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wow, that's sad. The $30 amplifier I use to power my bathroom speakers doesn't even do that.
It’s probably not a tube amp though and works completely differently. It’s normal for this type of amp, but if it worries you than wait 10 seconds before plugging in your headphones.
Just because it has a tube in the signal path doesn't really change how a turn-on relay at the output would work other than the delay. It still shouldn't have a pop.
The Vali 2 has a muting relay and it’s even mentioned in the manual. The tube in the signal path does make a diference and it’s why you don’t hear the pop at turn on but several seconds after.
Yes, it has a muting relay. Unfortunately, when the relay closes, it creates a brutally loud "pop". I can hear it through the headphones when they're sitting on my desk.
My Magni2 Uber gave a good pop into my old 120 ohms headphones. I mailed Schiit about it and they said it was normal. I didn’t doubt that and I never noticed any ill effect on the headphones because of it either.
I find that certain tubes produce a much lower pop. For example a 12au7 will be about the quietest. You just need a 12au7 to 6922 socket adapter. A 6sn7 will be much louder.
What headphones are you using? Are you sure you aren’t hearing the relay when it’s not on your ears? If it’s loud enough to hear loudly when they aren’t on your head and you aren’t using very efficient headphones that would not be normal.
Every tube amp I’ve had has some amount of pop even with a relay, but nothing I would hear if the headphones were a few feet away on my desk.
The cans are monoprice M1060s, and yeah, I can hear the pop from the phones when they're on my desk.
I get a very audible pop on my he400i as well. I've had the setup almost a year with no issues. My office is quiet and small, but it's audible when the phones are off my head as well. Always wondered if it was an issue.
I don't like the pop, harmless or not. I just wait until the relay clicks in before plugging my headphone in.
I'm not real keen on unplugging and replugging the headphones every day, but I suppose I'll have to get into the habit.
Those are relatively low impedence (50 ohm) and high efficiency (96 db / mw). They also look really open, so what you are describing is possible. The good news is they can handle a lot of power (spikes up to 10w and extended up to 4w), it’s unlikely it would damage anything. There are also no paper cones to rip. If you hear the mechanical click, it may not be a defect.
Honestly, the Vali may not be the best amp for those headphones (that the pop is loud might be a symptom of that). It’s a hybrid amp, but I find mine too noisy with most tubes and more efficient headphones. If it’s only the pop that bothers you and you like the sound otherwise, then I wouldn’t worry about it too much.
If unplugging a headphone jack is going to stress you out, might I suggest listening to speakers. At least you would not have to lift those heavy objects and put them over your ears
Now, seriously, I have the Vali 2 here beside of me, and I have heard a click and a pop as the amplifier engages, but the Heavenly sound in my Sennheisers is so luxurious with the Telefunken E88CC-TK tube, a little click or a pop, even a sizzle when my static electric charges disapate by touching the volume control are so very minor, by comparison to the Music I get to hear, I am wondering if my Vali 2 is special?
The Senns are a much better match for the Vali. They are high impedance (relatively efficient though), so the noise floor isn’t as big a deal. The pop is also likely less loud.
Ultimately it comes down to what sounds good to you and any quality of life features an amp provides.