Schiit Vahalla 2 Headphone Amp - Official Thread

Ok heres a place to comment on the Schiit Vahalla 2 headphone amp. I have had one for a few years and its a wonderful amp with HD 600’s, but has been re-designed to work with lower impedance headphones.

Specifications:

Frequency Response: 20Hz-20Khz, -0.1db, 7Hz-200KHz, -3dB
Maximum Power, 300 ohms: 300mW RMS per channel at less than 10% THD
Maximum Power, 600 ohms: 340mW RMS per channel at less than 10% THD
THD: < 0.02%, 20Hz-20KHz, at 1V RMS, low gain, 600 ohms
IMD: < 0.03%, CCIF at 1V RMS low gain, 600 ohms
SNR: > 98db, unweighted, referenced to 1V RMS, low gain
Crosstalk: < -71dB, 20 Hz-20KHz
Output Impedance: 14 ohms (hi gain), 3.5 ohms (lo gain)
Input Impedance: 100K ohms
Gain: 7 (16.9db) or 1.5 (3.5 db), via rear switch
Topology: All-triode, noninverting, single voltage gain stage, current source biased front end and optimized WCF output stage, DC-coupled input
Tube Complement: 6N1P dual triode input, 6N6P dual triode output, 1 each per channel. 6N1Ps rollable to 6DJ8, E88CC, 6922, 6BZ7, and similar types.
Power Supply: Two internal power transformers with over 2,000uF of filter capacitance
Power Consumption: 40W
Size: 9 x 6 x 3.25”
Weight: 7 lbs

The Vahalla 2 is still and OTL amp, but Schitt has spent a long time optimizing both the input and output topology to maximize current delivery, and to reduce output impedance. This entailed quite a few tweaks to the common-cathode front end, adding a new negative voltage rail and current source to up the overall gain, and also changes to the White cathode follower output.

2-8x lower output impedance, 8x lower distortion, 2x more current delivery, and lower noise. In simpler terms: while Valhalla was marginal-to-bad with IEMs and low-impedance headphones, Valhalla 2 is better. It’s not the be-all and end-all, but it’s now a much more well-rounded amp.

Valhalla is still going to be at its best with high-impedance headphones like the 300 ohm Sennheisers and 250-600 ohm Beyers. With up to 60V p-p output capability, it can light up high-impedance headphones.

Two gain settings via a rear switch. HI and Lo, and a rear power switch.

There is no turn on relay so you may want to wait 30 seconds or so before plugging your headphones into the unit. I have never had an issue with this with my Vahalla 2. Approx 100mv at 32 ohms and less with higher headphones, which is wear this amp still shines.

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Yep, it is a nice amp with my 800 or 800S.

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Thats good to hear, I an considering adding a 800s to the collection in the near future!!

Seeing how I like the Senn sound with the 600’s I think this will be a great selection…having gone the planars (LCD2), the Senns, Beyers and Focals…

The 800s should give me the wide soundstage I am lacking now…

Alex

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The V2 was my first good amp, and I had it paired with the HD600 and HD650. I had a blast with that amp, and learned a little about tube rolling as well.

The stock Russian tubes, are quite a bit lean, and I think play a big part in people’s impressions of the amp sounding like a solid state amp. Once you roll in some warmer tubes, things start to really sound good in my opinion.

I highly recommend getting some adapters and rolling in the 2C51/396A tubes. My preferred tubes were the Tung Sol 2C51 and Western Electric 396A.

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I found the 800 and 800S to be significantly more comfortable than the 600 when I owned all 3.

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I like NOS 6DJ8s or 7DJ8s…Very smooth in my Mjolnir2. Step up from the stock 6BZ7s. Think that would hold true in the Valhalla.

I use the 2C52 input tube in another HA.

An interesting experiment this morning.

The outpit impedance according to Schiit:

Output Impedance: 14 ohms (hi gain), 3.5 ohms (lo gain)

So many amps have multiple gain switches or settings to choose from.

Some are HI or Low, Some have Hi, Low, Mid etc…

In my brain I often think of high impedance cans as 120 + and higher ohms. So Beyer T90, T1, Senn HD 600 and 800 are in that camp…and others like the Grados and Focals are in the low Z camp.

So its easy in my mind when using any of these cans to flip the gain switch into hi or lo depending on the headphone.

The Vahalla 2 has more than enough power to drive Senn HD 600 (250 ohm) in low gain to very high levels.

So what I am getting to here is for the most part I use Hi gain setting based on my simple reasoning above…but this moring I selected Lo gain and voila some magic here…the sound output is clearer, the bass nice and tight and the slight “veil” I hear is much reduced…I am stunned once again.

The 1/8 rule is met in the high gain mode, but in lo gain the 3.5 ohm seems to work better with the HD600’s than I would have thought!

Moral of this story is try all gain settings and see which one works best…I do know that the golden rule is to use the least gain possible for the least distortion and better matching…and most of my DIY projects have all had a unity gain setting that I always use if the amp can put out the power needed.

Alex

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@Wes_S

Wes, do you still have any info on the adapters you used?

Well after a few hours with the Vahalla 2 on low gain I have to say with the HD 600s IMO the comparison to the BH Crack is pretty much equal if not a tad touch better…just a bit less euphonic but very clean and clear listening…amazing amp for me.

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I’m not surprised. Every Schiit amp I’ve heard had different sound on the different gain settings.

The Lyr 3 was kind of nice in this way, because if you got a tube that was a bit too bright or warm or dark, some of it could be made up for by running it in the different gain mode. On all my headphones it didn’t matter which setting you used, the Lyr had oodles of power and OI was pretty darn low on both gain settings. So it was more about which one sounded better, really.

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These are what I have.

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Interesting! I still have both of those amps, and I prefer my BHC quite a bit more than my V2. I am using some seriously good tubes in my BHC though, so that might be why. Have you ever rolled a Bendix 6080wb graphite plates power tube in your BHC? I am using that power tube, with a Sylvania 5814a triple mica short grey plate d getter. This tube combo is very transparent, while still maintaining that euphonic sound.

Do you have a vacuum tube tester? Very useful if you’re a serious tube roller.

I don’t have a tester, but know a couple people that do. Also, I buy from reputable dealers, that test properly and listen to the tubes as well, so that helps. Thankfully, I have been a serious tube roller for several years now, with no issues at all. If I did not have friends with testers and reputable tube dealers, I would definitely own one though.

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I have a circa 1955 TV-7 A/U. Very accurate. I’ve bought some duds and the tester was helpful finding that out up front. Reputable tube sellers are a good thing. I just bought a couple of VT-137 (1626) off of eBay this week. Readings were bang on. I’ll buy from that guy again.

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That’s awesome! I was just about to ask what tester you have. Thanks for the info and pics!

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Ok, this am its day 2 of Vahalla2 amp rotation!

Listening to Russ Freeman this morning with the Beyer DT 1350’s , 80 ohm portable headphones using low gain…3.5 ohms. So the 1/8 rule is met here and the overall sound is very acceptable…

Great tight bass…ha! Absolutley astonishing well with these cans. Slam and body are just fine to me…

These little DT 1350’s never cease to amaze me! Yes they are portables and the soundstage is a little closed in compared to other open cans, but these are closed back.

The nice thing here is how well the Vahalla 2 pairs with these lower impedance cans…the original V1 I had didnt do such a great job with these.

Morning!
Alex

Note: I just switched from the Vahalla 2 to the Jotenhiem and it clobbers the nice Vahalla 2 with the 80 ohm DT1350…overall clearer presentation and bass is better, even tighter etc…

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Folks, I’m having an eye on this amp and still fresh in this hobby. My other hobby is guitar. I do have guitar amps (1 pure valve and 1 hybrid). In the guitar world, sometimes we want to distort a little (or a lot :smirk:) – e.g: classic bluesy sound.

Not sure about in the headphones world. Can we actually hear the distortion at moderate listening levels (e.g.: bass/voice distortion), or do we still have a somewhat clean signal with a “colored” sound (EQ-wise).

I know it’s a lame question. Just not in the mood to purchase something and eventually having to return because expectations are not met. I’m not a purist either. I could live with colored sound – with the proper genres.

Just would like to know what are you after when you listening to this amp, for instance? Assume a HD 600.

Thanks much!

P.S.: reading articles or videos are welcome.

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Wow I didn’t expect to read that!

I have hundreds of hours with hd600s on both the Valhalla 2 and the BH crack with speedball and they both are great…but for my ear the v2 is just a tad nicer to me…again splitting hairs and rotate them once a week and smile both times. YMMV if course and all our experiences are valid…great hobby eh !?

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