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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. Alcophone
    Creative did that, too, some three years ago. Haven't seen anyone else do it, though.
  2. Balthazar B
    Maybe you should offer to match the direct/indirect, um, donations from USPS-related entities paid to Katie's election campaign as an active constituent and a sincere gesture of good will... :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
  3. mikerp
    Sorry to hear that you have bad service in your area, I've been fortunate to have great delivery folks in my area (USPS, UPS, Fedex). I just heard the USPS vehicle coming down the road and went to grab the Amazon delivery, I jogged the last 100 feet up to the gate, the driver my age (older) said "no need to run" he got out of the vehicle, pulled the packages out of the extra large mail box, and walked to the gate handing me the packages.
    At any rate, I'd raise the issue and let USPS that I'd be taking my business elsewhere (I'd have done it within the 1st month of poor service).
  4. RickB
    I just wanted to make the comment that streaming is the main way I listen to new music, and I am 100% album based. I grew up listening to albums, and that is what I consider the basic unit of music. I ignore any and all (except maybe the new release) playlists that Spotify throws my way. I do use playlists, but only because Spotify requires them to download tracks for offline listening. All my playlists are actually albums.
  5. Pedro Janeiro
    Here in Portugal the national post service works quite well, but when it comes to private services, the cheapest ones are always bad.
    To lower the prices they probably cut in the number of employees and then there´s always consequences, with bad client support, late delivery, or lost packages.

    About the tape discussion, looks like Schiit Russia, have good taste :D
    here is one pic i found on their instagram, oh yeah Akai gx 635!

    Screenshot 2019-07-11 18.42.26.png
  6. Charente
    What a dreadful indictment on the US National Postal Service ... with all the competition around, you'd think they would up their game. I have to give a positive shout to La Poste in France (USPS equivalent) ... I don't recall any cause for complaint ... as an individual I can arrange for pickup from my house mailbox by registering a parcel online and it's picked up the next day, guaranteed. I appreciate my comment is absolutely no help to Schiit, but the point is, it can be done !
    ScubaMan2017 and sam6550a like this.
  7. ashirin
    Tube Rolling Saga Part 1:

    Vali 2 vs Magni impressions!

    This is the first part in a series that should chronicle my journey into tube rolling on Schiit gear. I broke this down into sections so you can skip the information that is useless to you. I'll also hide most of this in spoilers so it doesn't block out the whole thread.

    Part 0 (Also why am I doing this?):
    A little while back I posted some impressions comparing my system with Saga in passive mode vs in tube mode, which was really my first attempt at considering tube sound. Here is a link to those thoughts, which is essentially part 0. After that, I decided I wanted to roll the tube in my Saga for fun and to really see what all this tube stuff is about. I started by asking around here for some advice to get me started, which was very helpful (thanks again to everyone who offered their thoughts!). However, I didn’t then have the time to do all the research, and my Vidar went out for servicing for some transformer hum. The short version thereafter is that Schiit sent me back my Vidar with the transformer hum fixed (thanks!). I also had surgery a couple weeks ago that’s left me mostly at home recovering, which is going great so far. The good news is that I’ve had ample time to research tubes and finally put in some orders.

    The equipment I’m working with:
    Short Story: Vali 2 for 6922 and Saga for 6SN7
    Long Story: My stereo system consists of Saga/Vidar with LS50s and two Tekton Pendragon subwoofers (all currently being fed with a Modi 3). This is the system I really care about. My headphone rig consists of a first-gen Magni/Modi/Wyrd stack, HD6XX and HE400 (first-gen) headphones. That’s what got me started in audio many years ago, but I much prefer stereo, so this rig has mostly stayed stagnant (other than the addition of the HD6XX). Additionally, I had bought a Vali 2 as a gift for a family member a couple years ago that’s gone mostly unused, so I decided to repatriate that for the time being to give me some more tube rolling options. Music is all from my phone using Tidal -hi-fi and, when available, master quality.

    So what tubes did I get?
    Short Story: Genalex Gold Lion E88CC, GE 6SN7GTB, CBS 6SN7GTB, and Raytheon 6SN&GT.
    Long Story: I wanted to try both vintage and current production tubes. I’ve done a lot of reading and I’m still firmly a novice, but now I have an idea about the tube landscape for both 6922 and 6SN7 tubes. For current production, I decided on a Genalex Gold Lion E88CC because it has a reputation of being one of the better new production tubes and it was under $40 shipped. I have the GE NOS stock Schiit tube to compare it too. For my Saga, I already have the Schiit Tung-Sol tock tube which is current production. So to test against that I purchased a 1962 GE 6SN7GTB “O” Side Getter (black base, red print), a CBS 6SN7GTB “Fat D” Side Getter (black base, red print), and a Raytheon 6SN7GT (Black base, yellow print, I believe late 50’s to mid-60’s). Eventually I would love to get a 5691/5692 (especially the RCA redbase) that everyone loves so much. However, they are more expensive, so I’m going to start with these and see if I even like tubes.

    Where did I get them?
    Short Story: eBay
    Long Story: I bought all of them from eBay sellers with good reputations who sell a lot of tubes and post both test results and pictures of the individual tubes being sold. For reference, the GE and CBS tubes were NOS testing and balanced, and the Raytheon slightly lower but still looking good. The higher-end tube retailers were a little too expensive for me. If you know what you’re looking at and like the assurance they provide it seems like a great option. But for me, right now, eBay offers a larger variety at more palatable prices. I paid about $45 total for the 3 vintage tubes. That might be on the pricey side but I’m still new so I don’t have the knowhow to get the best deals, and what I paid is well within my budget and gives me enough variety to see what I think.

    So why am I comparing Vali to Magni?
    Short Version: I wanted to become more familiar with Vali
    Long Version: The first tube that arrived was the Genalex Gold Lion, so I immediately popped it into my Vali and let it burn in for a couple hours. My original plan was to swap between the Genalex and the stock GE when it hit me that I don’t even really know what I’m listening for.

    A philosophical aside: I’m actually not a huge fan of AB tests. I notice the difference between gear the most readily when I’m listening to something consistently and I’m familiar with it, then I switch to something else. The changes in sound are often very apparent. I am then usually pretty good at being able to tell the difference between the two in AB comparisons therafter. But if I listen to two new things back to back without any familiarity, they just sound different. It’s difficult for me to tell which I like more.​

    I know the sound of my Magni with my headphones well, but I hadn’t used it in a while, so I decided that for test one, I would just compare Vali (using the Genalex) with the Magni. I used a RCA Y-splitter to get my Modi signal into both amps so switching was as easy as unplugging and plugging in my headphones. I listened to long passages through each one, and sometimes AB’d specific parts back and forth.


    Well, here it is (finally). I’m going to go song by song and give my thoughts as I wrote them down while I was listening last night. I’m going to switch to present tense for effect.

    I want to listen to the music I’ve been listening to recently, as opposed to my go-to test tracks, because this is about building familiarity. So I start with some Billy Joel. "She’s Always a Woman" and "Vienna" get me in a music mood but I’m not listening too critically yet. The main thing I notice is that Magni has a blacker background.

    This is immediately reminiscent of my experience in Part 0 comparing Saga in tube and passive modes. As a result, I throw my ideals out the window and pull out a couple of my test tracks, starting with "Fighter" by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell. Magni sounds a bit more sparse and the bass tones are coming across more clearly. Vali has a more fleshy midrange.

    Moving on to "Love has Come for You" from the same album, the familiar differences continue. Magni is a little cleaner in the chorus; The sounds come across as distinct and sharp, which is how I’m used to hearing the song. On Vali, everything seems to have more energy. On the downside, it takes away some clarity that I like. On the plus side, it also takes away some of the brashness. After the chorus, there are some footsteps that sound more real on Vali. It might be familiarity but I prefer Magni overall here. Interestingly, this is the same song that I preferred passive over tube on Saga. So I decide to go back to listening to what I’ve been hearing lately, and listening more naturally (aka enjoying the music).

    "Rocket Man" by Elton John. Elton is a longtime favorite of mine and the new movie about him (“Rocketman”) has got me going through my favorites again. What was interesting here is that while listening to the same segment through each amp, I became fixated on different parts of the song. On Magni, I was drawn into the strumming of the guitar. During the same part, Vali brought out the background singers “oooooh” “ahhhhh.” Overall, I felt the emotion of the song more over Vali.

    "Honkey Cat" is an Elton song that I started liking more recently. Vali just sounds more right. Seems to confirm that I’m hearing more of the background of the recording, not just added *noise* into the background. There’s still something I like about the Magni’s sparser presentatoin, but when the piano comes in on Vali with more tone it instantly wins me over.

    "Levon"! One more Elton song because I’ve loved it since childhood and Tidal has it in hi-res. Similar feelings here. On magni, my attention got grabbed by a somewhat annoying guitar strum only present on the right channel (something that happens often to me while using headphones but not speakers). On Vali, I had just listened to the same passage and not noticed it. The song seems to come through more gelled together. A new thought: maybe dynamics are better on Magni...

    I switched it up a bit and put on "Juice" by Lizzo. I started with Magni and it’s fine, but I much prefer this over my stereo. Switching over to Vali, everything definitely sounds less harsh. I keep listening. It still doesn’t have the feel of my stereo system, but the sound seems right now. Back to magni again to confirm. Ya, no contest. Bass is gone. Highs are a bit shrill. I can make out individual sounds more clearly but I’m not enjoying it and I don’t feel that I’m hearing more detail. Finish the song on Vali. Gotta go with more Lizzo.

    "Jerome" (with an [aside]): Listening with Vali, I start thinking. [I love occasionally turning up the volume and just getting completely enveloped in a song. With speakers, when I do this, I feel like I’m being surrounded by the music. With headphones I feel like the instruments are being shoved down my ears.] Oh, the song’s almost over. Let me try magni. Came in on a vocal solo and honestly it sounded great! But the instrumentals came back in and I missed Vali again. Switched over and immediately got the bass back. Nice. Vali is trouncing Magni right now. Let’s keep going.

    Still on Lizzo, "Exactly How I Feel": Even Vali makes this a bit harsh compared to my stereo. There is a male rap section and it sounds much better on magni to me. Just cleaner overall. However, at the end of it, Lizzo’s voice comes across a little shrill. Switching back to Vali gives it more body. Let’s try some trashy pop.

    I put on "7 rings" by Ariana Grande, starting with Vali. I’m dancing in my seat, going back and fourth between the amps. I like both here. There’s a lot going on in the background of the song and Vali brings it out without muddling it, which is impressive. Bass has more definition with Vali. Magni on the other hand has a bit more slam. I prefer the definition over impact in this case, but in Ariana’s rap segment the Magni wins out. At this point I start wondering if a higher-end amp would let me have it both ways, when Ariana’s lyrics come through a bit too clearly: “Whoever said money can't solve your problems, must not have had enough money to solve 'em.” She might have a point here.

    I decide to switch over to Florence and the Machine, putting on "Hunger". This is one of my top 50 songs of all time on one of my top 25 albums. Starting with Vali, Florence’s voice is not nearly as soulful as I’m used to experiencing over speakers. It’s honestly a little disappointing. Same story with Magni, but it’s doing the music even less justice. I finish the song on Vali, but neither really succeeds here in my opinion.

    I move on to a more dynamic song from the same album, 100 years, to give the amps another shot. Still, neither does her voice justice. Same story for the music. Magni gives a bit more slam, Vali a bit more texture. I lean Vali here.

    At this point I decide to do a quick sanity check, and play Hunger again, but over my speakers. I have to play it very low since it’s 1 AM and I don’t wan to disturb anyone (holy schiit it’s 1AM already… I guess I’m having fun). It sounded a little thin but not nearly as much as through my headphones. I think this it can be attributed to volume but that I can’t know until the morning. The other thing I can say for sure is that she feels like a person in space (in the room) as opposed to a disembodied voice over headphones. Just some more speaker favoritism. I think better headphones would help in this regard.

    But now I’m comfortable on my couch and a tired. Auditions will continue another time. Note to self: move headphone rig somewhere more comfortable. This will be easier with Modi 3 which doesn’t require a separate power brick like Wyrd to function with my phone.

    I’m going to bed and listening to some more music before I sleep. I’ll use Vali since she’s new and I want to understand her better, but I’m no longer being critical. Editor’s note: I ended up switching to my Hifimans and listening mostly to more Ariana Grande before falling asleep. Figures.


    If you skipped all that, here’s my takeaway: Magni offers a blacker background, and separates sounds more readily. Vali 2 on the other hand gives everything a little more texture. I don’t think it’s just making sounds thicker, because in many of the cases, the texture made instruments and voices sound more real, at least to my ears. Vali also dug a little deeper into the bass (and with more texture to boot) but Magni did counter with better dynamic impact. If I had to pick one it would probably be Vali, but I do think Magni offers some advantages and might sound better with certain tracks. Not bad for Schiit’s first sub-$100 offering!

    What’s next?
    Well, now that I'm more familiar with Vali, I’m going to switch back to the stock GE tube and see if I hear any difference. I’ll post my thuoghts on that when I get the chance. It should be shorter since I won’t repeat all the background info I put in here. After that, my 6SN7 tubes should arrive and I’ll be listening to those in Saga.

    Tubes, here we go.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
  8. eburnette07
    @Jason Stoddard Honestly, this has been something that has been plaguing my company as well. We use USPS for standard and international shipments and FedEx for expedited domestic. USPS can seem to be really lazy at times, but it is cheap which is good when customers demand "free" shipping. FedEx feels disjointed at times, maybe because their Ground, Express and Home are separated, but it is more reliable and expensive. Someone from our company (mostly me) has to drop off packages at USPS six days a week and that currently works for us. Sadly there isn't a better option that I've seen, at least not price point. Best of luck.
    Jason Stoddard likes this.
  9. valiant66
    As I was going through stuff for my move I found an old Betamax tape...
    GearMe likes this.
  10. valiant66
    And I found some old reel to reels, including pre-recorded ones...
    barondla and judson_w like this.
  11. Jayhawklaw
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
  12. Xcalibur255
    In case anybody missed it in all the shipping talk, this review is well worth reading. This reviewer does a very good job of giving people who might be confused by the sea of audio buzzwords an easy to understand and digest overview of why certain types of distortion matter more than others and what merits class A does and does not have. He also focuses on the right things and relates the performance of Aegir to actual musical performances, rather than the usual review format of trying to quantitatively describe the bass, mids and treble (which as years have gone by I have increasingly found to be completely and utterly useless as review content).

    It's also a sunbright glowing review of Aegir. Congrats to Jason and team.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
  13. 33na3rd
    Freya S update.

    My Freya S has about 175 hours on it now and has settled in quite nicely. It sounded nice on CD/DAC pretty much from the beginning and just kept getting better as the hours added up. Vinyl sources on the other hand, took around 100 hours before sounding fleshed out. I would speculate that perhaps this is due to the lower output voltage from the phono preamps?

    At 175 hours all sources sound very nice. Freya S sounds just a click to the warm side of neutral, a balance that I like. Pianos and massed strings sound like they should with no grain or strain. Detail retrieval is amazing, without sounding analytical. The soundstage has improved greatly since putting it into the system. While not quite as 3D as an all tube system, it is very close. Further re-tweaking of speaker placement may improve this as well.

    I’ve been running Freya S with a single Vidar into my Audio Physic Virgo 2’s and a KEF R400b subwoofer, using the Nexus 1x gain mode. I won’t pretend to understand the Nexus topology fully, but this is the first time in almost 30 years that I haven’t had tubes somewhere in the signal path of my system. I’m surprised that I’m not really missing them. That’s not a slam against tubes, but a big compliment to Nexus!
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
  14. ThorCorps
    Another piece of advice that used to matter when corresponding with a government agency (I work for one, but not that one), is that if you write them a letter that you're having some sort of problem and it has been x number of days (perhaps 45) since your initial contact and you have not received an adequate resolution, common practice is to notate at the bottom of the letter that it is being cc'd to your representative and senators (list their names/offices on the cc line).

    Many years ago, when I was involved with that kind of thing, if correspondence being screened showed that it was cc'd to a representative or congressman, it was treated as a "Congressional" case, and not just as correspondence. It was tracked, etc., because there was an expectation that we would be contacted in short order by a representative/congressperson and wanted to have already taken action and documented it related to the complaint/concern.
  15. Otheronek
    So instead of paying usps to pick up you packages

    buy a van, pay some college kid intern beer money three times a week to run your packages to the post office and you will have a van for other services you may need... A company always has a need for a cargo van. Plus you can teach some college intern electrical engineerng audio magic... Kinda pass the torch.. Feel good audio thing... Help rejuvenate the feeling of helping a newbie out... I am sure you learned stuff along the way when just starting out..

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