Schiit Valhalla 2

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by Cspirou, Oct 8, 2015.

  1. DoubleY

    DoubleY Rando

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2019
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    Bulgaria
    Hi fellas!

    First post here for a new Valhalla 2 owner. Got my unit used and it came with some russian 6N6P and 6N1P tubes installed (not the stock ones). I'm totally new in the tube amp stuff, so please tell me if I'm wrong, but I think the tubes need replacing, cause I'm getting a distortion on higher volumes, which I didn't get on my old Magni 2 amp. Waited for the tubes to warm up (2-3 hours even), but the distortion doesn't go away. It's mainly present on low impedance headphones (DT770 32Ohm) and not that noticeable on high impedance ones (HD650). Again, no distortion whatsoever on either of these pairs of headphones on my Magni 2. So first question is - am I right by thinking the problem comes from the tubes and if yes, do I need to change both, or just the 6N1P pair?

    And now about tubes... from the little time going through some topics in different forums, searching for consensus about tubes that are liked by the majority of people who tried them, it seems that the JJ E88CC Gold Pins, or Genalex Gold Lion E88CC are some pretty decent options. I'm definitely planning to upgrade the russian ones that the unit came with, but am pretty low on budget, so getting a single decent pair would be enough for now. Here are some specific questions about the tubes in general:

    • Do I need to change both 6N6P and 6N1P to hear a noticeable difference in sound, or swapping the 6N1P only would be enough?
    • When buying a pair of tubes, is it necessary for them to be matched?
    • Does gold pins make a huge difference compared to regular ones on a same model tubes?
    • Is it advisable to buy NOS tubes, or it's better to find used ones? If used, what should I look for (how much time should they've been used at most)?
    • Definitely subjective, but if you were able to buy a single pair of Input tubes (budget ones), which do you think work best with the Valhalla 2 and bring the best out of the HD650 and HD800S (planning on buying those in the future lol)
    Thanks for reading and hopefully someone will reply to this wall of text :)

    P.S. Anyone selling a decent cheap pair of tubes in Europe? Bit broke atm, but would try to save up some funds for a buy.
     
  2. jexby

    jexby Posole Prince

    Staff Member Friend JK47
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    4,217
    Dislikes Received:
    28
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    CO
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019
  3. DoubleY

    DoubleY Rando

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2019
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    Bulgaria
  4. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    47,108
    Dislikes Received:
    73
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Antarctica
    On distortion, how loud until it happens? This should not happen with the cans described. What is the nature of this distortion? Does it happen with both high and low gain? What's your source? If you get distortion at normal listening levels, then something is wrong and send amp and tubes back to Schiit.

    As far as NOS, authentic new old stock can be extremely expensive for 6922 / 6DJ8 types. Whether buying NOS or used, buy from a trusted source.

    For new production tubes, the gold pins from a brand seem to be of higher quality. Leave the power tubes. Change the driver tubes or make the driver tubes the priority.

    As far as matching, unless the seller can be very specific about what they mean by matching, that is actually indicating transconductance and emission and test variables such as plate voltage, cathode, etc. then it's all bullshit as far as I am concerned. The Valhalla 2 should be OK without matching.

    I might avoid Genalex with Valhalla 2. It's a great tube, among the best new production tubes, but bright sounding. JJ gold pins is a better overall choice, although the Genalex might be better with the HD650.

    It is a relatively cheap amp. No need to go overboard. SBAF folks would advise that you spend $500 on content than $500 on tubes. The Valhalla is a great match with the Senns. Expensive tubes are not necessary.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019
    DoubleY and Richgard like this.
  5. m17xr2b

    m17xr2b Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2016
    Likes Received:
    2,064
    Dislikes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    United kingdomland of fish and chips
    I never got the whole matching bit or why it's important apart from having the same number on paper. I've ran input tubes where one tested to spec and the other almost dead, couldn't hear any different between channels.
    I'm currently using a pair of AD1 tubes where one tests(on my testers) 20% over spec and the other is at 75% of new value, swapping channels I can't disgusting them and I'd fail a blind test.
    Matching is overrated, buy singles for better value.
     
    SSL likes this.
  6. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better gear impressions than you

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2016
    Likes Received:
    2,229
    Dislikes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Learn something new everyday.
     
  7. m17xr2b

    m17xr2b Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2016
    Likes Received:
    2,064
    Dislikes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    United kingdomland of fish and chips
    In theory, with power tubes at least, I don't know about input tubes, if the tubes are not matched you have different current flowing depending the amp bias and the lower emissions one should not have the same amount of low end response.

    On the Bottlehead crack I have one 6080 tubes that tests 80%/100% and it sounds great. Also having matched values on dual triode tubes such as 6DJ8 etc. is extremity rare from my experience with 6SN7 tubes, 10%+ variance is the norm.
     
  8. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    47,108
    Dislikes Received:
    73
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Antarctica
    I'm not too concerned about emissions because most amps are auto-biased and one is supposed to tweak the bias on fixed-bias tube amps. However, the lower emissions tubes, in theory, are not going to last as long.

    Where I do have a problem with "matching" is with transconductance or "gain". We almost never see the results of this test (mainly because most testers don't test for this). This can be particularly troublesome with small signal tubes with high gain, e.g. in cases where the triodes of x2 triode tubes are totally off from each other. It results in channel imbalance that can be a few db off. I bought a stash of WE396a a while back. I'd say a third of them are messed up in this sense, so messed up that I would feel that I would need to disclose the differences and sell them at a huge discount.
     
    jexby likes this.
  9. DoubleY

    DoubleY Rando

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2019
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    Bulgaria
    Thanks a lot for all the info. Had a friend who came by to test the Valhalla with his LCD-XC an hour ago. He experienced the same as what I did with the DT770. Distortion happens on pretty high volume (e.g. 3 o'clock + on low gain and 1 o'clock at high gain). He for example wasn't able to hear ANY distortion with my HD650 at extremely high volume no matter if low or high gain was used. So probably not present on them at all.

    Someone in the purpose advice thread suggested the following:
    So I guess that might be the reason behind the distortion that happens on both my DT770 and my friend's LCD-XC.
     
  10. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    47,108
    Dislikes Received:
    73
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Antarctica
    It's the can impedance. Valhalla not optimal for low impedance cans. It's meant for and quite fantastic with the 250-ohm or 600-ohm Beyers and 300-ohm+ Sennheisers.
     
    Richgard, ultrabike and DoubleY like this.

Share This Page