Schiit Valhalla Headphones Amplifier Review

By on April 12, 2011
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Heavenly frequencies.

Good: Tube based amp, True & natural sound, Simple & beautiful design
Bad: Nothing really.
Price: AED 1,480
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

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.

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From auditing to editing, I now test and analyze the latest gadgets and games instead of the latest financial statements. Both jobs are equally intense and rewarding. When I'm not burning up hardware in the name of science, you'll find me nuking in DOTA 2 or engineering in TF2.

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  • Luay

    Now this is the Schiit! Too bad it aint portable, because a full on av amp/receiver at home is a better investment imo.

    • Taimoor Hafeez

      For huge loudspeakers, I’d agree that a bigger amp would be better at home. However, if you’re not into loudspeakers/ have a small apartment, then for listening to headphones, this is an ample amp.

      • Dubselect

        Hello! I’m thinking about headphone amplifier for my HD800. Are there any more ammplifiers in Dubai? I just want to compare Schiit to some other amplifiers to understand which will be the best for me.

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  • Drjerry34

    Need your expert advice: Have Sennheiser HD 800.   Need amplifier, but am scared off by price of tube amp you like so much.   Moreover, my playing equipment is not (IS NOT) blue-chip–PlayStation 3 and Sony Bravia for my opera and other classical music dvds.   I’m 77 with much hearing loss as well as some diminishing sight.   But I want so much to hear and see my operas.   Can you suggest anything besides a dog?   If so, I’ll do my best to pay for what I can scarcely afford but will if you recommend it!

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