Schiit advice, DAC and Amp for HD6XX

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by priamXus, Jan 9, 2019.

  1. priamXus

    priamXus New Member Thread Starter

    Ok guys. I bought some HD6XX and I was interested on Schiit stack or gear for aesthetic and price.

    My dilema is that I don’t know if to get a Vali 2 or Valhalla 2, since I’ll be be using the amp on a daily base for hours and hours and therefore I have to consider tubes lifespan. I really wanted the Valhalla 2, but if tubes are not gonna last me so much is a no go for me sadly.

    On the other hand I don’t know about the DAC either, if Modi 3 or Modi Multibit. I heard that the Multibit doesn’t like very much HiRes files and plays better with 44/16, also, that the bass / sub-bass is not tight and so well controlled. If this is true it’s Modi 3 for me also because a better USB implementation. At the same time with whatever gear I choose I’d be adding the Loki Mini. Thanks !
  2. priamXus

    priamXus New Member Thread Starter

    Someone ? :(
  3. luckybaer

    luckybaer Thinks The Devil actually beat Johnny

    I have a Vali 2 and Modi Multi-Bit. Ran 24/96,000 files all the time from my PC (also had Eitr in the chain) and never had a problem. Not sure how they pair with an HD6XX, as I have an older HD650. HD650 was OK with the Schiit stack, but nothing memorable, so I usually used DT-880 or K-601.

    Have you checked out one of Massdrop's DAC/Amp combos? Maybe they have better synergies with the HD6XX than the Schiit Stack you're considering. Worth investigating, IMHO.

    Massdrop CTH + SDAC DAC/Amp: Massdrop: Community-Driven Commerce

    Massdrop Liquid Carbon X + SDAC DAC/Amp: Massdrop: Community-Driven Commerce

    All-in one, decent footprint... all close to the price of a Vali 2 + Modi Multibit.

    Note: I've since upgraded my DAC to a Schiit Gungnir MB and my amp to an AURALiC Taurus MkII.
    priamXus likes this.
  4. Tube life for the Valhalla 2 or Vali 2 are going to be around 5,000 hours (according to Schiit). That's 200 days of 24/7 operation or 600 days operated 8 hours every day. General advice is to turn on the amp when you're going to be using it. Turn it off if you're going to be away for say 2 hours or more.

    The stock tubes for the Valhalla 2 cost $50 from Schiit (that's for the two pairs of tubes). It doesn't really need expensive tubes. If it costs $50 to replace the tubes every two years because you're running it 8 hours a day that is not a big deal. Not really worth worrying about.

    I would suggest buying an extra full set of replacement tubes when you buy the amp. With a tube amp you should have replacement tubes on hand so that you can replace tubes when they fail or when you notice that they are starting to sound degraded. That way you can be back up and running and listening to music instead of panicking and needing to rush buy new tubes so you can get back to listening to music.

    The Modi Multibit is very good with high-res up to 24/96. Where it gets different is at 176.4 kHz or 196 kHz where the DAC will go into a sort of NOS (non oversampling) mode. Part of the special sound of the Schiit multibits is in the oversampling filter. When in NOS mode at 176.4 or 196 the oversampling filter doesn't get applied and the overall sound of the DAC changes a bit. I personally prefer the sound with the oversampling filter and don't like the NOS mode as much. Other people find the NOS mode to be interesting and worth listening to. With the Modi Multibit I choose to have my media player (JRiver or Foobar) downsample 176.4 or 196 down to 88.2 or 96 just so I can get the oversampling filter and the result sounds better to me.

    The other issue with high-res is that some people see the spec that the Modi Multibit only has 16 bit resolution and assume that means it can't play 24 bit files or that 24 bit playback won't sound good. The Modi Multibit plays 24 bit files just fine and the results sound very good to my ears. I'm able to hear that 24/96 sounds better to me than the 16/44.1 versions. So the Modi Multibit has what it takes to have high-res sound better than CD (I'm well aware that some people don't hear a difference with high-res with any DAC, I'm not one of those people).

    The issue with bass with the Schiit multibits is that some songs are mixed and mastered in a way that bass ends up more set-back in the mix when played on the Schiit Multibit compared to other DACs. On the other hand, there are some recordings where the Schiit multibits can play bass with layering and texture and perfect proper imaging that few other DACs can do. No DAC is going to be the best DAC with every recording. So the solution (if you find this to be a problem) is to have two DACs. Get both the Modi 3 and the Modi Multibit. Listen for yourself and determine if the multibit version has any sort of bass problems or weakness with the music you listen to. I use Schiit multibit DAC (Gungnir and Modi) and find the bass to be very tight and well controlled and layered and textured and everything I want the bass to be as an audiophile. It's the other DACs that I find to have flabby or uncontrolled bass in comparison.
    TimB, Bill Why Man and priamXus like this.
  5. AudioMike33

    AudioMike33 Well-Known Member

    I had the s*** jotunheim hooked up to my Sennheiser HD 650 s a match made in heaven get the s*** jotunheim.
    wgb113 and priamXus like this.
  6. AudioMike33

    AudioMike33 Well-Known Member

    I have the jotunheim with the built-in DAC $500 you're done you're not going to get much better than that I'm telling you it pairs really well with those sennheiser's.

    I tried the Valhalla didn't care for it returned it and got the jotunheim to each their own though.

    Sorry for the double post.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2019
    wgb113 and priamXus like this.
  7. I have a Sennheiser HD600-Schiit Valhalla 2 combo, and I strongly recommend it. If the 6xx headphones are high-impedance, they’re a great match. I listen to analog and digital nearly every night on the rig. The Valhalla 2 has a switch to adapt to high and low-impedance headphones, if that’s a concern. Yes, they are tubes, and they will eventually need to be replaced. But if you’re not a tube-roller who spends $100’s swapping tubes in and out, it shouldn’t be a costly endeavor. If you enjoy Schiit’s included tubes, they sell replacements for a reasonable price on their website. I replaced the two smaller tubes for a slight upgrade (mostly out of curiosity rather than a distaste for the house tubes). Frankly, you should get a few years out of them before they need replacement. I’d consider another look at the Valhalla 2.

    As far as DAC’s go, I have a Schiit Modi 2 Uber as a go-between for my TV/Blu-Ray set-up and my old-school, non-digital amp/pre-amp. They’ve updated this and the Modi 3 now goes for $99. That’s a great deal, as it likely sounds as nice, if not better, than the previous model. It was a stellar upgrade over the cheapie DAC I had previously used. I can’t speak for the Multibit, but if digital is your primary go-to source, it’s likely worth it. It rates highly on this forum.

    Schiit also has a good return policy, so you may want to experiment with their equipment. I am glad that I did. No regrets.

    Good luck,

    priamXus likes this.
  8. priamXus

    priamXus New Member Thread Starter

    Yes sir, I checked in them already. I found the inputs quite lacking in comparison with cheaper combos even. It seems that either Vali 2 or Valhalla 2 pairs well with HD’s.

    Wow what an answer. Ok, regarding to the tubes, I believe the some of them have more lifespan than others, (6N1P vs 6N6P), have you compared Vali 2 with Valhalla 2 perhaps?
    Regarding the Multibit, I’m quite neutral and don’t take any part. I hear too much opinions from both sides, one say it’s superb, and another that it’s a waste of mine/time or whatever. I was asking in contrast about the modi 3 because sadly for me I can’t order 2 and return another, I’m in Canada and for the moment my budget is kinda limited, so I need to buy with certainty and the purchase will be final.

    About the filter and how the Multibit works, excellent explanation ! Thanks a lot.
    I’ll see what I can do, thanks for the tip. If going SS I’d pick a Magni 3, I heard that’s really close to the Jotunheim and I don’t need balanced.
  9. priamXus

    priamXus New Member Thread Starter

    Well, indeed I’m seriously considering then Valhalla 2 + Modi 3 + Loki Mini.
    Thanks a lot !
    Bill, TimB and Bill Why Man like this.
  10. My pleasure, my man! Frankly, that system sounds like a winning combination. Great bang for the buck. The Loki should only improve it.
  11. AudioMike33

    AudioMike33 Well-Known Member


    The magni 3 is not close to the jotunheim are you kidding me it doesn't have near the power that the jotunheim has.

    I own the magni and the Modi the s*** stack is everybody calls it the jotunheim destroys the s*** stack. The s*** stack is very low cost and it sounds decent.

    You don't need balanced you can throw some balanced cables on those sennheiser's makes a difference dude then you got the full power of a balanced amp if you ever want to run speakers you can hook up speakers to it it does everything.

    But you got 15 days to try out the s*** stack to see if you like it.

    Good luck let us know how it turns out and curious to see what you think of it.
  12. I have never owned the Vali 2 or Valhalla 2 so haven't listened to either enough to describe them in detail. The Valhalla 2 is going to have a larger soundstage and deeper soundstage than the Vali 2. I value soundstage depth and size so the choice for me would be easy to go for the Valhalla over the Vali. But not everyone hears soundstage depth on headphones, or cares. I just happen to be one who does hear it and does care.

    Tube life in an amp is a guestimate. Different tube types will have different expected lifetime. And different tubes within a tube type can have different designed lifetimes (some tubes for military use can have longer lifetimes than the regular version of that tube). NOS tubes can sometimes have longer lifetime than new production for some tube types. So it depends.

    The Schiit gear (and many other audio gear) does get more expensive up in Canada with shipping and customs and other costs and exchange rate. And returning becomes costly if you don't like it. So I understand.

    If you're bumping up against your max budget then I would go for the Valhalla and Modi 3 combo rather than the Vali and Modi Multibit combo. The Modi 3 is a fine DAC. It doesn't suck. You can always get a Modi Multibit in a couple of years, and keep an eye on Canuck Audio Mart for a used one. Who knows, in a few years Schiit may have a newer version of the Modi Multibit that's even better than the current one.
    priamXus and Bill Why Man like this.
  13. priamXus

    priamXus New Member Thread Starter

    Thanks a lot ! I’ll update in two weeks when I get back and I’ll get the gear !
    Really happy about the community here.
  14. priamXus

    priamXus New Member Thread Starter

    I don’t know if this is a wise choice,

    I found a second hand Valhalla 2 in Canuck for $265. It seems it’s in pretty good shape. No box or manual, running stock tubes only. I could buy after 6x 6N1P and 6x 6N6P at tubes-store after for $65, they are not matched but I saw people buying there for the Valhalla.
  15. TimB

    TimB Tube be or not Tube be?

    Galion, Ohio USA
    I have the HD 6XX and I pair it with a Vali2. They sound great together. You can also look at the Schiit Lyr2 and like the Vali2, is a hybrid. It uses a 6SN7, while the Vali uses a 6922. On both you can use a variety of different tubes with correct socket adapter. For example I use 12AU7 tubes with a 6922 base to 12AU7 socket adapter. I have also used 6SN7 on with an adapter.
    The Lyr has a lot of power, about 9 Watts into 16 ohms. The Sennheiser are a high impedance, at about 300 ohms. I find the Vali2 with more than enough power. The Valhalla is all tube, and will give a different sound, ie different than a hybrid amp like the Vali2.
    priamXus likes this.
  16. Rolltide

    Rolltide Forum Resident

    Vallejo, CA
    I own the 6xx, and I also own a Valhalla 2/Bifrost stack. I also have the stack of the Topping D30/A30 DAC and amp, and feel they sound as good or better then the Schiit gear. They definitely exceed the Modi/Vali Note the Topping gear is about $100 a box, so much less.

    (This post has made me realize I need to clear out some headphone amps!)
  17. zonto

    zonto Active Member

    Boston, MA
    Go with Valhalla 2 if it's solely for the high impedance Sennheisers. For the DAC, I would wait for a few months to see what materializes in Q1 product announcements. Lots of stuff in the works. I'm a fan of their multibit stuff and use an Yggdrasil myself.
    priamXus likes this.
  18. AudioMike33

    AudioMike33 Well-Known Member


    I will second that I own the topping D50 DAC it's fabulous very detailed very very beautiful sound comes out of that dac for $250 and I think in general the topping brand is very good.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2019
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  19. Mr. Pleaseant

    Mr. Pleaseant Forum Resident

    Ottawa, Canada
    I have Vali 2 with Modi Multibit and HD600's. It all sounds really good to my ears and I am very happy with the combo.
    priamXus likes this.
  20. tlainhart

    tlainhart Well-Known Member

    Massachusetts, USA
    I'll add my voice to the choir that suggests the Jotunheim. I have the Modi MB, the Vali2, and the Jotunheim. I prefer the latter with my HD6xx and my AQ Nighthawks. That there's a balanced output for your 'phones adds to the Jot's attraction (listening to balanced Nighthawks now).
    priamXus and AudioMike33 like this.
  21. AudioMike33

    AudioMike33 Well-Known Member

    I couldn't agree with you more the jotunheim and the hd650s are a match made in heaven.
    priamXus likes this.
  22. Grateful Ed

    Grateful Ed Forum Resident

    If you’re concerned with measured performance, go for the Modi 3 over the Multibit.

    Or buy both and return the one you like less or do a truly blind test and keep the Modi 3 if you can’t tell the difference. I bet the latter will be the case if you try.
    priamXus likes this.
  23. The problem with the Jotunheim is that it has a forward and flat soundstage compared to the type and style of soundstage that I prefer with headphones. There is a reason why some people try pairing the Jotunheim up with a Saga tube preamp in order to get some tube soundstage depth blended into the Jotunheim's sound.

    I like to have soundstage depth with headphones. I don't like having a flat soundstage. To me a flat soundstage is not interesting to listen to. I want to be able to listen into the soundstage, into the imaging, to the extent that is possible with headphones. So to me an amp needs to have soundstage depth or I'm not that interested in it.

    The Valhalla 2 has the most soundstage depth of any of the Schiit amps when paired with the HD600/HD650. So for me, if I was optimizing my headphone setup for the Senns and wanted a Schiit amp I'd be looking at the Valhalla 2. But for me even the Valhalla 2 doesn't have enough soundstage depth to keep me happy. I want more. Which is why I've never owned the Valhalla 2 and why I don't really look for Schiit amps when I'm looking for new amps.

    I'm listening to a Cavalli Liquid Platinum and HD650 and Modi multibit right now. This is approaching the type of soundstage and imaging and presentation I'm after. None of the Schiit amps can do this. This is the type of sonic pairing I'm after. Very different than the Jotunheim. Different than Jotunheim plus Saga. And different than the Valhalla.

    I understand why people like the Jotunheim and HD650 combo. But that's not me and my recommendations are going to tend to what I like.
    priamXus likes this.
  24. I've tried the Modi 3 and Modi Multibit side by side. The difference is easy to hear if you have a headphone amp that has good soundstage and imaging depth. The multibit version simply has much better depth and imaging. It's not even close. If you listen with an amp and headphone that have a flat soundstage and can't do depth or good imaging then the differences between the Modi 3 and the Modi multibit become less. On a good amp and good headphones that can do soundstage depth and imaging the differences between the two DACs will be obvious.

    I compared the Modi 3 and Modi multibit using a Cavalli Liquid Platinum and LCD-2 Classic and HD650. The difference between the two DACs were obvious.
    Bill Why Man and priamXus like this.
  25. AudioMike33

    AudioMike33 Well-Known Member

    That's your personal opinion about the jotunheim if you poke around the internet and Google it you'll find that the hd650 in the jotunheim are good match that's how I originally.

    Everybody hears differently what you hear in one DAC doesn't mean I'm going to hear the same thing in that DAC so it's basically it's trial and error you have to buy things try them if you don't like them you return them.
    priamXus likes this.

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