Most high-end audio companies take themselves far too seriously, and their websites are full of nonsense terms like "shimmering transparency" and "pulsating bass dynamics". Not so with Schiit Audio, a new start up in the surprisingly buoyant market for headphone amps.
The Schiit Audio website explains the unusual name; "It's a proud German name, host to a long line of audio engineers who slaved away in crumbling Teutonic fortresses as lightning lashed the dark lands outside, working to perfect the best amplification devices in the world." That all sounds very noble and dramatic, but read a little further to where they start asking if they can "show you some Schiit", and you'll soon figure out that the name is just one big joke.
Naming considerations aside, the Schiit amps looks like potential winners. The solid state Asgard has sleek modern look and is currently available direct for a surprisingly affordable $249, while the upcoming tube based Valhalla will go for an equally reasonable $349. Even more impressive is that both are built in the USA, and the company seem to be making all the right noises about the circuit design and parts choices.
After all that build up, let's just hope that they don't sound too crappy.