Schiit Valhalla 2 Triode OTL Tube Headphone Amp and Preamp
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- Valhalla 2 is exceptionally accurate, neutral, and resolving, without being strident or etched. It's easy to build a complete desktop system around the Valhalla 2.
- Use it with many headphones--some that you’d never expect to use with a tube amp.
- Preamp outs allow you to connect your powered monitors directly to Valhalla 2 for what some people call the "tube magic" sound.
- The gain switch gives you better control of both output level and impedance, for better matching to your headphones.
- Designed and Built in California. Product is supplied with a 110 – 120V US plug suitable for use in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. This product will not work in 220 – 240V countries.
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Go ahead. Do things with Valhalla 2 that you’d never attempt with other OTL tube amps. Run low-impedance headphones. Use IEMs. Valhalla 2 is a complete re-imagining of Valhalla, with improved performance, higher output capability, lower distortion and output impedance.
While most tube OTL amps are really only designed for 300 ohm Senns and 600 ohm Beyers, Valhalla 2 stretches to include headphones that you’d never expect to use with a tube amp. Go ahead. Use it with Grados. Run it with AKGs. Rely on it for many IEMs. You may even like it with high-efficiency planars like LCD-X, LCD-XC, Oppo PM-1 and HE-400.
Valhalla 2 also adds two important features: preamp outs and a gain switch. Preamp outs let you connect your powered monitors directly to Valhalla 2, to give them some of what many people call "tube magic." The gain switch gives you better control of both output level and impedance, for better matching to your headphones. It's easy to build a complete desktop system around the Valhalla.
If you’re expecting syrupy, tubby, euphonically colored tube sound, you’re in for a shock. Valhalla 2 is exceptionally accurate, neutral, and resolving, without being strident or etched.
The vast majority of the total production cost of Valhalla 2—chassis, boards, transformers, assembly, etc—goes to US companies manufacturing in the US. Our chassis are made minutes from our facility. Our PCBs are done just over the hill from us, or done in NorCal. Our transformers are also made in California. You get the picture.
Valhalla 2 is covered by a limited warranty that covers parts and labor for five years. The tubes are covered for 3 months.
Top reviews from the United States
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I compared this amp with a few other amps: Beyerdynamic A20, Teac UD-301, and Audio GD NFB-1. I used these solely with Beyerdynamic T1 V2 (600 ohm) headphones on a variety of music, mostly 24-192 files ripped from SACD and played through Foobar2000. For those who don’t know, the T1 V2 can be a little sibilant, but it’s a tradeoff I make for their clarity and all-around sound. I gain-matched the amplifiers using white noise and an SPL phone app. All amps were fed through the DAC in the Teac UD-301. I also switched out the stock tubes in the Valhalla with some JJ tubes at one point.
There is no competition between the Valhalla 2 and Teac or the Beyerdynamic A20. It beats those easily for sound quality. The real competition is between the Valhalla and the Audio GD NFB-1. The best way for me to describe the difference between the two is vinyl vs SACD, but minus the pops and cracks. The Valhalla simply cannot match the NFB-1 for clarity and detail. It’s not even close. I can hear details that I just can’t hear in the Valhalla. This was most noticeable with violins, cymbals, and triangles. The Valhalla makes up for this with a very slight improvement in smoothness. It never sounds muddy, just very slightly veiled in a good way. The Valhalla makes good power, but with 600 ohm cans, I did need to crank it on softer passages. The NFB-1 has no trouble in that department.
This is the hardest part to write. If I had never heard the NFB-1, I would be ecstatic to have the Valhalla 2. No doubt Schiit’s higher end amps can compete with the Audio GD, but I cannot afford $1k+ for one of those. If I had unlimited funds, I would keep all my amps and use them for different music, but my goal was to find the one best amp for my needs. While the Valhalla does offer smoothness, the NFB-1 never sounded objectionable or harsh. Given that it never sounded worse than the Valhalla, its superior clarity, detail, and power made my choice an easy one. I decided to part with the Valhalla.
You should strongly consider the Vahalla 2, especially if you value smoothness. It still packs as much detail as many solid-state amps, just not enough to compete with the best solid-state amps. If you have an average DAC or no DAC at all, the Valhalla would probably be the best choice for you. It’s well made, gorgeous, and comes with a good warranty. For these reasons, I have no trouble giving it 5 stars.