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Schiit Mjolnir 2 Listening Impressions

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by mhamel, Aug 19, 2015.
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  1. Argo Duck
    Purely as another data point, my experience has been quite the opposite. I've managed costs by avoiding - out of necessity! - ultra-expensive tubes (see below for one reason why they become/became expensive). Guess what, I found reasonably priced tubes that were good and...I was startled by the magnitude of the differences (across these three amps: Schiit Lyr 1 (limited tubes tried); Decware Taboo mk II (a lot, Rectifier & driver tubes); Decware CSP2+ (Rectifier & driver tubes)).

    The ability to 'tune' for different DAC/HP/Speaker combinations is an added plus, which is where - I completely agree - mere subtleties come into play once one has a small complement of tubes in the 'right' zone for one's preferences and hearing.

    One thing I'm nervous about: it was evident the Lyr made certain tubes - found to maximize its performance (not entirely hype I'm pretty sure) - skyrocket in price and dive in availability! The Mj2 is so reasonably priced I fear the same will happen for whatever tubes are found to work best with it.

    Not a bad thing of course. Just another success-chapter in Schiit's product evolution.

    reddog likes this.
  2. Hardwired Contributor
    The advice I took to heart was when someone said "You can start with cheap tubes and work your way up, or you can start at the top where you'll probably end up anyway and save all that money you would have spent on the cheap tubes".
    I got the Telefunken platinum grade from Upscale Audio. Love them.
    Since then I've acquired Philips Miniwatt SQ, '75 Reflektor, and some Amperex white label, and all of them sound great with small differences between them. The Telefunkens are still my favorite (sorry Bob!) but now I'm worried I won't be able to find any more when mine wear out in 10 years. [​IMG]
  3. JK-47

    That's why you needed start hoarding them :grinning:
  4. rb2013 Contributor
    I could see some folk not wanting to go the tube route - it does complicate things.  And of course different HP's and cables is another path.  But for me and some others the things the best tubes do is unique.  First ,for me the tonal richness is hard to match in SS - and that can be dialed from full blown euphonic - to neutral - to dry and airy.  The second big one is the sound stage.  To me the best tubes present the players as 3D point sources radiating out in all directions - vs staggered card board cutouts.  My thinking it's the ability of some tubes to dig deeper into the mix to uncover subtle ambient clues.  The mind/ear use those low level clues to recreate a more realistic sound field.  Micro-reflections off the back and side wall for example.  The effect on the right equipment with the best tubes is spooky good.
    Totally agree on the sound stage thing.
  5. rb2013 Contributor

    I love those '60s Teles too!  Wonderful glass.  But you are right - there are still many excellent tube available - and I mean good vintage tubes from the '60's and 70's for $70-$90 a pr.  I know that's not cheap - but relative to a $900 amp - not the most expensive 'tweek' in the world.  For me top tubes have been the biggest bang for the audio buck I have spent.  And I'm an insane tweeker/modder.  They have transformed reasonable priced equipment like the Lyr into astoundingly great gear (it replaced a fully NOS'd out Woo WA6-SE).  My thinking it the MJ2 will just be more of that goodness - like a balanced super Lyr.  At least that's the hope.  It responds as well to tube changes.  What makes these Sch**t products a bit different then some tube hybrid gear - they use a real tube pre-amp stage vs a tube buffered opamp pre (those can sound good too - but may not respond as much to tube changes).
  6. money4me247 Contributor
    I don't have any problem with going the tube route. I just think tube rolling has weak return for investment. Makes much more sense to just buy a nicer tube amplifier or nicer headphones than spending too much money on different tubes. Will get much larger benefits from my personal experience. cables are a usually an even worse sonic return per price from my personal experience.
    and yes, I was tube rolling on the Lyr 2 lol. let's not start that old conversation again. hahah. totally OT
    edit: & of course, just imo. ymmv of course & different perspectives are totally chill.
    klfl likes this.
  7. rb2013 Contributor

    I'm with you there - different strokes.
    For me I saved a bundle by selling my NOS'd Woo WA6-Se and getting the Lyr with some top tubes.  But the biggest payoff was the sound quality - not that the Woo was bad- in fact really nice.  But after awhile a bit boring - the Lyr on the other hand had excitement.  Way more dynamic - and with a wider choice of tubes then the Woo.  After some rolling - magic!  So better sound with less money - but only with some great tubes.  Happy ending to that story
  8. MJOLNlR
    My Schiit arrived today. The M2 and a set of balanced ETHERS are burning in with the LISST tubes fed by a Modi 2 Uber via a Wyrd. More impressions to follow.

    What is the current consensus for best tubes?
  9. ThePianoMan
    For anyone interested, part of the reason tubes can sound more detailed and have more "ambient cues" even with distortion numbers ranging into the hearing range, is that tubes have a bunch of small rises and dips in Frequency response (tiny little distortions) the human ears FR response actually has a series of rises/dips where the different hairs frequency bands overlap. SS being flat through that doesn't have that same perceptual effect. (This is actually well understand by those who utilize tube microphones) single-ended class A amps can also extremely natural and warm to my ears as well, though that's a whole nother can of worms.
  10. rb2013 Contributor
    Some good points. Tubes also have higher 2nd harmonic distortion, which is pleasing to the human ear, where as solid state transistors have higher 3rd order, very irritating to the ear. Music is extremely dynamic, when SS hits it's limit it 'clips' with distortion going parabolic. Thermionic devices clip softly, with a gentle rise in THD and IM. The use of feedback in solid state circuits wrecks havoc on phase distortion, small signal tubes stages (preamps, drivers) use little feedback. But I think there a fundemental difference, and it has to do with the very engineering of each kind of signal amplification approach, where as solid state involves a cascading voltage change in descrete steps, thermionic devices amplify and apply modulation in a continuous process, as a steady stream or flow of electons in a vacuum.
  11. Argo Duck
    I don't think there is a consensus yet. Too early.

  12. ThePianoMan

    Well put, I was of course just sharing some simplified "sound science" as it were. Though I've personally always been a solid state type when it comes to listening, I'm starting to find some tube gear I like. And I've used tube mics for a while now and love them. : )
  13. MJOLNlR
    The manual states to unplug the Mjolnir before changing tubes. How many here just turn it off by the switch? Is it necessary to unplug it as well?
  14. MJOLNlR
    I have always been in the habit of turning the volume down to minimum and then removing my headphones before turning off an amplifier and leaving the volume at minimum and turning on the amplifier before plugging in my headphones as most amps make a loud pop when the phones are left plugged in. Is this necessary with the Mjolnir, will it cause any issues?
  15. zabzaf
    I have owned the original Mjolnir for about a year now and have really loved its neutral power. I run both LCD-3 w/fazor and HD 800s. I never really enjoyed the 800s with Mojo and almost always gravitated to the Audeze cans.

    With Tubenir, I find it's the opposite. The Audeze phones have darkened and thickened (presumably because of the tubes) and the 800s now have a smoothness and more pronounced mid bass.

    Anyone else having similar experiences?
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