Acoustic Sounds



By: Michael Fremer

March 27th, 2024

Schiit Skoll is a Schiit Showcase

balanced discrete class A zero feedback MM/MC phono preamp

Schiit's Skoll phono preamp is a wonder of miniaturization and efficient product design, that much is certain. The photo makes it appear larger than it really is, which is approximately 9"x6"x1.5". Now, that's compact and perhaps not unusual in itself but consider that it features both single-ended and balanced XLR inputs and output connectors. There's even a multi-pin jack for the special wall-wart that provided the chassis both 24VAC and 6V AC plus a ground lug and an on/off toggle switch. That's a tight rear panel fit, but not so tight that you will have trouble plugging everything in.

Schiit Skoll rear panel

The front panel too is a miniaturization wonder though some/many might find difficult reading the tiny silkscreened letters and icons associated with the fourteen equally tiny LEDs associated with each one. It's hardly a burden though because all of the adjusting is done via the supplied remote control. If you misplace it, it's possible to control settings from the front panel.

Schiit Skoll remote control

You're going to want to use the remote control because from it, sitting in your listening chair you can:

  • Select input: choose balanced or SE input

  • Change gain: choose 40, 50, 60, or 70dB

  • Change resistive loading: Choose 47k, or 10, 50, 100, or 150 ohms

  • Change capacitive loading: choose 50, 100, 150, or 200pF

  • Select LF filter: choose no LF filter, or engage the 2-pole/15 Hz passive network

That is a full feature set and as you can see, with 70dB of gain, the Skoll can deal with the lowest output cartridges, at least theoretically. Given its $399 cost perhaps you're thinking, "With all of those features and functionality, what's inside must be off the shelf op-amps and lots of negative feedback to keep distortion honest".

But not so! Instead the circuitry is fully discrete, with differential Class A, zero-feedback gain stages and a fully passive RIAA network. The gain stage is a "compound JFET-BJT pair running on massive 64V rails for enhanced linearity and freedom from overload". Schiit claims over 100dB S/N ratio (for 40dB of gain), with of course lower numbers as gain increases.

The single-ended and balanced relay-switched inputs can be used for two arms and/or turntables. To keep the Skoll noise and interference free, the relay power supplies are "post-filtered" and the microprocessor turns off when not in use.

The inside Schiit

What's more, Schiit wants you to know that the Skoll was designed and built in Texas at the company's Corpus Christie facility and that the "vast majority of the production costs—boards and chassis—go to United States companies manufacturing in the USA—chassis in California PCB boards in Nevada. The wall wart is from overseas. Skoll comes with a two year parts and labor warranty and if you don't like how it sounds you can return it within 15 days of your receiving it and get your money back minus a 15% restocking fee.

Set-Up and Use

If you buy a Skoll be sure to immediately plug it in, hook it up and play music through it because "out of the box" at least based on my experience, while it will sound pretty good, you really won't know what it will eventually sound like. If you have an RIAA reversal thingie, like Hagtech's $49 iRIAA2 put it to use with a CD or DVD player on repeat. Out of the box the Skoll sounds a bit transient hard and with truncated decay like an M&M shell without the nice chocolate innard. Once broken in it's a very different sonic story.

Upon turn on the LEDs do a little back and forth dance as they will do when you change other settings. I ran the Skoll in front ends and cartridges it's not likely to ever work with in the real world: the OMA K3 prototype turntable with SAT CF1-12 arm and the new Mo-Fi Masterdeck turntable currently under review. I also used the Supatrac Blackbird tonearm with two high quality DIN to balanced XLR plugs. Cartridges included the Lyra Kleos SL and Atlas Lambda SL, the Ortofon Verismo and from India and also under review the EBI Audio KHUMAR. I ran Skoll balanced "out" through most of the review period and for a very short time "balanced in", but more about that later. Set-up was simple and use even simpler thanks to the remote control.

Skoll Sound

Probably the most difficult cartridge to drive of the ones I used was the .2mV output Ortofon Verismo. The Skoll had more than sufficient gain and set the music backgrounds as quiet "as advertised". More importantly the Skoll delivered from $6995 Verismo an impressive amount of its potential detail, especially in terms of sustain and decay, thanks to the quiet backgrounds and overall transient clarity and unusual at this price point precision.

The Alternate Blues reissue arrived yesterday (Pablo Today/Analogue Productions APJ 152) and after playing it on the big Wilson-Benesch GMT 1/CH P10 combo, which was a wow experience, it went on the MoFi Masterdeck/Verismo combo into the Skoll. Of course a ridiculous and unfair comparison but it demonstrated that the Skoll's "issues" were of omission and not commission because the playback was 100% enjoyable and nothing bothersome ever intruded upon the listening pleasure, though thinking about the $399 price tag for the given sonic pleasures only added pleasure.

"Alternate Three" (this is an album of outtakes from Trumpet Summit) features Dizzy Gillespie's muted trumped center, Joe Pass right channel, Ray Brown center, and then after a bunch of bars, Ella's drummer Bobby Durham enters also in the center followed by Oscar Peterson in the left channel. Everything sounds "right", though diminished and less vibrant and "completed" than through the big rig, but when Freddie Hubbard joins on the right channel, he's immediately recognizable as is Clark Terry's more mellow toned muted trumpet in the left channel.

The timbral presentation was complex, involving and enjoyable. Trumpets sounded convincing, cymbals rang true, with properly sharp transients free of etch, glare and other budget gear sins. The biggest omission was in the very deep bass and mid bass, which were nonetheless nothing short of very good and cleanly rendered. The kick drum room filling slam was less than fully developed as expected but how many people are going to be using Skoll with big, full range speakers?

Switching to the K3/SAT/EBI combo produced a completely different and expected sound that confirmed the Skoll's pleasingly colorless personality. The EBI features an Ebony wood body, a .3mV output and a Shibata stylus/boron cantilever assembly that's probably manufactured by Orbray (formerly Adamant/Namiki). It delivers a lot of detail thanks to the Shibata stylus/boron cantilever assembly combined with a pleasing warm but well-balanced flavor probably due to the wooden body.

Playing the same The Alternate Blues re-issue produced a totally different overall sound, almost as if a tube phono preamp—a really well-balanced one had been substituted for the Skoll. The muted trumpets still seared, but not quite as intensely. Cymbals still sizzled but with a bit less bite and the studio space responded with a bit more kick drum force. A very different but equally pleasing presentation. Not that the Skoll was "chameleon-like". It just did a very good job of presenting the EBI's warmth.

Even better was the EBI/Skoll combo's performance on Lang Lang's recent Saint-Saëns two-fer (Deutsche Grammophon (485 9227). It's a delightful all-French program featuring "Carnival of the Animals", Saint-Saën's Piano Concerto No.2 in G Minor, some popular Ravel (Pavane for a Dead Princess), Debussy and others, performed with his wife Gina Alice and Leipzig's Gewandhausorchchester conducted by Andris Nelsons. There's a lot more to talk about here, but that will have to wait for the record review. If you've seen Lang Lang promoting this vinyl release on Instagram you know, no one's taught him how to properly hold a record! He's got his fingers all over the grooves!

The recording is full bodied and dramatic but unfortunately the piano takes up the entire width of the soundstage as you might expect from Liberace. I mean, it's dizzyingly big. And the Skoll produces a reasonably big soundstage, especially with a cartridge like the EBI. Lang Lang hardly needs to be heard that "big" to grab our attention! The EBI's presentation of this double record set was rich, warm and inviting with plenty of transient clarity, detail and macro-dynamic punch and a big stage. I don't think anyone listening here would guess the sound was produced by a $399 phono preamp.

There's no point in shining a spotlight on what you don't get for $399 because what you do get is so impressive and without easily identifiable faults, and what you don't get is a series of checklist items all reduced in scope and scale compared to what you get when you spend far more money.

"Balanced In" Issue

Normally if a first sample of a review product has an issue i ask for a second sample and if that one is fine I let it go. The first Skoll produced equally fine results in single-ended mode "in" but for some reason it passed D.C. balanced "in". The symptom of that if you've not experienced it, is the speaker drivers alarmingly suck in and out. When you see it, you shut it all down, check your cables and start again. I couldn't alleviate the problem so I returned the review sample and requested a second one.

This second one had the same issue in my system and I'm not sure why but here's what I did: I had two very fine DIN/XLR cable sets, both costing way more than the Skoll and both of which I've previously use without a problem. Both produced the same D.C. issue. Then I ran single-ended RCA cables into a pair of RCA/XLR adapters and there was no problem—just minor hum I was able to eliminate, though of course the major benefit of running balanced should be the elimination of hum, so I do not know what this was all about.

But you know what? While it's impressive that Schiit was able to produce a balanced in and out $399 phono preamp, how many end-users are going to have balanced electronics in their system and more to the point, how many will have XLR terminated phono cables coming from their turntables? The former, perhaps a few, the latter? I bet none. Since few will run the Skoll balanced "in" and balanced "out", and since the balanced "out" worked as designed, I don't regard this experience as a deal breaker or a problem of any kind —unless your turntable's cables terminate with balanced XLR plugs. Perhaps Schiit will respond with why this happened twice.


The balanced "in" issue aside, Schiit's Skoll is a remarkable product, performance and price wise, never mind the versatility and remote controllability. And it's made in USA. I can't think of another phono preamp under $500 that offers balanced "in" and "out", remote controllable gain, loading and high pass filter and two switchable inputs (one balanced, though with adapters you can run a second single-ended set of cables).

If it doesn't sound good, what good is all of that versatility? The Skoll definitely sounds very good. It's super quiet, has plenty of gain, very low distortion and outstanding measured and heard channel separation. Plus with its usefully low 10 ohm output impedance it should be at home in any system.

I'd definitely run it with a cartridge somewhat on the slightly warm and slightly soft side, for instance a smooth sounding Ortofon Quintet Bronze S MC ($799) rather than the more detailed $1099 Quintet Black S. Or a Hana EL ($475) or something like a Grado Opus 3 L ($300). That Grado and Skoll combo totals $700 and that will give you ridiculously pleasing sound. Go up to the Grado Sonata 3 ($600) and you're still at a grand. There are good choices from Sumiko, Soundsmith and others that will still get you in at under $1000. You can order a Skoll directly from Schiit. If you're in the market for an under $500 phono preamp, why would you not? If you don't like it you can return it and get most of your money back.


Gain: enough for all turntables, all cartridges

Noise: insanely low for a turntable, you'll be hearing the pops not the hiss

Distortion: 10-100x lower than any record you'll play

Heat: top gets moderately warm; nothing to worry about, we make stuff that runs waaaaaay hotter for years and years

Size: smaller than a typical rack product, but probably not small enough to hide behind the turntable


Gain: 40db

THD: <0.006%, ref 4V RMS balanced, 2V RMS SE

SNR: >102dB, A-weighted, ref 4V RMS balanced, 2V RMS SE

Crosstalk: -100dB, 20-20kHz

Sensitivity: 2.85mV for 300mV output at 1kHz

Gain: 50dB

THD: <0.02%, ref 4V RMS balanced, 2V RMS SE

SNR: >90dB, A-weighted, ref 4V RMS,2V RMS SE

Crosstalk: -98dB, 20-20kHz

Sensitivity: 0.78mV for 300mV output at 1kHz

Gain: 60dB

THD: <0.03%, ref 4V RMS balanced, 2V RMS SE

SNR: >85dB, A-weighted, ref 4V RMS balanced, 2V RMS SE

Crosstalk: -95dB, 20-20kHz

Sensitivity: 0.34mV for 300mV output at 1kHz

Gain: 70dB

THD: <0.06%, ref 4V RMS balanced, 2V RMS SE

SNR: >70dB, A-weighted, ref 4V RMS

Crosstalk: -84dB, 20-20kHz

Sensitivity: 0.09mV for 300mV output at 1kHz

Maximum Output: 20V RMS balanced, 10V RMS SE

Overload Margin: >20dB

RIAA Accuracy: +/- 0.15dB, 20-20kHz

Low Frequency Filter: switchable 2 pole at 15 Hz, fully passive, for balanced XLR outputs

Output Impedance: 10 ohms

Input Loading: 10, 50, 100, 150, and 47k ohms resistive, and 50, 100, 150, or 200pF capacitive, switched via remote or front-panel button

Topology: Equipoise™ balanced, differential, fully discrete zero feedback gain stages, passive RIAA, 0.1% thin-film resistors, and 1-2% film capacitors, switchable passive CR LF filter, microprocessor oversight and relay switching, remote control

Power Supply: “wall wart” style 24/6VAC transformer, dual-filtered, regulated +45V/-19V rails, plus 5V/3.3V supply for microprocessor and relays

Power Consumption: 7W

Size: 9 x 6 x 1.5”

Weight: 2 lb

Manufacturer Information



  • 2024-03-28 06:56:50 AM

    Jeff 'Glotz' Glotzer wrote:

    Smashing the value expectations once again! Nice to see. I like the real-world Specifications you added for a straight-forward 'FAQ answers' section for the user/buyer. Your recommends in the last paragraph are such a boon to those that want to eliminate the risky business of trial and error cartridge research. The issue experienced sounds like a weird one-off scenario. I don't think the pin order would be off in the XLR's here on the Skoll, would it? (I'd assume it follows AES convention...)

  • 2024-03-28 01:43:59 PM

    Paul Seydor wrote:

    Michael, my compliments on a superb and superbly informed and informative review. This the kind of the product and the kind of review that makes me proud to be a reviewer of high-end audio: audio for vast majority of music lovers with real word incomes, not audio for oligarchs (as our colleague Steve Stone at TAS likes to put it). I was especially happy to see you pair it with far more expensive gear, as I like to do when I review value-driven integrated turntables. My only criticism--of Schitt, not of you--I wish Schitt and most other manufacturers of stand-alone phono stages would include a mono switch, especially since we live in an age of insanely "purist" minimalist preamplifiers!

    • 2024-03-28 02:31:10 PM

      Jeff 'Glotz' Glotzer wrote:

      And a subsonic filter, please? Something so crucial for those of us with subwoofers and analog. Isolation alone sometimes is not possible.

      • 2024-03-28 02:47:23 PM

        Paul Seydor wrote:

        Fair enough, Jeff, but I don't like subsonic filters and don't really believe they're necessary with a good turntable. If you find you need them a lot, may I recommend giving Townshend podiums a try under your speakers? I'll be submitting a review of these to Tracking Angle soon, but rest assured they work like crazy: one of the top give accessories I've ever used.

      • 2024-03-28 06:11:04 PM

        Michael Fremer wrote:

        This one has a subsonic filter!

        • 2024-03-28 07:27:22 PM

          Jeff 'Glotz' Glotzer wrote:

          Awesome... good to hear Michael. This might be a great recco for a friend I know. And I will be looking into Townsend platforms, thank you Paul- and for your writing with TAS for decades! The Seismic Sink has been around for decades and lauded for as long- I am overdue. It's either that or the HRS granite or another insert.

    • 2024-03-28 06:08:21 PM

      Fred Morris wrote:

      PS original comment is spot on. All modern phono stages should have a mono switch. Perhaps reviewers could encourage this more strongly.

    • 2024-03-28 07:13:16 PM

      Mark Ward wrote:

      Yes a mono switch would be fantastic! I don't know why more manufacturers don't put one in.

  • 2024-03-28 02:53:26 PM

    Tomato Sandwich wrote:

    Good review, but you can't give a pass to a feature on the unit that doesn't work, twice! That is absurd.

    • 2024-03-28 06:15:55 PM

      Michael Fremer wrote:

      Unless you have balanced XLR plugs at the end of your tonearm cable, this issue is not a problem. I'm not sure why it happened twice. I'm hopeful we find out!

      • 2024-03-28 06:36:29 PM

        Al in New York wrote:

        How much should a good preamp cost that doesn't have a broken xlr input which passes direct current to your speakers?

        • 2024-03-29 07:42:24 AM

          Chris Harr wrote:

          The ProJect S3B for $499. However, the Project has last MC gain and jumps from 100ohms to 1k with nothing in between.

          I own 3 balanced-in phono amps, a VAC Renaissance, Mola Mola Lupe and the Skoll. Like MF, I've had issues with the balanced in from a Kuzma tonearm into the Skoll, using more than one type of DIN to XLR cable. The VAC and Mola Mola phono amps are no issue with any phono cable I own, either RCA or XLR.

          Similarly, I've had no issues with the RCA input on the Skoll with any of several cartridges I own. Michael's overall review is spot-on in my opinion. In particular, his comment about it having some similarity to a tube phono stage.

          The only point I might diverge on is his recommendation to pair the Skoll with warmer, softer phono cartridges. I can see where he's coming from, as there would be some synergy. For example, really liked the pairing of a Nagaoka MP-200 with it. However, I've also run several moving coils including a Hana Umami Blue into the Schiit and I've enjoyed the result. About the only cartridge I didn't enjoy into it was a version 1 Rega Apheta, but I think that is more due to the Rega than the Skoll.

          Overall, I can forgive the Skoll's foibles. It's a great sounding phono stage for the price. I've compared it to more expensive phono amps (under $1k) and also one budget model, all from well known manufactures and I strongly prefer the Schiit.

  • 2024-03-28 03:44:44 PM

    Jeffrey C. Robbins wrote:

    Michael, thank you for this review. I am wondering if you think that the Schitt would be useful for this situation: I have two phono preamps currently, the QHW and the Sutherland PhD (upgraded to AC current by Ron). In both cases as you would know, it's impossible to change their gain or loading "on the fly". As a result, I long ago set my two preamps on whatever settings they are at and have never done a comparison. I'm guessing that you'd say with the QHW and the Sutherland, I'm not really in need of the Schitt as as a third preamp (or maybe you'd say it is better) -- but do you expect I could use it at the very least as a piece of test equipment to help select the proper gain and loading that I then could apply to my other two preamps? Thanks. JCR

  • 2024-03-28 06:44:07 PM

    Carl Durrenberger wrote:

    how many end-users are going to have balanced electronics in their system and more to the point, how many will have XLR terminated phono cables coming from their turntables? The former, perhaps a few, the latter? I bet none.

    Actually, my LP12 (Valhalla, partial-franken-Cirkus, RB300 (!)) is terminated with a balanced mini-XLR. Does that count?

    The table runs into another 'fully-balanced' phono preamplifier, the Musical Fidelity MX-VYNL. The downstream electronics from there are NOT balanced.

    If I can help it, I will never purchase and use another preamp that does not provide a balanced input and fully-balanced circuit topology. And all my tables will be terminated with balanced XLRs. The improvement in sound that I have observed is stunning. Primary benefits are clarity and purity -- it literally sounds like a layer of grunge has been stripped away. It is most obvious in the upper midrange and top octaves. This gives stringed instrument upper harmonics and vocals an artifact-free immediacy that is amazing.

    So I for one am very interested to see a reasonably-priced fully-balanced phono preamplifier being offered by Schiit. One with balanced XLR inputs. Products like it allow me to extract a cleaner and potentially louder signal from the delicate information retrieval machine that is my turntable. That in itself is a major upgrade for almost any user willing to try it.

    I highly recommend that folks perform the balanced turntable connection experiment. You can do it by constructing a wire loom that runs externally from and parallel to your tonearm tube, thereby not disrupting your existing tonearm or creating a huge rewiring project. All you need is some Cardas tonearm wire (preferably Cardas Clear), a few XLR connectors, some solder and an iron, a ton of patience ... and a dream. :-)

    Oh, and a preamp like this new Schiit. Cheers to Schiit for making it available!

    Also a shoutout to Malachi for rolling out the enhanced comment markup protocol last month. I was able to embed and indent the MF quote at the top of this comment effortlessly!


    • 2024-03-29 12:54:23 AM

      JACK L wrote:


      "I highly recommend that folks perform the balanced turntable connection experiment' qtd C Durrenberger

      For those who is not so audio-handyman ready, why not simply buy a passive unbalanced to balanced junction box, quite a few makdes to choose from Amazon for less than 50 bucks. Also return/refundable if it does not work for yr TT !

      JACK L

    • 2024-03-29 11:03:05 PM

      Michael Fremer wrote:

      Didn't I make the point "how many high end users at this price point? I should have if I didn't. Of course many high end systems are balanced but my conjecture was about how many buying a $399 phono preamp have balanced systems!

      • 2024-03-30 06:36:12 PM

        JACK L wrote:


        " how many buying a $399 phono preamp have balanced systems!" qtd M Fremer

        Too true. Some like nit-picking on whatever, even on a $399.00 MC/MM preamp ! Are they demanding tooo much ????

        BTW, as I posted here before & in other audio journals, balanced transmission is the last thing I would need for my home audio let alone oddball like phono-cartridge output considering the short runs of interconnects involved. With my 7 pairs silver interconnects+ 3 subwoofers cables which are all unbalanced interphasing. How come my vinyl-tube music sound crystalline transparent, hi-lo- balanced with dark back ground without balanced transmission at all ??

        Balanced XLR connection needs differential input/output convertors ! More electronics in the signal paths more undue distortion generated into the music signals! Musically not better if not worse. This is physics.

        JACK L

    • 2024-03-30 07:48:39 PM

      JACK L wrote:


      "Primary benefits are clarity and purity" qtd Carl Durrenberger

      The "primary benefits" of balanced connection is to eliminate noise from outside. Maybe because the signals after got cleaned up, you hear more details of music !

      For phono inputs, overloading by any MC/MM cartridge output signal will never happen! Therefore balanced inputs for any phono-preamp is technically redundant !

      JACK L

      JACK L

  • 2024-03-28 07:21:02 PM

    Mark Ward wrote:

    I have been using the much cheaper Schiit Mani 2 phono stage as a stand-in while I try to get my main phono stage fixed, and I have been frankly stunned at what a good job it does. I can only imagine how much better this one is. This is an American company giving amazing value for money!

  • 2024-03-29 02:35:12 AM

    Zaphod wrote:

    Two units sent to a reviewer had XLR issues, sounds to me like a serious problem with Quality Control at the very least and at the most a Design Problem. Either way, to me it calls everything into question, maybe they cut too much out to get the price point.

    If no one has the XLR connectors, why did Schiit waste time adding them?

  • 2024-03-29 05:39:30 AM

    bwb wrote:

    ** it passed D.C. balanced "in". The symptom of that if you've not experienced it, is the speaker drivers alarmingly suck in and out.**

    While I have no doubt your speakers moved in and out, contributing that to DC doesn't make any sense. DC is a constant while the speakers were obviously getting something other than constant or they wouldn't be moving. It also seems highly, very highly, unlikely that the unit doesn't have any capacitors in the signal path that would block any DC, and besides a cartridge is incapable of generating DC so once again, whatever was going on it was not "passing DC" because you weren't inputting any DC. More likely some subsonic feedback either physical or electronic that may or may not have been an issue with the phono stage.

    In any case, it seems to me very premature and unfair to publish this review without waiting to get some feedback from Schiit about what was causing the issue.

    • 2024-03-29 09:11:38 PM

      bwb wrote:

      "contributing that to DC" should be attributing that to DC

      an edit option would be a nice enhancement here

    • 2024-03-29 11:24:21 PM

      Michael Fremer wrote:

      it was not premature when the second sample exhibited the same issue, especially since I'd just removed the van denHul The Grail running it balanced with the same cable and I tried a second cable as well. There's something else going on here that I'm sure the manufacturer will address. Since are so tech savvy I don't have to tell you that decoupling caps are not the only solution to blocking D.C. from the signal path.

      • 2024-03-30 02:43:53 AM

        bwb wrote:

        The correct term is coupling, not decoupling. A coupling cap allows an AC signal to get from one point to another, like in between gain stages. But it is really there to block DC from getting through, so coupling is a bit misleading since the AC signal would get to the next stage without the cap. The other way to do it is with a transformer, but at this price point a transformer is probably not an option.

        A decoupling cap is used to shunt AC noise to ground.

        In any case, I really don't think this is a DC issue since as I said before, there is no DC coming from the cartridge. All guesses without seeing the schematic, but I wonder if the low impedance cartridges you were using were causing the issue? Maybe they tested it using ones that were much higher? Please let us know if/when they respond.

        • 2024-04-02 12:58:45 AM

          JACK L wrote:


          "The correct term is coupling, not decoupling..." qtd bwb

          Please stop nit-picking on M.F.'s technical terminology. We should know what M.F. meant. Just be nice !

          JACK L

          • 2024-04-02 01:58:45 AM

            bwb wrote:

            In the many years I have been following MF, he has always been able to stand up for himself. I feel certain based on reading many of his discussions here and elsewhere, if he took offense or felt the need to push back he would. I'm sure if he felt the need for you to jump to his defense he would call on you to do so.

            In any case, insisting on the correct use of technical terms is not "nit-picking." If someone feels the need to use them, they should use them correctly.

            • 2024-04-02 06:37:49 PM

              JACK L wrote:


              "If someone feels the need to use them, they should use them correctly." qtd bwb

              We here all know Mikey is not a technical man like you & me. That's why as I tell you here again, "Just be nice" !

              If you want to talk technicality in audios, talk to me, please.

              I've mentioned here before & in some other audio journals I am posting day in day out, I am a hobby audio handyman who has design/built/upgraded audios for decades, e.g. triode-only phono-preamps, all-triode SET power amps, loudspeakers, 99.99% pure silver interconnects & power cords, etc etc., thanks for my decades' career discipline in the electrical power engineering industries in the Northern America.

              BTW , XLR balanced audio transmission is getting so popular lately as seen in Mikey's above review even for a $399 MM/MC phono-preamp.

              But I personally dislike using OP-amps (as used in the above preamp) as differential amplifier strictly for their musicality considering I am a vinyl-tube advocate.

              I would go for using a pair of triodes instead, one for each channel, with special BALANCING topology to insure both non-inverting & inverting amps are 100% balanced. Otherwise 100% common-mode noise cancellation can not be achieved !!

              Simple design yet achieved 100% balanced, low low cost to build, & musicality that no Op-amps & even very expensive STU transformers can touch !

              You are welcome to come up with your idea of design/building a 100% balanced differential amps !

              JACK L

  • 2024-03-29 06:17:05 AM

    Jake wrote:

    I appreciate you reviewing moderately priced phono equipment. Thank you.

  • 2024-03-29 07:42:06 PM

    John Bugailiskis wrote:

    Great review. Have you had a chance to listen to the Cambridge Audio Duo? If so, how does the Skoll compare?

  • 2024-04-03 11:43:59 PM

    Steve wrote:

    Thank you, Michael! I have always been very pleased with Schiit products.

    Any chance of you reviewing the Denon DP-3000NE in the near future?

  • 2024-04-07 07:23:17 PM

    Bruce Nelson wrote:

    Thank you for the review, Michael.

    I wonder if you'll review another affordable phono preamp, the Sota Pyxi. I switched from a Schiit Mani 2 to the Pyxi, and I find it very clear and dynamic sounding with my Nagaoka MP-200. Hoping to read your impressions!

    • 2024-04-07 07:26:56 PM

      Bruce Nelson wrote:

      Forgot to say: The Pyxi is $300. The standard build can pick up RFI from a nearby router, but the RFI modification, available for free on request, fixes this. Maybe the RFI mod is "standard" now; not sure.

  • 2024-05-31 02:10:01 PM

    James wrote:

    " why not simply buy a passive unbalanced to balanced junction box "

    " why not simply buy a passive unbalanced to balanced junction box "

    Unfortunately, many of these "passive" boxes, and especially adapter cables simply forego any benefits of having separate conductors for High / +, Lo / -, and Ground / Shield pins. This is because many off-the-shelf ones will simply tie together the Lo / - and Ground / Shield conductors on one end or the other.

    When using passive unbalanced to balanced junction boxes or adapter cables, it's important to be aware that some may not provide the full benefits of separate conductors for High/+, Lo/-, and Ground/Shield pins. This can lead to issues with noise and ground loop current paths. Using a fully balanced stereo signal path with at least 5 separate conductors, along with a shielded cable and interconnects, can help mitigate these issues. Bill Whitlock's papers and talks for the Audio Engineering Society provide great insight into this topic.

    Some "passive" boxes do exist that avoid the noise problem by introducing a decoupling transformer in line with the audio signal High / + and Lo / - lines. One of these that I know works well is the Iso-Max series of boxes. Alternatively, any "ground loop isolator" for audio signals could also work to balance the Wheatstone bridge by adding the high-impedance audio transformer in between the sender and receiver of the signal. (Look up Bill Whitlock's explanation of how the Wheatstone bridge applies to audio signal interconnects.)

    The issue with many turntables is that they are wired for unbalanced connections, which can lead to ground loop current paths and introduce common-mode noise.

    One key takeaway is the invalidity of the Lumped Element Model when dϕ/dt is not zero, due to nearby changing magnetic fields. This realization is crucial for properly modeling ground loop transformers and addressing noise issues in consumer audio equipment. That is to say: If there are nearby changing magnetic fields... then the assumptions we usually make as Electrical Engineers to use the Lumped Element Circuit Model are now invalid! We need to now model the ground loop transformer, which includes the signal wires and shield themselves! Again, I highly recommend watching Bill Whitlock's video talks for AES to gain a deeper understanding of these concepts. These can be found on YouTube or on the AES Library website.