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Yikes... sounds like you should probably send your unit back to schiit.
Question for Vali owners about low quality/low bit rate recordings. From Steve Guttenberg's Schiit Valhalla review:
"The Valhalla's sound may be somewhat less clear than the solid-state Asgard's, but the tubes' sweetening effect makes for a more enjoyable experience with less-than-stellar-sounding recordings, like Arcade Fire's compressed-to-the-point-it-hurts "The Suburbs" CD. The music still doesn't sound great, but the Valhalla made it less grating. The Valhalla made every CD sound a little sweeter and more beautiful than it really is."
And from his Magni/Modi review:
"The Modi is sweet and mellow and very tolerant of cruddy-sounding low bit-rate files and streaming audio sources."
Note: Above, Steve is comparing to the original Asgard and Bifrost USB, respectively.
How are people finding Vali to be with non-lossless audio? Everything I listen to is either 256kbps or lossless.
I think the tubes are very sensitive and can respond unpredictably to even slight changes in the way they are held down or damped.
For example, my Vali arrived with a moderately loud ring that came primarily from the left channel. This ringing would dissipate after about 20 seconds or so.
After talk of detached adhesive pads and tubes hanging above the board, I checked mine and one tube was, indeed, hanging above the board (with the pad attached to it). I pressed it back down.
An interesting thing happened after I did that. The volume, or loudness, of the ringing went down quite a bit, but now the amp was a lot more sensitive.
After pressing it down, just about anything sets off the ringing now. I didn't have much of a ringing issue from touching the volume control before, but now even brushing or putting a finger on the knob would trigger the ringing (not even turning the knob). Even the movement of the headphone cord across the table would set if off. So lower ringing volume, but now much more sensitive.
In Jason's reply, he mentioned that the tubes were pressed down onto the pads during construction. I'm assuming they soldered in the tubes with straight leads. The residual spring tension from the bending, and the cold weather, is probably what cause the adhesive to detach and the tubes to hang in the air. Jason said they were now pre-bending the leads to take the tension off.
Taking a cue from this, I opened up my Vali and carefully pulled the tubes off of the adhesive pads (do at your own risk. At room temps, the pads are very soft and sticky, and there's a good chance you'll rip one). I put a gentle bend into the leads of the tubes to eliminate the tension (so now they don't spring back up even without adhesive). Then I pressed them to the adhesive pads.
Well, joy! I couldn't believe it. I was actually shocked. The ringing had subsided so much, I could barely hear it in the background. And I really had to rap the the top of the case to get it to start.
I had read those reports from owners who could barely hear ringing or get their amps to ring, and now here it was right here. The amp actually sounded more "together" for lack of a better word. I was very, very happy... for a few minutes.
After reveling in the improvement and listening to several upbeat songs, I swapped albums. Uh Oh.....
Now I could hear a persistent ringing that would not stop. Damn. The improvement was undeniable and huge, but I had set up a situation where the now low level ringing just would not stop. It was unlistenable with the constant whine in the backgroud.
I gave up at that point and plugged in my Magni to listen for the evening.
So, yeah, these tube are very sensitive and give vastly different results regarding ringing. But it's very touch and go and unpredictable what will happen.
More tweaking to do....
Honestly it really isn't about v0/320 vs flac when it comes to dacs. You generally have control over if your files are mp3 or flac, but you don't have control over how your music was recorded.
A lot of the music that I listen to with the gungnir, vali, and hd800 aren't the best recordings, but I still enjoy listening to them. Of course your headphones will determine how "forgiving" it will be of lower quality recordings the most.
Reading Jude's comments about the Vali at this page, I would say the Vali is working as designed. My Vali's tubes ring badly, but I don't see it as being defective, in light of Jude's assessment:
It's just that a minute or two is a lot... compared to 20-30 seconds =/. Ultimately it's up to the buyer whether or not he wants to return the unit for another.
i too had previously pressed my tubes back down on the pads, after reading this, i inspected the tubes again, and they were indeed pulling back up
so just did the same "fix" and my results are the same, much less sensitive , and when it rings, stops much sooner !!
K.T. is correct, care should be taken, the pads can tear easily, and care should be taken when bending the wires as well !
I made the attempt but one of the four screws holding down the top plate was well and truly stripped by the factory when they assembled my unit. Since (judging from the other screws) the screw is excessively long for this application, that means that the stripped portion is between the head of the screw and some intact threads inside the chassis. IOW, it's acting like a rivet. I tried several methods to create enough upward force on the top plate to get the lower portion of the screw to engage but failed. Short of finding my jeweler's saw and cutting the screw off, I can't get inside without seriously damaging the case.
I've screwed it back together. The LED is now pushed inside the case and the top of the case has a few scratch marks around one screw. I think I've done enough damage. I'm just going to live with it. This thing was so super-low-buck that if it aggravates me too much, I won't feel bad about just tossing it out and trying something else.
The first screw I tried was stripped as well so I just left well enough alone. Mine rings for < 30 secs so not quite the PITA others are getting. Great little amp though.
I'm looking at getting a Vali for my HE-400 but all this talk of ringing, noise and tubes coming off has me a little worried. If I'm going to be using this as transportable amp do you think I will have a lot of problems with the tubes staying in place. I'll be bringing it back and forth from hove and work a couple of times a week.
Maybe I should just get the magni, O2 or Fiio E12.
I had the same issue. My offending stripped screw managed to engage when I gently levered the top plate up with a small flathead screwdriver, whilst being careful to not push the screw down as I turned it
I hate to keep posting but I wanted to get on here and give a GIANT thumbs up to schiit for their Awesome Customer Service. I'll spare the details but WOW! neatest ever!
Don't want to say so people won't get mad if they don't get the same later.
Using a tube amp as a transportable amp ? Bad idea ! A solid state amp is much better for that.
Do you get this "ringing" by increasing or decreasing the volume as well ?