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Schiit Valhalla and the overly bright mids that are masking the bass

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Has anyone else had a problem with subdued bass from the Valhalla? I was quite disapointed when I first started listening and realized that the bass response was so weak (the shrill painfully piercing highs in some of the Classical stuff that I listen to were not missed quite as much). After hooking up an equalizer, it became aparent that the problem was not a lack of bass but excessive mid-range drowing the bass out. Dropping the mids a notch brought everything to correct ballance, but the sound coming out lost its crisp clarity and became muddy.


The amp has about 100 hours on it and I'm listening to dt880 600's (the Beyers have excellent bass response from every other amp I own).


Will the tubes calm down and become more ballanced with more burn in, would tube rolling fix the problem (I know Schiit advises against it), or do I need to spend money on a quality equalizer with a crap load of bands that will allow me to attack the the offending frequency with more accuracy?

post #2 of 9

Something doesn't sound right.  I have the Valhalla, and yes, right out of the box it's kinda bright (mids or highs, can't remember).  But in my case, the brightness settled down after about 50 hrs.


So you could try to burn it in some more.  Other than that, you could maybe pester Schiit to see what they say.  (They were very responsive to some questions I had.)  Maybe pester them for another set of tubes.

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

 I'm going to try burning it in some more like you suggest (full blast on a pop station for a few days), and see if that makes it any better.


There very well may be something wrong with the tubes, but I would think that swapping them back and forth would bring one channel alive (both tubes on either in or output being defective would be super odd I should think).


Maybe this amp needs bass monsters to be enjoyable. What are you plugging into your Valhalla?   

post #4 of 9

Mostly Grados, but recently I've been spending more time with the DT880/250 and Q701 with the Valhalla.


Good point about the tube swapping.

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

My Grados have the bass with the Valhalla and sound pretty good, but it is slightly muddy and they are not anywhere near as punchy as when I plug them into any of my other amps.


I have come to accept that the crisp crystalline mids are all the Valhalla is going to give me with my 880's, and if I want to bring the sound up to a well rounded ballanced signature, I'm just going to have to buy some thumpy dt770's or 990's. 

I'm also starting to think the people who always respond to the "should I buy a Valhalla?" questions on the forums with "Go buy a Woo WA3" know what they are talking about. (tube rolling allowing you to make it sound however you want). Spilt milk and all that however, since I have committed to the Schiit camp.


Are you getting any bass out of the Q701's when plugged into the Valhalla? Everything I have heard says the 701 is bass lean, and I'm very curious to know if they are giving any up with it.

post #6 of 9

I have to differ with you my friend, I also have been using a Valhalla and Dt 880 600 ohm combination for a year now and I find the bass to be excellent. That said, this is a very subjective thing so it is difficult to compare "opinions", but for what it is worth I love the bass with this combination. I have never felt the mids to be overly presented. I used a few sets of Grados with the Valhalla for a time (HF2 and SR 225i) and while nice, the impedence mismatch could be very apparent at times. You would expect low impedence headphones like Grados to have compromised performance.


Overall I liked the HF2s with the Valhalla, but not anywhere near as much as with the 880s, and I sold my HF2 due to this. Loved the HF2s with my solid state, but I still found the 880s to be more pleasing overall. I hope your Valhalla experience settles in soon for you as I find this amp to be very lovely. I have an SPL Auditor arriving soon so I'll see just how strong my love for the Valhalla really is!

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

I'm not saying that the bass isn't there with the 880 600 Valhalla combo (I can FEEL its pressure in in my ears in exactly the same way and places with my other amps), but I'm not hearing rolling timpani, bass guitar, or double bass as they usually present because the spectrum above is overpowering it. If I invested in a an equalizer that had tons of bands I could probablly nail the hole I'm experiencing, but would rather spend money on headphones trying to find a solution.

I LOVE the 880 Valhalla combo with most Vivaldi and straight up guitar stuff like "Big Love", but something with a delicious bass solo like "Do What You Like" is truly disapointing.


The Valhalla not having a that gooey (and addictive) "tube" sound to start with, I fear you will spend much less time with your Valhall when the Auditor arrives (unless it is too damn honest and rips the soul out of the music). Either way, looking forward to hearing what what your take on the 880 Auditor combo is.       

post #8 of 9

I have always wanted to listen to classical, but sadly, and surprisingly, there are not as many well recorded classical albums as you would expect. My wife plays the violin and other members of her family other instruments as well as singing in choirs, and as you would expect they have planty of classical music, but when I play them, most of them are horrible. Please feel free to suggest any album/label combinations that you know to be well recorded. Somebody I worked with years ago said that some labels are well known for producing good classical recordings (Dutch Gramophone). What artist does Big Love, is that Fleetwood Mac? Also which artist does Do What You Like? I love finding new artists so feel free to suggest away! Cheers.

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

Anything recorded after the mid 80’s (on any label) is going to sound pretty good, but the performances do tend to suck 99 times out of 100. You are right that everything pre 80’s is full of tape hiss etc. but if you want to listen to Classical you have to learn to ignore the recording technology faults and wallow in the performance.  Furtwangler’s Nazi era Beethoven recordings have horrific amounts of trashy hiss and background noise but the performances are light years beyond anything that modern orchestras are crapping out. The way the Valhalla brought Furtwangler’s Beethoven to life and put me in the room with the music is the reason I didn’t take advantage of Schiit’s send it back offer (the fact that I used the vacuum tube foam to make my latest version circumaural ear pads for my Grados played a small part in my decision, but Valhalla 880 Furtwangler combo had already given the will to void the return offer).


Learning to accept the hiss and noise aside, Nils-Erik Sparf doing Vivaldi’s 4 Seasons is stunning in both clarity and performance quality, the sound quality of Bach’s Brandenburg concertos conducted by Claudio Abbado is as stunning as the musicians’ virtuosity, and Gunter Wand conducting Beethoven’s 9th sounds as magnificent as the version is powerful.


Yes Fleetwood Mac (live version)

“Do What You Like” is Blind Faith (basically Cream joined by Steve Winwood singing and playing organ). I use that particular song as a Rock reference because it is a long (and AWSOME) jam with solos from organ, guitar, bass, and drums, and I can hear how each individual instrument is presented by the headphone and amp.

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