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Schiit DACs (Bifrost and Gungnir down, one to go)? The information and anticipation thread. - Page 90

post #1336 of 3320

Hm I know clicking is normal but EVERY time I open a folder in Windows I'm clicking? Also if I press stop, play, pause or anything in foobar? Also, does anyone else find the white lights at the front a bit bright? I think if they were diffused it would be easier on the eyes (especially at night). Oh and this thing sounds like the bomb its so good :)


Edited by decayed.cell - 11/2/11 at 6:06am
post #1337 of 3320


BIFROST impressions with speakers, not headphones, and via coaxial....


Guys I can only fairly compare against a CA751 BD player. This has what is essentially a DacMagic built in, same wolfsen dac chips for each channel, same Anagram Q5 upsampling technology, but without the benefit of a seperate dedicated enclosure.


In the past I have had a Meridian 200/203 Transport/DAC, Meridian 508 CD, Marantz BD7004 BD, Firestone Spitfire/PSU, and Audio-GD NFB-2.


But all those were heard with different speakers, and my new Vapor Sound Cirrus speakers are absolutely killers. They use a RAAL tweeter that extends very high, and also have Teflon V-Capacitors and Duelund resistors in a point to point wired crossover. Internal wiring is Mundorf silver/gold. So I am now hearing all upstream changes like cables and equipment to a very high degree compared to previous setups.

With that out the way, the Bifrost is substantially better than the Cambridge. There is just as much bass, but it is more tighter. The Bifrost has an ability to track the individual notes and instruments that just gets lost in the mix with the CA. Tonality and vocals, wood instruments e.t.c all sound more real. The main feature is the lack of glare and digitisis. Having heard an earlier Dacmagic in dealer demo, and now this new CA player, they have a distinctive sonic signature which had good detail but is processed and fatiguing over time. The Bifrost does not have this, totally relaxation when playing.


I have had the NFB-2, which was warm and analog, but did it at the expense of detail and added darkness to the sound. The Bifrost is not like that, it has more detail than the Cambridge but with the natural type sound. Schiit's theory about not upsampling pays dividends. I think the Bifrost is as good as the Sabre based Calyx DAC, with an even more natural feel. But the Calyx was heard months ago and cables have been upgraded a lot since then, not really a fair comparison until I can get it in again.
 

I am using what I now consider to be one of the best Coaxial cables I have had. A good digital cable will improve your sound over a cheap one to a high degree. (This is not the time nor place for that sort of discussion, PM me if you want the details.)
 

So there it is. For under $500 this is a real contender and stone cold bargain. I want to hear the new Minimax and other higher priced products, but am very content with this DAC for now. Also, the build and casework of this Schiit product is better than many 3-5k priced high end components. Personally I would rather have a DIY component built on a butcher block if it sounded better, but having such good casework is a great bonus at this price.


Edited by agisthos - 11/2/11 at 5:45am
post #1338 of 3320

Now that is a good review with comparisons. Thank You!

 

I had a Bifrost ordered, I canceled it, with all the delays. I may re purchase it.

I intended to use it on speakers and with a transport being my Raysonic 128. BTW I run the Raysonic in NOS mode. Maybe I don't like up-sampling?

I purchased an NFB 2 and it is as you describe exactly " was warm and analog, but did it at the expense of detail and added darkness to the sound."  so much so, my Raysonic 128 just surpassed it in all areas. The 128 is very good and does do "real" most excellent.

So we'll see how the Bifrost compares to the higher priced spread as more of the reviews will be coming out.

Do we have to spend $1k or more? Not so sure about that.

 

D

post #1339 of 3320
Quote:
Originally Posted by agisthos View Post


BIFROST impressions with speakers, not headphones, and via coaxial....


Guys I can only fairly compare against a CA751 BD player. This has what is essentially a DacMagic built in, same wolfsen dac chips for each channel, same Anagram Q5 upsampling technology, but without the benefit of a seperate dedicated enclosure.


In the past I have had a Meridian 200/203 Transport/DAC, Meridian 508 CD, Marantz BD7004 BD, Firestone Spitfire/PSU, and Audio-GD NFB-2.


But all those were heard with different speakers, and my new Vapor Sound Cirrus speakers are absolutely killers. They use a RAAL tweeter that extends very high, and also have Teflon V-Capacitors and Duelund resistors in a point to point wired crossover. Internal wiring is Mundorf silver/gold. So I am now hearing all upstream changes like cables and equipment to a very high degree compared to previous setups.

With that out the way, the Bifrost is substantially better than the Cambridge. There is just as much bass, but it is more tighter. The Bifrost has an ability to track the individual notes and instruments that just gets lost in the mix with the CA. Tonality and vocals, wood instruments e.t.c all sound more real. The main feature is the lack of glare and digitisis. Having heard an earlier Dacmagic in dealer demo, and now this new CA player, they have a distinctive sonic signature which had good detail but is processed and fatiguing over time. The Bifrost does not have this, totally relaxation when playing.


I have had the NFB-2, which was warm and analog, but did it at the expense of detail and added darkness to the sound. The Bifrost is not like that, it has more detail than the Cambridge but with the natural type sound. Schiit's theory about not upsampling pays dividends. I think the Bifrost is as good as the Sabre based Calyx DAC, with an even more natural feel. But the Calyx was heard months ago and cables have been upgraded a lot since then, not really a fair comparison until I can get it in again.
 

I am using what I now consider to be one of the best Coaxial cables I have had. A good digital cable will improve your sound over a cheap one to a high degree. (This is not the time nor place for that sort of discussion, PM me if you want the details.)
 

So there it is. For under $500 this is a real contender and stone cold bargain. I want to hear the new Minimax and other higher priced products, but am very content with this DAC for now. Also, the build and casework of this Schiit product is better than many 3-5k priced high end components. Personally I would rather have a DIY component built on a butcher block if it sounded better, but having such good casework is a great bonus at this price.

 

Great review. Haha, maybe dCS should start getting worried about the upcoming Schiit Statement DAC. If Schiit's $350 DAC can match a $2000 DAC, their statement $1000+ DAC may just be good enough to take on the $10000+ heavyweights.
 

 

post #1340 of 3320

I would not say it matches the $2000 DAC, as the amp and cabling was very different. It may well be getting the Calyx back in now will show what it really can do. It is possible I may have a different opinion of the NFB-2 as well, that is why I am wary of any direct comparison except against the Cambridge Audio 751.

 

Regardless I am getting some very good music now, getting lost in the music. With the CA751 I did not enjoy it half as much.


Edited by agisthos - 11/2/11 at 7:18am
post #1341 of 3320

     Quote:

Originally Posted by bacobits View Post

I purchased an NFB 2 and it is as you describe exactly " was warm and analog, but did it at the expense of detail and added darkness to the sound."  so much so, my Raysonic 128 just surpassed it in all areas. The 128 is very good and does do "real" most excellent.

 


It is always nice confirmation when someone 'hears' the same type of thing, considering the subjective nature of this hobby. The Raysonic is well regarded and visually looks fantastic.
 

 

post #1342 of 3320

Well I would say things such as darkness are very easy to discern between dacs.  In fact I would go as far as to say that you will almost immediately tell if a dac is dark or bright before you analyze other aspects of it with time.

 

Maybe its time to sell the NFB-2 though and give the BiFrost a chance,  I am stupid enough to jump onto something quick but its rare for me to be truly let down.

post #1343 of 3320

From some of the posts here it appears that some are mistaken; the Bifrost does NOT upsample, It decodes what it is fed in its native sample rate.

 

Direct quote from the Schiit website:

 

"Bifrost dispenses with the sample rate converter and uses a sophisticated master clock management system to deliver bit-perfect data to the DAC, preserving all the original music samples--whether it's 16/44.1 or 24/192"

post #1344 of 3320

I've been following this thread for a while now and it's great to see the initial impressions start to take shape.

 

I used an Arcam CD73 for many years and then revived my vinyl collection about 1 1/2 years ago to do needle drops at 24/96 using an Apogee Duet.  I then purchased a DacMagic for playback side to go with my Arcam A85 amp and Epos M5 speakers.  I like the DacMagic but always felt that the frequency extremes while being  well extended were a bit exaggerated in a "smiley face EQ kind of way...... not extreme but leaning that way.  I've played bass for about 40 years and felt the bass end in particular was slightly on the Wolly side.  I recently bought a Squeezebox Touch and much preferred the bass end of the SBT over the DacMagic.  Bass and precussion were much tighter with the Touch analogue output.  Now there was bass and a bass drum.

 

I sold the DacMagic and just picked up a Grant Fidelity DAC-09 which I am now liking a lot.  It was used and at a price I could not pass up.  I like the DAC direct output.... no tube.

 

All this to say that I can relate to the bass of the Bifrost possibly sounding a little leaner than the DacMagic but having better control..... that would make it more accurate.

 

I'm watching the flood of new DACs with interest although I am currently satisfied and can wait until the air clears a bit.  There are great new offerings from Grand Fidelity (DAC-11), Music Fidelity (V-DAC II), Peachtree (DACiT), AudioLab (M-DAC) and many more.  It looks like the Bifrost is definitely a leading contender.

post #1345 of 3320


Quote:

Originally Posted by Yikes View Post

From some of the posts here it appears that some are mistaken; the Bifrost does NOT upsample, It decodes what it is fed in its native sample rate.

 

Direct quote from the Schiit website:

 

"Bifrost dispenses with the sample rate converter and uses a sophisticated master clock management system to deliver bit-perfect data to the DAC, preserving all the original music samples--whether it's 16/44.1 or 24/192"

 

Jason's spoken to this earlier in the thread.  First let me define two terms as I will use them (not everyone uses them the same way, so I want to try to minimize confusion).  I'll use "upsampling" to mean deliberately taking signals sampled at lower rates and mathematically converting them to a "sample rate" of, e.g., 384kHz in order to achieve what the designer thinks is a better sound.  I'll use "oversampling" to mean what almost all DACs, including the Bifrost, have done for a couple of decades: Mathematicaly 'multiply' the sample rate by a whole number after it has already undergone processing by the DAC, doing this as close to the filtering stage as possible, to avoid bad sonic effects that would take place with 'brickwall' filtering of lower sample rate data. 

 

In "upsampling," all sample rates might be converted to, e.g., 384 kHz as soon as they hit the DAC.  This is what DACs like the DacMagic do.

 

In "oversampling," 44.1kHz data might be converted to 352.8kHz, and 48kHz data to 384kHz (8x oversampling); 88.2 and 96kHz also to 352.8 and 384 (4x oversampling); and 176.4 and 192kHz also to 352.8 and 384 (2x oversampling) as it is sent to the filtering stage, after the signal has undergone some processing  by the DAC.

 

The latter of these two definitions ("oversampling") is what the Bifrost does, from Jason's description earlier in the thread.  I'm only aware of one DAC currently available that does not do one of these types of sample rate conversion for digital formats other than DSD (the 'native' SACD format), and that DAC gets around the 'brickwall' filter problem by using software to do sample rate conversion before the signal arrives at the DAC.  I think it goes for a bit more than 3300 euro plus VAT and shipping.  I've never heard it and don't think I'm likely to, since it's a relatively small manufacturer.

post #1346 of 3320

Thanks all for the thoughts on these DAC's. I have one on the way also and its going to replace the DAC feature of my Grant Fidelity DAC-09 but the 09's pre-amp side, buffer side will still be used...these Grant units were tremendously good $200 option for new guys like me....the Bifrost is a great deal also it looks like. As far as numbers go, very few, maybe 1-2 negative reports none of which revolve around missing something major in overall sound quality. If Microsoft has any part in anything there will be failures-the way it is.

 Go Schiit!!!!!!

post #1347 of 3320

Thanks judmarc, I finally understand the difference between them now. This DAC you mention that does not do either, I presume is the TotalDAC which decodes a DSD stream using ladder resistors or something. Since Schiit claim their statement DAC will not be using any DAC chip perhaps that is the approach they are taking as well.

post #1348 of 3320
Quote:
Originally Posted by agisthos View Post


BIFROST impressions with speakers, not headphones, and via coaxial....


Guys I can only fairly compare against a CA751 BD player. This has what is essentially a DacMagic built in, same wolfsen dac chips for each channel, same Anagram Q5 upsampling technology, but without the benefit of a seperate dedicated enclosure.


In the past I have had a Meridian 200/203 Transport/DAC, Meridian 508 CD, Marantz BD7004 BD, Firestone Spitfire/PSU, and Audio-GD NFB-2.


But all those were heard with different speakers, and my new Vapor Sound Cirrus speakers are absolutely killers. They use a RAAL tweeter that extends very high, and also have Teflon V-Capacitors and Duelund resistors in a point to point wired crossover. Internal wiring is Mundorf silver/gold. So I am now hearing all upstream changes like cables and equipment to a very high degree compared to previous setups.

With that out the way, the Bifrost is substantially better than the Cambridge. There is just as much bass, but it is more tighter. The Bifrost has an ability to track the individual notes and instruments that just gets lost in the mix with the CA. Tonality and vocals, wood instruments e.t.c all sound more real. The main feature is the lack of glare and digitisis. Having heard an earlier Dacmagic in dealer demo, and now this new CA player, they have a distinctive sonic signature which had good detail but is processed and fatiguing over time. The Bifrost does not have this, totally relaxation when playing.


I have had the NFB-2, which was warm and analog, but did it at the expense of detail and added darkness to the sound. The Bifrost is not like that, it has more detail than the Cambridge but with the natural type sound. Schiit's theory about not upsampling pays dividends. I think the Bifrost is as good as the Sabre based Calyx DAC, with an even more natural feel. But the Calyx was heard months ago and cables have been upgraded a lot since then, not really a fair comparison until I can get it in again.
 

I am using what I now consider to be one of the best Coaxial cables I have had. A good digital cable will improve your sound over a cheap one to a high degree. (This is not the time nor place for that sort of discussion, PM me if you want the details.)
 

So there it is. For under $500 this is a real contender and stone cold bargain. I want to hear the new Minimax and other higher priced products, but am very content with this DAC for now. Also, the build and casework of this Schiit product is better than many 3-5k priced high end components. Personally I would rather have a DIY component built on a butcher block if it sounded better, but having such good casework is a great bonus at this price.

Excellent write up Agishos,  I hope you get the opportunity to compare to either a mini max or Calyx DAC, then we'll have a good feel of how each 32 bit product performs.  I was looking at the Audio gd nfb 10se as this has volume control at I/V but I'll give it a miss with your comments as I am after resolution and micro details.

 

In reference to your speakers, anything with a ribbon tweeter is going to give you detail,speed, transients and transparency.  I have 6ft ribbons and 2  11 inch Eton drivers and I use a 1st order crossover and no resistors.  I had 180uf MKP custom made for the ribbons.  Only down side is that the amp must drive 1.8 ohms, so I use a 250W mosfet that I have built.

Cant build a DAC, cause I cant solder this small!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 


Edited by ecohifi - 11/2/11 at 12:49pm
post #1349 of 3320

Lookee what FedEx delivered a whole day early......

 

 

Office Headphone Setup

 

Listening now...initial impressions are quite positive.  I won't mistake my LCD-2's for HD-800's in terms of soundstaging, but it's definitely wider with the Bifrost.  More to follow once it's burned in and I listen a bit.

 


Edit: to be clear, I've had the Lyr for quite some time...2nd run, before the relay was added.  Just the Bifrost is new.


Edited by leesure - 11/2/11 at 12:54pm
post #1350 of 3320
Quote:
Originally Posted by bacobits View Post

Now that is a good review with comparisons. Thank You!

 

I had a Bifrost ordered, I canceled it, with all the delays. I may re purchase it.

I intended to use it on speakers and with a transport being my Raysonic 128. BTW I run the Raysonic in NOS mode. Maybe I don't like up-sampling?

I purchased an NFB 2 and it is as you describe exactly " was warm and analog, but did it at the expense of detail and added darkness to the sound."  so much so, my Raysonic 128 just surpassed it in all areas. The 128 is very good and does do "real" most excellent.

So we'll see how the Bifrost compares to the higher priced spread as more of the reviews will be coming out.

Do we have to spend $1k or more? Not so sure about that.

 

D


I'd wager that the reason the NFB2 sounds dark is that Kingwa is not fond of the upper frequency tizziness that plagues sigma-delta dacs (especially as the pcm1704 and ESS chips were problematic for him supply/design wise). I'm very curious if the Bifrost AKM chip (4399?) manages to avoid this sound signature. I have a Dacport LX with the AKM 4396 multibit and it sounds very similar to pcm1704/AD1865 = natural and no grating top end.

 


Edited by wushuliu - 11/2/11 at 1:01pm
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