Schiit Valhalla 2

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by Cspirou, Oct 8, 2015.

  1. MattRG

    MattRG Almost "Made"

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    When you say ZD Mini do you mean the Micro? I'd really like to hear that one since it was a collaboration between EC and Laconic.
     
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  2. SKiring

    SKiring Friend

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    No I actually mean the Mini: http://laconiclab.ru/laconic-zd-mini.html which is the HA09, the Micro is the HA08: http://www.laconiclab.ru/laconic_ha_08.html. The Mini also references EC so they should be tuned the same with the 09 being an upgrade? Not entirely sure tbh.

    I'm looking forward to hearing them side by side the price is about the same so it's a solid match-up.
     
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  3. Lenroot77

    Lenroot77 Almost "Made"

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    K after re-reading thru the last several pages it appears I need to get a pair of the 6CG7's for sure. Looks like I'll have to pick up a few on the way home from work Monday.

    Some excellent impressions on these tubes by people here! :headbang:
     
  4. mrflibble

    mrflibble Almost "Made"

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    I preferred the Reflektor 6H23P to the 6CG7 on the Valhalla 2. The 6H23P's had more body and texture.

    The comments in this thread seem to suggest that there is some small variation in characteristics between 6CG7 brands. I've only heard the GE 6CG7 on the Valhalla 2. Probably better to try something else such as the RCA.
     
  5. Lenroot77

    Lenroot77 Almost "Made"

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    Had my Val 2 for a few days now, have a noticeable amount of static in left channel when adjusting the volume. Had the Val 2 (used) previously and I don't recall this? Is this possibly a tube thing? New tubes? Or maybe something internally? Just thought I would check here before I contact Schiit about it.

    Thanks in advance!
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2017
  6. SSL

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    Try switching the tubes and see if the channel with the static also switches.
     
  7. Lenroot77

    Lenroot77 Almost "Made"

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    I tried that earlier and nothing changed... so I guess that rules the tubes out for sure. Bummer!
     
  8. Daveheart

    Daveheart Friend

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    Do you have any Deoxit or some other contact cleaner? Sometimes volume pots can get noisy. I'm exactly sure where I'd treat the pot in the Valhalla 2, but it could help.
     
  9. FallingObjects

    FallingObjects Pay It Forward

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    Try unplugging all input from the Valhalla- is noise only present when it has a source attached? When there are cables attached?

    I had an E10K that was picking up radio waves through a USB cable once. Tore my desktop rig half apart trying to figure out what was causing it, and all I needed to do was buy a $10 cable that had a ferrite bead on it.
     
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  10. Lenroot77

    Lenroot77 Almost "Made"

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    Have a replacement coming on the way, after removing the source the noise was still there... I think there may have been some channel imbalance as well.

    The Schiit customer service was very quick to respond. I ended up ordering another black Val 2 and will return the first unit for a refund. I was a little worried I wouldn't receive a black model for a replacement.
     
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  11. MattRG

    MattRG Almost "Made"

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    Black Schiit sounds better. You made the right call. ;)
     
  12. spwath

    spwath Friend

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    Just got it!
    Even better looking (and sounding) in person. Of course I couldn't hear it not in person though...
    WP_20170425_16_11_04_Pro.jpg
     
  13. spwath

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    So its normal for the LED to remain on for like a long time? Mines been on for about 5 mins since I turned it off...
     
  14. mrflibble

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    Yes, that is normal :)
     
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  15. spwath

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    Ok. Just seems weird, now mines been on about 15 mins.
     
  16. The Alchemist

    The Alchemist Technical Administrator

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    Mine does it too.
     
  17. k4rstar

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    The front LED only turns off once the capacitors have fully discharged. It can take up to an hour. You can swap tubes once they've cooled down sufficiently.
     
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  18. SSL

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    Technically, Schiit recommends waiting until the light is completely off before tube swapping. I don't, though.
     
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  19. MattRG

    MattRG Almost "Made"

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    Yeah that caused me some concern the first time I noticed it. Now that I know what it means I think it's a pretty cool feature.
     
  20. SKiring

    SKiring Friend

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    Alright so as promised some comparisons between the ZD Mini and the Valhalla 2. First off here's some pictures to give you an idea what we were up to: http://imgur.com/a/Zr7rO. We decided to simplify the process by using the Mojo instead @Provisus's Hex or my Bimby, just simple straight up listening trying to discern differences between these 2 amps.

    First let me get one thing out of the way, the stock tubes in the ZD Mini seriously impact the sound for the worst. Thank god @Provisus had a pair of RCA 6AS7s and 6SL7s to play around with, else this comparison would've been way too harsh on the ZD Mini. In short the stock tubes are not representative of how good it can actually sound!
    The Valhalla 2 has stock power tubes and uses my Sylvania 6CG7s, so this isn't a stock to stock comparison.

    Let me give a summary per criteria first (using our modded HD800s as a baseline):
    Vocals: ZD Mini > Valhalla 2
    Microdetails (plankton): Valhalla 2 > ZD Mini
    Macrodetails: Valhalla 2 > ZD Mini
    Bass and treble texture: ZD Mini > Valhalla 2
    Speed, transients and response: ZD Mini = Valhalla 2
    Musicality: ZD Mini > Valhalla 2 (ever so slightly leaning towards the ZD Mini)
    Slam: Valhalla 2 > ZD Mini
    Imaging: ZD Mini = Valhalla 2
    Extemes (bass and treble extension): Valhalla 2 > ZD Mini
    Layering: ZD Mini > Valhalla 2 (though separation is better on the Valhalla 2).

    That's pretty much how we both heard it, it really boils down to taste! They are more alike than being far from each other with these tubes at play. The ZD Mini is a bit more musical, sounds slightly more natural, vocals really shine here but it's also slightly more lacking in extremes. The Valhalla 2 slams more, gives you more plankton but can sound slightly less refined. Please take this list with a grain of salt, we are really splitting hairs here, they trade blows depending the track even in the departments which we found either excelling at.

    Now with the HD650M the tables are definitely a bit different. The ZD Mini sounded better overall with the HD650M, to the point that the above comparisons still stand in general but there was some magic going on there. @Provisus actually joked that he might buy a HD650M just for this amp. Something I'd like to add for good measure, my go to headphone is the HD800 but I might get this amp solemnly for certain music and the HD650M...

    As always ymmv, this wasn't with the best source, this wasn't done to see in absolutes what these amps are capable of, there was no A/Bing or anything scientific, just an easy going listening session to compare two amps. Overall great amps for the price that both punch several times above their weight with very minor extra cost in tubes (the RCA's 6SL7s and the 6AS7s can both be purchased for about € 50 to € 100 total including shipping and 6CG7s are usually paired for € 30 to € 50 shipped). We're talking a TCO of: € 470 for the ZD Mini and € 445 for the Valhalla 2 including these specific tubes. Perhaps there are better tubes for the ZD Mini that we haven't explored or even know about however neither of us would honestly recommend excessive tube rolling adventures.

    We also compared my Sylvania 6CG7s to newly acquired RCA 6CG7 black tops and I'm honestly shocked how much more I like the Sylvania's. The sound of the RCA's is more sterile, they have a very peaky treble and they sound bright. The Sylvania's sound much more musical, without any detectable drawbacks (at least to my ears), same impact, same separation, same extension on both extremes and even a bit more clarity. The RCAs aren't broken afaik, no detectable microphonics, no hum or anything...

    Anyway, hope this helps some people get an idea, I'm actually really excited about the sound of this little amp and look forward in the next head to head comparison perhaps with more upstream sources.
     

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