Schiit Audio Vali 2+ headphone amplifier Associated Equipment

Sidebar 2: Associated Equipment

Analog sources: Dr. Feickert Analogue Blackbird turntable with Schick 10.5" tonearm; Koetsu Rosewood Signature, My Sonic Lab Ultra Eminent Ex, Hana Umami and ML moving coil cartridges.
Digital sources: Apple Mac mini running Audirvana+; HoloAudio May (Level 3) D/A processor with Itona USB 3.0 Isolator; Mytek HiFi Brooklyn DAC+.
Headphones: Sony MDR-Z1R, HiFiMan Susvara, JPS Labs Abyss AB-1266 Phi TC, T+A Solitaire P, ZMF Vérité, Focal Clear and Stellia.
Headphone amplifiers: Ampsandsound Bigger Ben, Schiit Asgard (original) and Jotunheim 2, Linear Tube Audio Z10e.
Cables: Digital: AudioQuest Diamond, Kimber Kable D60 Data Flex Studio (coax), Itona 4053-0.2-R USB. Interconnect: Cardas Clear Cygnus. Speaker: Triode Wire Labs American Series. AC: AudioQuest Tornado, manufacturer's own.
Accessories: Sony MDR-Z1R AudioQuest Niagara 1000 power conditioner.—Herb Reichert

Schiit Audio
22508 Market St.
Newhall, CA 91321
(323) 230-0079

thatguy's picture

It seems like using it as a preamp could be fun. I'd love to hear some impressions of that.

thethanimal's picture

My mother-in-law gifted me a subscription to that other audio mag after my wife suggested it for Christmas. After reading their latest issue last night, coming across your article this morning was like a breath of cool morning air — right in line with our unusually frosty morning in Atlanta. I look forward to each of your articles for the excellent prose, artistic references, and eclectic music. My Tidal library is getting hard to manage these days after adding so many of the recordings you’ve referenced!

Which brings me to a recommendation: Areni Agbabian’s album “Bloom” on ECM (Tidal MQA). Gorgeously atmospheric vocals and piano from this Armenian American woman, with Nicolas Stocker on various hand drums, chimes, bells, gongs, etc. Air, space, reverb tails, timbre, tactile drum skins, nuance, and emotion for days. Seems right up your ally.

Herb Reichert's picture

I am glad to be some 'cool morning air' and I am grateful for your time spent reading.

And thank you forever for the album recommendation.

I am listening to Areni Agbabian’s “Bloom” right now, and you definitely nailed my taste. It is a beautiful recording that is seducing me completely. Look for it in one of my next stories.

Got another album tip?

peace and tulips,


thethanimal's picture

I can’t claim any special credit for finding that album. I’ve added several albums from the ECM label over the last few years thanks to you and other Stereophile recommendations, and then I found a Tidal-curated playlist titled “Label Focus: ECM - Tidal Masters.” I hit play and the first track from Bloom — “Patience” — graced my ears a few minutes later. I’d recommend the whole playlist.

For other album recommendations I’ll start with something completely different: Kendrick Lamar’s “DAMN.” Not the best sonics, but as a cultural landmark and an eye-opening view of a life so different from mine as a upper-middle class white guy I consider it required listening. It won a Pulitzer for a reason.

Beyond that, Sturgill Simpson’s “Cuttin’ Grass - Vol. 1” and The Avett Brothers’ “Emotionalism” for newer (and perhaps pop-ier) bluegrass or Americana. But don’t miss Avett Brothers’ “Murder in the City” off “The Second Gleam” album. Any of the versions of Steve Reich’s “Music for 18 Musicians” or “Eight Lines” (all on ECM I think) to close your eyes and take a hallucinatory trip through your subconscious. For contemporary choral work, I love Eric Whitacre, with my favorite album being “Cloudburst” performed by Polyphony led by Stephen Layton, but it’s not on Tidal. He might be more mainstream than Erik Esenvalds’ works (thanks again to Stereophile and John Atkinson for the albums with Portland State Choir!) but I hear similarities in their work.

I may have to find one of those Japanese input tubes you mentioned for my Decware SE84UFO. I have NOS rectifiers — an RCA from the 1950s and a military surplus (JAN) that might have been made by Sylvania in the 1960s — but I didn’t get those until the stock rectifier blew on me so never got an A/B comparison.

thethanimal's picture

The Atlanta sun scorched my potted tulips, but the baptisias and coreopsis are in full glory, with the rudbeckias coming soon. Cardinals and finches and nuthatches battle for the sunflower seeds at the feeder. Thank God for spring!


Jack L's picture


Potted Tulips should NOT be put under direct sunshine.

Last month I got 2 potted Tulips (still bulbing), one red & one yellow, from Home Depot. I put them indoor with mild sunhshine thru the patio door vertical blinds. Now booming with beautiful large flowers !!!

Every spring/summer, I spend soo many hours outdoor gardening. I dare say I am a lawn turf repair 'expert' using seeds & black soils. NO no need costly sod.

Jack L

Herb Reichert's picture

are not as exotic as yours and my poor knowledge of flower names is comedic. But we must share a lot of interests as my writing desk sits arm's length from a window that looks over my plot in a community garden which currently features hoards of exploding tulips. When they pass, the Zinnenias and honeysuckle take over. (I bet you got mad good honeysuckle!) Also, right at my writing window are several bird feeders that mostly service sparrows and doves but sometimes I get 'visitations' from mocking birds, woodpeckers, blue jays, robins, and starlings - which are always exciting. Yesterday, a GIANT crow appeared on the ground in the garden. I had not seen a crow in years and this one was the size of a small dog!!!

And then, and then, me and my brother Jeffrey Jackson (The Salt Cellar horns) are also into Kendrick Lamar’s “DAMN.” Thank you again, I will check out your other recommendations.

peace and verdant gardens,


thethanimal's picture

Indeed. Gardening has become a passion and I’m playing catch-up on bird identification.

I remember reading the reference to Lamar in your Salt Cellar horn article and wondered if it was DAMN. I’m loving my SET amp and full-range drivers, but ever since reading that article I’ve been longing to experience some horns like that system, or WE 15a’s, or even an Altec VOTT A-7. I’d like to hear some Devore Orangutans too, but there isn’t a dealer in Atlanta. Not that I could afford any of that, though. I did listen to a ~$50k KEF Blade rig at Hifi Buys (which is a great store with some great guys) but I liked my system better. My crossover-less SET rig has an immediacy that $50k can’t buy, it seems.

Jack L's picture


I wish gardening is a "passion" for me as well like my vinyl music.

It is now my job instead due to my fully-fenced backyard is converted to somewhat like Saint-Saens' "The Carnival of the Animals" in spring/summer.

Besides birds, intruders coming from nowhere include squirrels, rabbits, wild cats, & raccoons etc. These animals manage to squeeze through gaps between the wooden fence boards to enjoy the sunshine on the lawn.

My most hated is the rabbits, some big like a medium raccoon, eat away the lawn turf. So I got to patch it up.

So besides a lawn guy, I've become a fence mender as well, No choice !

Just last week, I spotted a huge dirty grey raccoon, sized like a small pig, walked across my lawn. It may look bulky & clumsy, but its long sharp claws can climb it up to any house rooftop. No kidding. By the law here, we have to leave these animals alone.

Jack L

Jack L's picture


Yes, tube SET is my passion like vinyl music.

For years, I've been playing vinyl & digital music with my design/built
SET. It's a very simple 2-stage all-triode class A SET power amp 5W+5W.

I'm now building a larger 2-stage 10W+10W SET power amp using the same zero-global/LOCAL-feedback class-A grounded cathode topology & triodes of the same models. For best sounding, IMO. Let's see.

Yes, "full-range drivers" are excellent sounding to those music lovers not too fancy for hi-low frequency extremes.

For for yours truly, I want to enjoy full range music with glass-shattering high pitch of soprano singing as well as floor shaking cathedral pipe organs deep bass music.

"Full-range drivers" can't deliver it. This is physics.

To achieve such frequency extremes, I've added a pair of Motorola direct radiating piezo (no-horn) tweeters (up to 40KHZ) to my fully-upgraded KEF 2-way bi-wired standspeakers. For deep bass, added 3 powered subwoofers (L, R & L+R) hooked direct to my design/built all-triode tube phono-linestage. It works like a chime, IMO.

For good music, don't bank on luck. Nothing comes easy.

Jack L

My Fi's picture

Any tips on where one can pick up an Electric Industry Co. Ltd. 7DJ8 that served as the capstone to this excellent review? Thanks!

Currawong's picture

...then these little amps do remarkably well. The key thing is that they run out of power much faster than the larger Asgard and Jotunheim.