Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphone Amps (full-size) › NEW Vali Schiit AMP!!!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

NEW Vali Schiit AMP!!! - Page 210

post #3136 of 4215
Quote:
Originally Posted by 00Dan View Post

Does anyone have experience with the Modi/Vali and the Beyerdynamic T90?

Still looking for a straight answer on this. The few posts I've found regarding this combo haven't exactly answered my question in full.

post #3137 of 4215
Quote:
Originally Posted by 00Dan View Post
 

Still looking for a straight answer on this. The few posts I've found regarding this combo haven't exactly answered my question in full.

I will have that combo here soon. Well not the modi but the vali and t90.

post #3138 of 4215

CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v62), quality = 90

post #3139 of 4215
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiral Out View Post
 

CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v62), quality = 90

so barely..

post #3140 of 4215

I'd totally pay like $5 more for Schiit to just screen 11 on the front panel.

post #3141 of 4215
Quote:
Originally Posted by grizzlybeast View Post
 

can the vali drive the mad dogs really loud?

 

Yes, very. Much louder than I'd ever be comfortable listening to. 

post #3142 of 4215
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattTCG View Post
 

 

Yes, very. Much louder than I'd ever be comfortable listening to. 


i bet you'll be in the vali today !

post #3143 of 4215

^^ Hope so and thanks for the loan!!

post #3144 of 4215

My Vali came in yesterday and I've had some time to listen to my headphones with it.

 

First off, I bought it because I was curious after the rave reviews, and for $130 including shipping costs, it was cheap enough to warrant a listen. Also, I wanted to use it with my KEF M500 at work, despite hearing the noise floor problems with more sensitive headphones.

 

First thing like many noticed was the microphonics of the tubes. I've actually heard tube microphony before my Quickie preamp, but nothing like this. The ringing was very different. The Quickie microphonics was very analog sounding with a reverberation you could associate to tubes. The Vali microphonics was digital in comparison, sounding like a MIDI note. Perhaps this would foreshadow what was to come. Also, the persistence of the ringing last far longer than the Quickie. It would take a good 30 seconds before the microphonics are completely gone compared to less than 10 seconds with the Quickie.

 

I tried the Vali with the KEF M500 first, and being a portable high sensitivity headphone, the noise floor was apparent. However, once the music started playing, it was unnoticeable. Other than the really quiet parts of songs, I did not hear the background noise at all. As for sound quality, I have to say compared to driving through the Audioengine D3 alone vs. D3 + Vali, the Vali made the sound of the M500 much more dynamic and holographic in dimension. Better detailing as well compared to D3 alone, likely due to the improvement on dimensionality and imaging. I have to say I'm quite satisfied with the performance of the Vali and M500. I will probably get an attenuator to rid the background noise.

 

Now for the meat of this review: How it pairs with the HD800? Unlike the M500, the HD800 has no noise floor problems. But also unlike the M500, I'm driving the HD800 better than I was the M500. The Vali faces much stiffer competition against the gear I'm currently using with the HD800. Namely the Bottlehead Crack w/ SB. So how does the HD800 sound from the Vali compared to Crack? To put it bluntly, the Vali can't hold a candle to the Crack, at least when paired with the HD800. I found some better dynamics and details from the Crack, but the biggest difference by far was the sound signature. The Vali made the HD800 sound much too bright and thin. It was piercing and quickly fatiguing. I honestly could not stand it. It was pretty much like listening to the HD800 from my solid state D3 directly. This is probably mostly subjective and due to what I'm used to, but I can really understand now why people criticize the HD800 on its brightness and thinness.

 

I found out from Schiit that the Vali has a 50K ohm input impedance, so that makes it compatible with preamping with my Quickie. The Quickie has been known to me to add a very warm signature, whether it was plugged into the Crack or the Emotiva in my HE-500 setup. Adding the Quickie did help, and at first I thought it had fixed all of the Vali's brightness problems with the HD800. However, after some extended listening, it still got fatiguing, and I could hear the same brightness from the Vali alone. The Quickie may have added some bass and a more wholesome bottom end and gave a warmer sound, but it didn't tone down the highs at all. In the end, I could still hear the same brightness and thinness. I guess compared to the Crack, the Vali just accentuates the highs more, and other than EQ, there's no way around it. I cannot recommend the Vali for the HD800. At least if you're expecting a warm tubey sound, look the other way. The Vali sounds more like a SS amp than a tube amp. Then again, at $130 I don't know of any amp that could give you a warm, non-fatiguing pairing with the HD800. So this is not to hold anything against the Vali; it's not like there's anything in the same price range that could do any better for the HD800. For anyone thinking of getting the HD800, I recommend saving up a bit more and getting the Bottlehead Crack at the very least. And if you want more tactility and a richer bottom end, I recommend using the Quickie(w/ PJCCS) in conjunction with the Crack.

 

So overall, I think the Vali is definitely a competitive product, probably one of the best in its price range. It definitely sounded great for some headphones like my M500. But don't expect the Vali to be a panacea for a picky headphone like the HD800. Also, for any other headphones that are considered bright and you would like to use a tube amp to tone down the brightness and add warmth, I doubt the Vali is the answer either. This includes headphones like the Beyerdynamic T90, which I used to own. While I never tried out T90 with Vali directly, I would imagine it sound just as bright as using a SS amp.

 

In conclusion, admire the Vali for its technical strengths like detailing and imaging, especially considering the price and competition, but don't expect the Vali to change the signature of your headphones just because it has tubes.

 

 

Chains used in review:

 

Audioengine D3 -> KEF M500

vs.

Audioengine D3 -> Vali -> KEF M500

 

Audioengine D3 -> Bottlehead Crack w/ Speedball -> HD800

vs.

Audioengine D3 -> Vali -> HD800

vs.

Audioengine D3 -> Bottlehead Quickie w/ PJCCS -> Vali -> HD800

vs.

Audioengine D3 -> Bottlehead Quickie w/ PJCCS -> Bottlehead Crack w/ Speedball -> HD800

post #3145 of 4215
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonido View Post
 

My Vali came in yesterday and I've had some time to listen to my headphones with it.

 

 

In conclusion, admire the Vali for its technical strengths like detailing and imaging, especially considering the price and competition, but don't expect the Vali to change the signature of your headphones just because it has tubes.

 

 

What I am seeing from honest reviewers is that the expected tube warmth is absent. There is much conflicting reviews about how it helps sharp treble vs smoothing it out. What I am getting it is a good amp but not a tube sounding amp. I have one on the way and will compare it with another tube amp. But I already know what to expect. This is like the 4th time I have seen this. 

 

I do however think that the vali and crack isn't a really fair fight by reading reviews. The moment I saw you put it up against it I was like "well I know how this is going to go". The crack is a unanimously proven awesome amp. I have not seen one bad review on it ever since it came out a while ago. I just wish that when I went to the site it had pre-built ones. I would have bought it instead of the new Nuforce Icon DAC. 

 

Which one has more power of the two between the vali and crack?


Edited by grizzlybeast - 1/25/14 at 1:35pm
post #3146 of 4215
Quote:
Originally Posted by grizzlybeast View Post
 

Which one has more power of the two between the vali and crack?

That depends on the impedance of the headphone. I can tell you trying my M500 with Crack makes it sound broken. Like you hear nothing but distortion. Like listening to a pre-mastering version of the song or something. The Vali is the more versatile of the two for sure. Granted it's not gonna be able to drive some power hungry planars like the HE-6. I briefly tried it with my HE-500, and while it didn't sound bad, it lacked the oomph the Emotiva gave.

post #3147 of 4215
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonido View Post
 

That depends on the impedance of the headphone. I can tell you trying my M500 with Crack makes it sound broken. Like you hear nothing but distortion. Like listening to a pre-mastering version of the song or something. The Vali is the more versatile of the two for sure. Granted it's not gonna be able to drive some power hungry planars like the HE-6. I briefly tried it with my HE-500, and while it didn't sound bad, it lacked the oomph the Emotiva gave.

emotiva = beast

I slap myself everytime I remember selling the one i had with the 1/4 inch jack modded in the front. I didn't like it with the modi. Modi was the weak link there. 

 

NE ways thanks a lot bro and good write up!

post #3148 of 4215
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonido View Post

Thanks, that was worth reading.

post #3149 of 4215

Comparing a $400 (unassembled kit) amp with a $120 amp is pretty unfair. Of course the Bottlehead will most likely sound better and have a more "tubey" sound as it is an OTL design. The Vali is a great amp and compete with amps twice it's price, but amps four to six times as much are in all likelihood going to be superior.

post #3150 of 4215
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiral Out View Post
 

Comparing a $400 (unassembled kit) amp with a $120 amp is pretty unfair. Of course the Bottlehead will most likely sound better and have a more "tubey" sound as it is an OTL design. The Vali is a great amp and compete with amps twice it's price, but amps four to six times as much are in all likelihood going to be superior.


Very true and as expected. But when I was reading up on the Vali, I heard people mention it was a good pairing with the HD800, or it could hold its own with the Crack, I wanted to give my own impressions on those two statements. Actually, it probably could hold its own with the Crack in many ways and for other headphones, just not the HD800. To me, the Vali is about the same as getting a Fiio or Modi or O2 for the HD800. You better get used to the brightness and fatigue.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Headphone Amps (full-size)
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphone Amps (full-size) › NEW Vali Schiit AMP!!!