Schiit has long remained a favorite manufacturer of digital converters and headphone amplifiers among audiophiles. The Valhalla 2 is the only all-tube amp from the brand designed to help you make the most of the headphone’s full potential.
It is introduced as a complete revision of the Valhalla with lower distortion and output impedance, higher output capability, and improved performance.
Let us try to dig deeper into the features and offerings of the Schiit Valhalla 2 to find out if it is worth investing in.
Schiit Valhalla 2 Review – UPDATED 2021 – A Complete Guide
One of the most interesting options for a headphone amplifier, the Valhalla 2 from Schiit Audio is a classic yet modern unit that sounds great. It is an elegant model that retains Schiit’s minimalist design with brushed metal exteriors but adds some vintage dose with glass tubes. Such a unique appearance makes it stand out from any modern setup.
As a tube amplifier, Schiit Valhalla 2 is quite different from many other amplifiers on the market. Though it achieves the same function as any other headphone amp to deliver additional power and room into the headphone, tube amps have a distinct set of features and accomplish the purpose differently as compared to solid-state counterparts.
Tube amps are known to apply extra character to what you are playing. This can sometimes attribute to the distortion coming from the tube itself but is more from the inherent tonal shift of the tube. Some tubes provide a bass-rich, warm sound while others use enhanced dynamics to render a more energetic sound. A highly appealing aspect of a tube amplifier is the ability to change the tubes.
One of the best ways Valhalla 2 excels is the clarity in dynamics. It is not like other amps that lose detail when a scene is quiet or experiences trouble with sudden volume spikes. It adds life into the sound of reproduced music and you feel like you are listening to a live performance and not a recorded track.
The Schiit Valhalla 2 also does an amazing job with the soundstage. Another great feature of this amp is its ability to scale. It can output 340mW into 600ohms which should be sufficient to push the headphones with the highest impedance to optimum levels. Such a headroom lets you keep the volume level low while enjoying the benefits of clarity. This also means it is a capable pre-amp for driving powered speakers.
Valhalla Headphone Amplifier
Valhalla headphone amplifier intends to allow doing what you would not attempt with other tube amps. While most OTL tube amplifiers are only designed to work with 300-ohm Senns and 600 ohms Beyers, Schiit Valhalla 2 goes ahead to support headphones you would never think of using with a tube amp. A lot of people even use this amp with low-impedance, sensitive headphones. You can use it with IEMs, AKGs, Grados, etc.
The all-metal chassis is a unique characteristic of Valhalla amps and the Valhalla 2 is small enough to fit a desktop at 9 x 6 x 3.25 inches and weighs 3.2 kgs. Unlike older amps, the Valhalla 2 features preamp outputs so that you can use it with a stereo amp to drive a pair of powered desktop speakers. The all-tube amp has a single voltage gain stage, DC-coupled input, and current source biased front end. Valhalla 2 is about dynamics, neutrality, and accuracy and does not offer the saturated sound of tube amps from the past.
Valhalla 2 adds two new features – a gain switch and preamp outs. With preamp outputs, you can connect your powered monitors directly with the amp to give them the tube magic. The gain switch, on the other hand, gives you better control of impedance and output level to better match your headphones. It is extremely easy to build a complete desktop system with this amp.
Like all other Schiits, the Valhalla 2 is designed and built in California with factory chassis built in-house and other components including boards and transformers coming from US-based manufacturing companies. The amp is also covered by a 5-year limited warranty against labor and parts. It even comes with a 15-day satisfaction guarantee to try the product.
There are a few considerations you should be aware of. Though a tube design is desirable, it requires more maintenance because tubes should be replaced after every 5000 hours of listening. Moreover, you pay a price for the tube design. The Valhalla 2 does not include a DAC which you will need to get separately. Another consideration is space as tubes get hot and you don’t want anything to touch them when in use.
Max power: 300mW RMS per channel at 300 ohms
Frequency response: 20Hz-20KHz
Output impedance: 14ohms
Input impedance: 100k ohms
Power consumption: 40W
The Valhalla 2 from Schiit audio is a beautiful piece in a brushed metal exterior that adds a nice touch to any desktop setup. There is a big volume knob on the front which can be turned right to make the music louder. It also has a power-on LED that lights when the power is on. The headphone jack is where you plug in your headphones.
The tubes should be inserted before plugging the amp in. The short tube should be inserted in the front and the long at the back near the RCA jack. Once you make sure the tubes are well-aligned, you can plug the amplifier and turn it on to see the tubes glowing in a few seconds. You can then plug in your source and start enjoying the music.
The Schiit Valhalla 2 headphone amp comes with an AC input and RCA inputs along with preamp outputs. It also has a gain switch that makes it capable of handling high and low impedance headphones. Then there is an on/off switch that you can use to turn off the unit when not in use. This helps save and extend the tube life.
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Well-built with full-metal exterior
- Highly scalable
- Expands soundstage
- Tubes tend to become hot
Schiit Asgard 2 Vs Valhalla 2 – How They Compare?
Schiit Asgard 2 is an upgrade to the original entry-level solid-state amp. The Valhalla 2, on the other hand, is a tube amplifier from the brand, a follow-up to the Valhalla 1 with improved sound. Which of the two appeals more to you depends on personal preferences.
Those who like the warmth of tubes would prefer Valhalla 2 while Asgard 2 better suits audiophiles who like the punch and speed of a solid-state amp. Both Asgard 2 and Valhalla 2 come with a gain switch and can be used with powered monitors, IEMs, and as a preamp with powered speakers.
Schiit Valhalla 2 Vs Vali 2 – How They Differ?
Vali 2 and Valhalla 2 are both tube amplifiers from Schiit and have notable differences. Vali 2 is a hybrid headphone amplifier while Valhalla 2 is an all-tube amplifier, the only model from the company. The Vali 2 is designed to offer preamp and amplifier in one, with a lower noise floor and a higher power that suit a wide range of headphones including sensitive IEMs and planar magnetic models.
Valhalla 2 is an all-tube amp that delivers more power and sounds great with higher impedance headphones. Vali 2 can also work well with high and low impedance phones but not so well as Valhalla. Vali 2 being a hybrid offers the best of tube and solid-state and you can enjoy the tube sound while having the most power in the low ohm range.
Best Tubes For Schiit Valhalla 2
The Schiit Valhalla 2 uses a 6N1P tube for dual triode input and 6N6P for dual triode output. The 61NP is rollable for 6DJ8, 6BZ7, ECC88, 6922, and more. If you don’t want to use the included tubes or want to replace them, you can do that with any of these. It is recommended that you replace tubes with the same types as it uses. The short tube in the front is a 6N1P while the long is 6N6P.
The user manual for Schiit Valhalla lists the tubes that work with the amp. You can use any of the tubes listed in the manual. Make sure you stick to the approved ones as you may end up with bad consequences if the tube has a different pinout. You can get the recommended tubes from any manufacturer for replacement.
The Schiit Valhalla 2 is an excellent amplifier that provides a lot of value for money. It features an attractive aesthetic and a sturdy build with a variety of connections for flexibility. The way it scales for any set of headphones thrown at it is pretty impressive. If you are a music or gaming enthusiast and looking for a tube amp, there is a good chance the Valhalla 2 will appeal to you with everything it has to offer.