Schiit Jotunheim 2

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

  1. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    Well I haven’t heard the 2541 or any of the Soekris DACs, but if your main or exclusive headphone is the 600, the SW51+ is the way to go without question.
     
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  2. Jigitz

    Jigitz Rando

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    EDIT: Swapped the XLR cables out and it may have fixed my issues.

    Is anyone using their Jot 2 PreAmp feature getting distortion? I'm doing the following:

    Laptop USB> Ares II Bal Out > Jot 2 Bal In > SE out to Speaker > Kef Eggs and Audio Engine HD4 (same issue with both) and using unbalanced in.

    Is it because I am using line out on the Jot and not balanced?

    It comes and goes. I noticed that if i use low gain it does not occur as much. However, it does happen as soon as I flip to high gain.

    Perhaps something is wrong with my unit? I'd classify the distortion as crackly and it seems to happen if I turn the volume on the Jot up to a certain level on each gain level. Past 11 on low gain and then past 8 on high gain seems to trigger the issue. It also seems to help if I unplug my headphones.

    That said, when using just headphones no issues and they sound just fine.

    Any ideas?
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2021
  3. daniellistens

    daniellistens Acquaintance

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    I am reading through this thread.

    The impression I am getting is that this is a good all rounder headphone amplifier.

    Mixed feelings with the HD600

    Generally positive feelings with the HD650

    Strongly positive feelings with the ZMF Atticus (open).

    HD800 again good, maybe too bright, maybe not, mixed feelings but leaning towards bright.

    It has good control of planar headphones. Lots of power.

    Anyone have a headphone they’re blow away by? Any great synergies?
     
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    Last edited: Mar 12, 2021
  4. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    RS2e reterminated to balanced, with TTVJ deluxe pads, and JVC FDX1 for me.
     
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  5. dasman66

    dasman66 Self proclaimed lazy ass - friend

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    Verum1 - actually thinking of getting a jot2 just to pair with the verum

    Also did a great job with the ZMF Auteur, but wasn't a "blown away" experience.
     
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  6. bilboda

    bilboda Florida boomer

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    LSA HP2 , strength upon strength, hp goes way low but no bass bleed, horn loaded, no discerned resonances....high resolution...very low distortion at any frequency to my ears, as punchy or delicate as needed, hp just gets out of the way of the music
     
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  7. ssmith3046

    ssmith3046 Rando

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    I have an Asgard 3 that I'm using with my easy to power Focal Clear Pros. I'm happy with the A3 but since this hobby for me is partly about wondering what if, I'm wondering if a Jot 2 would be an upgrade over the Asgard 3? I'm not planning to go the balanced route so even though my Modius would enable that. I'm very found of my Modi multibit and prefer to stick with it. I'm sure that this question has been asked before so forgive for not starting at the beginning on the thread. I appreciate any insight. Thanks!
     
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  8. Noodlz

    Noodlz Facebook Friend

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    i just got my jot 2 yesterday and so my impressions are limited, i believe the schiit amps sound their best after having been on for a few days. But even after just a day i think i've heard enough be able to distinctively tell some differences.

    [​IMG]
    • Source 1: Macbook > SupraUSB cables & Wyrd > MXU8 > spdif (bettercables) to Sonic Frontiers SFD-1 MK2 w/ amperex 6922 cables
    • Source 2: Macbook > generic USB cable > Ifi Nano BL
    • ON time:
      • Jot 2: on for roughly 14 hrs
      • Asgard 3: has been on nearly the whole time for the past month, with me turning it off for a few minutes this week to swap power cables etc.
    • Connection to Amp
      • Connected to SFD by RCA (split out from JEC switcher)
      • Connected to IFI Nano BL by RCA
      • All headphones used a balanced cable to the Jot2, and an adapter to Asgard 3 (and also SE from the jot 2)
      • also ran everything with High gain. Low gain comparisons are the same across amps, where low gain gives more soundstage, tighter sound, slightly less impact. High gain gives forward/closer stage, more slam. (or "more hype")
    • Headphones used for comparison
      • Dynamic headphones
        • HD6xx Kiss Mod
        • HD580 stock + grill change & Shure Alcantera pads
      • Planars
        • Aeon Flow Closed v1

    My rough impressions of Jot 2 vs Asgard 3 FWIW:

    • For dynamic sennheiser headphones like 6xx/650/580
      • Impressions
        • Asgard 3
          • very fluid, slightly sweet & warm presentation. good soundstage and a very nice nuanced texture to the mids (especially vocals). this thing sounds like a well done tube amp actually.
          • has a bit more of the warm / sweetness without being muddy (still has that solid state "sheen / "gloss")
        • Jot 2 Balanced
          • Slightly more neutral (less "gloss/glaze", more like well sanded light coat of highly polished wax texture). Very clear
          • much more refined, cleaner, crisper sounding (without being sharp). I imagine the sound will open up and become more fluid / less stiff as it stays on, just as the Asgard 3 has over time
        • Jot 2 SE
          • tilts back towards the A3 where its more organic, that polished wax is removed / not applied, and you have a nice hand polished smooth texture. different from the slightly sweet fluid presentation of the a3. More very very smooth wood than A3's lightly fluid sweetness
      • "Flavor" summary
        • Asgard 3 = Lite Wavy Glaze. very enjoyable listen. more forgiving, slightly looser and fun presentation
        • Jot 2 SE = Refined. closer to neutral, still organic with a satisfying texture that is less glossy and tighter. more details heard but not overbearing
        • Jot 2 Balanced = "light up your eyes" type of revealing. Clearly a step above (compared to SE & A3) for details, staging, dynamics, crisp but not sharp.
      • Overall thought:
        • It depends on your sonic preference and type of music.
        • I listen to all kinds of genres, so the Jot2 works great in that I can use the balanced for everything, but if i want a hint of warmth without going to my tube amp and have this nice textured refinedness ( say listening to coltrane), i can swap to the SE for a smooooth listen.
        • But if you prefer a sweetness, "waviness" / fluidness that you find in tube amps, without the excess bloom/muddy warmth & Finickyness with tubes, i'd actually recommend the A3 if that is your preference.
        • Stream of conscious Example: John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman - Lush Life (pardon my crazy descriptions)
          • Asgard - waves of amber lights from the very slightly thickend sweet tobacco air, whisky drinks, swirling, the singer clearly there. sweet and lush instrument and vocals.
          • Jot2 SE - rays and traces of the light now with barel any thickened air, clinks of the class tablewear, textured suits & smooth fabric of the audience / table cloth. Smooth.
          • Jot 2 Balanced - Full presentation. POV opens and you see the whole venue. sweet piano keys now heard felt and seen. no traces of lights and reminants of thickened tobacco air. The mood is still there but everything is clearly seen, yet organics are fully felt. closer to being there rather than the ultrasharped view of an 8K tv screen.

    • For planars:
      • Similar to the senn/dynamics, the Asgard 3 has a sweeter, more fluid tone. It's actually very very nice.
      • Jot 2 balance does have a even bigger step up in detail and clarity compared to the A3 when using planars though.
      • It might be because it hasn't fully developed yet, but just comparing single ended, I actually much prefer the Asgard 3 than the Jot 2. with planars Jot 2's SE feels more sterile than refined (unlike on dynamics), but on the Asgard 3 you have all that fluidity which makes it all so enjoyable.

    • Scaling with Dacs
      • I used the ifi as kinda a baseline against the SFD for normal DACs to Amazing DACs and see how each amp reacted with them. As expected, the Jot2 scales like crazy with the SFD, but the Asgard 3 didnt fall behind much either.
      • Asgard 3 - Nano provides more slam, but is harder sounding / one dimensional / flat, SFD has much more organic, texture, and emotion.
      • Jot 2 - Way more texture & naturalness with the SFD. the difference between the Nano vs SFD is significantly more noticeable here, where all the micro details, staging, textured nuances of the mids and background instruments can be felt immenently. with the A3 you get a glimpse and the Jot2 you get the full presentation.

    • Final Note / Opinions / thoughts:
      • Aeon Flow Closed Pairing
        • I typically prefer tube amps since i know they work better for the sennheisers, and so after getting the Aeon Flow Closed i wanted to get some solid state amps to make the most of it. And so i first got the Asgard 3. (was using the MCTH at the time)
        • I upgraded to the Jot2 and the WA6SE since, and funny enough the Aeon Flow Closed v1 actually works best on the WA6SE tube amp. It's still pretty spectacular on the Asgard 3 though.
        • for something simple and no fuss, the Asgard 3 is plenty good enough. WA6SE gives you options to tune the sound with tubes but also the nuances of tube warm up / rf noise etc
        • if you dont need to hear all the details over everything and just want to enjoy the music in a sweet, smooth and fluid tone, especially with a mid forward presentation, i'd just get the Asgard 3 and call it a day.
      • AKM 4490 module / DACs
        • Didn't want to get into this since theres so much to compare already, but the AKM works VERY nicely in the Jot 2. it's pretty great in the Asgard, but then i put it into the Jot 2 and im a happy camper lol. Was hunting for the modius to have as my everyday DAC until i eventually get my hands on a Soekris 2451, but now im not so sure lol. The SFD is still far superior but the 4490 is quite nice. Crisp details and layering, some hardness int he sound but not shouty and definitely more soundstage, dynamics, and dimentionality than the ifi Nano.
     
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  9. YtseJammer

    YtseJammer Almost "Made"

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  10. roshambo123

    roshambo123 Friend

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  11. animus

    animus Almost "Made"

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    It's often said that good solid state sounds like tubes, and good tubes sound like solid state. Well, today, I have the perfect demonstration of such a saying:
    [​IMG]
    (This is a Studio Jr 2A3 by the way, not an Aficionado)

    That's a $3000 OOP amp sitting next to a $400 amp. The most fair comparison in the world? Not at all, but that's not what this is about. This is an examination of the Jotunheim 2's performance as an amplifier, and how it as a solid state amp with tube inflections matches up to a big boy tube amp, that leans more to the solid state side of things.

    The 2 amps were set up as follows:
    Lynx AES16e AES trafo to S/PDIF > BF2 Bal out > Studio A (mine has XLR ins with input trafos) Bal out > Utopia
    Lynx AES16e AES trafo to S/PDIF > BF2 SE out > Jot 2 Bal out > Utopia

    Both amps were volume matched by ear and the Utopia was swapped back and forth (or rather, up and down) for comparison.

    I no longer own the BHA-1 mentioned in this post, but used to for over a year, and all comparisons are based on memory and extrapolated from direct comparisons with the Studio A. It’s old setup was as follows:
    Lynx AES16e AES trafo to S/PDIF > BF2 Bal out > BHA-1 Bal out > Utopia

    With the above tubes (NOS Mullard GZ34 metal base rectifier, Psvane ACME 2A3s, and the rando 6H3N-E that Craig sent me with the amp), these 2 amps come uncannily close to each other in terms of tonal balance. Neutral with some tasteful warmth. As a side note, I do in fact have a NOS square getter WE396A JW, but decided not to use it for this comparison because I felt like it ultimately made the Studio A more compressed, warmer and softer than the Jot 2, and likely too much for my taste.

    With that out of the way, let's talk about the Jot 2 for a bit. Tonal balance aside, this amp still has many characteristics not too far off from the SET sound displayed by the Studio A. Microdynamics have a liveliness and smoothness to them that's above basically every other solid state I've heard thus far, timbre captures some of the tube magic that I'm used to at this point, and attack transients certainly seem rounder and less "SS-like" than something akin to the BHA-1. In other words, the Jot 2 is an excellently nuanced amp with great timbre. Compared to my old BHA-1, microdynamics were always something that amp struggled with (a bit flat and with a strained sound to them), and timbre was something it was somewhat weak at as well. Jot 2 handily trounces it at both of those.

    But that's not to paint everything as sunshine and roses here. Compared to the BHA-1, the Jot 2 is... upfront. Almost too upfront. Compared to the Studio A, it's far, far too upfront, That's not to paint this amp as having a stage akin to its predecessor, which I thought had a paper flat stage which I strongly disliked. No, the Jot 2 has evolved a fair bit beyond that, but it's still a bit close for comfort. Low gain does push the stage back a little, but this comes with slightly worse macrodynamics and engagement, so I'd rather not mess with that.

    This ties in with a second point of mine. With the BF2 (a DAC which I'm sure many will end up pairing with Jot 2 for a fully balanced "subjectivist" Schiit stack) and the Utopia, the Jot 2 strikes me as a bit too incisive. I've talked a lot about incision in the last few things I've written on (the Soekris 2541, the Rockna Wavelight, hell even the cables I touched on) and here I feel like the Jot 2 doubles down on one of the issues I ultimately had with my BF2 BHA-1 stack: it's just too aggressive, far more than what I would consider natural. I used the Evgeni Koroliov Art of Fugue recording to talk about incision last time with the Soekris 2541, so I'll use it again here. The Jot 2's superior timbre actually does it quite a few favors here in terms of not causing listening fatigue in comparison to the BHA-1, but it sounds far too much like I've stuck my head into a grand piano right next to the hammers. An interesting and attention-catching sound, but still much beyond what I would be comfortable with.

    Compounding on the above is transients. This is a whole bag of worms that brings the Studio A back into the fold, so bear with me for a moment. The Jot 2's attack transients are slightly more rounded than the BHA-1's, which definitely works quite well with the general warmth of the amplifier. The aforementioned 2 are, however, still more incisive and aggressive, transient-wise, than the Studio A, which I feel bests both in terms of transient naturalness. Studio A is certainly rounder, but never overly soft (well, without the WE396A at least) nor mushy. High notes on the Art of Fugue recording above sound delicate and nuanced without being piercing, just how they should be. The Jot 2, on the other hand, is just incisive enough to bring it around to piercing territory, though it certainly is a fair bit more nuanced microdynamically than the BHA-1. Given the earlier head-in-piano comparison, this might seem obvious, but I think it's worth pointing out given this applies to everything. The sharper transients on the Jot 2 seem to lend it a slightly plasticky timbre overall, relative to the Studio A. With the BF2, this is not a big issue, but I suspect it would be a bad combination with something similar to Chord's DACs or the Soekris 2541 on the red filter.

    Of course, transients are not simply made up of attack, decay is relevant as well. And this arguably the biggest difference between the Jot 2, and the Studio A, and where the adage at the start of this writeup comes into play. Jot 2, try as hard as it may, ends up being merely tube-like and not akin to a true tube amp in its decay transients. It seems to truncate them somewhat instead of letting them trail off naturally. Somewhat similar to what I described about the Soekris 2541, but in a less artificial and exaggerated fashion, and more akin to one that's just... solid state. If it's not clear yet, diminishing returns kick in hard in the vast $2600 price gap between the Studio A and the Jot 2, but this is one of the ways in which returns do not diminish. And I think this can arguably be applied to any suitably tube-like solid state amp against any SS-like tube amp. The solid state amp may kick a little more ass and slam harder, but will lose out in decay, in engagement, and in overall nuance. Not to say that the Jot 2 is bad at any of these things, of course. It's way better than most, which is more than can be said for a $400 amp.

    Of course, in retort to the above, you could argue that the SS amp sounds cleaner, and yes, it does. But pianos in real life don't sound this transientally clean, nor do string quartets or orchestras, nor do rock or metal bands. In that sense, I think the tube amp decay is far more representative of what one would hear in real life, "true to the recording" or not, and the SS amp's decay seems slightly stunted in comparison.

    As for the BHA-1 against the Jot 2, which is a comparison I'm aware quite a few people are interested in, I feel like they trade blows. The BHA-1's deeper stage and less incisive presentation seem more "correct" to me, at least with the BF2 feeding it and it feeding the Utopia. However, the Jot 2 has much better microdynamics, and I feel like its sense of nuance outclasses the BHA-1 by a reasonable amount. The BHA-1 is the warmer amp of the two, but feels more stereotypically "solid state" with the worse timbre and slightly fatiguing transients, at least with the BF2 and the Utopia. The Jot 2, as mentioned earlier, has more of that tube DNA in it, and this goes a long way in terms of engagement and listening enjoyment for me.

    One might notice that I've omitted macrodynamics from the vast majority of this writeup. Consider that a ringing endorsement through lack of complaint. All 3 of these amps have excellent macrodynamic range and impact, and anyone who considers such a thing to be important would do little wrong with any of the above.

    For detail both micro and macro, the Studio A is a fair bit above the Jot 2 and the BHA-1 in terms of being able to pick out microdetail. I think this ties in to the aforementioned ability of the Studio A to seem more complete and less truncated in terms of decay; similarly, it's more proficient at picking out small details that get lost in mixes on lesser gear, as it is with handling complex textures. This is nothing surprising of course, an amp as expensive as the Studio A should do these things as well as it does.

    Similar applies to layering, except this applies moreso to the talk on presentation. The Studio A is no exception to the legendary EC staging, and has tons of space for layering without ever sounding congested (well, as much as it can with the BF2 feeding it anyways). The BHA-1 is a couple steps below with it having a moderately deep stage and reasonable amounts of layering space, and then the Jot 2 comes in last with the most upfront stage and the least amount of space for layering. I don't think the delta between the BHA-1 and the Jot 2 here is nearly as big as the delta between the Studio A and the BHA-1; the BHA-1 seems to oversimplify certain things about its transients and spatial positioning, and things often get stacked on top of one another when they should be more spread out. So once again, the Studio A remains a step above while the BHA-1 and the Jot 2 are some steps behind, with maybe something of a difference between them.

    Ultimately, I think the fact that I can compare the Jot 2 to an amp that runs $1000 used and another amp that's $3000 new and no longer obtainable in the same configuration speaks volumes as to how good the Jot 2 is at its price point. The value at play here is pretty ridiculous, and the fact that THX AAA Topping Dengxiaofingchan AAA 12B9 X69 type vomit is no longer the only option for a recommendation at this price range is a godsend. In addition, I think the BF2 sounds great with it, even if it's a little more incisive than I would like with Focals, and I imagine many would be satisfied at just a hair over a grand with this stack. Props to Schiit for squeezing such an awesome amp in at this price point, and thanks to SBAF for turning me on to all this gear.
     
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    Last edited: Mar 20, 2021
  12. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    I may repeat this too many times.. but now more comfortably say.

    ZMF Verite. Synergy far exceeds the sum of individual benefits -- this holds on any of tonality, technicality, and presentation. J2 is an almost perfect pairing among any sub-3k amps I have ever tried. TBH DSHA-3F is the sole amp I can't immediately take J2 over. Note that the point I am asserting could be easily scaled with better source. This is the combo where DAC 2541's awesomeness could be maximized.

    I'm also enjoying explosive synergy with Hedd Heddphone (loaner in the house). I should write something about them in another thread later.. but J2 could make such a power-hungry (13-14 db inefficient than verite) and amp-picky transducer convincingly sing. Simply beautiful sounding to die for. Will elaborate my thoughts later in different posts after I evaluate them more.

    For the reference, I don't feel J2 synergy the same way with HD650. They paired great. Maybe well above the price point.. but not what I'd enthusiastically associate with 3k great.
     
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  13. YtseJammer

    YtseJammer Almost "Made"

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    Are you guys aware about unit to unit variation? The reason I'm asking is because the Jot 2 that I had sounded like crap with my headphones versus the Liquid Platinum. And from what I read here and on HF, I must the only person on this planet who didn't like the Jot 2 with the Verite Closed and the Aeolus. The person who bought the Jot 2 from me also didn't like it at all, so I'm starting to think that the unit that I had was probably a lemon. Could it be because the Jot 2 is not a good match with the Bifrost 2? With my ZMF headphones, the bass was way too thick and the treble was muted and lacking air and presence. I'm almost tempted to order another one because of all the positive comments I've seen here.
     
  14. HotRatSalad

    HotRatSalad Friend

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    Jot 2 has been spectacular for me with bifrost 2. So much so with aeolus and hd650 that I never fire up the LP and might sell it. Actually prefer zdt Jr with Aeolus over LP these days to boot.
     
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  15. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    I can pretty comfortably say unit to unit variation almost non-existent. Last month I heard loaner Jot 2, brand new Jot 2, and another J2 unit (what I snagged in the end). The latter two evaluated in the same place and day and components. No audible difference on my end.

    I am not a fan of J2+BF2+Verite pairing. While I still think they sound very good, the reasons I didn't like BF2 in the chain are largely consistent with what you listed. Looking many others seemed to like the exact combo. So my bet is it's eventually a preference thing.
     
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  16. YtseJammer

    YtseJammer Almost "Made"

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    Thanks for your feedback, I think I will order another Jot 2. Do you prefer the ZDT Jr over the Jot 2 with the Aeolus?
     
  17. Erroneous

    Erroneous Friend

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    @YtseJammer You're not crazy. I bought Jot2 specifically to pair with Bifrost2 and VC and I did not like the combo at all. Also didn't like Yggdrasil A2 with Jot2 and VC (though IMO the two DACs are more similar than different.)

    I thought Jot2 worked great for HD600/650 but that's not what I wanted it for. Ended up selling Jot2 because it was not the droid I was looking for. SW51 fit the bill better.

    It all comes down to personal preference.
     
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  18. YtseJammer

    YtseJammer Almost "Made"

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    Thanks for your feedback. I also have the Ares II with the BF2 now, so maybe it's going to change my perception of the Jot 2. I know the Ares II doesn't have a good reputation here, but it's a good match with my Klipsch Heresy IV.
     
  19. YtseJammer

    YtseJammer Almost "Made"

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    I also ordered the SW51+ but I don't know when Zampotech will start shipping the new batch.
     
  20. HotRatSalad

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    It's kind of close trade better technicalities for overall better sound sig. The ZDT Jr had great mids and lower mids. There's a weight to the sound that's missing on sw51 and Lp IMO. I'm weird though I like zdt Jr better than sw51. Also been prefering Jot 2 over LP with Aeolus and 650. I'm probably just burnt out on LP after 2.5 years though. I think it gets a lot of things right but lacks finesse and dynamics.

    Jot 2 is way more lively listen but all in the correct areas. When listen to LP now it sounds flat and highs rolled. I don't get that feeling when I listen to zdr Jr however.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2021

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