🔶 ZMF Headphones Atrium

I think the Mojo is genuinely a key ingredient in what I’m able to get out of the Rekkr, honestly. I did some A/Bing with the Bifrost, and think you’re likely spot on with your assessment from that point of view, nothing I heard out of the Bifrost>Rekkr contradicts it, I just don’t have the MJ3 to compare to be able to fully confirm. There is a synergy that works really well when coupled with the (by default) clean, airy sound of the Mojo. It manages to maintain enough detail to just sound really dynamic and punchy without getting too warm sounding. It really does make me want to try more amps out of the Mojo as well, MJ3 being one of them. Being able to control voltage output directly out of the Mojo might help too.

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I will also revisit the pairing at a later date when I get my Yggdrasil MIB. Maybe that will help things. Before that I can also try using the Vali 3 as the preamp instead of the Mjolnir 3. Maybe tubes will change my mind (depending on the tube).

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Yeah Mjolnir 3 just ruined some of my other gear for me due to how good it sounds. I am sure there are amps that sound way better with AO than the Mjolnir 3, but I haven’t demoed them yet. As others have said, you have to spend over $2k to find an amp that clearly bests the Mjolnir 3.

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Yeah, there’s so much gear I want to try and I’ve been very fortunate as my career really just got to a point where all this stuff is pretty affordable for me, so it’s tempting to just buy a lot of it outright to at least try it. But I also really believe in the mantra of “taking your time” with this stuff.

I’ve also been thinking hard about booking a trip to a canJam, either South Cali or Dallas, both are equal distance from me. I’m also autistic though and crowds/strangers tend to freak/stress me out a bit, but it might be worth it.

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Yes, it is best to take it slow, and resist the temptation to “upgrade to the new shiny metal box”. In my case I planned out my upgrade path to one large purchase per year over a three year period. There may be two sub $2k headphones purchased in the next two years as well, but we shall see.

I lived in NY for most of my life, but since I got started in this hobby early 2020 I was unable to experience a canjam. Right now I am living in GA, so Texas might be my best bet if I get the chance to go. If you are able to brave the crowds you might get a better perspective regarding your tastes, and possible future upgrade paths. Granted that it might also cause your wallet to hate you in the end. :smiling_face_with_tear:

My main concern would be trying out the ZMF Aegis, and getting the itch to order it ASAP. $3,500 not including Tube upgrades. I would most likely bring my AO with me which would be a double edged sword. On the one side I would get to sample different gear with it, and on the other side I would be tempted to whip out the credit card. :crazy_face:

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Oh, another seller I have my eye on, over on Etsy for cables.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/1471535659/arctic-cables-magnus-custom-cable-for?click_key=0ef806a7c55160ecdce8e498af8a9391240c2dc6%3A1471535659&click_sum=4b9dc937&ref=user_profile&frs=1&sca=1&sts=1&variation0=3472534291

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Heads up AO owners, I was just told over on Head-fi that Valhalla 3 is back on the release schedule. Jason figured out the power issue.

I guess I might have to consider picking one up again! :rofl:

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@giova05 I switched the BF 2/64 into NOS mode, and It seems to have had a positive influence on the Gjallarhorn. I will give it an hour or so, and then do an A/B test on a few tracks again.

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Session 1 no settings changed:

Mjolnir 3 sounds cleaner, but the Gjallarhorn sounds a little less refined in the bass, and drums are missing a little bit of the initial strike of the sticks.

Room presence in live studio recordings seems to have a deeper soundstage, and maybe slightly wider as well on the Gjallarhorn. I listen to quite a few live from Abbey Road Studios recordings.

Vocals seemed natural and fully flushed out, but don’t all Schiit amps?!

The top end is okay, but I have to listen to some more tracks that have a lot more happening in the treble region before I come to a definitive conclusion.

A/B Test of one of my regular tracks:

Like A Stone (Recorded Live At Queen Elizabeth Theater, Toronto):

  • The Gjallarhorn does indeed sound slightly wider and deeper (not by much). There is increased pressure in the earcups for some reason (it gets annoying with some tracks)
  • The Mjolnir 3 sounds more refined, and guitar strumming sounds more natural with longer decay. MJ3 also showcases the vocals a bit more naturally as well (I know similar frequencies as some of the guitar notes). Overall the presentation seems more nimble yet precise overall.

It would have been odd if AO didn’t sound better on the MJ3 vs a $300 speaker amp though. Don’t get me wrong, some tracks did sound good on the Gjallarhorn, but not enough to make it my daily driver. I will try stereo for a little bit more tomorrow, and then I will try mono blocks to see if it has more control over the AO drivers in that configuration. I am still doubtful that it will fare well against the MJ3 due to it putting out 1w per channel into a 300 ohm load. The presentation is about what I suspected compared to the MJ3.

Session 2 with BF2/64 NOS mode switched on:

Listening to Love Goes: Live at Abbey Road Studios by Sam Smith

  • There is a noticeable increase in clarity, yet drums are still not 100% there. The initial strike is more apparent than it was before though.
  • Bass is a little less muddy, and there is a decent amount of slam vs the previous session.
  • Subtle elements of the track are present that were lacking in the prior session, but overall feel of the studio space is recessed.
  • Vocals are slightly less forward, yet string instruments come a little closer to the MJ3’s presentation.
  • The depth and width of the soundstage that I noticed in my original listening session have gone away, and is now a little narrower and shallower.
  • The Treble gets a little spicy with some elements, probably due to the Schiit House Sound being removed from the DAC. Not to unlistenable levels though, even for someone like me who can hear above 18khz. I think this increase in treble is what is influencing the “clarity” I mentioned earlier.

I still have more things to play with in my chain that will most likely influence the sound further. There is also the mono block configuration that I will have to try out as well. As of right now though, I still prefer the MJ3 powering the AO directly.

Chain:

Wiim Pro>Bifrost 2/64>Mjolnir 3>Gjallarhorn> AO

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Mini update: toggled on feedback on MJ3 preamping the Gjallarhorn while powering AO. Oh… my…
I will elaborate later once I get a good listening session in. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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I think we have a winner, but I got so lost in the music that I forgot to jot down my thoughts. :laughing:

Still not better than the MJ3 powering the AO directly, but definitely a fun listen. As a disclaimer I have yet to pad swap, so my impressions may change slightly over time. We shall see, but I will compare the sound vs the other settings later on.

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Tube journey starts now!

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I’ve been using Auteur Lambskin perforated pads for the longest time and just recently pad swapped to BE2 perforated. It’s amazing how much difference there is.

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I plan on picking up more pads as well as tubes next year to do a lot of combination testing. Months of fun ahead of me in 2025! Also, as I have said before I will be picking up a Yggdrasil MIB early next year as well so… a lot to look forward to. :wink:

I am really tempted to pick up a Valhalla 3 sometime next year as well. We shall se when Jason gets around to releasing it though. Right now I will continue to enjoy my AO connected to my pile of Schiit. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: