There are perhaps no bigger fans of feisty, puckish humour in all of high-end audio than Jason Stoddard and Mike Moffat, co-founders of the Valencia, California-based firm Schiit Audio. Yes, that really is the company’s name, and yes, its founders are fully (indeed gleefully) aware of all the slightly off-colour plays on words the company name invites. But frankly, they don’t care one bit if the name Schiit Audio violates most of the highbrow norms and conventions of high-end audio, since their view is that much of the industry A) takes itself way too seriously, B) spends too much time cultivating its image and not enough time cultivating sound quality and value, and C) has forgotten how to enjoy a hearty laugh from time to time.
Rather than putting on aristocratic airs—as, quite frankly, many manufacturers tend to do—Schiit Audio instead maintains a laser beam-like focus on four things:
· Rock-solid audio engineering,
· Excellence in sound quality,
· Build quality (all Schiit Audio products are built in the US), and
· Value for money.
In truth, both Stoddard and Moffat have impeccable high-end audio credentials; Stoddard was formerly the VP of Engineering for the late, lamented high-end firm Sumo Electronics, while Moffat was the founder father of the legendary Theta Digital. Frankly, both of those firms were known for very high-performance products that carried correspondingly steep price tags. Having tried the premium-priced approach at their previous companies, Stoddard and Moffat have taken a completely different tack with Schiit Audio, vowing to offer technically advanced, musically accomplished, and extremely well-made audio components that are, by design, also affordable. The underlying Schiit Audio philosophy—one Hi-Fi+ heartily endorses—is that high-end audio can and should be a sport to be played and enjoyed by almost anyone who loves music—and especially by young people.
Schiit's significance in headphonista circles is very well known and the show was visited by many industry luminaries as Warren Chi from CanJam: