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post-14834207
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Skooks

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And of course, you have to add the Violectric V281 and the ifi Pro iCan to a list of excellent balanced amps. I have had both, but came to prefer the Mjo2 (especially with the Telefunken tubes). It not only sounds good, but can power any headphone, including the HE6. And, it's outstandingly priced!
 
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post-14834215
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Hey thank you for the info! It's much appreciated as I just do not spend any time on the forums these days.

I just picked up a used Sony Z1R and they come with a bunch of balanced cables that I have no way of using, hence the hijacking of your post! I will look for the amps you mentioned thank you. Although I am caught between splashing out and buying the matching Sony amp for $1600-used OR selling the balanced cables and keeping it simple.

https://reverb.com/item/20136790-sony-z1r-top-of-the-line-audiophile-headphones-extras
 
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post-14834216
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Relaxasaurus

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And of course, you have to add the Violectric V281 and the ifi Pro iCan to a list of excellent balanced amps. I have had both, but came to prefer the Mjo2 (especially with the Telefunken tubes). It not only sounds good, but can power any headphone, including the HE6. And, it's outstandingly priced!
I want to add them but I was trying to be realistic about the budget in the OP. I haven't seen a V281 or Pro iCan underneath $1k at all.
 
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post-14834488
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lukeslens

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I think it's important to note that having XLR inputs does not a "balanced amp" make. There's a reason that really high-end balanced tube amps like the Dragon Inspire HA-1 or the DNA tube amps do not include XLR inputs, but remain balanced amps (600i included) with 4-pin output jacks. I'm not smart enough to explain why or how that works, but there's been several discussions in this forum about it. Like this one: https://www.head-fi.org/threads/do-balanced-xlr-inputs-offer-much-better-sound.32090/

This has been especially revealing to myself as well as I've contemplated upgrading to the Qutest or Hugo 2 in what I intended to be a balanced set-up.
 
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post-14835961
Post #20 of 33

Skooks

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Your correct that the NeuroChrome's not balanced, not sure it matters much with it's excellent performance. Though a very different experience compared to something with tubes. I've never heard the Mjo2 but the impression I get is that it has not aged so well, many prefer even the Lyr 3 over it, and I don't know if it can keep up with Liquid Plat.. any decent tube amp sounds great with 300$ nos tubes in it. You just missed a wicked sale on the LP.. amazon had 7 units that they sold for 704$ last week, they went quick.
Last week I purchased a Liquid Platinum from Amazon so I could compare it to my Mjo2. I would keep the winner and sell the loser. Here's my review...

Let me start with build quality and esthetics... the Mjo2 wins hands down... it is built like that proverbial "tank"... very solid and heavy. I especially like Mjo2's volume control... I can place it exactly without looking and tweak it very easily... whereas, the LP is fidgety and harder for me to get it exactly where I want it. I also like that the Mjo2 has a two position gain switch... I play it in the low gain position... and most of the songs play at about 11 to 12 o'clock positions. I also like the Mjo2 for having solid flip switches, instead of the LP's little push buttons... I know exactly what position the Mjo2's switches are in. I do like having the On-Off switch on the front as the LP has it. The Mjo2's On-Off switch is on the back... but it's very easy to reach behind and switch it... you can easily feel what position it is in.

Now, about the sound...

• The Mjo2 has a very listenable sound signature... very "natural"... you definitely know it's a tube hybrid, whereas the LP sounds more analytical and solid state. After about an hour or so of listening to the LP, I felt kinda warped out. I can't listen to it for a long period of time. Whereas, with the Mjo2 I can listen for hours on end without head/ear fatigue.

• The soundstage is more expansive with the Mjo2... wide and deep... out of head. With the LP, it is more closed in... in head.

• They both have good dynamics... but, to me, the Mjo2's are more real sounding without an edge like the LP has.

• The Mjo2 has better transparency... no clutter at all. Every thing is in free space.

• The Mjo2 also has better texture. When I listen to one of my favorite albums... a well recorded Chesky album of a New Orleans jazz band... "Dreams of New Orleans" / Wycliffe Gordon... the texture of each horn... trombone, trumpet, clarinet, saxaphone and tuba... all have their natural flavor and nuances with the Mjo2... less so with the LP. Also the drums, cymbals are very airy with the Mjo2... and the banjo has excellent plucking sounds... and all the instruments are in their own space... no clutter at all.

• Female voices are sweet and luscious, with good "slobber" factor. When listening to Noah Wall's "Down Home Blues"... another Chesky recording with light instrumentation... she is standing about 6 feet away in my imaginary sound stage... and sounds so good. Listening to Diana Krall's "Turn Up The Quiet"... she's kinda bending over my reclined body and just slobering all over me with sexy droll... very close and personal. With the LP, she is more dry with less slobber factor... more solid state like... not as sexy and sweet.

OK... that's it in a nutshell. Yes, I do like the Mjo2 in just about every way... and, as I said, I can listen hours on end without fatigue. The Mjo is probably the most under rated headphone amp out there. I wasn't at all thinking about getting it after having the Pro iCan and the V-281. But, a good friend of mine in Atlanta was selling his Mjo2 on Head-Fi, so I talked to him about it and he tempted me. I bought his Mjo2. But, I really should have bought a new one from Schitt, because in the event I didn't like it I could send it back inside of 2 weeks and just pay a small fee. I think you should do that and do your own A-B'ing of these two amps with your other equipment. If you still like the LP better, then just send the Mjo2 back to Schiit. And, in the event you decide like I have that the Mjo2 is better, you can easily sell your LP, since "there ain't no more."

Wait... one more thing... the Schiit Mjo2 is designed AND built in the USA!!
 
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post-14836053
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lukeslens

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the Mjo2 wins hands down...
This is admittedly one of the first times I've seen someone prefer the Mjo2 over the LP. Though, were you only using the stock tubes? It's pretty apparent that the Liquid Platinum responds incredibly well to tube rolling. Almost everybody who has replaced the stock tubes on the LP thread has reported significant changes in the sound quality. It's such a unanimous reaction that as a result I have generally stopped putting as much credence into reviews using only the stock tubes since it really doesn't tell the whole story of this amp.
 
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post-14836060
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lukeslens

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Last week I purchased a Liquid Platinum from Amazon
Also, did you get one of the used units on Amazon? They've been out of stock for weeks now, save for a couple moments where a used one goes on sale for $500 or $600.
 
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post-14836352
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Skooks

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I used the same tubes in the LP as I use in the Mjo2... NOS Telefunken ECC88's. I never took the stock tubes out of their boxes. I wanted to get a good comparison in my system which consists of Mac mini (late 2012) 2.6 GHz Quad core i7 w/ 16 GB memory / 1 TB SSD > Audirvana Plus music app > ifi Micro iUSB3.0 > Auralic Vega DAC > Schiit Mjo2 or LP headphone amps > LCD3F headphones.

The LP was used... just as my Mjo2 was used when I bought it. Every thing was in the LP box and was in mint condition. I played music thru it all day. Here's a copy of the purchase on Amazon...

Monolith Liquid Platinum Headphone Amplifier - Designed by Alex Cavalli | 3.6 Watts Per Channel, Fully Balanced Amp
Sold by: Amazon.com Services, Inc
$562.86 + $45.03 tax = $607.89 total
Condition: Used - Very Good - Item will come in original packaging.


Why is it so hard to believe that the Mjo2 is a darn good headphone amp? Because it's Schiit? Because it's built in the USA? Well, to tell you the truth, I had to hear it to believe it myself. Now, I've owned also the Monolith Liquid Platinum, Violectric V281, ifi Pro iCan, and Little Dot Mk VI+... all balanced amps... so I do have some personal reference as to what these good balanced amps sound like. The Mjo2 has more power than any of those amps... I play it on low gain so that most of the music I play will be relatively loud with the volume control set between 11 to 1 o'clock. So, it plays easily... does not strain to drive the LCD3F's... and those are not the easiest to drive right.

So, believe it or not, I am totally enjoying my Mjo2... very enjoyable and detailed sound. I wish you could hear it.
 
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post-14836367
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MikeW

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They are both high performance products. Likely comes down to preference. Give and take, I find the size of mjo problematic. The lack of gain on LP is a serious oversight, though not one that effects me with rme adi-2 as my Dac.

I have read that some prefer LYR 3 over Mjo, and more still prefer LP over LYR 3.
 
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post-14836392
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lukeslens

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Why is it so hard to believe that the Mjo2 is a darn good headphone amp?
Not necessarily hard to believe at all. Just that I haven't seen that many glowing reviews of it compared to the LP, so this was just a slight curve-ball. I have a Lyr 1 that I've had for so many years, and also a Magni 3 at my office, so I'm no stranger to Schiit.

If you don't want that LP I'll gladly buy it off of you. Been patiently waiting to pick one up for a couple months now and missed both times a couple have shown up on Amazon.
 
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post-14836463
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Skooks

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I've already sent the LP back. I wish I had known you or someone wanted it, but I didn't want to advertise it since I am getting my money back from Amazon. You should contact Amazon and tell them you want it... but, wait until it is delivered to their return facility in Lexington KY.
 
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post-14836565
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lukeslens

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I've already sent the LP back
No problem, thanks for the head's up! I'll see if I can make that happen, but worse comes to worse I'll just keep an eye on the page.
 
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post-14836833
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Skooks

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Well... the Mjo2 just got even better! I thought the Telefunken tubes were the epitome of a great soundstage plugged into the Mjo2... but, I just discovered this afternoon after UPS dropped off a pair of JJ E88C Black Sables that I purchased 3 days ago from Tube Depot. I had no idea they could out do the Telefunkens... but they do. And, I didn't think the Mjo2 had more to give... but it did! Sure like this tube rolling adventure with a great amp!
 
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post-14836857
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MikeW

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really? JJ's, hard time believing that one. I think you need more listening time to realize they are turd. Sometimes something new sounds great at first, live with it for awhile then i'll take your opinion more seriously. A couple hours is not enough
 
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