Schiit Audio Launches The Modular Jotunheim 2
Schiit Audio revamped its modular headphone “combo” product Jotunheim this week into a second generation. Pulling both headphone amplification duties and either digital or phono pre gives the buyer some customizable options for an all-in-one unit for the desktop.
The digital options for the Schiit Jotunheim 2 allow for either Schiiit’s custom Multibit DAC USB or AK4490. A choice of phono pre amp gets you into the Moving Magnet variety with 42 dB of gain. Thats including a fully discrete, fully balanced design that doesn’t always appear in components of this type further up the cost ladder.
But none of that is particularly new to the line, the shiny fresh bits and boops come courtesy of Schiit’s Nexus balanced differently topology and the branded Continuity S output stage. More from the Schiit Jotunheim 2 press release:
“We’re calling Schiit Jotunheim 2 ‘the best $2400 amp that you can get for $400,'” said Jason Stoddard, Schiit’s co-founder. “Which is sure to aggravate some people. But when you look at what’s out there that’s fully discrete, fully differential, and features truly end-game touches like matched parts throughout (including front end JFETs matched to 1%, the tightest matching ever implemented for a production device), an Alps 27mm RK27114 quad-gang volume potentiometer, relay-switched input, gain, and output), you’ll realize that Jotunheim 2 has much more in common with a bespoke amplifier than something that’s made to a price point.”
Jotunheim 2 brings Schiit’s discrete Nexus gain stage to its most affordable level ever, while retaining the matching necessary for maximum performance. In addition, it debuts Continuity S, an enhancement of Schiit’s Continuity constant-transconductance output stage, but more focused on maximum efficiency.
“Continuity S is about getting the most out of the Jotunheim 2’s output stage,” said Jason. “It increases efficiency and enhances distortion performance, but without the losses or high standing current of Continuity. It’s not a replacement for Continuity—Continuity is still more linear, focused on a perfect splice to eliminate transconductance droop—but it brings many of the benefits of Continuity to Schiit Jotunheim 2. In fact, Schiit Jotunheim 2 runs a bit cooler than the original Jotunheim, thanks in part to Continuity S.”
Functionally, Jotunheim 2 adds a preamp output switch to allow easier integration into a full desktop system. Now, customers can choose whether or not the preamp outputs are enabled, so they can blend powered monitors with headphone listening (or add a subwoofer to headphones on command).
Performance-wise, Jotunheim 2 bests all metrics of the original Jotunheim, and provides both high power for inefficient headphones and low noise floor for sensitive IEMs.
Jason, however, notes that Jotunheim 2 is not just about measurements, and shouldn’t be grouped with other moderately-priced, IC-based, measurement-focused amps. “Magnius still beats Jotunheim 2 in terms of measurements, at half the cost—and at a cost much, much less than other measurement-focused balanced amps,” said Jason. “Jotunheim 2 is a fully discrete amplifier with low loop gain, an approach that many audiophiles prefer to amps based on op-amps. Despite the intentional choice of low loop gain to ensure constant feedback across the audio band and beyond, Jotunheim 2’s performance numbers are still very good, testifying to the the inherent linearity of the amplifier.”
Jotunheim 2’s modular design means that customers can choose one of three modules to customize the product to their needs:
No module—just a headphone amp and preamp: $399
With AK4490 balanced DAC module: $499
With True Multibit™ DAC module: $599
With MM Phono Preamp: $499
Jotunheim 2 is available to order today from the company’s direct to consumer site.
More info: Schiit Audio
by Brian Hunter