Schiit Jotunheim 2

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

  1. jnak00

    jnak00 Friend

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    Yes, mine are that way too. But then, I don’t think I’ve ever had two pieces of Schiit totally match. Some were close enough and others quite different
     
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  2. bilboda

    bilboda Florida boomer

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    Amp gets congested at times. I have a Meze Empy in house on a tour and like my other hp's it became congested. This time with just 3 instruments. Piano, cello and flugelhorn but with a lot of resonance and decay. When they all are playing at elevated volumes the piano detail gets lost and the cello a memory with an occasional reminder. Did not happen with the ZDS, fully resolved. In the Black Amp tour, it showed up on several songs but not with the Black Amp (incoming alert), The Empy bass with Jot2 is quite powerful, really too much but quite the experience.. Strong with ZDS and not too much.
     
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  3. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    Jotunheim 2 Impressions

    Gear used

    Pi2AES > Gungnir A1 > PO-2XR > SE .5m rca > Jotunheim 2 > SE > modded T50rp and modded LCD-2 Classic


    Background info

    All listening done SE in SE out. I could have rearranged stuff and used different cables and tried it balanced in, balanced out but I wouldn’t use it that way if I owned one because my SOHA1 is SE so I didn’t bother.

    I listened almost exclusively in high gain mode. I did try switching to low gain because of some comments about sound differences and it did sound a bit different but nothing that was enough to be relevant or which I could put my finger on without more listening which I didn’t care to do because I won’t be buying one.


    Sound

    My first impression right after turning it on was “this sounds like shit”

    My second impression an hour or two later was “wow that sounds better than my Cavalli SOHA1”

    My third impression was “hmmm actually no it doesn’t it just has bigger soundstage and similar tonality”

    My fourth impression was “hmm my SOHA1 is more resolving”

    My fifth impression was “uhhh there’s something not quite right here with the Jotunheim 2”

    My SOHA1 is my reference amp. It’s very neutral but with a bit of warm tonality. Extremely powerful - it can drive the HE6 to ear bleeding levels without breaking a sweat. I know gain does not equal power but it’s got more gain than my First Watt F7 and power to backup that gain. Not your typical SOHA1 and can’t be compared to others.

    The Jotunheim 2 has a very similar balance to my SOHA but with slightly subdued treble (with SE in SE out in high gain mode)

    Soundstage is larger but my SOHA is more resolving, and feels like it has more control, authority and dynamics. The Jotunheim 2 (henceforth called J2) is flatter sounding despite having a larger soundstage. This probably warrants an explanation. The J2 throws notes out further but my SOHA1 has more 3D layering and depth snd is much more spacious sounding within its slightly smaller soundstage size.

    Comparing to my unicorn SOHA1 probably isn’t that useful so I will cut to a summary.

    At first listen the J2 sounds really good. It’s got great balance, good tonality, there’s no solid state glare. It’s smooth up top and feels coherent. It is a great amp for the money. I think enough has been said about it’s good sound characteristics that I don’t need to get detailed about treble, midrange and bass. They are all pretty good anyways. No major complaints from me when examining its portrayal of specific parts of the spectrum. Except the treble is a bit subdued with SE in/out at least. And I could use a bit more bass slam and control. My SOHA1 beats it here with a punchier, more detail bass presentation. But it’s generally good across the spectrum.

    But the impressive technical abilities of this amp seem to only run skin deep. The more I listen the more I hear something not quite right. It sounds as if it’s got some kind of sound filter that is creating a sound that resembles a high end powerful amplifier but not actually generating that sound organically. It sounds like there’s one of those “3D” filter sound enhancer effect buttons turned on or in this case an “audiophile” or “power amp” effect button.

    It’s hard to explain this better but I feel like it’s trying to fool me while listening to it.

    Listening for more time, I also hear an edge hidden in the smooth presentation. The best way I found to hear it (I did this by accident) is to switch to low gain, adjust the volume just below normal listening levels so you don’t hurt yourself and just switch to high gain. The volume jumps up too loud and this edge stands out more easily all of a sudden because this edge is too loud before the rest of the notes are. I’m a big believer in the “turn up the volume test”. A headphone or amp should get too loud in an even, smooth way across all frequencies. If one thing jumps out and gets too loud before everything else that’s a problem spot. (I’m not talking about hurting your ears I’m just taking slightly louder than is comfortable for a second.) With the J2 the edges of notes stand out when you turn it up, in a way that is unnatural.

    But there’s also just something that sounds off about the J2. Artificial. It’s subtle but it’s there. Again it’s that “audiophile” effect button. And I don’t know how else to describe it.

    One thing that is peculiar to me is that it’s got a bigger soundstage than my SOHA1 and a similar kind of control over the drivers or a powerful sound if you will, but it doesn’t actually have that much power. It falls apart trying to drive the HE6se. My SOHA1 doesn’t have a problem at all. It’s again as if it’s tuned to have a “hi end” sound somehow but isn’t actually generating the real technical numbers to achieve that sound. Which is a real feat by Schitt for the average consumer.

    Treble could also get a little congested but it wasn’t a big deal maybe because other things bugged me more first.

    This is all nitpicking. It’s a greet sounding amp I don’t think most people will hear any of this. Hats off to Jason and Mike for the excellent job tuning this amp. It’s one of the best or maybe the best solid state amp I can remember hearing. It sounds very close to a tube hybrid in tone. No glare, very minimal flatness, no cold tonality. The Black Amp would best it if it had more bass. But then I’m not totally sold on that super liquid sound it would probably get annoying after a while. Putting the nitpicking aside, the tonality that this amp has at a more cursory listen is just fantastic.

    Actually I don’t think I’ve ever liked a solid state amp in all my time listening to headphones. I fucking hate Gilmore amps with a passion, I’d rather listen to an iPod (which is solid state but sounds normal). Seriously, I think an iPod sounds better than every Gilmore amp I’ve heard. That tone and flatness and clinical nature can fuck itself off the end of the earth. Especially combined with Kevin’s arrogance about his designs. Actually the iFI Nano BL snd Micro BL sound good to me making them the only solid state amps I like better than the iPod. And now the J2 which is also better than an iPod for sure though I prefer the Nano BL and Micro BL ultimately because they don’t have this subtle edge or artificial quality even after listening to them for a long time. But I could definitely live happily with a J2 of I didn’t own the HE6se. I should say there are many newer SS amps I haven’t heard. Never heard a BW2 or BHA-1 etc


    TLDR;

    Great sounding, beautiful looking amp that defies many solid state cliches and sounds more like a tube hybrid but has some off putting subtleties upon closer examination. But for most people this amp is hard to beat for the money unless you have very hard to drive headphones.
     
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    Last edited: Apr 30, 2021
  4. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    I should probably walk back saying I prefer the iFI Nano BL and Micro BL to the J2. I think I would but I didn’t compare them. They are just less flawed, more well rounded products for what they are. But the Micro is twice as expensive as the J2 and definitely doesn’t have that powerful sound, “artificially created” or not.
     
  5. Lycos

    Lycos Rando

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    Schiit Jot2 vs Singxer SA1


    [​IMG]


    2 weeks ago I was loaned a Singxer SA1 amp which I compared against my Schiit Jot2.
    My headphone/iem are
    • Sennheiser HD800s
    • 64Audio u12t
    • Audeze LCD X

    Price:
    Singxer SA1 $599
    Schiit Jotunheim 2 $399
    -------------------------------------

    Tonality:
    SA1 is neutral warm and it feels the mid is slightly forward.
    Jot2 is warmer with more forward bass and slightly more recessed mid.
    -------------------------------------

    Resolution & Dynamics
    SA1 has a very good resolution. Instruments sound rich and transparent that makes it easier the hear the texture. Jot2 is no slouch but it's slightly behind.

    SA1 sounds lively with a controlled bass slam. The mid for me steals the show. I really enjoy the male vocal that sounds clear and authoritative. In comparison, Jot2 has punchier bass but the vocal seems to take a back seat.
    -------------------------------------

    Pairing:
    For HD800s, Jot2 is a better pairing with SA1. Jot2 gives that bass punch that HD800s really needs as well as makes it more engaging.

    For LCD-X and u12t, SA1 seems to be a better synergy instead of Jot2. Both LCD X and U12t has already forward and prominent sub-bass which makes it too warm with Jot2.
    -------------------------------------

    Soundstage:
    SA1 has a wide soundstage. Jot 2 is smaller but for some reason feels more 3D.
    -------------------------------------

    Conclusion:
    I'm quite impressed with SA1. It's more all-rounder amp than Jot2 but at $200 premium.
    I personally think it's not worth upgrading if you already have Jot2 since the difference is relatively minimal.
     
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    Last edited: May 12, 2021
  6. Baten

    Baten Friend

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    Were any of those used from balanced outs?
     
  7. Lycos

    Lycos Rando

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    All of them. I only tested the amp via 4pin XLR balanced out.
     
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  8. Wooder Ice

    Wooder Ice Rando

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    Nice comparison. Not quite following on the part of Pairing with the HD800S. Is the SA1 a better pairing than the Jot2 with the HD800S?
     
  9. Lycos

    Lycos Rando

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    Fixed typo in my post.
    Jot2 is a better pairing
     
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  10. loadexfa

    loadexfa Friend

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    Jot2 Loaner Impressions
    My review time was very limited due to health issues and insomnia. To make the best use of this, I focused on headphone synergy rather than comparing to other amps. In the brief amp comparison I did do, I found the Black Widow fatiguing and the Jot2 pleasant.

    Chain
    Roon (Qobuz/Redbook) -> Pi2AES (Ropiee) -> Pavane L3 -> Freya S -> Jot2
    Everything balanced with high gain

    Headphone Thoughts (ordered from favorite to least favorite)
    • HD 800 SDR: Excellent pairing. Great clarity, good tone. I felt this combo was a little dry but it worked for me despite normally disliking that quality. I did not find the Jot2 dry with any other headphones. My listening was limited to classical but that's my main purpose for the HD 800. When Roon autoplayed Bartok I didn't get annoyed. Bartok usually requires a special mood for me but the HD 800/Jot2 combo worked so well that I kept listening for a while.
    • Elex: Jot2 brings out the Elex's strengths without going too far. I typically find the Elex a balancing act with synergy, it can easily sound dead/limp or way too much.
    • HD 6XX: Great combo, the Jot2 wakes it up
    • Atticus: Not a special combo but not bad. I find the Atticus to work well with most amps and this was no exception. If you want excellent synergy, I didn't think this was it
    • (Tie) Autuer / HE 6se (modded by rhythmdevils): Meh. I find both of these headphones picky and they were bland with the Jot2.
    I tried the Jot1 years ago and from memory this version is far better for my taste and headphones.

    Thanks for putting this together!
     
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  11. tommytakis

    tommytakis MOT: E.T.A Headphones

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    Jot 2 Loaner Impressions:

    - actually has good macrodynamic contrast/slam, really nice for $400! It's been a while since I heard BHA1 and Black Widow so not sure how it fares against the big bois
    - microdyna seems a bit lacking
    - clarity is p good for the price
    - I think its biggest flaw is the timbre, it has some steeliness that was very evident when listening with my hd600. Less strident sounding when I used genP with it but I can still hear it. maybe just bad synergy, idk. It has a bit too much digital hash-y sound that throws me off when I swap between amps.
    - resolution is good for the price, but I think plankton is behind sw51.
    - staging is less flat than jot 1 but still not tube amp level. bha1 and 3F are one of the few solid state amps that staged really nicely for a solid state.

    I think overall, it's definitely an improvement over the original Jot 1 which had pancake flat staging along with other known flaws(depending on which revision you own) and I would gladly take this over the warmpoo/sleepy sounding asgard 3 and lyr 3, but I think I might still prefer its budget friendly magni 3+ even though it doesn't do everything right. I think if we can fix the timbre and microdynamics, it could be a solid contender for the slogan, "$2400 sounding amp for $400" as advertised. Basically, I am hoping for an amp with righteous timbre, valhalla 2's microdynamic nuance and staging with Jot 2's slam/macrodyna contrast.

    As always, thank you SBAF, Jason/Schiit for this loaner!
     
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  12. StandUp713

    StandUp713 Facebook Friend

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    Some of my impressions from the Jot 2.... or as the kids on Youtube say... my reaction

    Chain PC Tidal - SPIDF - Gungnir Balanced- Jot 2 - DrDre OG Balanced Beats (i kid)

    I have two amps that I will compare to:
    SPL Phonitor X and an OG Jot 1

    My every day stuff, including music, gaming and all others, I like my SPL Ponitor X and Focal Clears.
    For music focus, mostly, I like the Jot 1 with Audeze 4z

    Although, I do not think it is fair due to price point, comparing the Jot 2 to the SPL:

    The SPL had a little more air and micro details though the Clears and 4Zs. I thought the Jot 2 had a little more bass and sub bass by a few db, neither disappoint. The SPL did offer a little more in soundstage, and had a little better instrument separation. I would say the Jot 2 was the better value amp, but the SPL was a better amp.

    Jot 1 vs Jot 2... Cage match.

    The Jot 1, in all its glory, is a bit of a one tune Charley. I say this because, in my opinion, it does one thing really well for me. And that is electronic music. I see the rays of Jesus and the synth angles when I have the Jot 1/Audeze 4z/ favorite Deadmouse track in line. The bass control, the attacks and swift decays.... hallelujah.

    After I swap out the Jot 1 and Jot 2, the edges are a bit worn off, but some depth emerges, a little more detail/soundstage/separation and a tad smoother amp shows itself. Mind you the core of it is still a Jot. Like going from a Hennessey supercharged Corvette to a top of the line Austin Martin. Ya, the grunt is still there... just a bit more sophisticated.

    I would recommend the Jot 2 amp as a solid state value monster. Your going to have to add another zero to get something significantly better.

    Praise be the saw tooth wave.
     
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  13. Erroneous

    Erroneous Friend

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    Jot 2 did it, but Black Widow did it better and did it first.
    Jot 2 is trying to round off the typical solid state amp and try to make it more rolled and fuzzy-ish, more like what I consider to be "old hi-fi". I'm not into "old hi-fi".

    That being said, we don't need tons of digital solid state glare, but let's bring all the details and clarity that we can with everything we've learned from years of missteps with solid state. Let's be better.
    Normally this sort of thing can be tempered with the right DAC and transducers etc, but Jesus the Jot2 is so off in one direction that it would take a heroic effort to bring it back to neutral if that's even possible.

    And I realize that neutral isn't what everyone needs, but it's what I seek, and that's why Jot2 didn't work for me.
     
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  14. penguins

    penguins Friend, formerly known as fp627

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    Jot 2 Loaner - Initial Impressions:

    Setup / Objective:
    - Haven't heard the Jot1. Wait 20 seconds before listening per Schiit manual. Below is with 25 minutes of listening due to minimal listening time the next 2 weeks.
    - As mentioned in the loaner thread, when I put my nose up to the vents after cleaning the unit, I can still smell some sort of smoke very faintly, similar to "electronics smoke". Not sure if something inside is fried or if it's just residual smoke from something else - but there is the possibility that what I'm hearing is not the same as a new factory unit.
    - pi2aes aes out > Yggdrasil SE out > Jot SE out > HD6xx
    - Was considering a secondary chain with an SS amp that would sound good with a Soekris 2541 but I suspect the Jot2 would not synergize per my preferences.

    Sound:
    - Overall: This isn't at the level of a big boy amp but it's plenty good compared to other $250-500 amps I've heard in the past.
    - Has a few traits of "tube hybrid" sound but this still sounds like an SS amp to me. Also not sure how much sound would change after it warms up.
    - Not a neutral sound, noticibly "tilted" with a house sound - but not quite the typical Schiit house sound (at least the Schiit products I've heard). Not a general warm/cool tonal shift like most other stuff in the $250-500 category either (warm like BH crack, cool like THX 789, etc.). The bass stands out but not necessarily b/c it's boosted.
    - Even if we don't consider how the bass stands out, this amp has a very "full" and "strong" sound.
    - Something in the highs sounds wrong and somewhat artificial to me. I don't have words for this yet. Towards the end of this 20 min, more and more stuff began to sound a bit artificial in a similar way. Think of eating an actual orange vs "orange" candy with both being fun in different ways. Not as artificial as "purple" candy vs grapes.
    - Somehow the mids to highs smoothness of the HD6xx/650 is a bit messed up by this amp.
    - Missing plankton but general "resolution" is there for the price bracket.
    - Something odd about the staging and things felt oddly spaced / spread out at times.
    - Microdynamics are there but lacking.

    More to come later once I get to do more listening.

    Another 15 min of listening, varied test track sections:
    - Prefer high gain for all headphones, both SE and bal out. Low gain is a bit too loose, some notes went on too long, and there just seemed to be less overall control.
    - HE6se doesn't sound underpowered per se (unlike when I use Stellaris and to a degree EC AF), but it definitely doesn't sound the same as when I've use a speaker amp (with a pre to not explode the headphone) or even the Cavalli LC. Even though bass stands out on this amp, it does not have the same "thereness", power, slam, or heft on HE6se that LC has. However, this is better at driving HE6se than any other headphone amp I've heard under $500 (retail price). Note that Jot2 has a spec of 4W into 50ohm (HE6se driver) where as LC has a spec of 5W into 50ohm, IIRC Class AB after 3 or 4W.
    - Somehow the artificial sound isn't there on my modded HE6se. Still there on Clear and Auteurs. This is with only 30 seconds of warmup before using HE6se.




    EDIT: Add-on - didn't try I took the unit out of the box, but with the unit off, I tried moving the volume knob past 12 o'clock. I encounter a bit of resistance and grit from 12 - 5 (max volume). FWIW, I did not move the volume knob past 10 at any point during my listening evals.
     
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    Last edited: Jun 21, 2021
  15. penguins

    penguins Friend, formerly known as fp627

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    Had some unexpected listening time yesterday and today with the loaner:

    TLDR: The first time I've ever changed from a "like" to a "maybe" after more listening. At first, it sounds like a very good amp for $400. If I made a check list, Jot2 checks a lot of boxes and would look really good at first. But after more listening, there are enough random things that annoy me. In short, there are a lot of good things for the price, but there are more bad things that come along with the good things. Fix the random issues and this would be a real big winner.

    Overall sound is less about total plankton and refinement and more about a full powerful sound with a VERY good grip + control over the sound. This amp isn't the best at technicalities in the <$500 category but still very good for the category.

    Setup:
    Still used SE input. Saw a post by schiit on an earlier page saying there's no difference between SE vs BAL input (unless I misunderstood the meaning of the post) - I would agree - I definitely wouldn't be able to tell reliably. BAL out is better than SE out. Setup hasn't changed otherwise. Still prefered high gain for most songs although bass was a little more refined and tighter in low gain for most songs.

    More sound stuff:

    Since I say random things that annoyed me, here are some of those things with more significant stuff at the top:
    - The odd sort of artificial-ness to the sound. It's not a bad sound, but it still annoyed me.
    - PRaT was lacking for 80% of music, 10% of music was unaffected, and somehow PRaT was enhanced in the other 10%. This was across many genres. I have no clue why 10% got better as usually it's either all good, all bad, etc.
    - Some "disjointed-ness" between mids and highs.
    - Still think that something is messed up in the highs (beyond the "artificial" sound mentioned above) and I still can't place my finger on it. It's not shrillness, sibilance, SS glare, etc. It's not b/c I think the mid-highs transition isn't right.
    - Not forgiving with bad recordings - think demo tape level bad, not like differences in a professional opinion level of "bad". LC, AF, and Stellaris and the Vali2+ to a large degree will all reveal that it's a bad recording but I don't get annoyed or need to stop. Not so with Jot2 - I couldn't get more than 1 min through a bad recording before I had to stop. Doubly so if it's "girl with guitar format" - see above point about highs.
    - The staging and spacing are a bit odd and flat (this is coming from someone who doesn't care that much about this stuff on headphones - usually if I mention it, somethings "noticibly wrong" to me).

    -----------------
    EDIT: I'm going to eat some crow here for speaking too soon above, but I tried the Jot2 with the Spring 2 today. Doesn't synergize per my preferences (as I initially expected which is why I didn't try it) BUT it does fix some of the above issues. In short, DAC dependency, synergy, etc. I would agree with some of the initial posts that 2541 or Gungnir MB would probably be a better DAC for this amp vs what I tried:
    - The "artificial-ness" of the sound is still there but it's much less (above was with Yggdrasil A2).
    - PRaT was still lacking but not nearly as bad. Was only on about 60% of music. Other 40% was "normal".
    - Mids - highs still disjointed to me. The "something messed up in the highs" is still sort of there. Staging is still a bit odd but better.
    - A little more forgiving with bad recordings - I could sit through it.

    One may ask - why doesn't it synergize if the above issues are fixed - I would say it's because the Spring 2 is more akin to modern HFM "soft fi man" sound (but not the actual HFM sound signature - this is just a quick analogy) where as Jot2 is about "boom i have power". The two seem to pull in opposite directions instead of "filling in" for each other as some opposite gear does.
    -----------------

    Other comments:
    - Initial comments in the post above still stand
    - Sound is well textured - a lot of <$500 amps don't do this well IMO. Even more so when I used Clears on low gain.
    - Handles busy music well
    - This amp didn't go beyond "warm to touch". Rarely mentioned on SBAF, but this is a plus for me.
    - Sounds slightly better after 2+ hours of warmup, but not hugely different vs 20 seconds.
    - My vali2+ sounded a bit empty, unstructured, and flabby after listening to Jot2. These are not things I normally complain about with the vali2+. Goes back to the very good grip + control over the nice full sound.
    - Transients were good + didn't stand out in any way, medium speed and sharpness. Various instruments and notes decay properly (at least per the DAC being used) except for some long sustained bass notes.

    Headphone Synergy:
    - Didn't like it with HD6xx (same reasons listed above) despite the Jot2 ripping through the Sennheiser veil.
    - Auteur (bocote wood) sounded too artificial for me.
    - Clears still sounded artificial but were OK otherwise. Somehow made the Clears sound "not as warm" despite bass being somewhat prominent on the Jot2. Used low gain with a lot more music which fixed some of the artificial sound - low gain didn't help w/ this on other transducers. Also helped with PRaT on some songs.
    - HE6se wasn't bad at all - sort of masked a lot of the HE6se issues actually. I wish it could push a little more power in, but again, very satisfactory for the size, price, or when you consider the fact that this amp doesn't get beyond a warm.

    Not suitable for sensitive IEMs - with the volume knob at minimum on low gain, there was a good amount of background noise with me UE5.
     
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    Last edited: Jun 21, 2021
  16. gepardcv

    gepardcv Almost "Made"

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    After skimming this thread, I can’t quite get a sense of where people stand on the AKM versus multibit DAC modules for the Jotunheim 2. Anyone heard both and cares to comment?
     
  17. señorhifi

    señorhifi Friend

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    Man I read through the whole thing, but I have a question.

    Comparing the soundstage of the Jot2 to the Magni3, where would it land? Does it still sound in your head, like the Magni3?

    Also compared to Asgard3, which one is more 3D sounding? Jot2 or the Asgard3?

    NINJA EDIT: Page 11, @Tchoupitoulas did an awesome Magni3 vs Jot2 showdown. Helped me today, thanks a bunch :3
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2021
  18. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    I haven’t heard an Asgard 3, but I’d say the Jot is less in your head than the Magni, and with sufficient on time can even do a bit of layering. But it’s still a Schiit amp, it’s not going to have the soundstage of an EC amp.
     
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  19. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    Asgard3 was much more 2D headstaging and generally flatter presentation for me than Jot2 running balanced and high gain. Jot2 low gain and SE (out, still running bal in) was less of a difference compared to Asgard3.
     
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  20. robot zombie

    robot zombie Friend

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    I'd say it still has that hallmark Schiit sound that is less space and more general congealment. Always been the compromise, though I would say that later changes have started opening them up a bit. Jot2 definitely has more granularity in the staging than predecessors, but it still sounds "Schiit" in that it's not all that wide/encompassing. It has enough to get layers through. Just not much more than that.

    But yeah... if I had to go with one or the other for 3D-ness, it would be the Jot2. For sure. Honestly, to me it is just an all around better-sounding, more capable amp.

    Not that the Asgard is bad! It's just not as good as Jot2. I'm biased to the core here.
     
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