Schiit Fulla –THE DO-ALL, 2-FIGURE DESKTOP
The second-generation Fulla is our answer to the question, “What’s the most affordable way I can get into great sound on my desktop?” And by “my desktop,” we mean everything on it. Fulla 2 is ready for your headphones, your powered monitors, your analog sources, and more.
Product provided by Schiit upon request (to test this theory with a Nintendo Switch)
The ability to hear sound is one of the basic human senses. We often take for granted just how much it can affect an experience, like the ending tune of The Breakfast Club, which is forever etched into my mind.
There’s a plethora of other examples of sounds and music which remind us all of the wonderful experiences we’ve had throughout gaming. Sound can take a game to the next level, but it can also ruin the experience if the music doesn’t match the visuals or is lacking quality. How, then, can we get the best sound from the Switch directly into our ears? Well, that’s what we’re about to get into.
The Switch is a console which offers so much flexibility. Personally, I use it in a variety of ways and have differing equipment for each situation. When traveling on the train, I have a specific set of wireless headphones and a wireless receiver connected to the Switch for ease of use and to avoid cables.
If I am at home, playing in docked mode, I have specific equipment too, which I’m sure we all do. However, there are situations where I like my own quiet time at home, where I sit in my little space, put on my high impedance headphones and play in handheld mode. This way, I can enjoy gaming totally unaffected by the outside world, but this is where I had a problem.
Let me explain: most headphones on the market are aimed at consumers who will buy them, plug them straight into their device – such as a smartphone or, in this case, the Nintendo Switch – and it works out of the box. It’s the same with the wireless variety, too; in most cases, the headphones are sold to the masses because they can be powered by your device and the integrated amp is normally strong enough to handle this on its own. If you want higher fidelity sound, though, you will need to invest in some extra equipment.
A lot of headphones on the market which are easily powered by a mobile device are under 50 ohms. In very basic terms, the higher the impedance of the headphones, the higher the voltage you need to power them. What’s the point of higher impedance headphones, though? Well, they have a higher range, greater sound stage, richer bass, and stronger detail. This allows me to play my games with proper sound quality at home but not upset the neighbours or the Mrs! For me, it’s also a fantastic tool when using headphones like this to edit the videos on our youtube channel, Switchwatch.
I wanted, then, to use my higher impedance headphones with a nice, simple, small amp that wasn’t going to engulf my desk with its size, and which I could also take with me. I needed something compact and portable. This is where the Schiit Fulla comes in. Yes, the name Schiit is real and the company uses this name for some fantastic marketing campaigns with some brilliant puns. This company is definitely not ‘Fulla Schiit’.
So the Schiit Fulla – sorry, it makes me laugh every time I see it (in a good way!) – is a versatile little beast which has a DAC and an amp built into it. This allows me to connect my Switch to the amp using a 3.5mm jack cable male to male cable, and then from the amp’s 6.35mm headphone output to my Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro’s.
The only downside is, the Schiit Fulla is not a wireless solution and so it will require a few cables, including a power source. This can either be accomplished through a mains socket in the wall or using a portable, USB enabled power source. This means you can use a USB-C cable to power the Schiit Fulla directly from your Switch which is really neat, although the battery runs out rather fast and you will need a USB C to USB adaptor shown in the picture below which is a bit of a nuisance.
There is a tradeoff; the Switch is a little restricted from having it connected to the amp, which makes it less portable. Although you could take it on a train using my method above it would be a little too many wires for it to be convenient. This is perfect for a situation sitting at my desk, the sacrifice of having a few cables connected up is worth it for the upside I get. For this scenario, the Fulla is strictly for a desk, studio, or wherever you can sit down and have a place for the little amp to call home, in that sense it makes perfect sense. It does look rather pretty sitting on my desk in its lovely silver, metal casing and I assume most people will use it in this way, too. It has a really nice weight to it which gives it a nice aura of quality. The volume knob also feels great, just resistant enough to not feel cheap.
Here are some other uses for the Schiit Fulla, which I have listed from the manufacturer’s website.
- Use it as an amp: Connect your phone (or any other analog source) to the convenient front jack.
- Use it as a preamp: Connect to powered monitors or speaker amps using the variable outputs on the back.
- Use it as a DAC: Connect to an external preamp or processor with the fixed 2V line outs on the back, or use the variable outputs for convenient volume control as well.
- Use it with phones, tablets, or computers with low-powered USB ports: There is a second USB port for power input. Plug in your phone charger (or any other 5V DC source with micro-USB output) and Fulla 2 won’t need any power.
Using the Fulla with my Switch or Mac was a pleasure because everything was just so simple. It took the sound to another level when playing tunes on YouTube or Spotify and there are no drivers to be installed. Your machines recognize it straight away which saves faffing around.
There are other solutions for what I was aiming for and there are, of course, larger DAC’s or amps, some of which Schiit sell themselves, but I needed a relatively cheap solution to power my headphones while using the Switch in handheld mode, and this suited me brilliantly. My headphones are nicely powered now and I am hearing much deeper bass, more detail, and higher fidelity than before. Everything is just so much richer which makes the experience much more enjoyable, for me. All those smaller sound details which were a little muddy are now crisp and clear. There are other options out there but, for me, this is one of the best compact solutions and it worked superbly well with everything I threw at it. You may need something more powerful if you are using headphones which have a higher impedance, though – specifically, anything requiring more than 600 Ohms. For anything less than that, this will do a great job.
For full transparency, I asked Schiit to send me the Schiit Fulla so I could test it with my Switch as I was not happy with my current setup. I can proudly say it is now my daily driver used for my Switch and to edit the videos I make and edit for our channel. This product is certainly not Fulla Schiit and delivers what it promises. I recommend it to anyone looking for a solution to power your more powerful headphones and in some of the specific situations I mentioned.
To purchase the Schiit Fulla please visit their website for USA https://www.schiit.com/products/fulla-1 where the prodcut costs $99 and for Europe https://schiit.eu.com/headphone-amps/fulla-2 where the prodcut will set you back £110
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