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

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GearMe

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Hmmm...i'll take 5 instead of 11.

Mystic crystal revelation
And the mind's true liberation...

That said, it feels a little like ABBA (yuk) -- for the first song anyway! Too much soul on the second :wink:

 
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@Jason Stoddard Any idea on when the Lyr 3 230V will become available again? I'm keen to get one, but your EU distributors have been out of stock for a while now. I know you're having some issues with getting the transformers for it. Thanks!
 
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@Jason Stoddard

https://www.head-fi.org/threads/sch...bable-start-up.701900/page-3035#post-14875708

Haven't posted in quite some time, but landed on your write up (in the link above) while contemplating/searching out a new DAC.

Just want to say that if I had the discipline to write an article on how best to approach purchasing audio gear, I'd have attempted to write something that would mirror what you've said in this piece.

Great, concise advice and a refreshing write-up, especially coming from someone in the business of selling audio gear.

Thanks for putting this so succinctly. I hope more people out there chasing audio nirvana (aka chasing their tail) come across this.
At the very least it might give them time to pause and think about what they're looking for and why.

Or even better, it might bring them to better appreciate what they already own and to realize enjoying tbe music you're hearing in the moment is the greatest pleasure in the music experience.
 
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artur9

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Maryland is nicely located in the middle of the East Coast if your looking for Schiitr locations!
Annapolis FTW. My wife has picked that as the retirement location. St Michaels was nice but a bit too far off the beaten track. Or any track, for that matter.
 
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Hellenback

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2019 Chapter 6:
Onsanity


Or, Being Happy With What You Have


As we launch Aegir, I’m beginning to get a lot of questions like this: “I already have a couple of Vidar monoblocks, should I upgrade to Aegir?”

Sometimes these questions start a whole cascade:

“Oh yeah, and when Sol comes out, are you gonna have a ‘better’ phono stage than Mani, because maybe it’s time to upgrade that too.

“Oh, and if it has balanced outputs, maybe it’s time to go from Saga to Freya.

"And speaking of balanced outputs, maybe I should go from Bifrost to Yggdrasil.


“And while we’re talking about that, when is a more expensive DAC than Yggdrasil gonna show up?

“And by the way, how about an even more expensive preamp than Freya?”

Holy moly guys, let’s take a pause here. Because I really gotta be blunt and ask: do you really just like buying things?

No, seriously. Do you just like buying things?

Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s cool if you just like buying things. Hell, I like new shiny stuff quite a bit. But growing up in a not-so-wealthy household with one crazy budgeting parent and another insanely cheap one, I’ve never quite shed the scrimp and save mentality. Twenty years of running an ad agency with relatively deep boom and bust cycles didn’t hurt, either. So I’m not in danger of FOMO buying sprees.

But I’m not you. If you have tons of disposable income that is nice and stable and predictable, and you like buying things, knock yourself out. Go ahead. Talk yourself into trying thousands of dollars of gear. I’m not going to stop you.

But, at the same time, I’m not going to encourage you to do so. Hence this chapter, looking at some ways of assessing, and perhaps moving away from, the insanity of gear churn.

Because maybe it’s time for some, ahem, Onsanity.


A Particular Individual

Now, let’s go back to the question that started it all: Aegir vs Vidar?

In this case, we can actually be helpful. And, if we’re lucky, we can extend this example to some general guidelines. Maybe. We’ll see.

Let’s look at the situation, though. You’re comparing two amplifiers, both similarly priced. One is a low-power, high-bias Continuity™ design, and one is a high-power, lower-bias Class AB design. They both have the same basic feature sets, but one allows you to de-bias the output stage with a front panel button. One has a warning about hot rooms (Aegir) and closed spaces. One doesn’t. Both can do stereo or mono, in the same way.

So, how do you choose?

If it was me, I’d probably start with a yes/no list something like this:
  1. Do I have the money to easily buy this product? As in, you’re not giving up food/shelter/transportation/travel/etc in order to purchase it, you’re not going to put it on a card and pay it off over time, you’re not going to use one of those fancy ‘get it now and pay it off later’ services with a silly Web 3.0 name, and you’re not going to plead with your SO to buy it for you. If the answer is no, stop right here. You’re done. Come on. Be real.
  2. Am I lacking something this product will do? If you already have an amp, you’re already listening to speakers. Is the amp that bad? Does it really need to be upgraded? Really? Seriously? Again, if the answer is no, it’s probably time to move on.
  3. Am I really unhappy with my system? No, really. If you’re content, why look at other products? What if the new product doesn’t work so well with your system? Now you’ve spent money and time and not gotten any better result. Be careful. Maybe it’s best not to change anything. Another no? Maybe best not to poke the bear.
Okay, so you’ve answered “yes, yes, and yes,” above. What about Aegir vs Vidar?

Here’s how I’d break it down:
  1. How efficient are your speakers? If they’re less efficient (say, 86db or less), you probably want to stick to Vidar. Or mono Aegirs. But mono Aegirs are more than twice as much money. And they put out a lot of heat.
  2. How loud do you listen? Okay, so you have less efficient speakers, but you don’t go above noon on Freya. In this case, either amp will probably be fine. Oh wait, you’re a headbanger? Stick with Vidar.
  3. What’s your room temperature? Both amps run pretty warm, but only Aegir has a warning in the owner’s manual about maybe needing a fan if your room is above 30 degrees C. You may want to stick with Vidar if you don’t want to turn on the A/C.
Hopefully that helps a bit.

“Wait a sec!” You cry. “There’s absolutely nothing there about how the amps sound! How are we supposed to choose if you don’t talk about sound?”

Okay, fair question. It’s one I’m not super comfortable with, because it gets into some awful sales-y practices, and it doesn’t take into account your particular system. More on that later. Here’s what I will say: In my opinion, when used within its output limitations, Aegir will typically sound better than Vidar. It’s a richer, more cohesive amplifier. However, it’s also a much less powerful amplifier, so it DOES have more limitations. AND, it’s dangerous making blanket statements like “A is always better than V.”

So...consider your own system.

(And do this only after answering ‘yes’ to the three questions above.)


Systems Diversity

What’s good for one system is not necessarily good for another.

Wait. Stop. Go back and read that again.

Actually, no. Read this:

What’s good for someone else’s system may not be good for yours.

(Oh yeah, and that goes about 10000% if ‘someone else’s system’ is a random dood on the intartubes who may or may not be being paid by another manufacturer, or who may or may not be good at this whole ‘subjective review’ thing.)

(Ah, and this is not to disparage the many independent reviewers out there. Just a reminder not to take literally the first thing you read as gospel, and to remember that the world can be a very gray place.)

And, here’s the kicker: even if it’s a reviewer using the product in the same exact system you have, it still might not sound good to you.

“Wait, what?” You ask. “How can that be? Shouldn’t both systems sound the same?”

Yes, they should.

But you may hear differently.

You may have different sonic preferences.

In fact, you almost certainly do.

So, even if it’s exactly the same system, that review (or your friend’s opinion) may mean absolutely nothing. Because you hear differently, and have different sonic preferences.

I see it all the time. We have one early listener who really really really loves clarity and detail. The stuff he loves I’m rather ‘meh’ on, because I like harmonic and tonal richness. He thinks I like stuff too warm. I think he likes stuff too neutral. It’s entirely possible that we can pass the same headphones back and forth on the same prototype system and I’ll love it and he’ll hate it.

So yeah, it’s a horribly gray world. I completely understand why some people retreat into a stance that “the measurements are all that is meaningful,” because that seeks to provide some order. You know, because if some numbers are higher than others and some are lower than others, then at least there is some standard, right?

Well, except that measurements don’t correlate especially well to what people hear.

Except that people hear differently.

Yeah. Best to go back and read that again. Again.

Because...those two statements taken together mean that we will never be able to have a “subjective quality” or “ear quality” measurement on an Audio Precision. There will never be a measurement like “97.34% of the original concert experience,” or “92.3 points on the Absolute Audio Perfection Scale.”

Never.

Why? Because everyone hears differently.

Here’s the problem: Who’s the arbiter of the Original Concert Experience? Who’s the creator of the Absolute Audio Perfection Scale? Do they hear like you? Or, if it’s a blended metric, like the Olive-Welti curve, who were the listeners? Are they listeners that immediate turn the bass and treble up all the way in their car? Do they do smiley-face equalization on everything? Again, do they have your same preferences?

In short, you don’t know. And even a panel of trained listeners may not give a weighted curve that youlike.

Because you hear differently. And you have different preferences.

“But that’s inconvenient,” you say. “That means I literally have to try everything in my specific system and see if it works for me.”

Yes. And yeah, that sucks. I get it. It’s a pain in the rear end to have to order and send things back, or visit a dealer and bring things back. It’s a complete collapse back to pure subjectivity, and all of the attendant messiness that it creates. Because if everything is subjective, then who’s to say that the color of the equipment or number of magic hologram stickers or price of the hand-braided yak-hair cable or the wireless Schumann Resonance tuner or a green paint pen or NOS gallium transistors may make all the difference in the world to you.

But then again, maybe that in itself is an argument for Onsanity.



The Penalty of Sidegrading

There’s a lot of talk about “end game” gear. But there’s less talk about the possible penalty of constantly swapping and changing and looking for an end game: endless sidegrading.

You know what I’m talking about.

It’s the endless Groundhog Day of audio.

You got a great new DAC that’s way warmer and richer than the old one...but it doesn’t resolve as well.

You got a shiny new amp that has insane punch and dynamics...but it’s a bit prickly in the high end.

You got fancy new headphones that resolve stuff you’ve never heard before...but they’re kinda bass light.

And so...

You pick up another new DAC that’s more resolving, but it’s kinda dry.

You pick up another new amp that’s more tonally rich, but it hits like a wet noodle.

You pick up new headphones with bass, but the resolution just isn’t there.

And so...

You swap it for another DAC that reviewers have promised to be a giant killer...but it’s kinda dead sounding.

You swap for another new amp that reviewers are loving...but it doesn’t sound anything like they said it did in your system.

You change up to brand new headphones from a company noted for their great headphones...but this one appears to be a miss.

And so...

(And so you get it. You just keep churning, and getting nowhere.)

“Well, that’s easy,” someone is saying. “You’re just not spending enough money. Go up the chain enough, and all those compromises go away.”

Oh really?

No, seriously: oh really?

Be honest now.

It couldn’t be that you’re just more invested in it, and therefore it must be better, right?

Because, in my opinion, a Fulla 2 can be an end-game system. Magni and Modi, surely. Heck, I’ve gone crazy and I usually use a Vali and a Modi Multibit on my work desk.

And yes, I’m completely serious.



What Can You Be Happy With?

That’s the real question, isn’t it: what can yoube happy with?

I’ll admit it. I’m pretty easy to satisfy. A Vali 2 and Modi Multibit is plenty good. I’ve rarely been disappointed in that stack. Now, it isn’t the most resolving bit of kit on the planet, and it doesn’t hit super hard, but it’s tonally very pleasant and it’s a relaxing, involving listen. It may be a little too rich for something like, say, the Audeze LCD-2 classics I like, and in that case I might want to go up to Lyr 3 or down to Magni 3 and Modi 3. Or even Fulla 2, which works great with them.

“But I thought you liked Mjolnir and Gungnir Multibit,” someone might ask.

Sure. Sure I do. When I have plenty of space, that’s a great combo. It’s also a whole heckuva lot more expensive. It also runs fairly hot and eats a ton of desk.

Bottom line, there’s room for every kind of system. Some people are gonna be totally happy with a Ragnarok and Yggdrasil on their desk. Me, I don’t have that kind of space. I can appreciate it for what it is, but I don’t feel any need to have it just for the sake of having it.

On the other hand, some people will think that Fulla 2 is overpriced. Yep. I get it. In that case, there’s no shame in running earbuds on your phone.

If you love music, and you’re happy with your system, that’s really what matters, isn’t it?

Here's to less insanity...and more Onsanity.

Haven't posted in quite some time, (so did it wrong initially :wink:

I landed on your write up here while contemplating/searching out the possible purchase a new DAC after years of using an incomplete resolution and non DSD model.

Just wanted to say that if I had the discipline to write an article on how best to approach purchasing audio gear, I'd have attempted to write something that would mirror what you've said in this piece.

Great advice and a refreshing write-up, especially coming from someone in the business of selling audio gear.

Thanks for putting this across so well. I hope more people out there chasing audio nirvana (aka chasing their tail) come across this post.
At the very least, it might give them time to pause and think about what they're looking for and why.

Or even better, it might bring them to better appreciate what they already own and to realize enjoying tbe music you're hearing in the moment is the greatest pleasure in both the music experience and the audio journey.

Last edited: Today at 3:08 PM
 
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wink

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Or, perhaps 6 waits for it to boot up and make beautiful music - but that never eventuated......
 
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US Blues

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Paul McGowan, the co-founder of PS Audio, sends out a short email each day with some thoughts about audiophile, gear, music, etc. You can read them, and sign up to receive these musings on the PS Audio website. Today's post by Paul is pertinent to our on-going discussions here:

Cats and stereos

Cats have always loved our products. Not because they’re qualified listeners that appreciate the fine sounds PS products produce, but because of our equipment’s heat.

Cats love nothing more than to curl atop a warm metal box and bask in the glow of a south-facing window.

My first encounter with feline audiophiles came from our 200C power amplifier of the 1980s. This 200 watt per channel amp was the biggest we’d ever made: 200 watts per channel into 8Ω and double that into 4Ω. Solid copper bus bars connected power supplies directly to the output transistors for unimpeded flow. It was a technical tour de force of the state of the art in 1980 and broke with the tradition of external heat sinks by internalizing them instead.

Not many amps had internal heat sinks in those days but we liked the svelt look the simple box offered. To get rid of the heat we copied what worked for tube power amplifiers, a perforated metal top and bottom to promote air flow. While this worked well for cooling the power amp there were unintended consequences from our feline friends. They liked to vomit hairballs into the amplifier’s innards.

This tendency of cats relieving their digestive tracts into warm metallic boxes was unknown to me from my days of cats and tube amplifiers. My guess as to why the 200C was preferred is because the vacuum tube amps were probably a little too hot for tabby to get a decent snooze. Those glass envelope fire bottles are pinpoint hot if you’re right over them. The 200C, on the other hand, had even heat distributed in a democratic fashion across the entire 19″ surface.

Most of us know of the dangers of cat claws and grille cloths, but I’ll bet few among us have spent much time contemplating the joys of taking a 200C amplifier to the local car wash to hose out cat vomit. I can tell you from experience it’s something very special.

Yes, we have an entire subset of furred audiophile admirers still in our camp, but we’ve since moved on to solid metal top covers.
 

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