The Schiit Magni 3 is the most affordable dedicated amplifier in the company’s portfolio and sits beneath creatively named products such as the Vali 2, Asgard 2, and Valhalla 2, right up to the Mjolnir 2 at £750. There is plenty of headphone amp and DAC combinations, too, starting from as little as £50 (the Fulla).
Lots of products, then, and also plenty of pedigree.
The founders of Schiit Audio cut their teeth at serious AV companies in the US, including Theta and Sumo, so have plenty of practice when it comes to engineering amplifiers large and now small.
The products are designed and made in the US, with the ‘vast majority’ of parts sourced from close to the company’s California base.
Design and Outline
The Schiit Magni 3 is not an expensive headphone amp. In fact, if you make a price comparison, it definitely fits its entry-level status.
But don’t let that make you think that Schiit has cut back on the quality of the build.
Nothing could be further from the truth. If having stable and rugged equipment is your thing, you are going to love this.
It is not a cheaply put together, to replace it at the earliest opportunity type of product. Just the feel of its metal casing and its superior finish will tell you that.
As a ‘first’ headphone amp, this will last you a lot longer than you might be planning.
You get the feeling from the quality of the build that if it’s somehow knocked over, you can just pick it up and carry on.
Its build is actually quite small and not imposing at all. It measures 5 by 3.5 by 1.25 inches but is heavier than it might look at first at two and a half pounds.
That is the difference between metal and a plastic build.
The aluminum casing is well-made and adds a certain styling to it. The casing only interrupted by the air vents positioned on the top.
On the front, there is just a volume control and a ¼ inch jack socket. On the rear, left and right input and outputs and a Hi/Lo rocker switch.
Okay to the Technical Parts.
It is an all-bipolar, fully complementary, dc-coupled current feedback design. And it has no capacitors built-in anywhere to interrupt or block the signal path.
It has a Linear supply which, to be honest, is quite bulky.
Briefly, this uses a 24VA/14VAC transformer to take the AC voltage and then filters it to produce a clean DC signal.
The downside is this makes the unit that plugs into the mains a bit like a brick.
Often called the ‘wall-wart’, it is not an uncommon sight with some products like phone chargers and some computer peripherals.
But it is rather cumbersome. The Schiit Magni 3 has preamp outputs built-in allowing you to connect it up to powered monitors.
Schiit Magni 3 Accessories & Packaging
One of the ways the company keeps the costs down It is by stripping down the packaging and accessories.
As with almost all their products, this one comes in a very straightforward cardboard box, with nothing but a wall wart and a barebones instruction manual.
On that note, the one thing we don’t love: that wall wart power supply.
Schiit say, quite correctly, that this will drive absolutely any headphone currently available, but what that means is that it has to put out a ton of power.
That means a wall wart almost as big as the amp itself. You can hide it away, of course – the cord is long enough – but it’s still an absolutely bloody enormous piece of equipment.
You’ll need to supply things like your own RCA cable – this isn’t, after all, the iFi Audio micro iCAN SE.
But honestly, that’s not really why you buy a Schiit product.
And we would much rather have slightly barebones packaging and get a better price on a product than have extraneous accessories.
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We haven’t tested a headphone amp this affordable for some time.
Instead, we tend to see headphone amp and DAC combinations, such as the Cyrus SoundKey (£99) and Audioquest Dragonfly units (from £90).
So, rather than reaching straight for a direct competitor, as is our typical approach, we opt to just listen to the thing.
After all, if it improves the sound quality from our MacBook Pro to a sufficient degree for just £110, it’s a winner, right?
Running a 3.5mm-to-RCA cable from the audio out on the laptop to the Magni 3, we plug in a pair of Grado SR325e headphones and warn anyone within earshot (they’re a bit leaky).
Tidal’s Masters Essentials playlists are a good place to head for a selection of MQA hi-res audio tracks and sitting back to listen we find ourselves instantly drawn into the music.
The Schiit Audio sound is, it soon becomes apparent, a very easy listen.
There’s no harshness or edginess at the top of the frequency range, bass notes are bedded in nicely without being overbearing, and vocals are placed precisely where they should be.
The reverb and timbre of the drums on Counting Crows’ Anna sound jangly and ragtag as is the band’s wont.
Donny Hathaway’s Valdez In The Country demonstrates there are no issues with timing, the track sounding perfectly in control throughout every elaborate twinkle of keys.
Again, the beautifully clean balance of the sound is to the fore.
Ben Harper’s Oppression is an explicit example of this overall smooth solidity – but the crack of the occasional rim shot still punches through the track as it should.
You can get plenty of grunt from this amp, too.
Soundgarden’s Superunknown is given the drive and attack the grind of guitars demands, while the vocals soar across the sonic spectrum, revealing an admirable handling of dynamics.
More of an electronic music fan? The crispy drums and bubbling bass of Butch’s Countach are handled just as confidently through the Schiit Magni 3, the track tapping along at an infectious pace.
You might lose a little in terms of ultimate fidelity but that’s more than compensated for by the well-balanced, musical sound.
We just enjoy listening to music more when it’s fed through this box.
Experimenting with headphones from Audeze, Grado and Sennheiser, it’s clear, once you’ve made any gain adjustments, that it’s a versatile sound too.
Schiit by name, really rather good by nature. This is a simple but effective, desktop-friendly slice of hi-fi.
If you’re a regular headphone user, and you’ve spent a few quid on a decent pair of cans, we’re sure you’d enjoy the Schiit Magni 3.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some Frequently Asked Questions we have already answered so you don’t need to worry about the product. We really hope we answered some of your questions!
QUES: Is This dac/amp is a piece of schiit. Badum tss
ANS: It’s the best piece of schiit you can get for the price.
QUES: Is the headphone out a 1/8 or 1/4 jack?
QUES: Would this amp be able to handle 250ohm headphones? such as the beyerdynamic dt 900 pro.
ANS: Absolutely. The Magni 3 can handle headphones up to 600ohms.
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