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Valhalla is a step up from Asgard, but small step

A Review On: Schiit Valhalla

Schiit Valhalla

Rated # 4 in Desktop Amps
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Pros: Wider soundstage, better dynamics

Cons: Not as warm and cuddly as I hoped

I'll start off by saying I prefer solid state to tube. I always found tube to be rather limiting and muddy, and I'm sure its just because I haven't listened to or owned really good tube gear.

I started off my Schitt journey with the Asgard, then got the Bifrost, and then decided to try the Valhalla. I found the Asgard/Bifrost combination to be a bit dry and clinical for my tastes. I wanted something a bit (as the marketing went) red dress in a smoky room... hehe. So after some hemming and hawing and saving, I splurged for the Valhalla. I figured I could sell my Asgard to make up some of the money....

Well I was impressed. But not how I expected to be. The sound was more dynamic, more full, but I really didn't pick up any of the red dress and smoky room "life/lushness/organic/etc" I was hoping for. I still find the sound to be a bit on the clinical side for my tastes. I can't argue - this Valhalla sounds better than the Asgard, I am hearing more in my music than I did with the Asgard, but it wasn't a huge upgrade. If I was to do it again, I would get the Asgard and be happy with it. But Valhalla is a BIT better, so of course I have to keep the Valhalla after listening to it. haha.

The Valhalla chassis gets every bit as warm as the Asgard, but the Asgard is warm on the bottom and the Valhalla is warm on the top. I have to be a bit more cautious about leaving it on, as it will burn out the tubes quicker of course. So at lunchtime, I turn it off, where with the Asgard I left it on without worry.

Headphone-wise I used it with a variety of cheaper units:
Panasonic RP-HTTF600, Monoprice 8323, Beyerdynamic (DT770 250 ohm, DT880 250 ohm, DT990 600 ohm), Grado SR80i, AKG271 MKII, Bowers & Wilkins P5, Sennheiser HD-280. The Valhalla handled all of them well, even the 600 ohm. I never felt like I was pushing the amplifier very hard with any of these. I also have some JH Audio JH-5 IEMs but I didn't test those because they are not supported on this amp.

I listen primarily to 24/96 vinyl rips that I make on my home system (Clearaudio TT, Grado Reference cart, E-mu 1212m ADC, after a thorough vacuum clean of the vinyl - i am pretty anal about it). I listen to a variety of genres, and find myself enjoying this amp for rock/pop type of music. Like most of the Schiit offerings, it doesn't have qualities that (to me) favor certain types of music - very neutral sounding.

In conclusion, the tubes adding something to the sound, but not quite what I was looking for. I wish I could have some more Red Dress and less Lab Coat, but honestly overall its a very capable unit for the price and regularly brings smiles to my face. The more I turn the volume knob, the better it sounds - and isn't that what its all about?

1 Comment:

Tubes generally have more bass output that is the muddyness you describe. Solid State amps are more sterile sounding, less natural. 
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