Loki

High Quality Tone Control

AC Adapter

$149

Description

Specs

FAQ

Downloads

STATUS: In stock. Orders placed now will ship in 1-3 business days.

Yes, tone control. As in, equalizer. And yeah, we know that tone controls have kinda fallen off the planet for the last few decades. But now we think it’s time for them to come back—in a new, super-high-fidelity, low noise, single-discrete-gain-stage and LC filtering kind of way. (In English, that means this is an exceptionally quiet, transparent, great-sounding device.)
 
Ideal for the Imperfect System
And by “imperfect system,” we mean “every system on the face of the planet.” Admit it. Are your speakers perfect? Are your headphones perfect? Are your recordings perfect? If you’re honest, the answer is “no.” Some speakers and headphones are a bit bright or a bit dark. Some recordings aren’t paragons of tonal purity. Loki lets you adjust for these imperfections.
 
Tune to Your Desires
Let’s face it. Not everyone wants a bright, analytical system. Not everyone wants crazy pounding bass. We’re all individuals, and we all have preferences. With Loki, you can go beyond tuning out imperfections—you can tune the system to the way you want it to sound.
 
Not Your Father’s EQ 
Best of all, Loki allows you this level of control, while retaining transparency. Instead of a stack of noisy op-amps attached to open-frame, dust-collecting sliders (like EQs you may have used in the past), Loki uses a single, discrete, current-feedback gain stage, coupled to passive LC filters for 3 bands, plus a gyrator for the bass. It also uses sealed Alps potentiometers with rational adjustment ranges to allow for fine control. Coupled with a 100% passive bypass setting, Loki offers the transparency and flexibility you need.
  
Made in USA
By “made in USA,” we mean made in USA. The vast majority of the total production cost of Loki—chassis, boards, assembly, etc—goes to US companies manufacturing in the US. Our board house is 20 minutes away from our office, and our chassis guys are just over the hill in the Valley. Yep, the wall warts are from China, but there you go. There is some give and take to reach this price point.
 
2-Year Warranty and 15-Day Return Policy
Loki is covered by a limited warranty that covers parts and labor for two years. That’s 2x the coverage of most amps in this price range. And, if you don’t like your Loki, you can still send it back for a refund, minus 15% restocking fee, within 15 days of receiving your amp.

Frequency Response: 20Hz-20Khz, -0.1db, 2Hz-850KHz, -3dB 

Maximum Output: 10V RMS into 10K ohms
THD: Less than 0.002%, 20Hz-20KHz, at 2V RMS in/out, pots centered, active stage enabled, less than 0.01% at any potentiometer setting
IMD: Less than 0.002%, CCIF
 
SNR: Greater than 109db, unweighted, referenced to 1V RMS
 
Crosstalk: -80dB, 20Hz-20KHz
 
Output Impedance: 75 ohms
Bands: 20Hz, 400Hz, 2kHz, 8kHz
Adjustment: +/-12dB at 20Hz and 8kHz, +/-6dB at 400Hz and 2kHz
Topology: fully discrete, all-bipolar, symmetrical current-feedback design with no capacitors in the signal path and DC servo
Filtering: capacitor-gyrator for 20Hz, capacitor-inductor (LC) for all other bands
Power Supply: “Wall wart” style 8VA 16VAC transformer, regulated +/- 17V rails 
Power Consumption: 4W
 
Size: 5 x 3.5 x 1.25”
 
Weight: 1 lb

Now hold on just a sec—are you saying we should use equalizers now? 
Nope, you’re saying that. Not us.

But you just brought out this product!
Right. And, as you’ll note, it’s a standalone product. You can add it to your system if you’d like, or act like it doesn’t exist. It won’t add itself to your cart if you happen to buy, say, a Modi Multibit (or anything else.) 
 
Buuuutttt…we thought you were crazy minimalist audiophile types who’d put their nose up in the air at the very thought of EQ?
As with the previous question, there’s nothing stopping you from assembling a minimalist, no-tone-control system from our extensive product line. Adding Loki is a choice you can make. If you’d like. No pressure. 
 
So why bring this out now? What changed?
The world changed, and we decided to experiment a bit. That’s it in a nutshell. The longer explanation includes the fact that tone controls have pretty much become verboten over the last three decades in high-end audio. For those of you who remember some crappy tone control and EQ implementations, including dull, veiled, nasty-sounding knobs on the front of receivers and noisy, truly awful-sounding banks of 10 to 30 sliders (usually fixed in a death-grin), you know that there’s a good reason tone controls went away. But we decided to take a look at it and see what we could make with a single gain stage (rather than 10-30 op-amps in a row) and using passive LC (inductor-capacitor) filtering wherever possible. And we found that we could create an extremely transparent equalizer that allowed for some very nice control over tonal characteristics, without the downside of traditional tone controls or EQs. So we decided to make it and see if you find it interesting as well.
 
But…why EQ? 
Because we live in an imperfect world, and because individuals have individual preferences. Nobody can say their speakers or headphones are ruler-flat. Nobody can say that all of their recordings are audiophile-quality. Loki provides a way to adjust for imperfect systems and imperfect recordings. 
 
But…buuuuttt…is this true to the original recording? Is it what the artist intended?
If it sounds good to you, who cares?
 
Aieeeee! You’re making my head hurt! I don’t like options!
Cool. Then don’t get a Loki. Nobody’s making you buy it.
 
Well, if I do get it, can I bypass it?
Yes. There’s a switch on the front to completely bypass the tone control stage—as in, a relay connects the input and output directly, no active devices in the signal path at all.
 
Wow, so I guess you guys really think this is transparent, if it’s that easy to A-B the input and output.
Yes, we do think Loki is very transparent.
 
Let’s talk tech. What kind of EQ is this? Parametric? 
No. Technically, Loki is a single-gain-stage active EQ with non-constant-Q passive filtering. In more English-y terms, that means that each band varies from broad to narrower as its gain is increased—small turns of the knobs result in broad, shallow changes, and bigger turns result in more narrow-band changes. 
 
This gain stage, is it like Jotunheim’s Pivot Point topology?
It’s similar, yes, in that it is a fully discrete, current-feedback topology, but it is single-ended. 
 
Whoa. Wait a sec, are you saying you’re giving us a discrete, single-gain-stage, passive LC-filtered EQ, the most purist approach to tone controls…for $149? Are you nuts?
We do like high value, but we’re not crazy. At least not as an official diagnosis.
 
What if I want a constant-Q EQ, or a parametric EQ?
That’s cool. There are some of those out there. They just won’t be Loki.
 
What about software EQ?
If you’d like to use software EQ (supplied with many playback software packages these days), that’s certainly an option—and you can probably get your parametric EQ there, if that’s what you want. However, you may prefer Loki…and once you get away from a computer source, an external hardware EQ is necessary if you want tone control.
 
What about the name, you’re re-using that, right?
Yep! Loki is the trickster god in Norse mythology. And it’s a neat name for a tricky little product. Now that we’re off the DSD train, it’s perfect for reviving a whole new category of products.
 
I noticed on the PC board you’re calling this Loki Mini. Are there other Lokis coming?
Come on, now, you know we don’t discuss future products. However, we’re always open to expanding the line in meaningful ways if this model does well—including coming up with a family of Lokis with different capabilities and at different price points. After all, Loki is a trickster, ever-changing.