In my previous article about the NuPrime uDSD, I mentioned that I paired it with the M-Audio ProFire 610 interface I had on hand. Not happy with the sound from that unit, I wanted a more dedicated and proper amplifier for my music enjoyment. I needed something that sounded incredible while being affordable, with a budget of less than $300.00. After days of research, and reading a myriad of other reviews, I decided on the Schiit Asgard 2 Amplifier.
Deciding on a Schiit Amplifier
As a budding fan of Schiit Audio, with their humble beginnings, affordable gear, and head-turning name, I knew I just had to buy something from them. I was debating to go cheap and get their Magni 2, but wanted something a bit more beefier, since I mainly use desktop speakers for listening.
I also was considering spending a bit more for the Valhalla 2 and its sexy tubes, but I did not want to bother with replacing the tubes after a while (that would get expensive!). I admit I am lazy and want a product that is built well and lasts, and I really do not want to bother with tubes at the moment.
In the end, the Asgard 2 was the choice I went with: powerful enough for desktop speakers as well as bigger headphones, and great reviews from nearly everyone. I then purchased directly from the site on November 2015 and got it in my hands in less than a week (shipped from California to Washington state).
The Asgard 2 paired with the uDSD DAC
Some Specs and Cautions
When I received this unit, I immediately replaced the ProFire and attached my NuPrime DAC onto it. What a difference the sound was! Both my Equator D5s and Sennheiser 555 headphones sounded amazing. A nice, sleek brushed metal design, not space-hogging (9 x 6 x 2.25 inches or 22.86 x 15.24 x 5.72 cm), and with a large headphone gain knob this delightfully simple amplifier is great for your desktop or budget system.
The only output to and from the unit is stereo RCA, so don’t get this unit if you are planning to pair with a 5.1 or 7.1 home theater system. You would also need to get the appropriate cables in case your DAC and/or speakers use different audio connectors. You would also need a 1/4″ jack adapter in case your headphones only has a 1/8″ connector, but then again I would recommend quality over-the-ear headphones for this unit.
One major word of caution: this amp gets really hot. No it will not burn your hand off, but I would advise that you do not rest your hand on it for long periods (even the volume knob gets hot). It may provide as an easy hand warmer (it did for me during my first winter in Washington state), but this unit you should be careful. Also the packaging is no-frills, just good enough to protect from shipping. At least you don’t have to worry about boxes-within-boxes and too much cardboard!
Nozomi is also excited about this unit!
A Great Quality-over-Budget AMP
After owning this little hot baby for a couple of months, I am really glad I made this purchase! My music collection sounds better, especially when A/B lossy with lossless, resulting in the bass really standing out! I also watch anime and play Final Fantasy XIV using this amp, and they all sound fantastic!
Get this unit if you want a really affordable desktop & OEM headphone amplifier, not break your bank, and significantly improve your listening experience. Alternatively, if you wanted a DAC + AMP unit (in case you do not have a DAC, or if you don’t care for DSD/MQA), I would suggest the Bifrost. Similar size, and of the same sonic quality as the Asgard, this is a great quality over budget equipment upgrade.
Best of all, you can direct-buy from them! For Schiit Audio, who cares about the buyer and want affordable Hi-Fi equipment, they are a company I am rooting for and want to see grow.
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