Pros: Great Resolution, Beautiful Finish, and Extremly Well Priced.
Cons: Power switch and gain settings are located on the back of the device.
What this is…
There just aren’t that many reviews of the Valhalla 2 available. I started thinking… I have a Valhalla 2, why don’t I contribute to the same community that has provided this lurker valuable perspective on my headphone purchasing endeavors. So here I am providing perspective on my ownership of the Valhalla 2.
Why did I purchase the Schiit Valhalla 2?
Simple, it got my attention. It is designed and manufactured in the USA, by a very talented team of engineers. It is an OTL that isn’t supposed to sound and perform like an OTL. It is supposed to do things that one wouldn’t expect. Based on the headphones below, you will see that I am testing all of the ones that shouldn’t sound good.
The Fit and Finish
Plain and simple, the team at Schiit Audio have designed the “Valhalla 2” to look and feel high end. The pictures in my opinion will never do this piece of artwork justice. Over the course of my many website and showroom visits I have been hard pressed to find any other headphone amp that looked this nice under the famous 1k mark. Clean lines and subtle accents sum up the look of the Valhalla 2. The volume knob feels firm to the touch and where it isn’t the final note in precision it is by no means a slouch even if it is warm to the touch (I actually enjoy the heat, it lets you know it is there and working). The connections are firm and solid, a cable will not come unplugged if it was bumped or jarred by accident. The addition of the preamp option was an added bonus and I have chosen to connect the device to AudioEngine 2+ powered speakers. This combination is much enjoyed for the 10% of the time that I am not wearing a pair of cans.
Source & Connectivity
Flac/Tidal HiFi -> Windows PC -> Analysis Plus Toslink Optical Digital Cable -> Cambridge Audio 840C -> Analysis Plus Oval One Interconnects -> Schiit Audio Valhalla 2
Cambridge Audio 840C -> Analysis Plus Oval One Interconnects -> Schiit Audio Valhalla 2
Melody Gardot – Good Night
Musica Nuda – Day Tripper
Led Zeppelin – Dazed and Confused
Pink Floyd - Money
Jakob Dylan – On Up the Mountain
Gemma Hayes – This is What You Do
She & Him – I Should Have Known Better
Daft Punk – Harder Better Faster Stonger
Chris Cornell – Imagine
Bjork - Hunter
AKG K 702
Gain = Low
Volume Knob is at 12.
Overall Impression: Leaner is the first thing that comes to mind when listening through the 702.This headphone has great resolution, good separation, and surprisingly good depth. I feel like I am hearing the AKG’s sing. I just don’t feel that the same level of involvement and emotion is there.
Gain = Low
Volume Knob is 11-12 depending on the song.
Overall Impression: The resolution and staging are outstanding.There is truly noticeable depth in the music that I haven’t heard before. These headphones have what I can call exceptional resolution, staging, and separation. I find myself interrupted by smiles on a consistent basis. I have also found myself removing them because of the resolving 3D sound.I am wondering where that came from, then realize it was all in the music. I am happy to say that I am wearing this headphone at my desk for up to 6-8 hours a day plugged into the Valhalla 2.
Gain = Low
Volume Knob is at 9-10 depending on the song.
Overall Impression: Great midrange and hi’s.The Grado apply a level of passion and emotion into the music somehow that is truly magical.Where they don’t resolve quite as well as the AKG, I enjoy the separation, and depth that they do provide.This headphone is just a really fun and enjoyable listen.
Gain = Low
Volume Knob is at 11-12 depending on the song.
Overall Impression: Where this headphone makes for a very musical and fatigue free combination, I find that the soundstage isn’t as wide or deep as that of the other headphones.Going back to this headphone is very tough as this headphone just isn’t the same league when it comes to sound staging.
The resolution, depth, and staging that the Valhalla 2 provides is just short of a miracle. I have a hard time imagining better amplification, even though I know it exist. The airy, atmospheric sound that flows through the LCD-2 and SR225E is absolutely enjoyable. These headphones keep wonderful pace through Bjork’s “Hunter”, resolve female vocals and capture the environments essence. Where all of the headphones listed don’t have the low end depth in their basket of tricks, the amp generously lets them shine and as a result I get to enjoy my music. I don’t find the Valhalla 2 to be a limitation, as all of these headphone combinations offered an extremely low noise floor. Somehow this amp continues to surprise me, especially when I have taken the weekend off from listening. Where I am tempted at times to pull the trigger on the Sennheiser HD650’s or Beyerdynamic T1’s just to hear the difference, I am able to resist.
What can I say, I find a smile on my face every Monday-Friday when I check into my office and I don’t have to attend a teleconference.
Because it means that I have the opportunity to sit down and crunch out actual work… wait for it… while listening to my Cambridge Audio 840C/Valhalla 2/Audeze LCD-2 combination. For the money, I am a very happy camper. I do plan on pursuing and testing solid state equipment like the Auralic Taurus MK II, Bryston BHA-1, Schiit Mjolnir, and Burson Audio Soloist. Until then I will remain oblivious to the idea of better sound and continue to embrace my Monday-Friday smiles. I hope you find value in my feedback and perspective. Please feel free to hit me up with any questions and I am always looking for feedback. Cheers!