Schiit's First Phono Preamp - The $129 "Mani"

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by anede001, Jun 3, 2014.

  1. Thanks! I really like knowing what others come up with. I usually learn something when I do this. Companies buy other companies stuff all of the time to check it out. This is how you stay up on the game. :winkgrin:
     
    c-eling and T'mershi Duween like this.
  2. Ha! the Mani power adapter powers up Lounge units :laugh:
     
    T'mershi Duween likes this.
  3. You've got to keep up. And I like the way you do it. :D
    It's just funny that I'm going to learn more about the Mani from you than I did from Guttenberg.

    It's all good though for me. I do want to try the Lounge. I also want to try the Mani cause it's from Schiit. I want both.
    I just gotta save up for a new turntable and then I'll be ready for phono stage shopping. Hopefully in 2015 I'll manage to save up for the TT. I saved up for a TT this year but impulsively spent the money on a new headphone amp instead. I'll see if I can do better budgeting in 2015.
     
  4. SlimeBeherit

    SlimeBeherit New Member

    It's interesting that you bring that up, as I just got my mani in the mail and am comparing it directly to the Cambridge 651p which I've had for a week. The Mani is giving some weird pops from time to time, but even when thats not an issue, I still find myself leaning more towards the Cambridge. I just can hear more of the individual sounds and voices with the Cambridge. Perhaps the Mani just needs more time to burn in? Ill give it a couple more days
     
  5. Opeth

    Opeth Forum Resident

    Location:
    NH
    I'm very unimpressed with the 651p maybe my expectations are out of wack it maybe my system can't benefit from a better sounding stage. That would surprise me though because epic2 speakers a debut carbon with speedbox and AS-500 would benefit from it you'd think. Now that I've seen the lounge I kind of want one haha I think the 651p is going back though unless something miraculous happens after 7-10 days of burn in.
     
  6. I did scan over the review from Guttenberg thanks to Dr J. It was a puff piece for the masses, good to boost sales for Schiit I'm sure. I'm doing my investigations from a bench tech angle. Before I even powered it up I took it apart.

    I'm going to check the MC loading resistor tomorrow for eurekaiv and sniff around for this popping that SlimeBeherit and I report on. It's interesting now two users have this problem. Well, not so very intersting actually. I test the opamps that go into Lounge preamps and some of them do this and they get rejected. Maybe Schiit is relying on the IC manufacturers promises of being low noise; only to find that in the fine print that noise spec is tied to a bandwidth that does not include frequencies below 10hz. Just a targeted guess at this point. This could get fun.
     
  7. SlimeBeherit

    SlimeBeherit New Member

    I think the issue is the 651p's place in the market. There are a couple of phono preamps that fall in the $150 that have been getting high marks for the price. Then theres the 300 dollar range such as the lounge and the vista audio preamps, and they have gotten quite the positive response (mostly the lounge). Meanwhile the 651p sits somewhere in the middle, its competent, but it isn't remarkable, especially at that price point . I think I'll be returning both and will try out the Lounge next. You should too :D
     
  8. Dr. J.

    Dr. J. Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Memphis, TN
    I have the MF V-LPS II but have listened extensively to the 651p and Rega Fono mini as well. All three ca. $200 units are "competent," as you say, but none have any wow factor: the V-LPS has the best dynamics and bass of the lot (but using an external PS); the Rega has the most air and detail; whereas the Cambridge is overall the most balanced, suffering no major drawback but excelling in nothing.

    I have two systems but need to upgrade the phono section on one of them since the internal phono stage on my amp died. I was hopping the Schiit would compete with the aforementioned preamps, but at half the cost, make it a no brainer for my replacement needs. But if people feel that it does not compete with the $200 preamp category, then I may just skip this category altogether and move up to the $300+ category. I am intrigued by the Lounge but also have my eye on the Hagerman Bugle2, which is actually $200 but is said to legitimately compete with much higher end phono stages like the EAR 834P.

    Keep the reviews coming!
     
  9. Dr. J.

    Dr. J. Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Memphis, TN
    As much as I agree with you, I must admit I did get excited when I read that cd comparison part, because I just did a shootout between a hi-rez digital download and the vinyl version (same mastering) and the vinyl came up short. The digital was going through a Maverick TubeMagic Dac and the lp through a MF V-LPS II with external PS. Before I got this DAC, my lps tended to sound much better than my cds (more bottom end and fuller sound), but now it's the other way around, and it's making me feel the need to upgrade my phono stage.
     
  10. eurekaiv

    eurekaiv Active Member

    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    I'm using the exact same setup... Tube Magic / V-LPS II. I prefer the V-LPS II to my Bugle 2. The Bugle has too much gain for me and the Maverick, even with a HOMC (Sumiko BPS), in my little office setup. I can swap resistors in the Bugle to provide less gain than the standard recommended values, but at that point it simply stops sounding any good at all. At stock settings, three or four clicks on the Maverick's volume knob is about as loud as I could stand through HD650s. As for sound, to me, the Bugle is brighter and more forward—nothing wrong with that of course—though I prefer the more laid back and seemingly wider sound of the MF.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2014
  11. Dr. J.

    Dr. J. Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Memphis, TN
    Sweet! Thanks for sharing your impressions. Whatever move I make I do not want to sacrifice bass, so if the Bugle2 is lacking in that regard I will have to look elsewhere.

    So do you use the analog in on Tube Magic for your phono stage to get some tube sound? I have tried both and like it better with the tube in the chain.
     
    c-eling likes this.
  12. c-eling

    c-eling Forum Resident

    Hmm, got me thinking on adding my D1 Tube for my needledrops, I did add it back into the mix last week with a new tube :) I use the VLPS-II also, curious on the mani
     
  13. utahusker

    utahusker Forum Resident

    Location:
    Southern, UT, USA
    I have a V-LPS II with a separate power supply that I had forgotten was stored away. I did an a/b comparison with my Jasmine LP2.0 SE last week. The difference is not subtle. The Jasmine's soundstage was much wider and deeper, with a much richer sound. The V-LPS was much thinner sounding than the Jasmine in my system.

    IMO you can do better than the V-LPS, but it will cost a little more like everything. I believe the phono stage is more important than the cartridge. A $400 Phono stage and a $150 cartridge will sound better than a $400 cart on a $125 phono stage.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2014
  14. PoeRaider

    PoeRaider Well-Known Member

    I've also been trying to find a decent review of the Mani, doesn't seem there are any yet. I agree that one by Audiophiliac is pretty much worthless reading.

    I'm actually just getting back into vinyl, and have been using a Pro-ject Phono Box S. I'm pretty disappointed with this preamp. Sounds flaccid, with little definition to the low end, poor midrange, and lacking soundstage.

    Judging by my past experience with Schiit (LOVE the Bifrost), I've been thinking it's possible that the Mani could be a nice upgrade from the Box S, enough though it's only 60% of the price. So, I took the dive and just ordered one. For the price and Schiit's track record, I figure I have to at least try it. I guess it should be here around the middle of next week or so (says 5-7 days on the Schiit website).

    I'll post my impressions next week. If the Mani doesn't tighten things up considerably over the Box S, then I guess I'll save my pennies and just go for the MS Phonomena. I don't really want to spend that much, but it might not be possible to get the sound I desire in this ~$200 price range.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2014
  15. eurekaiv

    eurekaiv Active Member

    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    I believe the tube in the Maverick is just a buffer stage on one of the analog outputs and is otherwise unused if it's being used as a headphone amp, which is all I use it for. It allows me to easily switch between the turntable and the computer sources without needing two boxes on my desk—really the only reason I bought it.
     
  16. BeauZooka

    BeauZooka Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    Has anybody got their hands on the Mani yet? I would love to hear any first hand opinions of it. Thanks!
     
  17. BeauZooka

    BeauZooka Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Seattle
  18. loki993

    loki993 Member

    I was in the same boat..I looked all over for reviews couldn't find any and then just bought one. Figured it would be hard to go wrong at the price and if I dint like it I could easily sell it to someone else. Though I have no other phonostage to compare it to, but I got one because of 1 the price and second, more importantly, Schiits reputation. I think it sounds great, but again I have no comparison. I haven't had a lot of listen time on it yet, but first impressions are good.

    I am not hearing any odd pops or anything either unless I turn it off while my amp is on...which the instructions specifically tell you not to do for that exact reason. Ive heard about an issue on another forum, of the wall wart picking up some RF interference, not sure maybe that's your popping? I haven't experienced it though.
     
  19. Dr. J.

    Dr. J. Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Memphis, TN
    Thanks for your thoughts! I think one of the main reasons why so many people are eager to hear about the Mani, aside from it being Schiit, is the price point. As stated in this thread, there is a lot to choose from in the $200-range and a great preamp in the Art DJPre II, which is in the low budget $50 category. Correct me if I am wrong but there are few to no preamps in the $100-125 that gets anywhere near the same press as the Art DJPre II. It would be awesome for people just getting into vinyl or dusting off their old records and turntable to have something a bit nicer than the Art but without having to spend $200.
     
  20. loki993

    loki993 Member

    That's exactly why I bought it, it had to be better than the Art DJ and its not so expensive that if it doesn't do what you want, or you just want to try out Vinyl, your not out a ton of money. Im not sure theyre may have been a couple but not many. I think for me it was the Art DJ, TC750, CA 551 and NAD PP2 then jumping up to a Bugle2 or some NADs and others at 200 and over.

    But I don't think anything does passive RIAA or MC at this price point.
     
  21. Dr. J.

    Dr. J. Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Memphis, TN
    And gain settings too. I have a Denon Dl-110 that could benefit from the added gain of the 48db setting.
     
  22. liv3evil

    liv3evil Forum Resident

    Location:
    NY USA
    Hmm. I wasn't aware that Schiit made a phono preamp! Big-time fan of my Bifrost, and though I haven't used it a lot yet (in favor of my NAD's built-in headphone amp), an Asgard 2.

    I wonder if the Mani will sound a lot better than my V-LPS? My current vinyl rig, which I haven't fired up in ages since recently moving:

    Turntable: Technics SL-1210M5G -> Ortofon Concorde Pro S40 -> Musical Fidelity V-LPS

    I've never been too keen on how 'dead' sounding this setup is; it sounds very clinical/scientific to my ears. P'haps that's why I spend so much (more) time listening to CDs/binaries.

    I am curious to know more about this schiit!
     
  23. loki993

    loki993 Member

    Yeah..honestly though I'm not sure what benefits from more gain and what doesn't yet, I'm still new to all this. I will say mine was set at 30DB out of the box and I forgot to change it and it was pretty quiet....still sounded decent I just had the turn the receiver up past where I usually listen to it at. Then I remembered and set it at the 42 they recommend for most MM carts and it was plenty loud. There is a bit of noise if its on and I'm not playing anything, but at least as far as I an tell, it doesn't affect the music at all...I don't notice it at least. Also it could be my set up as much as it could be the Mani, my set up right now is just a huge mess of wires behind my TV and receiver...so who knows what could be giving off interference in that.

    Yep its brand new..I think its only been available for a little over a month.
     
  24. Dr. J.

    Dr. J. Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Memphis, TN

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