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Schiit Gungnir

100% Positive Reviews
Rated #2 in DACs


Pros: Sound quality

Cons: Despite costing less than competitor's flagships, is still quite expensive

Much has already been written about the Schiit Gungnir Multibit (Gumby), so I'm not going to reinvent the wheel here. Rather, I'll briefly discuss my interpretations on various questions, opinions, and disputes that are central to people's decisions regarding buying this DAC.


My evaluation system


Source: iPod Classic ---> Apple lossless ---> Pure i20 dock ---> optical ---> Gumby ---> XLR ---> Teac HA-501 ---> Audeze LCD-2F



When evaluating DACs, it's important to use the correct resolution of expectations. DACs won't have drastically different sounds like headphones do, but there are differences. When speaking of differences, you have to remember they are subtle differences, but the vocabulary used to describe these differences is more drastic than the actual sonic differences. Keep in that in mind. YMMV.


1. The multibit / megaburrito filter is not overhyped. Yes, this is a real thing. I'm amazed at how much information is on Redbook lossless rips. Lesser converters seem to throw it away or resolve it much less because I'm hearing sounds in my tracks that I've never heard before. I can hear the singers take breaths. Fingers on strings. It's not just the amount of information this DAC retrieves that is striking, it's what it does with it when it renders it. The spatial cues are amazing. Forget the 1st or 10th row analogy. I'm on stage with the performers. I can now hear sounds behind my head, which has never happened before. Previously, sounds were in front, above, and to the sides. Now, there is a sphere of sound.


The Gumby has completely eliminated any desire to explore 24 bit files or DSD. I'm perfectly happy with Redbook. There's a ton of information in those tracks.


2. The warmup period is real, but overblown. Yes, the Gumby sounds better when fully warm. But, it sounds great immediately after a cold start. It sounds better after an hour. It really comes into its own at 6 hours. 12 hours is where it maxes out. I noticed no improvements after 12 hours. I could easily live with this DAC by turning it on and listening to it after one hour. The differences between one hour and 6 hours is real, but not enough to make me wait 6 or 12 hours to listen. I live in an area with frequent thunderstorms, so leaving the Gumby on 24/7 isn't ideal for me. I'll leave it on when I can, but won't enjoy it any less if I am forced to turn it off and deal with a cold start.


3. The unbalanced outputs are not crippled at all. Several are reporting the Gumby's unbalanced outputs "clearly" lack behind the balanced ones. This is false. My Teac HA-501 is a single-ended amp, but can accept both unbalanced and balanced connections. I tried them both when using the Gumby. So, I had either the Gumby or the Teac do the summing. I could tell no difference between the connection type, and assuming my Teac isn't a piece of junk (it's not, it's a fabulous amp), it's because there isn't a difference at the human hearing level. Obviously, use balanced if you have an amp that receives them. Otherwise, use unbalanced without any fears at all.


I didn't pause the music and crank the volume to maximum to listen for any noise or hiss. That's a fruitless endeavor because it's way past listening volumes. I won't do this test, either. At listening volumes, and even above where it starts to hurt, I could hear no difference between connection types.


4. Cosmetic flaws do exist. This has basically been a dead horse around here. Yes, there are some slight cosmetic flaws on Schiit gear. Over the years, I've had five pieces of Schiit in my possession, and they all had very slight flaws on the metal edges from the cutting process or from little dings during the hand assembly process. Yours will be no different. Schiit keeps their money in the innards. If you want a fancy case, Esoteric will gladly take your $20,000.


5. It is vinyl sounding. I've heard others describe this DAC as the closest to vinyl as digital can be. I agree with this. Cymbals sound right and there's no digital glare. It's a very smooth and detailed DAC. Other DACs I've used in the past are either smooth or detailed, never both at the same time. The Gumby pulls off both, like a good vinyl setup can sometimes accomplish.


6. USB gen 2 is very good. Many people are wishing for USB gen 3 to come to the Gumby. I tried all the connection types I could--USB, optical, and coaxial. I could hear no difference between any of them. Also, my USB worked flawlessly using the same drivers I had installed for my Uberfrost. No dropouts, pops, noise, etc. It was fine.




This is an outstanding DAC. It exceeds every DAC I have previously heard. It is replacing my Uberfrost, and the differences are real. It is expensive, and cost more than 2x what my Uberfrost previously did. Is it 2x better than the Uberfrost? No, but it's extremely good and worth the price. It's less shouty than the Uberfrost, more smooth, more musical, more detailed, and more resolving--in relative terms that is.


Pros: very natural, revealing and spacious sound; innovative and upgradable design

Cons: USB interface is not as good as competing DACs; relay clicking and track cut-off on sample rate changes

The delta-sigma Gungnir is a good DAC overall, but relatively to Audio-GD NFB-28 & Matrix X-Sabre DAC, the delta-sigma Gungnir has a more noticeable "digititis" that sounds too aggressive/harsh, especially with HD800. The delta-sigma Gungnir does have a bit of smoothness that somewhat masks these deficiencies, but they’re still there when you compare it to the Matrix. The multibit Gungnir is a complete transformation of Gungnir. Nothing like my past multibit experience with the Valab DAC (TDA1543), which was fun and smooth at first but quickly became boring/flat.

  • Gumby brings a nice step up from the Matrix. I wouldn't call it a night and day difference, but more like a step up to the next level. More fuller sound, easier to feel the space and presence of a live recording. Highs have less digititis to them, less fatigue, but more detail! Bass is more precise, especially with the Regen. Instruments sound more realistic. Even though there is less digititus, it is still there if you compare to analog sources (90s Sony tape deck, Music Hall MMF-5 turntable). I wonder if "leftover" digititis is coming from transport/USB issues or from the source mastering/ADC.
  • Auralic Vega and Ayre QB9 are closer in overall sound to Matrix than Gumby. They're more refined and more resolving than Matrix, but still, overall sound is very close to the Matrix. This makes the value proposition of Vega or QB9 as quite poor, since the Matrix is nearly as good at a fraction of the price. Gumby is better than all three.
  • Don't care for the lack of DSD since I often use EQ and crossfeed/headphone DSPs that have to be processed in the PCM domain. For my use case, DSD is worse than PCM since the roundtrip(s) between PCM and DSD would add distortions and high frequency noise that has to be filtered.
  • DAC clicking on sample rate changes were a bit annoying so I minimized them by upsampling 44.1/88.2 to 176.4KHz and 48/96 to 192KHz (SoX VHQ minimum phase).
  • It seems that Schiit USB Gen 2 is the weakest link of Gumby. Uptone Audio's Regen gives a very nice improvement to its overall performance, like Gumby on steroids. Gumby benefits from Regen more than the Matrix. If only someone would design a USB DAC interface that would make transport jitter/voodoo/etc irrelevant, as long as bits come in bitperfect. Reclock, regenerate, isolate, buffer, re-do everything in that schiity USB. smily_headphones1.gif

Headphones: HD800 with Toxic Cable Black Widow, Oppo PM-3
Amplifier: Bryston BHA-1
Transport: Windows 7, Foobar2000, MusicBee in WASAPI exclusive mode
Power: Furman IT Reference 7 balanced isolation transformer
USB: Uptone Audio Regen


Pros: I got rid of my Linn LP-12 and 5,000 Albums. WAF is Very High!

Cons: Non that I have found

Absolutely amazing DAC.  I have the Gen 2 USB upgrade.

I now listen to nothing but flac files.

For years I would not listen to CD (digital) as I couldn't get over the harshness.

This has changed the way I listen to music and increased my enjoyment.

No more getting up to clean and change records, No longer a dedicated room and shelving to hold those records.

I just click my mouse and get what ever I want in whatever order I want with all the Imaging, Depth and Dynamics I had on my LP-12.

Run and buy one of these before the guys at Schiit wake up and realize how far above it's snack bracket the Gungnir performs and raises the price.

Oh ya, been in Audio for over 20 years and have listened to A LOT of great equipment, So I know of what I speak.

Definitely Recommended.



Pros: open soundstage, airy presentation, sweet sounding

Cons: expensive :)

I have the Bifrost before this and plugged this into my Valhalla before my Mjolnir arrived.  Even though it uses the same D/A chip as the Bifrost, I found it to be a significant upgrade that I could even hear with the Valhalla and my Beyerdynamic DT990 (600 ohm).  If I could only choose between the Gungnir or Mjolnir for upgrading my headphone system, and my headphones didn't require the extra power, I would probably go with the Gungnir, it was a more noticeable upgrade.  The Mjolnir was noticeable but unless your gear really requires that power, it probably will be less noticeable for you.  Even with the single-ended connections I was using with the Valhalla, it was noticeable.  I am using it at work.  I connect my macbook to a M2Tech Hiface to the Gungnir coax port.  If you get the USB version you shouldn't require the Hiface.  I am using a Pure i20 for my old iPod to stream lossless to the optical port.  This lets me use either the computer or the iPod with my Gungnir, and they both sound great.  I have since upgraded from the Valhalla to the Mjolnir.  My headphones have been upgraded to the Hifiman HE-4.  I have recalbled all of my headphones to balanced and am not looking back.


Not sure if I feel hard-pressed to upgrade at this point either.  The statement DAC supposedly includes a lot more power, but I think I could even upgrade to the HE-6 and still use what I have just fine.  Bottom line, the Gungnir has really made me feel like I have taken it as far as I needed to take it.  My headphone system sounds better than my home system now.  So obviously the money needs to go towards upgrading the home system now lol...


Pros: BIG soundstage. Liquid, sweet sounding, highly dynamic

Cons: none at this price

This is the delta-sigma version. I am waiting for the release of the Multibit-upgrade here in Europe. Still this DAC is by far the best i have heard - totally wiped out the Stello DA220 Mk2 I have on loan. Sound via XLR is even better!


Pros: smooth and gets out of the way of the music

Cons: None

I purchased the Gungnir and the Meridian Director at the same time. At first I thought the Meridian was a better sounding dac, and regulated the Gungnir to headphone listening. The Gungnir was rather congested sounding out of the box, where the Meridian was open with a wide soundstage.  I had a very expensive Krell set up before my divorce and I sold all of my equipment as depression set it. I vowed never to get back into hi end again. After many years of car audio and talk radio I decided to purchase a Samsung Bluetooth speaker with tube preamp. Well I was floored by the sound and surprised I could actually do critical listing with this box. Lo and behold, it got my hi end juices flowing again! My last system cost me 35K and I was not to go back to that place again.Since I moved back home to care, for my mom, I just need a nice setup for my bedroom. So, I bought a modified Jolida a pair of super zero and sub( this is a great combination in a small room) .I purchased a mac air and a 3 TB hard drive and ripped away at my CD collection. After owning a Meridain 508.24,, that prompted the purchase of the Director as I love the Meridain house sound. Bouught the Gungnir to use with apple TV and Koss E90 headset(great sounding headphones).


I forgot about break in and low and behold, after some time I listen to the Gungnir again and was was shocked at the difference, after break in. Needless to say, the Meridain has been turned off and I am thinking of selling it. I can't imaging a more expensive dac could some much better. I bought my unit B stock from Amazon so I got a good deal on the unit. It has the upgraded USB and I have been spending a small fourtune at HD track, but the gungnir and 24/96K make my feet tap and forget ALL about the equipment.


Pros: Beautiful hardware, great customer support, balanced and fully discrete, Made in USA

Cons: clicking when changing sample rates (nit pick, NOT a flaw)

What can I say about this product? I've had it for 6 or 7 months now and have used it with my Audeze LCD-2's almost on a daily basis to unwind and listen to music. It's extremely clear, transparent, musical, everything a DAC should be.


All I can really say is coming from a EMU 0404 to this was night and day, a hands down huge improvement. I honestly feel that I haven't heard anything better, and anything better will cost WAY more and be only marginally so. If you own this DAC you know, but if you are looking at this DAC, you can almost retire from this hobby until there is some sort of DAC breakthrough or new audio formats that come out some years from now. Even then, Schiit will probably release a upgradable chip to add on any new technology.


Regarding the con I listed, if you're using SPDIF (not USB) inputs and you change sample rate, the data stream stops and frommy limited knowledge the muting relay kicks in for a split second. When this happens there is an audible click from the unit itself but not heard through the headphones. After a little while you don't mind it. I can see how this could potentially annoying if you shuffled your whole library and you have lots of different sample rates in there but it's so marginal, it's barely a con.


Rest assured, if you're like me you can buy this and know it's a great long term DAC that gets you to end-game performance.


Pros: Excellent piece of kit

Cons: nothing

I am really happy with this unit. Not concerning the price, it is still excellent. If you take the price into account, it is probably the best value on the market at the moment.


Pros: smooth operator

Cons: power switch on the back

If you are looking to update your 'long in the tooth' DAC, for under a grand, you are faced with many very good options these days. The field is crowded and getting more so every day.

The Gungnir is one of those must hear pieces of kit. It does many things well, without any glaring faults. An unthinkable find just a few short years ago.

After a bit of a break-in, you are treated to some very smooth, yet detailed rendering of your favorite tunes. The sound was immediately bigger, bolder, and more accurate throughout the frequency range, when compared to my Transporter. The bass is bolder and bigger without being flabby. The highs are smooth with good timber. Its easier to define what you are listening to, including the difficult to reproduce piano.
Schiit Gungnir

Gungnir offers the world’s most advanced Adapticlock™ clock regeneration system in a fully upgradable, hardware-balanced DAC with 32-bit D/A converters, advanced fully discrete analog output stage, with hardware summing for single-ended output. Like Bifrost, it also offers one of the most advanced asynchronous USB 2.0 input sections available. The USB, SPDIF BNC and RCA coax inputs, and Toslink optical input all offer 24/192 capability. So, what’s all this about Adapticlock? Well, you probably know about jitter. And you probably know one of the best ways to kill it is with high-precision, voltage-controlled crystal oscillator (VCXO) reclocking. Now, that’s all well and good, but what happens when you have a source that won’t allow the VCXOs to lock? You know, like a satellite receiver or some computers? In other cases, you’re toast. The VCXOs unlock, and jitter flows right through the system. In Gungnir, if the VCXOs won’t lock, it shifts the entire reclocking network to VCOs. This allows us to lock to virtually any input, and still provide a low-jitter regenerated master clock. The result is higher-quality clocks, despite the source.

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