Official Schiit Vali 2 Thread
Feb 10, 2016 at 8:16 PM Post #916 of 3,350

batmanwcm

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The Vali 2 arrived today.  I now understand what many of you were talking about when you guys said it was cute.  It's very smalll and "cute" was the first word that came out of my wife's mouth when she saw it.  So far, I'm very impressed with the Vali 2 paired with my AKG Q701's and Silverstone EB-01 DAC.  I also have a Modi 2 Uber arriving tomorrow.
 
I pretty much settled on this setup for the upcoming Fostex TH-X00's that will supposedly ship in May from Massdrop.
 
Feb 10, 2016 at 8:45 PM Post #917 of 3,350

Capt369

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  The Vali 2 arrived today.  I now understand what many of you were talking about when you guys said it was cute.  It's very smalll and "cute" was the first word that came out of my wife's mouth when she saw it.  So far, I'm very impressed with the Vali 2 paired with my AKG Q701's and Silverstone EB-01 DAC.  I also have a Modi 2 Uber arriving tomorrow.
 
I pretty much settled on this setup for the upcoming Fostex TH-X00's that will supposedly ship in May from Massdrop.


A little off topic but doesn`t that middle lump on the headband bother you? You`ll love the TH-XOO btw but not sure if it pairs well with the Vali though. That`s just from what I`ve read, you might like the combo.
 
Feb 11, 2016 at 7:54 PM Post #918 of 3,350

jellofund

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  You`ll love the TH-XOO btw but not sure if it pairs well with the Vali though. That`s just from what I`ve read, you might like the combo.

 
I've read a few posts along those lines too but they were for the original Vali which has quite a high output impedance (6.5 Ohms). 
 
I haven't heard the original myself but from a brief listen with my Vali 2 & TH-X00 the pairing sounded pretty good using the low gain setting (a more suitable 1.2 Ohms output impedance). Should add I was using one of my own valves rather than the stock one though.
 
Feb 11, 2016 at 9:00 PM Post #919 of 3,350

batmanwcm

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A little off topic but doesn`t that middle lump on the headband bother you? You`ll love the TH-XOO btw but not sure if it pairs well with the Vali though. That`s just from what I`ve read, you might like the combo.


I never had a problem with the "lumpy" headband portion of the Q701's. They are actually pretty comfy. However, I've figured out that I'm pretty much bass head so I opted for the TH-X00'S as a replacement.
 
Feb 12, 2016 at 2:11 PM Post #920 of 3,350

vcmusik

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Just pulled the trigger on a Vali 2 last night, and got word that it's shipping out today. Can't wait! I'm also interested in getting that Philips tube that was praised earlier in the thread. But I'll wait and see how the stock tube sounds. As my first tube amp, it might just be good enough for my ears. 
 
Feb 13, 2016 at 1:32 AM Post #921 of 3,350

Skarecrow77

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  Just pulled the trigger on a Vali 2 last night, and got word that it's shipping out today. Can't wait! I'm also interested in getting that Philips tube that was praised earlier in the thread. But I'll wait and see how the stock tube sounds. As my first tube amp, it might just be good enough for my ears. 

 
The opinions on the stock tube vary a lot. There seem to be several different variations that Schiit is sending out. Some of them have been reviewed pretty well here, others (like mine) were very un-impressive. I will give my stock tube another shot at some point, but I gave it an hour of initial burn-in and then 2 hours of listening and it had very few redeeming qualities.
 
Yes I know that 3 hours of burn-in is not much time at all, but my upon swapping them, my Philips PCC88 sounded better than the stock tube instantly, a mere minute or two after I plugged it in. By the 3 hour mark it wasn't even close, the PCC88 was leagues ahead in every aspect.

Here's hoping you get one of the "good" stock tubes, but if you find that you're a bit underwhelmed by your vali2 out of the box (as I was), it may not be the amp's fault. Just saying. Good luck!
 
Feb 13, 2016 at 2:30 AM Post #923 of 3,350

vcmusik

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Thanks! I might end up getting a Philips PCC88 just to have options, but here's to hoping the stock tube will be satisfying. Plan to pair it with my Sony MDR-1A and an old Yamaha YH-2 that I inherited from my late father. I'll also be receiving a TH-X00 from the latest drop that just ended on Massdrop recently. I'll report back on the results tomorrow!
 
Feb 15, 2016 at 5:28 AM Post #924 of 3,350

rgmffn

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Hey, any rules on switching gain or headphones on Vali? Should power always be off when changing gain or hp? Or it isnenough to turn volume down?

 
I noticed no one has chimed in on this so I'll voice my opinion.  I've always switched the gain setting while everything is on and HPs plugged in and never had a problem.  I never even turn the volume down either.  Maybe I'm living dangerously I guess.
 
Edit to add: I should mention that I have nothing playing when doing any of the switching. Lowering the volume before playing after switching to hi gain.

 
Just some chatter here..  It's sometimes hard to keep track of who said what and who has what on here.  I'm the one that first posted praising the EH 6922.  I recently acquired a BEL E88CC (posted on it earlier above) and have been lovin' it.  I decided to reassess the EH 6922 after a good 20+ hrs listening to the BEL. 
 
That EH 6922 is a nice sounding tube.. for 20 bucks.  A very well rounded performer.  But yet, it's not in the same league as the BEL. Nope!
 
So, while I had the BEL out, I decided to do a little clean up on it.  I noticed that when inserting it, it felt like there was an edge or rough spot somewhere on one or more of the pins, and after getting by that spot, it gave, and went the rest of the way down.  I didn't like the way it felt.  Almost like something broke when it did that.
 
I took it over to the work bench to have a look.  Under a magnifying glass I could see a rough looking spot on the inside of one of the pins about 3/16 of an inch long.  Almost looked like solder.  But rough looking. The pins are gold.  (coated, I guess)
 
I lightly sanded and scrapped it smooth as best I could, carefully.  Checked the others, they looked ok. 
 
I then applied some DeOxit to the pins and wiped off the excess. This is the first time I've ever used DeOxit on a tube. Why, I don't know.  I use it on other electrical connections and such - mostly flashlights, believe it or not.
 
I'm sure after 40-50 yrs the gold on the pins are going to tarnish. Without inspecting it real good, it was hard to see much difference after the application.
 
I returned it to it's earned and rightful home in the Vali 2, and this time, it slid in without a hitch.
 
But you know, I really do feel like there is difference in sound quality too. 
 
Wait for it.....
 
It sounds cleaner. 
atsmile.gif

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Feb 15, 2016 at 4:51 PM Post #925 of 3,350

vcmusik

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Hey, any rules on switching gain or headphones on Vali? Should power always be off when changing gain or hp? Or it isnenough to turn volume down?

Like Rgmffn, I switch the gain setting with the headphone plugged in. I think you can leave the volume up when you change headphones but personally I turn it all the way down just so I don't get any unpleasant surprises. Speaking of such, there is a slight "pop" sound when you first turn it on. If that sort of thing bothers you, you can just wait a few seconds before wearing the headphones. I feel like it's not too bad, but it can be a little uncomfortable if it happens when you're not expecting it. 
 

Apologies for the delay in reporting my first impressions of my new Vali 2. Aside from some technical difficulties getting started with it (not the fault of the unit itself), I wanted to spend some more time with it in comparison to my stock motherboard audio to make sure my opinions weren't just merely placebo effect. 
 
First, I must commend Schiit Audio on their packaging. Everything was packaged neatly in the box and shipping was fast. It took only about a day, but then again, I do live in CA. I was surprised at how compact the unit was. I had already seen it in video reviews, but it really was a surprise upon seeing it for the first time. I received a 6BQ7A tube, no other markings on it. For reference, my setup is PC (Gigabyte Z97MX motherboard) -> Radioshack Y-split RCA cable through headphone out -> Vali 2 -> Sony MDR-1A / Yamaha YH-2. 

The very first time I set everything up, I wasn't getting any sound output into either headphone, but I gave Schiit benefit of the doubt that the unit wasn't faulty / DoA. Turns out it was just a little snafu in the output selection in my motherboard. It was set to Line In, and curiously, there was no Line Out option for me to select, so I switched it to Headphone Out and voila. I almost hate to admit it but the people who said that the Vali (2) is a neutral tube hybrid amp were right. At first, I couldn't detect much of a difference between it and my on-board audio. However, spending a few more hours with it, I realized how good it was after the fact.
 
With the MDR-1A:
Mids sound fuller and sweeter, whereas on my mobo audio, they were just kind of "there" and even maybe a bit bloated when I tried to EQ them up. Speaking of which, I turned off all EQing for comparisons and all my music files are FLAC/WAV rips of CDs I own. Treble is slightly rolled, and I was afraid that I wouldn't like it from the reviews I've read, but after hearing it in the context of everything else, I have to say it's not as detrimental to the experience as I feared it might be. With my mobo audio, cymbals and high female vocals were extremely shrill and sibilant.  Now with the Vali 2, I'm definitely giving up some excitement but the trade-off is I can listening longer without it being fatiguing. I knew not to expect much with the bass, but it still sounds balanced in comparison to the mids and highs. Direct through the mobo, I had more of a mid-bass thump, but the Vali 2 seems to mellow that out, and I get more of a sub-bass rumble that I haven't heard before. It wouldn't make a bass-head satisfied, but then again, I don't like too much bass anyway. Overall I would say that it's a good paring with the MDR-1A, as the Sony headphone tends to have kind of a scooped sound signature, and the Vali 2 flattens it. Not much change in soundstage, but slightly better instrument separation, and I can hear little noises that I never did before, like string buzzes and piano pedal changes. 
 
With the Yamaha YH-2:
I haven't spent much time with it admittedly, but what little I did spend, wasn't that enjoyable. I'd say it has to do with the headphone. It's extremely old and a magnetic planar (or what Yamaha called Orthodynamic), so I used the High setting. I couldn't compare this with my motherboard audio because it has a 1/4" plug and I don't have an adapter. But with the Vali 2, all I can say is...holy mids. The mids pretty much drowned out everything else. Electric guitars would overpower vocals tremendously, and middle key piano notes would stick out like a sore thumb from the bass and treble notes. I inherited it from my late father and it's in its stock form, so perhaps it could benefit from some modding. Until then I think I'll stick with using the Vali 2 with my MDR-1A until I get my Fostex TH-X00s in May. 
 
Now the question is whether or not to get a Modi 2 to complete my Schiit stack. I'm not getting any weird electrical noise or anything of that sort from the mobo's internal DAC, so I'm happy with running it straight to the Vali 2 at the moment. Any thoughts on whether or not it'll actually improve the sound quality? 
 
Feb 15, 2016 at 5:56 PM Post #926 of 3,350

Skarecrow77

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Now the question is whether or not to get a Modi 2 to complete my Schiit stack. I'm not getting any weird electrical noise or anything of that sort from the mobo's internal DAC, so I'm happy with running it straight to the Vali 2 at the moment. Any thoughts on whether or not it'll actually improve the sound quality? 


All I can say on that subject is that I notice a significant difference from my modi 2. I don't think it's as big a difference as switching cans or switching amps, but it's certainly an improvement, and I've got pretty decent onboard sound (gigabyte z97MX-gaming5 with ALC1150 dac). A/B ing them isn't subtle.

Best way to put it is that is $99 well spent in my opinion, and if somebody stole this one, I'd buy another in a heartbeat.
 
edit: in case you're curious, I'm running foobar -> aiso plugin -> modi2 -> vali2 (philips PCC88 tube) -> NAD VISO HP50s
 
Feb 15, 2016 at 6:28 PM Post #927 of 3,350

vcmusik

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All I can say on that subject is that I notice a significant difference from my modi 2. I don't think it's as big a difference as switching cans or switching amps, but it's certainly an improvement, and I've got pretty decent onboard sound (gigabyte z97MX-gaming5 with ALC1150 dac). A/B ing them isn't subtle.

Best way to put it is that is $99 well spent in my opinion, and if somebody stole this one, I'd buy another in a heartbeat.
 
edit: in case you're curious, I'm running foobar -> aiso plugin -> modi2 -> vali2 (philips PCC88 tube) -> NAD VISO HP50s

Wow, I have the exact same motherboard. Yay mobo buddies! Lol. Well thanks, that settles it. 
 
Feb 15, 2016 at 6:44 PM Post #928 of 3,350

OldRoadToad

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Well it's come down to this -
 
I just want to listen to music. I neither care for nor understand the rolling of tubes.  I just want to hear music.  No (added) distortion.  Nothing taken away, nothing added.  I currently have a 40 year old Sony STR6800SD receiver that has a headphone output.  It works.  I also have (connected to my CD player) an Emotiva Amp/DAC and again it works.  I can hear no difference between the two.  My Onkyo TX-NR 818 has a headphone output and I can not hear a difference between that and the other two units I just mentioned.
 
And that's fine because what I do hear is music.  Not the supposed effect of different tubes/cables/power conditioners, etc.  Not a grander soundstage nor transparency so transparent one could hear through it all the way to infinity and Beyonce'...  Yeah.  I cannot believe I just said that.  I loathe ol' Be-once and her "singing", but still a rose by any other name still has thorns and she and her hubby are pricks...  Dammit. I am rambling again...
 
If others hear a difference then that's the difference for them, not me.  If something was engineered so poorly as to allow discernable differences in what I was hearing (e.g., added distortion, tube induced echo when the tubes were not being tapped silly by the owner) I would not waste my money nor my time. 
 
I do however want to see a difference and with a tubed device I shall.  Nature may abhor a vacuum but it would seem many Headfiers like tubes all the same.   Schiit filled tubes must be something else.   To the folks at Schiit I say this, if you ever make a Vali 3 (or Valhalla 3) put some VU Meters on it and it will be the Vali of the Toad.  Until then, the Vali 2 will, like Babe, have to do.
 
That'll do pig.  That'll do.
 
El Toado Verde
 
Feb 15, 2016 at 7:06 PM Post #929 of 3,350

Capt369

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  Well it's come down to this -
 
I just want to listen to music. I neither care for nor understand the rolling of tubes.  I just want to hear music.  No (added) distortion.  Nothing taken away, nothing added.  I currently have a 40 year old Sony STR6800SD receiver that has a headphone output.  It works.  I also have (connected to my CD player) an Emotiva Amp/DAC and again it works.  I can hear no difference between the two.  My Onkyo TX-NR 818 has a headphone output and I can not hear a difference between that and the other two units I just mentioned.
 
And that's fine because what I do hear is music.  Not the supposed effect of different tubes/cables/power conditioners, etc.  Not a grander soundstage nor transparency so transparent one could hear through it all the way to infinity and Beyonce'...  Yeah.  I cannot believe I just said that.  I loathe ol' Be-once and her "singing", but still a rose by any other name still has thorns and she and her hubby are pricks...  Dammit. I am rambling again...
 
If others hear a difference then that's the difference for them, not me.  If something was engineered so poorly as to allow discernable differences in what I was hearing (e.g., added distortion, tube induced echo when the tubes were not being tapped silly by the owner) I would not waste my money nor my time. 
 
I do however want to see a difference and with a tubed device I shall.  Nature may abhor a vacuum but it would seem many Headfiers like tubes all the same.   Schiit filled tubes must be something else.   To the folks at Schiit I say this, if you ever make a Vali 3 (or Valhalla 3) put some VU Meters on it and it will be the Vali of the Toad.  Until then, the Vali 2 will, like Babe, have to do.
 
That'll do pig.  That'll do.
 
El Toado Verde


Not quite sure about all that you've said but it sounded pretty cool.
biggrin.gif

 
Feb 15, 2016 at 7:10 PM Post #930 of 3,350

Capt369

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I never had a problem with the "lumpy" headband portion of the Q701's. They are actually pretty comfy. However, I've figured out that I'm pretty much bass head so I opted for the TH-X00'S as a replacement.


I must have a pointed head, there were times I wanted to take a sledge hammer to 'em. I love the th-xoo and it's probably my end game for closed cup.
 

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