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NEW Vali Schiit AMP!!!

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by lff, Oct 9, 2013.
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  1. purrin
    The HE-400 is complementary to the HD598. The HD598 is fairly neutral with a slight upper-mid emphasis to give it some pizzazz. The HE-400 is bassy and sparkly/airy with a recession in the upper mids. You may find trumpets, snares, etc. lacking a bit of bite and edge with the HE-400. There are cheap mods such as the Jerg pad mod which improve on the HE-400. I have tried both with the Vali. What really sets apart the HE-400 is its bass quality. A very tight and fast bass - possibly the best quality in the entire HFM lineup without having to resort to a power amp - and even then, it's still debatable that HE-5 or HE-6 bass quality is better. Both HE-400 and HD-598 work great with Vali. I have tried them both.
  2. purrin
    You mean a comparison like this? (And as you can see, a modest HE-500 headphone is being used instead of some uber TOTL one.)
  3. TheGame
    Well I have been following this thread since it was started and I am hearing different thoughts on the pairing of the HD650 with the Vali, especially within the last 2 or 3 pages of the thread and I am somewhat confused. I think some said they prefer the Magni over the Vali for the HD650's, while others prefer Vali for HD650's. Or were they speaking about that it terms of the whole Modi->Magni combo or Modi/Vali combo?
    I know most of the members here use good dacs that are not soundcards, so I guess my question is, since I am using the Creative Titanium HD soundcard, should I go for the Vali to pair with the Titanium HD or the Magni? I was planning on ordering the Vali tomorrow morning (provided that they are still in stock), but now after reading the last few pages of this thread I am confused on how well it will go with HD650's.
    So what do you guys think of the Titanium HD -> Vali -> HD650 or should it be the Titanium HD -> Magni->HD650?
    Any thoughts/help advice? I only have enough money for one of them so I can't get both to compare the two (unfortunately [​IMG])
    Thanks everyone.
  4. purrin
    With your setup, I would be hesitant to say whether there is going to be a clear winner between Magni and Vali. Vali does some things better than Magni and vice versa. The only reason to get Vali would be because you are curious how something slightly, but not overly tubey sounds like. And even then some of the differences folks have pointed out are not huge.
    The Vali, as with anything with a tube in the path, will have less bass precision and control. It has a little bit of upper bass lower midrange warmth which may not be ideal with characteristics of the HD650. The pluses for the Vali are its dynamic lively immediate sound, fast attacks in the treble, more liquid smoother treble, and ability to resolve low level information. (I have no idea how good the Titanium HD as a DAC is. It could be very good for all I know.) As some others have commented, the Magni can be splashy in the treble and can seem lighter on the bass. But it's control is superior and its cleaner and less congested.
    From a tonal balance / matching point of view with the HD650, things would favor the HD650. But again, the differences are not huge, and you may feel the positive things which the Vali brings to the table outweigh the negatives. It's never a black and white thing. Personally, I don't mind losing an small amount of bass control and articulation or gaining some "thickness" in favor of dynamic / lively / immediate and resolving.
  5. TheGame

    Thank you so much for the quick reply purrin. I really appreciate your thoughts and input. To answer some of your questions, yes I have always been curious about a tube amp. The only amp I have ever owned for headphones is a FiiO E09K which is solid-state. As far as the Titanium HD's DAC goes, it is pretty much one of the best you're going to get in terms of an internal PC soundcard DAC. I have had members say I would probably have to spend anywhere from $300+ to get anything better. (But of course that is all opinion, and I do not want to get into the whole DAC debate). Let's just say for a soundcard, the Titanium HD is pretty good with 24 bit / 192k processing with Burr-Brown chip and unfortunately the bottom-line for me is that's the only DAC I have to work with.
    From what I have read from your post (thank you again) it seems the Vali may be the choice I should go with.
  6. kstuart
    Titanium HD has a very good DAC chip that is the equivalent of most of the DAC chips used in DACs cheaper than Bitfrost.  However, as a soundcard, there is no jitter reclocking of any sort.   So, I am maybe roughly equivalent to Modi or close.
  7. Goride
    By the way, I am basically in the exact same boat as you.
    I use a Creative Titanium HD soundcard as my DAC.  Currently my setup is:
    TitaniumHD rca out --> Emotiva Mini-X --> Arx A1b speakers
    TitaniumHD rca out--> Emotiva Mini-X rca out  --> Astro Mixamp --> HD595
    (The Astro Mixamp is just a little DAC/amp meant to connect nicer headphones to video game consoles.  It only outputs 70mW 32ohm per channel.  The main draw for it is that it can process a dolby live signal into dolby headphone, which can give you directional cues for video games.)
    I decided to upgrade to the HD650 when I came across a good deal last week.  It just arrived today.
    I knew the Mixamp was not going to cut it for these, and I would need to get a real headphone amp as well (the mixamp's days were numbered anyway, now that I have a creative titanium HD, I use it to do the video game directional processing, the mixamp is largely unneeded now).  
    Anyway, I ended up ordering the Schiit Vali.  I was planning on getting the Magni, but then I saw the Vali on their webpage.  I realized they just released it, and I thought "what the heck? why not?", and ordered it.  I got a shipment notification over the weekend, it is on the way.
    I was mainly deciding between the Magni and the Vali, and was curious about tubes, so I went with the Vali.  
    But to be honest, I am considering either sending it back or selling it and ordering a Bottlehead Crack DIY kit.  Based on what everyone is saying the Bottlehead Crack is basically God's gift to HD650 users.
  8. jaywillin
    my vali has shipped !!
  9. FraGGleR
    Thanks for sharing your input.  I do find it interesting how different people are hearing this amp, and based on the variance in microphonics reports, I am wondering if some of them sound different as well.  I don't find the soundstage to shallow or narrow in comparison to the two amps I currently have on hand or what I remember for other amps I have owned.  Could be a difference in DACs as well.  
  10. RMiller
    Thanks :) Yea, I know there's no silver bullet here, but since I can't loan or otherwise demo many dacs, I'm trying to at least in some way narrow the selection. I already have Modi for my home rig, and now for my second/office one I'd like something different; though Modi is fine I'd like to mix it up a bit instead of having just two Modis :) Again, thanks for the help. :)
  11. kstuart
    There is an earlier post (around page 10 ??) of a tube hobbyist describing how another small amp manufacturer tried to use similar tubes in a headphone amp and eventually gave up because of the microphonics issue.  Schiit gave the task of tube matching and checking to a third party, and it is not impossible that they did not do a perfect job.  I do think that the $119 price is chosen to reflect that it's a fun product rather than a serious "statement" amp, and may not be perfect.
    The reports do seem to suggest that the dozen hand-built prototypes may have better performance than the production models.
    painted klown likes this.
  12. kstuart
    The Emotiva Mini-X is one of the most highly recommended amps for headphones on this Forum. You should not need another amp.  See:
  13. ethan7000
    My other hobby as well :beerchug:
  14. Wallboy
    I'm about to order either the Magni/Modi combo or Vali/Modi to use with my K701's. What would be the better amp out of those two for those HPs?
  15. ninjames
    Excited to see someone who didn't like the Magni with the HE-400 not liking the Vali with the HE-400 for the same reasons. Because I love the Magni with the HE-400 :]
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