New Schiit Vali 2+: Impulse buy and exploration

So I stumbled across a little update Schiit has done to the Vali 2 that they call the Vali 2+. Seeing how Schiit has been killing it with their latest releases, I couldn’t miss a chance to check it out plus take a chance to dip a toe in the tube world.

I’ll be updating this thread as I play around with different headphones, DACs, and even have some tubes on the way. The main goal is get more enjoyment out of my Eikons (love them), but I think I’ve done all I can to get the sound out of them with solid state gear outside of some constant current amplifiers. Initial impressions: Hands down improvement.

Just an FYI, my #1 interest in this amp is going to ask 1 question for me outside of the Eikons; is this THE amplifier to get if you’re looking for something compliment/replace a Magni Heresy/3+?

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Not knowing the cans that well, I’d think that there’s both “better” and “more different” options than this to complement a Magni. They’re 300 ohm, correct? What about full-on OTL for more different? Or if you want a hybrid, maybe balanced to Liquid Platinum? Seems like you could aim higher for the quality of cans those seem to be.

That said I thank you for posting this because I hadn’t seen the news of this new iteration from School yet, and it looks interesting.

So after listening a bit more to this amp (and being WAY too busy). This little Vali 2+… needs a different tube. I swapped a used (and more expensive than the amp) tube with the stock GE and WOW. So much more space and clarity. The Eikons were much more enjoyable with different tubes to open up the the treble and midrange and became more holographic. The Klipsch HP-3 works surprisingly with the 2+ (and I hope I can get the DFC sound with a wider sound stage and a different DAC).

Remind me, do you own / have listened to the Liquid Platinum? I’d b interested to know how this compares / how much of the way you’d be getting to that kind of sound with the Vali 2+. Probably quite tube dependent I would assume? Maybe it’s not a good comparison to make. I’m just thinking I could probably justify $150 to play with tubes… Maybe not $400.

This tube amp is the one if you want to try tubes. I do recommend getting a converter for getting it to work with 6SN7 tubes (I saw them on the tube depot). If you plan on using the Liquid Platinum exclusively as balanced, I heard a lot of people are quite happy.

If want the Vali 2+, I am enjoying a lot of what I am hearing. I have the Schiit Heresy and this little amp is impressive and does some unique things.

Do you know what the difference is with the +? I owned a Vali 2 but tired of it very quickly and it came with several different tubes.
I found it very loud and clear, but not especially “tubey”.

I saw on a forum the Vali 2+ is just a nicer amp overall. I never owned a different tube amp before. The fact I only need 1 tube to tube roll to understand why tubes are appealing is good enough. If you don’t plan on tube rolling, just get a Magni 3+. The stock tube was different but the advantage I got after minimal tube rolling has me loving this thing.

Recently picked up one of these, and so far it’s pretty nice. The stock tube is pretty mediocre imo, sounded somewhat grainy in the treble and didn’t have good control (although to be fair I didn’t give it too much burn in time), but swapping to some other 6922 I had in other amps has really helped that. Generally it’s no longer just a slightly different magni 3 like the vali 2 was, and wasn’t as sloppy as the vali 1, it’s a good balance of a more euphoric tuning with a refined and neutral warm ish signature. So far, it’s not the widest amp, but it has good depth for what it is and is decently immersive, tonality is pretty nice considering the price, and it has a bit of extra smoothness and added space depending on the tube used (decently noticeable changes from tube to tube so it might be worthwhile to play around with what you have in there). Separation is also fairly solid, it doesn’t get overwhelmed too easily depending on the tube again

Generally it has good control throughout the range and doesn’t get muddled, but imo depending on the headphone bass control might be a tad bit sloppy and one note, but that’s only when you really stress it. I prefer it on high gain as it has more character and is more enjoyable to listen to, low gain sounds cleaner but also more dulled. So far the headphones that have shined the most have been the dynamics that typically take well to actual tube amps like the 600 or t1.2 (58x also solid since they weren’t overly colored in the combo), also the 5xx was surprisingly a good match given you don’t have the stock tube, also monitoring headphones like a mdr v6 or m40x was pretty fun on here too. It somewhat struggled bass wise with the aeon 2 closed at times from a quality perspective otherwise that was also a solid combo. Something interesting on the gain note, I think the 5xx and aeon 2 c sounded better in low gain since it avoided some of that bass sloppiness while still maintaining similar tonality and richness, but for most dynamics I tried high gain ended up sounding more enjoyable

Generally so far this is fairly compelling depending on the tube used for something that’s just pretty enjoyable to listen to. This being said considering what tubes you might want to use in this, the cost of the amp + a nice tube will most likely get you close to or over 200, which is asgard money, just something to think about lol (unless you really really want to mess around with trying different tubes in a cheap amp). But these are still just initial impressions, will update if things change as I try more headphones and tubes

Edit: also noise floor is a bit noticeable but not all that bothersome for most of the stuff I tried (also depends on the tube ofc)

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Great review. Have you done any testing with the pre-outs?

I haven’t hooked them up yet, will have to do so

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I promise you it’s not a review lol

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Pre out pretty nice so far, gives good character and similar sonic signature that the amp has, I will say though it’s not the cleanest and prob is only good if you are specifically looking to add coloration

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what did you test the pre-out on?

I had quickly tried using a the bricasti m21 platinum > vali 2+ > first watt f8 > spatial x5. Also tried it going from a berkeley alpha reference 2 > vali 2+ > dual mass kobo 394 ii (I guess running as monoblocks)

Been thinking about getting a Vali 2+ for headphone out and maybe pre-out to my 95X’s energizer. As long as the noise floor is not as high as the old integrated amp I have, I think I can deal with it.

Gotta make my dream of building a 5-high Schiitscraper

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Shouldn’t be a problem given you don’t have super sensitive iems or something running off of it

I have heard the Saga+ performs this task better than the Vali 2+ in a way that is well worth the price increase.

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From memory the saga did do a better job for sure (but I mean it’s a dedicated preamp so it better lol), also much more flexible for use case too

Saga does sound nice, but can it stack with the Modi and Magni? No. :^)

I gave up on the idea of pursuing “better” so I’ll settle with less if it irrationally makes me happier. This hobby is too expensive for a poor young man lol.

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Just want to give more impressions with this amp.

First, since my Spring 2 is presently not hooked up I am simplifying my system. Just the Vali 2+ and the RNHP hooked up to the Bifrost 2. I can say that the experience is wonderful and after a bit of tube rolling… I think Vali 2+ with some tubes sounds like a wider version of the RNHP (Realistic Lifetime tube).

For those that don’t want an RNHP, willing to experiment, and want that level sound that plays REALLY nice with a ZMF Eikon, Klipsch HP-3, and LCD-X I can say this amp is worth a serious look. I don’t have a tube that makes the Vali 2+ that makes it sound “wet” out of my collection, but I can say some of the tubes sound I have sound like what I was searching out with some solid state amps.

I must say again, the stock tube hasn’t come out since I got the Realistic Lifetime and Bugle Boy tube. If you see a Bel/Phillips Tube… keep it for special occasions because after initial burn in it’s tops from what I have touched for a full and holographic sound. I share this mostly because for those that are looking for an amp that gets an RNHP like synergy on the cheap, sounds nearly as accurate (with some tube rolling), about the same power output, and cheaper than $500 that I really have to recommend this tube amp.

And for the Schiit heads out there, if you have an Asgard 3, Jotunheim (2), or Magi 3+/Heresy while wanting to diversify with amps… I this Vali 2+ has a fantastic place in your collection to grab something tonally will separate it from the rest the catalog under $500.

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