Aegir

Continuity™ Power Amplifier

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$799

Backordered, Ships 11-14

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What if we made a Class A version of the Vidar? No, wait, strike that. What if we made a better-than-Class-A-in-many-respects version of the Vidar? Well, here you go. Meet Aegir.
 
Continuity™: Benefits Beyond Class A
Aegir is our first Continuity speaker amplifier, extending a technology we introduced with the Lyr 3 headphone amp. Technically, Continuity is a way to eliminate transconductance droop outside of the Class A bias region, and extend the benefits of Class A biasing. It also solves the NPN and PNP device mismatch problem, since it uses both NPN and PNP devices on both rails. It’s still a very hot-running amp, though, with over 10W of Class A standing bias.
 
A True No-Excuses Design
Like Vidar, Aegir uses an exotic current-feedback topology, as well as a 100% linear power supply (with 7 separate voltage rails and 600VA transformer) and microprocessor oversight to eliminate capacitors and DC servos in the signal path. No Class D, no switching supplies, no fans, no compromises, nothing in the signal path but music—for a three-figure price tag.
 
Power That Scales
Aegir provides 20W into 8 ohms, doubling to 40W into 4 ohms. Run mono, and you’ll see 80W into 8 ohms. Best of all, Continuity ensures you see Class-A-like performance at all these power outputs.
  
Convenient Standby Mode
On Aegir, we’ve added a front-panel button to put the amp into Standby mode. This de-biases the output stage completely and reduces standing power consumption significantly. This keeps the rest of the amp up and running, without massive heat output.
 
Designed and Assembled in USA
By “designed and assembled in USA" this is what we mean: the vast majority of the total production cost of Aegir—chassis, boards, transformers, assembly, etc—goes to US companies manufacturing in the US. Our chassis are made minutes from our facility. Our PCBs are done just over the hill from us, or done in NorCal. Our transformers are also made in California. You get the picture. 
 
5-Year Warranty and Easy Return Policy
Aegir is covered by a 5-year limited warranty that covers parts and labor. And if you don’t like your Aegir, you can send it back for a refund, minus 5% restocking fee, within 15 days of receiving it.
 

Power Output:

Stereo, 8 Ohms: 20W RMS per channel 
Stereo, 4 Ohms: 40W RMS per channel
Mono, 8 ohms: 80W RMS 
 
Frequency Response: 20Hz-20Khz, -0.1db, 3Hz-500KHz, -3dB
 
THD: <0.01%, 20Hz-20KHz, at 20W RMS into 8 ohms 
IMD: <0.01%, CCIR, at 20W RMS into 8 ohms
 
SNR: >112db, A-weighted, referenced to full output 
 
Damping Factor: >100 into 8 ohms, 20-20kHz
 
Gain: 12 (22dB)
 
Input Sensitivity: AKA Rated Output (Vrms)/Rated Gain. Or, 14.3/12. 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 with Continuity™ constant transconductance output stage
 
Oversight: microprocessor-controlled monitoring and management of critical operational points, including DC offset, with standby mode and 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: 450W maximum 
 
Size: 9” x 13” x 3.875”
 
Okay, so what is this Continuity™ thing, really?
Like we said in the product description, Continuity is a way to extend the benefits of Class A operation outside of the Class A bias region by eliminating transconductance droop, and to solve one of the problems that Class A doesn’t inherently solve—the mismatch between NPN and PNP output devices.
 
Huh? I didn’t understand all of that.
Okay, let’s break it down like this. Continuity allows us to run less bias than Class A (though not a lot less) and have the amp act like Class A even when it’s putting out more power than its Class A bias.
 
Gimme an example.
Okay. If Aegir was a normal Class A amp, it’d be biased at 20W for a 20W rating. Outside of that 20W rating, it would act like a Class AB amp. But Aegir is a Continuity amp, so it’s biased at 10W, rated at 20W, but can act pretty dang close to a Class A amp up to 80W or even higher, when run in mono.
 
Okay, so it’s a sliding bias scheme.
Nope, it is a unique output stage that uses both NPN and PNP devices on both rails, and selectively turns on additional devices to compensate for transconductance droop outside of the Class A bias region.
 
Okay, so it’s a Sziklai output stage.
Nope, the output stage has no gain.
 
Okay, so give me a schematic!
We’ll do one better: we’ll give you an education. We’d recommend you read John Broskie (tubecad.com) and Bob Cordell (cordellaudio.com) on the problems of transconductance doubling (we call it transconductance droop) and the various ways around it.
 
But Continuity can’t possibly be better than Class A, right?
Depends on what you mean by “better.” If you have guys who manage your funds and 30 tons of A/C on your 6000 square foot vacation home, sure, maybe Class A is ultimately better. But maybe not. Traditional Class A doesn’t address the NPN and PNP device mismatch (they are not the same—look at the datasheets). Also, if you’re measuring with a sane yardstick—that is, price vs performance, and will my significant other kill me when they see this thing—then hey, yep, Continuity is definitely better.
 
So this thing runs pretty cool, huh?
No. It’s still one very hot-running amp. The heatsinks are gonna reach 50 degrees C or more, depending on the ambient temperature of your home. You’re going to need to run Aegir in a well-ventilated area. Also, if you like your house hot (like, 30 degrees C and above), you may have to use an external fan to avoid thermal shutdown. There’s no such thing as a free lunch.
 
Why would I pay more for a lower-power amp (compared to Vidar)?
Sigh. You saw through our cunning plot! Just buy a Vidar. Or Emotiva.
 
No, seriously, why does it cost more than Vidar?
Because it costs more to make. Between device matching, a more sophisticated power supply, a super-tweaky transformer, and the additional feature of output stage standby, it costs more. So…it costs more. There’s no grand conspiracy.
 
So what did you do to cheap out on this amp? 
Not much. Like Vidar, Aegir 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 current feedback topology, coupled with our unique Continuity output stage. The power supply is completely linear, with 600VA transformer, over 150,000uF of filter capacitance, and 5 regulated power supply rails. There are no coupling capacitors or DC servos in the signal path thanks to a sophisticated microprocessor oversight system, which also protects the amp and enables a lower-power Standby mode.
 
But, isn’t 20W not a lot of power? Is that enough for me?
We can’t really predict how it will work in every situation, but if you’re using efficient speakers (88dB and above), or if you’re using two Aegirs run in mono for 80+W, then it’ll probably be fine.
 
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. Freya is a truly balanced preamp, for example. 
 
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 Aegirs as monoblocks. 
  
So what’s an Aegir?
Aegir, in Norse Mythology, is the Lord of the Sea. This doesn’t mean that it’s liquid-cooled, nor do we intend to add liquid cooling, nor is it a veiled attempt to inject audiophilic words like “liquid” into this conversation. And that’s it. Disclaimers are over for the day. We hope you enjoy Aegir! 
Stereophile: Schiit Audio Aegir Power Amplifier
Herb Reichert, Stereophile

"The Aegir struck me as a design that will withstand and even rejoice in the scrutiny of time—much like the affordable Wharfedale, KEF, Harbeth, and Magnepan loudspeakers I tested it with.

Unless you need more power or have an uncontrollable urge to spend more money, I can think of no arguments against Schiit's innovative Aegir."

Stereophile Class A Rated
Least Expensive Class A Rated Amplifier
 

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Schiit’s little amplifier punches way above its weight
Steve Guttenberg, CNET

"Fueled by the Aegir, the LS50's sound took on a burnished glow, with the tone richer and sweeter than I'm used to. Stereo imaging was superb, that's what the LS50 is known for, but paired with the Aegir there's more depth and body to the sound of vocalists and instruments on acoustic music."

 
"With the easier to drive Klipsch Forte III speakers, the Aegir played louder with ease, and the sound was much livelier with saxophonist Charles Lloyd's iconic Forest Flower LP. This music moves gracefully with Keith Jarrett on piano, Cecil McBee on bass, and Jack DeJohnette on drums. Dynamics were excellent, so the music had real visceral power, and that's a rare occurrence with amps in the Aegir's price class."
 
 

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Schiit Aegir Amplifier, Stereo Times
Paul Szabady, Stereo Times

"The Schiit Aegir amplifier shows every sign of being a break-through product: one that combines exceptional music-making and rhythmic sophistication with the purity, natural-ness, detail, and timbral accuracy associated with the highest quality amplifiers. Add its spectacularly affordable price and it becomes a ‘must-have.’ My hat is off to the folks at Schiit Audio for this stunning service to passionate music-lovers. Class A for Everyman? Yes, indeed."

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SchiitrMeet: Power Amp Thunderdome Impressions
Marv Chen, Super Best Audio Friends

"Upfront soundstage placement, but better layering. Mid-centric (compared to the others). Super immediate, emotionally involved, could hear the smoke from Ella Fitzgerald's throat."

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