Geshelli E2 Headamp

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by Justin S, Dec 31, 2021.

  1. Justin S

    Justin S Facebook Friend

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    I've had the Geshelli E2 here for about a month. Along with my thoughts about it, I am comparing it with the Schiit Jot 2 which I hope might be useful to other SBAF members.

    tldr; the E2 is a fun, beauty of an amp. It's smooth, clean AF, and a pleasure to listen to. It is a bit more dry and does not have the bloom, slam and space that the Jot 2 presents, but it is a musical, detail and imaging champion. It is more fun than so-called "accurate" amps and kills the etchy THX stuff dead in their tracks. Both the E2 and Jot 2 present material with impeccable taste. They are similar in their enjoyment-factor but are different enough in their presentation to be complimentary. I'm keeping both.

    Chain for this comparison: W10 Roon->USB->Geshelli J2->BAL to E2 | SE to Jot 2 -> BAL to HD600 and HD6xxM (SBAF kiss mod). Headphone cables are DIY mil-spec SPC and Mogami Star Quad

    I've had a few "value amps" here - some Bursons, Drop and Monoprice THX, LCX, CTH, Magni, ZDT Jr., RME ADI-2 as well as a lovely up-modded Mapetree Audio Design tube amp. I recently participated in the Canadian Jot 2 tour through the generosity of @jnak00 . It blew my mind. I found it really engaging - clean, with impressive imaging, great slam, and wonderful tone - it brought the party to my head in a way that nothing else has with my HD600s and HD6xxs. I found that the BAL out of the Jot 2 was better sounding than the SE output. I also found that the SE vs BAL input was indistinguishable. For this comparison, I ran BAL to the E2 and SE to the Jot 2 simultaneously so I could easily switch between amps.

    I am using a Geshelli J2 DAC for this comparison. It handily replaced an RME ADI-2 in my work suite. I also have a Yggdrasil LIM in my home system, which I did not include in this comparison, but did test against the J2 when I participated in the Jot 2 tour. The short story there is that the J2 is much more detailed and enjoyable than the RME ADI-2 and, while it is apples to oranges, proudly stays upright in the ring with the Yggdrasil LIM.

    Based on my experience with Geshelli and the J2, I ordered an E2 when they released it. I put in a few weeks with the E2 and, in my foggy memory, felt that that the Jot 2 was fuller and lustier in its presentation so I ordered up a Jot 2 so I could compare the two.

    Without doing a bunch of close-reading of different tracks, here are the observations I have had over the last few weeks listening to both:

    • The E2 is more forward, more crisp in its presentation. The bass quantity is similar to the Jot 2.
    • E2 has less slam that the Jot 2
    • I hate the term neutral or accurate - it's all mediated - but I would say that the E2 is more recognizable from a pro perspective.
    • The Jot 2 is wider and deeper sounding - this is great depending on the material.
    • The E2 puts more delineation between the instruments.
    • Unlike other "clean" amps, the E2 is not flat sounding at all - the staging IS more compact than the Jot2, but I would say it's intimate rather then flat. There is a lot of body to the images and the space - it's just closer than the Jot 2.
    • I like the mids/vocals on the E2 a lot - they're very present and engaging.
    • the Jot 2 has a pleasing bloom in the bass. This can be great (great!) on some material, or read as blurry other material. While not the same thing, it reminds me of nice tubes, as I have known them.
    • The Jot 2 presents more room, reverb etc, where the E2 more dry.
    • E2 has a lighter presentation - where the JOT is more "full". The E2 does not lack muscle, it's is just expressed differently - tight grip, nimble, precise. It's more BRZ and less Camaro. Preference is really dependent on material and mood.
    • The E2 has the ability to be very smooth and render a lot of texture. Strings sound really engaging - textured, smooth and warm.
    • With reasonable material, neither amp has any issues with fatigue. The Jot 2 can be a bit bite-y with shitty recordings.
    • Without looking, I can forget which one I am listening to, which I think is a good sign - I'm not wishing for one over the other.
    • In one of the Schiit live events, Mike talked about listening to recorded music as a kind of carousing. I love this description. The Jot 2 is definitely a party.
    • While the E2 does not have the slam of the Jot2, there is a crisp, exacting snap to it that is super satisfying.
    • The E2 is the more direct and "transparent" of the two. It does this while having "heart".
    • To my tastes, I think that the E2 handles complex stuff better. This is especially true with electronic stuff (Jon Hopkins)
    • With the E2, the compactness of the staging can work for it, depending of the material. For example: All for the Best, by Thom Yorke is thinner sounding but a great deal more visceral.
    • The E2 remains clear at higher listening levels whereas the Jot2 starts to get a bit furry when the going gets loud.
    • While others have a higher bar in their listening, I find the experience of both these amps really remarkable. In my limited experience with headphone pleasure-listening I have had more "f**k me" moments using these two amps than with many other amps I have tried.


    Back to back, the Jot2 is a more spacious, smooth, and impactful amp but will sometime present busy stuff with a bit too much bloom and will sometimes present shitty stuff a bit on the bite-y side. It does present more around the music - reverb, spacial reflections, etc. The E2 is crisp and clean while being "musical" and engaging. It's visceral and has heart (unlike other "accurate" amps). I enjoy it and am never bored or fatigued by it.

    In my limited experience buying hifi DACs and amps, I have had the most pleasing experiences purchasing from companies that are technically rigorous and have a legible design orientation - a "taste". My experience has been that both Schiit and Geshelli make products that are immensely enjoyable to listen to. In addition, as companies, they are both a pleasure to deal with.

    I definitely have to hand it to Geshelli for making an amp that does what the E2 does for this price. I would pick it over any value-priced SS amp I've had here. It stands up perfectly well against the Jot 2 (which is twice the price) and I think anyone who is balanced-curious would be well served by an E2.

    PXL_20211231_053100696.jpg
     
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  2. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    Great review, thanks! I found the Jot 2 came across like a jackhammer so something that is as resolving but lighter and more nimble sounds like it would be just right.
     
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  3. purr1n

    purr1n Super Friend

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    Moved from original thread. This deserves it own thread.
     
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  4. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    I'm sorry for being lazy, but did you express this in the Jot2 thread? I'm honestly just trying to triangulate! Thx!
     
  5. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    I didn’t use the term jackhammer, but I did talk extensively about the powerful low end and the big macro dynamic swings of the Jot 2. I would say it’s the most aggressive amp Schiit currently makes.
     
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  6. jmaz87

    jmaz87 Rando

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    thanks for the thoughts!
    I have been super curious about the Jot2 for some time and since I have a J2 and Erish I feel like I can draw conclusions from your words better!
    I wanted to dip my toes in Schiit creek and began with BF2 but got cold feet on Jot2 due to some dumb nit-picking on my part... got an A90 and well ya.. I already have an Erish. nuff said.

    cheers!
     
  7. Justin S

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    A little update. I dug out my old Allo DigiOne last night and hooked it up to the JNOG2. It makes a pretty pronounced difference: a bit more of all the good stuff. I think this likely says more about my shitty motherboard USB output than it does the the J2 interfaces. All I could conclusively say is that the J2 scales to a better source.

    In A/Bing the Jot 2 and The Erish 2 with the improved source, the Erish 2 really presents things as more immediate and present. On the long listen, the Allo/J2/E2 really pulls me in. Yes, it's more on the dry side than the Jot 2, but the snappy, controlled transients, clarity and the way it presents tone are really fetching. I would be cautious and say that my preference is still mood dependent, but damn if the E2 isn't becoming the more-listened-to-amp.

    W10 Roon>LAN>Allo DigiOne w iFi iPower>S/PDIF>BJC Coax>JNOG2>BAL>Erish2 | Jot2>Bal>HD6xxM(kiss)
     
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