Go ahead. Do things with Valhalla 2 that you’d never attempt with other OTL tube amps. Run...

Schiit Audio Valhalla 2

Rating:
4.66667/5,
  • Go ahead. Do things with Valhalla 2 that you’d never attempt with other OTL tube amps. Run low-impedance headphones. Use IEMs. Valhalla 2 is a complete re-imagining of Valhalla, with improved performance, higher output capability, lower distortion and output impedance.

    Tubes Made Flexible
    While most tube OTL amps are really only designed for 300 ohm Senns and 600 ohm Beyers, Valhalla 2 stretches to include headphones that you’d never expect to use with a tube amp. Go ahead. Use it with Grados. Run it with AKGs. Rely on it for many IEMs. You may even like it with high-efficiency planars like LCD-X, LCD-XC, Oppo PM-1 and HE-400.

    A Complete Desktop Preamp
    Valhalla 2 also adds two important features: preamp outs and a gain switch. Preamp outs let you connect your powered monitors directly to Valhalla 2, to give them some of what some people call “tube magic.” The gain switch gives you better control of both output level and impedance, for better matching to your headphones. It's easy to build a complete desktop system around the Valhalla.

    Not Your Father’s Tube Amp
    If you’re expecting syrupy, tubby, euphonically colored tube sound, you’re in for a shock. Valhalla 2 is exceptionally accurate, neutral, and resolving, without being strident or etched.

    Frequency Response: 20Hz-20Khz, -0.1db, 7Hz-200KHz, -3dB
    Maximum Power, 50 ohms: 180mW
    Maximum Power, 300 ohms: 800mW
    Maximum Power, 600 ohms: 450mW
    THD: < 0.04%, 20Hz-20KHz, at 1V RMS, high gain (worst case)
    IMD: < 0.05%, CCIR at 1V RMS, high gain (worst case)
    SNR: > 97db, unweighted, referenced to 1V RMS, low gain
    Crosstalk: < -71dB, 20 Hz-20KHz
    Output Impedance: 14 ohms (hi gain), 3.5 ohms (lo gain)
    Gain: 7 (16.9db) or 1.5 (3.5 db), via rear switch
    Topology: All-triode, noninverting, single voltage gain stage, current source biased front end and optimized WCF output stage, DC-coupled input
    Tube Complement: 6N1P dual triode input, 6N6P dual triode output, 1 each per channel. 6N1Ps rollable to 6DJ8, E88CC, 6922, 6BZ7, and similar types.
    Power Supply: Two internal power transformers with over 2,000uF of filter capacitance
    Power Consumption: 40W
    Size: 9 x 6 x 3.25”
    Weight: 7 lbs

Recent Reviews

  1. adydula
    Excellent Headphone Amp for High Impedance Cans
    Written by adydula
    Published Mar 14, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Affordable, Great Build Quality, 5 Year Warranty, Wider Range of Headphones than Vahalla1, Roll Tubes, Made in USA
    Cons - Runs Hot, but its 4 tubes!!
    I have a bottlehead Crack with Speedball for a few years and has been my go to amp for my Beyer T90 and T1's 2nd Gen.
    After several DIY builds, I was curious how Schitt's Vahalla 2 would work with my T1's. Most amps nowadays seems to be looking at 
    megawatts for the lower impedance heaphones and earbuds...most likely for portable devices etc....but I wanted an amp that would
    drive the heck out of 300 and 600 ohm headphones. 
     
    The Vahalla 2 specs 800 mw RMS at 300 ohms and 450 mw at 600 ohms. This peaked my interest fore sure. I owned a Schiit Lyr and Asgard as
    well along with 8 other head amps mostly DIY stuff. For $350 the Vahalla 2 seemed worth the try. I really like Jason's quick wit, comments and there made in the USA philosophy!
     
    When I got the amp, its was very well packaged and all you have to do is to carefully plug in the 4 tubes, connect up, power on and listen!
     
    Only a on/off switch and a high/low gain switch on the back along with the power plug, along with RCA inputs and RCA preamp outputs. Simple.
     
    A large robust, freely moving volume knob on the front, 1/4" headphone jack and a small on LED. The LED stays on for several minutes after shutdown. No big deal but some
    have wondered if this was an issue, its not....just takes some time to bleed down and go off.
     
    If you want the smaller input tubes can be rolled to your hearts and wallets desire. The stock NOS tubes that came with my Vahalla 2 are wonderful, I see no real need to
    change them out and I did order a second set for $40....imagine a NOS tube for $10 apiece, its good that Schitt isnt ripping us off for tubes.....
     
    Ok so how does it sound or not sound? First impressions are lasting ones, and the new toy syndrome can subjectively taint your viewpoint and feelings towards new audio toys..
    I mean shouldnt new stuff just be better because they are new and maybe cost more? Ha! I have found out the cost more is not always "is better". With the Vahalla 2 I found that it 
    is indeed a wonderful amp for my T1, 600 ohm and even some lower impedance cans. (actually a BIG surprise).
     
    It sounds different than the Bottlehead Crack in that the presentation seems more like your in the front row vs back in row 5-10. Depending on the music and how the material was recorded and mastered both of these amps do very nicely. My preference is the Vahalla2 just because it seems to effortlessly light up these higher impedance headphones. 
     
    I have found myself several times just getting lost in a holographic sound presentation that so many of us buy all kinds of stuff to get! The Vahalla 2 and the Beyers are one of the best
    pairings I have heard. Very clear and open for a tube amp, you can hear all those things you never heard before and I often take off the headphones thinking someone
    is at the front door or my wife is calling out to me!! LOL.
     
    The bass, mids, low end are all there in spades, well done, well controlled....good stuff sounds really good, crap and trebly compressed crap sounds like compressed trebly crap! LOL.
     
    It has no issue playing the low end stuff like the heartbeat beat thump from Pink Floyd, the old stuff from The Doors...the re-mastered 40yr anniv stuff is fabulous, drum whacks that will pop your head off!
    Rather than get all flowery, no that the amp and Beyer Cans will really make you smile and in a lot of cases you need to look no more, or spend more to get absolutely fabulous music recreation.
     
    The amp gets hot, but its got 4 tubes in it, close together but according to Schiit its not an issue and the tubes are rated for 3000+ hours or 200 days on all the time and again a new set will
    set you back a whooping $40! A deal.
     
    Oh the big surprise was my 80 ohm Beyer DT1350's....those small portable closed headphones that Tyl at Innerfidelity opined about so much...well they are small and the soundstage compared to their bigger brothers is just "small". I plugged these into the Vahalla2 and switched to low gain and played some stuff and I was SHOCKED....I had to check to make sure I didnt have the T90 or T1's on! It was like the small DT1350's disappeared on my head and the soundstage popped out much wider than with other amps. I was listening to Cowboy Junkies Original Trinity Series in the church with that really low end beat and the reverb in the church is so well recorded a Classic recording for sure. The 1350s just grow up on this amp...I have no idea why, but whatever Schitt did to make lower impedance cans play like these Tesla DT1350's is magin to me indeed.....The 1350's have sat on my desk for months unused!!! Not anymore...
     
    So all in all the new Schitt Vahalla2 is a superb tube amp that makes high impedance headphones "light up" very, very well....and to my surprise those 80 ohm cans work so well with it as well!
     
    If your looking for a tube amp and dont want to solder, cut wire, or do DIY this is a very good alternative for you. Considering the cost, the wider range of impedances than most OTL amps can handle well the Vahalla 2 is a no-brainer.
     
    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
     
    All the best
    Alex
      dr3wd4wg likes this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Kalavere
      Ahhh, I did wonder. =D
      Kalavere, Mar 15, 2017
    3. thisisaman
      How are the with the T90?
      thisisaman, Apr 11, 2017
    4. adydula
      Excellent with the T90's, With good material its hard to beat at this price point...absolutely stellar IMO. Highly recommended.
      adydula, Apr 13, 2017
  2. bretemm
    awesome, great to get into tubes as well as "reliable for tubes" even for a first time.
    Written by bretemm
    Published Oct 10, 2015
    5.0/5,
    Pros - 4 tubes, fantastic stock tubes, reveals detail
    Cons - gets hot, tubes are sometimes difficult to set, sometimes tubes move and have to be reset.
    my first Schiit was the Modi and Magni and they were great and added quality and "space" to my music, 
     
    so, i then got the Valhalla2 and its added even more detail, quality and "space".
     
    I've first used the Valhalla2 with Modi, and it worked fine. 
    the sound opens up more then with Magni and more detail. 
     
    i would like if there was a easier way of getting different tubes to experiment wiith, through Schiit, BUT, the stock tubes are great.
     
    I'm using some IEMs (Klipsch s3, i know i need better IEMs)(i can't use headphones because of strong magnets) but the Valhalla2 is great on low gain, and, 
    actually my IEMs don't get warm vs using the Magni, i always think there a little warm, but the V2 dosnt heat them up at all, 
     
    i don't even have to turn the volume up much, theres just so much more detail that i want to listen to the detail and not crank my music like i normally do. 
     
    Schiit is fantastic and i have 4 products from them 
    Magni, Modi, Valhalla2, Bifrost Delta Sigma
  3. WifiWizard
    Marilyn Manson had it right!!! This IS the NEW SCHIIT!!!
    Written by WifiWizard
    Published May 27, 2015
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Great Value, Excellent Sound Quality, Plenty of Power
    Cons - IMHO...they need to raise the tubes for better cooling

    I have to say I was very impressed with this little beauty.  For my 63 yr. young ears after being subjected to some of the most ferocious live hard rock and heavy metal it really does justice to my more subdued audio selections now.  The imaging is quite nice especially listening to live performances and various electronic music like Vangelis.  I especially love to listen to the beauty of the Hammond B3 organ from ELP, Triumvirat, Eloy, Deep Purple, YES..etc.  Nothing like listening to a tube driven keyboard thru a tube amp.
     
    One thing that I did immediately "modify" was I raised all four tubes approx 3/4" using 9 pin noval tube socket savers that I picked up from ebay at the following link:
     
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/150471555641?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT
     

    Seems to keep the amp running much cooler and actually gives the amp additional visual appeal.
     
    Sorry my review is not as "technical" as some others, but if you are looking for a nice "mid-price" setup, the Schiit Valhalla 2 and the Modi 2 Uber make a nice entry level system.  I only have one pair of headphones and those are my Sennheiser HD600's.  As many have said, it seems this is the perfect amp for these 300 ohm cans and possibly the Beyerdynamic DT 880 or 990 250-600 ohm cans. 
    1. pedalcolorado
      Out of curiosity, did raising the tubes to cool the amp cause any changes in the sound?
      pedalcolorado, Jun 15, 2015
    2. pedalcolorado
      One more thing, did you also swap the tubes or are the ones you are using still the 'factory' tubes?
      pedalcolorado, Jun 15, 2015
  4. Stereocilia
    Hall of the Slain
    Written by Stereocilia
    Published Apr 3, 2015
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Tube and Value
    Cons - None at this Price
    The electronic wizards and warriors at Schiit Audio can do battle in the bloody realm of HiFi audio worthy of this amp's mythical name. The technical schiit is on the website, the Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) type music reviews are not my thing. I'll keep this Schiit review short and brief. What does it for me, the sensation I get when the tunes produce that euphoria that sends "Qi" down your spine. I'm very sensitive to ear fatigue, so I prefer tube over solid state and open back over closed cans. Neutrality and accuracy is overrated, what matters to me is how my emotions connect to the tunes. The Valhalla 2 sounds great with my Grado GS1000e and HiFiMan HE-300 headphones, is the impedance match off for this setup? I don't know but sounds good to me. I got that "Qi" flow off Phil Mucci "Diabolik Films" and Silver Strain "La Main Gauche" .. weird how that works, I'm not into "witch house" at all
      Andrew Lutchman likes this.
  5. Hifi Enthusiast
    The Schiit Audio Valhalla 2
    Written by Hifi Enthusiast
    Published Feb 25, 2015
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Great Resolution, Beautiful Finish, and Extremly Well Priced.
    Cons - Power switch and gain settings are located on the back of the device.
    What this is…
    There just aren’t that many reviews of the Valhalla 2 available.  I started thinking… I have a Valhalla 2, why don’t I contribute to the same community that has provided this lurker valuable perspective on my headphone purchasing endeavors.  So here I am providing perspective on my ownership of the Valhalla 2.
     
    Why did I purchase the Schiit Valhalla 2?
    Simple, it got my attention.  It is designed and manufactured in the USA, by a very talented team of engineers.  It is an OTL that isn’t supposed to sound and perform like an OTL.  It is supposed to do things that one wouldn’t expect.  Based on the headphones below, you will see that I am testing all of the ones that shouldn’t sound good.
     
    The Fit and Finish
    Plain and simple, the team at Schiit Audio have designed the “Valhalla 2” to look and feel high end.  The pictures in my opinion will never do this piece of artwork justice.  Over the course of my many website and showroom visits I have been hard pressed to find any other headphone amp that looked this nice under the famous 1k mark.  Clean lines and subtle accents sum up the look of the Valhalla 2.  The volume knob feels firm to the touch and where it isn’t the final note in precision it is by no means a slouch even if it is warm to the touch (I actually enjoy the heat, it lets you know it is there and working).  The connections are firm and solid, a cable will not come unplugged if it was bumped or jarred by accident.  The addition of the preamp option was an added bonus and I have chosen to connect the device to AudioEngine 2+ powered speakers.  This combination is much enjoyed for the 10% of the time that I am not wearing a pair of cans.
     
    Source & Connectivity
    Flac/Tidal HiFi -> Windows PC -> Analysis Plus Toslink Optical Digital Cable -> Cambridge Audio 840C -> Analysis Plus Oval One Interconnects -> Schiit Audio Valhalla 2
    Cambridge Audio 840C -> Analysis Plus Oval One Interconnects -> Schiit Audio Valhalla 2
     
    Sample Music
    Melody Gardot – Good Night
    Musica Nuda – Day Tripper
    Led Zeppelin – Dazed and Confused
    Pink Floyd - Money
    Jakob Dylan – On Up the Mountain
    Gemma Hayes – This is What You Do
    She & Him – I Should Have Known Better
    Daft Punk – Harder Better Faster Stonger
    Chris Cornell – Imagine
    Bjork - Hunter
     
    The Headphones
     
    AKG K 702
    Gain = Low
    Volume Knob is at 12.
    Overall Impression: Leaner is the first thing that comes to mind when listening through the 702.This headphone has great resolution, good separation, and surprisingly good depth. I feel like I am hearing the AKG’s sing. I just don’t feel that the same level of involvement and emotion is there.
     
    Audeze LCD-2
    Gain = Low
    Volume Knob is 11-12 depending on the song.
    Overall Impression: The resolution and staging are outstanding.There is truly noticeable depth in the music that I haven’t heard before. These headphones have what I can call exceptional resolution, staging, and separation. I find myself interrupted by smiles on a consistent basis. I have also found myself removing them because of the resolving 3D sound.I am wondering where that came from, then realize it was all in the music. I am happy to say that I am wearing this headphone at my desk for up to 6-8 hours a day plugged into the Valhalla 2.
     
    Grado SR225E
    Gain = Low
    Volume Knob is at 9-10 depending on the song.
    Overall Impression: Great midrange and hi’s.The Grado apply a level of passion and emotion into the music somehow that is truly magical.Where they don’t resolve quite as well as the AKG, I enjoy the separation, and depth that they do provide.This headphone is just a really fun and enjoyable listen.
     
    Sennheiser HD598
    Gain = Low
    Volume Knob is at 11-12 depending on the song.
    Overall Impression: Where this headphone makes for a very musical and fatigue free combination, I find that the soundstage isn’t as wide or deep as that of the other headphones.Going back to this headphone is very tough as this headphone just isn’t the same league when it comes to sound staging.
     
    Overall Thoughts
    The resolution, depth, and staging that the Valhalla 2 provides is just short of a miracle.  I have a hard time imagining better amplification, even though I know it exist.  The airy, atmospheric sound that flows through the LCD-2 and SR225E is absolutely enjoyable. These headphones keep wonderful pace through Bjork’s “Hunter”, resolve female vocals and capture the environments essence. Where all of the headphones listed don’t have the low end depth in their basket of tricks, the amp generously lets them shine and as a result I get to enjoy my music. I don’t find the Valhalla 2 to be a limitation, as all of these headphone combinations offered an extremely low noise floor.  Somehow this amp continues to surprise me, especially when I have taken the weekend off from listening.  Where I am tempted at times to pull the trigger on the Sennheiser HD650’s or Beyerdynamic T1’s just to hear the difference, I am able to resist.
     
    Final thoughts
    What can I say, I find a smile on my face every Monday-Friday when I check into my office and I don’t have to attend a teleconference. 
     
    Why?
     
    Because it means that I have the opportunity to sit down and crunch out actual work… wait for it… while listening to my Cambridge Audio 840C/Valhalla 2/Audeze LCD-2 combination.  For the money, I am a very happy camper.  I do plan on pursuing and testing solid state equipment like the Auralic Taurus MK II, Bryston BHA-1, Schiit Mjolnir, and Burson Audio Soloist. Until then I will remain oblivious to the idea of better sound and continue to embrace my Monday-Friday smiles.  I hope you find value in my feedback and perspective.  Please feel free to hit me up with any questions and I am always looking for feedback. Cheers!
    1. View previous replies...
    2. gr34td3str0y3r
      HD598 - " I find that the soundstage isn’t as wide or deep as that of the other headphones." This is why I keep putting my Senns back on the rack and keep going back to the AKGs time and time and time again. HD650 have a slighty tighter sound than the K701, but I just perfer the soundstage on the K701 so much more. I am using a SS only right now and have a Valhalla on the way. So lets see how the Senns and AKG pair with an OTL. 
      gr34td3str0y3r, May 11, 2016
    3. gr34td3str0y3r
      Okay... got the Vallhala, it really brought out the magic in the HD650. The Valhalla is almost TOO transparent. You aren't really getting a tube sound, but it opens up almost any music I throw at it. Imaging is better than through my SS Marantz. The thing that most surprises me now is that the Valhalla + 650 sound amazing with any type of music. From Nora Jones to Boards of Canada. I may have a new all-rounder on my hands. Not what I was expectning. 
      gr34td3str0y3r, May 18, 2016
    4. Hambone71
      +1 on V2 with 650's. Have had my combo for a couple of years now and found your great review while looking for some tube rolling opinions. I'm also a huge fan of Bjork's Homogenic and often use Joga and Hunter as reference tracks when trying new stuff. Thanks for taking the time to review -- posts like this led me to Schiit in the first place, and I'm grateful for it.
      Hambone71, Apr 20, 2017
  6. Currawong
    The Schiit Valhalla 2 is a excellent value, flexible amp that gives a wide and clear presentation with high-impedance headphones.
    Written by Currawong
    Published Oct 30, 2014
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Inexpensive, solidly-built, wide soundstage with high-ohm headphones, pre-amp is handy with active monitors.
    Cons - Headphone choices are limited to high-impedance models, as low impedance models don't sound great with it.
    [​IMG]
     
    “You know, I’ve never owned any Schi….um, any of your products..” I was saying to Jason Stoddard in LA in March. Indeed, the last time I’d sampled anything from his company was years ago at a meet in Australia, where an original Asgard hadn’t impressed me. So I asked Jason if he would send me a Valhalla 2 once they were in production, as the amp seemed to be something of a potential all-rounder, which is unusual for an OTL tube amp, which would normally be suited only to high-impedance headphones of 300 Ohms and above.

    When the Valhalla 2 turned up, I was greeted with a small, but weighty box. The amp itself looks like it should be light, but the aluminium chassis is thicker than I had expected and the top, side and back plates are substantial metal as well, adding to the weight. The Valhalla 2 comes with 2 sets of tubes, the shorter ones are Russian 6N1P and the larger are 6N6P. Setting up the tubes was straight-forward: Put the small ones in the front sockets and the big ones in the back sockets. Plug in the power cord and source and power up. A gain switch on the back also changes the output impedance, with low gain set up for IEMs and low-impedance headphones such as Grados, IEMs and portable headphones which tend to be low impedance as well.

    I didn’t simply want to hook the Valhalla 2 up to my best DAC, best cables and whatnot, as people who are likely to buy it wouldn’t have the same expensive equipment as I do, so I initially plugged it into the same power strip as my computer with the stock power cord and connected it to a Geek Out using an Audioquest Mini 3 cable.

    The Valhalla 2 blurb says that you can use it even with planar headphones and IEMs, even if the power output at 50 Ohms was going to be a lacklustre 180mW. It did indeed seem to deliver music, at least basically to a pair of LCD-X but some roughness in the sound suggested that it wasn’t a good pairing and switching back to my Studio Six was a huge sonic relief. My HD-800s paired vastly better with the soundstage nice and wide, if the clarity and instrument delineation was behind that of the more expensive amp. More noticeable out of the box was that the sound had a bit of bite — a bit of harshness on the leading edge of notes. I decided to leave the amp running for a few days to see if it went away, as I’d experienced similar things with other amps fresh out of the box.

    Inevitably I’d have to evaluate the amp on its own, so I hooked it up to the Hugo, which was also feeding the Studio Six. What was quite surprising was the degree to which it was possible to distinguish the sources the Valhalla 2. The Hugo was noticeably smoother than the Geek Out, though not by as big a margin as it was using the Studio Six, or directly out of each DAC using their headphone sockets.

    The sound itself isn’t at all “tubey” but entirely clean and clear, which would make it a good match with mid-range high-impedance headphones, which can sound closed and narrow with poor amps. After settling on a pair of headphones, a bit of fine-tuning can then be done with DAC selection if desired if one simply doesn’t select a Modi or Bifrost from Schiit as well and simply be “done”. More so now that it has pre-amp outputs, putting it on one’s desk with a pair of active monitors from the likes of Emotiva, Adam or others would make for a great all-round home-office or similar rig.
     
    Thanks to Jason for sending over a Valhalla for review. A video will follow soon.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. hidehide
      Great review.
      You mentioned it comes handy as it has pre-amp output to connect with active monitors like Adam, but those are just unbalanced RCA. How does it compare with direct connection with balanced XLR from a balanced DAC?
      hidehide, Apr 27, 2016
    3. Currawong
      @hidehide  It's pretty neutral to monitors as it is with headphones. You lose a bit of resolution compared to direct from an Yggdrasil, for example, but for anything less I'd say it would depend on the DAC's SE output quality I reckon.
      Currawong, Apr 28, 2016
    4. hidehide
      @Currawong I'm new to all these DACs/AMPs/speakers. I'm planning to get a Schiit Gungnir multibit + Schiit Valhalla 2 for my Adam A7X and HD650. For the A7X, would you think it is better to connect thru XLR with Emotiva Control Freak as a passive volume control, or connect with the RCA thru Valhalla 2 as pre-amp? Thanks =)
      hidehide, Apr 28, 2016

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