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anyone know how it compares to the First Watt F7 or any of the other First Watt offerings?
I've heard most of the Schiit and most of the First Watt stuff (including the SIT amp). IMO, it's not a fair comparison. The Schiit is good for the money, but the First Watt amps are some of the best in the world, regardless of price (if you can get by with only 25 watts).
What was the system composed of that you listened to the Aegir's on? Was it single or monoblocks?
Not the monoblocks. Dang, I didn't see them, if they were at RMAF this year.
I have not heard a First Watt amp but I did hear the Schiit Aegir at RMAF this year and they sounded excellent. The Schiit Salk room sounded great this year. I did not care much for how the Schiit Vidar sounded a couple years back. If you have the latest Stereophile issue with recommended components you will see that they gave the Schiit Aegir a class A recommendation. There are two First Watt amps that got a class B recommendation. I did see one post on another site, SABF, where someone preferred the Aegir over the First Watt he had. I can't speak to which sounds better other than to say that the Aegir sounds good regardless of price and it is an amazing deal at $799.
I can only report what I personally have heard, and in every instance I've always felt the Schiit gear was too bright. Not harsh or unrefined, but definitely tilted toward the detail/exciting end of the spectrum. Which is good if you like that type of sound. I don't. Mostly I prefer tube amps (although I've owned a fair # of SS amps in the past). For my personal preferences, the First Watt amps are just about the only SS amps that I can live with long term. Doesn't mean the First Watt amps are soft sounding or that they sound "like a tube amp" because they don't. But they are about the best balanced from a tonal standpoint (all except the F5, which is too bright). Again, it's all just IME. I know for myself, this 'lit up' type of sound is exactly the type of sound that would result in my listening to less and less music over time. Not unlike Bryston. In fact, now that I say that, it occurs to me that Schiit and Bryston have a very, very similar sound and set of strengths. Lots of people love that sound, if you're one of them, congrats you've found a great bargain in the Schiit gear.
Have you heard the Schiit Aegir?
I own them both. The Aegir has terrific bass and lots of power in-spite of it's lowish RMS rating. But after two weeks I'm sending it back. My F-7 (which costs a lot more and has the same power rating) is better in every way but, most importantly, it seems to connect better to the performers emotionally (sorry for the audio-nut language). The Aegir is a superb value and gets you into real Class A performance with extra headroom (into my 4 ohm Spatials). It has a nifty stand by button on the front which drops it down to about 15 watts so you can leave it on all day when you aren't listening - a much greener approach. I had a Vidar for about a year and it, too, it is great amp for the money (and a lot more power). The Aegir is better (to my ears) but the F-7 is in another league (as you might expect for the difference in cost). So I'll live with the 175 watt current draw (at idle) and reach around behind my rack to turn it off when I leave the room (Nelson doesn't want things to be too easy for us, I guess).
I am using a PrimaLuna Prologue premium (tube) pre. I have used the preamp section of a Vinnie Rossi LIO as well. Sounds great with both. They say it even likes passives. I would say if you like the Pass XA25 you should like the F-7 too. I'm Jonesing on the M3 Sapphires as well but so far cost is holding me back (in spite of a generous trade in offer from Clayton).
That's interesting. I'm not sure I recall Stereophile ever changing the recommendation class of any gear...though I'm sure they've done it before. Reminds me of What Hi-Fi's classification style and not in a good way. Anyway...reading between the lines, it would seem that the Aegir has raised the bar a bit for lowish power class A SS amps. To me this is understandable. The SIT-3 and J2 are both rather system specific recommendations (electrically) whereas it appears the Aegir provides similar performance, while being suitable for use with a wider variety of speakers. Cool. Keep in mind it's always horses for courses and synergy is paramount. Stereophile says as much themselves about their rating system. I highly doubt my Stereophile class A rated PS Audio M700's (in my livingroom set-up) would work nearly as well with my Omegas (in my main system) as my 2 wpc non-Stereophile rated Decware Zen.With that said, I'm a tried and true fan of Nelson's work. I have had the vast majority of First Watt and lowish power Pass XA series in my home. I keep an F3 and XA25 now with no plans of letting them go. But I have to say I'm intrigued by Stereophile's review of the Aegir and will likely give it a try sometime. For $800? Why not? If I like it then it'll join the rotation with my other amps. Have fun folks!
FWIW- Steve Guttenburg's review compared the First Watt (M2 and F7 ???) to the Aegir. From my memory he felt the Aegir to be a great value but bettered by the First Watt amps.
Seems to be the consensus from those who've heard both.
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