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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. hmorneau
    Yeah, the auditor + T1 there is a lot of slam, and it's freaking fast. When I hear something that is slow and congested on the vali, I plug my T1 back in the auditor and everything is clear, fast and non-congested (in fact it make it sound like it's not a congested part of song, everything is detailed and the separation between instrument is really clear). The difference is so big. Day and night actually. 
     
    Also the volume knob on the auditor doesn't compare to the small one on the Vali.
     
    I think I will move the vali in my bedroom and use it with my cellphone and my DT880. 
     
    But in fact I think the Auditor is really impressive, I was a bit sceptical about the Vali, but for it's low price I don't regret it. 
     
    Maybe I'm just not a tube guy.
     
  2.  
    Whatever we're paying you, it's not enough.
     
  3. TheGame
    Hello everyone. finally got to spend about 4 hours with the Vali today. My goal was to try the HD650's, DT 990 Pros and ATH-M50's with it, but I only ended up listening to 4 albums with the HD 650 and starting getting really sleepy so I'll have to put off my thoughts on the DT 990s pros and ATH-M50's for later.
     
    Anyway here are my initial thoughts of the Vali with the HD 650's. Keep in mind I am still a beginner, and I have a very simple "budget" setup" so forgive me if my review sounds simple or stupid.
     
    I'm simply using JRiver MC 19 as my source, with the Titanium HD used as my Soundcard/DAC, connected to the Vali with mid-grade RCA cables, straight to the HD 650's. I didn't change any settings in JRiver or made any changes other than simply unplugging my other amp (The FiiO E09K), and plugging in the Vali.
     
    Sound differences between the Vali and FiiO E09K were immediate, although not as much of a change as I had expected (after reading so many impressions of this amp and everything that has been said about it so far, I thought my sound would be changing drastically). However that isn't the case with my setup. The immediate differences I noticed between the FiiO E09K and the Vali is that the Vali did add a little warmth to the over-all sound signature of the HD 650's (seemed to be warmer in the lower mids), but the warmth was subtle, almost "soothing". It wasn't overwhelming nor muddy and didn't seem to drown out other frequencies (the treble and highs were still very nice and crisp).
     
    The other difference I noticed with the Vali compared to the FiiO E09K with the HD 650's is that the music that I listened to (only about 4 different albums today) seemed a little more articulate, and I DID hear little nuances that I did not hear before in the music that I listened to today. And no, I can assure you that it is not placebo effect, I am an active mixing and mastering engineer for my own music and for other bands (although I do not use headphones to monitor) so I am very adept to picking out subtle changes in frequencies and pressure waves. My point being is that over the years I find I can easily pick out instruments, and what adding or subtracting frequencies and envelopes. filters, etc. can do to affect their overall sound, and when mastering what they can do to the mix as a whole.
     
    The Vali for me felt like there was a slight decrease in sub-bass. Kick drums had less thump, however they sounded more tight and accurate, which to someone like me who likes a darker, more bass heavy sound, it wasn't necessarily a bad thing. Kick drums sounded more natural and it was much easier to tell one drummer's kick drum, from another drummer's kick drum, almost as if I could picture in my head where they had the mic placement for the kick drum's recording - near (or even sometimes inside) the bass drum itself through a port hole, or very close or farther from the kick drum's head for recording. Bass guitar also had less of a muddy sound, it sounded cleaner and easier to pick out in the overall mix.
     
    I didn't find much change in vocals, guitars, keyboards, or wind instruments, although like I stated earlier, I only listened to 4 albums (about 4 hours). Also, I didn't notice any change in the overall sound stage as some Vali users have reported.
     
    In conclusion for my limited testing, in my case, the Vali is a huge step up in my "Budget" setup. Even though the FiiO E09k and Vali are roughly priced about the same, the Vali is a huge leap in improvement to my ears.
     
    So for me, and my personal opinion, the Titanium HD->Schiit Vali->HD650 is a great combo and pair extremely well together. Like I said, I do only have a budget setup and haven't heard more expensive setups so maybe the Vali's signature is less apparent than it would be with more expensive/sensitive equipment. But for me the bottom line is that my setup sounds much better than it did before with only a small investment in the Vali.
     
    Music listened to:
     
    Tool - Undertow (entire album) 1993 @ an average bitrate of 944 kbps / Bit Depth - 16 / Sample Rate - 44.1 Hz / Format - FLAC
     
    Dream Theater - Dream Theater (entire album) 2013 @ an average Bitrate 2953 kbps / Bit Depth - 24 / Sample Rate - 96kHz / Format - FLAC
     
    Dream TheaterAwake [SHM-CD, Japan] (entire album) 1994 @ a Constant Bitrate of 320 kbps / Bit Depth - 16 / Sample Rate - 44.1 Hz / Format - FLAC
     
    Megadeth - Peace Sells But Who's Buying? [SHM-CD, Japan] (Entire Album) 1986 (original) 2013 (SHM-CD, Japan Ver.) @ Constant Bitrate 1033 / Bit Depth - 16 / Sample Rate - 44.1 Hz / Format - FLAC
     
    Remember I am still learning this stuff so if you find my review useless, I apologize, just giving my opinion from a beginner's point-of-view with a beginner setup. I hope it at least benefits someone who reads it.
     
    olor1n and thegunner100 like this.
  4. Nic Rhodes
    for fear of making this more a DAC thread than it is already, perhaps there is a market for Schiit for a Modi2 (to run in parallel to Modi rather than replace), same case, same connection but at $199 and better quality? I would buy Jason.
     
  5. K.T.
    HE-400 and 500 in the house! And interestingly, I think they sound better on the Magni!

    That after I preferred, by far, the HD598, DT770, PSB M4U1 on the Vali. I mean, the Vali blew away the Magni on these phones.

    I feel that with the HE-400 and 500, the Vali just doesn't have enough power to grip the ortho drivers and coax a coherent musical presentation from them. The fine qualities of the Vali are still apparent, but they are struggling to get out.

    The biggest problem is with the bass. There's not very much of it, and what's there can hardly be called propulsive or tuneful. There's simply no foundation for the music. The result is the sound is tilted towards the upper mids and treble. Too thin and bright with no body or drive. Bummer!

    With the Magni, however, both phones sound fuller, more dynamic, tuneful, and engaging, if less articulate, than with the Vali. But without sufficient drive, the Vali is only about the articulation and not about the music.

    To my ears, the Vali is not a good match for the HE-400 and 500. The Magni does much better.

    I was bummed that I had a potentially orphaned Magni after the Vali arrived. But the Magni will have a place driving my HE-400s and 500s.

    Oh wait.... I have an Asgard 2 coming. Will the Magni become an orphan, yet?
     
  6. TheGame
    Ah! So lucky! I think the Magni may lose to the Asgard 2  [​IMG]
     
  7. BournePerfect
     
    I don't doubt at all the the Vali is slow and conjested compared to he SPL-it's the bass slam specifically I was curious about. Also-don't judge whether you're a tube guy based on impressions of a $119 amp lol, regardless of how well it punches above it's weight. It's no ZDSE-nor does it claim to be.
     
    -Daniel
     
  8. UmustBKidn
     
    <watches comment go over his head>
     
    <continues reading>
     
  9. UmustBKidn
     
    When I was younger, it would have been Duct Tape [​IMG]
     
  10. Mshenay
    kinda glad I bought my brand new q.q
     
    I do expect a small amount of "ewwww what's that noise.... oh somethings loose" from the vali in teh next what is it 5 years? Holy crap FIVE years... I hope I have the vali that long honestly! 
     
    Oh dang that's AESOME news.... about them aids cure a shame about the dac lol
     
    Still... hoping my NFB10ES2 dac is good enough :3, it should be it full balanced after all 
     
  11. olor1n
    My previous comment about a "lack" of slam is in relation to the Mjolnir, which hits hard. I don't find the Vali dynamically compressed at all though. And I certainly don't perceive it losing detail in busy passages or miring the presentation with overdriven distortion. There's bound to be variance in findings based on many factors, but some of the impressions here are utterly baffling.
     
  12. eccom

    The Audioquest dragonfly is ony 100 USD on amazon at the moment, a good alternative to the Modi or Odac if you want a compact dac that alos works an amp when out and about.
     
  13. Mshenay
    That does make sense though, the Balanced out of my Nfb10ES2 has a VERY HARD hitting bass as well, and it's balanced. I've found with both my HE 400 and DT 880 the balanced output on my NFB 10ES2 is... as far as bass goes, Harder and more tactile. I'm assuming the Mojilnir may have the same benifits on it's balanced output as well.
     
    And what's great is the NFB's SE is slighty softer and has a touch more decay, so chances are the Vali bass wise won't differ to much from the SE I'm already using with my w1000x. Not to mention the W1000x doesn't do anything below 50 or so hrz very well. Meaning if the bass down there is flabby.... I won't b hearing to much of it lol
     
    Now that said... my D2k which is in bound is balanced so :O I hope it does nice with the vali up again'st the NFB 10ES2 >.>
     
  14. Solarium
    Will Vali's higher output impedance make a difference vs Magni in low impedance HP's (like HD 598's)?
     
  15. peter123

    The AQ Dragonfly is only $100 now so it's not good enough anymore :)
     
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