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Schiit Happened: The Story of the World's Most Improbable Start-Up

Discussion in 'Jason Stoddard' started by jason stoddard, Jan 23, 2014.
  1. Byronb
    I definitely try to be out of the room when I am converting L.P.s.
    RCBinTN likes this.
  2. cricket
    Cozzi could play an LP at 16.66667, set Jil for 96K, and set recording software to 192K. Playback would be at normal speed and sneezes would be infrasonic.

    Serious answer: Yes, it should be possible play at 45 and adjust in software, but it might also shift upper frequencies above some boundary, possibly RIAA equalization or G-forces on the stylus.

    sublime9 and barondla like this.
  3. DoubleIPA
    I'm in agreement. I've used room correction for my home theater and I was never convinced I liked it more than before it was corrected, but it wasn't Dirac or Trinnov (even better). Personally I say go with room treatments first and only use room correction as a last resort for 2 channel audio (ie you have a horrible room).
  4. DrJam
    By "IR code" do you mean the HEX codes for each key?
    If so, I'd like to have that as well. I don't use Xbox One remote, but I do use an app for android called irplus which allows you to create xml files with the HEX codes for any device not already in the database. So, you can create a universal remote on your phone, where "universal" means universal, and not just a few selected buttons. As long as you have the codes, that is.
  5. bosiemoncrieff
    Following this thread is like drinking out of a firehose!
    aamefford, US Blues, captkirk and 3 others like this.
  6. leeperry
    $15 + shipping for 3ft of OFC wire with <30% IACS conductivity phosphore bronze or brass plugs, monoprice are out to get the audiophile's money as it would appear.
  7. HumanFly
    RCBinTN likes this.
  8. JohnnyCanuck
    So it's not just me...

  9. Pietro Cozzi Tinin
    Pass it trough a colander first.
  10. EricDH
    It is indeed. Therefore, there is quite a bit that I miss now and then.

    For example, I can't remember having read anything about "Pivot Point" in relation to the new Vidar.

    Schiit (read Jason) was so proud (and rightly so) on having invented the first real new amp topology in many years, that I had expected this to see in the next products too. But apparently the Vidar is not pivot point, or did I miss something?
  11. Pietro Cozzi Tinin
    I think if you push it slowly to the side of the table, it will pivot at a certain point.
    Argo Duck, trellus and LarryMagoo like this.
  12. Jason Stoddard
    2017, Chapter 11:
    Audiophile Confessions

    I don’t know how this subject got started, but I remember the look on Mike’s face when I told him, “I’ve never owned a turntable.”

    Imagine a moon-faced boy, 5 years old, when Rick tells him that Santa Claus not just doesn’t exist, but is nothing but a convenient societal construct designed to encourage good behavior through fear.

    Yeah. That was kinda like Mike looked, when I told him, about a week ago, that I’d never owned a turntable.

    And yeah, that’s my audio confession.

    Back that Schiit Up!

    “Wa…wa…wah…wah…wait just a gol-darned second, kid!” some are bellowing right now. “Are you telling me that the founder of Schiit…someone who’s been involved in high end for decades…someone who has, at Sumo, designed phono preamps…has never owned a turntable? Is the whole world a simulation? Is this some kind of cosmic joke, played by a designer with a sick sense of humor? How can this possibly be?”

    Well, in order, Yes, I don’t know, I ain’t touchin that one, and cars, mainly.


    Yes. Cars.

    But let me back up a bit further. Of course, I have experience with turntables. As do all people of a certain age. If you’re like me, you probably grew up with a horrible white-and-red-plastic injection-molded monstrosity best used for playing 45s of Puff the Magic Dragon and flexi-disk advertising from National Geographic. You know, the “portable” that had a cord that wound up in the back, or on an internal reel if your parents were fancy and could spend the extra $10 or so. You know, the one with the walkie-talkie speaker embedded behind an impenetrable plastic grille. You know, the one that approximated the sound quality of the bedside AM radio.

    Yeah, sure, I had one of those. But I didn’t own it. I didn’t buy it.

    I did, however, after discovering some of the history of audio sound reproduction, create some fairly awful contraptions that allowed for mechanical reproduction of audio on that same white-and-red-plastic turntable. I’m talking folded paper cones with pins stuck through them, or, later, when I was more sophisticated, cantilevered pins on Dixie cups with multiple sound chambers that allowed for a bit more volume.

    Of course, all of these mechanical reproduction methods:

    1. Sounded like absolute ass. Bonus points for the first person to state why. A hint: I wasn’t playing 78s.
    2. Ruined the records. Tracking force? Ha, who knows. I taped magnets to some of the stuff to make sure it tracked. Ounces. Feel free to wince.
    But...this was me, at 9 or 10, experimenting. This is what I did. Maybe it explains a bit about what we do now.

    Back on track, though: I didn’t own that cheap plastic toy. Nor did I own the $189 “stereo” that my mom and dad bought at Gemco when I was about 13 or so. It had a turntable (with a disk-dropper that made playing Christmas records oh-so-more-convenient), an 8-track tape player, and an AM/FM radio receiver. The cassette version would have been $20 more, and the salesman opined that 8-track had better quality anyway, so that’s what they bought. It was too early for me to care about music much.

    And that “stereo” was really not used that much, anyway. My memory of Christmas records is, well, because that’s probably the main thing it was used for. That, and playing the soundtrack to Star Wars on 8-track. I still have unconscious trauma from the crossfades on that tape.

    “So how the hell did you get into sound?” some of you are asking.

    Well, mainly through FM radio. My first audio purchase was a Realistic 10W receiver with the little 4” 2-way aluminum speakers they sold with them. That was a portal into a whole new world, even though we were at the edge of reception in the LA area (where my parents lived, they’d literally had cable TV since 1967, because there was simply no other way to get TV.) I discovered stations like KLOS, KROQ, and 91X, always fading in and out of audibility.

    And I bought a cassette deck. One of the first with LED meters. So advanced. Or so I thought.

    But here’s the critical thing: that cassette deck was the reason I never owned a turntable.

    “Oooh, barf!” people of a certain age are saying. “Cassettes sound like ass! Records were so much better!”

    Yep. Totally agreed. Even in the dim dark days of 1980, I wouldn’t have argued. Nor would any of my friends. Everyone knew records sounded better.

    • · Cassettes allowed me to record friend’s records and get a bunch of music easy and free (yeah, pirating music! Hey, I was cheap, sue me.)
    • · Cassettes worked in my Panasonic Walkman ripoff (2x the size of a Walkman, but half the price…yeah, again, my parents weren’t made of money, and neither was I)
    • · Cassettes allowed you to mix and match, you weren’t tied into the album format
    • · And, most importantly…cassettes worked in the car
    And that’s how you get to the car as being the reason I never had a turntable. While Mike Moffat and his friends were busy preserving (or reinventing) tube audio, my friends and I were building the first crazy car audio systems. I didn’t buy turntables, because I was too busy buying Blaupunkt and Spectron and Altec-Lansing. I didn’t buy records, because tapes were the only thing that worked in the car audio wars.

    Yes, I was a car audio nut. I went through several systems in the course of a few years, culminating in one of the first electronically-crossed-over, parametrically-equalized multi-thousand-dollar monstrosities that would continue to grow and metastasize over the next two decades or so, before people got so monumentally lazy and accepted manufacturer-based car audio as being acceptable (or before it got good enough not to suck too bad, take your choice, I’m not here to judge.)

    And every one of those systems was based on cassettes. Which is where my money went.

    And…when it came time to start paying attention to the home system (about the time I started building speakers), CD was beginning to become affordable. So the first disk-spinner that I actually spent money on was a Mitsubishi CD player that weighed like 24 lbs and was on sale for $399 at Rogersound Labs.

    Turntables? Records? Sorry, that had passed me by.

    Not interested. Obsolete.

    The Future Laughs at You

    “But wait a sec! CDs didn’t really work out for cars for, like, a long time after they were available in the home. So you kept using, like, tapes?”

    Dodging your vomit, Yes.

    Because, you know what? Even after CDs became semi-viable for cars (early systems skipped a lot, and had plenty of problems), CDs had a content problem.

    Snarky aside: kinda like every alternative format proposed since then, heh heh.​

    In fact, when I bought that first CD player, I lamented that many of my favorite artists would probably never be available on CD (I was into 80s New Wave, including some fairly obscure stuff). As late as 1987, I had to get vinyl for a Wall of Voodoo cut I wanted in the car, then record that off a friend’s record player.

    And yeah, it seems laughable now, when 20MM tracks are available for $10-20 per month, depending on your quality preferences.

    Another snarky aside: But again, things are in transition. Show me a streaming service with a healthy cashflow. We’ll see how this all works out.​

    So yeah, cassettes co-existed with CDs in my musical library for quite a while. Into the early Sumo days, for certain. And, to re-iterate: no, of course they didn’t sound all that great. But that mattered less and less. CDs became the de facto standard; many of my obscure artists ended up being available on the format; things were heading towards a rational, digital future…

    …and that’s when I took the job at Sumo, and finally heard some very high-end vinyl.

    And suddenly the future didn’t seem so rational anymore.

    Why Not Give In?

    So why didn’t I buy a turntable right then and there, and accept that it could beat digital in sound quality (at the time, compared against CDs of the era)?

    Simple. I’m stubborn. And cars.

    I knew there were some major advances being made in digital. I knew about Theta (though I never thought I’d work with them). And I figured I could contribute to the advancements in digital. And I also had a significant investment in car audio, which had now moved over to CD.

    And, even if turntables were better now, that didn’t mean they always would be.

    So I stuck with CD.

    And I never bought a turntable. Even after I started working with Mike at Theta, the emphasis was on digital, and making digital better. As it should be. Of course, Mike always maintained a turntable, and many, many linear feet of LPs, but I figured that would eventually be superseded. Eventually, digital would be better. Eventually, the neurotic rituals of cleaning and destaticking and weighting and setting VTA and going from cartridge to cartridge and phono preamp to phono preamp would end, and we’d all be spinning silvery disks forever.

    Serious aside: don’t laugh. I ran the numbers on cost to do digital audio on a RAM-based player in the late 1980s, and went pale. It didn’t seem feasible. Ever. In any situation. Streaming over a publically-accessible network wasn’t even a glimmer in anyone’s eye—compressed or not. What we’ve accomplished in the past few decades is significant, important, and not to be dismissed lightly.​

    Then I drifted into the world of marketing, and took a hiatus from audio. Still no time to buy a turntable. Why bother? I didn’t own a single record. As digital technology got better, I started ripping some CDs so I could use them portably. But again, no turntable.

    And then everything swung back around, and it was time for Schiit.

    But even then, a turntable? Are you kidding? We were doing headphone stuff. Who would want a turntable on their desk? It wasn’t a consideration.

    But Mike Moffat…he always had a turntable or two. He was always experimenting. He never lost his vinyl. And when it got cheap, he stocked up and told everyone that it would come back.

    And while everyone shook their heads, he bought more records, and more record players, and kept experimenting. Which is why we’re going to bring out our own turntable, in the not so distant future.

    So Why Should I Buy A Turntable From Someone Who Never Owned One?

    Easy. You shouldn’t.

    I don’t know anything about turntables. I don’t even know how to set up tracking force or set VTA. I am the last person you should buy a turntable from.

    And if that’s the end of it, that’s fine. We’ve experimented with a wacky, very different turntable design, and we’ve had our fun. If it doesn’t sell, we move on, and make something completely different. Because Mike and I are still having fun. And we’ll continue experimenting. And if it makes your musical enjoyment that much better, then it’s all worth it.

    Another serious aside: on the other hand, maybe you should consider buying a turntable from someone who’s kept vinyl as an important part of their music collection for the decades they’ve been reinventing high-end digital. That’s a whole ‘nother ball game. But again, if you want to stick with the more tried-and-true alternatives, or stay on the digital side, that’s also entirely your decision. We’ll see how it goes.​

    But, let’s get back briefly to the chapter title: audiophile confessions. You have mine: I’ve never owned a turntable. (And it’s possible I’ll never own one.)

    I could go on. Not a cable believer (a reviewer is currently, not kidding, using $20K speaker cables to evaluate Vidar), not a sufferer of need-to-tweak syndrome, don’t know what audio nervosa is…yes, I know, I should just give up my audiophile ID card right now.

    But that’s me.

    I bet there are some other audiophile confessions out there. What are yours?
    Schiit Audio Stay updated on Schiit Audio at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
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    thebmc, reddog, trellus and 17 others like this.
  13. DigitalFrontEnd
    hey you you schists.

    So called "reviewer" Herb Reichert schiits all over Schiit. It does not do MQA so it is yesterdays news:

    "Schiit's reference DAC would be my reference DAC—if only it had MQA and emptier empty spaces."

    "The Yggdrasil makes "Red Book" CDs sound a lot like MQA. But real MQA, via the Manhattan II, delivered cleaner, stronger, more obvious versions of all the Yggdrasil's strengths. Compared to Mytek's own Brooklyn DAC, the Manhattan II made MQA recordings feel as if they were emerging from vaster, deeper, more silent emptiness. And silent vastness is what we audiophiles must always pay extra for."


    I call...BULLSchiit.
  14. JohnBal

    I read that too. I say, if he who wants to spend 6 grand on a DAC and however-much more on his MQA software, then more power to him. I hope he enjoys it!
    Argo Duck and sam6550a like this.
  15. US Blues
    My system is optimized for my enjoyment of the Grateful Dead. Because at the end of the day (and in the beginning and middle, too) their music brings me the most bliss.
    gdpeck, quimbo, Matro5 and 5 others like this.

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