As someone who is considering a Lyr-Bifrost combo, I look forward to your Lyr impressions. Keep up the great work.
Schiit Bifrost vs Eastern Electric MiniMax DAC and Meier Corda Stagedac - Page 2
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Cheers, AiDee, and thanks for a readable, thorough and informative review. It doesn't hurt that my observations agree pretty much entirely with yours.
If I had to use one adjective to describe the Bifrost, it would be "Swiss." As in unflappably precise, relentlessly neutral and civil but hardly warm. In other words, if you value beauty over detail, look elsewhere.
This DAC really untangles mixes, making it easy to follow what's happening. Kind of the opposite of the "wall of sound" approach. Details like soft cymbal hits or musician comments almost float out of the mix. It does plumb the depths, but there's no extra bass - call it "bloom" or "bloat," it's not there: which may be bad for bassheads. Neither is there any added midbass warmth.
Try different cables if at all possible. Right now I'm using Nordost Baldur interconnects. It's all about the system. I find the Bifrost/Baldur/Lyr/LCD-2 combo very serendipitous, possibly beacuse Schiit didn't design the Lyr to be overly detailed or dry. Which tubes don't do anyway.
Looking forward to what Schiit does next.
Just catching up - thank you all from Pudu on for the kind comments.
45longcolt, thanks for the added observations and additional perspective they provide. The "Swiss" analogy strikes me as exactly right!
I'm catching up with some work I shifted to finish the first part of the review. I've spent way too long catching up with other threads this morning - oops
I hope to restart and get to the other parts of the review shortly.
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A very nicely written, well considered, well thought out review.
You have raised the bar!
Now all I have to do is find a comparitive review of the Schiit with an Arcam rDAC (I can get the Arcam from a local shop).
I have always wondered if "blackness" has to do with how well the power supply, etc reject noise.
Blackness, as you call it, can be compromised either by the unit itself or the power it's being fed. That's why I use a power conditioner, which lets more of the music come through. As the cliche goes, it's like cleaning your windows.
Await your further views with interest. The Bifrost is good enough that pretty much any system change will be audible. Deciding whether the result is an improvement or not can be the challenge. I kinda miss some of the warmth my old DAC (PS Audio DL III) imparted, but overall I find the Bifrost's attributes irresistable.
Cheers daly. I'm pretty close to posting. Had hoped to do so yesterday but real life ya know...
If not in 10 hours then in 48.
Edit: BTW, a slight change to the scheduled programming. The Bifrost/Stagedac comparison is now all three and all through the Lyr. As this is fairly major, I will probably give it the space reserved in the 2nd post.
There is a Bifrost-Lyr-T1 versus Stagedac-Concerto-T1 comparison requested by another head-fier also to come, in another week or so.
Edited by AiDee - 12/3/11 at 7:41pm
Thanks RazorJack and cooperpwc!
I have just posted (one day late!) part 2 of the review. It is slightly different than originally intended. My first thought was to also compare the Concerto/Stagedac pairing with the Bifrost/Lyr pairing. One might reasonably have expected synergies here. In the event, both amps have remained very much in the background.
Perhaps that's ok - this really is all meant to be about the DACs!
All the same, the Bifrost-Lyr-T1 and Stagedac-Concerto-T1 comparison still to come might bring the amps more to the fore. We shall see. Seven to 10 days perhaps?
Excellent part 2, had a great time reading it. I like your writing style btw; clear statements and well structured, unlike certain reviewers around here who go around in endless circles using vague audiophile terms that don't really say anything...
Pretty impressive that the Bifrost manages to hold its own against the two (significantly) more expensive dacs. I really respect Schiit for making US-built high quality stuff and sell them for such relatively low prices. If I didn't already have mostly completed head-fi rigs or a nagging feeling of upgradetitis for a dac/amp, I would definitely get me a piece of Schiit.
No need to rush for the Schiit vs. Meier with the T1 comparison though! Although I got a T1 incoming very soon :-)
This time will you fully utilize the Stagedac's potential (crossfeed and tonal balance) ?