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Neutral, solid amp

A Review On: Schiit Audio Bifrost DAC

Schiit Audio Bifrost DAC

Rated # 2 in DACs
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BokononVolta
Posted · 28469 Views · 2 Comments

Pros: highly capable, doesn't have any quirky sound issues

Cons: construed as a bit boring?

Before getting this DAC, I ran my Asgard thru a Pacific Valve NOS DAC. I also compared this in my main home system to a Audio-GD Reference 1 DAC.

When I first received it, it went into my home system for the comparison against my Audio-GD. Its not really a fair competition, but I found the Bifrost held up a lot better to rock/metal fast type of music. It was very clinical and detailed compared to my Audio-GD. I didn't find myself wanting for anything, but when I plugged in my Audio-GD I found that the music gained more life, thickness, and personality. So that let me to believe that this was a highly capable, if boring, DAC.

I then brought it into work and replaced my PV NOS DAC and found myself thinking the same thing. Compared to the Pacific Valve, it was a lot more detailed and "cleaner" sounding. I am still using the Bifrost and I don't think its bad at all, but I am glad i have other DACs I can listen to to gain new insights as well. The Bifrost is like the Nerd who gets everything pretty much right and makes few (if any) mistakes, but sometimes you need to experience something a bit more personable smily_headphones1.gif

I'm not particularly high end, but I like to try things and compare.

Headphone-wise I used it with a variety of cheaper units:
Panasonic RP-HTTF600, Monoprice 8323, Beyerdynamic (DT770 250 ohm, DT880 250 ohm, DT990 600 ohm), Grado SR80i, AKG271 MKII, Bowers & Wilkins P5, Sennheiser HD-280.

I also plugged in my JH Audio JH-5 IEMs, and it also sounded good, in fact these pulled the most detail out of everything I tried.

I listen primarily to 24/96 vinyl rips that I make on my home system (Clearaudio TT, Grado Reference cart, E-mu 1212m ADC, after a thorough vacuum clean of the vinyl - i am pretty anal about it). I listen to a variety of genres, and find myself enjoying this amp for rock/pop type of music. Like most of the Schiit offerings, it doesn't have qualities that (to me) favor certain types of music - very neutral sounding.

After living with the Asgard amp for awhile, I swapped it out for the Valhalla, and felt the Bifrost held its own with that amp as well. I was hoping the Valhalla would warm up the sound more and breathe some personality into the Bifrost, but I found it really did not. (not that I am disappointed - just something to keep in mind).

Hate to sound like my review is hating on the DAC because I actually like it a lot. I use it over my Pacific Valve DAC exclusively now. Makes the NOS sound a bit muddy when doing direct comparison. Just wish I could have Bifrost clarity with a bit more thickness and lushness. I will have to look into the Gungnir smily_headphones1.gifsmily_headphones1.gifsmily_headphones1.gif

One annoying thing for those that use it hooked up to a computer. It has a relay that clicks on/off after a little pause. So if you are leaving the DAC turned on while you are doing doing computer stuff with no music playing... you will get an annoying click. i.e.: if you empty the trash on your computer you get CLICK! -empty trash sound- CLICK! as the DAC "turns on" and then "turns off" - and there's no way to get around this except to leave music playing all the time. It took me awhile (longer than I hoped) to get past this, but I now ignore it.

I used it exclusively with the TOSLINK optical port. I may eventually get a M2TECH HiFace for my computer and go coaxial. If I notice any difference I will update this review again.

2 Comments:

hey I think if you're looking for that lushness or fullness you'll find it with the Uber analog upgrade :]
Yea I have it with uber upgrade, as well as the usb gen 2 add on, and I just wanted to mention that at least with my computer and usb connection the bifrost does not make any relay clicks. Ive put my ear next to it and literally tried playing every option of output from my computer, like youtube videos, system sounds, foobar wasapi music, etc. no clicks with usb. And everything sounds fantastic, so I assume its not a defect or anything since those clicks are relays to protect your system and headphones. I've seen other posts that have said the same thing about using usb and not having clicks, but not everyone, so it must depend on your full set up or something.
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