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

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

  1. loki993

    loki993 Member

    Mine sounds great..definitely not dead..Im using an SL-B3 with an AT 4412xe cart and a OE ATs-12 stylus.
  2. PoeRaider

    PoeRaider Forum Resident

    Well thanks to Schiit's super fast shipping on my package, I've got my Mani about 6 days earlier than expected! I'm not ready to give an in depth review, but right out of the box this thing smokes the Pro-ject Phono Box S. It's not really even close. Better decay on instruments, tighter mids, better bass definition, and a more accurate top end (The Box S seems a little sloppy on the treble.. like too shimmering or something). I can't believe the Mani was 70$ cheaper than the Pro-ject.

    One negative I have to report is a low frequency hum I'm hearing between tracks. I have pretty revealing Ascend speakers and the hum is only audible between tracks where there is no music, but it's still a bit concerning. I did a quick needledrop, and inspected the background noise. There is a definite spike in the spectral at 120kHz. I don't recall hearing this (or seeing it) with the Phono Box S. It's not intrusive enough to be a deal breaker for me, but I hope it can be reduced or eliminated. Must investigate further.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2014
    mikeyt likes this.
  3. Hum, not good. I saw some hum too but I thought it was because I had the PCB out of the case. I'm trying to make time to get to my unit later tonight but Lounge calls.
  4. PoeRaider

    PoeRaider Forum Resident

    I moved things around and pulled out some new rca cables, isolated the power cords and wall warts better, and... the hum is gone. So I spoke too soon. Not sure what the culprit was exactly, but I should have done these things before posting about hum. My apologies. The Debut Carbon has always had a bit of background noise, which I mostly rectified by removing the motor screws and rubber washers. And it's back to that low level of noise now.

    One thing I did notice in comparing spectrals of the background noise of the Mani vs the Phono Box S, is the Mani is much quieter across the audible spectrum. The noise level stays pretty flat and consistently below -100dB on the Mani. The noise waveform on the Box S is much more volatile, and about 5 to 15 dB louder, generally hanging out in the -85 to -95dB range. The Mani is really impressing me! Now back to more listening.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2014
    mikeyt, c-eling and morinix like this.
  5. Schiit happens! :laugh:
    PoeRaider likes this.
  6. Can you name the cartridge you are using when posting impressions?
    I am using a Phono Box S w/Ortofon 2M Blue on Thorens TD160
    I have been considering the Lounge and now the Schiit has entered the picture.
  7. CarterB

    CarterB Well-Known Member

    I don't have Schiit but I have a TD160 Super with 2M Orange with a Lounge and love the combo...
  8. The Lounge is high on my list. Nothing but positive reviews.
    Will wait to see if the Mani is the Schiit!!!
  9. PoeRaider

    PoeRaider Forum Resident

    I'm using a debut carbon TT with Shure M97XE cart & Jico SAS Stylus. I updated my profile.

    I'd love to try out the Lounge preamp but I'm already juggling more pre's than I should be lol. Maybe some time in the future. I'm just waiting for the Bugle 2 to arrive now, to compare it to the Mani. If I knew the Mani would sound this good I probably would have skipped the Bugle 2.

    But my Phono Box S has been retired by the Mani, no doubt.
  10. There is a Schiit on top of my Lounge.
  11. It's on bubble wrap. It's a floater. :D
    Part of me takes childish fun in the Schiit name. :angel:
    Dmann201, jriems, jfeldt and 3 others like this.
  12. GOOD ONE! :biglaugh::laugh::biglaugh::righton:
  13. Ok, so this Schiit needs some break-in. So I will be spinning a thrift store mariachi LP that has truly been through the wars (it's been beat to s#!t). It (the LP) has constant hiss and heavy duty snap, crackle pop. That ought to get this Schiit to cool down a bit.

    Soon to find out; Is this a piece of Schiit or is it THE Schiit?
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2014
  14. This is a good unit. Like I said before; I can only listen through MM. I'm still forming a full opinion. My first thought? If you were thinking of getting a Cambridge get the Mani. I have had a 640p here in the Lounge laboratory about two years ago. The Mani is better than I remember the 640p. I'm forming my first impression from going back and forth between a Lounge LCR MKIII (imagine that;)) and the Mani. I will say that the Lounge resolves the very top end of vocals and things like guitar note bending better. But the Mani is not really doing anything wrong so far. HOWEVER this is with Beatles Revolver 2014 mono: SO the source is already quite compressed and no stereo imaging to worry about.

    The power supply design in the Mani has me wondering how this little preamp will do with more dynamic music.

    Like any preamp the Mani needed some break-in. It was slightly strident yesterday upon first power up.

    Stay tuned. :D
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2014
    T'mershi Duween likes this.
  15. loki993

    loki993 Member

    Keep in mind that my Mani is still new and not near broken in yet, plus I have new speakers as well. Listening to a bit of Jack White with it though imaging sounds good to my untrained ears. I definitely need more listening time on it to make a better determination though. I do have to say your results are very encouraging and Im definitely looking forward to more impressions.
    morinix likes this.
  16. BTW when I'm doing lestening tests of units I am very A.D.D. about it. I listen to a song bouncing between two units for may 10 minutes, then I go do other things, then repeat. My choice of listening material is very fluid. The test units and my gear stay on patiently waiting 'till I get another hair up my butt to listen to another selection. That's how I roll. :cool:
  17. PoeRaider

    PoeRaider Forum Resident

    The Mani continues to impress me as I do further listening and let it break-in some. I agree with Morinix that it sounded a bit strident/aggressive out of the box (while still crushing the Phono Box S in the process). That seems to be relaxing a bit with play time.

    But in other news, my Hagerman Bugle2 (preassembled) arrived today. Hooked her up to my system and immediately I am hearing what I would call the most lifelike top end I have yet heard out of my TT rig. The upper frequencies just sparkle, in the best possible way. Acoustic guitar tones sound incredible. The Mani was an improvement over the Phono Box S in this regard, but the Bugle2 takes it up yet another notch.

    Another initial impression is that the Bugle2 seems a bit leaner on the bottom end than the Mani. The bass definition is good, but the notes lack a bit of meat perhaps. But that sweet sounding top end is a huge plus. Bear in mind, I'm dealing with components that really need some break-in time, so this could change. Considering that, my current ranking of the 3 budget preamps I am trying would be Bugle2 (2 hrs use) > Schiit Mani (10 hrs use) >> Pro-ject Phono Box S (100+ hrs use).
    mikeyt and jordanb87 like this.
  18. So because of another thread I decided to go from Revolver mono 2014 to Revolver Stereo Black & Silver 2 Box EMI Label YEX 605-1 GGG pressing. So I start out with Tax Man. First Lounge, then Mani. Not bad! not bad at all! Mani was doing very well. The soundstaging narrowed a bit, but not much. I thinking "wow! this is something". So I let it go to Eleanor Rigby, seems ok. Then before ER ends I switch back to Lounge. Now the men and the boys show what they are made of. All of the room cues, those first reflections become evident. Mani was not transmitting the space that the strings and vocals sit in. I went to a big effort with the Lounge to make opamps operate in class A and keep the power supply awake with shunt regulation and this is where it shows. It really is something because when those small room cues are gone you don't really notice it. But when you get to hear them with a quick change of cables from one unit to the other it is like when the Wizard of OZ switches from black and white to color.
  19. So far this is the signal chain I have been doing my listening with; Technics SL-D5, Shure V15 type IV jico SAS, Lounge LCR MKIII or Schiit Mani. Alesis ML9600 (hot rodded). AKG K701 'phones.
  20. Any updates?:-popcorn:
  21. I've been letting it burn all this time. I want to try another go-round with Revolver.
  22. Slowhead

    Slowhead Active Member

    I'm interested how the Bugle 2 vs the Mani is going.
  23. I ordered a Mani that should be here today. Will report back soon...
    morinix likes this.
  24. So I got my Mani and plugged it in. I played my CCC MO press of Led Zep I sounds exactly the same as the phono jack on my Luxman. No difference at all, no "WOW" moment.


    I keep reading about a break in period. How many hours is the break in? And once it is broken in, what will I notice?

    FYI, along with my Luxman R 1050 receiver, I have a Nagaoka MP 110 cart and a Thorens 160 TT with ADS 730 speakers.

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