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[Review] Schiit Asgard 2, comparison with the Schiit Magni

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Pros: Beautiful aesthetics, great build quality, multi-gain settings, large volume potentiometer, clean sound, RCA output, clean output.

Cons: Comes off a bit bassy and not as lively compared to the Schiit Magni at times

Headphones Used: JAYS a-JAYS Five, TDK BA200, Mr. Speakers Mad Dogs, Grado SR80i, Meelectronics Atlas

 

Build Quality and Design

 

 

 

Aesthetics

What I love about Schiit’s designs are the clean, minimal, and modern elegance they give off. The Asgard 2 follows suit with a minimal design that would look perfectly suited next to an Apple product. What I enjoy about the Asgard 2 is the large volume potentiometer and the white LED. I’m a fan of big knobs and the white LED is a nice touch, slightly drawing my attention to it once in a while.

 

Build Quality

The Asgard 2 feel incredibly well built, I feel this based upon it’s hefty weight, the sturdiness of the connections in front and back, and the feel of the movable objects. The switches for the gain as well as power give a satisfying click when switched, while the potentiometer offers mild resistance when turned. The RCA jacks offer a little resistance when being plugged into, and the cables sit safely nested into the jacks. Everything about the Asgard 2 feels incredibly well built. I have no idea what the inside looks like and I wouldn’t know what to look for anyway. There are no rattling parts, this feels solid.

 

Sound Quality

 

Acquaintance Time

I’ve used the Asgard 2 with the headphones listed above, each for a few hours. I then compared the sound to my Magni directly after each song to compare. There’s nothing scientific about my methods, I am simply giving my impressions on how the Asgard 2 sounds in comparison to my impressions of the Magni.

 

Sound Quality

 

As I said, I’ve used the Schiit Asgard 2 with a variety of headphones, ranging from low impedance IEMs to planars. I tend to listen to my music rather louder than others and I find that the Asgard 2 easily handles any headphone I’ve put through it, offering a clean and powerful sound in every case. I was able to leave the low-gain on for every headphone to have an adequate listening volume though I chose to use the high-gain for some headphones in which the volume knob was near full. I never once noticed any added distortion or added noise even when cranked up, but I wanted to be safe rather than sorry. It’s also worth noting that I never noticed any hiss with any IEM with either amp.

 

The sound of the Asgard 2 is simply put as full, refined, and mildly warm. I find that vocals shine the most of any other instrument when listening to the Asgard 2, becoming full and intimate, very convincing of being life-like on every headphone that I’ve used them with. I call the Asgard 2 warm, I’m not sure that is entirely fair, the sound is warm compared to the bright Magni, but I don’t feel as if I’m missing any highs.

 

When comparing the Asgard 2 to the Magni I find the Magni to often sound a bit more detailed and energetic. I attribute this to the Magni having a bright sound in comparison, which is known to have an effect of sounding more detailed. I do find myself head nodding a bit more frequently with the Magni, but the brightness isn’t without it’s faults. The brightness of the Magni worsens sibilance present in recordings and headphones, as well as amplifies distortion in the highs at times. In every test, I’ve found that the Asgard 2 has edged out the Magni for my preferences. I find the Asgard sounds fuller and more intimate. I can’t say that I’ve noticed any soundstage differences between the two, the differences were kept to sound signature and cleanness of the amp.

 

As I said, I find the Asgard 2 to be a more refined amplifier for offering a more rounded out and clean sound throughout. I’ve found that while the Magni brings added energy to modern recordings, that the Asgard 2 sounds much better with brilliant masterings, such as Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon (Black Triangle). Overall my listening experience with the Asgard 2 has been more pleasurable than the Magni and the ability to change the gain gives the Asgard 2 a leg-up.

 

TL:DR: Magni is brighter and can sound more energetic/detailed at times, but the Asgard 2 is a cleaner sounding amp that provides a fuller and more fulfilling sound.

 

Conclusion

 

It doesn’t particularly sound like I’m singing praise for the Asgard 2 at this point. That is only because I am comparing the Asgard 2 to the more than capable Magni. The Magni has pushed the boundaries of what a $100 amplifier can be and I would gladly recommend it to anyone looking for a budget amp. With that said, when comparing the two I find the Asgard 2 to be a worthy upgrade for a few reasons. The added RCA output on the Asgard 2 allows for speakers to be connected, making it a far more versatile amplifier, the high and low gain offers better compatibility in comparison to the Magni and the Asgard 2 offers more power, more cleanly than the Magni.

 

The Asgard 2 is a refined and full sounding amplifier that I highly recommend to anyone considering an amplifier in this price range, especially if you already have a Schiit Modi to keep the aesthetics together. Well done Schiit, well done.

 

See more pictures here.

post #2 of 13

Nice review.  Time to update your sig :)

post #3 of 13

Did you experience any humming? How does each perform with low-impedance headphones?

post #4 of 13
I ve been using the asgard 2 with a pair of custom grados and sennheiser hd600s. Its has a bit more grunt in the low end than my Musical fidelity x-cans which is a personal favorite when im listening to Vocals and jazz. I'm going experiment a bit by pairing the schiit with an almarro A205a MKII and use it as a pre amp to drive a pair of Kef reference 102's. Should be interesting to hear these 2 units together. Both units are stellar performers on their own and the schiit is pretty decent as a single source stereo preamp.
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremy205100 View Post
 

Did you experience any humming? How does each perform with low-impedance headphones?

 

None at all, though I don't have anything super sensitive like some Etymotic IEMs.

post #6 of 13
I have Denon AH-D7000 (sensitive + 25 Ohm) very easy to here noise Floor if there is any but current hungry as well. I wonder if Asgard 2 would be a good match?
post #7 of 13
Is the finish on the asgard 2 the same as the finish on the magni and modi? I have the magni and modi and based on pictures the asgard 2s metal looks different.

Sent from my GT-I9505 using Tapatalk
post #8 of 13

The Magni and Modi use steel enclosures, the Asgard 2 and above are anodized aluminum which is more expensive and when you bring women home they'll be like.. whoa is that headphone amp aluminum?  I'm dealing with a real stud here

post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by uncola View Post

The Magni and Modi use steel enclosures, the Asgard 2 and above are anodized aluminum which is more expensive and when you bring women home they'll be like.. whoa is that headphone amp aluminum?  I'm dealing with a real stud here


Thanks. :-D

Sent from my GT-I9505 using Tapatalk
post #10 of 13
Can anyone chime on the asgard vs lyr? Have a magni and I could decidedly if I'll go asgard 2 or lyr. (he500 primarily but I have IEMs too so I'm considering the asgard instead of the lyr)
post #11 of 13

Thanks for this comparison. Very detailed and honest. Im still on the fence about upgrading to the asgard 2 when I already have the magni.

post #12 of 13

Nevermind. Realized that was a Modi on the Asgard 2.


Edited by 12Jewelz - 5/11/14 at 7:31pm
post #13 of 13

I've been reading so many replies and reviews how the O2, Magni and Vali sound the same. After weeks of listening to all of them, (yes I have them all) they are all not exactly the same . I've been using the same music and all else in the system is the same and have only changed the amps. Started with O2, then went to Magni. Yes the Magni and O2 sound very close. The Magni does sound a tad processed and thin compared to O2 but the Magni does have more authority as it is more powerful in comparison even though they all seem to struggle reproducing the source.

 

Then I went to the Vali. The Vali sounds nothing like the others. It's slightly more smoother and warmer, more of a natural sound but ever so slightly, and more realistic sounding. I was enjoying it very much for weeks. Then I decided to get the Asgard 2. Why? I read so much about it I just had to try it. The Vali also seem to struggle reproducing the source which makes sense as it's less powerful.

 

I have to say the Asgard 2 is is not like any of the others. Why have some said there is no difference? I'm suspecting what is happening is that people are not using high resolution (or not high enough resolution) tracks or headphones to distinguish the difference OR they just don't hear the difference due to their hearing biology. As a side note: I also did an electronic spectrum hearing test to verify my hearing at different frequencies to eliminate that factor, and I passed 100%. 

 

The Asgard 2; is in a whole other class. The Asgard 2 with the same headphones (HE-400) sound way more detailedrealisticbassierdeeper, smoother and wider is the best way to explain it with all else in the system being the same. The Mids seem more forward and lush. The Asgard 2 does not appear to add any color to the sound, but I may say on a scale from 1-100% if I had to say how much I think it does add coloration, maybe 10-20% which is not relevant to be considered significant, it's a really tiny amount but pleasant. The gain is also contributing to the level of authority also as it does have more gain than all the others even though it's also rated at 32 ohms at 1.0W RMS.

 

As for noise (hiss); No hiss at any volume level either on High or Low gain either connected or not connected to a source with HE-400, so if you have higher impedance headphones there should be no worries.

 

As for humming; it's there, but like others have stated, it's barely noticeable to non existent and that is a huge exaggeration even, at least for my model. My findings are this; you have to be in a dead silent room and paste your ear on the chassis right over the transformer to hear it and even then it's so tiny of a sound there is no way anyone can hear this humming unless they are intentionally trying to hear it. Even if you put your ear on top of the amp over the grill area or to the side where the transformer is located, you can't hear it still. If your ear is 1" away from the same location you just can't possibly hear it unless you are super human! Shiit has done an excellent job in resolving this issue as others have stated overall.

 

As for the volume knob getting warm, it's true but nothing unbearable. But here is a tip if it really bothers you or yours gets possibly hotter than you like. I have done this with all my Shiit amps but not due to heat issues but just ease of turning the volume knob. Get 3 O-rings that are a tad smaller in diameter than the volume knob and stretch them over the volume knob.  On the Asgard 2 it makes it easier to turn the volume knob also but the added advantage is you won't feel any heat off the knob. Plus it looks nice too!

 

My serial is 002026 so I would hope all higher models do not have any of these issues or that they don't creep back into production. So for anyone that is thinking about the Asgard 2, YES it's worth it. You WILL hear a difference with respect to what was mentioned above about headphones, music quality rate and biology. This amp just sound like an actual amp, it sounds "real" while the others mentioned sound like they're struggling to making an effort to process the sound, but the Asgard 2 seems to do it effortlessly with authority is another nice way to describe it. 

 

I hope this helps anyone who maybe interested in the Asgard 2. 

 

Cheers.

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