Originally Posted by kokushu
Is the Ragnarok design to be a better headphone amp than the mjolnir? What is known in the design so far that would indicate it?
It's different. Based on what we know without subjective listening evaluations:
Ragnarok will drive IEMs, headphones, and speakers. It can drive headphones wired for "balanced" drive or it can drive headphones wired single-ended drive.
Mjolnir will drive headphones. It can only drive headphones wired for balanced drive.
So, Ragnarok has a lot more flexibility in terms of the devices it can drive.
Ragnarok has an output impedance of 0.03 ohms.
Mjonlir has an output impedance of 1.5 ohms.
So, Ragnarok will deliver a vastly higher damping factor than Mjolnir. This is good for driving speakers, but also will be an asset for (seriously) low-impedance headphones.
Ragnarok operates in class A until about 4W of bias.
Mjolnir operates in class A until about 2W of bias.
So, if you think class A is better, you'll spend more time in class A with Ragnarok.
Ragnarok runs hot and uses a lot of power. It uses more power when quiescent (75W) than Mjolnir ever uses.
Mjolnir uses 45W.
So, if you're trying to lower your power bills and leave your amps on all the time, Ragnarok is a bad idea.
Ragnarok has a ridiculous (in headphone terms) power delivery capability.
Mjolnir has a stupendous power delivery capability.
So, either one can drive any dynamic headphone out there. Ragnarok can drive more power into a load. It is also capable of melting your face. I don't know if this means it's better.
Ragnarok uses a sophisticated novel control system for the amplifier.
Mjolnir uses DC servo control.
So, there may be huge benefits to Ragnarok's system. Or, being novel and innovative, it could be a complete disaster. So far it sounds pretty amazing on paper, but who knows. If you want something today that you know is a given quantity, the Mjolnir is better. Think we'll need to hear more subjective evaluations to get there.
Ragnarok uses a sophisticated relay-controlled resistor ladder to control gain.
Mjolnir uses a big dumb potentiometer.
So, Ragnarok gives you a tremendous range of gain and in theory better channel level matching and other voodoo. It's also a far more complicated system, so see previous point. On paper Ragnarok's system is vastly superior.
There are probably many other dimensions to consider. With Ragnarok you're paying for a lot of stuff beyond the headphone amplifier, per se. There are far more sophisticated control systems and capabilities. In the realm of speculation, I have a hard time imagining it will be inferior to Mjolnir, what's not clear yet is how superior it will be?
Edited by atubbs - 9/1/14 at 1:47pm