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Is the Schiit Vali/Modi combo overkill for the 598's?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

Hey guys,

 

I just got the 598's and I'm loving them so far. I have a cheap amp/DAC (Hifiman HM-101) that seems to be doing a good job of driving them, but I'm wondering if I should upgrade. I've had my eye on the Vali/Modi combo for a while now, is it worth it with the 598's? I know they have pretty low impedance, so I'm not sure how well the headphones will scale up. Any help is appreciated!

post #2 of 25

I'd say its totally worth it, but then again I do own this exact same combo lol. I like it quite a bit, and I found it to be a pleasant upgrade from my previous, cheap amp dac combo.  If you are at all interested in tubes, this is a nice place to start, at a reasonable price.

 

Of course, I feel obligated to warn you that Vali is a noisy amp (you will hear that slight hiss in you headphones when nothings playing) and can be microphonic (though I have had zero issues with mine).

 

Best of luck!

post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnalogSavior View Post
 

I'd say its totally worth it, but then again I do own this exact same combo lol. I like it quite a bit, and I found it to be a pleasant upgrade from my previous, cheap amp dac combo.  If you are at all interested in tubes, this is a nice place to start, at a reasonable price.

 

Of course, I feel obligated to warn you that Vali is a noisy amp (you will hear that slight hiss in you headphones when nothings playing) and can be microphonic (though I have had zero issues with mine).

 

Best of luck!

Oh awesome! You're the exact person I wanted to talk to haha. Is the hiss any more noticeable than the hiss you'd hear with a cheap amp like that? And is the difference pretty noticeable?

post #4 of 25

Its funny, I decide to check in on the forums, and there is a question I'm actually qualified to answer lol.  Doesn't happen every day.

 

Anyways, I found the hiss to be about the same as the poor quality amps I've used (and some portable devices, AV receivers).  It all depends on your tolerance for it.  I find that most of the time, the music covers it up completely without issue.  If I'm listening to a classical or acoustic piece that gets quiet, then it becomes noticeable, but honestly I find it to be part of its charm.

 

As for the sound difference, very few things in the audio world result in huge differences, especially once you reach these types of products.  Compared to what I was using before, I did find the difference noticeable, and in a good way.  It removed the sterile edge while still keeping that top end sparkled when its needed, added "warmth," and made the whole experience much cozier.

 

In my opinion Vali is one of the best amps out there for the money.  But then again, I don't know your sound preferences.

post #5 of 25
Thread Starter 

Alright, thanks a ton. I think I'll go for it, I doubt I'll regret it!

post #6 of 25
I heard these at a recent meet with my 558s. I liked the signature and the power level was excellent...but the noise was too much for me.
post #7 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by GrindingThud View Post

I heard these at a recent meet with my 558s. I liked the signature and the power level was excellent...but the noise was too much for me.

 

 

Its definitely noticeable, especially if you are coming from a completely silent amp.  It really doesn't bother me, and I feel its sound more than makes up for it.

 

That being said, I can totally understand how it may be a deal breaker, and I always try to mention it when I recommend it.

post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 

I'm used to that hissing from the cheap amps I've been using though, so I don't think I'll have too much of a problem with it. I mean, I can't imagine it's any worse than the noise floors I've been dealing with

post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnalogSavior View Post
 

 

 

Its definitely noticeable, especially if you are coming from a completely silent amp.  It really doesn't bother me, and I feel its sound more than makes up for it.

 

That being said, I can totally understand how it may be a deal breaker, and I always try to mention it when I recommend it.

 

Hi!

 

You could try to play around with the source volume. Using bit perfect in 24bit mode allows you to adjust the volume in iTunes. Reduce it to 50% or even less. You still get clean digital sound to the Modi, then crank up the Vali a bit more. See if the hiss reduces (or gets worse). I try to do that to overcome the little imbalances that usually occur with using the volume at lower levels. Ok I just tested that with my 18 Ohms Amperiors and no, it doesn't make a difference in the hiss.

 

Cheers,

K

 

EDIT: It also depends on the headphones. The HD598 have 50 Ohms. With my T90 (250 Ohms) the Vali is dead silent when no music is playing (except for the ringing sometimes :-) - update: with the Amperiors there is hiss and it doesn't adjust with the volume....


Edited by Koolpep - 3/19/14 at 12:33am
post #10 of 25

In my opinion any amp/circuit with noise, hiss or hum is pretty much dismissed.  There are just too many good sounding, silent circuits that don't exhibit these characteristics.  I have an earmax with a driver tube that needs to be replaced, it has a constant low level AC hum and it drives me nuts on silent music passages.

 

Jasons post sale customer support is top notch though, so I think the whole microphonic issue is practically a moot one.  Although its still a gamble out of the box.

 

Good Luck!!  Looking forward to your impressions.

post #11 of 25

I use my Vali with my Schiit Bifrost Uber and AKG K550s and I have Grado SR325is cans on order, both 32 ohm impedance. I can certainly hear the hiss when it is silent, and I can hear the hiss over music if I'm playing it really quietly, I mean really really quiet. There is a point at which the volume overcomes the hiss completely. I listen to a lot of doom/sludge/death metal, though, so its not like the hiss is that noticeable over heavily distorted guitars.

post #12 of 25

will also chime in since I own the Vali. The hiss is really only noticeable when there's nothing playing. When there's an audio signal the hiss seems to dissipate entirely. Apart from that I love the 'tube' sound that it delivers, and for only $120 it's a ridiculous good deal, IMO. I think their website pretty much says it all - if you are looking to get into tube sound with an insanely low barrier to entry, it's tough to beat Vali. It' s not a be-all end-all solution, and there are SOME headphones that it doesn't play well with, but overall I would give it a high recommendation.

post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by thievesarmy View Post
 

will also chime in since I own the Vali. The hiss is really only noticeable when there's nothing playing. When there's an audio signal the hiss seems to dissipate entirely. Apart from that I love the 'tube' sound that it delivers, and for only $120 it's a ridiculous good deal, IMO. I think their website pretty much says it all - if you are looking to get into tube sound with an insanely low barrier to entry, it's tough to beat Vali. It' s not a be-all end-all solution, and there are SOME headphones that it doesn't play well with, but overall I would give it a high recommendation.

Hey, I see you have the Vali and the HD650. I have them too and i'm very interested in the Vali. My DAC is a Modi. How do the Senns pair? Is the hiss clearly audible if you listen to music with a low volume?

post #14 of 25

The Vali sounds awesome with high impedance headphones, as it puts the microphinc hiss below audible levels. I sold my Vali to a friend that owns Senns because all of my headphones were low impedance and I couldn't handle the microphonics. On his Senns, though, it sounded crystal clear and beautiful.

post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by GrindingThud View Post

I heard these at a recent meet with my 558s. I liked the signature and the power level was excellent...but the noise was too much for me.

well what's nice is the HD 558 is that... it's an entry level headphone

 

so when you want to upgrade it, the Modi Vali combo will still sound excellent!

 

I highly recommend the Beyer DT 880 as an upgrade to what you have now 

 

and either way KEEP your Modi and Vali, it will serve you for a long time :3 

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