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Is this amp worth the price difference with the Schiit Asgard (which is far less expensive and somewhat comparable, both are class A amp with discreet components, no ICs, without an integrated DAC). The Arcam has a better brand name and reputation, is more powerfull on paper, but is it worth the price difference? The Asgard at its regular price is about half the price of this drop...
The asgard runs incredibly hot which might pose a problem. If you were going to compare an amp from the schiit line, it would have to be the jotunheim. And even then, I'd take the arcam since they've been in the industry for a very long time. Schiits CS has gone downhill over the last couple years and their haughty attitude doesn't bode well with the audiophiles that I know and talk to.
The Asgard runs hot because it's a pure class A design, nothing wrong about it. I must say that I recognize the quality and the reputation and good reviews that Arcam (and A&R Cambridge before that) has had over the years. I would probably jump in the drop if the rebate was closer to 40 to 50%. I still think this Amp is a bit expensive for what it offers at that price. Just my opinion.
The arcam is a class A design amp... What's the difference between a "pure" class A design and a class A design? They're both the same, mate. With that said, the arcam doesn't get as hot as the asgard. Don't take my word for it though. This is something that you'll have to experience for yourself.
Yes they are both class A amps, although I have read somewhere in a review that Arcam's design operates in class AB at higher levels. The design might be a little different. I said pure in the sense that most class AB amps have some limited capacity to drive in a class A mode when driven at lower levels. And you may be right that Arcam's design yields to lower operating temperature than Schiit's in its Class A designs. But it is very "normal" for class A designs to operate and to dissipate a lot of heat. Maybe Arcam's design dissipates heat in a better way or maybe Arcam's design of class A implementation is different than Schiit's. In any case, I find that Arcams are more expensive and while maybe being superior I find the price difference more important than the quality diffrence may justify. Importation costs and duty fees may explain part of the price difference. Quality in itself may explain the other part of the price difference, and the brand name / reputation of Arcam may also add a few $ in the final pricing. If Massdrop could chop another 100$ or so to the price I would probably fall in this drop... One last thing: why isn't this amp having an ajustable gain selector like most headphone amps to adjust to different kind of headphones with different impedance loads?