Schiit Jotunheim Review / Preview - Head-Fi TV
Aug 27, 2016 at 8:22 PM Post #151 of 6,455

enlight10ment

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Not going to replace the gumby+mj2 at home, but I can see something more compact like this doing well on my desk at work, where a grace m9xx sits now.  Separate dac amps are a little imposing to have on the workplace desks.
 
Aug 27, 2016 at 9:17 PM Post #152 of 6,455

orphean

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Lack of Multibit kills it as a DAC for me but the phono module really has piqued my interest. I like the idea of having a combined phono preamp/amp to reduce desktop clutter (rather than getting a Mani) and having yet another Silver Schiit box on my desk!
 
Aug 27, 2016 at 10:39 PM Post #155 of 6,455

Angular Mo

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Not sure if this makes sense for me as AMP only, as i dont care about vinyl and already own a Bimby.

The Valhallas and Lyrs are still my preference as a Vali 1 upgrade.
 
Aug 27, 2016 at 11:06 PM Post #156 of 6,455

Odin412

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  Out of these headphones, which one did you feel paired best with the Jotunheim?


​Wow - that's like choosing between different kinds of chocolate (or cognac, whiskey, sports cars, Swiss watches, supermodels, etc.). They're all good but different. Also, some headphones had a balanced cable and some were single-ended, but I can't remember which headphones had which. So here's my quick take on the various headphones with the Jotunheim:
  1. Audeze LCD-XC: I own and enjoy this headphone. It's heavy but looks soo good. The one at the show had vegan pads. It sounded good - to me it has a very intimate and engaging sound.
  2. HD800 and HD800S: I listened to the HD800 hooked up to a vinyl rig. I know many of you guys adore the HD800, but I find the treble peak physically painful so I didn't listen long. The HD800S sounded very nice and had a really wide and open soundstage - probably the best soundstage of all headphones that I heard today.
  3. Ether Flow: The midrange on the Flow version is just so lifelike and natural-sounding to me. I also listened to these hooked up to a vinyl rig. Man, what a great-sounding headphone!
  4. Ether C: This was probably the most neutral and balanced of all the headphones that I listened too. It may sound a bit 'flat' when you first put it on, but after some listening time I really enjoy the uncolored and smooth sound.
  5. ZMF Omni: Man, this is a musical-sounding headphone. I own the cherry version and it's just so enjoyable! Absolutely no listening fatigue whatsoever.
  6. Focal Elear: I had some time to listen to this today and the more I listened the more I enjoyed it. It's smooth, dynamic, involving and non-fatiguing. It's also really well made with aluminum frame and Alcantara pads.
  7. Focal Utopia: This headphone sounds spectacular! Really dynamic and lively without being bright and over-detailed. A clear contender for 'best headphone' right now. Sexy-looking too with lots of carbon fiber and nice leather.
 
The winner? Hard to choose, but the Elear looks mighty tempting (considering price and performance) right now. Yes, I know that this is a non-answer, but it's the best I can do.
 
Aug 27, 2016 at 11:07 PM Post #157 of 6,455

mithrandir38

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Without any knowledge of this product coming out, I saw the announcement today and was actually impressed, not disappointed. At $249, the Asgard 2 is the most expensive solid state amp among the other solid state amps that are cheaper than the Jotunheim - so I would compare it to Jot's $399 amp-only option and $499 amp/DAC option. Asgard 2 is $150 to $250 cheaper. However, for that extra $150 you have several benefits:

1) Balanced output. To me, this is the most obvious and important feature for this price range (under $500) for either an amp or amp/DAC combo from anything else in the market, let alone among just Schiit gear. I've been in the market for an amp with a balanced output. Idk if anyone is like me here, but I only have an O2 amp, which has a 1/4" output but no balanced output (XLR). My HD 800 S came with a balanced cable (XLR) though, so I've been in the market for something to accommodate these lovely headphones. :)

The list should stop there for telling you why I was impressed off the bat, but I dug into the product specs page and added these on that seem important:

2) Tons more power. Examples for 300 ohms headphones... 
    • Jotenheimer's max power for 300 ohms output is:
      - 900 mW balanced
      - 350 mW single-ended (the 1/4" jack)
   • Asgard 2's max power for 300 ohms output is:
      - 380 mW single-ended (the 1/4" jack)

3) Lower distortion. Lower THD and IMD

4) Quieter when volume is raised? I think I read that somewhere. Same goes for when the gain switch on each device is flipped on.

Thus, my thoughts so far are: The Jotenheim (amp-only) improves sound and provides a balanced output in a price range I have not seen on any other solid state amp in the market. The amp/DAC combo version of Jot only improves the value of the purchase by providing an effective DAC within the same chassis at a very reasonable or even more than reasonable $100 more. Add onto the above points with nice aesthetic choices such as a volume knob that also serves as the power switch (when you turn up the volume from zero) and you have a product that is a king of value.
I get all that, with the specs and what not. I'm just wondering if that was the "Manhattan project ". As it's been said, an entirely different unprecedented type of product . I'm not disappointed, I may get one for myself to complement my Kenzie amplifier. I would just like to know if it is a different product or not.
 
Aug 28, 2016 at 12:23 AM Post #158 of 6,455

Defiant00

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I get all that, with the specs and what not. I'm just wondering if that was the "Manhattan project ". As it's been said, an entirely different unprecedented type of product . I'm not disappointed, I may get one for myself to complement my Kenzie amplifier. I would just like to know if it is a different product or not.

 
From everything they've said, no, this is not Manhattan.
 
Aug 28, 2016 at 12:24 AM Post #159 of 6,455

chowmein83

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Thanks, I was just about to post this same question...Based on this bit from Jason's latest chapter, it *sounds* like I can indeed use the single-ended output from my Bimby to drive the balanced output on the Jotunheim...can someone from Schiit please confirm?
 
From Jason's chapter:
 
  1. I could use totally separate gain stages for each phase, as some balanced amps do. Of course, this would mean that a single-ended input would not produce balanced output. Not ideal.
 
Since he *didn't* do this, I assume/hope that means SE --> Balanced is an option.

 
  Question: the Liquid Carbon splits single-ended analog input for balanced amplification. Does the Jotunheim do that, or is it only SE>SE, balanced>balanced? The specs on the Schiit site are not clear about this.

 
I'm not part of Schiit, but today when I was at the Schiit Show I did see people hooking up their own sources through the RCA input and listening to the balanced out of the Jotunheim. So I think you can do SE-in and balanced-out.
 
Aug 28, 2016 at 12:50 AM Post #160 of 6,455

Redcarmoose

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I was soo surprised to hear the Jotunheim Mark 2 is going to sport an FM tuner!
 
Aug 28, 2016 at 12:54 AM Post #161 of 6,455

rsnblmn

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I'm not part of Schiit, but today when I was at the Schiit Show I did see people hooking up their own sources through the RCA input and listening to the balanced out of the Jotunheim. So I think you can do SE-in and balanced-out.

 
Thanks. You are correct - I emailed Schiit support a while ago and they confirmed it as well.
 
Aug 28, 2016 at 2:18 AM Post #162 of 6,455

Allanmarcus

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Not sure if this is the correct thread where you post impressions for the schiit Jothunheim amp/dac but here I go.
Let's start off with what this is. It is an amp, dac, and a pre amp. Not only that but you'll be able to heavily customized this amp/dac to however you want it to. Really nice as this allows you to buy an amp now and then upgrade it later on without having to buy a new amp. Similar to tube rolling but at a much more versatile level of customization. Now you don't have to go out an spend another $2k if you want to upgrade your amp/dac to the next level, a really nice feature.
Now with the design... It's looks like pretty much every other Schiit product you've seen. That's not to say it looks bad at all. No this means you continue to have to all metal construction that looks very simply an elegant. It looks more like something you would use to listen to music with and doesn't end up looking like a science experiment. On the front there's a large volume nob that very easily lets you turn the volume up or down. Other than that there's also a gain switch for high and low impedance cans. There's also a switch that lets you choose which source you want to use. And that's pretty much it for the front, nothing that'll make the amp look sloppy. On the back there's a usb connection, in and out rca connectors, and some xlr connectors I believe?
Finally onto the sound.
I've listened to many schiit amps and dacs and this one definitely stands out. With almost every other schiit product I've heard all I hear is the music and not the amp or the dac. To my ears this amp/dac clearly has some extra character, one that may or may not end up having a positive impression on you. On tracks with lower quantities of bass, say classical or jazz, the music sounds clean and open. Even with closed headphones like the mr speakers ether c, you feel like your listening to full sized speakers rather than closed headphones. Sure the ether c already sound open for a closed headphone. But this amp adds to it. It's strange, but the best way I can put it is that it sounds like a analogue recording without warmth. So you get a sound that doesn't sound compressed and feels more natural. You don't get the usual "forced" sound with this amp. Again this is very pleasant with genres like classical, jazz, and folk.
Moving down to the bass we get something different. With songs that feature primarily mid-bass you get a very strong/quick punch. Even on thicker sounding headphones like the lcd 3, the music overall sound quicker and a tad brighter, not on a negative way however. At last we get to the sub bass and this is where things get interesting. On a song like Lose yourself to dance, you can always here the rumble of the sub bass and it fills and song and adds life to it. When it comes to songs that don't feature continuous bass, there seems to be a lack of rumble each time the bass hits. Its as if someone jumps in the pool at a fast speed yet doesn't make a big splash, if that makes any sense. For the most part you'll get a sound that cleans up your headphones and makes them sound less muddy, you to lose the ability to have deep sub bass rumble with genres like rap or electronic that drop the bass hard. That's just me however, and of course the headphones you use play a large part on the sound. I was however able to listen to the amp/ dac on my headphones and kept hearing the same occurrence.


In what way can you update the amp section? Sure, one can add a nice low/mid fi DAC or entry level phono pre, but beyond that, how does even come close to competing with a $2000 amp, like say the rag?
 
Aug 28, 2016 at 2:18 AM Post #163 of 6,455

hekeli

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Feature wise, there's nothing game changing. Practically it's just a balanced DAC/AMP combo. The price is game changing for a balanced DAC/AMP. A good USD250 less than Audio-GD NFB-28.

 
Yeah price is pretty much the only new stuff, but it seems many people downplay/forget the preamp feature. I imagine there are many people at home and studios with decend dac and speakers itching to get this in between. Show me another xlr in, xlr out active preamp under $400 (even without balanced headamp as a bonus)? There's some crap like SPL Volume 2 and that's about it. If I wouldn't have my NFB-1AMP already (which is pretty stellar for $520 I have to say), pretty sure I would consider the smaller footprint Jotty hard.
 
Aug 28, 2016 at 2:28 AM Post #164 of 6,455

Allanmarcus

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So, can anyone answer any questions about the preamp? Fixed or variable? Do headphone being plugged in affect the preouts? There was some speculation earlier from mediahound, but nothing definitive. Nothing in the manual either.
 

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