To Hans Wetzel,
I sincerely enjoyed your piece on Schiit Audio, but I’m afraid you’ve opened a can of worms! Do you have any idea when we can expect to see the Aegir and especially the Sol? Maybe about the same time we’ll see a Valhalla 3? Any idea what sort of price/performance range the Sol is targeting? And we’re totally on the same page re: a more flexible integrated. If they could do a platform (it’s gotta have tubes) that has an option for a multibit DAC (with Gen 5 USB), plus the same phono capabilities as their outboard product, that would be killer. An additional analog input is also a must. $999 is the perfect price point, but if it was special, I’d pay more. Add main outs (or a pair of main outputs, so biamping is possible . . . the $699 Vidar or $799 Aegir is a very affordable option for either biamping or bridging). Wow!
I’ve been an audio guy since the mid-’80s. Was a DJ in high school (1988 grad), so I had the pleasure of owning a current generation of the Technics SL-1200MK2. Boy, do I wish I kept it! Also wish I kept my Dunlavy Audio Labs SC-I loudspeakers from the mid-’90s and the Meadowlark Audio Kestrel 2s I sold a few years ago. I even worked in a high-end shop in 1994 and a mid-fi shop in 1995. But lately it’s been headphone gear, and I’m just now fleshing out another two-channel system.
My headphone system is the Schiit Valhalla with a Schiit Bifrost Uber. I use the Musical Fidelity V-Link192 USB-to-S/PDIF converter to decrapify my USB, and I’ve got cables that significantly exceed the typical budget for (roughly) $1000 in electronics. Source is a MacBook Air running iTunes. My headphones are [Sennheiser] HD 600s with an upgraded cable. I had a Cardas upgrade, but the ’phones-end terminations weren’t making a good connection, so I sold it. The one I have now isn’t a brand name or expensive. There might be a Nordost Blue Heaven upgrade cable in my future, but I’m waiting to decide if I’m going to jump to the [Sennheiser] HD 800 [headphones] first.
Anyway, after reading the Wharfedale Diamond 225 article on your site (along with the articles on the Stereophile and The Abso!ute Sound sites), I decided to grab a pair with the matching stands. They’ll be here Saturday. Can’t wait to hear them based on everyone’s love for them. This will be the first speakers I’ve ever purchased on word of mouth alone, but at $349 per pair, I didn’t feel like I had a whole lot to lose.
My current vinyl [setup] is a Music Hall Audio MMF-2.2LE with the acrylic platter upgrade. Considering an eventual step up to the [Music Hall] MMF-7.3 with the [Ortofon] 2M Bronze [phono cartridge]. The $1500 price range is a very crowded space -- way too many options out there!
I’d eventually also like to have a Rogue Audio Sphinx and a Schiit Ragnarok (or the mythical integrated outlined above), and I’d also like to get my hands on a pair of Dunlavy SC-II or SC-III [loudspeakers]. That would just about do it for me as far as flexibility while still being real-world in terms of dollars.
I’m keeping your site bookmarked, and I’ll return frequently to see the new reviews, etc. In the meantime, if there’s anything you’ve seen that sounds like it may fit within the gear I’ve outlined, I’m always looking for (and grateful for) input from professionals.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any greater insight than you do on Schiit’s future products, but I’m sure hoping we can land a couple review samples from them this year. Since they’re a direct-to-consumer outfit with a really strong customer base, they tend to put reviews on the backburner, but maybe that will change this year.
As for your hi-fi journey, I love that you’ve disc jockeyed, worked for a dealer, owned both popular and more obscure hi-fi gear, and are interested in both vinyl and headphone playback. Hopefully Schiit can oblige us with multiple product introductions this year. Thanks for bookmarking us! . . . Hans Wetzel