Integrated amplifier It’s a huge segment in high-end space and it’s not hard to understand why. A quick search of the archives for the last two years reveals that they cover many archives, with more archives planned for July and August.Products like Schiit Audio Ragnarok 2 Integrated amplifiers are slightly different because they focus on modularity and providing a great headphone listening experience.
Consumers want simplicity in this segment without sacrificing sound quality, and brands such as Rotel, Cambridge Audio, Naim, NAD, Audiolab, and Yamaha offer solid products that many consumers can buy. doing.
The Ragnarok 2 is under $ 2,000 fully loaded and is not the most powerful in this category, but certainly one of the most interesting products.
Over a few eCoustics staff writers and editors own it and use them on a fairly wide range of speakers.
California is Schiit For Business
Schiit Audio has been one of the cornerstones of the high-end personal audio category for over a decade. Not only did Jason Stoddard (Sumo) and Mike Moffat (Theta Digital) magically emerge, they also began offering a wide range of affordable DACs, headphone amplifiers, stereo amplifiers, phono preamps, equalizers and accessories. Both have a long history of designing superior high-end audio components dating back to the 1980s.
Theta Digital has been one of the leading brands in the high-end digital category for 10 years, and it’s strange to read comments from several audio forums that criticize its qualifications. They made high-end digital audio affordable, and their work in the personal audio space changed everything in terms of affordability.
I disagree with my statement that the SchiitYggdrasil DAC and Ragnarok Integrated Amplifier are two products that convince many audiophiles that Schiit Audio components compete with much more expensive products and can make them the best. I’m sure there are many audiophiles. — That’s what I believe is really true.
Many of us in the Head-Fi space purchased both as a key component of the headphone system. The fully loaded combination will run nearly $ 4,200 USD in 2022. The updated Ragnarok 2 headphone amp is significantly better than what’s currently in an integrated amp for less than $ 5,000.
Schiit started in California and still manufactures most of its components in California, but the move to Texas is certainly underway. California is not an easy place to manufacture electronics, and the brand is in a very crowded space, competing with many cheaper manufactured products in Asia.
Schiit Audio Ragnarok 2 is more than just an update to the original model. This is a complete redesign that includes Schiit’s Nexus current feedback amplifier technology. This is a new modular internal layout where you can order two different versions of the amplifier, including a DAC and an MM phono preamp.
The metal remote is very nice in the segment where everything is cheap plastic.
On the power side, Ragnarok 2 supplies 60 watts per channel to 8 ohms and 100 watts per channel to 4 ohms.
With speakers like the Magnepan LRS, Ragnarok sounds pretty spectacular, but you’ll need to turn the volume around 2 o’clock to actually open the sound. The two of us performed a combination with Maggies, but the experience is the same.
On the headphone side, the Ragnarok 2 provides nearly 1.5 watts from a balanced output to 600 ohms. The single-ended output provides nearly 6 watts for 32 ohms.
This is a great headphone amplifier for anyone who enjoys the 1st or 2nd generation Beyerdynamic T1. The balance of power and sound is almost a perfect combination.
Ragnarok 2 can be ordered as “Just An Amp” with two balanced (XLR) inputs and three single-ended (RCA) inputs, or as “Fully Loaded”. The fully loaded configuration includes a movable magnetic phono stage and a USB DAC, each using an existing RCA input slot.
The Ragnarok 2 can also be used as a preamp with an external power amplifier such as Schiit Vidar or Aegir, or within the context of a system that includes powered and active speakers.
The base model is offered for $ 1,499 USD and the fully loaded model runs for $ 1,699. Those who purchase the base model have the option to upgrade to the loaded model for about $ 400 (parts, labor costs, shipping).
Under the hood
Perhaps the most interesting thing about Ragnarok 2 is how to get the business going. Unlike most designs, the Ragnarok 2 is actually one amp per channel, connected to balanced and single-ended headphone jacks and speaker binding posts.
The balance tap draws 24 watts per channel and the single end draws 6 watts (both evaluated for high gain and 100% volume). This is a very unusual amount of power for a headphone circuit, and in most cases you don’t need a 28dB gain at full headphone volume.
Instead, the Ragnarok 2 offers two low gain modes, 18dB and 6dB, suitable for use with headphones, and a 25x (28dB) gain setting is ideal for speaker use. The aforementioned Magnepan LRS was run with that setting.
Ragnarok 2 adds a 128-step volume control in addition to the three gain stages. This is an improved version of the original and is the same system used in the Freya preamp lineup, one of the best-selling products.
Instead of reinventing the wheel, Schiit borrowed it from the rest of the lineup, using a Mani-based phono stage and a DAC based on a multi-bit version of Modi. That particular option is currently pending due to supply chain issues.
Both have subtle differences from standalone products in order to handle the voltage in Ragnarok and fit into the slots, but when tested side by side, both are very similar to the standalone version.
Given that Modi Multibit and Mani 2 alone cost $ 270, the full-featured price is a bargain.
I’ve always liked Schiit’s matte aluminum finish and was happy to see the remotes made of the same material over and over again. Looking at a high-end product with a plastic remote control, I couldn’t realize the justice of the product.
You can use the remote control to control the source, volume, gain, speaker / headphone selection, and mute. It mirrors the controls on the front panel, has source control on the far left, followed by a headphone / speaker switch and LEDs.
Gain control is divided by a volume knob with a button on the left and an LED on the right. Two 6.35mm and XLR headphone output jacks are located on the far right of the faceplate.
There are no controls on the bottom or back of the chassis. I am especially grateful that other models very often have to be removed from the rack to change the settings.
Having owned the original Ragnarok, the base price dropped by a few hundred dollars, which eased some expectations. There was no doubt that it would sound good, but I wondered where the design was cut when the price dropped by $ 100 in the current economic situation.
It’s nice to be able to report that even if something was reduced to save costs, it didn’t affect acoustic performance or output.
I used a speaker tap connected to both the JBL Arena bookshelf speaker set and the Klipsch Heresy II loudspeaker in my den.
Having owned the original Ragnarok for years, I remember quite well how it sounds. I don’t know if the difference between the two generations is big in that respect, but I thought Ragnarok 2 provided enough punches as needed, but the dynamics were good and the quiet passages remained.
EIC Ian White knows that Ragnarok 2 disagrees with my assessment that it’s like a straight line with gain. Very little proprietary sound is provided. We both use speakers that sound pretty transparent, so I don’t think we’re listening to Ragnarok 2 in very different arenas.
He found that using the Magnepan LRS made Ragnarok 2 sound a little darker and softer the bass. He also compares it to the $ 6,499 Cambridge Audio Edge A. It’s much more powerful than the Ragnarok 2 and much better at controlling the LRS panel with much less effort.
The Ragnarok 2 doesn’t have Edge A transparency, but if you can listen to rock and big orchestra songs, deal with volume limits, and manage your expectations, LRS also admits that it sounds pretty spectacular on a Schiit amp.
When using the Ragnarok 2 as a headphone amplifier, even Andromeda has no hiss noise and is equally suitable for low gain and low volume IEMs with power-intensive planar magnetic headphones such as the HiFiMAN HE6 and HE560. understood. Quite a lot of mid-level gain and volume knobs.
The HE6 can be used with high gain, but since there is very little volume left available, it was best to increase the volume a bit and decrease the gain a bit to allow for finer control.
In the new circuit design, the same rich tone was shining regardless of which output was used and which gain level was selected. The Ragnarok 1 is a very capable amp in this regard, and I’m happy to report that the update didn’t cost anything in that regard.
I fully agree with EIC. Ragnarok 2 has both the immediacy of its presentation and the swinging feel that works with a lot of music. Vocals are especially powerful thanks to the high level of midrange resolution and punch.
Schiit Audio Ragnarok is arguably the best product in the pre-redesigned Schiit lineup, and I’m sure it’s still one of the best. Schiit doesn’t offer the increasingly popular streaming capabilities. That aspect can discourage potential owners who see things like the Naim Uniti Atom or Cambridge EVO Series and think the benefits outweigh the additional costs.
Adding a very high performance streamer from Cambridge Audio or Bluesound to SchiitAudio Ragnarok 2 gives you a much better headphone experience compared to Naim, with all the same features and power, but with more boxes and cables.
Would you like to buy Schiit Audio Ragnarok 2 yourself? I already own some of the best headphone amps available today, but connecting the amps to multiple sources has long-term potential, and the fairly extensive headphone collection is appealing.
Ragnarok 2 is eccentric and very unique. Schiit has improved the original enough to guarantee a fairly strong recommendation.
Where to buy: $ 1,499 (Just an amplifier) / $ 1,699 (Full load) schiit.com
Related reading: Best integrated amplifier