Schiit Jotunheim 2

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by PacoTaco, Dec 22, 2020.

  1. PacoTaco

    PacoTaco Friend

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    I haven't seen much about it yet, but there seems to be a Schiit Jotunheim 2 out of nowhere.

    It seems to do 6W at 32 Ohms through the balanced out. Actually, here's the page description from Schiit's site:

    Unique technology, unrivalled flexibility, and modular design—the Jotunheim 2 sets the standard for balanced headphone amps and preamps. It’s ready for any headphone—and fully enabled to be the centerpiece of a complete desktop system.

    The Best $2400 Headphone Amp—For $400?
    If you’re talking fully discrete, truly balanced headphone amps, you’re usually talking big, big money. Not with Jotunheim 2. It meets—or even exceeds—the insane parts and build quality of boutique amps. A true balanced, 4-gang, silky-smooth Alps RK27114 potentiometer and 1% “supermatched” JFET inputs, 10% matched, paired BJT gain stage and output devices, and zero capacitors in the signal path is just a start. Jotunheim 2 also features our exclusive Nexus™ current-feedback, inherently differential, input/output agnostic topology. It also includes our Continuity S™ output stage for exceptional linearity and efficiency at high output. Or, in English, Jotunheim 2 connects seamlessly to all your sources without compromise, puts out an incredible amount of power, and is whisper-quiet on even the most sensitive IEMs.

    Total. Desktop. Control.
    Jotunheim 2 provides all the connections and control for your entire desktop. Choose balanced, single-ended, or an internal card source with one front panel switch. Enjoy all your headphones, from the most power-hungry to the most sensitive. Hook up to powered monitors or speaker power amps via the balanced and single-ended preamp outputs. And, enable or disable the preamp outputs with a convenient switch. Jotunheim is all you need for a state-of-the-art desktop.

    Modularity: Tailored To Your Needs, Ready For the Future
    Jotunheim 2 is the only modular, affordable balanced headphone amp available today. This means it’s the only amp that lets you tailor it perfectly to your needs. Choose from one of three optional modules:
    • True Multibit™ DAC. Choose the optional True Multibit DAC module to get Schiit’s unique time- and frequency-domain optimized digital filter and multi-bit D/A converters for $200.
    • AK4490 DAC. Or choose the more affordable AK4490 DAC module for a world-class delta-sigma DAC for $100.
    • MM Phono. Or, choose the MM phono input module, for 42dB of gain and passive RIAA, for great phono sound, for $100.
    Also, Jotunheim 2’s modular design means you’re ready for the future. You won’t get stuck with dumpster fodder if DAC technology changes—just swap the module. And, you won’t get stuck with an amp that doesn’t work for you—change the module to meet your changing needs.
     
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    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 18, 2021
  2. bilboda

    bilboda Florida boomer

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    I have one that I am evaluating with my HE6SE's.The amp has balls with this headphone, lots of drive and control and I am using low gain. I have a balanced cable for my HD800s coming tomorrow. I will also be using my other headphones at some point but the HE6SE have my attention for now. My speaker amp may have overdamped the drivers, it sounds great but this is...different...
     
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  3. futbutts

    futbutts Friend

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    I was able to chill at the Schiitr for maybe 45 minutes today (I was supposed to pick up my Jot 2, but it wasn't ready yet) and do some listening on the Jot 2. I can provide some very early impressions.

    Early impressions were positive. I've also had a Lyr 3 for about two weeks so if I were to compare the two, albeit without a ton of familiarity with either; the first striking feature of the Lyr 3 was its clarity and precision and refinement -- the Jot 2's first striking features are its impact and dynamics. Jot 2 is warm but not as warm (from memory) as the latter-revision Jot 1... I found with Jot 1 its warmer tone would get in the way of instrument timbre, and that's not the case with Jot 2. Jot 2, drums and acoustic instruments and vocals have excellent presence, timbre is not only spot on but has great punch. (The Lyr 3 lacks in this department, where I find drums and bass drum mid-bass smacks sounding relatively recessed relative to other amps.)

    Jot 2 with the Multibit module had a bit of an etched presentation up top that would get sounding overwhelmed in busy passages or not-great recordings -- feeding it with the Schiitr's BF2 Bal Out remedied that right up. I only had my HD800's and ZMF Ori's on hand, but didn't find either of them particularly synergistic with Jot 2's SE out... which really just sounded straight-up inferior to the Balanced Out. (To my ears it basically tapered off the low-end and things up top got cluttered much more easily, and lost a lot of its panache in the mids.) Maybe this would be different with less demanding headphones.

    An interesting point of contrast between Lyr 3 and Jot 2 would be in the layering. The Lyr 3's layering is really striking, instrumentation is neatly parsed out and delineated -- with the Jot 2, it's not better, not worse, just different. Instruments tend to join into more of a cohesive soundscape -- the various instruments intermingle a little more 'messily', for lack of a less negative-sounding term. It's absolutely not a negative; in fact with many tracks I think it may be ideal. I think rock music especially benefits from a more cohesive soundscape where instruments can pull apart but then coalesce, and they become a cumulative force, and growling or shrieking guitars just add textural depth to the bass guitar and drums -- whereas on Lyr 3 they kind of remain in isolation, easy to pull apart and analyze, but at the expense of the feeling that the various instruments are joining forces and becoming something greater than the sum of their parts. In a nutshell, busy passages with Lyr 3 can end up sounding articulate, but refined and polite; Jot 2 gets more bawdy, raucous-y, but subsequently feels more gripping and powerful... at least, for certain recordings.

    To compare to Asgard 3 (which I'm actually more familiar with than the Lyr 3), they have a really similar tonality, but the Jot 2 is much faster, more highly dynamic (passages with sudden blasts of music are teeth-kickingly fast on Jot 2), and much more authoritative in the bass, which was woolier and less defined on A3. Asgard 3 is the warmer of the two; the Jot has plenty of reach down-low, but it's leaner and more formidable. To my memory, they both have similar capability insofar as timbre sounding 'right', but the enhanced dynamics and impact of the Jot 2 lends percussion and more 'thrumming' sounds (like palm-muted chugging guitars, let's say) some extra aggressiveness.

    I'll still be receiving a J2 in the near future to compare to the Lyr 3, but gun-to-my-head-pick-one-now, I'd probably stick with the Lyr 3. I find the Lyr's technicalities in clarity and layering superior and somewhat more one-size-fits-most, music-and-gear-synergy-wise. The Jot 2, as mentioned, sounded pretty sloppy with the MB Module (which suggests to me DAC pairing is possibly extra important), and unless there's some special interaction between its SE and certain headphones, I'm not sure I'd ever want to use its SE output. But of course, I'll wait to hear it with my Bifrost Multibit+Unison to draw any final conclusions.

    However, as an aside -- the show-stealer for me this trip wasn't the Jot 2. I listened to the Magnius/Modius for a minute (which sounds nice but kinda maddeningly neutral, like most AKM>op-amp stuff I've heard), and then on a fluke plugged into the Vali 2+ right next to it, and was subsequently Blown. A. Way. I couldn't believe the level of impact and bass reach and tonality coming out of this tiny little amp... so much so that I bought one. I'll save more detailed impressions for the Vali thread, but in all honesty might prefer it to either one, the Jot 2 or Lyr 3... I don't know what to make of that.
     
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    Last edited: Dec 24, 2020
  4. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    As I mentioned in the Vali 2+ thread, it so badly beat out a very early Jot 2 proto (no Continuity circuit) in respect to microdynamics and microdetail that I figured Jason would have to redo the Jot 2. This was quite a while ago too. I have the Jot 2 in the house and will open the box tonight. Glad to know that the Jot 2 proto's ball kicking dynamics are still there with the Continuity output stage.

    Some things to keep in mind: the 6SN7 is Lyr 3 is generally a lower distortion tube than the 6DJ8 type in the Vali 2+. Jot 2 is likely have the lowest distortion of them all. Tube distortion of a certain characteristic does sound good. Among all these amps, the distortion is still lower than that of the plate amps in the JBL LSR305, which Amir couldn't not hear any such and actually highly praised these self-powered monitors.
     
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    Last edited: Dec 24, 2020
  5. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    PXL_20201226_153455372 (1).jpg

    In a nutshell, the Jotunheim 2 sounds a lot like the Freya S / Aegir combination I have for my speaker rig. Really not surprising when the Jotunheim 2 incorporates the two aspects of those separate pieces and puts them into a single package.

    The sound of the Jotunheim 2 is opposite to the early production OG Jotunheim. The presentation is more rounded, less zippy, maybe even a bit less tight in the lows. The OG Jotunheim had vice like grip that really controlled the Sennheiser HD650 drivers to overcome the Sennheiser veil. The Jotunheim 2 isn't as strong in this regard, but it also doesn't suck at it. What the Jot 2 does more is appeal to the strengths of the HD650 as opposed to trying to correct its weaknesses. The OG Jot had a downside to presentation which was sort of a simplification of music, a higher contrast which sort of pushed the lower volume microdynamics aside.

    Not so with the Jot 2. To the extent that if one wanted a prototypical solid-state sound (i.e. incisive, tight edges, super clarity, razor gross detail, tipped up extremes, etc.) I would advise against this amp. The Jot 2 is nuanced, resolving, but not in the Samsung smartphono photo way. It renders sound more like a high-end DSLR on standard settings without Ken Rockwell cranking up the contrast and saturation. If what I am describing sounds a lot of the Aegir, it's because it is like that. The tonal balance seems midcentric in the overall universe of headamps, similar to say the EC tube amps or the DSHA 3F. The Nexus part provides some oomph in the lows, slam on percussion, and a bit of richness - but it's not overwhelming bassy or warm - more like a bit thick and full bodied.

    High gain seems to increase air, liveliness, openness and make more evident ambient cues at some expensive of bass tightness. Low gain is the opposite, more controlled, more stately, less edge, less open. Regardless of gain, I found the bass to have good sustain and be well textured.

    Note that I have not been able to assess the Jotunheim 2 with balanced outputs. One of my cats destroyed my balanced cable for the HD650, and all of my parts and soldering iron are still in the Pod (yet to be delivered to TX). I also have been using the single-ended inputs because the XLR cables are also in the Pod. Stay tuned for more details. I am betting I am only experiencing only a bit more than half of what the Jot 2 is capable of.
     
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  6. JellyRhino

    JellyRhino Facebook Friend

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    @purr1n Can you compare the Jot2 SE with the Asgard 3? Is it more incisive? Does it lift the Sennheiser veil a little more?
     
  7. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Asgard 3 is definitely softer.

    It's not that Jotunheim 2 isn't incisive - it's plenty so with Steve Albini mastered Pixies albums. I think what I am trying to say is that i's just not the kind of amp that totally cuts through the HD650 veil like the Gilmore stuff. Jotunheim 2's delivery is tube amp like, without the hard edges, and obviously without the bloom.

    Again, I have not evaluated with the balanced output with the Sennheisers. It would be rather wonderful if the balanced output sounded like x2 mono Aegirs. Now that was really something. Then that would be the best of both worlds.

    Let me know if anyone has a balanced HD650 cable to lend me or if they know were I can buy one cheap. Not in the mood to spend $500 on a Super Dragonball Z Naruto Ninja Deluxe Mighty Ang Airbender Appa Cable when I can make one myself for $10 that sounded no worse (if I had the parts and the tools). BTW, the stock Sennheiser cable for the HD650 is VERY good. I don't know why folks just don't re-terminate them.
     
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  8. Baten

    Baten Friend

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    Customcans offers this in the UK ;) https://customcans.co.uk/s/s/index.php/cables/sennheiserhd650-cables/basicxlr.html
    Double Helix also re-terminated one such HD650 cable to Q701/K7xx standard for me, as a kind gesture to go with purchase of one of their cables...
     
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    Last edited: Jan 1, 2021
  9. tommytakis

    tommytakis Gear Cycler SoCal Edition

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    I’ll send u one of mine, text/pm me ur new address
     
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  10. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Yay. All the cheap HD6xx balanced cables on Amazon looked gross.
     
  11. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Now this was a surprise. Again, running SE. For planar headphones that don't suffer from the Sennheiser veil, the Jot 2 is simply outstanding! Modded T50RPs aren't as easy to drive and people think. I still prefer to run them out of speaker amps like the JLH 1969 amp. From this, I am pretty much extrapolate that HE5 / HE6 (second editions) will be similarly good. I should a HE5SE and fix it up with the appropriate pads and mods for the loaner program...

    Good bass articulation. Fullness and body that help out a bit with the flatter bass that planars exhibit. Plenty of nuance, or at least nuance that isn't typically heard with lower end high power / gain oriented amps used with planars.

    PXL_20201226_184046510.jpg
     
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  12. JellyRhino

    JellyRhino Facebook Friend

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    Do you still have the Verum One around? If so, how good is the Jot2 with them?
     
  13. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I sent @ChaChaRealSmooth the Verums. I imagine they would similarly good. Verum doesn't need something to power it through to give it heft like T50RP, HE5, HE6; although it's demanding upon heatsinks in amps because its impedance is 8 to 12-ohms on average. Verum can sound a bit dry. The richness of the Jot 2 I imagine would provide good synergy. Jotunheim 2 seems to run cooler than OG Jot, which can get hot.
     
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  14. YMO

    YMO it's not drinking alone if you're on Zoom

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    Me and others are wondering about the staging/"soundstage" if it is still 2D like.
     
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  15. Olor1n

    Olor1n Friend

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    Have the dac boards been revised since the OG Jot?

    Which board is best suited for an unmodded HD650?
     
  16. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Hard for me to say for certain because I have the EC Studio 45 with the HF 40-50kHz heaters next to it. Not exactly a fair comparison. Almost everything sucks in terms of stage expansiveness and depth compared to this. If I had to say, a bit better, but don't expect staging wonders. Maybe THX789 league depth at high gain, but with more width than depth, and this with Modius as the source (XLR outputs - I found my XLR cables). The stage is very wide for sure. I know a lot of people like this.

    It's my understanding that the MB card has been revised. However, unless the tonal balance of that architecture has changed significantly, I'd still opt for the delta sigma card with the HD650. I felt that the delta sigma card actually sounded better than an outboard Modi 3 (non Unison).

    The problem with the MB is organic lows and dark tilt. This with Nexus richness and stock HD650 veil could be too much. With HD650, my preferred sources would be stuff without any outright emphasis in the mid-lows like Gungnir MB A2, Soekris 2541, Motu Ultralight, etc. All this is a matter of personal preference though. I'm adverse to any bloat when using the stock HD650. Of course EQ to push down the mid-upper bass can also help if you are not adverse to this.

    Finally, things could totally change with the balanced outputs. That's the big question right now until I get the cables in.
     
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    Last edited: Dec 26, 2020
  17. GiantHeadphoneSquid

    GiantHeadphoneSquid Rando

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  18. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    Any impressions Jot2 using IEMs? Particularly, CA Andro or Solaris?

    Also as an aside, and somewhat surprisingly, running Asgard 3 as a preamp in my near field setup was betterer in high gain than running passive output from BF2, controlling volume through Roon. I'd be interested to hear how Jot2 stacks up as a preamp versus Freya S, balanced out vs. SE given the Nexus stage.
     
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  19. shambles

    shambles Rando

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    I realise this is perhaps somewhat subjective and may well be covered in future posts, but was wondering if Marv or other Jot 2 owners had any thoughts specifically on musicality or emotional engagement (rather than specifics/technicalities) with the Jot 2, particularly in comparison to the Lyr 3 (or potentially other low to mid price amps in Schiit's current lineup so I can triangulate from other impressions).

    Just for context if it's useful, I currently have a Magni 3+ and have had a Lyr 3 on backorder for a month now due to supply problems with the 230VAC transformers (still no ETA) and am considering changing the order to a Jot 2. Obviously given the price difference vs my Magni 3+ I am looking for some improvements in technicalities (layering, detail, soundstage, etc.) across most of the board, but not at the expense of emotional engagement (which the Magni is surprisingly strong at for the money) and definitely want to avoid anything that is potentially analytical, cold or sterile. Based on a lot of reading here I (rightly or wrongly) passed on the OG Jot in favour of ordering the Lyr specifically for this reason and so wondered how the Jot 2 fits in here. Rest of the chain is a Modius plus Fostex X00s if that makes a difference, but may also add an HD600/6XX sometime in the future.
     
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  20. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    yes I’m interested to hear this too especially compared to the 789
     
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