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Jotunheim R

Modular Amp for Raal Ribbon Headphones

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Do you have Raal/Requisite headphones? Do you want to ditch the speaker amp and interface box for something smaller and simpler? Do you want a true one-box solution you can carry with you wherever you go? Then you want Jotunheim R—the only direct-drive ribbon headphone amp on the planet. 

Designed Especially for Raal/Requisite Headphones
Let’s be clear. If you have other kinds of headphones, this amp isn’t for you. This amp was designed for one kind of headphones only: the Raal/Requisite ribbon headphones. Delivering up to 13A (amps…yes, amps) per channel into the Raal’s extremely low impedance load, and including the baffle compensation needed for the SR1a, the Jotunheim R is completely unique. It means you can leave your speaker amp behind, forget the Raal/Requisite interface box, and, if you buy it with the optional True Multibit™ DAC, you have a one-box system that’s easily transportable.
Configure To Your Needs
Select Jotunheim R as “just an amp,” or add an internal DAC to tailor the system to your needs.
  • No DAC. If you already have a DAC, or don’t need one, choose Jotunheim R without a DAC module or external DAC, for $799. 
  • ES9028 module (internal). Choose the optional ES9028 DAC Module for $100 more.
Flexibility and Convenience 
Jotunheim R provides switchable baffle compensation, to ensure compatibility with future ribbon headphone models, as well as switchable passive preamp outputs, and both balanced and single-ended inputs. No power bricks or external power supplies are required; it plugs straight into the wall for maximum convenience.
Unique Nexus™ Discrete Gain Stage with Ultra-High-Current Output
Jotunheim uses our unique Nexus™ gain stage that debuted on the flagship Ragnarok 2 integrated amplifier. This inherently balanced, differential, current feedback topology accepts both balanced and single-ended input without the need for splitters and summers. 
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 R is covered by a 5-year limited warranty that covers parts and labor. And if you don’t like your Jotunheim R, 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-500KHz, -3dB, baffle compensation off into SR1a load
Maximum Current, SR1a load: 13.2A per channel, both channels driven, at clipping (10% THD)
THD: <0.0005% at 32 ohms, 1V (not a ribbon headphone load, for reference, note max output at 1% THD into 8-32 ohms is about 5V RMS)
THD at 0.2A output into SR1a: <0.014%
THD at 1A output into SR1a: <0.026% 
IMD: <0.02% at 0.2A output current, <0.04% at 1A output current into SR1a 
SNR: >110dB, referenced to 3A output
Crosstalk: >-65dB, 20 Hz-20KHz, when loaded with SR1a 
Output Impedance: Less than 0.015 ohms
Input Impedance: 50K ohms
Gain: 2 (6dB) 
Inputs: Balanced XLR and Single-Ended RCA, selectable via front switch
Outputs: Balanced Raal headphone (4-pin male XLR), balanced passive preamp, single-ended passive preamp
Optional Inputs: True Multibit™ DAC
Gain Stage: Proprietary Schiit Nexus™ fully discrete differential current-feedback topology
Power Supply: One 48VA transformer with 6 stages of discrete or integrated regulation and over 120,000uF total filter capacitance
Protection: Hall Effect current sensor for overcurrent conditions, triggering at 31A, plus integrated thermostat triggering at 95 degrees C

Power Consumption: 45W maximum
Size: 9” x 6” x 2”
Weight: 7 lbs

So I have these Audeze headphones—
BZZT! Stop right there. Nope. This amp is only for Raal/Requisite headphones.

Well, I also have these IEMs—
NO! What part of “this amp is only for Raal/Requisite headphones” did you not understand?
But what if I want to use it with other headphones?
Guys, seriously. Stop it. They won’t even plug into the Jotunheim R. It uses a MALE 4-pin XLR connector. Not female, like every other balanced headphone uses. This is specifically because it’s designed for the Raal/Requisite headphones only.
Okay. Fine. So I have Raal/Requisite headphones. Why do I want this thing?
Cool. Now we’re getting somewhere. You might want a Jotunheim R for the following reasons:
  • Jotunheim R is the only direct-drive ribbon headphone amp in the world. As in, you connect the headphones to the amp and you’re done. This substantially simplifies the system.
  • Jotunheim R means you don’t need a speaker amp to run the Raal/Requisite headphones. Nor do you need their speaker amp interface box. As stated above, it’s one and done. 
  • Jotunheim R can be configured with an internal DAC, which makes it a one-box transportable system for driving the Raal/Requisite headphones.
But it can’t sound as good as a speaker amp, can it?
Actually, some early reviewers say it sounds better—even better than some megabuck speaker amps. 
How can this be the only direct-drive ribbon headphone amp? 
Because we’re a little crazy. When we heard that Raal/Requisite liked our Vidar for running their headphones, we immediately thought, “You know, we can probably do a direct-drive amp instead.” So we did. 
So you developed a new amp rather than just taking their money for your Vidars?
Correct. As we’ve said before, we’re a bit weird.
How did you develop this magical one-and-only amp?
Well, it’s not magical. In fact, it’s pretty straightforward. Driving a very low-impedance headphone like the Raal/Requisite SR1a is a matter of delivering high output current, which is really all about efficient current transfer with low voltage rails. It helped that we already had a discrete differential amplifier, the Jotunheim, which was topologically similar to what we needed, and also could be a donor for common parts, like the chassis.
So this is a hot-rodded Jotunheim?
Nope. In fact, the only parts shared with Jotunheim are the bottom chassis and the True Multibit DAC card. Wait, and the volume pot as well. Beyond that, it’s totally different, and designed specifically for the ultra-high-current needs of the Raal/Requisite headphones.
Is this a Raal/Requisite product? 
Nope, it’s a Schiit product. Raal/Requisite was aware of our development, and provided feedback on early developmental models, but it’s designed and produced by us in Valencia, CA. If you don’t like the amp, you can blame us 100%. But we think you’ll like it!
Is it ready for professional use?
Absolutely. We knew that one important application for this amp would be for portable mixing, so we built in the protection you need for 100% reliability. That’s why it has current sensing and shutdown for overcurrent conditions, as well as thermal sense and shutdown for overtemperature conditions. It’s also covered by a full 5-year warranty.
But is it ready for high-end use too?
Yep! We spent tons of time comparing this to various speaker amps using the Raal/Requisite interface box, and we think we have a better solution than most amps that aren’t made out of unobtanium. Early listeners seem to agree. But let us know what you think.
What’s all this techy mumbo-jumbo about Nexus™?
Nexus is our unique, discrete, differential- or single-ended in, differential- or single-ended out, high impedance, non N/N+1 gain stage. Yes, it’s a bunch of tech talk. The best way to describe it might be that it is not supersymmetry, nor a circlotron, nor an instrumentation amp topology. In the end, what’s important for Jotunheim R is that it gives us the flexibility for balanced and SE input, as well as differential output, in an overall architecture that can be designed to fit the needs of the Raal/Requisite headphones. 
Can I make an adapter to connect this to other headphones?
If you're talking 4-pin to 4-pin, sure, maybe. This amp only puts out about 5V RMS, so you're looking at only 780mW into 32 ohms and like 83mW into 300 ohms. And you have to swap phase. The Raal pinout is different than the standard 4-pin headphone pinout. Try to convert it to TRS, and all you're gonna hear is "click," when it runs into the protection. 
But an amp with this kind of current output could run speakers, right?
Sure. If you want a 3W speaker amp that you need to make an adapter cable for, and plug the speakers into the front of the Jotunheim R when you want to use them, then Jotunheim R is a fine, fine choice. It's also stupidly expensive for a 3W speaker amp. And inconvenient. But hey, it's your life. Have fun.
What happens if Raal/Requisite make different models of ribbon headphone in the future?
We hear you. That’s why the step baffle compensation (needed for the SR1a) is switchable. If Raal/Requisite brings out ribbon headphones that are more conventional (circumaural, etc), you can turn the baffle compensation off.
What if other companies do ribbon headphones?
What if the sun turns into a hot dog?
Huh? WTF was that?
Our light-hearted answer was a way of saying, “You can’t predict the future, can you?” What we can say, to be a bit more serious, is that if other companies start doing ribbon headphones, and if they use the same connector andpinout as Raal/Requisite, you’ll be able to plug them into Jotunheim R. 
You guys are weird!
Yes, yes, we are.
Jotunheim R Direct Drive Amplifier for SR1a
Ian Dunmore, headphones.com

"Schiit’s new Jotunheim R is an excellent, and extremely high-value, way to drive the RAAL-requisite SR1a. Indeed, when it comes down to it, the pairing of Jotunheim R and SR1a outperforms every conventional headphone/amplifier combination I have heard - irrespective of price. You absolutely get the full-fat SR1a experience here, with no muting or blunting and no excuses nor caveats needed.

This is nothing short of a game-changer in terms of knocking down the barriers-to-entry with the SR1a.
The SR1a is not a laid-back, warm, or euphonic headphone; they won’t cosset your ears, coddle your sensitivities, or croon softly in your shell-like. Pairing them with the Jotunheim R will not make them do this either; what it will do is let you experience the SR1a “as nature intended” and without breaking the bank to do so.
The combination of direct-drive, and a slightly different compensation profile, lets the Jotunheim R match, and typically exceed, the realized technical performance of much more expensive amplifiers (that must use the interface box), in a simpler, smaller and much more convenient package."

Read Full Review ->

Gramophone Dreams #38
Herb Reichert

"Interestingly, the Jotunheim R rendered these well-recorded live tracks with more there-ness and deeper bass than the Pass Labs amplifier did. Compared to the Jot-R, the XA25 might be considered a little too light and airy.

To my ears, the RAAL-requisite SR1a ribbon headphones, coupled to the dedicated Schiit Jotunheim R amplifier/preamp, transduce recorded music at a level of verity and resolution matched only by the best at any price. Sincerely recommended."

Read Full Review ->