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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. schiitfanboy69
    Alright everyone the radio silence around rag sol and aegir has become deafening. I wasn’t at the meetup but I spent basically all day Saturday with the equipment. I’ve owned or listened to pretty much the entire schiit line but I’ve got my ears not yours so take this all with a grain o salt. But for gods sake people need to hear about these things!

    Generally speaking I was super impressed with rag2 aegir and sol, if they fit into your system I’d say you won’t be disappointed. I’ll give a little background of what I use/have used for references long the way, for what it’s worth.

    Rag2 is awesome. But lemme start with a warning, it’s huge. Anyone who has a vidar should have a general feel for its depth and it’s width is consistent with the yggy/rag chassis of old. It looks great though wow. The remote is absolutely wonderful as you probably imagine. It does run surprisingly cool too. Also the interface is much more intuitive, no more switching to low gain the turning up the volume to figure out where it’s sending sound.

    The speaker sound is solid. Sources were Mani from sol and balanced coming from yggy. It had no problem loading up the schittrs listening room with the ls50s they’ve got in there with power to spare. I have heard both the passive (through vidar) and active ls50s and can report rag2 easily beats the actives, my ability to evaluate relative to vidar with the passive was limited by the room, but they’re likely in a similar ballpark. Mono aegirs through Freya sounded better to me (no surprises there). That is not me saying rag2 sounds bad. Just less good at 2 channel than a more expensive dedicated 2 channel setup by the same manufacturer. But for what it is, an amp for sensitive headphones or speakers rag2 is super impressive. Unless we were directly A/B’ing rag2 sounded great. It kept us totally happy for hours. The room at the schittr is awful (sorry schiit the schittr is great but I gotta be honest) so I won’t say much more about speakers.

    Now for headphones. I listened with a pair of meze empyreans and Sennheiser HD800 with only yggy as source. Simply put it was stunning. Now my main point of reference is mjolnir/Gumby but I’ve heard rag1/yggy (not a2) too. I generally can’t stand HD800, just too harsh for me. But I gotta say other than Valhalla I’ve never heard them sound better than on rag2. I was worried going in about the mezes, they’re efficient and supposedly the noise floor is a little higher than rag1 or mjolnir (which does occasionally give me some noise). I had no problems with the mezes. In fact the middle gain setting ended up being perfect for them and it was the best headphone sound I’ve heard to date. The volume nob is awesome and the motorized function with remote is great . I’ve found the circlotron amps can sound kinda harsh sometimes (mjolnir to a lesser degree with the tubes) and rag2 doesn’t do that. The mezes soundstage opened up more than ever and the sound was so natural and easy to listen to with detail. It’s what I call sneaky detail. It’s not harsh and trebly detail in your face. It’s easy to listen to but as you pay attention you realize how much is there. This is the ideal sound for me. On a different note my friend tried IEMs and said he heard noise. Hearing at least good speaker performance and exceptional headphone performance had me sold. Schiit please release rag2 you’re ruining my life making me wait. I’m writing this instead of going to work I will hold you accountable when I get fired.

    Some additional notes for the people considering the fully loaded version. I really wanted to love this feature but after using it I’ll likely save the money and go with standard. We tried the phono card instead of mani. Noise reduced some but was still definitely there. We didn’t bother with the cheap ass balanced card. I know it from lyr3 and couldn’t bring myself to switch away from yggy even in the name of knowledge. Overall I gotta say I think schiit slightly missed the target on the cards. Anyone who wants to buy a $1600 amp and listen to a ~$100 dac has a different line of reasoning than me. Or maybe a vinyl fanatic would be stoked on it so they can reinforce their opinion that vinyl is the greatest sound known to humans. Or maybe if you transport your system occasionally and don’t wanna deal with moving your dac it’ll be a good thing to have in a pinch. If I’m honest now writing this I wish I gave it a shot to know for sure. But I’ve compared midbi with the card on my lyr and found midbi superior so I can only imagine how things would go against yggy. That’s my only nit cause I’m bitter a gungnir card isn’t in rag2 but it’s cool I don’t expect schiit to break the laws of physics for the somewhat niche higher end part of their line that I want. Also I keep in mind the cards are early in their development so there’s plenty of room for improvement. I personally would love the option for just phono.

    Overall rag2 might be the most impressive amplifier I’ve ever heard, all things considered and if they don’t release it soon I might go crazy. Don’t expect it to be the best speaker amp in the world but if you want a truly exceptional headphone amp that does a great job with speakers (aka a better Ragnarok) you will be happy.

    This is getting long so I’ll post now and continue with aegir and sol. Hope this helps everyone I’m not a pro audio reviewer just tellin it as a heard it.
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2019
  2. ColinP
    What speakers are the Aegirs connected to at the Schiitr?

    Been excitedly waiting for this amp since it was first announced (to power my LS50's in mono block form).
  3. Ultimateaudioslave
    Thanks for this. I feel your emotion for good sound. However, My question is if I am just looking for a headphone amo and I have yaggy as DAC. Am I missing much sound quality wise if i get the standard rag now? I do not want my head amp to do too much anyway. Just one input on eoutput and be the best at it. Thanks.
  4. schiitfanboy69
    Alright moving on to Aegir. Like I mentioned with Rag2, my opinion of Aegir is tempered by the fact that it was in a less than ideal room. How speakers sound in your room with Aegir will likely trend with what I'm saying but again grain o salt please. Unfortunately there wasn't a vidar hooked into the shittrs speakers setup so that very useful direct comparison wasn't possible. I have a vidar that I've run ls50's (saga preamp) with in the past and it obviously did a great job. What I heard was monoblocked aegirs through freya, with mani as source from sol. We had a sub working too, out of freya.

    Aegir sounded great. The most notable feature to me was how "natural" it sounded. This obviously sucks because it's a buzz word and completely non-quantifiable so I'll try to explain further. Vidar sounds great with lots of detail and punch, but Aegir has an ease of sound that I found very appealing. Maybe the pseudo class A constant transconductance of continuity is leading to reduced distortion and subconsciously making me feel like the sound is more real, allowing me to better (borrowing a film term) suspend disbelief and relax into the music more. For those familiar with Lyr 3, that sound signature scaled up does certainly describe Aegir pretty well, but if I'm honest the effect on speakers is more pronounced. Also I kinda find a little detail is lost with Lyr 3 and didn't find this to be an issue with Aegir. We also found the tube gain on freya sounded awesome when engaged. Needless to say I was very impressed with the setup overall, even with the obvious room effects holding it back.

    Now schiit is a good value company, that's probably part of why we're all here. That's also where things with Aegir get a little grim. Monoblocked aegirs with freya will cost more than double what saga vidar does which is tough to stomach (I'm pretty sure that will also have less power than the cheaper setup too). That being said if you can afford it I think you would be happy to do it. Or maybe you can get away with a single Aegir with your system in which case, assuming the single amp to monoblock change is negligible sound-wise, I'd say the extra $100 over vidar is an easy call.

    They didn't seem too hot by the way. But again they were monoblocked into 8 ohm speakers and we weren't really cranking them too hard.

    So overall Aegir is awesome but also kind sucks cause if I was to get them I'd need to go monoblocked and buy Freya. But when I finally splurge and go for it I think it'll be worth it.
  5. Pietro Cozzi Tinin
    I'm not sure what you mean here.
    Aren't you comparing things you shouldn't compare?
    US Blues likes this.
  6. schiitfanboy69
    Sound quality wise I'd say no you're not going to miss anything, rag1 is an absolutely exceptional amplifier it's just a different flavor of sound than rag2 that happens to fit my preferences more. We all have our preferences but generally trends hold from person to person. I may think rag1 is a little harsh and you may love it. You may think rag2 is warm and a little mudddy and I obviously love it. It just kinda depends.

    Regarding your case I'm going to have to take the semi-copout answer and say that it will depend of your listening preference and which headphones you're using. Some headphones (particularly some planars) I felt needed the extra detail kick that the circlotron could bring and keeping in mind the trends I found between rag1 and rag2 if you have that sort of headphone or are a very analytical listener you may prefer the rag1 sound.

    For example LCD4 on rag1 will give you a much different experience than HD800(not s). For me the HD800 would be too harsh and LCD4 would be good. Moving to Rag2 senns become more listenable but LCD4 may lose some detail (I'm just speculating based on the trends I found I didn't use a headphone that I would consider needing help on detail with rag2 while I was there).

    Obviously if you're all about headphones then the remote and related features won't do you much good so there is that to consider. The definitive answer would be to trust your ears if you have the luxury like I did to hear both yourself.
  7. schiitfanboy69
  8. Ultimateaudioslave
    I am using a LCD X and I love it absolutely, have no wish to change it anytime soon. I am that guy; once I set it up, I let it be and be happy; however I am putting my best effort now to reach there.
  9. US Blues
    Friend- given the nature of the audio market these days, Freya + Aegir x2 is an utter bargain.
    artur9, EELawson and yonson like this.
  10. yonson
    Hmmm, maybe due to size constraints Schiit will offer a higher performance single channel multibit card to be used as a pair in Rag2 for the people that want something between the current multibit card and running an external DAC...
    CAPT Deadpool likes this.
  11. schiitfanboy69
    Oh nice I've hard a pair of LCD-X's they're great! With that in mind I really don't think you can go wrong with either X's are pretty neutral especially as Audeze goes.
  12. Ultimateaudioslave
    yeah. I think so too. And I am hurt that Rags are not upgradable. Like I know my yaggy is; so I am sure I will stay on the forefront whatever tech comes. May it be pi or whatever moffat is done with now. But tag is not that beast. :frowning2:
  13. schiitfanboy69
    We ran them through LS50 in monoblock and it was awesome. Sorry I didn't make that clear.
  14. schiitfanboy69
    Alright time for Sol.

    I'm going to try to separate usability from sound for what it's worth. Schiit have been pretty forward about making this table for sound not usability (I agree with this).

    So first usability (aka the bad):
    Before I get started I want to make something clear. I am a mechanical engineer and I frequently operate machines/devices that are much much more difficult to use than any turntable (including sol) could ever be with much much higher stakes than I could ever deal with while using a turntable. I love sol and find it perfectly usable but want to make everyone aware of the aspects that are "sub-optimal".

    Obviously I did not do setup so I cannot speak to how hard it is to perform. Given you need to balance what I would call "roll" in a normal 6 DOF system I bet it will be more difficult than most tables. I imagine if you're getting a Sol you enjoy that process. It's pretty much as not-user friendly as schiit have been saying. The motor doesn't have a whole lot of torque, table needs help spinning up sometimes and you can stall it if you're too aggressive with a brush. Accessing the on/off switch requires you to reach unnecessarily close to the arm. Cueing with the unipivot certainty is "disturbing at best" as I think the designer put it. The cueing lever feels like it uses a cam with no restraints on angular travel which means you can spin it to the lift position and pass right on through to drop the arm again if you're not careful (this may be difficult to visualize). Also vibration isolation isn't great but I'm sure the "floaters" will help solve that as the product matures.

    Overall I'd say this is a table you gotta be careful with. As schiit have said it's not a plug and play table or a DJ deck. You're gonna have to work for your sound and pay attention while operating. So now that is out of the way let's get to the important stuff.

    Sound (the good):
    Sol is great, it's that simple. The most impressive aspect of this table to me was how well is does with less than perfect records. We threw the most warped records we could at it and it handled them just fine. Since sound is so dependant on your table/cart system I don't really think it's fair to dive too deep here, but suffice it to say Signal to noise was very good (noise from mani was always higher during quiet sections than any perceivable noise from the table) and channel separation was great even when dealing with warps. We didn't listen to any test records or anything like that just enjoyed the vinyl experience.

    I really can't add a whole lot to what schiit have already said. This is a less user friendly table that can get you really great sound for the money. As an engineer I was super impressed at all the clever design for manufacture they used with this table and I can see they really thought about making this thing as cheap as they could, that's awesome! There's been lots of talk about the bearing but to me I think sol is largely the unipivot. They achieved the necessary degrees of freedom that normally requires an expensive gimbal assembly with basically two well machines surfaces that I imagine are simply turned. They throw material where they need it on the platter thanks to the casting process they use. Overall I have to say part of what makes me want sol are these clever details, they're designing for function not looks or usability. That's great.

    Overall I think you know who you are if sol is something you should buy.
  15. Rensek
    Sol sounds fascinating. Can't wait to see some YouTube videos regarding it .

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