First of all, let’s just get the name out of the way. Yes, Schiit is pronounced exactly the way you think it is, a fact the company itself wants to make just as clear. Second, these guys are pretty cool; I mean, just have a look at their site. Who wouldn’t want to buy from them? However, good sense of humor and firm belief in your product can only get you so far. Let’s see whether the Schiit Valhalla is all it’s cracked up to be.
I’ll take it from the top; the Schiit Valhalla is a tube based headphones amplifier. I’ll get to the tubes later; let’s just get to the actual reasoning behind why you’d want a headphones amplifier in the first place. It all comes down to the simple fact that if you like to listen to your music in it’s purest form, you’d want to hear it as clearly and naturally as possible.
The job of a headphones amplifier is the same as those used for loudspeakers, to be able to deliver more power and better sound by providing a channel for your headphones to take them to their limits. I mean, would you have a car with a powerful engine but standard body parts? There’s a reason ford sells their Mustang Shelby GT500s with Brembo brakes, sports tires and a tuned suspension instead of the regular setup from the GT variants. Similarly any high-end headphones, like the recently reviewed Sennheiser HD 800 would truly benefit from the Schiit Valhalla, as the amp would bring out their maximum potential.
Looking at the Valhalla itself, you can immediately tell that Schiit was going for a classic 50’s sort of style. The entire amplifier is a design statement reflecting simplicity and retro-cool. The latter effect obviously comes from the four tubes sitting comfortably on the top. Otherwise the Valhalla has a single volume knob and a 6.3mm headphones jack up front. The rear panel has an RCA input and the power plug. The whole system is finished with brushed metal and some plastic grills on the top and sides, weighing just over 3 kilos.