I really wasn't planning on covering the Folkvangr - too much Schiit ya know - giving you guys an opportunity to say something first. However, due to popular request, I guess I will go ahead. A few months ago, I heard a late prototype, maybe one album (Pixies - Surfer Rosa), before Jason took off (with the prototype) to California. I was impressed enough, offered a few tidbits on how it sounds in another thread, but really didn't want to say more until I got some more personal time with it. I really don't have much to add. My initial impressions with the prototype have not changed. Folkvangr stacks neatly over the Gungnir (A2). ZMF Atrium pictured above. I especially loved Grados (the new X models with the F-cush pads) with the Folkvangr. There's some special synergy going on there because most Grados with their efficiency (they really don't need a dedicated amp) sound worse via most amps. I suspect drier sounding headphones such as HD800 would do excellently as well. One would almost be tempted to say that the Folkvangr works best with bright headphones, but this isn't true either. I felt in my gut that it would pair well with the Atrium and I was not wrong. Here's the deal: change the source, use any headphone. Be a "source first" audiophile (the highest level attainable - we can debate this later in another thread) As many of you are familiar with the Valhalla 2, the Folkvangr is basically the Valhalla 2 on steroids, not only more muscular, but having gone through a cutting phase - shedding excess fat, while picking up some smooth poses for the judges. Gone are the Valhalla 2's veil and slightly prickly highs that we must assume comes from the coupling capacitors. The Folkvangr is direct coupled with no capacitors in the signal path, but servos to offset DC. I suspect bipolar power rails for the white cathode follower. Basically what we have is a push-pull power amp without output caps or output transformers. The output tubes on the Valhalla have been increased from one per channel to four. Yup. all of this is pretty crazy. While I would say that the Valhalla 2 thick sounding, I wouldn't do the same with Folkvangr because "thickness" comes with some bad connotations. The Folkvangr is bassy, hits hard, posses heft and great bass sustain, but somehow it doesn't come off as thick. I wouldn't call the Folkvangr bloomy either. There's a sustain and spookiness to voices (Adele, Florence + the Machine, Lucinda Williams, k.d. lang, etc.) and guitars (AC/DC, Scorpions, Van Halen, crappy guitar play from Coldplay, etc.), but it's not of the overly wet reverb type (Feliks OTL amps, Freya, etc.). The quality is more in the timbre and overtones than in the time domain. The thickness and bloom are inner, not outer. There's nothing being smoothed over or smeared. There's some "vintagey" tone going on here, not too different from what the Burl B2 Bomber DAC does. I found it easy to crank the shit out of the volume of the Folkvangr. I don't do this as often as I used to because listening at 95-100db SPL is not good for our hearing, particularly as we age. My point is that sometimes it's a blast to listen at concert volume levels. The Folkvangr not only obliges, but loves to do so. Audiophiles who prefer more pleasant and forgiving dynamics may want to go elsewhere. I want that snare drum or cymbal so rattle me, but yet at the same time not kill me with "needle-in-the-ear" artifacts not present in reality (I have a five piece drum set with a loud bronze snare in a dedicated music room in the house). Perhaps the Folkvangr doesn't have the finesse, nuance, and subtilties of SET triode amps of which I listen to on almost a daily basis. However it brings with it a high level of energy, rockin' rhythmic drive, crisp articulation, and a beautiful interpretation of voices and midrange instruments. In a nutshell, the Folkvangr is a shit-load of fun. It makes me want to grab the drummer in the house (my daughter) and jam with her while I'm on the bass. P.S. I'm hoping it measures like shit because there are only 250 being made. No one is getting a discount. No one is getting an accommodation. Even if John Atkinson or some royal highness of audio reviewer asked for 5% off, I'm sure they won't get it. I don't need this, but there's a good chance I may buy one for myself. It's not like that $1800 is going to be worth anywhere near $1800 next year. Finally, let the objectivists laugh at us and mock us for our stupidity. Topping wishes they can make stuff sound this good. The Folkvangr will be at the Texas Audio Show. Note ton of ventage surround tube Folkvangr tube bay. Cold air from bottom and sides come in. Hot air goes up.