Why does my Asgard 2 sound so bad?
Oct 19, 2013 at 10:51 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 10

Braveheart

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I play wav files from Windows 7 computer with a Vantec UGT-S110 soundcard. I'm using Toslink to a Yamaha RX-V800 AV receiver. The receiver is setup in 2 channel stereo mode and sounded fantastic playing on my speakers, until the cops came. After that I figured I had better get some headphones.
 
I decided on Sennheiser HD 558 since they were $130 compared to the HD 598's at $249 (of course they're $199 now, three weeks later). I sat the headphones down playing for 12 hours to burn 'em in. I was a little disappointed when i first tried the phones plugged into the receiver. I figured even those these high efficient phones are easy to drive maybe a dedicated HP amp would give me the sound I wanted.
 
Decided on the Schiit Asgard 2 since it was made in USA and had a gain switch I believed the the HD 558's would need. I figured when funds would permit I would pair this amp with a Bifrost. In the meantime I figured I could run the A2 off of the RX-V800. Little did I know at the time that analog only comes out if analog goes in (same with digital). So the only way to use the A2 with the receiver is through the headphone jack.
 
When the A2 is connected through the receiver headphone jack the entire soundstage is gone (sounds like I've got a mono headphone on). This is also the case when connecting the A2 to the computer headphone jack. On the same day that the A2 arrived I got a new glass Toslink cable to replace the old, whatever those cheap ones are made of cable. Now the receiver HP jack sounds great. I don't know whether this has to do with the new cable or hearing how bad the A2 sounded.
 
My questions are;
1) Is there something wrong with my Asgard 2 amp? Or is it just unable to to distinguish the different channels due to a headphone jack using a common ground.
2) If anyone here has connected an A2 this way, did you experience the same issue?
3) If I get a DAC will the issue be resolved (someone answering question 2 may be able to tell me this)?
 
If there is a problem with the amp I got, I'd like to be able to return it in time.
 
Thank you,
Jim
 
Oct 19, 2013 at 11:03 AM Post #2 of 10

tdockweiler

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  I play wav files from Windows 7 computer with a Vantec UGT-S110 soundcard. I'm using Toslink to a Yamaha RX-V800 AV receiver. The receiver is setup in 2 channel stereo mode and sounded fantastic playing on my speakers, until the cops came. After that I figured I had better get some headphones.
 
I decided on Sennheiser HD 558 since they were $130 compared to the HD 598's at $249 (of course they're $199 now, three weeks later). I sat the headphones down playing for 12 hours to burn 'em in. I was a little disappointed when i first tried the phones plugged into the receiver. I figured even those these high efficient phones are easy to drive maybe a dedicated HP amp would give me the sound I wanted.
 
Decided on the Schiit Asgard 2 since it was made in USA and had a gain switch I believed the the HD 558's would need. I figured when funds would permit I would pair this amp with a Bifrost. In the meantime I figured I could run the A2 off of the RX-V800. Little did I know at the time that analog only comes out if analog goes in (same with digital). So the only way to use the A2 with the receiver is through the headphone jack.
 
When the A2 is connected through the receiver headphone jack the entire soundstage is gone (sounds like I've got a mono headphone on). This is also the case when connecting the A2 to the computer headphone jack. On the same day that the A2 arrived I got a new glass Toslink cable to replace the old, whatever those cheap ones are made of cable. Now the receiver HP jack sounds great. I don't know whether this has to do with the new cable or hearing how bad the A2 sounded.
 
My questions are;
1) Is there something wrong with my Asgard 2 amp? Or is it just unable to to distinguish the different channels due to a headphone jack using a common ground.
2) If anyone here has connected an A2 this way, did you experience the same issue?
3) If I get a DAC will the issue be resolved (someone answering question 2 may be able to tell me this)?
 
If there is a problem with the amp I got, I'd like to be able to return it in time.
 
Thank you,
Jim

 
Do you have a line out on your soundcard? It should be a green 3.5mm female jack on an adapter cable. You can then use a 1/8" male plug to dual RCA cable to the Asgard.
 
It probably sounds so bad with your method because you're basically double amping it. That's my only idea.
 
I'm surprised you can't use RCA analog out on your receiver. I've never had any problems with that despite using Optical input.
 
A external computer DAC would be what I suggest. Something like the Modi.
 
Oct 19, 2013 at 11:29 AM Post #3 of 10

Tuco1965

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Connect rca analog in from the sources that you want to hear through your A2 into the Yamaha.  Then use the tape output from the back of the receiver to feed your A2.  Basically you need to run redundant analog feeds to your amp to pass them out in analog from the tape loop.  It will work.  Unfortunately that means using the headphone output on your pc to send analog to your Yamaha too.
 
Oct 19, 2013 at 3:03 PM Post #4 of 10

Braveheart

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Do you have a line out on your soundcard? It should be a green 3.5mm female jack on an adapter cable. You can then use a 1/8" male plug to dual RCA cable to the Asgard.
I tried going from the soundcard (green) output and had the same results as the receiver's HP jack. Great stereo sound (not so good volume) with headphones directly plugged in. A2 sounded like mono.
 
It probably sounds so bad with your method because you're basically double amping it. That's my only idea.
There's no distortion from either soundcard or receiver with A2, only mono sounding.
 
I'm surprised you can't use RCA analog out on your receiver. I've never had any problems with that despite using Optical input.
Apparently the DAC in the receiver is only used for the speakers, HP jack and pre-outs.
 
A external computer DAC would be what I suggest. Something like the Modi.
Wanted to be sure that the amp wasn't bad before buying more equipment.

More to follow...
 
Oct 19, 2013 at 3:12 PM Post #5 of 10

Braveheart

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  Connect rca analog in from the sources that you want to hear through your A2 into the Yamaha.  Then use the tape output from the back of the receiver to feed your A2.  Basically you need to run redundant analog feeds to your amp to pass them out in analog from the tape loop.  It will work.  Unfortunately that means using the headphone output on your pc to send analog to your Yamaha too.

Yes, this would work but the SQ to the speakers would be compromised. I do still listen to them, just not at third row concert level anymore. Thank you for your suggestion. Appreciate you taking the time.
 
Oct 19, 2013 at 4:16 PM Post #6 of 10

Braveheart

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I'm surprised you can't use RCA analog out on your receiver. I've never had any problems with that despite using Optical input.
 
A external computer DAC would be what I suggest. Something like the Modi.

Thankyou, tdockweiler, for taking the time to respond.
 
The inability of the receiver took me for a complete surprise. I'm curious as to what brand receiver you have/had that the rca outs could be used while inputing with optical, or are you making the assumption that this should not be a problem. I have to believe that Mr. Spock would think the whole issue is illogical. I do. It especially shocked me that the tape out rca's wouldn't work. What if someone wanted to record a cassette (I know, who would do that nowadays).
 
I did test the A2 with the receiver's pre-outs and it does work correctly (beautiful sounding). The speakers for the corresponding pre-outs being used cannot be attached at the same time (per Yamaha manual), so this doesn't solve the problem for me.
 
Apparently the common ground of HP jacks cause a problem for the Asgard 2. I wonder if this is a problem for other amps as well. I've been lurking around some of the threads here for a couple weeks and seen mention of hooking HP amps to a receiver HP jack, but never saw any replies about it being a problem. Hopefully other people considering going in direction will see this thread and rethink their plan.
 
It's a little rough to get a dedicated DAC right now, especially since I'm really interested in the Bifrost. I did a complete 7.1 sound system and LED TV last month that killed available funds. I've been considering getting a FiioTAISHAN-D03K as a hold me over until funds become available for the Bifrost. Then again the headphones in the receiver HP jack seem to be sounding mighty fine since the glass Toslink cable has been installed. Just hate leaving the A2 sitting there doing nothing.
 
Oct 19, 2013 at 7:58 PM Post #7 of 10

HammyTown

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Your RX-800V receiver has 5.1 analog outputs on the back of the receiver... have you tried connecting the L & R Mains to the Asgard?    I've never tried it myself, I use a DAC, but I have several Yamaha receivers and believe it should work.  You may also need to turn off any digital signal processing the receiver maybe adding when you use the headphone jack on the receiver and/or the line level outputs on the rear.
 
Oct 20, 2013 at 5:20 AM Post #8 of 10

Braveheart

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  Your RX-800V receiver has 5.1 analog outputs on the back of the receiver... have you tried connecting the L & R Mains to the Asgard?    I've never tried it myself, I use a DAC, but I have several Yamaha receivers and believe it should work.  You may also need to turn off any digital signal processing the receiver maybe adding when you use the headphone jack on the receiver and/or the line level outputs on the rear.

The 5.1 outputs that you are referring to are the pre-outs, I believe. I did try those, but as stated in my prior post, "I did test the A2 with the receiver's pre-outs and it does work correctly (beautiful sounding). The speakers for the corresponding pre-outs being used cannot be attached at the same time (per Yamaha manual), so this doesn't solve the problem for me."
Other than the digital to analog conversion I have the receiver setup in 2 channel mode with no effects.
Thanks for stopping by Hammy.
 
Oct 20, 2013 at 8:44 AM Post #9 of 10

HammyTown

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  The 5.1 outputs that you are referring to are the pre-outs, I believe. I did try those, but as stated in my prior post, "I did test the A2 with the receiver's pre-outs and it does work correctly (beautiful sounding). The speakers for the corresponding pre-outs being used cannot be attached at the same time (per Yamaha manual), so this doesn't solve the problem for me."
 

 
I missed that in your earlier post, sorry about that.   Is that true for both A and B speaker pairs?  Meaning if your speakers are connected as the A pair, if you switch your receiver to B (no speakers connected) will that allow you to use the pre-outs to the Asgard?  
 
Oct 20, 2013 at 11:19 AM Post #10 of 10

Braveheart

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From the Yamaha manual:
"When RCA pins are connected to the OUTPUT jacks for output to an external amplifier, do not use the corresponding speaker terminals." (There is only one pre-out for the front speakers and since the A & B speaker terminals are only paralleled, the rule remains the same.)
 
Nothing to be sorry about. My post was really longer than it should have been.
 
Thanks
 

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