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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. morpheusx
    Anyone tried Vali with low impedance headphone like mdr-1r, ESW-11, fidelio l1,l2, momentum ?
  2. wje
    Yes.  I am.  Your AT headphones appear to have an impedence of 44 Ohms when I checked the specs.  I'm using a "hybrid" set of headphones at the moment and consist of  Sennheiser PX100 II drivers mounted into Wooden (Grado-style) cups.  The impedence my Sennheiser drivers is 32 Ohms.
    I am experiencing no issues in driving the headphones that I have.  In fact, I'm currently having a "Well color me surprised" as I also have a Schiit Asgard I amplifier.  I'm going back and forth between them and am finding the Vali quite a good performer.  Seriously.  There are differences in the sound that I hear.  But, it's not like the Asgard I completely speeds away and takes the cake.  In fact, both amps feature their own unique differences.  But, the Vali, for the $119 price tag should make a few people stand up and take notice.
    I'm only experiencing the microphonics on startup and it lasts about 45 seconds as noted.  I haven't opened the case to check if the tubes are pressed in all the way or not, yet.  Soon.  I will soon do that task.  Also, might apply some Dynamat under the lid of the Vali to see how effective it is at damping any sounds / vibrations.  I have some RTV silicone, too, and will apply a small bead on the tops of the tubes to see how effective this "fix" is.  Finally, I also have some acoustic foam (AcoustiPack) that's designed to line the insides of computer cases to quiet them a bit.  I'd have to see whether this might be effective when installed under the lid of the Vali.
    I'm the 2nd owner of the Vali.  Thus, no direct warranty support for me.  I'm open to modding anything ... just as it says next to my avatar.
  3. wje
    OK.  I realize my last post was only 42 minutes ago (plus a bit over 20 minutes to handle this write-up).  But, when it comes to modding, I really have my Schiit together. [​IMG]
    As follows ...
    The right tool for the job.  A semi-good precision screwdriver that has about 6 different sizes and types of bits.  I've used those smaller precision screwdriver sets that you can buy for a buck or two, but they can never give you enough torque when needed.  In my case, investing the $8.00 or $9.00 was a good investment considering how much use I've gotten from the indicated tool.
    Location of the screws to be removed from the casing (green arrows).  Then, slide the case forward (blue arrow).
    Looking inside the case, revealed that the tubes were lifted up to nearly a 45 degree angle (as indicated by position of green arrow).  This picture shows the tubes, after being pressed back down - carefully and with covering my finger with a paper towel to avoid getting any oil or debris from my fingers onto the tubes.
    With the tubes pressed down onto the white adhesive foam pieces, I realized the tubes were actually gripping quite well. However, suspecting that future climate changes between heat and cold could cause the foam to lose the grip once again.  Additionally, one can see when the amp is suspended in its comfy foam grips and carefully packaged in the box, there still will be a lot of movement and jiggling as the amp gets shipped to its destination.  As suggested earlier, applying a small bit of RTV silicone on the tube would work to dampen it a bit.  So, I actually performed two goals at once.  Using a toothpick, I tried as carefully as I could to apply the silicone to the sides of the tubes, while also securing them a bit better to the sides of the white foam pieces.
    Carrying forward with some thoughts about dampening the case, I applied 4 squares of Dynamat to the inside of the lid of the case.  I kept the Dynamat at least 3/8" from the sides as you want to ensure there is enough clearance for when you put the lid back on, the Dynamat won't get in the way of the lid resting on the metal sides and back that are folded over to facilitate holding the lid in place and providing screw holes to attach the screws properly into the case.
    Finally, after placing the lid back on by sliding it into place to ensure the LED slipped back through the hole, as well as clearing the volume knob, and the headphone jack, I placed the 4 screws back into position and flipped the amp over.  On the bottom of the amp, I applied 4 more squares of Dynamat to work at dampening the rest of the case, and just below where the PCB board is mounted inside the amplifier case itself.
    Everything is done, and the amp is placed back into service.  The result?  Holy Schiit.  The microphonics issue was resolved 98% (not 100% precise on that percentage though).  Seriously, the microphonics were greatly reduced to the point where I only noticed a very faint ring that could be heard through the headphones, and this went away in about 30 seconds.  With my headphone still on my head and the music not playing yet, I used my fingers and tapped on top of the amp case.  Again, just a faint ring would make its way out, then disappear in 30 seconds.  That's it.  Greatly, greatly improved.
    Normally, when I'm applying changes based upon some previous analysis, I'll just perform one change at a time, then perform a series of observations to determine the effectiveness of the change.  However, given the number of possibilities in this case, I moved ahead and performed the whole she-bang in one modding session.  I'm not sure which was the most effective, buy it would seem plausible that the silicon combined with getting the tubes back into their appropriate resting position was quite likely the mod to focus on.  The rest, however, are there to augment the rest of the modification to ensure nearly every angle of suspected issue was addressed.
    Finally, I'd like to give credit to the previous posters who shared a lot of useful information that allowed me to study this process, get the amp properly taken apart and address the issue.  Again, this was a result of more than a few members and their previous posts, and for that, the thanks should go to them, too.  This is what's great about the forum community here.  The collaboration is what allows us to take a good product and make it great.
    cddc, CEE TEE, indieroll and 6 others like this.
  4. karlsonklam
    ~CooL - did you notice if the top had any tendency to ring when tapped before the Dynamat application?  is there capacitor coupling from the triode-tied tube to its next stage? 
  5. Nic Rhodes

    600 (or 580 Jubilee like a 600) but 650 do work very well with Vali. My AKG240DF have also come alive however the Sony MA900 aren't my favourite match on this amp.
  6. Rossliew
    I'm currently listening to the HD650 with the Vali and Modi. Using my laptop running Foobar as a source (with lossy files, unfortunately), the HD650 sounds pretty good. In fact, i believe the pairing is very synergistic, something along the lines of "brightish digital tunes" + "warm signature of the HD650" = Great results! 
    As a comparison, with my analog front end i.e. TT to the Vali, the Grado SR80i sounds like a better match. 
  7. ame5051
    I truly can't believe the Vali cost what it did. I am using it with a pair of stock Q701s and the Modi, and the sound is truly stunning irrespective of price. The sound was full, and the slight shrillness in the treble was nonexistent. As for the ringing issue, I have the Vali on my PC desk and if I hammer the desk with a fist, take the headphone jack in or out, or adjust the volume, I hear nothing whatsoever; it's only when I tap the chassis hard with my nails that I get a very faint ring that dies out completely in about 3-4 seconds. Mine might be the exception, but in any case, I am absolutely thrilled with this thing, and would wholeheartedly recommend it.
  8. UmustBKidn
    If I may offer an opinion, in response to several who wonder whether to get Magni or Vali ...
    Disclaimer: I do not own a Vali, but I do own another brand of hybrid tube/ss amp, that is by all accounts, inferior.
    What sounds best is always going to be what sounds best to you, on your setup, with your ears. All opinions are subjective. Even the best of them. Of course, if it were that easy, you'd just buy both amps and be done with it. What you're hoping for though, is someone to save you the expense of that little experiment (which will cost you precisely $99 or $119 dollars plus tax and shipping, depending on the outcome).
    To be fair, no one can really answer that question. You need to try it for yourself. Really, we could all be wrong. No one knows your ears but you. And the ears are one of the least-discussed components in the audio chain.
    That being said, in my experience, there is a distinct difference between a Budget-Fi solid state amp, and a Budget-Fi hybrid amp. IMO it's the same sort of difference that you'll find discussed between higher priced solid state and hybrid amps. The solid state amps are usually more clinical sounding, more accurate, less lively, but more precise. The amps with tubes in them sound less clinical, usually "warmer" (which I interpret as to mean more and realistic mid range), but less accurate, more lively, and less precise.
    Even worse, different amps sound better or worse with different music. And so do different cans. There are a plethora of variables. So a question like this is much harder to answer than it might seem.
    Which sounds better? I can find examples of both cases. Some people think solid state is best, because they don't like to color their music. Others really enjoy a nice tube sound, and are less concerned with precision.Some people, myself included, like to use both, depending on what music we're listening to at the moment.
    Personally, it is my humble opinion that you really need to try both, at least once in your lifetime. You will never really know which type of amp you like better, with your music, until you try both of them for yourself. None of us here can tell you which one you're going to like better. Honestly, I think you'll like both - but in different circumstances (e.g. with different music or different cans). For the extra $99 or $119 bucks, it's just too easy to own both.
    kstuart likes this.
  9. yourboss

    Your opinion is only worth anything if you have heard at least a few other hybrid tube amps in a similar price range. And only if you have done it with the same setup. Preferably side by side.It makes no sense to compare apples to oranges.

    No offense but without a scientific approach things get derailed.
  10. ame5051
    Very presumptuous to think I haven't tried the Q701s with other amps and setups more and less expensive than this Mr. Psychic, but in any case I still stand by the fact this is the best I've heard them sound, that and the fact that the characteristic shrillness in the treble was all but nullified made me think that was worth pointing out, especially given the low price of this amp, and the fact that many people have problems finding a good match for these cans. Scientific approach - LOL. For the most part opinions on audio equipment are extremely subjective, mine is no different.
    Transformatron likes this.
  11. yourboss
    You didn't answer my question. Which hybrid tube amps have you heard? Other than vali. I don't care about ss or full tube amps. And I hope they fall in the $90-150 range only.
  12. jaywillin
    i do believe i'm going to give my vali the same treatment !
    nicely done !
  13. Mshenay Contributor
    wait a week first
    I just tapped mine about 6-7 times and I didn't hear much either...  It may be the newer models have the mircophonic issue solved 
  14. jaywillin

    jason said somewhere that they were changing the adhesive being used, while my microphonic noise isn't real bad, i did take the case top off and the tubes were at the 45* angle, i pushed them down, but the silicone and dynamet could help with the microphonics i still have, i tell you i really love this little beast, i'm listening with my rs1i's at the moment, and it also drives my lcd2's and sounds great !
  15. karlsonklam
    Oatley's starved tube/IC headphone amp kit might be fun for someone  - http://diyaudioprojects.com/Tubes/6418-Tube-Preamp-Headphone-Kit/
    JoeKickass likes this.
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