Schiit Valhalla 2

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

  1. YMO

    YMO Friend

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    Thanks man. I'm going to do more research (plus figure out the spacing in my new apartment that I'm moving with my GF) to see if I want to do the big desk setup or continue to focus on IEMs at this time.
     
  2. treboR

    treboR Friend

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    I highly recommend it for the HD650, but let me explain.

    I initially bought the Valhalla 2 back in April with the Bifrost Multibit and HD650. It seemed like the best bang for the buck option. Unfortunately that setup gave me too much fatigue (esp with female vocals) but I later realized my issues were with the forward and sharp presentation of the Bifrost Multibit. It also sounded cold and sterile. There was little emotional involvement in the music for me.

    After detouring to HE-6 land and being completely satisfied there, I came back to the Valhalla 2 with the HD650/HD800 for both "background listening" (by that I mean music playing while surfing the web or doing other shit) and gaming.

    Paired with the Gungnir Multibit A1, there was this beautiful liquid sound with the HD650. Reminds me a bit of fluidity of the Convert-2. It seems the Valhalla 2 synergizes very well with a DAC that is warm and dark (so if you get the Bifrost 2, should be the ideal match). My Modi 3 is OK with Valhalla 2 but if I'm honest it doesn't hold a candle to the Gungnir. The layering, microdynamics, the detail, and headstage are really good. The headstage of the HD650 is already pretty compact but it definitely opens up with the Valhalla 2, there's much more width and height. I also don't get that "blob-like" effect as I did with the Magni 3, where it sounds too overdamped in a few areas spatially and moves around like a lava lamp.

    So yeah with the Bifrost 2 (which from impressions here has the tonality of the Gungnir Multibit A1 but doesn't have that dull veil from the Gungnir's SE outputs) it would be a killer combo.

    I can't comment on rolling tubes. I'm just going to keep the stock tubes as I have read rolling different tubes doesn't make too much of a difference. That money could be saved to get a better amp.

    FWIW.
     
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  3. RatSalad

    RatSalad Almost "Made"

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    I really liked the gold lions with Valhalla 2 and HD6xx. It sorted out the thinner sound of the mids the amp can show sometimes. It's only weekness besides slight grain which didn't bother me. At the time it was the best thing ever heard. If you use Only hd600/650 it's pretty great sounding amp. The liquid platinum I moved to is better in most ways but with certain recordings the valhalla 2 had a transparency or 3d holographic presentation that was killer. I only use the LP as a reference because I haven't heard any better amps yet :) plus I needed amp for LCD2 also and it's good with both. Going back to the Valhalla 2 with HD6xx I was very impressed with how well it could hang for basically half the price.
     
  4. I_want_all_the_tacos

    I_want_all_the_tacos Friend

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    I agree with what everyone else is saying, Valhalla 2 is arguably the best tube amp for HD6XX if you favor stage, layering, microdynamics, and clarity. A good, clean solid state like THX will beat it out in bass slam and attack, but it will be comparatively much more flat and clinical sounding compared to what Valhalla 2 does. Because V2's base characteristic is to be a bit dry, lean, and spacious in the highs, I find it pairs really well with darker, thicker, richer sounding cans like HD650 and ZMF Atticus IMO. And as other have said, I didn't find V2 to change a ton with tube rolling so I just used some cheap 6CG7 tubes and called it a day.
     
  5. Brian D

    Brian D Rando

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    This may not be the best place for this question, but how big of a difference is the veiling? I have a Gungnir MB A1, and until recently I was using the balanced out into a 2 channel setup. For various reasons that setup is being sold and I'm going back to headphones, after much reading here I decided to start with a baseline of Vali 2 and HD650. Is it worth restricting myself to balanced amps because of the veil, or is the synergy of the V2 (for instance) greater than the drawbacks of using the SE outputs? I'm not doing anything until I've broken my new setup in but it's been in the back of my mind.
     
  6. treboR

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    I've heard complaints that the Valhalla 2 doesn't have have enough bass slam or impact for the HD650s. But let me offer a different take on this.

    First of all, I think we should give up on chasing the amp that can give us the best possible bass with the HD650. I say this as a recovering basshead. The bass is arguably the weakest aspect of the headphone, although I've grown accustomed to it. Now paired with a decent source like the Gungnir Multibit, it delivers amazingly smooth, liquid basslines and draws out impressive detail. Sure it doesn't slam or hit as hard as the HE-6 does, but it's still plenty serviceable.

    To be frank, I've given up caring about the bass from the HD650.

    But still the Valhalla 2 is no slouch in the bass. It certainly does not hit like a pillow. It might be just a tiny bit soft for some folks tastes. If you prioritize pummeling slam, then you might want to look at a Mjolnir 2. And maybe a different headphone.

    I bought the Valhalla 2 to take advantage of the strengths of the HD650, not to alleviate its shortcomings in bass.

    And I have to admit the mids from the HD650 with Valhalla 2 eclipse my HE-6 rig. There's a richness that imparts a more lively sound from the midrange. HE-6 is a bit flat in comparison, but this might also be a Vidar weakness, so I dunno.

    If you have the Gungnir Multibit A1, I'd say stick with it. It's not a make or break it thing. Maybe someone can chime in on who has done a true apples to apples comparison between the balanced and single ended outputs with the same amp and headphone. I've plugged in the Gungnir to both my monitors and HE-6, and it's definitely an improvement which is no surprise since the Gungnir was designed to be hardware balanced. If you do buy the Valhalla 2 and don't want to upgrade the amp in the future to a balanced one, maybe sell the Gungnir and get a Bifrost 2. Folks who have owned both DACs have said the Bifrost 2 sounds the same as the Gungnir Multibit A1 but with some improvements in clarity: see this post for someone who had both DACs with Valhalla 2 and HD650.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2019
  7. YMO

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    Thanks everyone. I'm going to review the following to see if this is the direction that I want to go.
     
  8. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    I don't think it's so much the lack of bass slam as it is the grainy timbre on top of the sort of lean, weak sounding nature that kills it for some folks (like myself). I mean, I listened to the prototype SW amp quite a bit even with it's audible bass roll off, just because it's timbre was good.
     
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  9. Magnetostatic_Tubephile

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    For me, the primary issue definitely was the perceived bass roll off. It just didnt sound 'balanced' enough tonally due to subjectively 'missing' deep bass, making it more of a specialist amp than a primary, versatile choice. Also, macrodynamics were not all that strong with Valhalla 2.

    With the right tubes, I didnt found treble problematic. Not perfect but not as problematic as @Hands feels about it.
     
  10. SSL

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    I like the EH 6CG7 in the V2. Definitely addresses (but does not fully fix) some of the common complaints. There are tradeoffs, though; incrementally less sense of space and possibly less presence. In exchange the bass and body are bumped up a notch, while the dryness and grain are taken down a notch.

    In terms of the overall difference this tube makes: I'd rather switch to a different amp than go back to the stock tubes.
     
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  11. RedFuneral

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    How does the staging compare in an OTL like the Valhalla 2 compared to a transformer coupled or hybrid amp? I favor expansive somewhat distant staging and reading here I'm getting the sense this is more about 3D projection.
     

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