Schiit Audio Announces The New Hel 2

Schiit Hel 2

It’s one of Schiit Audio’s smaller boxes and it comes in red and black. The new iteration of the Schiit Hel 2 expands on the idea of more ins-and-outs for gaming, also now including “communications” into the fold for even more diverse connectivity. This all circulates around a unique A-to-D mic input for the notoriously D-to-A box maker. A mic input for gaming, but also an interface for call taking on a computer or phone – hence “communications”. All this with of course, more power superior playback for full size audiophile headphones if the spirit moves you.

For the Schiit Hel 2 the big updates are (from the PR release):

  • More power: Hel 2 is rated at 1200mW into 32 ohms, 20% more than Hel.
  • More connectivity: Hel 2 adds an optical input, so you can connect it to any TV with an optical output.
  • More compatibility: Hel 2 has built-in UAC2/1 switching, which means it’s now compatible with many gaming consoles like Sony PS4, PS5, and Switch. 
  • More modernity: Hel 2 uses USB-C connectors, rather than Hel’s USB-micro.
  • More quality: Hel 2 offers lower noise and distortion than Hel.

All good things, no doubt. But the biggest one for console gamers is the UAV2/1 point. For those that aren’t aware, that allows more compatibility (both directions) for the PS5 and Switch directly with no more work-arounds. That protocol isn’t part of the Xbox ecosystem yet, so only audio out for Microsoft console gamers.

Schiit Hel 2 back

More from the press release:

Today, Schiit Audio announced the Hel 2, a significant upgrade from Hel, it’s popular PC gaming headphone DAC/amp. Hel 2 offers more power, more connectivity, more compatibility, more modernity, and more quality than the outgoing Hel, at only $10 more. Hel 2 is available now at schiit.com for $199. “We always saw the original Hel as a PC gaming product,” said Jason Stoddard, Schiit’s co-founder. “We worked with gamers, streamers, and podcasters on the original. But it also found two different audiences: office workers, especially home office workers, who loved the clarity for voice and video conferencing, and just plain old music listeners, who liked having a transportable device they could run off USB.”

“The original Hel was really a PC (or Mac) device,” added Stoddard. “Now, it connects to many consoles, almost all smart TVs, monitors that have an optical output, heck, even CD players. With its integrated preamp output, you can connect to powered monitors or power amps, as well as headphones. It may be the one single box you need for virtually all your audio.” Hel 2 uses super-high-quality parts throughout, with construction more befitting a high-end device. Boasting an AK4490 DAC and AK5720 ADC, a custom Alps potentiometer, as well as multiple TI OPA1656 in a completely DC-coupled topology with 0.5% thin-film resistors and film capacitors, the Hel 2 has some serious audiophile credentials.  Hel 2 is powered entirely by USB, with an included 2.1A USB power supply. A sophisticated bi-polar rail generator creates Hel 2’s +/-12V rails while switching at 3MHz, far above the audio frequency band. Using the all-new C-Media CM6635 USB receiver, Hel 2 offers exceptional flexibility, including automatic UAC1/UAC2 switching for compatibility with many popular consoles, as well as PC, Mac, iOS, Android, and Linux devices.

The Schiit Audio Hel 2 is currently available direct from the company’s site, and retails for $199.

More info: Schiit Audio Hel 2

You can check out our thoughts on the previous generation of Hel in our review of the Hel Yea Gaming Bundle from Dan Clark Audio. You can also read our latest review of The Schiit Modi 3+ $99 DAC for some insights into their popular line of audiophile D-To-A converters. Interested parties can also catch an interview with Schiiit’s founder and digital designer Mike Moffat on The Occasional Podcast, also available in the embed below (Mike’s part starts around the 24:30 mark.)

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