Magni is the only fully discrete headphone amp under $100 that is made in the USA. Delivering...

Schiit Magni

Average User Rating:
4.16667/5,
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  • Magni is the only fully discrete headphone amp under $100 that is made in the USA. Delivering 1.2W of power into 32 ohms, Magni is ready for virtually any headphone—including many hard-to-drive orthodynamic models.

    Discrete Design, DC Coupled
    If you ain’t into engineering, you can probably skip this section. But it’s important. All other amps in this price range use op-amps for gain. Not Magni. It uses a discrete gain stage design, with low-noise JFET inputs, fast VAS transistors, and massive output power transistors. The result is greater current capability for higher power output. We’ve also used a DC servo to eliminate coupling caps from the signal path.

    From IEMs to Orthos
    Magni is quiet enough for most IEMs, but provides up to 1.2W into 32 ohms, which is plenty for many orthodynamic headphones. Magni is versatile enough to be a “do all” amplifier—it may be the only amp you ever need.

    Made in USA
    By “made in USA,” we mean made in USA. The vast majority of the total production cost of Magni—chassis, boards, assembly, etc—goes to US companies manufacturing in the US. Our board house is 20 minutes away from our office in Newhall. Our chassis guys are just over the hill in the Valley. Yep, the wall wart is from China, but there you go. There is some give and take to reach this price point.

Recent User Reviews

  1. jdpark
    5.0/5,
    "You have to be really ignorant not to think this is a good value. "
    Pros - Good sub-bass. Transparent of source. Powerful. $99!
    Cons - Volume pot makes noise when touched, channel imbalance at first quarter levels, highs can be harsh on many phones. USB noise comes through on Beyers
    I'm writing this because I feel the need to defend this little giant-killer. 
     
    There are a lot of negative reviews, and while I am not on the "Schiit-wagon" at all, or a fanboy of their products, I now have a better idea of what kind of amps are out there, after owning this for two years and having upgraded dramatically to the Lehmann Rhinelander (around $500) and then the Lehmann BCL Linear (around $1200 or more). Guys who have been into hifi for years are shocked when they hear I have a headphone amp that costs $100 and basically reflects the source with no extra frills.
     
    First of all, there is a sense in which no, I would not recommend this amp for IEMs, particularly super low-impedance Shures (I have the 425 which has 18 Ohms!). They have to be listened to very loud before the channels are balanced. BUT, and this is a big BUT, most solid-state headphone amps without a gain switch are going to give you the same problem of low volume channel imbalance (including the Lehmann Rhinelander which is 5X the price), and it is still probably better than a headphone output on a CD player or home receiver, so it may be worth it for that. Otherwise, if you listen to iPods or iPhones or better DAP sources you are probably not going to gain much through your IEMs. (This problem may be less dramatic with the new Schiit Magni 2, which I have not tried yet, but is reported to have a gain switch.)
     
    Efficient headphones like Grados likewise, don't seem to benefit that much, but the Magni does add significant sub-bass as long as the extra high-range energy doesn't bother you.
     
    I do not have the accompanying Modi and have generally used HRT products for my USB output sources. Unfortunately, from my Lenovo laptop, I often got a very high noise floor when listening to Beyerdynamic phones, which are notoriously sensitive to that. 
     
    With dynamic phones that have over say 70 Ohms, and from what I've read, efficient Orthos, the extra power does only good things for headphones over a regular headphone jack. Assuming you have a decent source and cables, such as a non-portable CD player or relatively good DAC, you are going to find the Magni a fantastic value. Even if it's just a stop along the path of searching for a better amp, I think this is a good value as a very punchy, fast, dynamic, and powerful, headphone amp. 
     
    Every amp has a sound, and this is probably just a bit on the V-shaped side of things, with slightly cooler mids and warmer lows and highs. This is well-known by now, which is why I had to get rid of my Beyer 990 Pros, but on the other hand, my more balanced sounding Beyer DT 150s sound fine.
     
    Now that I have tried better amps, I realize that power filtering is really vital for sensitive headphones, and for some reason the Magni does not seem to have a very good soundstage, but this could be less of a problem with headphones that are not really oriented towards that direction. 
     
    After years of IEMs and dynamic headphones, I think I'm going to finally go for some Orthos, and I'm definitely keeping my Magni. I highly suspect that with a decent CD player (even an older used Marantz, Sony, or Denon, Phillips, etc.) or a record player with some sort of clean phono stage and the Magni, plus any number of mid-range impedance dynamic phones (80-300 Ohms) that are relatively dark in signature, one of the many efficient Orthos like the Hifiman line or a modded Fostex, I'm going to be very happy (even though I already have a much better amp). 
     
    With the Magni you can find a good used source and spend your money on getting the best over-ear headphones you can afford. Then, as you save, upgrade to a better amp, or not. (I do not, however, recommend the Magni with a cheap USB powered DAC that will leak in USB power noise!) 
     
    Put it this way: if you want to listen to MP3s all day, just continue with your DAP and IEMs or one of the zillion types of decent efficient headphones out there that don't really need an amp. But if you want to enter the world of hifi music, you will need to upgrade to a 'real' source at the least, and these may not have headphone jacks. So, here's where the Magni comes in handy at the right price.
  2. JustinBieber
    4.0/5,
    "Excellent entry level performer"
    Pros - Great value, excellent support from Schiit, well built, looks good
    Cons - Channel imbalance, sensitive volume pot,slightly bright/forward sound
    I think this review was long overdue. Magni was one of the first headphone amps I've ever owned and I kept it almost always throughout my audio journey. Through the past two years, I've had it head to head with amps that exceed its value by 5x+,yet, I still find Magni to be an excellent entry level amp even after direct comparisons.
     
    Build: Schiit always has stellar build quality. I've used all of their amps, including Ragnarok. I have owned Valhalla, Lyr (twice), and Magni (three times). Every amp I used was well built and Schiit always responds to my sometimes stupid questions quickly. It really says something about how much they care, I've sent them emails that get answered in less than an hour on some occasions.
     
    Unboxing the Magni you get a manual, four stick on feet, and a plain old white box. There is no special packaging.
     
    The amp itself is constructed well and is heavy considering its tiny size. Volume control is smooth, the enclosure looks and feels good, no wobbly RCA ports or anything poor. However, one of the compromises made for such a low cost amp was to use a cheapo, Chinese wall wart which worried me a bit at first. However, it works fine and doesn't get too hot or make any bad noises. 
     
    Sound quality: I'd describe Magni as fairly neutral but it does have a bright tone to it. I've found that every headphone I've hooked it up to does receive a very slight boost in the treble and the overall sound is forward and detailed. Personally, I found it to be a great match with headphones like the Sennheiser HD600, Audeze LCD3, and Hifiman HE500/560 where they are neutral to slightly dark. However, I have used it with an HD800 and a Grado SR80i and the treble boost isn't welcome with headphones that are already bright. Apart from the treble coloration and forward soundstage, the amp itself is pretty much flat without any other significant colorations.
     
    One of the most significant things about the sound quality (that I mentioned in the first sentence of my review) is how it's almost end game with certain headphones, like the HD600. I've tried Valhalla, Lyr, and the Burson Soloist SL (I have owned some more expensive ones as well but no direct comparisons were done). I kept Magni as sort of a back up amp and to be honest, it isn't too much different when I used the HD600 side by side with the big boy amps.
     
    I will admit the treble is brighter in comparison to the other amps and the soundstage is a bit smaller and more forward, but, the differences are minor. For $99, it does come close in sound to some of the more higher end amps and the level of diminishing returns is huge. I think we over exaggerate the differences amps make here. I agree they do sound different, but I don't think low end amps like Magni are miles apart from more expensive amps.
     
    The ugly...
     
    Now, it seems like I'm praising the Magni as a giant $99 amp killer, I'm not trying to do that here. I do have a couple issues with it. One, the volume control: It doesn't bode well with sensitive devices. Using an SR80i or IEMs gives you little play on the volume control and a tiny bump on the pot can increase volume significantly. Also, there is channel imbalance where either the left or right channel will be louder at very low volumes when using high sensitivity headphones.The channel imbalance can be solved simply by reducing the volume on your computer or phone, giving you additional play on the knob or you can by RCA attenuators which are resistors hooked up to RCA plugs to reduce gain.
     
    And, of course, Magni is basic and not versatile. You don't get preouts, multiple inputs, and all of those bells and whistles. It also, like I said before, doesn't pair well with sensitive or brighter headphones.
     
    Conclusion: Magni is a great amp, especially if you enjoy a more energetic sound. I find it to be a perfect match with inefficient headphones or neutral to slightly dark cans where some of its flaws like gain, volume control, and a treble tilt aren't noticeable.
     
  3. Hi-Fi'er
    5.0/5,
    "Excellent in Price Category and Value"
    Pros - Powerful, Small Factor, Excellent build Quality
    Cons - Sounds Processed
    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 but the Vali also seem to struggle reproducing the source which makes sense as it's less powerful than the others.

    As for noise (hiss); No hiss at any volume level connected to a source with HE-400, so if you have higher impedance headphones there should be no worries. It drives IEM's extremely well with no effort, but larger headphones it just seems like it's trying too hard.

    I hope this helps anyone who maybe interested in the Magni.

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