Nitsch x Schiit Magni Piety Impressions

The Piety is a custom run of a previously prototype design of a Magni by Schiit that was taken by longtime audio community member CeeTee and produced by hand on a small-scale with his own branding, Nitsch. This Piety borrows some of its Continuity circuit amplifier topology from Schiit's Jotunheim 2, but in a much smaller form factor. 

One of the reasons Schiit never took this specific design to market was due to a shortage on some of the parts, as they were no longer being produced. That allowed CeeTee to do a limited run with the scarce parts available and make this somewhat of a rare collector's item headphone amplifier.

The Piety shares the same chassis and exterior looks of the Magni series that Schiit is probably most famous for. It blends the black and silver options of the sibling product into a Gunmetal gray finish that makes the Piety stand out a little bit more unique than the Schiit line. There is also a square Nitsch logo on the top corner of the amp.

The Piety does not offer quite as much power as the other Magni amplifiers, but it does supply adequate power for the majority of headphones on the market, with only some challenges with the most difficult to drive planar headphones in my experience. I had no issues with headphones like the Sennheiser HD600 series, or any IEM I threw at it, and it worked well with the ZMF Caldera. It struggled a little bit more with my Hifiman HE400SE and Susvara.

With IEMs, there was surprisingly no noise floor issues at all. I've had hit or miss experiences with Schiit products on this front, and the Jotunheim 2, for example, had some audible noise with some of my IEMs. The Asgard 3 did not however, and neither does the Piety.

Speaking of the Asgard 3, I would think that this was the most similar characteristics of the Schiit amps I've tried/owned and remember hearing. I did not have any Schiit amps to compare to directly, but I had owned the Asgard 3 for quite a while and really enjoyed it for its warm and pleasant sound, and the fact it had a very, very low noise floor. The Jotunheim 2 was a bit brighter but very punchy, and despite sharing the same topography, I did not find these two similar at all, from reviewing my notes.

Sound Impressions

The Piety is marketed as a Triode-like sound. For those unfamiliar with what this may mean, its representative of a tube-amp sound, while still being a solid-state. For the most part, I can see why the marketing print states this, and early listening impressions provided such statements.

With every IEM and headphone I threw at it, and with my primary listening coming off of the Empire Ears Odin and Hidition Viento IEMs, I found the Piety to be quite a bit darker, warmer, "slower", and rounder than my other gear. This type of description can be what you may hear on what a typical tube amp could sound like, however not all tube amps I've heard are necessarily dark. Some can be bright too, however, but that's for another day.

The Piety, when compared to a typical op-amp based solid-state, sounds quite unique. I spent some time comparing it to the SMSL C200 DAC/Amp, as well as my iBasso P5 Falcon portable amplifier, which I've modified with a custom configuration of op-amps (TI OPA1622, MUSES 02, and a pair of Burson V5i discrete op-amps). 

The C200 gave the most precise and probably most in your face sound of the three. The customized P5 had a nice gentle and smooth treble with a wide soundstage, but felt open and grand, while still having quick transients and precision sound. The Piety was quite noticeably darker with slower progressions. It had a soundstage in-between the two, and a much thicker sound.

The Piety works as advertised I'd say. It gives users a different sound that is unlike others that I have found in this price range, with a darker, thicker, and more lush sound. It lacks on power, but should work well with most headphones. I found the crazy warm-warm pairing of an R-2R DAC and the Piety to work quite well surprisingly, but its definitely something I think users would enjoy with neutral and brighter headphones, and it may be just too warm-bodied for already darker headphones.


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