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Schiit Fulla 2 – a $99 pooper scooper

  • Like a Doctor Who regeneration, Schiit Audio’s Fulla 2 is, in more ways than not, nothing like its predecessor. The outgoing model is a dongle DAC (in the spirit of AudioQuest’s DragonFly) but its replacement is a bigger, badder desktop solution complete with ALPS volume pot.

    The internal AKM 4490 DAC, fed by the first of two micro-USB ports and capable of parsing up to 24bit/96kHz PCM, is also fully bypassable; a front-panelled 3.5mm socket is our hook-up for analogue sources.

    The second micro-USB port is for powering the Fulla 2 from a mobile phone wall-wart. With switch-mode power supply circuitry inside the device, Schiit reckon a linear PSU would be a waste of cash.

    Photo: Lee Shelly

    On outputs, we net a shade over half a Watt into 16 Ohm headphones and a smidge over one third into 32 Ohms. Got 300 Ohm cans? 40mW is all you’ll see. This is not the headphone amplifier HiFiMAN HE-6 owners are looking for.

    The Fulla 2 can also feed a pair of active loudspeakers from its 3.5mm variable output and/or be run as a DAC from the adjacent 3.5mm socket; this line-level output bypasses the internal amplifier entirely.

    Price? US$99. Yes, really.

    Photo: Lee Shelly

    That’s the news but what’s the story?

    For this audiophile commentator, it’s all in the Fulla 2’s volume pot. Here we find ergonomics that feel more satisfying than the tip-tap of laptop keys – just ask any owner of a Devialet ExpertAurender Flow or ALO Island. Getting hands-on when cranking the volume is a more physically complete experience for any music lover.

    For the newcomer, it’s a taste of high end audio minus the wallet pain. A DAC, a headphone amplifier and a pre-amplifier for the price of three or four new vinyl records. What’s not to like?

    Like every single other Schiit Audio product that has preceded it, the Fulla 2 is sharply priced but feels a long way from cheap.

    Further information: Schiit Audio

    John Darko

    Written by John Darko

    John currently lives in Berlin where creates videos and podcasts and pens written pieces for Darko.Audio. He has also contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

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    1. You write it can feed active monitors, so what’s wrong with feeding it to a real amp/speakers connection like my Redgum? What are the limitations by doing so?
      Thanks as always for your musing and insights!!

      • There isn’t any in theory. Its just obviously designed for desktop and portable usage and in both cases you’d probably be using active monitors.

    2. Clarification — I should have said a power amp, instead of the Redgum.
      I don’t really need two volume controls in the chain but understand it would still work.

    3. Had a tough decision between this and the dragonfly black for an x-mas request. Ended up requesting the dragonfly for more portability (and software updates) since I’m not currently tied to a desk. Some good $99 products out there. Good luck with your decisions, Peeps 🙂

      • I just got a Fulla 2 today to pair with my X2s. It can easily drive them to ear bleed territory, and I like a lot of volume. My first impressions: using it as a DAC/amp from my laptop, with the laptop volume at max, I found it was plenty loud and sounded great with the volume just past 9 o’clock. I am also using it as an amp only by feeding the 3.5mm line input from the RCA outputs on my TV (I don’t have a receiver ATM). It was fine for CDs at about the same level or a touch more. For streaming video, I found dialogue level was best at 12 to 1 o’clock, though the music and sound effects could be a bit loud. This is pretty much in line with expectations, by specs alone, the Fulla 2 should have no problem driving the 30 ohm X2s.

    4. Do you think it will work well with Hd 598 from Sennheiser?
      I want it mostly to expand the soundstage on it.

      • I tried it with a HD 598C which is simply too efficient. With the Fulla 2 it works ok, but you have to barely crack open the volume before it gets real loud. I would not recommend.

    5. WOW! All this performance and functionality for for just $99? The W4S DAC2 DSD-SE DAC in my main rig is out for an upgrade, so just for kicks I inserted the Fulla 2 in its place. While it doesn’t sound as refined as the W4S, it did not sound bad either, especially for $99. I can still enjoy music while I wait to get my W4S back.

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