is not feasible for Schiit's business. You must sell tube gear with price of McIntosh or Conrad Johnson's one to afford this kind of product.
 

mhardy6647

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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.
Dang -- it actually does have a direct heated cathode. :p

1631808767373.png

source: http://korgnutube.com/pdf/Nutube_DatasheetV1E.pdf

These VFD triodes are a hoot. I love the first line at Korg's website:
A new vacuum tube which puts vacuum fluorescent display technology to practical use ...

Umm... i mean... I think that happened about 50 years ago. ;)

1631807302588.png

borrowed image... but...
I -- ahem -- have one of these which I built for my father in the mid-1970s. He used it for the rest of his life, too. :)

Seems like a pretty practical use for "VFD Technology" :)

PS For anyone who doesn't know this - and who might actually find it interesting :) - the notion of repurposing VFD "tubes" as triodes stems from stuff like this...
https://hackaday.com/2013/11/09/vfd-display-becomes-an-amplifier/

:cool:
 
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ElNino

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Dang -- it actually does have a direct heated cathode. :p

That's part of the steampunkish charm of these things. If you build a regular indirectly-heated triode amp, usually tube purists come along and say that DHTs are where all the magic really is. Real DHTs like 12B4 are getting too scarce to use commercially and need higher B+ voltages anyway, so Korg comes along and fills a niche. I think it's kind of cool -- if you're going to go tubey, might as well be very (DHT) tubey.
 

sarumbear

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But the job of playback equipment is to transmit the art, not to create it. Anything in the playback equipment that calls attention to itself interferes with the art.
Hence the phrase high fidelity was created back in 20s.
 
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pseudoid

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I once worked for an engineering consulting company that would have been fine with me selling bagels in the lobby of the building instead of doing engineering, if it brought more profits.
<< That is a new one on an old EE. Goes along the lines that we used to use "You pay peanuts; you get monkeys!"
But in the case of Schiit, it may be a bit harsh (IMHO). I abhor brand logos on my apparel (w/o payment for advertising) but give that company a break as the name 'Schiit' may have some relevant and deep/rich history. And I can sympathize w/someone's name that raises eyebrows at the first sight. The original humor (of their model names) was a welcome change in the stiff-neck industry but I agree that it got old...
Maybe it was a junior designer's first foray into a design that may have been collecting dust in some SPICE folder and parts were doyt-cheap.
NOTE: Please recall that just 2 decades ago, the readily-available measurement "instrumentation" could not measure any lower than 16bits depth on a good day. And this Vali2 would have been a welcome piece of audio gear.
 
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JWAmerica

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Why should I buy a product if I have to buy six tubes for it to find one that works well? Okay, for some, rolling tubes is the hobby. But if that's the case, why doesn't Schiit provide a tube collection, and serve those people directly instead of trying to persuade others that the tubes offer some worthy improvement.

Rick "who owns vacuum-tube equipment and just wants it to work" Denney
In the car world we swap lubricants and fuel add packs. Bunch of hokum but many enthusiasts enjoy it.
 
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