Schiit Introduces Asgard and Valhalla Headphone Amplifiers

by admin on June 11, 2010 · 14 comments

in Amplifiers, Headphones

Newhall, CA USA — Schiit Audio introduced its first products today, the Asgard and Valhalla headphone amplifiers. Designed for use with audiophile headphones, Asgard and Valhalla set new standards for performance and aesthetics at their price points.

Asgard is a fully discrete, Class A, single-ended FET headphone amplifier with no overall feedback and a noninverting circuit topology. Its high-current design makes it uniquely suitable for low-impedance headphones. It is priced at $249, direct from the manufacturer.

Valhalla is a fully discrete, Class A, single-ended triode headphone amplifier with no overall feedback and noninverting circuit topology. It provides classic tube sound and can drive headphones with impedances as low as 32 ohms. It is priced at $349 direct from the manufacturer.

“We think we’ve reset the price-performance bar with these products,” said Jason Stoddard of Schiit. “We are designing and manufacturing in the USA, providing innovative circuit topologies which deliver amazing performance, and selling at super-competitive prices.”

Both Asgard and Valhalla are covered by a limited 5 year warranty, with the exception of the Valhalla tubes, which are covered by a 90-day warranty. Replacement tubes are available from the manufacturer for $20 for a pair of matched input tubes and $30 for a pair of matched output tubes.

Asgard and Valhalla are made in the USA, primarily of USA-sourced components. Innovative engineering has allowed Schiit Audio to keep the overall prices of their products similar to those from Chinese companies manufacturing in China.

About Schiit Audio

Schiit Audio is a US-based manufacturer of headphone amplifiers. Founded by Jason Stoddard, formerly of Sumo, and Mike Moffat, formerly of Theta, Schiit is dedicated to providing great-sounding, high-quality products made in the USA for highly competitive prices.

Press Contact:

Jason Stoddard
22508 Market Street
Newhall, CA 91321
jason@schiit.com
(323) 230-0079

{ 1 trackback }

Grado Labs GS-1000e Statement Headphones — Audiophilia
10.05.14 at 10:51 pm

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Trent C 06.11.10 at 10:32 am

What headphones would this amp work with best? How do you think this would pair with the Sennheiser HD800…

admin 06.11.10 at 10:58 am

Hi Trent. Welcome.

I’ve forwarded your comment to the designer.

Cheers, a

admin 06.11.10 at 1:09 pm

Trent:

From the designer:

Mr. Kershaw,

Good question! I can only state my experience, which is:

Asgard (MOSFET version) works extremely well with low-impedance Senns (HD555, 595, etc) and many other low-impedance phones (Grados, Audio-Technicas, etc). It also sounds amazing with the HD650s, which are the best Senns we currently have experience withn. It works well, but less than perfectly, with high-end AKGs (K701s particularly.)

For the AKGs, the Valhalla (tube version) pairs extremely well, despite its relatively low impedance of the phones. It also sounds excellent with the higher-end Senns (600, 650), so I suspect it would be wonderful with the HD800s. However, we’re still about 2 months out from production on that one (hence the pre-order status.)

I hope this helps–and thanks again for the mention on your site!

All the best,
Jason

Jason Stoddard 06.12.10 at 12:55 pm

Anthony, thanks again for posting this. Sorry for the late arrival here–it’s been something of a crazy week. We’ve had some very good response to the Asgard headphone amp, and I hope to have some pro reviews up shortly.

(Speaking of which, anyone interested in reviewing the amp? Let me know.)

Also, if you have any other questions, please feel free to contact me, either as a comment on this site or directly. I promise to get back to you straightaway.

admin 06.12.10 at 1:16 pm

Cheers, Jason.

Review? For sure. I’ll be in touch.

Cheers, a

Bill Woods 06.12.10 at 5:29 pm

Being an ardent fan of headphones, as well as an outspoken proponent of the technologies available to drive them, an article like this gives me the ‘warm fuzzies’. It’s extremely refreshing to see a competitively priced, high-end component being not only designed here, but also built in the USA.

I have always believed that the ‘price-to-performance’ ratio was the Holy Grail of high end electronics. Yes, amazing things can be accomplished with some elegant engineering, but at what cost? I’ve seen some tube-based headphone amps on eBay going for $1,000.00 plus. When I first saw the photo of the Schiit Audio amp, I immediately presumed it was going to cost the proverbial ‘arm and a leg’. There’s a lot of competition in this field, particularly from Benchmark, Grace and Musical Fidelity. If these little amps from Schiit Audio hold their own in the company of those brands, count on a paradigm (or two) being completely destroyed.

Building a piece of audiophile art at a price-point one needn’t take a 2nd mortgage to acquire and you have indeed, built something special. I have yet to hear these little headphone amps, but if they deliver the goods, (as I’m sincerely hoping they will) I just might become a true accolyte. And then you can count on me singing Schiit Audio’s praises up and down the West Coast from Santa Monica to Seattle.

Bill Woods 06.14.10 at 2:07 pm

After viewing the manufacturer’s website, I do have one caveat. There is only a single (L+R) RCA input. Hopefully down the road an output can be added so that this unit can also be used as a line level preamp. Having a tubed preamp is a great option for adding warmth and musicality to the connected component(s) before the front-end is re-routed to an amplifier or integrated amp.

Just a suggestion to the manufacturer, that I think would add overall value and versatility to what seems to be avery nice little piece of equipment.

Jason Stoddard 06.15.10 at 5:30 pm

Bill, adding a line-level output is great input, and a relatively simple mod–hopefully we can have it implemented in the first run of Valhallas (now, to call the metal vendor . . .)

Dave Elden 06.21.10 at 9:15 pm

Another vote for the line-level output option, would be very useful for many users I think especially in PC based systems where you send the line level output to a passive volume control for speakers when not using phones.

nunhgrader 07.05.10 at 12:25 pm

I agree Mr. Woods’ comments - I thought the amps would be much more expensive - would love to try the tube amp :)

Dave 07.23.10 at 11:10 am

I would like to purchase a Valhalla. When will you have one available?

Dave

Sean 08.17.10 at 7:43 am

And now for the most important question….will it be available in black?

Richard Overall 08.29.10 at 7:38 am

Yes, I’ve been watching and waiting for the release of the Valhalla. I think the schiit lads have done a great job of producing a top notch looking product, and (almost) just as importantly marketing it in a really intelligent way. The website is so well written! Love it.
I would also love to add a vote for a black, anodized version. I think it would look schiit hot (as we say here in Australia).
Cheers and good luck.

Leave a Comment

You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>