Schiit Jotunheim - Headphone Amplifier - Official Thread

I believe its wow is its versatility (the different permutations for XLR vs SE out, low vs high gain, XLR vs SE in) and available power on deck.

2 Likes

I thought you bought the Jot 2 for that? I thought you loved it more than anything? Yes, it probably would have been good.

1 Like

old info. Shortly after getting the drop ether cx, I got the LSA HP-2 Ultra. And that is hands down the best thing I have heard in audio. It’s liquid audio bliss.

but it doesn’t really need an amp like this at all.

Amp Pontification triggered by Jot (probably a candidate to be moved to some other thread)

Here is a list (probably partial) of amps I have heard: Jotunheim 2, dx3 pro, sp200/m200, xduoo ta-30, a90/d90, ifi idsd micro signature and Qudelix. (not including other mobile or daps)

I have not had any of the other desktop stacks since christmas.

The general consensus in chains is headphone > amp > dac in terms of sound tuning. I do not have the experience to have an opinion on that. But, what I am thinking about is how that relationship changes based on your headphone.

Things I have observed for myself:

  1. Power and headroom matters. Nearly every headphone felt either a little or a lot more effortless when powered well.

  2. I preferred smoothness when a/b testing (primarily with the arya or sundara at the time). So micro signature > ta-30 > a90/d90 > sp200/m200.

But since that experience I found the LSA HP-2 Ultra. And, even the dunu Zen was less effected by what I am about to talk about.

The hp-2 seems fairly immune to amp changes. I have heard it on the m11 plus, qudelix, jot 2 and a few dongles. The Zen, changes character a touch in the direction of the amp. On the signature it gets a touch smoother (and more impactful when driven hard).

The hp-2 doesn’t seem to be doing that. At least not much.

I have personally heard far greater changes on the arya/sundara as I switched amps than I hear on these two headphones.

Is there such a thing as headphones that are immune to amp synergy? Or, is the variety of amps above (which is admittedly fairly limited) simply not enough to experience the full effects of synergy?

Have I simply gravitated to headphones that sound fantastic on anything? Rather than matching the headphone to the amp specifically.

Anywho, jot gets a thumbs up for no other reason than making me think about this.

Sorry, got all stream of consciousy today!

2 Likes

With Jot 2, do you prefer SE out vs XLR out? This headphone has high sensitivity. If you prefer SE out, I might suggest pursuing tube amps (such as Vali 2+) or warmer Class A solid state amps.

Makes almost no difference at all to me. See the post I just made above. :wink:

I hear somewhat more difference on the Zen. But the zen also has a noise floor on SE. And I can’t say that isn’t effecting it too. But, I think I still like the Zen more on balanced.

1 Like

No, but some are more revealing of electronics/source than others.

I would say yes.

Maybe that will be established. The current sample size isn’t large or broad enough.

Interesting. When this occurs, we don’t have to fuss with the current assortment of options as the decision is inconsequential. Query whether to maintain, retreat, or advance.

Jot 2 SE ended isn’t for everyone. I enjoyed it, but found myself using XLR out 60 to 70 percent of the time.

Headphones I have been in possession of at some point: Sundara, ath-r70x, arya, he6se, quad era-1, lcd-x, lcd-xc, drop ether cx, drop 177x go, hp-2. IEMs: blessing 2 dusk, dunu zen, audeze euclid.

With headphones I always had a pretty clear opinion of them. Amps, definitely less so, but not “no opinion at all”. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

My assumption today, is a dac change (say from 4490 card->BF2) would possibly make even less difference on this particular headphone.

1 Like

You’re making your rounds. Depending on your preferences, perhaps try ZMF, Focal, Kennerton.

Some (not me) view a colorless amp as highly preferred. It can be a marvel for gear to commit no sins of omission/commission.

I’m not so sure. It is possible that the 4490 card is holding the Jot 2 back where the Jot 2 has not yet shown its full self. A BF2 > Jot 2 chain is highly capable.

3 Likes

The LSA hp-2 ultra is a kennerton (re-branded)

The other two have long been on my list, but have been hard to justify.

Not me either. But I still had an opinion about it. After I heard things that were not like that, I no longer wanted it. The m11 plus was highly transparent and colorless, but also snooze worthy because it was like that. My qudelix is not my favorite sound for that reason but it has other benefits.

The jot doesn’t feel like that to me. But not in anyway I can point at and identify.

But will it come through on a headphone that is acting so amp agnostic?

If I related this to photography: with raw photography, the photographer is in control of how the image is presented later. Raw photos look pretty unnatural as aliasing and other modifications need to be done to make them presentable.

Every piece of the audio chain applies it’s modifications to the raw source. If the headphone applies a stronger filter at the end of the chain, stuff before it will matter less.

If you increase the raw resolution going into the chain (say by increasing to the BF2), a strong enough smoothing filter applied later wouldn’t make much difference in the outcome.

While I could hear the musical details equivalently on the drop ether cx and hp-2, aspects of the amp presentation is much more apparent on the ether cx. It’s really weird.

If the BF2 makes the dynamic range larger, or presents sound around a different way, not analogous to just resolution but changing how sound is sent to the channels, not just aliasing, I think hp-2 would pick that up.

I am trying to wrap my brain around that.

In my little experience the headphones that have brought the most enjoyment were those that scaled with the associated gear being used. Case in point, the HD650 is a classic example of headphone that can be used with a Schiit stack, a BHC, BHA-1, or say a DNA Stellaris and sound very different as it escalates with amps.

What you are essentially are doing is side grade comparisons, where the expectation is to have an epiphany with all these mid-range amps and dacs. I know absolutely nothing about the LSA hp-2, and frankly it may be a decent headphone, you have already made the determination that this is a quality can.

The question I have for you is this, how did you determine this headphone is liquid audio bliss when the amps you have tried are not to your liking?

Using your photography analogy, which is far from what I am familiar with if you start with a crappy pic there is only so much you can do with it to make it come out beautiful. Same applies to headphones, if the headphone seems agnostic then it probably is time to find a headphone which has a room to grow. Other option is to say Khalas and be satisfied with what you have.

Side grades yield little gain, and after nearly 7 months it can be a futile effort to squeeze any more juice from a dried up orange.

7 Likes

Oh, that’s right.

Ideally, you’re able to get ears on without having to purchase.

It may be that certain headphones don’t fully reveal themselves unless paired with higher level or appropriately matched gear. It’s uncertain if that applies to your headphones.

3 Likes

It’s an ongoing joke about knobs in multiple threads. And this is all coming across as quoting me instead of you.

I completely disagree with this. I also disagree with the people who say you shouldn’t compare an IEM and an over-ear headphone. Why? Because the goal is to find the best audio for you. Arbitrary categories, are exactly that, arbitrary. I feel the same thing about closed back vs open back. More than that, the stigmas between these categories can incorrectly keep someone out of something that would work really well for them.

This isn’t a study. Nor would it be possible to make it a study. It’s a journey. You try something, you keep the best thing you tried. Maybe you do it again. That’s it.

Agree entirely.

I had most of those amps and headphones at the same time or with a fair bit of overlap. I don’t remember the specifics to compare to one of them now, I remember the order and conclusions I made with them then.

And yes, on that front, I can’t compare what I am hearing now to what I heard then, and I haven’t. What I am saying is I had some opinions across amps then but not so much now.

Yes and no. I would have expected a significant difference between qudelix and m11 plus, or qudelix and jot. And, in fact, have heard such differences on other headphones. There is more difference on my Zen.

Because everything I plug it into sounds amazing. Macbook headphone jack? Check. Qudelix? Check. Jot 2? Check. M11 Plus? Check. The zen does this to a lesser extent. And some of the above headphones get pretty bad on many of these.

And I am saying these are the ultimate photoshop filter and seem to be able to do that. It’s like a photo auto enhance function that just works.

I am going back and forth between my qudelix and jot 2 right now. I have multiple usb out setup outputting to both devices from my mac playing lossless apple music. I have them volume matched to the best of my ability (hard to do with both iems and over ears) and I am going back and forth via hart audio cables with one headphone to hear the qudelix vs the jot 2 on that headphone. Then switching to the other headphone and going back and forth.

The zen shows more differences between the two amps (and not by much). I had a similar experience between the micro signature and the qudelix with the zen vs the euclid. Except there, the euclid was showing more of the differences between the amps than the zen was. Put another way, the zen sounded every bit as good on the qudelix as the signature (with the exception that when you went really loud, the bass could tickle your eardrum from the signature). The euclid got a bit brighter on the qudelix. Now, I liked the zen sound more, either way, but the euclid seemed to be effected by the amp more than the zen. At the time, I didn’t care much about it.

If you are saying the jot is a sidegrade to the qudelix, ok, well, my question is answered. But, I don’t think that’s the story. At least I hope it’s not. And, the sundara definitely revealed differences between the amps mentioned above from before christmas setup in a similar comparison.

I am more inclined to believe I gravitated to things that work superbly from anything. Maybe in part because I didn’t have top grade sources?

The only point is to try and understand why now similar tests are resulting in very little difference to me when previous similar tests didn’t have results like that. The sp200 was prickly on the sundara while the ta-30 was not. And I have focused on prickly because volume basically didn’t matter for that to be present. While other things like dynamics and impact were strongly effected by volume.

What changed? Did I lose my hearing and I am now partially deaf? Does the size of the knob actually matter? These results don’t mesh well with results I had previously. And I want to understand why.