Schiit’s new audiophile amplifier is a slam dunk winner



The Schiit Ragnarok 2 amplifier.

Lee Shelly

You realize about Schiit? The California-based firm has been making stellar, largely very reasonably priced electronics since 2010, and I’ve reviewed a bunch of them. The most recent Schiit cargo got here in a plain brown delivery carton, however its insides have been something however extraordinary: The Schiit Ragnarok 2 stereo built-in amplifier seems to be, feels and feels like no different amp. That’s, besides the unique Ragnarok, which was the Audiophiliac Element of the Yr in 2015.

The brand new amp delivers 60 watts per channel into eight ohm audio system, and 100 watts per channel for four ohm audio system, identical as earlier than. In the meantime, the Ragnarok 2’s extremely excessive energy headphone amp delivers as much as 24 watts for 32 ohm headphones, however also can safely work with excessive sensitivity in-ear headphones that play fortunately with simply tiny fractions of a watt.

The brand new one seems to be slightly totally different. Its all-metal chassis design is spiffed up with air flow holes on the decrease entrance panel, and a set of uncovered, finned warmth sinks alongside the edges. The amp’s entrance panel controls make extra ergonomic sense than earlier than, and from left to proper are enter selector, headphone/speaker output selector, acquire (excessive, medium or low), and an enormous quantity management knob. To the proper of the knob there are customary 6.3mm and balanced XLR headphone output jacks. 

The Ragnarok 2 now has non-compulsory digital converter and phono preamp modules. It is $1,499 for the bottom model, and $1,799 with the phono enter and USB multibit excessive decision digital converter modules. (Within the UK it is £1,400 or £1,700.)


The Schiit Ragnarok 2 rear panel.

Lee Shelly

The bottom mannequin Ragnarok 2 sports activities 5 pairs of stereo analog inputs (two XLR and three RCA). The totally loaded Ragnarok 2 has two pairs of XLR inputs, together with two RCA inputs (one moving-magnet phono enter, one line stage) and one USB digital enter. Each variations of the amp have stereo RCA and XLR preamp outputs that may be hooked as much as a subwoofer or separate amplifier (extra on that later). Ragnarok 2 measures 16 by 13 by 3.eight inches (406 by 305 by 95mm), and weighs 32 kilos (14.5 kg). 

The unique Ragnarok did not include a distant management — the brand new one has a spiffy, small easy-to deal with aluminum one which controls quantity, enter choice, acquire stage and mute.


The Ragnarok 2’s easy-to-handle distant.

Steve Guttenberg/CNET

The amp looks like a precision instrument. The amount management, for instance, is fairly particular. It is a 128-stepped attenuator that makes little clicks from inside the Ragnarok 2 chassis if you change the amount — with the knob or the distant. 

The chassis ran heat to the contact, so do not even consider stuffing the Ragnarok 2 inside a closed cupboard. The Ragnarok 2 is made within the US, with largely US-made elements. Schiit’s five-year guarantee is significantly longer than what you get with most mass-market electronics. 

Listening to Schiit 

I first auditioned the Ragnarok 2 with a Schiit Yggdrasil 2 digital converter whereas alternating between two units of audio system, KEF LS50 stand mount displays and enormous Klipsch Forte III audio system. Afterwards I put the Yggdrasil apart when the amp served on desktop responsibility, the place I used its built-in USB digital converter.

The Schiit Yggdrasil 2 (high), the Schiit Ragnarok 2 amp (backside)

Lee Shelly

It has been 4 years since I’ve heard the unique Ragnarok, and whereas I favored the sound I do not recall considering it was all that clear. With the Ragnarok 2 it was simply the alternative, and that is what first grabbed and held my consideration. The sound was very clear, fairly detailed and open.

The Ragnarok 2 was a truthful messenger. Music sounded actual, quick and alive. I beloved it for that. It is not going to sweeten the sound of harsh recordings, however the nice ones have been revealed in all their glory. Too dangerous Arcade Hearth’s The Suburbs album’s sound was brutally harsh, however that is not the fault of the Ragnarok 2, it is only a nasty sounding recording.

Ah, however then Led Zeppelin’s BBC Classes album performed over Klipsch Forte III audio system was pure rock ‘n roll heaven. The sound was so alive, the rhythm part’s punch was gutsy and — an enormous shock — the recording had a terrific sense of depth!

The R.E.M. on the BBC dwell live performance set sound diverse from one present to the following, besides the band’s vitality and energy have been all the time vivid as hell. Performed loud I used to be completely there, connecting to the music.

I needed I had the Magnepan LRS panel audio system available for the Ragnarok 2 evaluation. As I frolicked with the amp I knew it might have been a high-quality match with these audio system. Similar for the Wharfedale Lintons I had at residence in June — the Ragnarok 2 would probably click on with them too.

To check out utilizing the Ragnarok 2 as a preamp, I attached the Schiit Aegir energy amp, and at first I could not get any sound out of the Aegir. I checked and rechecked the connections. They have been right. The proprietor’s handbook was no assist, so I simply fiddled about making an attempt issues, and once I switched off the Ragnarok 2’s speaker output and turned on the headphone output, the Aegir began taking part in! So in different phrases you could flip on the headphone output to make use of the Ragnarok 2 as a preamp! That is very unusual, however straightforward to do as soon as you understand how to do it. 

Teamed with the Aegir the sound was much more see-through, and the soundstage took on a extra three-dimensional high quality. The ‘2 was no slouch by itself, however the Aegir conjured more room and depth between devices, and particular person voices in choral recordings have been simpler to listen to with the Ragnarok 2/Aegir mixture.

I additionally tried the ‘2 with a 250 watt-per-channel Mytek Brooklyn Amp ($2,500), and the sound developed a fleshier and richer tonal stability than the Ragnarok 2 attached on to the audio system, or the Ragnarok 2/Aegir mixture. Although I might guess most Ragnarok 2 house owners will use it as an built-in amp and be very glad with the sound, it is good to know it may be upgraded sooner or later with the addition of a separate energy amp.

The Ragnarok 2 can also be one heck of a headphone amp. It drove massively insensitive headphones just like the Hifiman Susvara with a outstanding sense of ease, and the sound was completely excellent.

I am undecided why, however a whole lot of residence headphone amps aren’t good matches with in-ear ‘telephones, however the Ragnarok 2 actually clicked with the FiiO FH5s: The sound was greater, deeper, and much more highly effective, even whereas listening at average quantity ranges. When music wasn’t taking part in I might detect a small quantity of background amplifier hiss, however that was solely obvious with in-ear headphones. Full-size headphones aren’t as delicate, so I did not hear any hiss taking part in them on the Ragnarok 2.

To sum up, the Schiit Ragnarok 2’s versatility is unmatched for the cash. Its sound with audio system and high-end headphones is extraordinary. Construct high quality and the guarantee are high notch. The Ragnarok 2 is one heck of an amp.


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