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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
    No idea on the Arcam and Rega DACs so I can't offer an insights. What volume levels are you driving the HD800 at to push it into audible distortion? It's either be careful of your hearing or there's something definitely wrong. Didn't you have the HD700?
  2. MickeyVee
    Yup.. had the HD700 and HE500 at the same time with the Lyr/Bifrost Uber.. sold them both and went to the HD800 after I heard it at a local meet.  Maybe I should have just stopped there. Went to the WA7 with the WA2/22 on the radar.  No looking back. There are some songs like Maroon 5's One More Night (Club Mix) where I really want to crank it just for the one song.  Vali doesn't cut it for that. Most of my listening are at low/moderate levels (9 o'clock) and the Vali is perfect for that. It's just those special songs, say 1 on 20 where I really want to crank it, get up and dance [​IMG]
    Downloaded the Arcam irDAC manual, seems great especially for a Mac based system feature wise.  Going to audition both this weekend. Taking my MacBook Air and Vali. Don't want to get too much into the new toy excitement, but the Vali seems like a keeper! Need to spend a couple of months with it before I commit.
    I've settled on my main AV system and have no urge to upgrade.  It hasn't changes in 2 years.  Getting close with my HeadFi system.
  3. doublea71

    Anybody care to comment? Based on Purrin's comments, the E17 DAC might be underwhelming, but I'm not sure...
  4. mangler

    I briefly tried my e17 with the Vali and LCD2 the other night, and it sounded pretty much like when you plug your headphones straight into the e17, but with more headroom and a larger soundstage. I did have to use the e17 headphone out to do this, so it's probably not that surprising. So, I guess I would say that Vali out of the e17 was just ok. However, it's a whole other story with my W4S DAC2...that's where the Vali really shines, which is consistent with what others are saying about how the Vali scales well with better DACs.
  5. thegunner100
    The E17's dac sucks, it will definitely not be enough for the Vali. It was one of the first dacs i've ever purchased, and I don't regret selling it at all. Definitely go for a better dac if you can. 
  6. doublea71

    So what's a bargain-basement DAC that will be an improvement on the E17? The Modi seems to be a possibility, but again, I'm an amp/dac noob of the highest order.
  7. thegunner100

    A modi is a good start if you're on a budget, perhaps the bare minimum. If you have a bit more money to spare, you can move up to one of the entry audio-gd units like the nfb-11.32 or nfb-15.32. At that point, the bifrost will be an option too (though i've never personally used a bifrost before). If you buy used, you can save a good deal of money as well.
  8. Tequilasunriser
    Haven't you heard?
    Bargain DACs aren't good enough for Vali.
    Scholars maintain that DACS are only good as their price climbs higher, and data showed that a Bifrost sold on sale for $100 sounds approximately 5 times worse than one sold at normal prices.
    Don't ask me why. It's science.
    In other news, $81,000 injected directly into the vein will cure AIDS.
  9. MickeyVee
    Without getting too crazy, the AudioQuest DragonFly $200 or Meridian Explorer $300. If you don't need USB, the Schiit Bifrost Uber $420 otherwise your into a $500+ DAC. Try the used forums for one of these.  The PSAudio DLIII is a little older but is an awesome DAC and should go for a song used.  I have this in my main AV system and absolutely love it. If you're stuck on the $100 range, the Modi can do.
  10. Soundsgoodtome
    Don't forget the companies East. Audio-GD and Yulong to name 2.
  11. JoeKickass
  12. tdockweiler
    The Modi is definitely an improvement over the E17. Same with the ODAC and I think they're both at the same level. Some think the ODAC is better but I couldn't hear much of difference. This was after days of listening to both. The only difference I heard was better center image depth on the Modi. Huh?! Can't explain that one at all! Maybe that mean't it had a tad less treble.
    The E17 DAC has just a tiny touch of warmth and not as bad as everyone says considering it's price and features (COAX and Optical Input!). I often used my E17 for the bedroom attached to the Optical out from the Xbox 360 and my Oppo DVD player. It got the job done and drives my HD-650 and Q701 DECENTLY. The Modi is much clearer and more spacious sounding. Sounds more neutral/natural.  The E17's soundstage is much more closed in, but not too bad. There is some very very slight emphasis in the low mids of the E17 it seems. It's a pretty fun DAC overall. Think it uses the WM8740 DAC. I have a Denon 1920 with two of them inside it I got at a thrift store for $6 and love it!
    I think the E10 is way worse. I wasn't a fan of that at all and it uses the same chipset I believe. I almost never use the E17 and I just got a replacement in yesterday since it died! As an amp even my outdated Total Airhead is better IMO. I don't have any IEMs though.
    For say an HD-650/Q701 the E17 is not something I would ever suggest as a main desktop DAC. Not that it's bad. I can listen to it and enjoy it without any complaints.
    So far I went from HRT MSII > ODAC > Modi  and then Micro DAC. Each one has been an upgrade, except Modi was a side-grade. I only listen to music a couple hours a day and prefer budget gear under $400. Sorry!
    I've found that my Micro DAC is a little bit more revealing of poor recordings and low bitrates and even on the HD-650 it's stupid easy to pick apart all my tracks. This is a little harder on the Modi, but still possible but not as easy. The Modi is very SLIGHTLY forgiving to me. I first experienced that with the T90 I had borrowed. I got that impression with the ODAC too despite what everyone says. The Micro DAC costs me $250 on sale (was originally $350) and the Modi holds up very well.
    Even the HD-650 with the Modi was never really laid back. Some extra smoothness in the treble but that's about it. It's a good DAC if you don't want to hear every single subtle recording flaw! Modi is just so clear sounding to me and even on the HD-650. Modi and ODAC sounds great to me with the HD-650. The HRT MSII..not at all to me.
    If someone can't afford a $500 DAC there is really nothing wrong with the ODAC or Modi.
    Since I'm a HUGE fan of the Modi I could almost guarantee i'd love the Bifrost.
    Haha I was reading up on the Valhalla and I bet i'd like that more than the Vali with the HD-650. Skylab's review of it made it seems pretty neutral. It was one of the better reviews i've read.
    BTW when I'm reading all your impressions of the Vali a lot of them are similar to what I heard on the modded Q701 with it. It's a crystal clear sounding amp with that thing. With that combo I had ZERO complaints!
    I'm surprised there are very few impressions of it with the Q701. The (bass) modded Q701 is VERY close in sound to my HD-650. A little more treble. HD-650 still slightly fuller in the low mids. Bass is actually very similar!
    With my modded Q701 the hD-650 gets very little use. I normally would use the HD-650 for gaming/movie due to it having slightly more low-bass. The mod increases low bass on the Q701.
  13. BournePerfect
    Haven't you heard? Expectation bias is a two-way street. [​IMG] The Vali easily exposed the differences between the respectable SBT analog outs and my Eximus. Easily.
  14. hmorneau
    I agree with you, there is some track like "One More Night - Boyce Avenue" there is a lot of slam and speed with the auditor, with the vali there is no slam and it's responding very slow in comparison.
    I also agree that it's really easy to push the vali on distortion level. It's a fun small amps, but I don't think it's superior to any under 1600$ amps. 
    In a congested part of a track you start loosing some instrument as well. Like Tracy Chapman - Fast car (Boyce Avenue) you loose some part of the sound.
    I'm listening to "New slaves - Kanye West" and there is lot of distortion. Lowering the volume fix it, but that amps is not powerful enough to drive the T1 to their full potential. 
    I will let it "burn" a bit more. But so far it's a good secondary amps, but it won't replace my auditor. 
    Instrument separation is really poor too, everything sound like it's coming from the same place, on the auditor there is lot of room, lot of air. Everything stay really clear even when it's congested. 
    It's plugged on my W4S DAC2, so I don't think the problem is there. Maybe with a better dac... but with the same dac the audtior perform very well and I can hear all the details, so I know that those details are available at the source.
    Any suggestion?
    Maybe I prefer a more "analytical & clinical" sound that the auditor deliver.
  15. BournePerfect
    Auditor? Slam? Whaa? Using the same dac m HD800s slam a LOT more with the Vali than the Auditor. OTOH-the Auditor is known to pair better with the T1 than the Senns though.
    JoeKickass likes this.
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