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This or the Schiit Jotunheim? I don't mind spending $500 on the Jotunheim, but it would be nice to save $180 if they perform the same.
This is no where near the quality of the Jot. Period. However to have the same features, make sure you select the built in DAC opt on Schiit's website. This is an upgrade over a sound card but mainly just because it's outside of motherboard electrical interferenc, where the jot is considered the best value for a prebuilt (as in you don't have to solder it yourself) under $500.
If you were willing to build your own, bottlehead crack with speedball upgrade and a Schiit Modi 2 DAC would be even better, but most people won't be able to solder it all together, so Jot with dac module is most likely your best bet for highest quality sound.
I'm waiting for the HD 6XX's from the second drop, which are the headphones who will be used with a dac/Amp, as I have no other headphones. (Other than my logitech g933.)
Yeah, that's what I thought. I'll go for the Jotunheim then
I was thinking about getting the built in DAC for the Jotunheim
I agree, products by JDS Labs are technically superior. I feel there's too much hype behind Schiit products, their DACs don't sound great, their amps are sterile IMO. I think they market themselves well as good value for money, and hence the big following at entry level that propagates upwards. People read the specs and see that Schiit outputs more power than virtually any other product, but most don't appreciate the fact that power is easy, control isn't.
The reason some think their amps sound "Sterile" is because they're fairly flat with very little distortion. If you want an amp to sound alive, fun, or exciting, tube amps more specifically tube rolling is for you. If you want a clean accurate sound and you can choose warm or bright or any kind of sound based off of your headphones, Solid State is for you.
The Jot is a far superior amp to this one, and not just in specs, but in THD. And both the sound labs and the Jot have built in Dac's (the jot's built in Dac if I remember right is slightly superior to the Modi 2 uber.
If you want accuracy, at this price range the Jot is way up there (I have not used every amp in this price range in existence so I won't say the best, but it's up there and I have used a Jot before)
Schiit is highly regarded because it's products are worth it, at least up to the $500-$600 range. I've never tested anything more expensive than that in Schiit's lineup so I really don't know about their top of the line products.
Think about how live acoustic music sounds natural and pleasing. You hear a Schiit setup, with a reasonably neutral headphone (AKG K701, Senn HD800) and it's sterile and sometimes harsh. Though they do match really well with warm headphones - HD650, LCD-2 - as it helps achieve a better balance, but they are far from natural. I also don't pay THD much attention, as distortion is different dependent on amplifier output and transducer interaction and can vary greatly between headphones.