Originally Posted by Radio_head
The Vali has tubes. It has two RCA inputs and a 1/4" jack so it can also be used as a headphone amp. On the front is a volume knob, this is to make the noises louder or softer with the push of a button. On the back is a switch to turn the amp on or off, putting the power in the hands of the user. The tubes in the vali are not just decorations. If they were they would be on the outside. They are part of the circuit and provide voltage gain. This is engineer-talk for providing voltage gain. The amp is Class AB. Here are some numbers to consider:
Hooked on Microphonics
Is there a downside to all these good things? The numbers seem too good to be true! There must be a catch. Well, there are microphonics to consider. Microphonics are like the high pitched noises you regularly hear in your head that prevent you from thinking straight and make you do bad things, only they come from a source you can identify. How big a deal are microphonics? To find out, I asked the average "man on the street" if they were worried about microphonics or if they thought it was a non-issue. Most people ignored me, but one man dressed as Jesus in a diaper stated in no uncertain terms that "aliens kidnapped his baby and that's where applesauce comes from." Strong words indeed, and something that should make Schiit think twice before downplaying microphonics in the future.
Vs the Woo WA5:
I know what you are thinking - it is ridiculous to compare the two when the Vali is Schiit's newest offering while the WA5 has been eclipsed by the 234. So you should keep that in mind. The Vali has a very neutral sound while also being very lively. In contrast, the Woo WA5 is accurate but fun, this may be due to the WE 300B's. The Vali has great punch whereas the Woo has more slam. I'd recommend the Woo if you like the sound of live music but the Vali if you want to recreate sound as if you were in the concert hall.
Vs The Cavalli LG:
The LG has also been usurped by the LAu so this may also not be fair. Both amps are hybrids, so you would expect them to sound the same. But they do not. The Vali has weight while the LG has heft. With the Vali you feel like you are right there while the LG has presence and immediacy. The LG is the winner for those who like Classical or folk music while the Vali shines with analog instruments.
Vs the Mythical Moth 6B4G:
There is only one of this amp in existence and I own it. The 6B4G is somewhere in between a PX4 and a 2A3. This amp is an OTL and sounds incredible. You'd think the Vali couldn't compete! But it holds its own. The 6B4G is sweet and spacious but the Vali is saccharine and has great soundstage. The 6B4G excels with soft passages where the Vali has nuance to pick up microdetails (or "krill.") The Moth is clearly for dubstep connesewers while the Vali is for those who want to experience music post-lobotomy.
Vs ECP DSHA-1:
The DSHA one is also a very rare amp. Very few were ever made and they will be highly sought after. It is solid state but has a character all its own. Once again, the Vali is no slouch. The DSHA sounds like butter while the Vali sounds like I can't believe its not butter. The DSHA has a wonderful purity of tone while the Vali has me saying "shiver me timbre." The DSHA sounds like the best of solid state and tube amps brought together while the Vali has all the hallmarks of a great hybrid design. The ECP is for music lovers while the Vali is for those who appreciate it.
The Vali is a very good amp. Not just at its price, but at other prices too. The price could easily be different, and it would still be released. It is clear from comparisons that the Vali has the goods. Jason, Mike, and Sankar should all be proud of this product. It is clear they worked hard and put thought into the amp. My prediction is it will sell well and see many acclaims from numerous and such as. I may not be Notre Dames, but I don't need to be a seer to see that this amp will be popular. I'd like to thank Jason for providing the review sample and all future review samples he will provide me for long evaluation periods.