Vidar

Intelligent Stereo/Mono Power Amplifier

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$699

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STATUS: In stock. Orders placed now ship in 3-5 business days.

Okay. Let’s blow up this high-end nonsense. Here’s your ultra-high-end amplifier, without the ultra-high-end price. Welcome to the revolution.
 
No-Excuses Amp, No-Brainer Price
Vidar is nothing less than a no-excuses, exotic-topology, Class-AB, linear-supply, microprocessor-controlled, power-doubling, dual-mono-ish, intelligently-managed, drives-almost-anything power amp. No Class D, no switching supplies, no fans, no compromises, nothing in the signal path but music—for a three-figure price tag.
 
Small Size, Big Power 
Don’t let the compact size fool you—pick up the Vidar to get a real feeling for the beefy 600VA transformer inside. Vidar may be small, but it’s also a powerhouse, delivering 100W per channel into 8 ohms, doubling to 200W per channel into 4 ohms.
 
Stereo or Mono Flexibility
Combine Vidar with a single-ended preamp like Saga for a complete system with insane, no-compromise performance—for just a little over a grand. Or, run two Vidars from a preamp with balanced outputs (like our Freya) for true monoblock performance and 400 watts per channel into 8 ohms.
 
Intelligent Oversight and Protection
In Vidar, a microprocessor oversees important aspects of amplifier operation, from DC offset to over-current and over-temperature faults. This provides stable, safe operation without invasive current-limiting, fuses, or active devices in the power supply path. In English, Vidar makes sure it’s operating optimally at all times—and protects itself when it needs to, so you can be assured of excellent performance for a long, long time. 
 
Made in USA. Really.
By “made in USA,” we mean made in USA. The vast majority of the total production cost of Vidar—chassis, boards, assembly, etc—goes to US companies manufacturing in the US. 
 
5-Year Warranty and Easy Return Policy
Vidar is covered by a 5-year limited warranty that covers parts and labor. And if you don’t like your Vidar, you can send it back for a refund, minus 5% restocking fee, within 15 days of receiving it.

Power Output:

Stereo, 8 Ohms: 100W RMS per channel
Stereo, 4 Ohms: 200W RMS per channel
Mono, 8 ohms: 400W RMS 
 
Frequency Response: 20Hz-20Khz, -0.1db, 3Hz-500KHz, -3dB
 
THD: <0.01%, 20Hz-20KHz, at 100W RMS into 8 ohms 
IMD: <0.01%, CCIR, at 100W RMS into 8 ohms
 
SNR: >125db, A-weighted, referenced to full output 
 
Damping Factor: >100 into 8 ohms, 20-20kHz
 
Gain: 22 (27dB)
Input Sensitivity: AKA Rated Output (Vrms)/Rated Gain. Or, 28V/22. You do the math.
 
Input Impedance: 22k ohms SE, 44k ohms balanced
 
Crosstalk: >95dB, 20-20kHz
 
Inputs: L/R RCA jacks for stereo input, single XLR for mono input
 
Topology: Fully complementary, all-BJT, current feedback, no coupling capacitors or DC servos
Oversight: microprocessor-controlled monitoring and management of critical operational points, including DC offset, with with relay shut-down for overcurrent, thermal, and other faults
Power Supply: 600VA transformer with dual mono main rails, plus boosted, regulated supply to input, voltage gain and driver stages, plus separate, isolated and regulated rails for microprocessor management. 
 
Power Consumption: 700W maximum 
 
Size: 9” x 13” x 3.875”
 
Weight: 22 lbs
 
*All measurements made on a Stanford Research SR1+ Audio Analyzer

So now you think you can do speaker power amps, huh?
Okay, Mr. Fashionably Unimpressed, I guess it’s news to you that we’ve been doing a speaker amp for a couple of years now. It’s called Ragnarok. But that’s an integrated amp that does everything from IEMs to speakers. Vidar is simply our first dedicated speaker amp. Plus, we do have a history with speaker amps, back in the dim dark days when there was still some affordable high-end audio. 

Color me still unimpressed. There are a lot of amps out there.
Yes, there are. But unless you have a wallet that takes a palanquin to carry, you’ve probably noticed that most high-end amps are very, very expensive. When you start using the word “affordable” next to “speaker amplifier,” the choices get really thin, really fast, especially when you also the words “really good,” before those three words. Especially when you understand that “affordable” doesn’t mean, “up to $5K,” in any sane universe.
 
So what’s so special about this “Vidar” amp, besides the fact it’s cheap?
The big deal is that this is a no-compromises design, at a price where there are usually a lot of compromises. Vidar uses a dual-mono-to-the-transformer design for the main output power supply (the most important place to use it). It has an exotic, high-speed, fully complementary, all-BJT current-feedback topology (no Class D or switching supplies here), and it has no coupling capacitors or DC servos in the signal path thanks to a sophisticated microprocessor oversight system, which also protects the amp—transparently, without fuses or active devices in the signal path—from common fault conditions.
 
Or, to put it in “key features” speak:
  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.
Hmm, I only understood about half of that. Is this amp fully buzzword compliant?
Hell, we don’t know. It is if you think it is.
 
I still only understood a bit of that.
Yep, engineering is a bitch. We’re really happy that there are other people in the world who understand things like finance, design, philosophy, and business. It’s just that’s not us. And, unfortunately, in engineering, sometimes you have to speak in engineerese. 
 
Hey, this amp is small for what it is, isn’t it?
Yes, it is. We worked hard to make the chassis simple and small, so we can do a no-compromises design at a reasonable cost. We used the heatsinks as part of the chassis to simplify its design, so we can put the money in the transformer, output devices, and power supply, rather than in large, flashy cosmetics.
 
But this amp is kinda small…
You seem fixated on this. Are you feeling inadequate lately?
 
No, I didn’t mean that! I mean, is this really a seriously powerful power amp?
Yes. Its rated power doubles into 4 ohms, which is something you don’t see very often. It has serious power reserves, with a 600VA transformer and 40,000uF of filter capacitance—20,000 for each channel. It’s perfectly happy driving difficult loads like Magneplanars. Unless you have some seriously insanely inefficient speakers and like ear-bleeding volume, this amp will do you just fine.
 
But what if I have insanely inefficient speakers and I wish to suffer hearing loss in the future?
Then use two of them as monoblocks. Of course, to do that, you’ll need a preamp with a real balanced output, like Freya. Plug a single balanced output into Vidar, and it turns it into a 400W/8 ohm mono amp.
 
Wait. How does the monoblock mode work?
It’s not a mode. It’s just the natural result of driving each channel with one half of a truly balanced signal. That’s why you need a preamp with balanced outputs. And that means REAL balanced outputs, not just XLR connectors.
 
There’s a difference between XLR and balanced?
There can be. If you aren’t using Freya, ask your preamp manufacturer if it has true balanced, differential outputs. If it does, you can easily run two Vidars as monoblocks. Or more, if you want to use them for home theater or something. 
 
What? Home theater?
There’s no reason you couldn’t use 7 Vidars, one for each channel, if you have a pre-pro with balanced outputs. Or three and a half of them in stereo. Or…well, you get the picture.
 
So what happens if I have 2 ohm speakers? You didn’t rate Vidar for 2 ohms.
No, we didn’t. Because speakers that are rated below 4 ohms are pretty rare. The bottom line is that Vidar will run 2 ohm speakers, but it may run into its protection and turn itself off. 
 
Same for 4 ohms when running monoblocks?
Yes. Again, Vidar will probably work fine at sane volumes, but at higher output, you may trigger the protection. 
 
Well, it still runs pretty warm even into 8 ohms.
Yes, it does. It’s got a decent amount of bias on it. No worries—we have internal thermal sensors that the microprocessor monitors. They’ll turn off the amp if it gets too hot.
 
So what’s a Vidar?
Vidar, in Norse Mythology, is said to be the strongest of the gods after Thor. And no, this isn’t a hint that there’s an even more powerful “Thor” amp coming—we just don’t want the copyright battle on that one. Vidar is one of the newer generation of gods that survive Ragnarok. Yep. I know. We’re here all day.
Schiit Audio Reference System, Part 1
Chris Connaker, ComputerAudiophile
"The Vidar's design will surprise the know-it-all audiophile in that it's Class-AB, not Class-D. There's nothing wrong with Class-D in and of itself, but I've been more underwhelmed than overwhelmed by the performance of most Class-D products.
 
In fact, last week I heard a pair of $16,500 Class-D Mola Mola mono amps driving a pair fo Dynaudio Evidence loudspeakers. Myself and three others in the room all thought the amps did an injustice to the loudspeakers and weren't capable of showing what the speakers could do with respect to performance.
 
One aspect of the Vidar that must be considered, is its lack of rating for mono configuration into 4 ohm speakers. According to Schiit, "Vidar will probably work fine at sane volumes, but at higher output, you may trigger the protection." Based on my testing with 86 dB efficient 4 ohm speakers, I believe the Vidar will work without triggering protection for most people using this configuration. I pushed the Vidar really hard and was unable to trip its protection mechanism. I didn't go crazy by putting on Nine Inch Nails at 110 dB and let it run over the weekend, but I did listen to Nine Inch Nails, Hip Hop, Big Band, and some heavy bass at loud levels. At no time did the pair of Vidars flinch. 
 
In fact, I concluded a listening session by playing Marcus Miller's Intro Duction from his Silver Rain album at what Faber Acoustical's Sound Meter app said was a 123.4 dB peak, and 11.3 dB max. The Vidars appeared to have very good control over the speakers, even at very high levels."
 

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Schiit Vidar Power Amplifier
Marvey (audiophool.org)
"In conclusion, the Schiit Vidar is a fanastic value power amplifier. The bass quality is first rate, comparable with the best. The mids and treble do not quite exude the magic or immediacy of the super high-end amplifiers (costing thousands and thousand of dollars) or epic vintage amplifers (no longer available or in dubious condition). However, the Vidar is still more than competent. My hunch is that the Vidar will be able to compete with amps at the $2000-$2500 point."
 
 

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Schiit Vidar/Saga: an affordable care act for your loudspeakers
John Darko (Digital Audio Review)

DAR-KO Knockout Award Winner

"With their Vidar and Saga, Schiit turn conventional thinking on its head to lay down a serious challenge to ANY amplification selling for a coupla clicks north of a thousand US dollars.

The point is, Schiit lay down the red carpet to a separates approach but without the premium. Welcome to the great leap forwards!"

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An affordable audiophile amplifier wows the Audiophiliac
Steve Guttenberg, CNET Audiophiliac

"Vidar was a perfect match with the Magnepan .7 flat panel speakers, so that's what I used for my first round of auditions. Bingo, the best of the .7s sound --  transparency, big as outdoors soundstage, gorgeous midrange -- they were all there, and I noted the treble was better than I've heard in a while. 

 
The KEF LS50 speakers also loved the Vidar, and bass output of this little speaker really surprised me. With Kid Koala's sampled and synthesized "12 Bar Blues" CD, the LS50s low-end slam belied their size.
 
Pair the Vidar with Schiit's smaller tube preamp, the $349 Saga, and that pair together runs just over $1,000. Add a set of $500 ELAC Uni-Fi UB5 monitor speakers, and that would be a hell of a system!"

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