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The second-generation Fulla is our answer to the question, “What’s the most affordable way I can...

Schiit Audio Fulla 2

Rating:
3.75/5,
  • The second-generation Fulla is our answer to the question, “What’s the most affordable way I can get into great sound on my desktop?” And by “my desktop,” we mean everything on it. Fulla 2 is ready for your headphones, your powered monitors, your analog sources, and more.

Recent Reviews

  1. stigin
    Nice dac/amp to pair with a laptop to move around
    Written by stigin
    Published May 2, 2017
    4.0/5,
    Pros - USB powered, small, volume knob, sufficient power
    Cons - Channel imbalance at low volumes, delta-sigma, no gain switch
    Since the release I had been looking into getting a Fulla 2 for my home office (aka the kitchen or garden table) and for trips. Prior to this a Magni/Modi combo served this purpose but were sold due to the fact that you have three pieces of equipment laying around (Magni - Modi - wallwart) plus cables. This is not practical to get out for a quick listen and certainly not for taking on trips. Also the need to have the Magni plugged in was not working for me.

    So the Fulla 2 scratches a few of my itches:
    - It is powered over USB so only a USB cable and the Fulla 2 are needed.
    - Small, so easy to store and take on trips.
    - Enough power for my headphones (more on that later).

    For a few days I was quite happy cruising away with the Fulla 2 at home in combination with the HD-650. Just some remarks on that combo:
    - The Fulla 2 has sufficient power for the HD-650.
    - I liked the setup: get out the laptop, hook up a small box, get headphones and listen. Nice and convenient.
    - The over build quality of the Fulla is good. My volume knob is not quite level (but I already knew this could happen). If it had been level I would give it a 10/10 in build quality. Now it gets an 8/10, also due to only having 3 feet which makes it wobble.
    - The volume knob has some imbalance below 8 o'clock so when listening at really low volume you might need software volume control.

    What would I like in a Fulla 3
    - A gain switch so I can use the pot above the imbalance threshold. Even if this makes it 1 cm wider.
    - 4 feet instead of 3. Not really an issue.
    - Multibit (I know it is not possible for now but hey, we can dream right).

    Today I decided to take them to work to test them against the Bifrost Multibit / Magni 2U combo (7 times more expensive than the Fulla 2). To summarize the Bifrost Multibit review I did: this is an amazing value for money and will stay in my end game setup. The Magni 2U might see a replacement by an Aagard 3 or Lyr 3 when and if it comes out to complete my endgame setup.

    The two setups compared are:
    Tidal Hifi - USB - Bifrost Multibit - Magni 2U - Audeze LCD-2 / Byerdynamic DT-880
    Tidal Hifi - USB - Fulla 2 - Audeze LCD-2 / Byerdynamic DT-880

    Upon plugging in the Fulla 2 what is apparent that it has enough power to push the LCD-2 to earbleeding levels (your mileage may vary tough, I tend to listen at rather low volumes) and the DT-880 to quite high levels. So no issues there.

    Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble - Love Struck Baby (LCD-2)
    The Fulla has somewhat boomy/dirty bass compared top the Bifrost/Magni combo. This wil come back multiple times with other tracks. What is also apparent is the mids on the Fulla lack detail. When listening to the Bifrost/Magni combo all instruments are clearly distinguishable and they are not with the Fulla. Overal impression is that the Fulla is less engaging than the Bifrost/Magni combo and observation I already made with the HD-650 at home.

    Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble - Love Struck Baby (LCD-2)
    Same observations as above but somewhat less pronounced. What I started noticing here is that distortion (guitars) in the song are just beautifully reproduced by the combo and less so by the Fulla.

    Ludovico Einaudi - Primavera (LCD-2)
    Same observations here, the Fulla just lacks in details and is generally less engaging. The difference is not small either on this track.

    Ludovico Einaudi - Primavera (DT-880)
    Same observations as above but somewhat less pronounced.

    Warren Zevon - Splendid Isolation, Live on Learning To Flinch (DT-880)
    The first track where despite the differences both the Fulla and the combo just made the music shine. Listening in more detail I would say the combo sounded more detached/detailed while the Fulla being somewhat more dirty really worked well with the live recording.

    Warren Zevon - Splendid Isolation, Live on Learning To Flinch (LCD-2)
    Same observations as above but with different accents due to the LCD-2's different signature.

    Dire Straits - The Man's Too Strong
    Ali Farka Touré, Toumani Diabaté - Ruby
    This Mortal Coil - Fond Affections
    Love and Rockets - Kundalini Express
    Jacques Brel - Quand On N'A Que L'Amour(LCD-2 and DT-880)
    After an hour of switching between the setups my ears and brain are clearly getting tired. The difference overal remains audible on all tracks and echos the above. What starts getting clear is that the Fulla is really good. Yes, in direct comparison with the combo the differences are clearly audible but the effect wanes the longer a session takes and when you just listen and focus less. Would I trade in my Bifrost/Magni combo for a Fulla? Hell no! Will I be happy this evening when Fulla is back home listening to some tunes? Hell yes.

    In conclusion:
    Rating not taking into account price: 3.5/5
    Rating taking into account price: 4.5/5
    Would I recommend buying one? If you need a dac/amp to move around the house with a laptop, it is perfect.
      abm0, mattmass, pr0b3r and 1 other person like this.
  2. SomeTechNoob
    Perfect. On Paper.
    Written by SomeTechNoob
    Published Apr 3, 2017
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Price, Features Galore, Physical Volume Knob
    Cons - Knob Quality Control, Rear Port Spacing, Wobbly
    Now let me preface this by saying that this is my very first review on Head-Fi.  And I could probably say, like 99% of the other forum perusers, that I'm no audiophile.  But to me that sounds like an excuse in order to not get criticized.  I'll tell you if something sounds good to my ears or not, if it's built well or not, or if there's anything you need to know about it.  I'll be straightforward and honest.  Now without further ado, let's get started.
     
    STN's Fulla 2 Review.
     
    IMAG0006.jpg
     
    Unboxing.  I'm pulling this from the Fulla 2 Impressions thread because I'm not about to go out and find the Fulla's box in my storage closet again just to retake some pictures.
     
    Here's what the box looks like.  Simple cardboard packaging that does the job.

     
    Opened up reveals the Fulla 2 itself.

     
    Everything is neatly packed inside.  Although that microUSB cable seems a bit cramped in there.

     
    Here's everything you get.  Paperwork, microUSB cable, and the Fulla 2.

     
    Exterior.
     
    The front consists of a 3.5mm aux input, the Schiit logo, and a 1/4" headphone jack.  From left to right if you can't already tell.
    IMAG0007.jpg
     
    The back, from left to right again, has a variable 3.5mm out(denoted by the ramp), fixed 3.5mm out, power only microUSB input, and power/data microUSB input.  More on this later.
    IMAG0008.jpg
     
    Now that you know all the ports on this device, let me go over how it works.
     
    Power/Data MicroUSB: Plug this into your computer to get data and power.
    Power MicroUSB: Plug this into something like a USB AC adapter if you are having power issues with the power/data port or if you just want to power the unit.  No, I did not hear any sort of audible difference with this plugged in along with the power/data microUSB no matter the device used(Custom i5-3570k desktop, XPS 13 9350, HTC One M9).
    Line Out: Feed this to an amp.  This goes to my Magni 2.  ALWAYS ON as long as you have data and power coming through any combination of microUSBs.  Will not output anything other than what gets processed by the AK4490 DAC inside the unit.
    Variable Line Out: Feed this to something like a powered speaker.  Mine goes to a Lepy 2024A+ speaker amp.  This output becomes disabled when the headphone out gets plugged in.
     
    Headphone Out: Headphone out.  As stated before, disables variable line out when plugged in.  Even if an adapter is plugged in but no headphones in the adapter.
    Aux Line in: Basically an analog input.  If headphones are plugged in, the signal is routed to the headphones.  If headphones are not connected, the signal is routed to the variable out.
     
    Okay.  Back to the exterior overview.
    ----------------------
     
    Left side just has some venting.
    IMAG0009.jpg
     
    Right side is the same as the left.
    IMAG0010.jpg
     
    Bottom has a label, 3 screws, and 3 push-in rubber feet.  Not stick on.  Really wish Schiit found a way to fit 4 feet on here though.  Butterfly knife used as a prop.
    IMAG0011.jpg
     
    Overall the build is solid.  Bent sheet metal makes the unit have a solid feel.  The potentiometer knob is relatively smooth to adjust and is easier to turn than the Magni 2 because it's a wider diameter.  The only sharp corners are the bottom corners where the top sheet metal ends.  Not sharp enough to cut you, but they are about as pokey as a toothpick.
     
    Having only 3 rubber feet(2 in the front, 1 in the back) is pretty annoying though.  When plugging in anything, you need to learn to hold it down only in the front center and back center of the device.  It will tilt and wobble if you try holding it down with its sides.
     
    All ports feel pretty solid to plug in/out.  This particular unit has no issues plugging in both microUSB plugs either.  The front input is a little bit stiff but still reasonable.  However, while the ports themselves are relatively solid, the spacing and clearances are not.
     
    MicroUSB ports generally have no problem.  It's the 3.5mm outputs.  A Sennheiser HD 6XX cable fits in, but just barely clearing the top metal cover.  If you have any abnormally thick TRS connectors, this might be an issue.
    IMAG0014.jpg
     
    This issue can be seen right here.  I've got a Monoprice premium 3.5mm->RCA cable.  And there's a good 1mm or so that sticks out because of the top metal cover.  I will note that sound still comes through just fine, but the plug falls out a bit easier than I'd like.  I'm currently using one of these cables to hook the Fulla 2 up to my Magni 2 and it functions just fine, despite this issue.
    IMAG0017.jpg
     
    Secondly, the 3.5mm outputs are just too close together.  The picture below says it all.
    IMAG0015.jpg
     
     if you want to use a big and thick TRS plug, make sure you have a skinny TRS connector if you want to use the other output.
    IMAG0016.jpg
     
    Sound.
     
    I've thinned out my collection of cans, so all I have today are the AKG K553 and the HD 6XX.  I did test T50RP MK3s and SHP9500s with the Fulla 2 while I had them.  I will also briefly go over IEM usage.  Windows Sound is set to 24/44.1 and most listening is done through Foobar2000 with WASAPI.
     
    AKG K553.  Sounds great.  These cans are super efficient so it was no surprise.  Noise floor is inaudible through these cans despite their efficiency.  Sound is clean - maybe a little bit on the bright side.  Plenty of power.  I rarely have to surpass 9 o'clock on the knob for most songs.  I actually only hover around 8 o'clock.  Something to note though: a slight sliver of sound still comes through even though the knob is set in it's lowest position!  It was audible with the K553.  Not a huge deal imo, but it should be mentioned.
    IMAG0012.jpg
     
    HD 6XX.  Also sounds good.  Of course no noise floor since these cans are harder to drive.  However, there is a small albeit noticeable difference when compared to my Magni 2, especially in the bass regions.  Listening through the Magni 2 seems to result in tighter, cleaner bass.  And more of it too.  But I would not complain about sound quality if I only had the Fulla 2 to power my HD 6XX.  In this case, I could not hear the small sliver of sound when the knob was in its lowest position.
    IMAG0013.jpg
     
    IEMs.  I tested with the KZ ZS3, KZ ATR, and KZ ED9.  All are quite efficient.  In this case, they revealed that the Fulla 2 had a light noise floor.  My Magni 2, with the volume knob set at listening level, did not have any audible noise floor to my ears.  I would not recommend the Fulla 2 for IEMs though.  See the next section as for why.
     
    Actual Usage.
     
    Aux input works, I guess.  I don't do this very often though.
    IMAG0018.jpg
     
    So much functionality.  It sounds great.  The price is a "mere" $99 (+shipping +tax).  Why is this review only 3 stars then, STN?
     
    The pot.  It's borderline unacceptable.  And this is my 3rd Fulla 2 unit.  Yes, I sent back 2 Fulla 2s as RMAs.  Here's what happened.
     
    1st Fulla 2.
    - Channel imbalance.  Significant under 8 o'clock, but persisted until 9 o'clock.  As stated before, 9 o'clock is pretty much over my comfortable hearing limit.  I really did not want to lower my system volume to 25% just to offset this issue.  I could say that it messes up the bit-perfect windows audio stream and increases noise floor, but my main gripe is that it messes up volume levels on my screen capture programs.
    - microUSB ports were very tight, but not cable-breaking tight.
    - I guess I could put "crooked and offset volume knob" here.
    Back to Schiit you go.
     
    2nd Fulla 2.
    - Channel imbalance.  Again.  It was a little bit better, but at my regular listening level it was still affecting cans like my T50RP and my HD 6XX.
    - Volume knob chamfer was sharp.  I have no idea why.
    - Knob was a bit scratchy when changing volume.
    Back to Schiit you go, again.
     
    3rd Fulla 2.  Finally, it seems like I can hit 8 o'clock without any channel imbalance anymore.  The knob was smooth to rotate and didn't generate audible scratches while doing so.  The knob was physically level and centered.  I had a good unit.  For a full 5 weeks.
     
    My headphones usually plug into the Magni 2 at my desk, which is hooked up to the Fulla 2 as a dac.  But I still want to have the option to take the Fulla 2 on the go with my laptop if I want.
     
    I knew something was a bit funky when I turned on my speakers and heard some slight scratching when adjusting the volume with my Fulla 2.  So naturally I investigated.  I plugged my K553 into the headphone out of the Fulla 2 and tried adjusting the volume.  Scratch city had developed in the right channel.
     
    Conclusion.
     
    Now credit to Schiit handling 2 RMAs and even providing return shipping labels, but I find it difficult to recommend the Fulla 2 now that I've had 3 of them pass through my hands.  If Schiit fixes these potentiometer issues, I think this would be a 4-4.5 star product.  Figure out the port clearance and spacing issue and add an additional rubber foot and you've got a true winner on your hands.  But unfortunately for me, this is a no-go as of early 2017.
     
    Now excuse me as I spend a nice monday afternoon listening session by myself.  And thanks for reading this review.  Leave a comment if you want.  Talking to strangers on the internet is surprisingly entertaining.
    IMAG0021.jpg
     
    I'll probably come around again and proofread the inevitable spelling and grammar mistakes, because right now I'm quite lazy.
      abm0, mattmass, ScubaMan2017 and 3 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. RiflemanFirst
      Great review!
       
      I returned my Fulla 2 within the 15 day window for most of the same reasons. I would have kept the Fulla 2 if it weren't for all the little quirks. There are times where I'm tempted to buy another just for travel and use at work, but I always decide to hold off. Like you said, perfect on paper but the execution probably could have been done a little better. What can you really expect out of a DAC/amp combo with all those features for $99 though? Thankfully, Schiit was very easy to work with for the return & refund.  
       
      The Fulla 2 was my "gateway drug" in the world of DAC/amps. Now I have a Mimby & Vali 2 and am considering buying a Jotunheim. If Schiit ever comes out with a revised version of the Fulla 2 that addresses the current quirks, I'd be very hard pressed to not rush onto their website and click the order button.
      RiflemanFirst, Apr 6, 2017
    3. Music Alchemist
      Just wanted to pop in again and mention that I am far more impressed with the Fulla 2 as a DAC/preamp for speakers than I am with it as a headphone amp.
      Music Alchemist, Apr 10, 2017
    4. SomeTechNoob
      I agree that as a DAC the Fulla 2 is great.  I use it daily, paired up with my Magni 2.
      SomeTechNoob, Apr 18, 2017

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