[this is an attempt to fix the driver installation problem of Schiit Bifrost DAC under Windows 7, so if you don't want to read all the txt block, then you should jump to the bolded [In Summary] section for a quick fix.]
I am just another audiophile who likes to appreciate music like you guys do, I ordered the Schiit Bifrost with USB last week and it arrived yesterday and the problem begun. Last night I tested it via the optical link along with my k701 and m-stage, I found sibilance to be unacceptable to a point where it was hurting my ears, coming from a Fiio E10 dac. I then decide to try the USB plug by hoping it was my optical cable that was causing this and this basically killed my weekend.
Here is what happened: After I plugged in the Schiit Bifrost and my windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1 attempted to install the driver but failed to install 1 of 4 ( with the other three successful); therefore I went to www.schiit.com/drivers to download the bifrost driver and tried to install it. after double clicking on Setup.exe, the install progress bar loaded slightly and then pop out a message saying that I have to plug the usb 2.0 HD audio device and I have to hit try again, at this time my cable was plugged and I hitted try again, but the message keep popping out no matter how many times I clicked.
Frustrated enough, I decided to use my last weekend before college start again(yes I am a poor college student) to fix this problem. And here is the resolution, well kinda:
LAPTOP: Sager NP8170(clevo p170hm)
OS: Windows 7 ultimate x64 sp1
Windows 7 home premium x64 (not sp1)
Windows 7 professional x64(not sp1)
DAC: Schiit Bifrost
The first thing I do was to back up my important files(most of them are musics lolll, duh!) and then formatted my drive to reinstall Windows 7 ultimate x64 sp1, after the installation, I immediately install the schiit bifrost driver but the problem persist: it asks me to hit try again when I want to install the driver so I decided to use another version of windows to get some luck.
I first used the home premium x64 version (non sp1) and although windows attempted to install the 4 schiit drivers by itself, it as well succeed on 3 of 4 drivers and leaving the third with a failure, so I disregard it and double clicked on the driver downloaded from schiit website, and it went smooth. no try again message popped and everything was fine. at the end of the process it asked me to restart which I did, and after restart I can hear sound again from my k701!!!!!
Then I decided to push my luck on the professional x64 version, so I formated again my hard drive and installed a fresh copy of windows 7 professional x64 (not sp1) and installed the schiit driver immediately after, I completed the installation with out any problem and I was able to hear sound from my k701 after installation, so I am assured that the actual unit is not defective (sorry Jason for doubting it >.<).
But the fact not being able to use it in windows ultimate version is really bothering me and I want to know why. Using my computer profficiency and experience, I reinstalled windows 7 ultimate x64 (sp1) again, after the os installed, I tried to install the driver but the try again message trolled me again. then I decided to go into the Windows XP subfolder of the driver package, and double click the setup.exe under that folder. matching my expectation, it says the setup could not be installed on this platform, so I right clicked setup.exe and in the compatibility tab I chose to run it under windows xp sp3 compatibility mode, and then double clicked again on setup.exe and the notorious green screen appeared again! I crossed my fingers during the installation process and it went through! to be honest I was kinda excited to see when windows asked me to restart, after reboot, I set the playback device to the usb 2.0 device and I hear sound from my k701 !!!
so as of now 8h28pm, I am reinstalling/tuning all my system back to the way I like, but unfortunately the sibilance problem is still and and hasn't been reduced sgnificantly. I will use the rest of my weekend to work on that but to everyone that wants to buy a bifrost and is encountering this problem, I have to say that if you don't want to change OS which is a PITA, please try the windows xp compatibility method mentioned above.
I hope this is helpful and will raise the concern of Schiit engineers, you guys are really making amazing product and I support US Based company, but this little issue can turn a lot of person's back from you guys and I believe it isn't a big thing to fix. The problem must rely on the driver installation package for windows 7 that you guys provide.
in Brief, if you have:
1.windows 7 home premium edition or professional edition (not sp1), you don't have to worry about this and bifrost should plug n fly
2. windows 7 ultimate (not sp1), this thread is inconclusive to either it will cause you problem installing the driver or not, so please let me know if you have encountered any problem. If you do, then you can use the windows xp driver in the package from schiit.com and run it under windows xp3 compatibility mode to install it.
3. windows 7 ultimate sp1, then you have to use the compatibility method mentioned above
4. windows 7 all other edition with sp1: if you have problem with home premium or basic edition with sp1 pre installed, then you are really screwed because they don't offer compatibility mode, but I suspect sp1 is the problem causing this.
Thanks for your time to read this