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Waste of my time

A Review On: Schiit Asgard 2

Schiit Asgard 2

Rated # 12 in Desktop Amps
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Audio Quality
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Price paid: $274.99
Posted · Updated · 46806 Views · 4 Comments

Pros: Weighs a ton, Very good build quality

Cons: Fuzzy/congested/blurry sound. Very colored. Too warm sounding.

Got the unit in and on day one it randomly sounded OK and then would crap out on me. In total I wasted probably 6 hours of my day off trying to fix issues I thought were a fault of my computer. I kept thinking that I had fixed it and then the issue would come back. First I thought it was interference with my ethernet port, bad usb cable, bad hub, noisy power etc. I tried every combination I could find. I even attached the amp to different wall outlets and with and without noise filtering on my surge protectors. In the end there is NOTHING wrong with my setup.


On day one the sound would randomly feel as if all the weight of the music was being sucked out. No life at all to it. Background details seemed to get "lost". Then 5 minutes later (same song) it would be fine. The sound would alternate between sounding good to bad and not due to variations in recording. I could switch to a different amp using the same usb port and DAC and it'd be perfect! On day two at one point it sounded great for 45 minutes and then went back to normal.


I thought maybe it was noisy power or something but I got the A2 to be dead silent. I did notice an improvement in sound when I used cables with tons of shielding and USB cables with ferrite beads. It didn't last long though. Yes, I tried many different cables.


At times the bass would randomly get bloated and the low mids would get shoved forward somehow. At one point I was sure that my A2 had died. Nope.


So I gave my ears and amp a rest and tried again the next day with my HD-650. Same results but even worse sound compared to the Q701.


I tried Xbox 360 Optical to E17 DAC to Asgard 2. This combination was awful and warmth overdose. Fallout 3 seemed incredibly muffled and dark. First time I've ever heard bass bleed in that game and I use my HD-650 with it all the time. It felt like everything was abnormally thick/full. More than it should be. E17 has some warmth, but not a lot. Switching to the Q701 was a little better.


I then tried a docked Ipod Touch 2G to A2. IMO the 2G is kind of bright. Not any warmth at all coming from it's amp/dac. Similar sound. Still got that muffled/fuzzy sound from my HD-650. Closed in soundstage and lacking detail. Just sounded too dark.


I also tried a Denon 1920 CD player to A2. A little better, but the A2 seemed to be giving everything it's own coloration. The bass from each setup wasn't very well controlled at all.



HD-650/Q701 sounded amazing from the O2 and Micro Amp with not much change between them. I understand that maybe the A2 is not meant to be 100% transparent, but not sure. Please note that I would switch to other amps and everything was perfect so it's not an issue with my ears or setup. At times I felt my ears were playing tricks on me but that's not the case.


So in the end I returned it and the unit is fine. I guess the A2 sound is just not for me. After all that time i'm out of about $68. Not a big deal. Return shipping costs about $35 (should have went UPS/Fedex) insured and you have the 5% restock (which is perfectly fair). I wish I could say I just had a lemon but guess not. Perhaps i'm too picky, but I don't think so. I also spent maybe $50 on a new powered hub and RCA and USB cables to make sure it wasn't my fault. Couldn't wait for Monoprice so I had to buy overpriced stuff locally. I even bought a new USB card and no change in the audio.


With how it is I imagine it would OK for me with a Grado or Beyerdynamic DT-880 or something considered brighter/thinner. I guess I just didn't like it with the 598, DJ100, HD-650 and modded Q701. I thought the Magni was pretty OK and felt like it sounds better than the Asgard1/2 but it's not warm at all (don't care) to me and is a LITTLE bright/thin. The O2 and Micro Amp are close to perfect. To me the Micro Amp is like an O2 on steroids and with all those rough edges taken off.


I feel a bit bad reviewing this but why should I? I spent my hard earned money on the amp and it didn't work out. I use to have a lot of money but now i'm mostly on a budget. I have nothing against Schiit and I love their Modi. I should have just gotten a Bifrost instead.


BTW I had an Asgard 1 years ago and didn't like that either so I guess it makes sense why I wouldn't like the Asgard 2. I did feel it was fair to give it another chance.


EDIT: The review details are messed up so don't go by that. I gave the Audio Quality a 2 out of whatever.


EDIT 2: My only idea as to why this didn't sound good or randomly bad is due to external interference. Not from noisy power or computer etc. None of my other amps have any issues. Probably impossible but that's all I could come up with. Like I said before it SEEMED to sound best with ferrite core USB cables, heavily shielded cables etc.


I live in a 3 story building with 12 apartments total.


What did you think of the Matrix M Stage? Have you tried it yet. I was suprised at how... fuzzy and warm it really was. First time I listened to my NFB 10ES2 I was suprised at how warm the Matrix [Lme 49990 op amps] sounded again'st it :O and the bass was had a little extra decay on the M Stage as well, it was a good sounding Amp though, paired REALLY nice with my w1000x [which does NOT like my 10Es2, the upper mid dip of the w1000x is really obvious out of an super clean amp
Still even the M Stage was not blurry, it was just warm. [gawd I would hate to hear the M Stage with the STOCK op amp which is even warmer than the LME 49990 I had] 

Still a shame to hear the A2 you got sounded... well like that! <.<
I still imagine i'm not hearing the A2 like everyone else is, so I don't know what to think. All I can report is how I heard it. Kind of hate doing these reviews. I'm sure everyone had a better experience than me!
I haven't heard the Matrix M-Stage yet but I may order that. I'm afraid that it MIGHT be too dark but people who have it say it's really not. It actually uses the same op-amp as my current favorite amp but that never means anything.
What I really love is the O2/Micro Amp (+upgraded power supply) sound. Some people say the A2 is warm and some say NO. If I had read beforehand it's warm or close to dark I would have avoided it. I did do my research.
One amp I might get is the Leckerton UHA-6S MII. Kind of pricy but it might be something i'd like. Some think it's actually better than the O2.
I should point out that I rarely like warm sounding gear. The E17 is the max for me. I even disliked the HRT MSII with some headphones because of it's warmth. HD-650 on a warm sounding amp is a big no-no for me. I guess some love that.
I own the 02+oDAC. I also own the bifrost and asgard.
The oDAC+02 is leaner but not in a good way, bro. The voices sound too dry and without musicality in a direct comparison. You should give it more time before evaluating a piece of gear so rapidly. As a music producer, I can tell you this is a great amplifier for the money, And, like you, when I first heard the sound it sounded "wierd". As time progressed, however, I noticed is was better than I initially thought. This always happens when we experience new things, It's just human nature. 
Did you ever think it might be your DAC? No offense but this review seems unfair to a quality amp with nice clean gain, maybe slightly warm but not far from neutral. I'm using this DAC with a Theta DAC now and have an EAD CD-1000 otw ($2000 MSRP in 90s money). I've heard the O2 and ODAC (neutral, uninviting sound and no soundstage depth like higher end DACs) but hey maybe a more neutral drier sound is your taste. In the end YMMV and long live Schiit!
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