Schiit Asgard 3 - Official Thread

Hey all! I wanted to start an official thread for the Asgard 3 and post up my review for it!


Asgard 3 Review

I have had the Asgard 3 for about 2/3 weeks now and feel I can give a decent review/impressions of the Asgard 3 so here we go!

My Chain:
Schiit Modius (SE) -> Asgard 3 -> ZMF Auteurs/HD6XX/CA Andromeda

Sonic Characteristics
I initially bought the THX 789 from Amazon but on the way to my house it was lost… I guess I should thank the guy who lost it because if it was delivered I would never have gotten this Asgard 3. I bought the Asgard 3 because of a review saying its similar to the DNA Starlett, an amp I decided to put my order in for.

The Asgard 3 is not a “analytical” or “cold” amp. It doesn’t have sharp edges to the sound, nor have a lean sound. I found that the Asgard 3 has a very smooth treble. It isn’t sparkly or exciting, but it is very smooth. In my minds eye, when treble is playing its almost like a flowing brush of paint that is depositing light.

Midrange is very nice. It has a weight to the midrange, especially vocals. Vocals have a lot of impact and weight to them, where you can feel the energy from it. I think this is why it is compared to tube amps, the vocals have a slight seductive nature to them. Feels like when I listen to my tube amp, the singers are trying to sex my ears. I like it.

Bass. It isn’t really bloomy or super heavy hitting. But it is well textured and does have good impact though. It is there but don’t expect this to have the same type of bloom a tube would have. It still has that SS sounding bottom end.

The Asgard 3 pairs very well with my HD 6XX and Auteur with its timbre. It has a very natural, slightly tilted warm timbre. It pairs nicely with headphones that have a natural/warm timbre. This amp has a rather small stage to me that is right in front of my face. It doesn’t extend particularly far left to right, but also has not much depth to it. Not a con, just something I noticed.

I found the Asgard 3 to have a a rounded transients, but it did have good detail retrieval. I found it to bring my Auteurs much farther ahead of my HD6XX in terms of detail retrieval, when before on my older worse amp I found them to sound slightly similar in that regard.

Layering and Separation isn’t amazing, but I am able to distinguish and see that different sounds and instruments have their own space. I didn’t find it congested, but due to the slightly smaller stage that is just in front of you, it can get a little crowded from time to time.

I was a bit worried about using this amp with my Andromedas, but on low gain they have 0 noise. Completely silent. I love this. I think the natural sound characteristics of this amp pair well with the Andromedas, making them a bit more rounded so they aren’t as hot in the treble. So if you are worried about using this amp with IEMs, don’t worry. You can do it on low gain.

Conclusions
Overall I really enjoy this amp. I am not a big SS type of guy. I wanted a good SS amp that I could use when not wanting to use tubes but one that would allow me to have great sound quality though for a great price. I think this hits that mark. At $200, this is a deal. You can have some tube characteristics while still having a very powerful amp, that delivers great sound. I am happy with my purchase and plan on putting many more hours on this in the future! If anyone is interested in a new amp under $500, I think this is a real contender. I am getting the iFi Zen Dac in on loan on Friday. I will update this review with a comparison section below once I have written up a review for it in its proper thread. I am excited to see how they compare.

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Great write up, @dncnexus! :+1:t4:

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Great review. I really enjoy my Asgard 3 as well. Schiit Class A Continuity goodness.

I think we have common overlap for just about all the gear you mentioned except the IEMs. I might be placing an order for the DNA Starlett soon.

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Excellent review @dncnexus.

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Thanks for sharing your experiences with the Asgard 3!!

Alex

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I hopefully will get my Starlett in around Novemberish. I will toss up a review of that too once it is in. From everything I read though, I think you would love it. I haven’t met someone yet who doesn’t like it. So safe bet!

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November can’t come soon enough. Looking forward to your review. DNA seems very safe and has the least risk. One can do much worse than trusting his/her ears with Donald North! My demo is in a couple weeks here in LA.

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Received my Asgard 3 earlier today, which I bought as a replacement for my THX 789 primarily to aesthetically match my Bifrost 2. I also prefer tubes over solid-states, so I wasn’t too worried about the sound. So @dncnexus’ review gave me the final push to just go for the Asgard 3, and I must say I’m glad I did, so thank you for this review. :slight_smile:

Upon first listen I notice the absence of any hard edges in the upper-mids/treble, which is something I falsely interpreted on the 789 as “detail”. Since I got my Feliks Euforia, that hard edginess on the 789 has made me not want to use it for listening to music at all. Thankfully the Asgard 3 is considerably smoother up top and doesn’t make me want to switch back to my Euforia within no-time. In terms of resolution/stage/layering/dynamics the Asgard 3 seems to perform in the same league as the 789, but I won’t go into specifics on that until after I’ve had some more time with it and compared it directly against the 789.

Very happy with this purchase so far!

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Recent review of the A3, while not as enjoyable a read as @dncnexus’s. #sexmyears

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Mine finally arrived last yesterday…

Just unpacked and plugged in…listening with Clears and HEDDs this am…will post review later or tomorrow.

Alex

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Here the Asgard 3 is welcomed home here to its Schiity Siblings!!!

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So rather than do a “total” here is the Asgard 3 review or experience, which has been done several times already with this $199 Schitt marvel…this is just about my experience and some of the things that are important to me, my music, tastes and headphones I use day to day.

I use a lot of Schiit stuff here on daily basis. Lyr 3, Jotenheim, used to have a Vahalla 2, OG Lyr, OG Asgard and a Magnius.

One thing that i did notice with the Asgard 3 is that its no loger Class A for the most part, but the first 500 mw is “heavily biased” into Class A and and as Schiit states its like having a 1/2 watt Class A amp with a 3.5 Class AB turbo charger…hmm sound like an American Muscle car paradigm!! LOL.

What this means to me is it doesnt run “hot” enough to fry eggs on like the first generation Asgard! I stack it in my Schiit Stack and run it for hours and its just fine…no real heat issues.

The volume knob attached to a nice Blue Velvet Alps is buttery smooth…easy to adjust. One of the first things I do with a new amp is look for hum and hiss at all volume levels with both high and low gains and a wide variety of impedance headphones.

For the most part the amp is very quiet. No audible hiss heard. But one thing I did notice at first was an audible RF noise in high gain at the 3pm to full volume pot position…no other Schiit amps I have exhibited this much of RF pickup or noise!

After a little cable swapping and re-routing the RF noise went totally away. What was it. One of by Blue Jeans interconnects I have had for years was the culprit. Only one of the cable pair was at fault…I will have to take a look at this cable later…it may be its only shield connected on one end and a simple reversal of the direction its connected may fix this RF pickup. So in the end the Asgard 3 here is pretty much dead silent. No internal transformer hum or mechanical transformer lamination noise.

One minor complaint I have is the missing ON/OFF light or led on the front panel that many used to complain about as being too bright…the now usual white led is on inside the unit on the pcb and you can see this thru the ventalation holes on top. But in my stack its not well “visable”…not a big deal sonically at all…just my personal I miss that dang light!! LOL

Like most all of Schiit amps in this smaller form factor, when you lift it up it feels solid and well built. Its a very simple discrete amp with no real frills, the volume knob, the gain select switch and internal I/O or addon adapter switch if you choose to purchase. Mine is the naked Asgard 3…I use the Schiit Bifrost 2 MB dac almost exclusively…its that good IMO.

One thing when I sent back my Magnius and Modius (another story)…I requested Schiit to send me the Asgard 3…and I said color doenst matter…they sent me a silver one! It was like an expectant father not know the sex of a child before birth!! When I opend the box and immediatley said " they sent me a silver one!!" like it really mattered…I wonder what I would have said if it was the “black” version??? Hmmm.

Power wise its stated this will drive most headphones out there…and even Amos from down under even tried his Susvaras on the amp and from his review at head-fi it drove them well!

So for my first listen I used Focal Clears and my Heddphones then onto HD600’s. All were able to be palyed at very loud levels with the HEDDs being the most difficult load on the amp. With 5 watts etc there is more than enough power to do the job.

With the HEDDs i could actually turn up the volume knob to 100 % on low gain to get them to “come Alive”…this was interesting to me…I dont know if the volume pot is logrithmic or not…on the Magni’s Schiit used log tapers and it helps get you out of the low potential channel “tracking” area of a pot.
I mainly used high gain with the HEDDS at approx 9-10 volume positions. Withe the Clears Low gain and around 9 to 11 oclock positions. The Clears are an easy load more so than the HEDDS. The Senn HD600 needs to be in the high gain position and about 10 oclock.

From the volume pot settings the Jot appears to have more power…ie lower postions on the pot for the same level. This may be due to the Asgard having a log pot? I will ask Schiit this.

So the amp has a lot of power and can drive most headphones, making the amp for $199 and excellent entry level amp that will last a long time…and its a 5 year warranty!! You might say but what about the Magnius…its another good choice if you “need or want” balanced capability…but the Magnius only has a 2 yr warranty…still great but…and the Asgard makes no bones about not having balanced outs…

How does it sound…Side by side the Schiit Jot, plug and unplug. level matched they are very much the same sounding signature to me…I had a hard time telling them apart! Using only SE of of course.

A lot of Jot owners state the Jot is a warmer or softer amp…and I agree there and the Asgard IMO is pretty much similar…its like a gentle high pass filter is being employed…just a little. This pairs very nicely with "bright " headphones…makes things very musical and not fatiguing at all…nothing like the THX sterile sound signature…I dont have any Grados here ATM but this would be a nice amp for them IMO.

The Focal Clears some state has a metallic sounding high end, this amp with the Clears doesnt exhibit this “trait” for me at all…so again maybe a good match for those that experience this?

There isnt much more to say about the Asgard 3 from here…for all its improvements. 3.5X more power than Asgard 2, lower heat due to the Class A and AB design and coupled with the Continuity design to eliminate crossover distortion, an new greatly improved power supply with a 48VA transformer (2x that of Asgard 2) and more AC filtering at a cost that is $50 lower than prior Asgards makes for a brilliant amp for anyone wanting to get into this crazy headphone “thing”…and if your “Really” cheap a B-stock can be had for even less!!!

Alex
:grinning:

UPDATE:

Posted this eleswhere but here in reference to the A3:

Fyi…after a few hours I took out my thermocouple and measured the temperatur on top of the Asgard 3 case over the internal power transformer it was 88 def F.
Then I measured the bottom of the case while it was sitting on top of a powered OFF Jotenheim…it was 89/90 deg F.

Also the tope and bottom if myu Bifrost 2 measured the same…

All well within safe semiconductor tolerances…

Alex

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I have a Asgard 3 and Modius that I have been using for just a few weeks. New to the headphone game and have been enjoying the ride so far. I was wondering if there were any issues with going from the line outs of the Asgard to the line in of my Acurus L11 preamp, to get the benefit of streaming Amazon Music HD to my main stereo speaker system, via my iPad and the Modius. The line out of the Asgard seems to be meant for an amp or powered speakers, since the volume control affects the output of the line outs. Do not want to mess up anything with my preamp, but it seems to work OK, just have to be careful with not over driving the preamp, which I have not had any issues with. Basically I know what the volume should be like on my preamp at a given level on the volume knob and try to match the volume/output of the Asgard to match that. Am I asking for trouble here? Really would like to take advantage of the Hi Res streaming and the Modius for my non-headphone/speaker setup (Snell Type CV speakers, Acurus A250 stereo power amp). Going straight out of the Modius would probably be best, but would prefer not to be unplugging/plugging in interconnects, depending on how I would be listening.

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You could get an RCA splitter for your Modius. It’s what I use personally as I feed a couple amps from my Modius

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Glad you’re enjoying the ride. In general, you want to avoid going through multiple gain stages unnecessarily where it’s more likely that going through the Asgard 3 (an additional preamp stage) will be detrimental rather than additive with respect to sound quality. Low gain on the Asgard 3 is likely more preferable than high gain when used as a preamp, but trust your ear.

Check out the Schiit SYS to use as an output switch.

That being said, you can also try experimenting with adjusting the gain and volume level of your L11 and the Asgard 3 to influence the dynamics and tone.

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+1 for using the Sys as a selectable splitter. I did that for a while between my Crack and computer speakers. Works surprisingly well.

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What RCA splitter do you use? I have seen a number of them that are really inexpensive, which made me a little leery. That sounds like great solution if it maintains signal strength/integrity, which I’m guessing it does. Thanks.

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I’m currently using these and they seem to work fine. I prefer them over the cabled variety.

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Yeah, I understand the disadvantages of multiple gain stages and noise/distortion issues, that was one of the things that concerned me. I have been using low gain on the Asgard and not pushing it too hard. Would like to have the best signal possible sent to my Pre, based on what I am currently working with.

Isn’t the Schiit SYS a 2 in/1 out Pre? Wouldn’t I need a 1 in (from the Modius) and 2 outs (1 to the Asgard and 1 to my Acurus Preamp)? Of course, I could just be confused…thanks.

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These look interesting!

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