Schiit Jotunheim 2

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

  1. gamerstudent

    gamerstudent Rando

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    Yeah, I would agree with the headphone change for faster attack, but at the moment I don't see any reason to...my next headphones will probably be HE-6 or LCD2/LCD2 Classic...or something along those lines but I don't have any urge to buy another set of headphones (surprisingly!)
     
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  2. gamerstudent

    gamerstudent Rando

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    That might be the way to go. How easy is it to install? or what are the steps to install it? I live in Australia so sending my Jotuinheim to Schiit is not really an option.
     
  3. JellyRhino

    JellyRhino Facebook Friend

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    There's a least one video on YouTube. I searched: "install schiit card". Just make sure you don't carry static when you touch the boards. You have to ground your body and wear natural fiber clothing (cotton). Don't work on a carpeted floor. You can buy an antistatic wrist strap. It's not that hard, but you have to be careful or you'll kill your gear. Here again, a search on the internet will help you.
     
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  4. aamefford

    aamefford Nothing like chamberpot coffee

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    I added the RCA card a while back and made couple of notes here:

    Schiit Jotunheim 2
     
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  5. Andre Y

    Andre Y Friend

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  6. gamerstudent

    gamerstudent Rando

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    Thanks, it looks far easier than building a PC (and working in small space optimised mini ITX builds) so I'm going to order a card :).
     
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  7. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

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    I got to listen to one of these thanks to @jnak00 , who very generously put his personal unit out for a Canadian tour. I’m not really in the market for a full solid-state amp but the descriptions of this as more tubey had me intrigued, and I figure that when opportunities arise it’s good to compare my current amps (both hybrids) to new things if only to have benchmarks in common with others. Plus I was kinda curious about the whole Nextuity thing.

    Chains & sources:

    System 1: Pi3B+Pi2AES -> Soekris dac1321 -> Rega Brio 2017 passthrough (tape outs) -> MCTH w LPS & Telefunken ECC88 / Jot 2
    System 2: PiZeroW+Allo miniBOSS -> Vali 2 (v 1.1) w Siemens PCC88 / Jot 2
    Phones: HD6XX stock, Fostex T50RP3 modded, JVC HA-FDX1 w med filters (not from MCTH)
    Jot & Vali on high gain with headphones, low gain with IEMs.
    SE connections & outputs.
    Both systems fed 16/44.1 FLACs via wifi, upsampled to 88.2 kHz in system 1, unmolested in system 2.
    No measured level matching.

    Disclaimers: old ears (see sig); not much experience with serious headphone amps; and I’m not sure how well I hear or judge headstage.

    Vs Vali 2 (system 2)

    In the Vali I started with a GE JAN 5670W, but this is a little soft in the bass and rolled off up top so I switched to the Siemens for better comparison.

    The Jot bass has more extension (not elevation), and better defined/differentiated notes. It’s rounder at the edges but better textured ‘within’ the notes, if that makes any sense. Mids, especially upper, are more prominent, with more guitar bite but at the same time more screech from horns. This works well with my Fostexes because they have a bit of BBC dip. Notwithstanding my hearing limits the Jot’s Vali's Jot's treble is more extended; but not more elevated.

    I wouldn’t describe it as cold, but it’s not as warm as the Vali. Timbre seems natural for most instruments but maybe a touch upper-mid emphasized on some instruments with harmonics up there (horns, midrange piano, some strings).

    Better blackground. ‘Cleaner’ in the upper mids & treble. More resolving of subtle pitch and volume changes across the range.

    More macrodynamic: more slam, more slap with snares, more snap with cross-stick hits.

    Staging maybe flatter but wider. Imaging & instrument separation are better defined, yet somehow it also seems to paint a more coherent, solid picture.

    Specifically with HD6XX: Jot has notably better control of the bass (less distortion?); contrast with snare smacks is not as obvious as with the T50RP3; treble is more obviously less extended/airy (or is it just smoother?). Tube wetness of the Vali vs SS resolution/blackground of the Jot is more evident, but there’s a relative rolloff in the treble which makes the Jot good with bright material (80s recordings re-released on CD probably with little or no remastering effort) and the mid-forwardness works well to bring out vocal subtleties.

    Specifically with HA-FDX1: No hiss with either amp (low gain, didn’t try high). Jot again has great grip of the bass – maybe it’s a dynamic-driver thing – best I’ve heard these IEMs sound down low. The benefit to bright recordings is there but is less obvious with these, partly I think it’s the ‘cleaner’ treble doing it, but the rolloff is there too. The mid-forward nature is almost a bit much with the slightly (by my definition, ha) peaky uppermost mids of these 'phones. It’s saved by a good sense of togetherness, though; busy passages are less coherent from Vali.

    Vs MCTH (system 1)

    Ok, this system is much more resolving...

    In the bass, the Jot is rounder but weighter and maybe better textured ‘inside’ the note; thicker, more slam. MCTH bass has faster attacks but lighter impact. The MCTH mids are more forward. Jot treble is smoother but less elevated and I think less extended. Jot has an overall darker tilt.

    Again better blackground. Resolution a little better; maybe ‘cleaner’.

    Macrodynamics: Jot, but in the mids MCTH is no slouch. Microdynamics Jot.

    Stage, imaging: hard to pick a difference. Jot is maybe not wider but seems flatter. Separation and layering are more precise but as noted vs system 2, the sense of coherence between instruments nonetheless seems better with the Jot. Maybe because the transients are just round enough, ie neither too sharp nor too rounded?

    With bright 80s material, MCTH with HD6XX is much less offensive than Vali 2 in the other system – think it was the DAC and the tube there. Still the Jot handles it better because of the smoother treble.

    Specifically with T50RP3: More elevated low bass from the Jot is more notable on these. MCTH has good macrodynamics in the mids (cross-stick hits), but Jot is weightier throughout the range. MCTH has good transient speed though, which compensates for its pitch-change resolution penalty.

    Less contrast in technicalities vs MCTH than vs Vali 2.

    Final thoughts

    This not a ‘sterile’ solid state amp; it’s much closer to the tube-hybrid sound than how I remember the Magni 2U. That amp was my first ‘serious’ headphone driver, Then I got the MCTH for the main system, and on hearing that I thought I was done with all-solid-state architectures so the Magni was replaced in the second system with the Vali 2. Hearing this, though, I concur with the opinion that it’s more ‘tubey’ than typical solid state (if the M2U was representative). If I was in the $400 market for another headamp, I’d consider this for sure, and to anybody thinking that any of their amps must have at least one tube, I’d say you shouldn’t automatically dismiss this.

    While acknowledging the Jot’s superiorities, though, for me they aren’t enough to make me run out and buy one (or two). But this probably says more about my values and maybe my ears than it does about the amps.

    And I’ll be putting the GE tube back in the Vali. Its softer bass is less of an issue with the Fostexes that usually go with that amp than with the Senns, but the treble from the Siemens remains a bit much. And the GE has nice liquid mids.

    Thanks again @jnak00 ! Canadian hero!

    Edit: In red. D'oh. Twice, because I switched extended & elevated here vs my scribbled notes.
     
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    Last edited: Sep 17, 2021
  8. jnak00

    jnak00 Friend

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    Thanks for sharing your thoughts @Biodegraded. Your comments comparing it to MCTH are similar to what I remember coming from the Monoprice Cavalli Liquid Platinum, which was a great amp but I felt had weak bass heft and impact.
     
  9. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    This must have been discussed here but is there a consensus as to whether there is a difference between feeding the J2 SE vs balanced input? I’d have to get a switcher to feed it balanced with my Liquid Gold X

    thank you!
     
  10. Jerry

    Jerry Friend

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    My ears didn't notice any difference for inputs. Outputs are a different matter.

    You're gonna do a comparo with the Gold X?
     
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  11. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    It’s for my Jottenheim A :)
     
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  12. Tommy

    Tommy Acquaintance

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    First off, thanks to @jnak00 for so generously offering up his personal Jotunheim 2 for the Canadian loaner tour.

    My main purpose for joining the tour was to see how well my Yamaha A-S2200 integrated would stand up against a proper headphone amplifier. The Yamaha supposedly has a decent headphone amp built in.

    At the moment I only have one set of headphones, the DT-177X.

    Throughout my testing, I tried the following chains:
    - Yggdrasil GS -> Jot 2 (XLR) -> Yamaha (XLR)
    - Yggdrasil GS -> Yamaha (XLR) -> Jot 2 (RCA)

    Regardless of the chain used, the Jot 2 was considerably more resolving and had much more slam (perhaps a bit too much slam for my personal liking, at least vs. the Yamaha). The Yamaha sounded quite flat against the Jot 2, but still enjoyable. I tended to prefer male vocals through the Yamaha, with the reverse for female vocals.

    Testing out the Jot 2 was very useful as it has shown that I may have lots to gain if I ever pick up a set of headphones for serious listening. The Yamaha's shortcomings will like be highlighted further in that case. In saying that, I still find the Yamaha fine to listen to the 177X and in my main use for speakers it works marvellously for me.

    Finally, many thanks again to @jnak00! And special mention to @Biodegraded...it was nice to meet another local sbaf member. :)
     
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  13. ExoPolitiks

    ExoPolitiks Rando

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    This might be a dumb question but if I connect a BF 2 to the Jotunheim 2 through the balanced input will the Jot 2 output through XLR to active speakers and SE output to an active subwoofer? I realized now the Jot 2 toggle goes between XLR input or SE input and I am not sure if that matters before ordering one.
     
  14. Senorx12562

    Senorx12562 Case of the mondays

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    Yes. One toggle switches between inputs, but unless you want to play from 2 different sources at the same time (not sure why you would) it doesn't affect your use case. The other toggle (other than the one for gain ofc) activates or deactivates both the XLR and SE preouts. They are both always either active or not. Should work fine. Unless I misunderstand your question.
     
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  15. ExoPolitiks

    ExoPolitiks Rando

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    Thanks for the reply. Yeah I wasn't thinking of playing with 2 different sources. I don't know why I thought the outputs might not both work on the Jot 2 at the time the more I think of it. Now just have to decide if I want to wait on 6-8 weeks, also my BF2 keeps disconnecting and not being detected at all so might have to go to a different setup.
     
  16. Senorx12562

    Senorx12562 Case of the mondays

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    I have no experience with the Bifrost 2 (I have a Gungnir MB A2) but I had the og Jot, and currently have the J2. While I think the original did a tiny bit better job "waking up" the hd6xx, with all of my other cans and in all other particulars the Jot2 is significantly better to my old and gradually failing ears. Ofc, the value vis-a-vis the wait is something only you can judge, but I am very happy with it. Both versions have ended up being pretty polarizing though (especially here), and I have a dedicated preamplifier so I am not very familiar w/ your use case, but in terms of sq per $ as just a headamp, I didn't think it had much competition. Ofc, and as always, ymmv. Iirc, you could always order to get in line, and cancel later if you find something different, up until the time it is shipped. Or pay a relatively small restocking fee to return it if you don't like it. Good luck regardless.
     
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    Last edited: Oct 21, 2021
  17. Justin S

    Justin S Facebook Friend

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    First of all, I want to extend my warmest thanks to @jnak00 for sending his personal Jot2 out on a Canadian listening tour. He has been a pleasure to speak with and very generous with this loner. Thanks, jnak00, for allowing me to participate in the tour.

    tldr; The Jot2 brings out the best from non-TOTL Dacs. The modest Geshelli J2 (GJ2) is an engaging, punchy, capable DAC with good technicalities and an entertaining listen through the Jot2. While not a fair fight, the Jot2 brings the GJ2 closer to the Yggdrasil LIM than one might think.

    Intro:

    For homework, I read most of this thread, and I concur with many of the assessments: The Jot2 is a very pleasing amp - it's unbelievably clean, serves up an exciting presentation with pleasant treble, satisfying bass, great separation between the elements of recordings, stages nicely, and sounds all-round coherent and unified.

    Rather than just repeating what you've already read in this thread, I thought to focus on the Jot2's scalability by comparing how it presents music with two wildly different DACs: a Geshelli J2 (GJ2) and a Yggdrasil LIM.
    Amp History:

    I have had a few mid-level amps: OG Burson Soloist and Fun, Drop and Monoprice THX amps, LCX, ZDT Jr., Magni, etc. The most beloved amp I have owned was a Mapletree Audio Design Ear+ HD with upgraded caps and wiring. That thing was excellent and, after selling it, I miss it often. The Schiit Jotenheim 2 bests all these amps save for the Mapletree. I think I prefer the Jot2, but it is hard to say as the Mapletree is no longer here.

    DAC History:

    At one time or another, I've had a Heed Dactilus, Rega R-DAC, Modi 3, Denafrips Ares, Gungnir A2, Bifrost 2, RME ADI-2, Holo Spring LV2, Auralic Ares etc. It took me a while to figure out what I liked and what worked in my system.

    For pleasure listening, I am principally a 2CH guy. My main system is Pi2AES, Yggdrasil LIM, Heed Obelisk SI III, Harbeth P3ESRXDs + REL T7i that I like to listen to in nearfield (3-4' triangle). I like a deep stage, clear imaging, spooky midrange, and not hearing the speakers themselves, which this system does well.

    I like headphones and feel that I am getting closer to a headphone system that I love. The JOT2 + 6xxM/600s puts me another click towards a compelling headphone setup. I am currently trying to figure out what my next headphone move might be. I would like to audition an LCD-X as its sounds from the various reviews, that they would be my cup of tea. I am also curious about the Drop 8XX. I liked the 800s a bunch when I auditioned them a while ago.

    Chains:

    Work:
    W10 ROON>USB>GJ2>BAL>SPL 2 Control>SE>HD600 and 6XXM (kiss)
    W10 ROON>USB>GJ2>BAL>GJ2>BAL>HD600 and 6XXM (kiss)

    Main:
    W10 ROON>LAN>PI2AES>AES>Yggdrasil LIM>BAL>Jot2>BAL>HD600 and 6XXM (kiss)
    W10 ROON>LAN>PI2AES>S/PDIF>GJ2>SE>Jot2>BAL>HD600 and 6XXM (kiss)

    Here are a handful of general listening observations:

    - BAL out is more spacious, more clear, and more engaging.
    - I did not hear much difference between the SE and BAL inputs.
    - I preferred low gain, even with electronic music - there is more space between the elements, and the staging has more relief in low gain.
    - In my initial back and forth with the headamp in the SPL 2Control, I found that Jot2 is quieter, more dynamic (not exaggerated, though), and with a better head-stage. The SPL is a work tool and is no slouch - it is accurate, translates well into the real world and can be very fun to listen to. I have always thought of it as very clean, but the Jot2 reveals that the SPL is a touch furry and gets a bit jammed up with noisy material.
    - When I initially brought the Jot2 to my main system, I had to turn the Yggdrasil off for 5 minutes to re-cable. I turned it back on and let it sit for a couple of hours before listening. It sounded poor with the Jot2 - I thought it was perhaps bad synergy/too much of a good thing. It sounded muffled and congested (I wrote gurgly, grainy mids, and too thick in my notes). I let it sit on for a day and re-did my listening playlist. The difference was remarkable. Ahhh Yggdrasil LIM. Spacious, dynamic, textured and engrossing.
    - The first week with the JOT2, I listened to it with either the GJ2 or the Yggdrasil in isolation. Initially, this was 80/20 in favour of the GJ2 in my office. When listening to the Yggdrasil LIM with the JOT2 in isolation, I found myself wondering if it was that much better than the GJ2.
    - @jnak00 generously offered me more time with the JOT2 so I brought the GJ2 into my main system and spent a couple of nights this weekend A/Bing the GJ2 and Yggdrasil LIM through the JOT2


    A/B sessions:

    I did a couple of A/B sessions in which I picked 3 tracks to listen to all the way through with each DAC and the Jot2. I then did some flipping back and forth and then did some free listening while switch DAC to DAC.

    The three tracks I picked for this were:

    Brian Blade, Landmarks
    Massive Attack, Paradise Circus
    Songs: Ohia, Peoria Lunchbox Blues

    Rather than go into a ton of details about each piece, here are some of the observations I had with each DAC through the JOT2. The differences are mostly subtle, with bass slam, staging and separation being more pronounced.

    GJ2 with JOT2

    - closer than it should be to the performance of the Yggdrasil
    - It's not that the headstage is flatter; it's that there is a bit less texture to all the elements, which has the effects of making things sound a bit less 3D
    - the separation/discreetness of the elements of the recordings are a bit exaggerated - gated would be too strong of a description, but compared to the LIM, there is a subtle discontinuity between the spaces in recordings. This has the effect of making it a bit less coherent than the LIM. This is subtle, and when listening in isolation the GJ2 is satisfying.
    - more detail and sparkle in the treble, never a hint of harshness.
    - a bit more "dry" than the LIM. This can be a plus.
    - tiny bit of sheen, in comparison to the LIM
    - The GJ2 is ultimately totally enjoyable through the JOT2
    - I think the JOT2 highlights the good qualities of this DAC.

    Yggdrasil LIM with JOT2

    - staging is the most noticeable difference. The LIM renders material with more relief which makes the staging very compelling.
    - Breath, trailing reverb, room cues, the stuff around the music are more present with the LIM.
    - The LIM, through the Jot2, has moments of piercing treble which I found strange. I don't get this at all with my 2CH setup. Bit of a head-scratcher.
    - Things sound more "real" with the LIM.
    - The LIM is a champion at rendering complexity - noisy passages are thrilling rather than something to be endured.
    - Greater harmonic complexity - there is more richness in all of the sounds.
    - Ease. Despite the occasional treble weirdness, the LIM through the JOT2 presents material with a sense of ease.


    Notes about the headphones:

    HD600 with the JOT2 - they present a very pleasing headstage. The best I have personally heard from them. My note on this is "Holy f**ing s**t space!". Not only this, but that spooky midrange makes an appearance with both DACs through the JOT2. I have read reports on this thread that some people did not like the 600s with the JOT2. They likely have a higher bar they're referencing. I find them thrilling with the JOT2.

    HD6XXM (kiss) - I would say, again, that the Jot2 makes the 6XXM sound better than I have ever heard them. As is well reported, these can be a little muffled and veiled. The SPL does a great job with them. The Mapletree Audio Design tube amp also worked very very well with both the 600s and the 6xxs. The JOT2, though, really makes me realize that the 6XXs have more levels to them. This is with both the GJ2 and the LIM.

    Conclusion:


    The JOT2 brings out the best from both of these DACs and the 600/6xxs in a way that makes me perfectly happy spending more time listening to headphones.

    I am putting the JOT2 into my shopping list. I do want to see what kind of impression the Geshelli Erish 2 makes when it comes out. It will likely be a choice between the two of them, but I think the Jot2 will be a hard act to follow.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 13, 2021
  18. ColdsnapBry

    ColdsnapBry Acquaintance

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    I picked up a B stock Jotunheim 2 (J2) from Schiit a few weeks ago because I wanted a solid state I can leave on 24/7 for my desk setup. Asgard 3 had that roll for what feels like forever, but now that I've upgraded to a Bifrost 2 and tube amps the RCA output on the Bifrost are claimed. So J2 with it's balanced inputs came in to replace the Asgard 3.

    Interesting enough my J2 arrived from Schiit with what looks like a cheap aftermarket plastic knob attached to it, looks almost like the one posted here a few pages back. It's definitely not the stock knob for the silver or black models. Bit weird that is, hopefully Schiit can get me a quality knob because that's the one thing you interact with on the amp and I'd consider used condition with some scuffs + cheap aftermarket knob shouldn't be B stock.

    Unfortunately I've had some problems with my Bifrost 2, so that's gone back to Schiit, so I'm now using a Modi 3+ in between. With my tube amps I have here - SW51+, Hagerman Tuba and Valhalla 2 - the Modi 3+ is passable to alright sounding. Something I could live with. However, on the J2 (RCA in and balanced headphone jack out): I think the amp is really bringing out what the Modi 3+ actually sounds like. You get that wall of sound, with digital glare at the top, not a whole lot of depth, zero texture and really soft bass impact. While when I had the Asgard 3 -> Modi 3+ I think the Asgard was coloring the sound enough to where it was again sounded alright and passable.

    Some advice for anyone who might have some low to entry level setup and looking for an upgrade path. I would recommend getting your DAC upgraded first, before you jump up to the Jot2. I'm looking forward to hearing the Jot2 with it properly setup through balanced on the Bifrost 2.
     
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  19. señorhifi

    señorhifi Friend

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    uff, yeah, can confirm that a Modi 3+ with a Jot 2 sounds meh. Soft bass, slight edge in the upper midrange, and delta sigma highs (but smoothed over by AKM for you, so no fatigue here even after hours and hours of listening). I find it relaxing yet detailed, but not "Hi-Fi" for sure. Jot2 scales a lot with a better DAC (pssshhhh try Zen Dac Signature :D).
     
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  20. señorhifi

    señorhifi Friend

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    BTW, I wanted to write about the Jot2 for quite a while now, but it's as if I have no clue how it sounds, due to it being really sensitive to DAC changes. Sounds 2D and undetailed out of the generic PC out, 2D and really detailed out of the Modi3+, more 3D with better depth out of the Zen Dac Signature, and 2D with missing treble extension with the Dac Magic Plus. The changes are dramatic with this amp. It's really sensitive to DAC changes.

    I did notice really good subbass definition though (I didn't know my HD650 KISS could do that). This is consistent across all DACs I tried. Depth is consistently better too. Width is really nice actually, way wider than the Magni 3, but not infinitely wide (also depthless!) like the THX AAA stuff. It's also wider with better depth than the iFi Zen Can.

    Also there is an obvious difference between the single ended and balanced out. To me, the SE out sounds strained, as if the amp is trying to force a sharpening or HD filter on me. BAL sounds more effortless, spacious and detailed compared to the SE output. DAC changes are also way easier to hear out using the BAL out. This is all with the HD650 KISS.

    IDK, feels like my DACs all bottleneck the Jot2. Honestly speaking, I highly doubt that I will ever buy another amp now. I cannot afford the kilobuck (more like "kilobucks" in plural actually) stuff, so I basically reached the ceiling here. I have no complains about the Jot2 (using the BAL out with HD650 KISS). This is the first time ever in audio that I have no complains about a piece of gear. Weird.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 26, 2021 at 12:00 PM

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