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Official Schiit Vali 2 Thread

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by inseconds99, Dec 11, 2015.
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  1. Jacobh

    It's probably worth asking why do you want (a fairly powerful) amplifier for iems?

    In my experience probably not the best. My unit may be atypical but I have a hum that is audible on low gain and no music playing with my Grado SR60s on every tube I've tried. It's not volume dependent, but I'd say it's still usable with many of them. With HD580s I don't notice it at all on low gain with most tubes. I would think most iems are more sensitive than the Grados and sitting right in your ear canals, so probably not the best for a tube or hybrid amp in general.
  2. Indigo Bob

    I wouldn't say in general.
    Campfire Audio makes very good hybrid amps for IEM's and I have heard the Schiit Valhalla 2 does a very good job with IEM's.
    The point is to gain the advantages that come from tubes which solid states don't provide.
    If anyone has had direct experience with IEM's with their Valhalla's please let me know cuz I'm not going to base my decision of conjectures.
  3. Jacobh
    If you want to know for sure, just email info@schiit.com.  
    With the IEMs I have, the hum is louder than the Grados.
    The specs I see on Campfire's page shows their IEMs range from 1/3 to 1/2 the imepedance and from a sensitivity point they would be 4-8 times as loud with the same input as compared to the Grados.   So, in my experience it would not be a good fit for IEMs.
    The Valhalla is a different amp than the Vali (it's a OTL tube amp) and for me it's much quieter with all my headphones.  Since Campfire IEMs are very sensitive, you probably wouldn't have any problems getting adequate volume.  The bigger problem would be output impedance which for the Valhalla is 3.5ohms in low gain.  If you use the standard 8 to 1 ratio, you'd want a IEM with an impedance of about 28 ohms.  Some of the Campfire IEMs are in that ballpark, so it might sound OK.
  4. Faber65

    I agree completely.
  5. JediMa70
    Considering you are all expert about the Vali 2, what does it makes it better than LD 1 Little Dot MK2? It's a very honest question, cause I got the Vali 2 too but it's my first tube amp so I can't compare it with anything else
  6. Jacobh

    I have not heard the Little Dot MKII so I can't say one is better than the other. You can look at the differences between them though:

    The Little Dot MKII is an otl amp where the Vali 2 is a hybrid meaning a tube pre-amp for voltage gain and a solid state amp for current gain. OTL amps tend to have higher output impedance which essentially means it can have less control over bass when using it with low impedance headphones. Additionally, OTL amps will not put a lot of current into lower impedance loads so they are not great for driving low impedance and inefficient headphones (like planars). Hybrids put out the most power driving lower impedance headphones.

    In terms of tubes, the Vali only has one tube where the MKII has 2 drivers (preamp) and 2 output tubes. So with the Vali you have fewer tubes to replace and you don't have to worry about matching sets. The Vali had a wall wart and I believe the MKII has a standard power cord with the transformer inside the amp.

    Both have pre-amp capabilities and multiple gain settings. Both generally get good reviews from the people who own them.

    The Vali 2 tends to be described as more of a solid state sounding amp with a little bit of tube flavor (with stock tubes). The Little Dot amps are more often described as "tubey" sounding. I think this probably means the Vali is a little more neutral where the Little Dots are warmer with a more lush or "gooey" mid range.

    Schiit is based in California so warranty service is a little easier and shipping speed faster if you live in the United States. Little Dot requires shipping the amp to China if you need service, but if you purchased from an authorized dealer it sounds like the representative (David) who handles service for North America is a good guy.

    Which is better almost certainly depends on your needs, headphones, and ears.
    HOWIE13 and mks100 like this.
  7. JediMa70
    Excellent explanation, about headphones, i have HD600 , X2 and AKG K702 a solid sate Meier Corda Jazz and a Valii 2 that sounds very nice but not so different from the Meier, that's why I was wondering if it was better to replace it with a LD 1 that i can buy from Amazon italy and have it shipped at home in 2 days
    I live in italy 
  8. Jacobh
    I believe the LD1 is also a hybrid amp. The MKII and MKIII are OTL. You might want to check out the LD 1 thread for more impressions on how that sound compared to other amps. Even though it's a hybrid, I've heard it's a warmer sound. In my personal experience the differences between amps can be noticeable, but relatively subtle. Others may say it's more dramatic. I think Schiit products have decent resale value (particularly in Europe), so you could always try the LD and sell whichever you don't like.

    I don't think the sellers on Amazon in the US are authorized sellers, so I don't know how the warranty is.

    The X2 are only 30 ohm impedance, but they are efficient so you would probably ok with an OTL, but it may not be the best pairing. Some say the Senns do best with an OTL amp. If you are looking for something different the MKII is the most different technically speaking, but that doesn't always translate into sound.
    JediMa70 likes this.
  9. JediMa70
    This is extremely helpful, if I consider all your informations, it seems more logical to wait, get a better budget and make a change for the good! All this fuzz started because massdrop put for sale a Darkvoice, I was tempted because all reviews say clearly that's really tube.. But also full of flaws and poorly build.
    Thanks a lot you really helped me
  10. Faber65

    Ciao JediMa70,

    In making your choice, you may need to consider that the Little Dot Mk2 has two couple of tubes.
    If you want to do some tube rolling, then you have to buy couples of tubes with the same electric characteristics.
    And it will result in a sensible increase of the ownership costs.
    Another important factor is the compatibility of your headphones collection with the OTL amps, and this is already mentioned.
    Last, but not least, the product support. Schiit has a distributor in Italy, while I am not sure about Little Dot and for sure you have nothing for the Bottleneck.
    I assume that you are Italian, so feel free to contact me directly in case you want to talk by using your mother language.

  11. JediMa70
    Fatto graze, ciao :)
  12. JediMa70
    So I wonder what's a good tube AMP , NOT otl and that sounds Tubey and better than the Vali 2 , that actually i dont like anymore
  13. Jacobh
    Zeos seems to think the Little Dot MKI+ sounds "tubey" for what that is worth:

    It's a hybrid amp that uses 2 6J1 tubes. There is a thread on here about it, so maybe that's what you want.

    Did you try new tubes in your Vali 2?
  14. JediMa70
    I did, it didn't change much.. I've used few.
    I've watched that video time ago, but he's also over enthusiastic about darkvoice but then reviews are not exactly happy about the build quality.
    I like LD I at any level,design, size, just 2 tubes to roll (not a big cash) what It counts if it actually sounds better than a valii2 and how can be an issue that's an OTL. I've searched for a straight comparison between LD1 and Vali 2.. didnt' find anything ok
  15. Jacobh
    If it is not clear, Little Dot makes multiple amps. The MKI+ is a hybrid. The MKII and MKIII are OTL. I've not heard any of them so I can't comment on how it sounds compared to a Vali 2.

    Unfortunately, the only way you'd know for sure is try it out yourself.
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