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Making a New Magni

The origin story of the mythical Magni Piety.

Making a New Magni

During the research and development phase of the original Magni 3 amp, Jason Stoddard created three amp prototypes. He submitted all three to the Schiit staff for a blind listening test. The overwhelming feedback was that the first amp (the one that became the original Magni 3) was straight-ahead, but the second amp (the one that became the Piety) was musical. Despite the vote of confidence for the Piety, Jason’s hands were tied. The Piety’s reliance on out-of-production parts made it infeasible for mass production. Thus, the original Magni 3 was chosen for production and the Piety was literally and figuratively shelved at Schiit HQ.

Well, actually, one person, who’d fallen in love with the Piety at the blind listening test, squirreled it back to his office and listened to it in preference to way more expensive amps. And that may have been the end of the Piety’s story...were it not for Christian Tanimoto, III.

Christian was traveling around SoCal and met up with Schiit co-founder Jason Stoddard at Schitt’s offices, where he got the chance to listen to an odd and interesting little amp. The Magni Piety had the look of a Magni amp, but its topology was closer to the Jotunheim 2. It used discrete, massively paralleled transistors that made it sound like more than just a regular solid state amp. It was one of those things to look out for- a combo and balance of great characteristics. Christian was as surprised by it as he was with his first good pair of headphones, and if Jason had offered to let him spend hours with the Piety, he would have plopped down on the nearest bean bag. So why was it just sitting on Jason’s shelf instead of the shelves of every audiophile in the world?

Three Magnis

The Piety was an awesome amp, Jason explained, but its reliance on out-of-production parts made it infeasible for Schiit to produce at scale; Jason had moved on to other projects. The Piety’s fate, it seemed, was tied to the shelf it sat on. Christian remembered the insight he’d had at headphone meetups--that some of the best gear in the world wasn’t reaching a wide audience. Here was another example.

Christian had been organizing Bay Area audiophile meet-ups since 2011. During these experiences, he learned an odd fact about the audio world: some of the best gear he’d ever heard was being made by hobbyist engineers and smaller companies. This led Christian to the idea of starting NITSCH, a new company centered on small-batch and rare gear.

While rooting around for NITSCH’s first products, Christian got the chance to listen to the Magni Piety at the Schiit offices. What he heard blew him away: a more tube-like sound in a Magni body? What was happening? While speaking to Jason, he had two realizations. One: the Piety’s out-of-production parts would severely limit its ability to be produced at scale. Two: if he could find enough parts to do a limited run, the Piety would be a perfect product to launch the company.

Christian got Jason’s blessing to launch the Piety, and they found parts to do a limited run of Piety amps. The rest, as they say, is history.