Schiit Jotunheim - Headphone Amplifier - Official Thread

Jason Stoddard approached me the other day and is sending a Jotenheim for me to play with in conjunction with my recently purchased Bifrost2. He thought I might like to see how it compares with the THX AAA balanced amps…It should arrive today! :grinning:

https://www.schiit.com/products/jotunheim

Amplifier:
Frequency Response: 20Hz-20Khz, -0.1db, 2Hz-700KHz, -3dB
Balanced Headphone Output:
Maximum Power, 16 ohms: 7500mW RMS per channel
Maximum Power, 32 ohms: 5000mW RMS per channel
Maximum Power, 50 ohms: 3000mW RMS per channel
Maximum Power, 300 ohms: 900mW RMS per channel
Maximum Power, 600 ohms: 500mW RMS per channel
Single-Ended Headphone Output:
Maximum Power, 16 ohms: 2500mW RMS per channel
Maximum Power, 32 ohms: 1500mW RMS per channel
Maximum Power, 50 ohms: 800mW RMS per channel
Maximum Power, 300 ohms: 350mW RMS per channel
Maximum Power, 600 ohms: 175mW RMS per channel
THD: <0.001%, 20Hz-20KHz, at 1V RMS
IMD: <0.0015%, CCIR
SNR: >109db, A-weighted, referenced to 1V RMS
Crosstalk: >-70dB, 20 Hz-20KHz
Output Impedance: Less than 0.1 ohms, balanced or SE, at both gain settings
Input Impedance: 50K ohms
Gain: 2 (6dB) or 8 (18dB), selectable via front switch
Inputs: Balanced XLR and Single-Ended RCA, selectable via front switch
Outputs: Balanced headphone (4-pin XLR), single-ended headphone (1/4” TRS), balanced line preamp, single-ended line preamp
Optional Inputs: Multibit DAC, AK4490 DAC, or Passive MM Phono
Gain Stage: Proprietary Schiit Pivot Point™ fully discrete differential current-feedback topology
Power Supply: One 48VA transformer with 6 stages of discrete or integrated regulation and over 70,000uF total filter capacitance

Optional Dual AK4490 DAC:
USB Input Receiver: C-Media CM6631A
D/A Conversion IC: AK4490 x 2Input Capability: up to 24/192
Analog Output: fully differential, active summing and filtering
Frequency Response: 20Hz-20KHz, +/-0.1dB, 2-100kHz, -3dB
THD: <0.001%, 20Hz-20KHz, full scale
IMD: <0.001%, CCIR
S/N: >108dB, referenced to 2V RMS, unweighted

Optional Multibit DAC:
USB Input Receiver: C-Media CM6631A
D/A Conversion IC: Analog Devices AD5547
Digital Filter: Schiit Comboburrito Time- and Frequency-domain Optimized DSP filter
Input Capability: up to 24/192
Analog Output: fully differential, active summing and filtering
Frequency Response: 20Hz-20KHz, +/-0.25dB, 2-100kHz, -3dB
THD: <0.005%, 20Hz-20KHz, full scale
IMD: <0.006%, CCIR
S/N: >109dB, referenced to 2V RMS, unweighted

Optional Passive Filtered Phono Stage:

Gain: 42dB

THD: <0.01%, A-weighted, at 1V RMS

SNR: >80dB, A-weighted, inputs shorted

Crosstalk: -70dB, 20-20kHz

Sensitivity: 2.3mV for 400mV output

Overload Margin: >20dB

Input Impedance: 47k ohms

Input Capacitance: 100pf

RIAA Accuracy: +/- 0.25dB, 20-20kHz

Topology: Fully passive RIAA network with AD8599 gain stages and PET film capacitors throughout, DC coupled, with DC servo

Power Consumption: 25W typical

Size: 9” x 6” x 2”

Weight: 6 lbs

APx555 Report for Jotunheim
APx555 Report for Jotunheim with 4490 DAC module

APx555 Report for Jotunheim with Multibit DAC module

Alex


Experience:

Well I never had the Jotenheim on my radar for a headphone amp…just thought it was well, just another amp, middle of the class, run of the mill…when I was looking for a new amp that had those “stellar” measurments and had a balanced solution that would fit my “world”.

Been thru tubes and even have a Schitt Vahalla 2 which to today I think provides one on the best parings for the Senn HD600’s…its just short of magical at times! Still do. Back in the early days I remember conversing with Jason about this Corvette and him making stuff for headphones in that tiny garage…I bought a first gen ASGARD and LYR…had to see what this snarky upstart maverick was up to…reminded my of some of the young EE’s I used to work with at IBM, designing computer memory. but on the side they all were building stereo amplifiers!! Mavericks with neat ideas and the smarts to make stuff happen…Me? Well lets say I can solder and fabricate stuff well!!..my love for DIY!

Over the years Schiit has grown up, well somewhat! They still have that "I am going to do it my way attitude and show the world things can be good, and not cost mega-bucks…Jason and Mike have rocked the world with there stuff love it or hate it…they have a rabid follwing and I are “one”!

So the other day I was quite surprised to get PM from Jason at Head-Fi asking me if I would like to try out a Jot? Well my first thought was Why?? To try with my new Bifrost 2 with a totally balanced setup…ok? Then Jason replied “It might make a good (discrete, low loop gain) counterpoint to the THX amps, kinda like Magni 3+ vs Heresy.” Well…that makes sense!!

When you look at the numbers of the Jot, they are really pretty stellar for a discrete design even compared to the stellar measurements of the THX AAA stuff…one of those things from Jason where he goes and build a highly integrated OP amp Heresey and a great little Magni3 for the same price! Then has the balls to tell “us” to you decide!! Ha!! Love it!..

So its with his stating it might be 'fun" to try a Jot…and see how it goes!! Well its going very well thanks you!

The parallels are very similiar to what people have stated about the discrete and non-discrete new Magni 3 series! Both amps are great, but is one greater than another? Only you can decide.

The Jotenheim I was sent is the black with silver knob version to match the B2. Am still amazed on how much this mini tank weighs! Its SOLID. Feels good. And its NOT made in China! Parts compared to the Monoprice ae superior mechanically to me. The volume pot in the Jot is “Huge!” the vol pot in the THX AAA is tiny! and like some smaller pots over time they can develop a scratchiness and then its a send it back to get the pot replaced or get out your contact cleaner…the vol pot I believe is a fully balanced one in the Jot?

One thing that kept this off my radar when it first came out was it was described as a “Configurable Desktop Control Point”…Well what is that?? I just want a amp and or a dac…whats configurable? It hurts my brain when I have to dwell on such complex matters or desgins !! Ha! Simple me.

I as an old 2 ch stereo purist used to hate all things configurable, loath Eq’ing and tone controls…just give me a stright wire with gain, bit perferect and if the source was crap, well time to move on to a bettere recording…

Then I read the reviews and manual! Voila the old dog learns new tricks! You mean I can have a dac installed in the Jot and its still an amp, or just use the dac if I want etc…hmmm…well i can see how this would make some people like this piece of gear…but for me I want to hear how good this powerful balanced amp would play compared to the other balanced setup I have now.

Both are $400. One is definitley made better overall and thats hands down the Schitt Jotenheim. Both have plenty enough power to make most headphones melt if you not careful. The THX AAA beats the Jot on pure specs, but thats not everything.

So how do they sound? Well they do sound different, and to me the JOT has a nicer musical presentation …the soundstage is wider in my head…and it has a slight warnth to it…where as the THX AAA aounds very clinical and dry at times. Either amp would do just fine, but when you get them side by side and can actually choose one, IMO its the Jot over the THX AAA by a small margin sonically. The Jot had more body in its sound…full throatiness that makes me smile alot…listen to some good old Beatles…LOUD like Abbey Road and its a rock concert all over my head!

I could bore you with a dozen songs and the exact details to look out for when comparing stuff…but at my age, I dont have the time!! LOL…So if your looking for a "configurable desktop control center, amp/ dac. phono, SE, balanced, hi, low gain, powerful amp…look no farther this should be on your list!!

Take a Jot with a Bifrost 2 and be prepared for countless hours of great listening!!

Back to Eric Clapton!!

Many, thanks for Jason for the ability to experience this amp…The boys are Schitt are indeed special!

All the best
Alex

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Awesome dude! Can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

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I own a Jotunheim, and that is one amp I will never sell. It is so versatile, in that it can be used in high or low gain, balanced or unbalanced. Also, it sounds good with iems and full sized headphones, and has the power to drive most anything. What more could one need?

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@lost33 I actually preferred my Jotunheim over my THX 789/788 when I had all three, it just added more weight and “enjoyment” to my listening experience. I think the THX amps can get too sterile at times, which does not make them bad, just to me I prefer a more “lively” or “flavorful” experience the more I dig into this hobby. Also, my neutral Solid State amp got upgraded to the Phonitor XE which in my opinion tops all of these, so it made them redundant and they had to go lol :laughing:

All three are excellent though, I do kind of miss having them, but, I’m positive the WAF of having a giant stack of amps on my desk would have been not so great lol

I’m looking forward to reading your take on both of them!

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Interesting…actually I am experiencing pretty much the same thing here right now…I listened to some Bill Whithers Live at Carnegie Hall…and the performance is breataking realistic…the audience is heard very well, the clapping of hands is realistic, people making comments clearly articulated…now yeah this aint music but its a revealing trait in overall resolution capability…

I wil give it a few days and then set up some AB stuff with the THX AAA amps.

Alex

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This is why I got the LYR 3! My THX SMSL SP200 and SMSL-SU8 sounds a bit sterile to me, especially after listening to the iFi Micro IDSD Black label. If I like the LYR 3/Bifrost Combo I might just have to sell my THX SMSL and the DAC and get a JOT/BIFROST for my desktop rig.

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Yeah that Burrbrown DAC chip is a delight!

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After about a week with the Jotenheim its really starting to grow on me, I am so used to listening with really “clean” amps that the first thing I thjought I was noticing with the Jot was its just a bit congested…and thus that slightly veiled warm presentation.

Last night and this morning with the Balanced B2 to the Jot and Clears, its really taken on a new life all its own!

Usually I do not believe in burn in for components in amps etc…(tubes well a little yeah) but solid state, when its on its pretty much ready to go, with maybe a small amount of time for voltages to stabilize, but if we are regulated well…not so much…

I have noticed that the volume changes when plugged into the balanced head output xlr and you change the front panel inut selection from SE to balanced…tells me the wiring of the output stuff is intermingled here.

The B2 and Jot seem to make a very nice pairing !

Alex

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I am not sure I understand your comment regarding “intermingling,” but with many (maybe most) dacs with both balanced and se outs, including my Gungnir, one would expect the volume to go up when switching between se and balanced inputs on the Jot, as the balanced outs on the dac output twice the voltage that the SE outs on the same source. Am I missing something?

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What I am experiencing is when I have both SE and Balanced connections hooked up from the Bifrost 2, and I have the headphones plugged into the SE out on the front, and I switch from SE to Balanced inputs with the front switch, I notice a volume level change.

Thats it…

Alex

That’s exactly what you’d expect to happen.

You haven’t changed the position of the attenuator, you haven’t switched the amplifier’s gain, but you have switched to an input that’s operating at +6 dB vs. the single-ended one, so the volume is going to go up.

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Hey, can you provide some details on the Phonitor XE vs the Jot? I own the Phonitor XE but thought the Jot may make a nice secondary, analog type sounding amp.

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@all24bits

Welcome !

I don’t have a phonitor but some do hopefully they will help you out.

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Tyler is awesome and will get back to you he is probably having dinner he’s on my time zone!

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Hey, yeah… so this is a really unfair comparison… lol

The Phonitor walks all over the Jotunheim… but, as a secondary amp I prefer the Jotunheim over all the others in its price range for solid states as it has a more enjoyable sound and less sterile feeling coming from it. Now if your preference is clean/sterile/neutral than I would recommend any of the THX amps that are breeding like rabbits these days lol.

Another great option that I woefully (dramatic but effective lol) forget to recommended is the JDS labs El amp.

So, seriously, the Phonitor X/XE is the bests sounding solid state I’ve heard to date. It wouldn’t be a fair comparison to put it up against the above listed amps, is it an expensive amp with diminishing returns… most definitely, but it still in my opinion, trounces on the majority of Solid States on the market right now as well.

While, the Jotunheim in my opinion might not be as neutral as the THX amps, I find it less fatiguing and overall a more enjoyable listening experience compared to its peers.

Now all that being said, if you are going for pure enjoyment (which in my opinion if you’re not, why the hell are you listening to music, and pursuing this hobby :wink: :crazy_face::nerd_face: I’m only a bit being funny here), than I would start looking at alternatives to the Phonitor and SS amps in general… maybe the Schiit Lyr3, or Cayin Ha-1a mkii, or even a big boy OTL of your choosing. Basically add some flavor to that music by getting some tubes involved.

Hopefully that helped, if nothing else gave you some amps to look into :wink:

Quick note I no longer have a Jotunheim or any of the amps I’ve mentioned (outside of the Phonitor and the Cayin) as I’ve “leveled up” and no longer used them, so they were sold or given away to family/friends…though I do kind of have a desire to get my ears on the new Lyr3 :wink:

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Lol :joy: :clap: that was funny!

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@DarthPool

Thats why in my stack I have the THX amp on the bottom!! With 2 Schiits on top!! :grinning:

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