Schiit Magni Heresy - Amp - Official Thread

The Magni Heresy is an all-new iteration of Schiit’s most diminutive line of desktop headphone amplifiers, featuring increased power, a new op-amp based amplifier design, and better performance, both sonic and measured.

Price remains the same $99 as the out-going model. The unit is finished in Schiit’s new black/red color-scheme (introduced with the Hel). A matching black Modi 3 DAC is also available for a co-ordinated stack.

Magni “Heresy” is introduced along side the “Magni 3+”, which is the same price, but a different take on the product - focusing on discrete design over raw measurements. In Schiit’s words:

For Magni 3+, we pulled out all the stops in designing the highest performing discrete Magni ever, by any metric—power, distortion, or noise floor. But it’s easy to get even higher measured performance from integrated (op amp) designs, so we decided to give you a choice, with Magni Heresy.

  • Choose Magni 3+ for the ultimate expression of an affordable all-discrete current-feedback headphone amp. It’s now seriously a mini speaker amp, right down to the driver stage and Vbe multiplier. Magni 3+ is in our traditional silver and gray chassis.

  • Choose Magni Heresy for insanely great measurements from an all-op-amp based headphone amp that uses super high quality parts, including a multiple paralleled output stage with feedforward. Magni Heresy is in a black and red chassis.

And if you have trouble deciding between the two, Schiit has a nice proposition for you:

If you want to compare, you can buy both, keep both for 30 days, and return one with no restocking fee (for the first 250 orders).

Specifications

Frequency Response: 20Hz-20Khz, +/-0.04dB

  • Maximum Power, 16 ohms: 2.8W RMS per channel
  • Maximum Power, 32 ohms: 2.4W RMS per channel
  • Maximum Power, 50 ohms: 1.6W RMS per channel
  • Maximum Power, 300 ohms: 410mW RMS per channel
  • Maximum Power, 600 ohms: 215mW RMS per channel

THD+N:

  • High Gain: Less than 0.0014% (-97dB) at 1V RMS into 32 ohms
  • Low Gain: Less than 0.0002% (-113dB) at 1V RMS into 32 ohms

IMD:

  • High Gain: Less than 0.002% (-95dB) at 1V RMS into 32 ohms, CCIF
  • Low Gain: Less than 0.0006% (-105dB) at 1V RMS into 32 ohms, CCIF

SNR:

  • High Gain: Greater than 104dB, A weighted, referenced to 1V RMS
  • Low Gain: Greater than 115dB, A weighted, referenced to 1V RMS

Crosstalk: Less than -70dB, 20 Hz-20 kHz in either gain

Output Impedance: Less than 0.25 ohms at either gain

Gain: 1 (3db) or 6 (18db), selectable via rear switch

Topology: OPA1662 op-amp for voltage gain with local feedback, OPA1688 (8 stages) as output buffers with local loops, no overall loop feedback.

Protection: Standard failsafe DC power input and muting relay

This is the spot to discuss the new Schiit Magni Heresy …

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Thanks @Torq!

I’m a big fan of that color scheme. Great price too :wink:

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I detest plastic and have always wanted to get Magni over Atom, but I have no qualms about getting the Atom over this color scheme.

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Just make sure if you’re going to use the pre-out function of the Atom that it’s odd configuration there doesn’t cause clipping/level issues with whatever it is driving.

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Some high level, simple, thoughts on the Magni Heresy … which I will elaborate on in a more detailed review in the near future.

From a “sound” perspective, I found Magni Heresy to be audibly indistinguishable from the JDS Labs Atom and the Geshelli Archel 2 Pro. This was with precision level-matched, assisted blind comparison using both headphones within the reasonable power-limits of the Geshelli unit and IEMs.

No hiss or noise at all here, even with pathologically sensitive/fussy IEMs and the volume cranked to a point that, were music playing, it’d be instant hearing damage time.

With more demanding headphones the Geshelli runs out of steam first, particularly with less sensitive, higher impedance, dynamic headphones. The Atom falls next, though we’re now talking about headphones like the LCD-4, AB-1266 Phi TC and HE6 at higher volumes. But here the Magni Heresy is still presenting a clean, unfussed and dynamic result even beyond levels that are safe for more than a minute or so’s listening.

Feature wise, they all have selectable gains, at sensible, useful levels, so that’s a wash.

The Atom and Archel 2 Pro have dual inputs (one RCA and one 3.5mm).

The Magni Heresy and Atom both have pre-outs. Though the Atom, curiously, seems to have its pre-outs tapped from the headphone output (or at least post-gain stage) rather than pre-gain stage. This adds noise and may present issues for analog inputs that don’t have much headroom.

Build wise, the Geshelli looks more like a nicely executed hobby projected, the Atom is plastic and relatively nondescript, and the Magni Heresy is in a much more polished custom metal enclosure.

And then on price, the Magni Heresy and Atom are the same $99. The Geshelli unit is 50% more expensive at $149 - which is rather hard to justify vs. the Atom or the Magni given the difference in features, power and finish.

For me, from a sound and function perspective, the Magni Heresy would be my pick of these three. It’s audibly indistinguishable from the others, meaningfully more powerful than either, has a more useful pre-amp implementation, a nicer build, and is tied for lowest-price.

Next I’d take the Atom, for similar reasons vs. the Geshelli unit.

An additional, non-trivial (for me), factor is that if I was building a mini desktop rig, I’m aesthetically sensitive enough to want a form-factor/aesthetic matching DAC. That’s available for the Magni Heresy and the Geshelli Archel 2 Pro, but not currently for the Atom.

In short, for budget desktop amps, and/or for those with a particular bias towards measurements and “objective” comparison, the Magni Heresy is, for me, the current “final word” on the matter, and the easiest of the three to recommend on those grounds.

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The two only real issues I had with Atom were it’s lack of headroom and performance on low gain with older Planars like my/[previously your] LCD 2 and it’s PreAmp… like why is it not PreGain?

Either way props to Schiit for bringing this level of performance with more power, a pre gain pre out and a metal enclosure! I’m excited to see how the JDS Labs team responds, this kind of competition at this price point is only good imo for all of us!

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To be clear, since a couple of people have read more into the above statement than it actually says … it says nothing about how I feel about the Magni Heresy in regards to the Magni 3+. Nor, indeed, vs. Cavalli Liquid Spark, the original Magni 3 or any other amplifier not specifically mentioned in the above comparison.

In other words, it simply says that, for me: Magni Heresy > Atom > Archel 2 Pro

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Yea I didn’t read that much into it

I’m still interested in hearing Magni 3+ actually, Magni 3 was a step in the right direction for what I like imo but not quite enough to merit a buy. I think the improvements to 3+ are worth a purchase and listen!

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It wasn’t you; it’s comments made in PMs or emails.

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Yes, what about these new Shiit offerings compared to the Cavalli Liquid Spark (which blew away the previous Magnis IMHO)?

Well, as much as I liked the Liquid Spark (enough to have bought one), I preferred the Magni 3 both on simple sonic grounds and on overall technical performance.

And I like the Magni 3+ a good deal more than the Magni 3, so obviously I prefer it to the Liquid Spark also.

If you like the coloration/warmth the Liquid Spark adds (I did, at least with some headphones), then you may well prefer it over the Heresy. Though from an objective perspective, the Heresy is ahead of the Spark (and the Magni 3+ for that matter).

More specific comparisons, including comparing Magni 3+ and Heresy will be something I cover in a review here shortly.

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I’m going to read the tea leaves, based on what’s been said, and what hasn’t, and guess that the 3+ smokes the Heresy on sound quality.

But then again, I’ll admit that I’m biased. I haven’t heard an opamp based amp that has ever made me think “OMG, I would sell my <insert any amp I’ve ever owned here> for this thing!”. I guess if anyone could make opamps sound good, it’s @schiit.

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More specific comparisons, including comparing Magni 3+ and Heresy will be something I cover in a review here shortly.

Given the particular audience of the Heresy, are you going to do some rigorous blind testing as part of that?

I’ll do (or rather have already done) the same type of, precision level-matched (to 0.1dB), blind comparison as I do for any component (DAC or amp) I review. No more, nor less, rigorous than that.

I just have to do the actual review write-up itself - all the listening tests etc. are already done.


For those in need of “assurance”, I recommend they either:

  • Take Schiit up on their offer to buy both a Magni 3+ and a Magni Heresy, compare them for 30 days, and return the one they don’t want without a restocking fee.

  • Borrow both units from the Community Preview Program* here, and do the same comparisons themselves. Since @schiit have been kind enough to donate these units to that program.

  • Get a group of friends, and the amplifiers in question, together themselves and do their own such blind testing and write up their own results.

  • Visit the “Schittr” when they inevitably host one of their blind-comparison sessions for these two amplifiers.

  • Take the time at my upcoming local mini-meet to do the comparison themselves.


*Both Magni 3+ and Heresy will join this program after these units have participated in the above-mentioned mini-meet, on December 19th.

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Duly noted! :wink:

I’m actually toying with doing something a bit different to the normal summary and comparison statements for these two amps in the initial posting of my review …

While I will certainly include my subjective commentary on each amplifier’s sound (assuming, for the purposes of this post, that they’re audibly distinguishable at all), I may, for the initial posting of the review, stop short of actually stating a) if I have a preference, and b) if I do, for which unit it might be.

That would be to for two reasons:

  • First, to encourage people to take Schiit up on their no-restocking fee 30 day trial of the two units for themselves. And then, once that offer is exhausted (as it only applies to the first 250 customers) post whatever my “preference statement” is as an addition to the review.

  • Second, to avoid the potential biasing/influencing of others towards my preference - which was a bit of a pitfall with other reviews, in other venues, both mine and of others, from time to time.

And I if do choose to do that initially, I’ll also send any “missing statement(s) of preference” to a couple of trusted members here, so that there’s no question of me changing it after publishing said initial review.

I’d really like people to use reviews, mine and other’s, as a way to help shortlist components for their own direct audition, and not as the determinant of what they buy. Which is why my reviews make recommendations to add things to an audition list rather than to just go out and buy them un-heard.

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To my understanding, this offer was exhausted very quickly. Even on the same day both of these were released I went to Schiit.com that night and was not seeing ‘both’ as an option in the model dropdown, which according to their FAQ is the way one would partake in that offer:

Both: choose both if you want to compare. For the first 250 orders, you’ll be able to keep both for 30 days and send one back with no restock fee. As long as the option for “both” is in the “Model” order box, you’re set for this special extended comparison time.

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I hadn’t looked to see if the offer was still going.

That’ll certainly make a couple of aspects of the review simpler to write-up properly then.

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I posted my full review, and comparison of the Magni 3+ and Heresy on the main site.

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Great read @Torq! I am becoming more an more a fan of Schiit…ugh that comment :joy:

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