The boxes are unveiled and the bows are off the new products for this year’s Schiit show. A certain amount of mystery and buildup surrounded the pre show promotion and teasers for what has become an annual event located in SoCal’s Hotel MDR. This year’s prize is a new headphone amplifier called the Jotunheim and it features a new twist for Schiit audio – a combo package.
Aside from the company’s budget Fulla ($79) separates have generally ruled the roost in the product lineup for a company typically known for a high bang to buck ratios. The Jotunheim amp sets a new tone on several fronts. The relatively small footprint of the box allows for a combination with either a USB digital or a MM phono stage. The optional additive in either case brings the cost up to $499 US ($399 for the amp alone) but is done in the same modular fashion as some of the other digitally inclined products from the company. This leaves the door open for not only the current variables, but also whatever else designer Jason Stoddard and the team may dream up in the near future.
Should you opt in for the USB connectivity, an AKM AK4490 dual DAC setup awaits to grant your every auditory wish. Although the delta sigma chipset is a slight deviation from the company’s recent multi-bit DACs, the chip-for-every-channel setup is the very same silicone that fuels the top of the line Astell and Kern 380 DAP ($3.5k), but for 1/7th the cost. The AKM jives well with high resolution files up to 24/192 (no DSD) in addition to streaming services or your collection of ripped Van Halen CDs.
Ins and outs for the box are very generous and almost completely fill the back panel. Balanced connections both in and out are offered in full end-to-end balanced designs that do not revert to, or originate from SE at any point in the device. Both the SE jack and the 4 pin balanced XLR in the front will drive headphones at the same time, even while the back panel is running to another element. Both SE and XLR options are variable output which allows the Jotunheim to act as a nice preamp for a desktop rig should you be so inclined. The three way input selector on the front panel toggles between SE, balanced and the optional card source.
The amp offers up two gain levels for a wide variety of headphones and 5 watts of power into 32Ω (500mW into 600Ω). Jason says that the Jotunheim is one of the best measuring amps he’s ever created, it will be interesting to see how the rest of the diverse product line reacts to the new kid on the block.
The new combo goes on sale Saturday, August 27 and should start shipping the following Monday for orders placed that weekend. It will probably be a busy week for the kids of Schiit, you can check out our tour coverage of their southern California facilities [here] for more details on the company’s US-based operations. You can find more information on the amp and place an order from their direct-to-consumer sales channel on the company site.