Schiit Vidar.... Anyone heard one yet?


This relatively cheap by audiophile standards 2 channel amp has me very curious. I haven't seen any reviews or really even read any hands on blips about it. Just curious if anyone has heard it and what you thought.
mofojo
I haven't heard it either, but if Schitt is doing their 'Schiit', I expect it to be a very good piece of equipment at its' price point.
I say this after having owned a Modi Multibit, Bifrost Multibit, and a Gungy (non Multibit). Each model up improved upon the former.\
Bob
I am also a "value focused" audiophile. Is that PC enough for you? Within the last few weeks I invested in the Mani and was very impressed. Enough to invest in the Modi 2 Multibit DAC shortly after. That may be the best $400 I've invested in my system. I realize that doesn't answer your question, but hopefully their performance extends to the Vidar. They do have a 15 day return policy. In fact I'm considering upgrading the Modi to the Bifrost Multibit.
They were showing one last year and were claiming to have it out by now. Weren't they saying November of last year? There's only two possible reasons it's not out. Either they're having issues producing it, or they're having issues finishing development on it. I'm going to lean in the direction of development issues. 
They are available now looks like. 
I have one in the trunk of my car.  Will listen to it over the weekend and post impressions.
Naimfan,
looking forward to your impressions. 
I'll ask at the California Audio Show this weekend, they're only there through Saturday (and mostly headphone stuff). I've also been looking at getting some monoblocks to free up some room in my rack.
I live close to Schiit’s brick and mortar store here in Southern California. I’ve not heard the Vidar, but the salesman there said it sounds identical to the speaker taps 60W output from the back of the (more expensive) Ragnarok headphone amp. I’ve heard the Ragnarok through the Salk SongTower speakers they have in the store, and it was pretty good. Nothing extraordinary, but a clean solid state sound. I thought the soundstage was somewhat small, but that could be the limitations of the speakers or the room acoustics?
On Head Fi threads, the Vidar seems to have pleased the crowd.  Because it's an Internet Direct brand, not too many have tried it around here.  But any amp that can double it's wattage at 4 ohms has my attention.  Early returns are good, one owner compared it to his mega bucks Yamaha 2100 integrated, and preferred the Freya/Vidar combo.  
I would love to hear a system based around a Vidar and a $50 Schiit Sys as the pre.  
Just got two running as mono's driving Magneplan 1.7i. Even without LF crossover'd to subs, the Vidar's really shine with power and grace. Not sure the sonics will improve with more run-ins but I'm very impressed with the Vidar's as they are, less than 2 days out of the boxes. Yes, indeed they do give much more expensive amps a run for the money.
I'm thinking of purchasing one. I believe you have to have a preamp with TRUE balanced outputs to run as monoblocks correct?
That's right, aberyclark.
@aberyclark 

At the risk of pointing out the obvious, the Schiit Freya would appear to be a perfect match for Vidar given the balanced design of this preamp.
As per the Schiit website, this is an impressive list of “key features” for a $699 mono block amplifier.  
  1. Power supply to output stage is dual mono—and this is where it matters. Modulation on one supply won’t affect the other.
  2. Massive overkill power supply topology—separate regulated HV rails to voltage gain and driver stages (not stacked, so no modulation with P/S load).
  3. No caps in the signal path, no DC servo in the signal path, nothing but music in the signal path.
  4. Current feedback topology is amazingly fast (-3dB above 1MHz before input filter) and measures well, especially for such a simple stage.
  5. Linear supply, not switching supply, no high-frequency noise to deal with.
  6. Class AB output stage, not D. Again, no noise or noise-shaping applied.
  7. 3 pairs of outputs per channel—1.5x more than typical for this power output.
  8. Rated power output doubles into 4 ohms.
  9. Microprocessor oversees all important aspects of amplifier operation: current, DC offset, temperature.
  10. Protection system uses a “least invasive methodology”—no active devices in signal path, no current limiting, no crowbars—just resistors and relays.  
  11. No fan, just a massive amount of heatsinking.


the salesman there said it sounds identical to the speaker taps 60W output from the back of the (more expensive) Ragnarok headphone amp.
I doubt this, as, I believe, much of the development delays had to do with the new topology (not using the same one in the Rag) and the best way to dissipate heat and meet chassis size/cost goals. I'm looking forward to a chance to hear this amp.
A new owner on Audiokarma started a thread with a Vidar review, comparing it to an Emotiva A-300.  The Vidar was superior in every way according to the owner.

http://audiokarma.org/forums/index.php?threads/amateur-review-of-schiit-vidar-power-amps-in-single-a...
I'm gonna wait for a real review of this thing before I form an opinion. I was uncomfortable with how the Ragnorok managed bias. I have a friend that heard one and liked it. I have another friend who's got major concerns about the reliability of their gear. 
It is their first stand alone speaker amp after all, I’m following owner comments to get an idea too. What I like about Schiit is the head guys are actual amp and dac designers that eat and breathe this stuff. The Five year warranty also helps, but hopefully by the time I’m ready to buy it’ll have a more established track record.

The Bifrost Multibit I bought is pretty amazing though.


The review samples sent to The Computer Audiophile reviewer had major problems and had to be returned. Looks like a couple of other purchasers had a few issues. I do give Schiit credit, they participate on the forum and try to help make things right
https://www.computeraudiophile.com/forums/topic/34722-more-disruptive-schiit-vidar/?page=9



Yep, I've been following various threads on Headfi.org, Superbestaudiofriends and computeraudiophile.  I can only think of 3 or 4 owners that have reported issues.  It's hard to quantify this as people are much more likely to report a problem that to report no problem, but it doesn't look like anything more than the usual 4 or 5 out of 100 that are defective out of the box.  They've been shipping the Vidar for about a month now.


Yep, I've been following various threads on Headfi.org, Superbestaudiofriends and computeraudiophile.  I can only think of 3 or 4 owners that have reported issues.  It's hard to quantify this as people are much more likely to report a problem that to report no problem, but it doesn't look like anything more than the usual 4 or 5 out of 100 that are defective out of the box.  They've been shipping the Vidar for about a month now.
Right. Plus the "new model" glitches that anything can have. I would like to hear more reviews of the sound characteristics of the amp. There are lots of "I like it better than my old XXXX" and soon. I would like to here detailed descriptions of the low end, mids, highs, etc. I'm sure TAS or SP will get a hold of one soon


I think they make pretty good stuff that gear heads can buy or try. As a company there's a certain anti-obsessive audiophile vibe, coupled with humor....reading the Faq sections to some of their products might give you a chuckle. Some of their designs and approaches are considered radical or unsubstantive in certain circles. 
The Vidar is a relatively compact amplfier with a decent amount of power and good sound. I dont have any cable shut down issue, nor any trouble into a 4 ohm speaker, there is some hum audible (which will of course vary with speaker sensitivity). Based on similar experience with certain other amps I don't view it as anything very unordinary. If you want a totally silent amp maybe the Vidar is not for you (try something else, maybe class D?).
I think the amp has a very good tonality. Also really good bass. The bass has definition and impact, and this also applies to the midrange. Up in the treble is where one might note a slight loss of detail and openness. It's "soundstage" is not exactly super wide and 3D, although I think it has nice depth. I perceive it as more of an amp that has a bit of brawn rather than finesse. The soundstaging is scaled down in comparison to pricier stuff. But the music the Vidar makes within its own space leaves nothing to fault. I think the amp gets the important things right and produces enjoyable solid state sound at a very reasonable price. Build quality is also good. 
I had the Freya/Vidar combo. The Vidar did what it said. The only weirdness with it for me was that it got extremely warm. Weird because it’s A/B. My new amp is Class A for the first 3-4 watts and then goes A/B is not any where near as warm. Not by a long shot.

the Freya was a disaster for me but others like theirs. Both items are inexpensive which is great but I feel like both need some revisions to become a good buy. 

I praise Schiit for making decent inexpensive gear. I think the next iteration of both will make them a great value.
I have a Vidar I used while my Sunfire was getting updated.  Nice sounding, smooth, no noticible grain and great bass.  It had plenty of power and control for a set of Revel F36s (huge room, 4500 cubic feet opening to other rooms).  It ran out of power with my Magnapan 3.5s however, but that is to be expected, as most amps do.  In a smaller room, it would have likely been adequate for the Maggies.  
What’s a real drag for me on the Vidar ( and all of Schiit’s stuff) is the power switch around back.  Leaning in, reaching around and groping with your fingers is not user friendly, no matter what fanboys may say.  And leaving the amp on 24/7 will cause the electric bill to grow, much less so their DACs and other components.

The lack of a 12 volt trigger is also too bad.  I’ve currently got 4 Schiit items and want them to succeed, but they need to be willing to make a compromise or two and include some modern features.  My Parasound P5 has the ability to cut the bass from my fronts and route it to the sub and sounds far better in this regard than the Saga pre I tried out.

The LEDs on their products are also ridiculously bright, and it’s clear that Schiit marches to their own drum.  What I keep hearing  about them is that their DACs are their best products and I’d agree with that.  

Those are the products that are most strenuously attacked on forums, so you can tell they’ve shaken up the market.


I use a Schiit Freya with a small single ended tube amp, and both (along with everything else) are plugged into a power conditioner with a timed power up and off feature...I've been using this thing (embarrasingly old Adcom 515 that works beautifully) for many years, and maybe you should try one...many manufacturers make 'em. Also, you can dim the LEDs with carefully applied magic marker...I did that on a Loki (easy) and the Freya (insane...took forever to get the LEDs lined up with the lid when putting it back together, but it eventually they all popped back in). Maybe a carefully applied bit of something could be put on the LEDs without taking the Freya apart...that's what I'd do now of course, and no clue about the Vidar LEDs but I'm sure there's less of them.
Wolf, I realize that there are work-arounds, and one can magic mark the LEDs or buy a device that turns on the Schiit gear, for instance.  There are ways to get the result you want, but I guess my thought is more towards Schiit's approach to things.

It's kind of a "this is how its gonna be and if you don't like it, tough schiit." attitude.  I suppose in a way this is what all companies do at the end of the day, deciding on feature sets at a given price point, using whatever priorities and feedback in making the decisions on what to include and what to leave on the cutting room floor.

But it seems to me that in today's marketplace, customer feedback is more important than ever.  Many people simply hate the LEDs.  Many people hate the rear power switches.  These are just simple things that could be fixed without much ado.  

But it's their sandbox, and they can do what they like.  They do build great sounding products, and that is what keeps people coming back, myself included.  I just ordered the Mimby just because it's on sale as a B stock.  
Getting a bit off topic but, FWIW, I own a Freya and Gungnir MB (along with Eitr & Asgard 2). Have had the Freya since Jan 2017 and the Gungnir longer than that. The Freya has been excellent in performance and sound once a couple of as-shipped microphonic tubes were replaced (quick response from Schiit when I emailedl about them).

I realize the rear mounted on/off switch is unpopular with a lot of people but, personally, I find it only a minor inconvenience. Freya is located on top of the equipment console so it’s easy to get to; Gungnir is powered up 24/7. On balance, I really like the toggle at the back for the cleaner front face plate that location provides.

The LEDs don’t bother me, but I listen with full room lighting on. Turn off the lights, I fall asleep.

Not dismissing other opinions on these matters just providing another point of view.

There does seem to be a sort of belligerent iconoclasm at work at Schiit. In general, I applaud it. I also think they make decisions that are cost and value driven; frills and "nice to haves" don’t survive the process.

Not sure what distinguishes an enthusiastic owner from "fanboy" but to avoid that dismissive tag being directed at me, I’ll add my own suggestion for improvement to the Freya. As others have also suggested, provide ability to "de-power" tubes when using JFET or pure passive modes.
Nice post FANBOY...heh...sorry...I agree with all of that and if the Schiitsters attitude results in amazingly well made and affordable items from California (which is almost part of the USA), they’re pretty much unique in the stuffy and often precious high end audio world. Regarding "frills and nice to haves": I didn’t need a new preamp when I bought my Freya last November (also bought a Loki which is astonishingly good), I was simply curious about it and wanted to try a tubed preamp...had my eye on some Audio Research stuff at much higher prices...but the Freya has 2 balanced inputs plus the others, 3 outs including balanced, and the 3 operating choices (I prefer the tubed with the higher gain and, well, tubes). Anybody else offer all that and a cool 128 step volume system for the price of a pair of good cables? HA...I say keep at it Schiit.
"Nice post FANBOY..."
Er...yeah...well, if you insist, "Señor Mondo Caliente".  

Just to be clear, I wasn't trying to apply the "fanboy" moniker to anyone here, but I'm sure we could all agree that fanboys of schiit audio exist.

Since I referenced a few things I don't like about Schiit, I'll mention some that get a thumbs up from me.  The upgrading of their dacs has been great.  And that you can simply install a new board instead of having to buy the whole dac, that's outstanding.

It's also really great that they are continually tinkering and thinking outside the box.  An audiophile turntable?  I never saw that coming, and they're taking their time to get it right instead of rushing a product to market.

That they are veteran designer/engineers in the industry is also a big plus in my book.  And they manufacture in the USA instead of offshore somewhere.  I've seen enough of greed from electronic brands and chintzy customers who'll order crap directly from China to save a few bucks.  It's time to support domestic production.

And of course, the audio quality at the various price levels is what keeps customers coming back for more.  At the end of the day, I trust Schiit Audio.  They're not going to release inferior stuff.  They will stand behind what they sell you, and will refund with no questions asked.  
Hi @213runnin I seized on your comment to make a point about that label that’s been bothering me. I’ve seen it used elsewhere and it just seems like a way to dismiss positive comments about a product without taking time to address or recognize whether any of the praise is justified.  I appreciate your critique and balanced assessment of Freya. 

It does seem like we are on the same page about Schiit Audio - a welcome entry to the audio industry.

Just hope they have some kind of succession plan for Mike (and Jason).

Take care.
OK...Now I'm seeing "Fanboys" of the concept that it's perhaps tawdry to label people as "Fanboys." That results in anti-"Fanboy" "Fanboys," and there is no way out. Also, the label seems sexist as women are rarely called "Fangirls" unless the actual fanning of someone or something is occurring. I like electric fans as a natural outdoor mosquito repellant as mosquitos don't fly well in wind (learned that from the NY Times)...I suppose that makes me a "Fan Fanboy." Now I suppose some will label me as a "lunatic." On another note, I'm hoping that Schiit will make a single ended tube power amp someday. As unlikely as that might be I can still hope as, after all, I'm a lunatic.