Schiit Aegir Power Amp Impressions

Discussion in 'Power Amps' started by rlow, Oct 16, 2018.

  1. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    You need to use a balanced/XLR preamp of course for this. If you do you will add 6dB of gain, plus the potential changes in presentation from the mono vs stereo, if the preamp is transparent enough.
     
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  2. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Power was never an issue. I ran single stereo Aegir into my JBLs and they hit 100db with me 6ft away with ease. It was more a matter of presentation. Think the discussions I've had with @ChaChaRealSmooth and @tommytakis between UItralinear and SET presentations. It's personal preference and maybe even mood.

    I would be pretty sure that the best of both worlds, with respect to Aegir and Schiit, is when Schiit makes their 200WPC high class A' version of Aegir. Even then, x2 Aegir in monoblock already gets us more grunt (but also slightly different sound).

    I can see Modius XLR out being a fantastic match with x2 mono Aegir. Modius has a ton of bass heft and kick. Make sure you get the right passive pre.
     
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    Last edited: Jan 31, 2021
  3. moriya

    moriya Acquaintance

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    Sooo...anyone try vertically amping 2 aegirs yet? I’m thinking about adding a second aegir since I rearranged my room and my stereo aegir is having to work harder. It’s borderline (around -20db on my pre at my normal listening levels), and I’m not entirely sure what “running out of steam” sounds like but it definitely sounds a bit flat/lifeless when you push it through lively passages. I’m assuming (ignoring the fact that the preamp has like 12db of gain past 0) I still have some headroom if I’m listening to music with peaks 10db above average, but I’m still an idiot when it comes to this stuff.

    I think it might be time to get the little guy a bit more help, but I love the sound so much, especially since the sweetness really mellows out my speakers. I remember a few members saying they wanted to try this the last time I brought it up but I don’t think anyone has. If I buy a second I’m definitely giving it a go but wanted to check first.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2021
  4. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    What speakers are you running?
     
  5. moriya

    moriya Acquaintance

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    Paradigm 85f's. Claimed 93 dB sensitivity, and while that's probably optimistic, it's close. There's some impedance dips in the bass (this chart is for the bigger 95fs FWIW) that aren't doing the amp any favors, but otherwise a single stereo Aegir has worked well so far at the volumes I listen to (less of the soft bass, which was fine) up until this room re-arrangement, which points my speakers at the entryway to another room, vs a rear wall.
     
  6. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    Bi-amping is always nice... but before you go buying another amp, maybe you're just missing that extra oomph and reinforcement from a rear wall? Do you have a bookshelf you can just roll behind you for a test?
     
  7. moriya

    moriya Acquaintance

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    Even better, I have wooden pocket doors. I'll pull them out tonight and see how that works, but I'd honestly greatly prefer to leave them open, which is why I haven't tried it yet and mentally jumped to throwing money at the problem (that, and I always wanted to see what it sounded like with 2 aegirs).
     
  8. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    So vertical biamping, meaning you are going to run them in stereo still, but just one amp per speaker (with one channel on the woofers and the other on the tweeter)? All you’re doing in this case is reducing the overall load on the amp I think, you’re not increasing the gain due to balanced signal. In theory it should sound pretty much identical to a single Aegir except maybe a bit less strained at high volume likely because the low impedance in the bass region is only going to affect one channel of the amp, since the other will power the tweeter and would require far less power/current. So you might be able to get a bit louder with lower distortion than when you have both channels driven into a low impedance, but I wouldn’t expect a dramatic difference. You’re still going to be limited on the power that one channel’s circuit is setup to deliver.

    You could also try them in standard monoblock configuration as well and see if you find that better - they may not actually run out of steam depending on the volume levels you listen at.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2021
  9. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    Biamping presents an easier load for the amp though, as each channel now only sees half the crossover instead of trying to push both halves.

    Power strain on a peak woofer excursion also means it will no longer affect the tweeter behaviour.

    Personally I like to keep things symmetrical and have one amp do both woofers and the other both tweeters, just for equal power supply distribution, though in practice it probably makes little difference.
     
  10. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    Yep and I acknowledged that in the first part of what I said, but if I recall correctly, I believe Jason designed these as dual mono designs back to the transformer (I could be mistaken about that). If so, aren’t you still limited by the rest of the circuit in a given channel, and what it’s performance limits are? For instance, the output transistors still have a limit that wouldn’t be any different if you’re driving one channel versus both would it? This is a legit question from a layman. :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2021
  11. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    I think we're just talking different sides of the same coin here. Yes the outputs are still limited. But if you're bi-amping, you effectively have double the power on tap.

    Let's say you have 40W per channel available, and let's further say that the woofer eats up 90% of that energy, so roughly a 36/4 split out of 40. Now if the peaks of your music go a little higher than that, everything starts getting smooshed. The woofer isn't so noticeable, but that tweeter very much so.

    If you're bi-amping, then the woofer still has a teensy bit of headroom, and the tweeter has tons. Even if you push it much harder, again the woofer will distort a bit but isn't as noticeable, and the tweeter sings just fine.

    Yes monoblocks could potentially do the same thing by simply giving you an 80W amp channel. Six of one - half a dozen of another. I maintain that a simpler loading for the amp from bi-amping leads to better performance because you're not dealing with more crossover components. Damping factor is also better when not monoblocking, though that point is almost moot these days with modern solid state amps.

    If you're really hurting for headroom, then switching to a monoblock config for the extra +6db isn't going to be enough for you anyways and you should be stepping up to a bigger amp. In @moriya 's case probably a Vidar for the woofers is a better bet if headroom is actually the concern.
     
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  12. moriya

    moriya Acquaintance

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    So this could be way off base but my mental model was that you get 2x20w to each speaker with vertical biamping. So instead of 20w split between high/low (with the majority of that going to the bass) you get dedicated 20w at the bass and 20w to the mids/highs which would let it play a bit louder especially in bass-heavy sections of music. My thinking here is that you get the best of both worlds for someone on the borderline sensitivity-wise - a bit more bass oomph and headroom, and the sweetness of the amp in stereo.

    I know folks have done horizontal biamping with vidar using a SYS to gain match, but I frankly didn't want to muck with gain-matching, and have a balanced pre so would love the option to try aegir in bridged mode as well.
     
  13. dBel84

    dBel84 Friend

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    it has more to do with voltage swing when you go balanced monoblocks - because you are actively driving both positive and negative signals. Bi-amping just reduces load but doesn't change the character of the amp - not apples to apples at all.
     
  14. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    Clearly the solution is to have 3 Aegirs: run one in stereo for the tweeters, and the other two as monoblocks for the woofers :D
     
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  15. moriya

    moriya Acquaintance

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    Oh man, I've thought of quad monos before (as a thought exercise!) but not this insanity, that's even better! I think you'd still have to gain match, so might as well just go for 2 vidars for the woofers and an aegir for the highs...

    This is helpful y'all, so it sounds like my mental model is pretty much on point, with the caveat that 40w vs 20w (and even 80w bridged) isn't going to buy me much headroom if that's truly an issue, which is expected, but it could help in the bass department.

    Side note 1 - what does "running out of steam" sound like to y'all? My amp definitely isn't clipping, so nothing outright bad is happening, but...
    Side note 2 - I hooked a watt meter up to it to see what kind of draw I was getting from the amp, at that -20db volume listening to reggae it was sitting around 80w, so I'm guessing it's still got quite a bit of gas left in the tank (this is obviously super unscientific).
     
  16. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    The Aegir has a gain of 22db, and Vidar 27db. So we're at a difference of 5db.

    Buuut if you're doing monos on the Vidars then you're using the XLR which is probably double voltage swing so another 6db. That's a total of 11db.

    So you'd either need an extra preamp, or get yourself a pair of 10db XLR attenuators (you're probably not going to notice the extra 1db anyways).
     
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  17. Priidik

    Priidik MOT: Estelon

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    This is where it ends: 4 Aegirs and 2 Vidars. And line level crossover.
     
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  18. sphinxvc

    sphinxvc Gear Master (retired)

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    You guys are nuts. :D

    I've been vertically biamping for a while now with an Aegir and a Vidar. It's the good sound cheat code.

    Line level XO would be better for the woofers in my system, passive does fine for mid-highs.
     
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  19. moriya

    moriya Acquaintance

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    I hadn't even thought about that aspect. My understanding is you need to gain match the Vidar to the Aegir by sticking a passive pre on the line to the Vidar (which come to think of it, limits the Vidar), but that theres no point in line level XO because its going to run through the passive XO in your speakers anyways (unless you can bypass that, which I don't think I can).

    You know what? Maybe I just stick with my stereo Aegir.
     
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    Last edited: Feb 5, 2021
  20. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    One analogy (not great, but I'm making it up on the fly here): Think of the energy available to your speakers like a compressed spring. When it's sitting idle and compressed, you have tons of "push" available from that spring. If you're extending to the limit, technically yeah the spring can go out all the way, but the amount of force from the spring at the very end of its extension is very weak compared to when it's compressed all the way. It's just wimpy, and any fine detail and control you're trying to do out there will also be weak.

    The Aegis is 40W+40W at 4ohm, so if you're averaging 80W then you're already at the limit not accounting for peaks.

    Doing mono Aegirs will at best only get you another 3dB. As tempting as it is, quad-mono Aegirs wouldn't really do it either.

    Find yourself a cheap integrated receiver somewhere that can pump >100W per channel and just try out the bi-amping thing with the cheapie on the woofers (adjust with the built-in volume). If it sounds better, consider the upgrade path later.
     

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