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

Discussion in 'Jason Stoddard' started by jason stoddard, Jan 23, 2014.
  1. AudioBear
    Another great installment in the book of life. There is much truth in this partial chapter that applies well beyond Schiit audio. Thanks Jason.
    RCBinTN likes this.
  2. Alcophone
    I want to play Gabber on a Goober.
    HumanFly likes this.
  3. OlDNuke
    Great installment.
    Also, Loki is a great addition for us 2 channel full range guys. It improves the listening experience for those of us who can't clear the room of all the sound changing objects like couches and TV's and windows and such to put up lots of room treatments.
  4. dmckean44
    Offering D/S DAC options for every product (except Yggy) is incredibly confusing anyway when Schiit is all about multi-bit. You would move so much more product if the options were just cheap disposible MB dac, cheap upgradable MB dac, mid-tier balanced upgradable MB DAC and TOTL upgradedable MB DAC. I do realize that the problem with that is it's currently impossible to make a $99 (or even close to that) cheap disposible MB dac.
    AReasonableMan likes this.
  5. DACattack
    Fascinating read.

    My two cents. I love my Loki and wouldn't consider it a failure by any measure. It allows me to tweak my listening experience, either to make subtle corrections to the source (so many sub-optimal recordings out there) and/or to tailor a listening session to a particular headphone. I'm thinking about getting a second one for my work system.
  6. Alcophone
    I'm gonna take the consumer's side on this one, not to contradict, but to complement.

    Zero-star reviews? That's certainly extreme. But a company is free to define what their customers can expect, and should only promise what it is fairly sure it can deliver, followed by making sure that it can meet those promises (through backups, redundancies, buffers, overtime, what have you).

    It is then fair game for customers to hold a company accountable. It starts by me paying before I have gotten anything but promises, and not being able to freely adjust the extent to which I hold up my end of the bargain (how much I pay you) when there's a whole bunch of ways for you to not quite hold up yours, without me being able to do anything about it.
    So part of that hostile reflex is a power imbalance, certainly amplified if one can't really afford to lose any money in such a transaction. Credit card disputes aren't guaranteed to work out in my favor, either. Then the other party (the company) gets scrutinized, and little things, like expected in stock dates that are in the past, or crooked knobs, or scratched up volume knobs, or dirty amp tops, start mattering. A little.

    But yeah, a company is run by people, so some level of understanding and some willingness to forgive is certainly appropriate. Still, the best customer service is one that I don't need to use (which is indeed what Amazon is trying to achieve). So while a product might still get a five star review if I had to get a replacement, the seller likely won't (from me). Good customer service certainly helps against getting less than four, though.

    While it's tempting to say consolidation is always good, I think that's premature given basically just one example. Magni 3 works because for the customer nothing was lost, and some things were gained, at the same low price. That worked because the Uber's only purpose was to keep the non-Uber's price down, because $150 is 50% more than $100. But I don't think you would even be tempted to offer an Yggdrasil for $2300, and an Yggdrasil Uber with two balanced outs for $2350. Or a Ragnarok Uber with a remote for $1800. Just doesn't make sense, so there you haven't generated two marginally different products to later consolidate in the first place.

    When I was looking for an amp, all these options made sense to me, though. Cheap solid state, pure class A, pure tube, tube/SS hybrid, balanced solid state, all different enough without one being a straightforward upgrade of the same nature at a similar price. Okay, I wasn't sure whether Lyr 2 with LISST might make some of the solid state options redundant, but then it's also pricier than the others or not balanced, so they shouldn't get axed for that reason alone.

    I never noticed that :-D

    Yes! Vidar and Jotunheim are no-compromise solutions regardless of whether used single ended or balanced, making it less likely that I'll regret having gone with them. Great products.

    I'm tempted to get one, but it's not balanced, so I'm not sure it's a good idea. I'm probably not the only one in that boat. However, I'd rather use it over one that converts things to single ended and then back to balanced.

    It should die. Though it also looks weird that it's using older chips than Modi and Bifrost, giving the impression that an update is around the corner, which may also hold some people back.
    Turdski likes this.
  7. FrivolsListener
    Not to be one of the zero-star people, but, I'm surprised you didn't mention the Fulla 2 launch. A lot of people complained about fit and finish, and, IIRC, there was a part that didn't stay soldered on in the first board run. (I don't have either problem with mine, but I waited two months.) It was noteworthy because of how smooth your product releases usually are.
    Turdski likes this.
  8. Zadok
    But they wouldn't have to make modi that option since Fulla 2 is the cheap dac. Mimby at 250 can be the cheap MB option still
    kehorton likes this.
  9. inmytaxi
    The advantage of having a widespread line is that it makes me as a shopper less likely to stray from Schiit.

    I decided to go with the Modi Multibit since it's such a great deal at an affordable price, and if I really want gen5 usb later I can get the outboard unit. BiFrost Multi was just too much.

    I wanted the Magni if only because at $99 it's a fantastic product, but I'm impatient and never tried a tube before so I went with the Vali. Love it!

    Anyway thanks for the great gear, and the stories to go with it!
  10. Oveja Negra
    Great chapter, Jason. I do appreciate the honesty (I can't think of any other active company that shows even remotely the same level of transparency than you, guys).

    After reading your previous chapter, I was expecting much more drama, to be frank :D. Most of what you mention sounds kinda normal for a company that became bigger, very fast (I can't remember if you ever said Schiit grew way faster than you thought/hoped).

    It's a bummer to read about the The Gadget being delayed, but if that means we'll have a much better product, then you guys have my thumbs up (I hope the final product offers the option to re-tune automatically, instead of asking the user to manually find the "sweet spot" and I can see that would be one of the reasons for the need of extra computing power).

  11. jimmers
    Thanks Jason,
    I do still think you need to have Jotunheim in the "Choosing a Headamp" guide as it is principally a headamp, doesn't matter if it's in two guides (Ragnarok is in two guides).

    at Play:
    Is it PC to call them "Slow Children"?
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2017
  12. Blue Warper
    Pietro, while I currently own neither a Ragnarok nor a Freya (even though I'm definitely getting the latter at some point next year), if I were allowed some pure, personal and hypothetical speculation, I'd be inclined to think that the details you (and others as well, based on what I read so far from people who reported their impressions) hear could be mainly due to Freya's extremely low noise floor rather than the double amping (Freya+Ragnarok). Moreover, even though I haven't ever heard top-of-the-line tube amps (both headphone only or speaker amps), I found (in my limited experience so far) that a tube buffer or a tube gain stage can be capable of a better detail rendering when added to a solid state amp than the latter alone. I'm sure that Freya's design and implementation is top notch, so I can only figure what a system like yours can be capable of.
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2017
    Pietro Cozzi Tinin likes this.
  13. geomaso44
    @Jason Stoddard @Baldr @Alex Martin

    From my perspective, I would suggest the following for the future to come:

    1) DAC line:
    • Kill all DS variants except Modi. Focus on bringing the best from current Modi DS (or even Bifrost DS) variants together into the future version of Modi DS that would cost 99USD. (Drop an interface or make some other minor sacrifices to make the price happen.) This will be your extreme/full-on value product, clearly differing from the higher MB-only offerings that would be a bit more about actual Schiit design philosophy, about bringing something unique and unforseen to the market.
    • Replace Modi MB and Bifrost MB with future version of Bifrost MB, combining strong points of both together. (Reasonable compromise expected, cost to be closer to 249USD than 599USD.)
    • Think about necessity to have both Gungnir MB and Ygdrassil. Maybe Ygdrassil alone would suffice as long as you really make sure Bifrost MB is competitive in sub 1500USD market? (Differences among DACs are not that large anyways.)
    That's it - one pure-value low cost DS DAC (Modi), one HQ versatile yet affordable MB DAC (Bifrost) and one ultrahighend cost-no-object MB DAC (Yggdrasil).

    2) HEADAMP line
    • Leave out amp/DAC combos out of the equation (maybe except Fulla if it sells really well for 99USD). You already have DACs covered more then enough.
    • Definitely do not keep all the current amps (e.g. kill Lyr 2, Asgard 2 and maybe some others as well - see suggestions for the new line-up below).
    • Optimize and migrate fully from Circlotron to Pivot Point.
    • Simplify while keeping the SS/Tube diversity:
        • Value tier:
          • Magni (SS) / Vali (Tube)
        • HQ tier:
          1. Jotunheim (SS) / Valhalla (Tube), or
          2. Mjolnir (SS/Tube)
        • TOTL tier:
          1. Ragnarok (SS) / ? (Tube), or
          2. Ragnarok (SS/Tube)
      • Notes to the above:
        • Do not discard OTL or SET OTC topologies if feasible.
        • There are options how to accomplish SS/Tube dual design other than using LISST. (e.g. see iFi Pro iCan)
    3) 2-channel line:
    • Looks good so far, keep up the good work.

    4) The rest:
    • As long as the other products are clearly separated from the 'mainstream' categories listed above, it is probably just fine to keep experimenting and see what works and what not.
  14. ScottFree
    Whitetriton likes this.
  15. antimatter
    Awesome chapter. What is desperately needed imo is not a record player but a really nice phono pre. If you built one in the $500ish range with an emphasis toward HOMC I think you would have a real winner. HOMC is my fav. and there does not seem to be any focus on it in the phono pre world.

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