Schiit Loki Equalizer released

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Puma Cat, Sep 27, 2017.

  1. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    East Bay, CA
    Schiit Audio just released their 4-band equalizer, named Loki (or Loki Mini) yesterday.

    Schiit Audio, Headphone amps and DACs made in USA.

    I know there's are "puritan" High End Audio views about the (legitimacy of) use of tone controls in audio reproduction, but the facts are 1) they are universally used when mastering recordings and 2) not all recordings are mastered the same, or even mastered well, and sometimes its nice to tune the system to be more musical and engaging. I personally use a passive tone control called "The Delicious One" for some recordings that have been mastered a little hot or forward.

    From all reports and reviews, this looks to be very well-thought out and implemented. And for only $149.
     
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  2. Deuce66

    Deuce66 Senior Member

    specs

    Frequency Response: 20Hz-20Khz, -0.1db, 2Hz-850KHz, -3dB

    Maximum Output: 10V RMS into 10K ohms
    THD: Less than 0.002%, 20Hz-20KHz, at 2V RMS in/out, pots centered, active stage enabled, less than 0.01% at any potentiometer setting
    IMD: Less than 0.002%, CCIF

    SNR: Greater than 109db, unweighted, referenced to 1V RMS

    Crosstalk: -80dB, 20Hz-20KHz

    Output Impedance: 75 ohms
    Bands: 20Hz, 400Hz, 2kHz, 8kHz
    Adjustment: +/-12dB at 20Hz and 8kHz, +/-6dB at 400Hz and 2kHz
    Topology: fully discrete, all-bipolar, symmetrical current-feedback design with no capacitors in the signal path and DC servo
    Filtering: capacitor-gyrator for 20Hz, capacitor-inductor (LC) for all other bands
    Power Supply: “Wall wart” style 8VA 16VAC transformer, regulated +/- 17V rails
    Power Consumption: 4W


    So why bring this out now? What changed?
    The world changed, and we decided to experiment a bit. That’s it in a nutshell. The longer explanation includes the fact that tone controls have pretty much become verboten over the last three decades in high-end audio. For those of you who remember some crappy tone control and EQ implementations, including dull, veiled, nasty-sounding knobs on the front of receivers and noisy, truly awful-sounding banks of 10 to 30 sliders (usually fixed in a death-grin), you know that there’s a good reason tone controls went away. But we decided to take a look at it and see what we could make with a single gain stage (rather than 10-30 op-amps in a row) and using passive LC (inductor-capacitor) filtering wherever possible. And we found that we could create an extremely transparent equalizer that allowed for some very nice control over tonal characteristics, without the downside of traditional tone controls or EQs. So we decided to make it and see if you find it interesting as well.
     
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  3. vinylontubes

    vinylontubes Forum Resident

    Location:
    Katy, TX
    Why did they use Loki? The all ready had a product that used that name. It was their poor selling DSD DAC. They even threw a party for the funeral of the device.
     
  4. basie-fan

    basie-fan Forum Resident

    It strikes me as odd that they'd put the bass control at 20 Hz. Is this for all the pipe organ afficiandos? Otherwise I can't imagine it having much of an effect. Around 50-100 Hz would be far more useful IMHO.
     
  5. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    East Bay, CA
    Because Jason liked the name. It's that simple. And, it's their company and they can do what they want.

    BTW, I have their original DSD-only Loki DAC, and it is a fantastically-good sounding DSD DAC, even more so when used with a Sonore microRendu.
     
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  6. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    East Bay, CA
    You can read about all these decisions Schiit made about these sorts of things at Head-Fi in the last chapter of the e-book "Schiit Happened". I'd recommend going and at looking at the equalization curves over the range of frequencies so you have some data to establish the context of the sonic attributes of Loki. This is not a parametric equalizer with a sharp spike at 20 Hz. They DID think all this through...the product was a full year in development.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2017
  7. Ham Sandwich

    Ham Sandwich Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sherwood, OR, USA
    The 20 Hz knob has a wide Q. It does affect 50 Hz and 100 Hz almost as much as it affects 20 Hz.

    Head-Fi did a video for the Loki. At about 4:40 in the video you can see what the EQ curves look like for each of the knobs.

     
  8. Mike-48

    Mike-48 A shadow of my former self

    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    I can see your point of view. Really, 4 bands is not optimum, but on the other hand, I think they're pretty well chosen.
    • Many rooms have bass resonances around 20-30 Hz. If you have a sub, you want this control.
    • The "warmth" range is around 400 Hz. It will affect naturalness of guitar, piano, drums, etc.
    • In many cases, recordings that are too present or aggressive can be tamed by a cut around 2000 Hz.
    • And 8000 Hz is a great area for reducing sibilance and piercing violin or soprano sound.
    I hope that this will be the product that makes EQ acceptable to audiophiles again. It's sorely needed, IMO.
     
  9. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    East Bay, CA
    Yup. This is why I recommended that folks go and gather some data before coming to what may be inaccurate conclusions about the the frequency response (in the absence of data).
     
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  10. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    East Bay, CA
    And I think Jason Stoddard would agree with you. They really put some thought into this, as they do with pretty much every product they've developed (they've made a few mistakes, but what company hasn't? This is how you learn to be a better company).

    The nice thing is, the product is inexpensive enough for folks to "dip their toe in the water" and find out for themselves if it works for them. Schiit doesn't know for certain if a product like this will "take off", but they figured they could build some at this price point, and let the sales of the product inform them if it constitutes a value proposition for customers, or not. They have a set of "trusted listeners" they use for all their products under development, and for this cohort of listeners, none of them wanted to give it back. So that told them something meaningful. If it does really take off, my guess is the next product may have a couple more bands and support balanced inputs/outputs. Either way, they will have the sales data to inform them about where to go for their product development roadmap. It's just good business practice.
     
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  11. Helom

    Helom Forum member

    Location:
    U.S.
    I agree. If any of the minimalists are honest, they'll admit some recordings simply don't sound good through their system. This unit could squash the cable quest for many if they'd just give it a chance.
     
  12. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Location:
    Central PA
    I think they should have gone with, "Kickr"; "Staine"; "4Brainz", or just "Heddz".
    I'm just waiting to see how long it takes the marketplace to get the drift.
     
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  13. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    East Bay, CA
    All of their names are based on Norse mythology. They could have called it Thialfi, for example.
     
  14. Jack Flannery

    Jack Flannery Forum Resident

    Location:
    Houston, TX
    I will bet their next preamp will have this eq system in it.
     
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  15. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Location:
    Central PA
    ...you mean I have to read-up on Norse mythology to get a snicker out of you?
     
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  16. Doug Walton

    Doug Walton Forum Resident

    Location:
    United States
    I wish the form factor wasn't so small. Or maybe it's an omen for me.
     
  17. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    East Bay, CA
    LOL. ;)
     
  18. Ham Sandwich

    Ham Sandwich Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sherwood, OR, USA
    A product from Schiit named Sól (old Norse for Sun) should get a snicker out of most of us. Given what SOL stands for in English.
     
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  19. JHughesPSPB

    JHughesPSPB Active Member

    Location:
    State College, PA
    I couldn't really use this with a Rogue Sphinx could I? Where would it be inserted into the signal? Could this only be used between a preamp and an amp...not an integrated?
     
  20. Helom

    Helom Forum member

    Location:
    U.S.
    It can go between your source and the integrated's inputs.
     
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  21. Mike-48

    Mike-48 A shadow of my former self

    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    Integrated amps used to have pre-out/main-in jacks with jumpers. It doesn't seem that the Rogue has that. It's been a while since I've used an integrated. Has the feature become less common?
     
  22. Guitarded

    Guitarded Forum Resident

    Location:
    Montana
    Am I wrong in thinking you could probably run this in your tape loop (to make it defeatable)?

    * - Assuming you had one in your Integrated / Pre.
     
  23. ShallowMemory

    ShallowMemory Classical Princess

    Location:
    GB
    Some equipment lacks a 'tape out' or doesn't function as a loop even when fitted. It is a intriguing product and I'd agree the EQ bands seem well chosen so it revolves around how intrusive the processing is.
     
  24. Ham Sandwich

    Ham Sandwich Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sherwood, OR, USA
    The Loki EQ has a bypass switch that activates a relay that bypasses the processing circuitry. I have an ART HD-215 dual band graphic EQ that has a relay activated bypass. I don't hear a difference (a difference that I'd care about with my cables) between having the EQ in bypass mode and having the EQ completely wired out of the circuit. I'd assume the Loki EQ in bypass mode would be similar. If you're using high end cables and hear a difference when using those cables then maybe you'll hear a difference between an EQ in bypass mode and completely out of the circuit. But with my humble Blue Jeans cables I don't hear a difference.
     
  25. Chris Schoen

    Chris Schoen Rock 'n Roll !!!

    Location:
    Maryland, U.S.A.
    Where would I connect this in my system? Between my cd player and receiver, phono pre-amp and receiver?
     

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