Schiit Valhalla 2

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

  1. DoubleY

    DoubleY Rando

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    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

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    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019
  3. DoubleY

    DoubleY Rando

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  4. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    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
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  5. m17xr2b

    m17xr2b Friend

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    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.
     
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  6. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better gear impressions than you

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    Learn something new everyday.
     
  7. m17xr2b

    m17xr2b Friend

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    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

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    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.
     
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  9. DoubleY

    DoubleY Rando

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    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

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    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.
     
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  11. YMO

    YMO Friend

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    Hey fam. Was going to post this in the All Advice Tread, but atm it is being bombarded with crap that I can't just tolerate to read.

    So, this been out for many years. Are users of the HD600/HD650 still pretty happy with it? I have a lot of thoughts in my head, but I was thinking getting an used V2 for HD600 (and maybe pick up an used HD650 for giggles), get the Bifrost 2 to run RCA to V2 and then balanced out for the THX AAA for my IEMs.

    I saw a lot of recommendations for tubes, but does at least the stock tube make the music more relaxed like a tube sound?
     
  12. Mithrandir41

    Mithrandir41 Friend

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    The Valhalla 2 with stock tubes is really not a very relaxed sounding amp. It's quite forward sounding, with a slightly grainy texture.
     
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  13. YMO

    YMO Friend

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    Really good to know. Would be curious to hear from others on the V2 before I go back to the All Advice Thread with some recommendation requests.
     
  14. Mithrandir41

    Mithrandir41 Friend

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    It's still a good recommendation with the 650. Probably the best sounding OTL at that price. When you compare it to something like the crack, it's faster and more refined sounding.
     
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  15. YMO

    YMO Friend

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    Great. I might do the 650 next year since I'm curious on it (unless do the MD 6XX one). I have a lot of thinking and gameplans so I'm doing my thinking now and then I'll plan it out in the future.
     
  16. Mithrandir41

    Mithrandir41 Friend

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    Just get the 6XX. Save the money.
     
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  17. JoshMorr

    JoshMorr Friend

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    Valhalla2 is opposite of Bottlehead Crack in OTL world, but still has some tube characteristics. Those characteristics are good detail, good imaging, natural sound. Valh2 is more forward, sharper, and neutral than most expect a tube amp to sound like, but its because they are expecting lush, warm, laid back side of tubes.

    Others can speak up on tubes, but start with stock. This isnt a big tube rolling amp, and you wont see major diffe differences like IHA-1, Feliks, SET amps etc.

    This this would probably be a better match for hd600 than THX789, but try it and report back.
     
  18. YMO

    YMO Friend

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    Hey Josh, only one problem with the sound of the V2, it sounds very similar to me of a THX789 that's on my computer desk. The THX with my Mod 3 is mostly neutral with a warm tone, excellent micro detail, and doesn't attempt to color the sound of the Modi 3 too much.

    Sounds like I shouldn't proceed with this then.
     
  19. Mithrandir41

    Mithrandir41 Friend

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    I think that's the wrong conclusion. It's not very tubey sounding, but it's still a tube amp, and it's going to have different qualities than a THX amp. It's designed for high impedance cans more so than something like the 789. Give it a try if you feel inclined
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2019 at 1:37 PM
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  20. SSL

    SSL Friend

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    @YMO

    I still run 650 and V2. Still happy with it. While the sound is not relaxed, it has obvious tube qualities, particularly the sense of layering and microdynamics. Basically the V2 is very complimentary to the laid-back, mid-bass focused sound of the 650.

    That's for the 650, though. 600 might be a different story.
     
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