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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. 4nradio
     
    "Ditto" on the excellent sound with the HD800s! I found a decent cable to go between my DX100's 1/8" Line-Out and the Vali and have been taking a listen. BTW my HD800s have the Anax mod.
     
    I'm playing some tracks from Stevie Ray Vaughan's Texas Flood (Mobile Fidelity's remastered). The bass slam of Tommy Shannon's guitar is clean without blurring of the notes, and every other range is smooth right up through the treble. It might be expectation bias, but the sound stage seems a bit wider through the Vali than directly from the DX100's headphones output.
     
    Microphonics are minimal and fully disappear within 5-10 seconds, even with the Vali sitting right on a hard shelf surface (on rubber feet attached yet). I tried a lower impedance set of cans (modded JVC HA-S500) and microphonics, while much more pronounced, were gone in about 20 seconds. All in all, it's not really a problem. 
     
    If the Vali sounds this good right out of the box, I can't wait for burn-in to commence.
     
  2. Soundsgoodtome
    I don't even own one but if putting rubber around the unit eliminates microphonics, several layers of plastidip (rubber spray paint you buy at a hardware store) should be a good solution... ?
     
  3. Binge
    Demoing right now with Mad Dog 3.2.  PC>Modi>Vali... No special cables or mods.  I like a lot of Jazz, R&B, Rock, and Electronic.  Genres that may be a close relative are all fair game.  I am by no means a pro, I have done some recording in a studio environment, and I do play a few instruments.  When I do recordings and most listenings I use a reliable interface the Roland Tri-Capture.  The tri-cap is my go to interface for ultra low recording and listening latency with great fidelity.  It is well within the performance of similar solid state headphone amp solutions at three times its price.
     
     
    Playlist
     
    • Queens of the Stone Age - The Vampyre of Time and Memory
    • Imogen Heap - Aha!
    • Lotus - Nematode
    • Hot Chp - The Warning
    • Indego Children - Puscifier
    • The Budos Band - Unbroken, Unshaven
     
    The Vampyre of Time and Memory, 2013 was a good year for QOTS.  When I first listened to this on my default setup during the first 15 days of owning my Mad Dogs I knew I had to keep the headphones.  There are a few synth effects, the standard dirty guitar, a piano, a bass line which carries the tune and multi-tracked lyrics which ride on top of the bass line with grace and melancholy.  With the Vali I remember the synth having less dimension.  There just seem to be more harmonics with that sound and I can't quite decide if I like it better with the tri-capture or the Vali.  It's more like the bitey hum has grown several sets of extra teeth and I could wince at the effect with a good volume.  This sound is pretty prominent in the song, so most of the other instruments either cut through it or play along with the sound.   What I love is that even with the tubes all of those key instruments in the song remain characteristic and cut the mix in their own right.  The audio remains spectacular and haunting.  My enjoyment is not halted with any of additional dynamic I experience in the synth effect.
     
    Aha! 2nd to Nematode this tune has a ton of presence with airy sounds.  Vocals are punchy at times and then suddenly whispered evoking an increased sense of suspense. At 1:40 and going to 1:55 there is a vocal backtrack I have a hard time placing each time I listen to this track, but when I do I grin because the play is enchanting.  The vali misses none of the articulation at this part and more.  Clear separation of the samples used in her song remains true to the recording.  There is a bit of extra punch in the drivers when the bell sounds decay, and some of the synthesized percussive effects have a bit more impact than I remember.  There is also more presence to the cello without destroying any other part of the mix.
     
    Nematode, Great piece, exceptionally smooth by nature, and captured live.  There is a huge scene painted with this tune.  The guitars sound as sublime as ever.  There was a noise which I picked out some new rhythmic hiss and crackle new tonight which was the effect of the compressor the guitarist was using throughout the song.  To hear it at all with the solid state amp I had to turn up things a bit louder to an uncomfortable level, but not with the Vali which seemed to keep it all and all of the rest of the instruments/effects admirably in the forefront of the stage. Almost 9 minutes into the song there are some bass frequencies which subtly roll into the song before things start to get more and more energetic.  They rolled in without any lack of subtlety as they should.  No over accentuated details so I am starting to think although the tri capture is admirable there is just a bit more low end definition that I could get out of a higher end SS amp.  I only assume this because the color is not disproportional... just the separation of the details between the two setups.
     
    The Warning, I've listened to this song a million times between the car, portable solutions, youtube, and every now and again.  It has a bunch of percussion and lyrics which ever so gently keep in time.  Nothing really complex here, nothing lost, clear and crisp representation of the recording.
     
    Indego Children, This song became growly without remorse and I believe that was intended.  My desk speakers get most of the power I'm now hearing from the Mad Dogs.  From the songs I've listened to earlier in the list I can say that there is much more low end definition between the Vali and my Tri-Capture.  With the presence of the low end separation I do not get a sense that there is extra coloring.  Nothing seems more recessed and remains just crystal clear and punchy.
     
    Unspoken, Unshaven, Like Nematode this song is more relaxed and just sounds larger.  The horns are one reason I come back to The Budos Band aside from the grooooooovy tunes.  I feel the vali handles these sounds with care and the echo effect to the lead horn really creates notable depth.  In previous songs it looks like I mention without fault my feelings regarding clarity of the low end and the mix.  Bass is one of those things that not all genres inject via IV into their recordings.  In fact the lower midrange can often overpower or meld with a bass line.  The Budos Band's range is a bit darker with a clear balance resting in the crashes, shakers, and horns used.  A lot of times this muddies with darker or warmer gear.  I get none of that sense from the Vali..  If I can cite one more song Nature's Wrath also by The Budos Band I must stress that the power behind these songs is low end clarity and separation.  Bass presence is one thing and a warm/dark sound is another.  There is definitely the string quality to the bass guitars, and the tin of any slap is present and balanced.
     
    I've nothing but praise for the Vali as a $119 amp.  That being said... I don't think it should be run(demoed) without a DAC.  The tubes of the Vali will do wonderful things with a pure source and with anything less I fear might give the wrong impression of this neat device.  Earlier I had used it on my HD650 and immediately noticed the veil on that set of phones seemed lifted.  Thanks Schiit for making such a cool piece.
     
  4. Bolardito
    My Vali arrives tomorrow..can do a comparison with the Luxman P1-u, Super 7 and Mjolnir with the HD800 and my other cans 
     
  5. tdockweiler
    Sounds good with the K400..not that anyone cares. This means it should also be fine for the K601/K501 I'd imagine.
    Doesn't really sound any different or better. Just like how it's always sounded.
     
    The K400 has always sounded a bit bass-light and thin for me..the Vali doesn't change anything here and I don't want that anyway.
     
    I couldn't pick my favorite match for the Vali. They're all equally good.
     
    There is definitely no lack of treble on this amp..
     
    BTW nothing I own has been past the 9:30 position on the volume dial. My HD-650 always is at the lowest volume level.
     
    Also..the ringing takes 20 seconds to go away for me. When I increase the volume you can hear it but it goes away in 2 seconds.
     
  6. CJ_CoCa
    Has anyone tried the Vali with the HE-400? I'm trying to decide whether to get the Magni or Vali for use with the 400s...thanks in advance!
     
  7. jexby
    this is officially a non-expert comparison.
     
    some early observations as the Vali arrived today, let it warm up and go through some music in my absence for about 5 hours.
    got to perform some quick A/B swaps with my setup.  tried to get output values very close, but no I didn't measure.
    I really never got the Vali or Lyr past 10 o'clock on the dial, don't need to blast loud at night- ha!
     
    iMac > Audirvana+ > Virtue Audio USB cable > Concero HD (no filters) > Vali | Lyr (with Ediswan tubes) > HE-500
     
    source material:  mix of 24/96 and 24/192 material and some 16/44.  rock and alternative, acoustic guitar and piano pieces.
    and wow, this little Vali gem is a real solid performer!
     
    I will state tho, Vali is no Lyr2 or Lyr killer IMHO.  (tube preference your call)
     
    the Vali is very musical, and nothing sounds "below average" at all.
    but to my ears:
     Vali soundstage is not quite as wide, nor tall
     Vali seemed to present music more "up close" or in your face (central)
     Vali seemed to emphasis some acoustic guitar parts as a bit more forward in the mix
     Vali a bit less able to focus/separate on base string "plucks" decay
     Vali had a tad hollower (less full) sound on a few isolated drum hits at times
     
    I've heard tale of Vali micro dynamics and clarity being better than the Lyr-
    and I can't really hear anything significantly different.  maybe on a few cymbal taps, guitar strums but really, barely noticeable to me.
    I have a sneaky suspicion this is one area where tube rolling (away from stock tubes) can deliver improved Lyr micro details.
     
     
    in reading the above, it may come across as a negative review of the Vali, but NOT at all!
    if I had the Vali first, I'd probably feel little/no need to get a Lyr and save the $.  alas, lucky me for having both?  [​IMG]
     
     
    the Vali is destined for the office (with BiFrost Uber), where it will rock the HD600 for sure with zero complaints.
    it's a no brainer superb amp, and the fact it closely competes in my setup with a +$300 Lyr (plus tube upgrades!) is a significant accomplishment.
    amazing schiit to say the least!
     
    ps. a follow on comments about background:
     
    why do I love the dead silent background on the Vali!? ha!
    no music playing, knob cranked.  nothing. silence.
    no need for my JK Audio Pureformer in the RCA connection between Concero HD and Vali at all,
     
    whereas I do need/want the Pureformer in the RCA connection between Concero HD and Lyr to eliminate some usb crackle and reduce the low hum in the same "no music, crank the knob" scenario.
    real world listening impact?  zero I bet.
     
  8. JoeKickass
    Vali has arrived, incredible shipping speed! Noticed the micro-phonics immediately with my $20 monoprice headphones (which measure 40 ohms) and even worse with my $40 sony in ear set (which measure 16 ohms lol) but the ringing died out completely with both! The noise floor was higher on the sony's, and the volume was only usable up to 8 o'clock but they worked surprisingly well! I am using a hifidiy dac which made my cheapo headphones sound great, but the Vali really polishes everything so nicely, and even takes some harshness out of my low quality music too!
     
    I'm thinking about the hd 558's as my first real quality set, I know I'm so poor [​IMG]
     
  9. Soundsgoodtome
    I find it surprising people are comparing the Vali to the Lyr since the power output is much higher on the latter... yet it sounds almost as good?

    Vali:
    32 ohms: 650mW RMS per channelMax
    50 ohms: 550mW RMS per channelMax
    300 ohms: 220mW RMS per channelMax
    600 ohms: 115mW RMS per channelMax

    LYR:
    32 ohms: 6.0W RMS per channelMax
    50 ohms: 4.0W RMS per channelMax
    300 ohms: 660mW RMS per channelMax
    600 ohms: 330mW RMS per channelMax
     
  10. helljudgement

    Very interested to see how it compares to super 7 and p1-u. Subbed.
     
  11. flowza
    Has anyone tried it with the pro900? If so, do let me know.
     
  12. davidsh
    How is the general sound signature of this amp, can't really get a grasp of it?
     
  13. Eric_C
    I have a DT 880 (the 250-ohm version), and just got my Vali today. Is that a useful comparison? I'm not sure how the sound sig compares to the DT250.
     
    Basically: yeah, I'm happy with this Schiit. Can't wait for my Mad Dogs to come in.
     
  14. gideon228
    I've just put 200h of burn in through this little amp with my HD650s and put on Explorers by Muse. WOW! The details in the piano are so realistic and the ghostly harmonies are almost life like. This is some good Schiit!!
     
  15. SMG52
    Thanks Barry!
     
    Just ordered a pair of LCD-Xs. Nice to know there is such an inexpensive alternative out there if my  amp choices for some reason don't synergise well with the Xs. Keep you experiences coming, as the Vali breaks in......and warms up. Read somewhere that it noticeably improves if left on for some time.
     
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