Schiit Fulla 2 Impressions Thread
Jan 30, 2018 at 2:58 PM Post #1,576 of 1,689

Roman Johnston

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"Not Just a Dongle Anymore"

My Fulla 2 arrived two weeks ago and I've been testing it intermittently against my portable CD player (on Alessandro MS-1 and Sennheiser HD1 in-ear headphones with a 1/8" to 1/4" adapter). I am impressed by the fit and finish of the case and the visible parts. Looking at the case, I'd say it is actually overbuilt, since nothing else at this price level would be built this way – the heavy-duty metal case, perfectly polished knob, etc. would have been replaced with plastic equivalents in a comparable retail product. Everything is solid, lines up perfectly, and performs without any kind of noise, distortion, or coloration.

The volume knob is silent – the non-adjustable gain setting seems to work perfectly with both headphones (starting at 6 o'clock and going clockwise, my listening range seems to be from 7.5 to 10 o'clock, using just over the first quarter of full volume with quiet recordings). Most of my music is 320 kbps VBR AAC and I've also tested it with streaming audio. My early impressions of the Fulla 2 are that it has a neutral sound – nothing appears to be emphasized or tuned euphonically, and there are no extraneous settings or switches to change filters, etc. (as it should be).

On a subjective level, I think the Fulla 2 is capable of driving each headphone to its limit – obviously their volume limits, but more importantly, their ability to resolve detail and dynamics, pace, rhythm, timbre, and timing. My imaging impressions are limited by each headphone's design, so I'd like to hear from other people about head-stages from their headphones. I'll also test the Fulla 2 with some lossless material to see if it makes a difference (I suspect there won't be an audible difference). It easily passes the simplest and most important test: it makes me want to keep listening to more music.

I want to test its line-out DAC function (with an integrated amplifier) later. If I had the opportunity, I'd compare it head-to-head against the more expensive AudioQuest Dragonfly Red and Chord Mojo, as these were the other DACs I was considering. It's great with a laptop, I haven't tried it with a smartphone/digital player, and it might be a great outboard solution for somebody building a mini PC for a music system or 2-channel home theatre.

The Fulla 2 hasn't changed its sound signature since it arrived – I've just gotten more adventurous with the volume knob as I've put more listening time into the box. It never sounds strained or distorted as I increase the volume, I simply hit the limit of safe listening volumes for my ears very quickly. Also, channel matching on the potentiometer seems to be excellent even at the lower positions.

For $100, I don't think there is anything out there that sounds better.
I have the Dragonfly Red and the Fulla 2 and I prefer the Fulla 2. Today I am supposed to get my Magni 3 and Modi 2 and retire my Fulla 2 to my work computer. Will report what I find. Driving both HiFiMan HE 400s and Grado RS2e headphones. So far the full is just brighter, and cleaner than the dragonfly red....it is not amazing difference, The bass on the dragonfly seems a bit fuller, but only by a bit. The upper end on the Fulla 2 is cleaner and more detailed to my ear. Can't wait to hear the new Schiit Stack tonight when I get home.
 
Jan 30, 2018 at 9:24 PM Post #1,577 of 1,689

Roman Johnston

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I have the Dragonfly Red and the Fulla 2 and I prefer the Fulla 2. Today I am supposed to get my Magni 3 and Modi 2 and retire my Fulla 2 to my work computer. Will report what I find. Driving both HiFiMan HE 400s and Grado RS2e headphones. So far the full is just brighter, and cleaner than the dragonfly red....it is not amazing difference, The bass on the dragonfly seems a bit fuller, but only by a bit. The upper end on the Fulla 2 is cleaner and more detailed to my ear. Can't wait to hear the new Schiit Stack tonight when I get home.
Um...Dayum. Listening to my Schiit Stack...Modi 2 and Magni 3.......wow. I read in the forums that some people cant hear a difference. I would say that there is a distinct improvement over the Fulla 2 Instrument placement.....sound field.....flat out detail....crispness and a clarity and the bottom end...bass is improved....all improved about 20%. Kinda blown away actually. My RS2e Grados have sounded so dang good. I am guessing this is my end game as a budget audiophile. Ok....enough I am back listening to my music ALL OVER AGAIN. Fulla 2 is now my work DAC.....and perfect for my Grado SR80e cans.
 
Jan 30, 2018 at 9:34 PM Post #1,578 of 1,689

SomeTechNoob

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Try hooking up the fulla 2 to the magni to see if it's an improvement in the amp or both amp/dac department! Not enough comparisons between the fulla 2 and modi 2 as dacs imo.
 
Jan 31, 2018 at 9:26 AM Post #1,579 of 1,689

Roman Johnston

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Try hooking up the fulla 2 to the magni to see if it's an improvement in the amp or both amp/dac department! Not enough comparisons between the fulla 2 and modi 2 as dacs imo.
Ok, the fulla 2 maxes out at 24/96 and the Modi2 maxes out at 24/192. I tested both set at their highest settings. With reference grade material and good headphones, I can notice a slight difference. Think of it as just a small edge. If you did not do back to back listening...you would miss it. If your music file is not maximize to take advantage of it. I listened to 320K mp3 and could not notice a difference. So...is there a difference...yes. Is it worth making a fuss over, not really. Now the Magni 3....OMG...that IS what is making the most difference....wow...what a little amp. I would have only bought the amp and used the Fulla 2 as my DAC if I did not want to use my Fulla 2 at the office. But the nice stack on the desk....actually drove my decision more than the capability. :) I am a landscape photographer and use my headphones for editing sessions. So the more immersive I get in the music...the better my sessions go. And being a visual person that is what drove getting the entire "stack". It would bother me to see miss matched silver boxes on my dark desk....lol.

Roman
 
Jan 31, 2018 at 10:04 AM Post #1,580 of 1,689

dr cornelius

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Congrats on the new stack - the Magni 3 seems like a great amp. There’s a new review: https://www.innerfidelity.com/content/schiit-magni-3-affordable-headphone-amp-and-preamp
Looks like the RS 2e and Magni 3 are a magic combo. I also use a Fulla 2 just for work (and a Jotunheim at home on my desk). I’m a freelance editor and I throw the Fulla 2 in my briefcase - it comes in handy for headphones and even desktop speaker systems. It’s been a real godsend...

Landscape photography - that sounds cool - I know what you mean about listening to music and getting into a zone while editing.
 
Feb 3, 2018 at 1:35 PM Post #1,581 of 1,689

HiWire

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I did a bit of CD listening on the Fulla 2 this week and the best way to describe the box's performance on lossless is coherence. You can hear more details across the dynamic range... the bass and mid-range frequencies sound fuller and highs are more clearly defined (than typical portable and headphone jack output). Part of this probably comes from having far higher power reserves, a cleaner board layout with better parts, and a good output impedance for mainstream dynamic headphones. The noise floor is about as black as you can get with regular sensitivity equipment.

I am curious about how this DAC compares to others, since it's my only one. It should be a handy reference because of its small size and low price.
 
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Feb 10, 2018 at 6:35 PM Post #1,582 of 1,689

SomeTechNoob

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Did a little bit of testing with the Fulla 2. If you have USB power connected, you don't need the ground and 5v lines on the main data connection. I cut out a small piece of paper to cover the contacts on the larger USB side.

My speaker amp was bringing out some sort of noise out of the Fulla 2's line/var out and doing this reduced it by quite a bit.
 
Feb 16, 2018 at 10:05 PM Post #1,583 of 1,689

HiWire

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I tried the Fulla 2 with my Grado HP-2 headphones this week. With more resolving headphones (the $1,000+ club), you can hear the limits of the little box... I'd say that is something to be proud of. The Fulla 2 isn't quite as detailed or as airy as my Arcam FMJ CD36 with my custom headphone amp, but it costs about 30 times less.

The bass doesn't go as low and pacing and imaging are less precise, with a smaller-sounding dynamic range and a slightly less sweet tonality, but it only suffers in direct comparison to much more expensive equipment. This is where diminishing returns start kicking in. The Jotunheim probably sounds better, but it costs 5 times more (with the balanced DAC).
 
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Feb 18, 2018 at 9:56 AM Post #1,584 of 1,689

dr cornelius

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I tried the Fulla 2 with my Grado HP-2 headphones this week. With more resolving headphones (the $1,000+ club), you can hear the limits of the little box... I'd say that is something to be proud of. The Fulla 2 isn't quite as detailed or as airy as my Arcam FMJ CD36 with my custom headphone amp, but it costs about 30 times less.

The bass doesn't go as low and pacing and imaging are less precise, with a smaller-sounding dynamic range and a slightly less sweet tonality, but it only suffers in direct comparison to much more expensive equipment. This is where diminishing returns start kicking in. The Jotunheim probably sounds better, but it costs 5 times more (with the balanced DAC).

The Jotunheim definitely sounds better - more refined... But for $99 the Fulla 2 does quite well..
 
Feb 18, 2018 at 11:16 AM Post #1,585 of 1,689

ptaaty

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Since my last post I bought the HD6XX, LSR30X and a Magni 3. If anything, I am more impressed than ever with the Fulla 2. Fulla 2 now functioning as a DAC for both the Magni 3 and LSR 30X and amazing pre-amp volume control for the latter. Just so flexible and capable from DAC only to pre-amp to all one.

I completely stand by my earlier posts after more A/B...the Fulla 2 is fine with the HD650/6XX. I am now comparing fulla 2 vs Magni 3 with HD6XX. This is well into the territory of needing to ensure perfect level matching and very quick back to back A/B to tell a significant difference at normal levels IMO. That said, I do hear a bit of difference in limited testing. I'll leave myself a little wiggle room - from my experience I usually need to spend some time with the product, get used to it, then switch back and I will be able to pick off more specific differences.

In my limited time, Magni 3 does sound a bit more natural, a bit cleaner, a bit more control when bass notes played with complex mids.
 
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Feb 18, 2018 at 12:53 PM Post #1,586 of 1,689

HiWire

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Yesterday, I tested the DAC on a speaker system with compact discs, AAC files, and FLAC files. No problems whatsoever... the DAC may be better than the headphone amp.

On the other hand, the Fulla 2 definitely sounds better than my Panasonic SL-CT820 portable CD player playing ALAC files on the same headphones (Sennheiser HD1 In-Ear) at the same volume level.

Impressive... bass goes deeper and more cleanly, the soundstage expands, and instruments separate more clearly. The overall sound signature is smoother, more realistic, and more enjoyable. I've listened to the same album 3 times today (Bryan Ferry's classic Bête Noire), something I would normally avoid, and the final time on the Fulla 2 is the best by far.
 
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Apr 20, 2018 at 11:29 PM Post #1,587 of 1,689

Letmebefrank

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I wanted to chime in to say that I sent my Fulla 2 in for repairs. It was a day-1 purchase and had very tight USB ports and a noisy pot. I ignored both of these things as I rarely adjusted volume on the Fulla 2 and I never unplugged it. On April 5th the main USB input stopped working unless I pressed down on the cable. I sent the unit in for repairs on the 6th. They replaced the whole main board and shipped it back to me on April 18th.

Just got the Fulla 2 back today and I have to say that Schiit seems to have fixed the issues people were experiencing before, at least in my case. The USB isn't crazy tight anymore. The pot is well-centered and level. The pot is also dead silent. No noise at all. Channel imbalance at low levels is also much better, if not non-existent.

Consider me a happy and satisfied customer.
 
Apr 21, 2018 at 4:16 AM Post #1,588 of 1,689

SomeTechNoob

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I wanted to chime in to say that I sent my Fulla 2 in for repairs. It was a day-1 purchase and had very tight USB ports and a noisy pot. I ignored both of these things as I rarely adjusted volume on the Fulla 2 and I never unplugged it. On April 5th the main USB input stopped working unless I pressed down on the cable. I sent the unit in for repairs on the 6th. They replaced the whole main board and shipped it back to me on April 18th.

Just got the Fulla 2 back today and I have to say that Schiit seems to have fixed the issues people were experiencing before, at least in my case. The USB isn't crazy tight anymore. The pot is well-centered and level. The pot is also dead silent. No noise at all. Channel imbalance at low levels is also much better, if not non-existent.

Consider me a happy and satisfied customer.

Sounds pretty good! Be sure to check for pot noise after a few weeks as mine developed it despite having a silent pot on arrival.

Also, did you have to pay for shipping?
 
Apr 21, 2018 at 9:33 AM Post #1,589 of 1,689

Letmebefrank

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Sounds pretty good! Be sure to check for pot noise after a few weeks as mine developed it despite having a silent pot on arrival.

Also, did you have to pay for shipping?

I paid for shipping to them, they paid for shipping back to me. My first fulla 2 had pot noise on day 1, so I'm optimistic about this one.
 
Apr 21, 2018 at 9:46 PM Post #1,590 of 1,689

jmarcusg

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Ok, the fulla 2 maxes out at 24/96 and the Modi2 maxes out at 24/192. I tested both set at their highest settings. With reference grade material and good headphones, I can notice a slight difference. Think of it as just a small edge. If you did not do back to back listening...you would miss it. If your music file is not maximize to take advantage of it. I listened to 320K mp3 and could not notice a difference. So...is there a difference...yes. Is it worth making a fuss over, not really. Now the Magni 3....OMG...that IS what is making the most difference....wow...what a little amp. I would have only bought the amp and used the Fulla 2 as my DAC if I did not want to use my Fulla 2 at the office. But the nice stack on the desk....actually drove my decision more than the capability. :) I am a landscape photographer and use my headphones for editing sessions. So the more immersive I get in the music...the better my sessions go. And being a visual person that is what drove getting the entire "stack". It would bother me to see miss matched silver boxes on my dark desk....lol.

Roman
Thanks for all the info! Ordered a Fulla 2 and Grado SR80e this weekend to serve as my desktop system. Will be running MoOde 4.1 on a Raspberry Pi 3 B+ with Synology NAS as source.
 

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