Schiit Audio enter the gaming/podcast space this week with a pair of products first teased at RMAF 2019.
The Fulla 3 adds an ‘electret’ microphone input + automatic level control + 24bit AKM ADC to the company’s transportable AKM AK4490 DAC and headphone amplifier, all without dropping its analogue input or increasing the price. Fulla 3 will sell for US$99.
Why would we want a Fulla 3? USB-powered, it allows us to listen at a higher quality than the average laptop’s headphone output but also to record at a higher quality than the same laptop’s onboard microphone input.
Say what now? The onboard DAC converts Spotify streaming (and the like) into an analogue signal for the Fulla 3’s onboard headphone amplifier to extract better performance from our headphones. Conversely, the onboard ADC converts the microphone’s incoming analogue signal into digital data for storing on a computer or streaming to elsewhere.
Per the press release, the output stage is executed by “high-performance TI OPA1662 and LMH6643 op-amps, as well as thin-film resistors and film capacitors”. The top-mounted volume control is an Alps RK09 potentiometer.
The Hel 3 builds on the Fulla 3 concept with 1) “multiple paralleled OPA1688 output amplifiers” for more output power (1W into 32 Ohms) and 2) a precision OPA1662 gain amplifier, trim pot control and 24-bit AK5720 ADC applied to the ‘electret’ microphone input. A front panel gain switch, 6.4mm headphone socket and input selector further advance Hel’s feature richness whilst adding $90 to the Fulla 3 asking price. The Hel 3 will sell for US$189 and, according to Schiit, it’ll sound better than the Fulla 3.
The last words go to press release: “Like all Schiit products, Fulla 3 and Hel are designed and built in California, with the vast majority of cost going to US companies making parts in the USA. Schiit’s strategic partners in chassis development, for example, are less than 5 miles away from Schiit, while Schiit’s PCB assembly is done by another strategic partner less than 30 miles away.”
Further information: Schiit Audio
Photo credit: Lee Shelly