Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by ColtMrFire, Aug 18, 2023.
@penguins what did you end up settling on, in terms of push pull / feedback?
Just out of curiosity, what is it about the Yggdrasil that plays to strengths of the MJ3 over the Spring?
I'm curious about the above as it seems to be consistent impressions that the amp sounds OK with the Utopia but isn't ideal. However, it seems like this is in comparison to DNA or other tube amps.
But what about evaluating Mjolnir 3 solely as within the universe of solid state pairings with the Utopia, particularly as against the DSHA-3FN? On paper, it seems like the Mjolnir 3 is a less transparent version of the DSHA-3FN with a little more body/warmth to the sound and with less rounded transients? For some listeners, couldn't that be a good thing for the Utopia, particularly if one is pairing with a more neutral, bright, and/or aggressive DAC (like the Yggdrasil A2/OG) instead of a warm/dark DAC as is often recommended for pairing with the DSHA-3F/N? Take some of the edge off the Utopia and get some warmth/body, but without worrying about tubes basically.
Or is there something else about the sound of the Utopia through the Mjolnir 3 that isn't explained by transparency or perceived frequency response that may explain the apparent lack of synergy?
(Not attacking, just genuinely curious as a Utopia OG / Yggdrasil A2 owner who is interested in the Mjolnir 3 because it reminds me of my ballsy, overbuilt Coda speaker amp.)
It should be taken in context. Most people who have Utopia have TOTL gear or pairings that work. The least expensive pairing "awesome" pairing of Utopia that I can attest to would be one member's system consisting of Yggdrasil GS / DNA Starlett.
To understand further, let's take the HD800S as an example. The HD800S is no longer a darling headphone. It's been around for too long. Yet, I think the HD800S works great from the Mjolnir 3. But yet at the same time, the HD800S is way better from my EC amps. Does this mean that the Mjolnir 3 is merely an OK pairing with the HD800S?
What it comes down is if there is a better amp for Utopia at the same price +/- a few hundred bucks? I'd put forth this challenge to folks saying the pairing didn't do much for the Utopia. This is a totally legitimate question. SBAF members tend to be spoiled. We have too much good stuff.
Finally, source should not be forgotten. With certain amps, source can result in massive changes to the sound. I tried ZMF Verite Closed and ZMF Atrium the other day, using the more open "Marv mesh". This was with the MIB DAC as the source. The Atrium ended up sounding too bright, so I had to install the less open OG mesh. The Verite Closed I would prefer a richer slamming DAC, like maybe if Schiit put in a Nexus output stage on their upcoming Singularity platform. Although it's probably just easier with the Verite with any of my other amps.
So, I own mostly Golden Schlong stuff in the high value middle class - Jot 2, SW51, BF2OG (with primary listening done on HD800SDR and VC Blackwoods). I also have a MM1+Piety for a secondary rig. I have been satisfied and "done" since I got all of these, with nothing really triggering my FOMO until the Mjolnir 3. The price is low enough to tempt and the reviews have really intrigued me. Is the consensus that this is entry level high end/end game for a middle class denizen like myself? I would love to have a single solid state amp as my primary listening device, but it would have to be noticeably better than SW51 to justify the price and hassle of selling things off. It seems like it is based on the thread, but I need that Reddit/Headfi validation to pull the trigger. I would likely use the BF2 for the forseeable future, and am definitely more of a lean-back, comfy listener. I really am just looking for a little more detail and 3D than I am currently getting.
It's certainly one to one and a half tiers above Jot 2. Your source concerns me a bit, not sure BF2OG is a good match, as I understand it's basically LIM which is dark and smoothed, and MJ3 is rounded in the highs. You want an incisive articulate DAC with dynamics or you won't get the substantial gain you want. MJ3 with a wrong source isn't impressive.
MJ3 with the Yggdrasil GS is A++. This is "you wont pry them from my cold dead hands level" for me. Yggdrasil OG only slightly worse. Maybe the GS higher level of "treble fuckery" gives it a synergy edge over the OG but the main reason is the GS's slightly clearer midrange.
Will share more after I listen more and am more sure about what I'm saying.
But as of right now, for Auteur, SE class A instead of push pull, no feedback, either gain setting depending mood / song.
I don't want to re-write my impressions of Holo DACs here, but if you read the corresponding threads for impressions, a lot of the strengths I thought were strengths don't come through fully.
I haven't heard the 3FN and can't comment on if it sounds 100% the same as the 3F, but based on my memory of the 3F, I would pick a 3F for the Utopia over this.
With Yggdrasil GS... Piety<SW51<MJ3 -->HD600/HD800SDR, with each step being substantially noticeably better to my ears, less so when using MM2 (I still hold Modius E only w/Cinemag XLR converter in higher regard than MM2). The $160, $375, $1300 price points should be kept in mind, and in each class of amp I believe these are the the cream of the crop.
The MJ3 makes it easier to discern the differences in DAC's much more effortless than the two lower priced amps. I'm still shocked how well this darkish sounding amp makes small details easily heard.
Strangely enough the MJ3 works very well with the Sony MDR-EX1000 iem, as well as my Fostex RP-KIT50 (basically a internally dampened T40-RP, w/ Mr. Speakers Alpha pads).
I will give you $200 if the Mjolnir 3 isn’t a decent jump from the SW51, assuming you play a bit with the source if the BF2OG doesn’t work with your headphones. Can provide you with a Modius E if needed.
Would upgrading to BF2/64 be a better pairing?
I doubt you'd have to pay out, as I am sure it sounds better, but I appreciate the offer. If I do pull the trigger, I would definitely not mind borrowing a Modius E to test out. I'm not sure I'll ever grab an Yggdrasil due to hobby ADD and limited play money, but the BF 64 card could be something I'd consider if it brought better synergy than the BF2 OG.
I never took the time to plug in my OG BF2 into my MJ3. I had already acquired a Yggdrasil A2 by the time the MJ3 arrived. I did get a chance to compare the BF2 to the Yggdrasil with my SW51+ and Cayin iHA-6 and noticed a positive change pretty distinctly with those two amps. Better bass texture and detail were the most obvious improvements I heard moving up to the Yggdrasil.
Extrapolating from there, I imagine the MJ3 would be even more revealing of an upgraded source. I’m finding the Yggdrasil A2 to be an excellent pairing with the MJ3. All that being said, I certainly wouldn’t hold off buying a MJ3 because you’ll only be using it with an OG BF2. It will probably sound great. I’m sure there are quite a few MJ3 owners using that DAC with no complaints.
Just another BF2 OG data point, but it was my favorite with the MJ3. I also like my vintage EAD DSP-7000, though it’s not as spacious as the Bifrost, which plays well with Mjolnir In that regard. Surprisingly, I did not like the Gungnir A1. I haven’t heard the 2/64, so can’t say how it relates in this context, but I never feel like the OG needs an upgrade with Mjolnir.
BF2OG could work. It's not laid-back, dark, or mellow like the LIM, which didn't work. It's just bassy and rich, but also energetic. I wouldn't disqualify it for use with Mjolnir 3. Yes, BF2OG is probably a DAC I would choose for the SWT51 which is neutralish, but the Mjolnir 3 isn't that dark, warm, or rolled.
Anyone with a 300ohm Sennheiser - can you test and see if you like 1/4" out or 4-Pin. I almost feel like there might be some power compression. I am using a JAR600, so it is very open and possibly the driver is unloading a little too quickly. It might just be psychoacoustics with my mood lately.
All of my XLR headphones all sounded 'off' to me. So - giving that chain (headphones) a break for a little.
With the HD 650 and using the xlr inputs, I am not super confident I could correctly identify which output I was listening to. There might be some difference but the need to level match makes things difficult.
I am going to edit my post, but leave up my ignorant first thought.
Returned to HQP>May>MJ3>Caldera after several weeks away (travel, construction in the house) and I'm even more convinced now that MJ3 and Caldera are an especially fortunate pairing. Listening to somewhat crazy live jazz (https://sluchaj.bandcamp.com/album/openness) and the horns, drums, and strings are all so present but in their different places left-to-right and back-to-front, each pluck, blow, and stroke filling its proper space in time and frequency, no bleeding between instruments. This recording is good, but the gear brings it out to great effect. For this kind of music, MJ3>Caldera bests all headphone gear that I own or can recall hearing.
Man I was really trying to avoid a $3k plus headphone.
If anyone has any MJ3 impressions with the Verite or Atrium - closed or open - I'd appreciate it. I think I would enjoy the Autuer classic with the MJ3 but going back and reading my tour review I saw "Treble isn't as lit up or airy as I normally like, but it is very good and nowhere near a deal-breaker for me"
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