Schiit Mani 2 Review

Discussion in 'Vinyl Nutjob World: Turntable and Related Gear' started by purr1n, Feb 23, 2022.

  1. MellowVelo

    MellowVelo Friend

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    Thanks for the great write-up. What gain setting are you using? I’m guessing one of the higher settings with your Denon 103 cartridge.

    I’m interested in the Mani 2, but I’m concerned about the RFI you’re picking up. My home is particularly susceptible to RFI issues, but I also use a moving-magnet cartridge, so I’m able to use lower gain settings.

    Interestingly, the Nighthawk has always given me issues with RFI, but the Mani 1 solved my problems. I’m hoping that the Mani 2 can do the same.
     
  2. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    I’m at high gain across the board, still playing between 200 ohm and 47k, not sure there is a difference to my ears after all. I never had RFI issues with the Nighthawk, funny how that happens.
     
  3. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    With the 103, seems to be a scale with diminishing effect as we go up in resistive loading. I like 500-ohms with the 103, but as you said, there isn't a big difference if we go up or down.

    More granular adjustability would be nice, but can't complain for a $150 product. We could put the PCB into a fancy big jewel encrusted chassis with nice switches and way more granular settings.

    If you want a warmer sound, the iFi Zen phono is a good choice. Or we can replace the OPA1612 with a warmer sounding opamp with a few db noise penalty.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2022
  4. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    No, once the unit warmed up I much prefer it to be neutral as my system already leans on the warm side and I don't want to tip it too far. As imperfect as vinyl is, this sounds so much better than any digital setup I've ever had.
     
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  5. MellowVelo

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    Can anybody offer a comparison of the Mani 2 and the Soundsmith phono stages? I've been interested in the Soundsmith units for a while. If I recall, one of the Soundsmith units received an honorable mention or something in the Golden Schlong awards, but I haven't seen many impressions here on SBAF. From what I gather, many people consider the Soundsmith units to be great value for the money. That said, they're also like 5x more expensive than the Mani.
     
  6. tommytakis

    tommytakis MOT: E.T.A Headphones

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    funny you should ask, I actually have both mani 2 and a soundsmith phono otw for a shootout
     
  7. MellowVelo

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    Fantastic! I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts.
     
  8. neogeosnk

    neogeosnk Friend

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    I have the 2M black, wonder what would be the best Mani 2 settings to tame some of the treble peaks it has.
     
  9. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    The Mani is so good it convinced me I needed to upgrade my turntable. The upgraded turntable has not convinced me I need to upgrade my phono. The Mani really scales up.
     
  10. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    Have these come in yet, Tommy?

    I continue to be incredibly impressed with the Mani 2. The soundstage is huge and the layering is a cut above any DAC I've ever heard, I'm experiencing fine gradations of layers that far more subtly suggest distance from the listener, a much more fluid presentation than I'm used to.

    And I'm honestly hearing the best bass reproduction I've ever had in my system. Forget the Gungnir A1 or the BF2, the bass on the Mani is thunderous but also deeply textured and staying in its groove (pun intended) so it does not bleed into the mids. I've had moments where I've done a double take from the bass coming out of my records. I always thought vinyl bass was theoretically inferior to digital because it has to be summed to mono, but the real world experience is telling me the opposite.

    This isn't an apples to apples comparison, because we're talking a different turntable, arm, cart, head shell, and phono pre, but I also don't recall this level of bass performance from the VPI Classic 2 with periphery ring and center weight when I had that system. It's very possible the VPI could produce this kind of bass with the Mani 2 and a similar cart.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2022
  11. tommytakis

    tommytakis MOT: E.T.A Headphones

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    mani came in few days ago, have left it burning in. New cartridge and phono just got delivered today so I’ll spin them after work!
     
  12. MellowVelo

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    FWIW, I’ve had a similar experience. I used to have a VPI Classic 3, periphery ring, center weight, and SDS. The bass on my current Dual 701 is more authoritative, and that’s with the same cartridge and phono preamp. I think that the direct-drive turntable might have something to do with it. The Classic has a more liquid, organic presentation overall, but my current setup wins for speed, imaging, and the ability to grab you by the balls and rock. I prefer the latter.
     
  13. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    I suspect you’re right about DD vs belts, but I didn’t want to make such a pronouncement when there were so many different variables in my chain.
     
  14. MellowVelo

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    I agree that it’s wise to be conservative in your pronouncements. :) I don’t claim to be an expert here, but I can say that I’ve observed a similar phenomenon on other DD tables.
     
  15. MellowVelo

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    @tommytakis which Soundsmith preamp did you purchase? And what cartridge are you using for the comparison?
     
  16. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    If you came from the RSA Nighthawk, the Mani 2 will sound like it hits like a freight train and not only that, with more clarity and texture (Nighthawk smooths things over slightly in the lows). Nighthawk was a bit lean sounding - not necessarily a bad thing because I found synergies with warmer tables and carts. This is why I still have my Nighthawk.

    It depends upon the table. The classic belt driven Linn LP12 can slam too, but not sure it's good quality slam. A heavy copper plinth / idler wheel on a massive plinth slams like crazy, maybe even too much. Generally less things to go wrong with DD. Because of this, I'm still trying to settle on a DD table without going nuts.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2022
  17. tommytakis

    tommytakis MOT: E.T.A Headphones

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    MMP3 for phono and The Voice for cartridge that I received as gifts from a friend
     
  18. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    DDs excel in the sonic areas I value, and I always end up preferring them. Of course there are exceptions, but I’m very happy with DD. Which tables are you considering?

    And you nailed it with the Nighthawk/Mani 2 comparison. It hits like a freight train but I can also hear the train coming much further away because of the huge soundstage. Really exceptional performance.
     
  19. MellowVelo

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    That’s a generous friend! You’ve got a killer setup there. Now I’m really excited for your impressions. :)
     
  20. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    I suspect the Nighthawk could be implementing the RIAA in the active feedback loop. It's limited by the low voltage from the battery. The Mani 2 gets higher voltage rails to play with and implements the RIAA passively, in between the opamps. The Sutherland Ph3d did the same thing. Passive vs active tend to have different sound.

    Eying Micro Seiki DD tables. Those vintage motors aren't made anymore.
     

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