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Schiit Magni Headphone Amplifier

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by barry s, Dec 12, 2012.
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  1. nehcrow
    Sorry if this has been asked but need a PSU for the Magni for compatibility in Aus.
    Not exactly willing to spend the $50 for a power supply unit from the local vendor... (basically have the cost of the Magni)
    Would an O2 PSU be compatible? They are much cheaper. They provide 15VAC but I noticed that the Magni requires 16VAC, would it still be compatible without any issues?
  2. Kursah
    I can't believe I stumbled on this thread! This is the last thing I need to see! Why? Well I am the owner of a FiiO E9 that I've had for years..it's done it's job and well enough for me I suppose. I recently had my crappy Class-T Dayton DTA100-a burn out so I lost speaker capabilities and just went through a bunch of research and time to end up purchasing a refurb'd Denon AVR-1613 from Accessories4Less with 1-yr warranty. I am hopeful it's heapdhone output will play well with my variety of headphones and earbuds...mostly headphones though.
    I have gone back to using my JVC HARX 700's...which I prefer from the HP output on my Auzen Forte over the FiiO E9...and the FP output at this point. Seems much cleaner, the bass extension is noticeably lower. My Auzen Forte is getting long in the tooth and driver support from Auzen sucks...though the Windows 8 driver does work very well. This card is probably gonna have to last a bit longer.
    After reading this thread, I may have to sell my left foot or something to find some cash to buy this Schiit Magni amp! Seems like a solid entry-level amp that will provide plenty of power to my phones and be more enjoyable overall. The E9 is okay, I do like the 2 HP outs for when my old lady and I wanna listen to something at the same time while the kids sleep. But that's a small price to pay if I lose that ability.
    So my headphones are JVC HARX 700 (mildy modded, listening to now), Denon D2000, JVC HADX3, Sony XB500, various earbuds...most notably the Iron Buds from Acoustic Forge (I love em!). Would this be a good option for me? I am a bass head, and plan on continuing to utilize my Auzen's software EQ to handle that boost I seek. At this point I'm hopeful the 1613 receiver plays nice and kicks ass..but at the same time I'm pretty sure it's not going to be what I want it to be. I initially planned to sell the E9 regardless to recoup some loss of funds...maybe it'll go into a buying this Schiit HP amp fund now!
    Thanks again head-fi! You never disappoint! :)
  3. UmustBKidn

    I'm not an expert in Australian power, but I'm assuming you've checked the Schiit website, and determined that the neither the European nor the UK version of the power supply will work for you? And have you written Jason to ask him if he has any plans to create an Australian version?
    If you need to find your own supply, it would be my suggestion that you stick with the power and current specifications given by Schiit (16 Volts AC @ 500 milliamp output current). One volt might make a difference (but only Jason could tell you for sure). If you have to fudge it a bit, its probably better to go with slightly less voltage (as opposed to more voltage), and slightly more current capacity (as opposed to less).
    Also note, there's a difference between an AC and a DC power supply - that will matter quite a lot. You might know the difference, but someone selling you a power supply might not. So check closely.
    If it were me, if possible I'd find an electronics retailer with a repair center, and take the Magni in with you (along with some cans and a music source). Ask them to see if you could try a few of their stock power supply units (they should have a bunch on hand just for repair purposes) to see if you can find one that will run your Magni (observing carefully the rated outputs of each unit).
    Worst comes to worst, you could learn how to build a power supply. I know, that seems kind of extreme, but it is surely possible. There really isn't much to a power supply, it's one of the simplest electronic projects you can DIY.
  4. Tasmik
  5. nehcrow
    Thanks bro. :)
    Will just buy a generic adaptor that meets the specs - much appreciated. Going to head down to local electronics shop tomorrow
  6. Breaker
    Will there be any signal degradation if I use a splitter on the magni to have the ability two feed two signals to it? Not at the same time of course
  7. illyria
    *Complete audio-novice. Currently using onboard sound + ATH M30s*
    I'm going to be buying a new setup soon (~$275 budget), however, I have a few questions if someone doesn't mind answering. 
    Two questions - 
    1. Do I need to do something special or can I just a Magni running into my PC with whatever it came with on-board sound (No dedicated sound card)? No clue how it's supposed to hook up.. 
    2. Do I really need a DAC? (I would ideally, in my mind, spend more on headphones and buy a DAC later)
  8. painted klown

    To answer your questions.
    1. Yes, you can run your sound cards audio output into the Magni, however, this would not be optimal, due to improper gain stages. Doing so may damage your Magni (it is designed to take a line level input) or possibly your headphones if not careful with the volume. The reason being is that you will effectively be amplifying an already amplified signal, along with any distortion that it may be reproducing. (see answer 2 for further explanation)
    2. Yes, you essentially need a way to get an analog line level signal to send to the Magni. It does no digital to analog conversion, and has only RCA analog inputs. (A good thing IMO, so you don't have to keep buying new DACs every time you want to try a new amp). These inputs are designed to accept a relatively low level input (roughly 3-5 volts, someone please correct me if I am wrong).
    The signal coming from the analog output of a computer sound card is an "amplified" signal, it's just that most sound cards don't have the greatest built in headphone amplifiers. That is the reason people buy external DACs (to get the digital information from their computers and convert it into an analog signal) and amplifiers (to amplify said analog signal).
    Will it work? Yes
    Do I recommend it? Not really.
    Hope this helps (and makes sense), and perhaps others with more experience will chime in as well.
    Good luck with whatever you choose. :)
  9. illyria
    Ah, thank you for the reply, I appreciate it.  
    If you don't mind answering (another) question - 
    How would I hook up a Magni to my PC (correctly)?
    I'm trying to find a setup that is within my price range.. not quite so easy as I thought it would be.  Back to the drawing board, haha.
  10. painted klown

    There are several low cost DAC options. One very low cost option I can recommend is the Behringer U-CONTROL UCA202 USB-Audio Interface. It is available for $30 new. It has been reviewed and measured by a popular blogger and did quite well, especially considering the price.
    It hooks into a USB port on your computer and has an RCA analog line out. You then run an RCA cable (left and right channel) into the Magni, and plug your headphones into the Magni. IMO, this would work very well as a budget solution. I am a member of another audio forum, and some of the guys over there bought these Behringer DACs just to hear what they were like after a forum member recommended them and they posted a review that included measurements. No one complained about them, and I didn't see them popping up on the sale section of that forum FWIW.
    Of course, Schiit offers their own low cost DAC as well. Their Modi DAC runs $100. I am sure there are probably other low cost DACs out there, but I do not know a lot about many of them, as I am relatively new to "head-fi" setups myself.
    Just for clarification and full disclosure: I have NOT heard, nor owned ANY of the gear I have mentioned in this post. I am merely making suggestions based on reviews I have read online...so take all of that with a grain of salt...or two. [​IMG]
    Good luck!
    EDIT: I sent you a PM with additional information about this DAC.
  11. oddsocks
    What painted klown has said in his first post is pretty much spot on. All of the sound cards have in-built amplification, and so if you hooked that output from the sound card to the magni you'd be amping twice, which is not recommended. 
    I personally run the modi + magni combo myself and I'm pleased with what I have. However, I can't say this is the best since myself I have only really gotten into this scene in the last 2 years, and being a student I can't afford to try out the more expensive options out there (NAD M51 anyone?)
    The Modi runs off the usb on the comp, and is very simple. Just plug-n-play, no fiddling involved. Also if you look around in the these forums, people talk about various dac, amp, and dac+amp options, you should find one that suits your purposes and your price range. Why were you considering the Magni in the first place? If you need a dac and amp now, maybe a combined dac+amp setup might also be something to look into.
    If you are planning only to buy the amp and maybe a dac for the m30s, it probably isn't worth it. The m30s is not that hard to drive, and the magni will be too fiddly to use with that headphone. I would say only plan to upgrade if you have some high impedance phones you are planning to buy in the near future that needs the amping, and buy it all at once.
    Just my 2c.
  12. antikryst
    Get the magni if you want to try out your first amp. Headphone jack to rca from sound card to magni. It will work. Optimally? Not really. It may be a bit noisy. Won't be dead quiet for sure. You may not notice it with music playing and may be acceptable to you.

    Get a modi if the sound isn't clean enough for you.

    Upgrade cans after.

    That should be a good start. Amplifying an already amplified signal as mentioned by others is not optimal but may be acceptable to you as a step 1 upgrade.
  13. stv014
    There are several popular sound cards that have separate headphone and line outputs. This includes even onboard codec chips that allow for disabling their built-in headphone amplifier. Additionally, there are sound cards that only have line outputs - while these can drive headphones directly, the performance would be sub-optimal. Note also that the "headphone amplifiers" on most sound cards are op amp chips that are not designed for this purpose, and work much better as line output buffers.

    Finally, the significance of "double amping" is commonly overrated. With optimal gain and volume settings, the addition of a low gain headphone amplifier stage that does not actually drive headphones (which is much harder than driving a line input) can actually be inaudible.
  14. UmustBKidn
    No. Not if you keep the signals separate. Use one of the many RCA audio A-B switches out there (there are many of them).
  15. UmustBKidn
    One thing not answered in the various replies above is, why do you need a DAC?
    Back when we used vinyl records and tape recorders, music was saved in analog format. The whole concept of Digital to Analog Conversion (DAC) was foreign to all but those few who had digital tape decks. So we didn't need to convert a digital signal into analog format.
    Analog format is what's needed by an amplifier.
    Your ears don't understand a digital audio signal. They understand analog signals.
    So what we listen to is in analog format.
    Today's computers store everything in Digital format. It's wonderful for lots of reasons, but it's not something your ears can understand. So it needs to be converted to analog format, before you can listen to it.
    Enter the DAC: this device plugs into your computer to convert the music stored in digital format, into an analog signal. This analog signal is then further amplified by a nice headphone amp, which you plug your headphones into. And bingo, you're listening to some awesome music.
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