Cool, thanks for the reply hp300plus.
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I have typed up this review @audio-technica.com a few months back and I thought I should also put it here. First, I would like to apologize for my very vague description of the sound (and...
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Schiit DACs (Bifrost and Gungnir down, one to go)? The information and anticipation thread. - Page 65
Gear mentioned in this thread:
Ok. Thanks for the information
Guys, I know I'm staggering into this thread roughly 65 pages after everyone else, but the BiFrost IS shipping, isnt it ? I'm seeing plenty of 'oooh, this is gonna be awesome !', but not much in the way of actual impressions - anyone ?
Yep the non-USB models are currently shipping. Users have already started receiving theirs. See the first post for a collection of relevant posts.
I am not aware of any USB models that have shipped yet. They are nearly here though, from what Jason says.
Edited by Hero Kid - 10/15/11 at 12:29am
Here's an updated mini-review for interested folks. My setup is as follows.
- Power: From the wall - Pangea AC-9 power cable > PS Audio Duet power center > Shunyata Diamondback power cables x 3 (one for iMac, one for Lyr, and one for Bifrost).
- Source: iMac running Mac OS X 10.7.2
- Software player: Audirvana Plus 1.0.2 app using 16 bit/44.1k Apple Lossless rips (no software upsampling)
- Headphone Amp: Lyr with stock JJ ECC88 tubes
- Headphone: Audio Technica M50
- Bifrost input from iMac optical out: Sonicwave Impact Glass Toslink
- Bifrost output to Lyr: WireWorld Solstice 6
I have been burning in the Bifrost for approximately 18 hours using a ripped copy of the Isotek system burn-in CD. I am comparing this to a nuforce uDac2 as it's my only other DAC at the moment. I have added some bulleted outlines along with two album reviews.
For starters, without question (and probably needless to say), the Bifrost beats the uDac2 hands down. I will give the uDac2 credit though as it truly packs a lot of quality sound in a compact and very affordable package, but at a little over 2 times the price of the uDac2, the Bifrost comes out a clear winner.
- Soundstage: Much wider than the uDac2. All this time, I was skeptical that headphones simply wouldn't give you the soundstage you get with a normal stereo setup. I was wrong. The Bifrost brought a deep and wide soundstage that I didn't know was possible. Granted, a stereo setup still beats headphones (at least for me), but with the Bifrost, my opinion has shifted with this experience such that the Bifrost is like a 'gateway drug' in my wanting to search for better headphones and to save up for that statement DAC.
- Imaging: I am hearing some really fantastic separation of instruments, vocals, etc. Kind of scratching my head that this is actually possible with headphones.
- Detailing: See my album reviews, all I can say to sum it up is… WOW. Way better than the uDac2.
- Noise: The uDac2 uses and is powered by USB so when paired with the Lyr, I would consistently hear computer generated noise from it so there was always a low level distortion coming through because of this computer noise coming in the signal. With the Bifrost over optical, there is absolutely zero noise. And the background is dead silent.
I listened to two of my go to favorite albums for testing -- both are self-titled by Fever Ray and James Blake.
Fever Ray - Fever Ray: This album is full of details, soft passages, thick and lush synthesizers, and ghostly vocals. For those of you who remember the duo "The Knife", Fever Ray is the debut solo album from the female. Compared to the uDac2, the Bifrost took the experience from a 6 to a 9 (I think I'll reserve the 10 for that statement DAC). All these wonderful details came in like they've never done before - more alive and organic. There's a sense of instrument separation where you can hear certain instruments/sounds fall below the ears, in the middle and above. I feel like I am hearing this album the way the artist intended.
James Blake - James Blake: This is an excellent album to further test micro details and soundstage - you can really hear James coming in and out on the vocals, breathing, tongue movements and all (don't laugh). There are even passages where you can hear he's been recording in his home (I think) as there's an ever so faint street noise / chatter in the background. James adds some interesting vocoder and phase shifting effects to the music that really make the headphone experience very spacial… I thought the uDac2 did a bang up job with this album, but wow, did the Bifrost once again take it to another level. The positioning of certain sounds is pretty stellar - way more 360 degrees which I didn't get with the uDac2.
All in all, I am very impressed with the Bifrost. I might be a little overexcited given I'm coming from a uDac2, but none-the-less, I am very happy with this purchase such that I will be taking out the piggy bank to start saving for the statement DAC to see what it can do.
As their other thread states in the Sponsor area -- "Haute Schiit" indeed!!!
Good work, hp300plus! Thanks for the mini-review. I am getting quite excited about the possibility of hearing this DAC, especially since the only one I have had recently is the uDAC-2 (which is a great budget DAC/amp for my HD-25-1 II-based computer rig). Also very glad to see that you count Fever Ray and James Blake among favorite albums of yours. I love those two as well and also dig Blake's earlier dubstep-infused stuff. The Knife ain't too bad, either! ;)
Edited by sampson_smith - 10/15/11 at 8:22am
I laugh at your super expensive signal chain to M50s. Or if you don't want to sell, your signal chain would only benefit some of the higher end phones like HD800, Audeze LCD 2 rev.2, Hifiman's HE-6/500.
LOL! Indeed. Whilst I am sure hp300plus is grateful for the help (), really he/she deserves our thanks for a nice, tidy, informative mini-review.
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