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Configurable Balanced Desktop Headamp & Preamp

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You asked for it—a one-box, do-all, no-excuses desktop system that’s ready for any headphone and powered monitor on the planet. Done. At the same time, why don’t we make the conventional, non-upgradable DAC/amp idea seem, well, a bit outdated? Done and done. Welcome to Jotunheim!

DAC/Amps: They’re Sooooo Last Decade
Don’t get stuck with dumpster fodder when DAC technology changes—choose Jotunheim and be ready for today…and the future. Configure Jotunheim to your needs: use it as just an amp, or add an internal DAC or phono preamp. In the future, you’ll be able to easily upgrade to a different module—maybe even something beyond a DAC or phono preamp.
Ready For Any Headphone
IEMs? Sure. HE-6? Sure. If this means nothing to you, just be confident that you can plug any headphone into Jotunheim and get great sound, with ultimate power and authority. Balanced or single-ended—it doesn’t matter. With 5W output into 32 ohms from the balanced outputs, Jotunheim has tons of power to spare.
Ready for Any Powered Monitor or Power Amp
Balanced and single-ended preamp outs mean that Jotunheim is ready for any powered desktop monitor—or to plug into those gigadollar monoblocks you’ve been eyeing. 
Unrivaled Flexibility
Select high or low gain with the flick of a front-panel switch, for compatibility with both easy-to-drive and hard-to-drive headphones. Select from two different DAC modules, a phono input module, or no module at all to tailor Jotunheim exactly to your needs. 
  • Multibit DAC. Choose the optional Multibit DAC Module to get Schiit’s unique digital filter and multibit DAC architecture, as used in Modi Multibit, for $200.
  • AK4490 DAC. Or choose the more affordable AK4490 DAC module for a world-class delta-sigma DAC for only $100. 
  • MM Phono. Or, choose the MM phono input module, for 42dB of gain and passive RIAA, for great phono sound, at only $100. 

Unique Fully Discrete Gain Stage
Jotunheim's gain stage is a unique, inherently balanced, fully discrete current feedback topology that provides both balanced and single-ended output without the need for splitters or summers. It provides extremely wide bandwidth and excellent measured performance—together with the advantages of constant, low feedback across the entire audio band. What does all this techno-talk mean? In English, excellent performance from all inputs and outputs.

Designed and Built in California
By “designed and built in California" this is what we mean: the vast majority of the total production cost of Jotunheim—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
Jotunheim is covered by a 5-year limited warranty that covers parts and labor. And if you don’t like your Jotunheim, you can send it back for a refund, minus 5% restocking fee, within 15 days of receiving it.

Frequency Response: 20Hz-20Khz, -0.1db, 2Hz-700KHz, -3dB
Balanced Headphone Output:
Maximum Power, 16 ohms: 7500mW RMS per channel
Maximum Power, 32 ohms: 5000mW RMS per channel
Maximum Power, 50 ohms: 3000mW RMS per channel
Maximum Power, 300 ohms: 900mW RMS per channel
Maximum Power, 600 ohms: 500mW RMS per channel
Single-Ended Headphone Output:
Maximum Power, 16 ohms: 2500mW RMS per channel
Maximum Power, 32 ohms: 1500mW RMS per channel
Maximum Power, 50 ohms: 800mW RMS per channel
Maximum Power, 300 ohms: 350mW RMS per channel
Maximum Power, 600 ohms: 175mW RMS per channel
THD: <0.001%, 20Hz-20KHz, at 1V RMS
IMD: <0.0015%, CCIR
SNR: >109db, A-weighted, referenced to 1V RMS
Crosstalk: >-70dB, 20 Hz-20KHz
Output Impedance: Less than 0.1 ohms, balanced or SE, at both gain settings
Input Impedance: 50K ohms
Gain: 2 (6dB) or 8 (18dB), selectable via front switch
Inputs: Balanced XLR and Single-Ended RCA, selectable via front switch
Outputs: Balanced headphone (4-pin XLR), single-ended headphone (1/4” TRS), balanced line preamp, single-ended line preamp
Optional Inputs: Multibit DAC, AK4490 DAC, or Passive MM Phono
Gain Stage: Proprietary Schiit Pivot Point™ fully discrete differential current-feedback topology
Power Supply: One 48VA transformer with 6 stages of discrete or integrated regulation and over 70,000uF total filter capacitance

Optional Dual AK4490 DAC:
USB Input Receiver: C-Media CM6631A
D/A Conversion IC: AK4490 x 2Input Capability: up to 24/192
Analog Output: fully differential, active summing and filtering
Frequency Response: 20Hz-20KHz, +/-0.1dB, 2-100kHz, -3dB
THD: <0.001%, 20Hz-20KHz, full scale
IMD: <0.001%, CCIR
S/N: >108dB, referenced to 2V RMS, unweighted

Optional Multibit DAC:
USB Input Receiver: C-Media CM6631A
D/A Conversion IC: Analog Devices AD5547
Digital Filter: Schiit Comboburrito Time- and Frequency-domain Optimized DSP filter
Input Capability: up to 24/192
Analog Output: fully differential, active summing and filtering
Frequency Response: 20Hz-20KHz, +/-0.25dB, 2-100kHz, -3dB
THD: <0.005%, 20Hz-20KHz, full scale
IMD: <0.006%, CCIR
S/N: >109dB, referenced to 2V RMS, unweighted

Optional Passive Filtered Phono Stage:
Gain: 42dB
THD: <0.01%, A-weighted, at 1V RMS
SNR: >80dB, A-weighted, inputs shorted
Crosstalk: -70dB, 20-20kHz
Sensitivity: 2.3mV for 400mV output
Overload Margin: >20dB
Input Impedance: 47k ohms 
Input Capacitance: 100pf
RIAA Accuracy: +/- 0.25dB, 20-20kHz
Topology: Fully passive RIAA network with AD8599 gain stages and PET film capacitors throughout, DC coupled, with DC servo
Power Consumption: 25W typical
Size: 9” x 6” x 2”
Weight: 6 lbs

I thought you guys said you’d never do a DAC/Amp!
This isn’t a DAC/amp. This is a configurable desktop control center. 

But if you choose the DAC card, it’s a DAC/amp!
Yep, it is. And if you choose a different card, or no card, it’s a phono/amp or just an amp/preamp. The main point is that it doesn’t have to be a DAC/amp.
I don’t see the difference.
Here’s the difference: buy a DAC/amp that isn’t modular and upgradable, and you’ll be chucking it in the can in a couple of years when digital technology changes. With Jotunheim, you just swap in a new DAC card. Or decide, “heck with it, let’s do phono now.” Or never have a DAC. Or never have a phono. It’s up to you…and it’s updatable for the future…and it’s got a modular slot that, well, who knows what we’ll decide to put in it next?
But you said amp/DACs were inferior!
Nope. We said we didn’t like combined products due to obsolescence, and we didn’t like a noisy DAC section sharing power supplies with an amp. We killed the obsolescence issue with modular architecture, and we’ve gone to huge lengths to isolate the Jotunheim’s amp section from digital noise, including RF-suppressing, 4-layer board layout and multiple isolated, regulated supplies. Boom. Problems solved.
Holy hell, this thing is cheap for a real balanced differential amp/DAC!
Well, maybe not in the grand scheme of things. I mean, you can get a decent laptop for what Jotunheim costs. But yes, we are very proud of the value we’ve been able to pack into Jotunheim. An all-new, proprietary Pivot Point™ differential discrete topology, multiple switchable inputs and preamp outputs, balanced and single-ended headphone outs, a big 27mm Alps 4-gang balanced pot, and an optional differential DAC module with passive filtering. And a ton of power. And a 5-year warranty. And…but we’re getting tedious, aren’t we? 
But this is probably a “fake” balanced amp, right, where you convert from balanced to single-ended and back again?
Nope. When we say, “balanced, differential,” we say what we mean, and mean what we say. 
Wait a sec, there are a lot of combined amp/DACs out there using op-amps and digital volume, or converting to single-ended internally, or all of the above, that cost a whole lot more than this, right?
And they ain’t Schiit.
So, if we get a DAC module, is this an amp/DAC or DAC/amp?
And how did you achieve this magical no-compromise bullschiit?
By not simply sticking a headphone amp chip in a DAC or sticking a half-assed DAC in a headphone amp. Used as a DAC, it operates no differently than Bifrost or Gungnir—but with the added functionality of a volume control, and, of course, a headphone output. 
So I can use this as just a DAC?
Sure. If you get one of the optional DAC modules.
What’s the difference between the DAC modules?
Sheesh. Besides that, what’s the difference between the DAC modules?
Okay, we’ll be serious. You can choose one of two different DAC modules for Jotunheim:
  • Multibit DAC Module. This one uses Schiit’s unique DSP-based digital filter and true multibit DAC architecture, with the AK5547 D/A converter. It’s essentially a Modi Multibit with only USB input. 
  • AK4490 DAC Module. This one uses two AK4490 DACs (hardware-balanced configuration) for excellent measured performance at low cost. 
Or can I use it as just an amp?
Yep, you can do that too. You can also use it as a great preamp. And you can even use it as a phono preamp with the phono input card. You just can’t have both DAC and phono at the same time, sorry.
What is this “Pivot Point topology?”
It’s a new, Schiit-proprietary, differential current-feedback topology that provides exceptional performance—low distortion, high bandwidth, inherently balanced output, and the ability to use one side of the topology as a single-ended output, to eliminate the need for summers. It’s also fully discrete, with no op-amps (except the DC servo) or integrated “chip” outputs, and is completely DC-coupled from input to output. It is, quite simply, the highest-performing, most flexible gain stage we’ve ever created. And it’s like nothing else out there.
So it’s not a circlotron?
No. It is inherently differential and balanced, but it is not a circlotron, nor is it supersymmetric. Beyond that, buy one and reverse-engineer it, like any other company with no imagination.
I’m frustrated! I want to know everything about this magic gain stage!
Go to college. Learn engineering. Be nice. Stop by at shows. Then maybe we’ll tell you more. 
You’re screwing with me!
Yep. We probably won’t tell you anything, even at shows. Yes, I know, we’re dinosaurs in this open-source age. 
Hey, this isn’t the same old Schiit chassis you’ve been using forever. What gives?
Oh, you noticed. This new, more efficient chassis is sleeker than our previous products, isn’t it? It’s also a big part of the Jotunheim’s attractive price. We’re not about putting the same old stuff in bejeweled boxes. In this case, there’s a whole lot of insanely-new-and-cool stuff in a very simple, affordable box.
What’s Jotunheim in Norse mythology?
It’s the land of the giants. Which we believe is very appropriate for this all-new concept. But you tell us…
Schiit Audio Jotunheim Headamp/Preamp
Chris Martens, Hifi+

How does the Jotunheim sound? The answer is that the amp sounds powerful, refined, and accomplished—almost absurdly so in light of its price. You enjoy the punch and authority for which well-designed solid state amps are known, ample detail and resolution, plus the quiet backgrounds and precise control over the leading and trailing edges of notes that are the hallmarks of first-rate fully balanced designs.

In sum, the Schiit Jotunheim offers heavyweight performance in a middleweight-sized chassis for a bantamweight price. If that’s not an irresistible combination of virtues, I don’t know what would be. Try one, soon!

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Schiit’s Jotunheim: entry-level, endgame head-fi
John Darko, darko.audio

"For its five-hundred dollar asking price (US$399 if you don’t want the DAC or phono module), it’s unlikely there exists a headphone amplifier that can compete with the Jotunheim’s combined audible performance and feature set."

"One of the most effortlessly earned DAR-KO awards to date. Wallop. Thump. Kapow."

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Audiophiliac Says This Sweet Little Component Sounds Schiit
Steve Guttenberg, CNET Audiophiliac

"The astonishingly good Schiit Jotunheim stereo preamp/headphone amplifier won't break the bank.

It's been too long since I wrote a Schiit review. I say that because this California based company specializes in high-performance audio components that sell for real-world prices. Take this one, the Jotunheim stereo preamplifier/headphone amp, sold with your choice of a built-in, 192-kHz/24-bit high-resolution digital converter, or a moving-magnet phono preamp for buyers using turntables. My sample had the converter, and right away it sounded spectacular playing headphones ranging from my Audio Technica ATH-M50x all the way up to the Hifiman Susvara."

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Schiit Audio Jotunheim
Chris Martens, The Absolute Sound Guide to Headphones and Personal Audio

 "Sonically, the Jotunheim is powerful, refined, and accomplished—almost absurdly so in light of its price."

Schiit Audio Jotunheim DAC-Headphone Amplifier
Hans Wetzel, Soundstagexperience.com
"Schiit Audio’s Jotunheim is an excellent headphone amplifier that I’m confident just about anyone would like. Between its monster power output and its balanced and unbalanced inputs and outputs, it’s a veritable audio Swiss Army Knife that can play nicely with any set of headphones in any type of system. 
"Having the option to order the Jotunheim with a moving-magnet phono board or a dual-differential DAC for a mere $100 makes the package even more appealing."
"Ultimately, though, it’s this little Schiit’s accomplished sound quality, highlighted by its sensational neutrality, that makes it so compelling. With the optional DAC in play, the Jotunheim is very good. But hook up a high-quality external DAC -- perhaps one of Schiit’s own -- and I suspect you’ll find that the sky’s the limit. Unless you’re keen to light some money on fire, begin your search for a top-flight headphone amp here."

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Schiit Jotunheim Amplifier
The Streaming Blog

 "Schiit’s Jotunheim is an outstanding headphone amp that anyone would love to have. With its impressive power output, as well as its balanced & unbalanced inputs and outputs, it sure is a true audio device that can deliver excellent performance, no matter what type of headphones or system you are utilizing.

Having three modules to choose from makes it more appealing and worth the purchase, since other amplifiers and DACs are not upgradable for future use. You can keep it updated through the years, and it also has a modular slot that allows for additional enhancements.
The Schiit Jotunheim performed excellently when we used it as an amp, and the sounds improved further when we tried utilizing the DAC and phono input modules. The Schiit Jotunheim’s sensational neutrality highlighted its overall audio quality. It delivered excellent sound performance, and it comes at an affordable price, which makes it a compelling product for everyone. Furthermore, it comes with a 5-year warranty, and the company allows for a return and refund the product doesn’t surprise you. So if you are in search for a top-performing headphone amp on the market, then we highly recommend the Schiit Jotunheim amplifier for your needs."

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Schiit Jotunheim Multibit DAC
Home Theater Review, Matthew Partrick
"The Jotunheim is a fantastic option for those looking for high-quality desktop sound and are intrigued by Schiit's multibit technology. In addition, its excellent linear power supply and support for balanced XLR output make for a special headphone experience. It does not offer multiple digital inputs, however, and does not support DSD or MQA. But those who want lots of power for their difficult balanced headphones would have a hard time doing better than the Jotunheim. Either way, you should consider checking out the Jotunheim, as this is one hell of a little DAC."
Best of 2019!

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The Schiit Jotunheim Review
Mr. Headphoneer

"There is a lot to like about the Jotunheim:  It is versatile and powerful. It is flexible and capable. It handles every headphone I have tried well. It is not always the last word in clarity and fast dynamics, but considering the price and the versatility, it is hard to beat. The Multibit DAC is surprisingly good, and you need to really step up to get significant improvement."

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13th Note Audio Reviews
Schiit Jotunheim Balanced Desktop Headamp / Preamp Lyr 3 Hybrid Headamp / DAC / Phono
EnjoyTheMusic.com. Jeremy R. Kipnis

"This is some good Schiit! That funny comment aside, and simply put, the Jotunheim is for those wanting both musical expression, deep sonics, and small versatile stylish design in a headphone amp and system pre-amp. The balanced electronics and headphone output had me at the word "Go" for this review. Having listened to it for over 20+ weeks, and then quickly switching over to the Lyr 3 (the newer design with a single tube) required a re-evaluation of what I was expecting, just as with any other new piece of gear suddenly thrown into the review light."

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