Here's more info on the Asgard 2 as only Schiit Audio can present it.
Wait a minute! You upgraded Asgard?
Yes. Change is the only constant in life, and all that.
I loved the original. Why'd you do that?
Because we hate you. No. Just kidding. Asgard was a great amp for its time, but time has moved on. More people want to run powered monitors on their desktops, which means preamp outputs are important. More people want to use custom IEMs, so switchable gain is important. And we learned so much in the development of Mjolnir, we really wanted to share.
So is this a circlotron?
Nope. It's still a single-ended 'Class A' amp. It retains all the essential character of what made an Asgard an Asgard. But it now has Mjolnir's high-voltage trick with a cascoded JFET input stage. Running very high voltage is one way to linearize circuits without using negative feedback. Which means Asgard 2's distortion performance is much better than the original Asgard. We also eliminated Asgard's output coupling capacitors, so this amp is DC in, and DC out.
So does it sound different?
Yes, it does, but it retains Asgard's relaxed, natural character, together with additional transparency and dynamics.
But I hear all amps sound the same!
That's cool. We think you can get a good deal on a headphone amp from Amazon for like $39. Or just use your receiver outputs and save even more money.
I hear you are using terms like "no feedback" and 'Class A' to baffle us with audiophile bullshit, what's up with that?
It's no different than using the terms "precision operational amplifier" or "capacitor coupled gain stage" when describing a circuit. Describing the Asgard as a "no overall feedback, 'Class A' amp is accurate and relevant. If you think this is a value judgment on other topologies, or that we're trying to obfuscate and confuse, well, what can we say, other than there are a ton of other options out there?
Will Asgard 2 drive orthos?
Many of them, yes. The HiFiMan HE400 and HE500 do well with Asgard 2, as well as the Audeze LCD2. The popular Fostex T50RP mods (Mad Dog, Paradox) are also well-served by Asgard 2.
Yes. We've tested extensively with IEMs, and Asgard 2's is excellent for them, in low gain mode.
And other headphones?
Of course. It may be the only amp you ever need, unless you want to get into tubes, or balanced amps.
So can I leave my headphones plugged in all the time, or do I have to do the unplug-and replug thing every time I turn Asgard 2 off and on?
You can leave them plugged in all the time. Asgard 2 has a muting relay which delays output on first turn-on, and mutes the output on turn-off.
Does the volume control adjust the preamp outputs?
Can I turn off the headphone outs when I'm using the preamp outputs?
Plugging in headphones automatically disconnects the pre-outs.
How do I switch the gain?
There's a toggle switch on the back of the amp.
What does 'Class A' really mean?
For us, 'Class A' means 'Class A' – that is, the output stage is running its maximum current all the time. This is a real 'Class A' amp, biased by a current source. It can never go out of 'Class A'. Protip: running a 'Class A' amp hard into a difficult load actually causes it to run cooler. Please note this is not an invitation to destroy your hearing. This is just a bit of trivia. We probably should be telling you to practice safe listening, use a condom, sign this disclaimer before you turn up Asgard 2, don't use the lawnmower as a hedge trimmer, coffee is hot, blah blah, but we don't roll that way.
So, this thing runs damn hot, like Asgard?
If by "damn hot" you mean 40-45 degrees C, then yes.
And you're not concerned with that?
Nope. The entire chassis is a heat sink, and we're running the outputs well within their safe operating area, even derating for the operational temperature. Sorry, some engineerese crept in there.
But it still runs hot!
And technically, that's still not a question. If you want an amp that runs cold, it's best to look elsewhere.