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Schiit Gungnir DAC - Page 72

post #1066 of 1570

I had issues going into the Gungnir's USB input with an old Power-PC Mac Mini running Tiger, but one of these did the trick:

 

 

Actually this one did not work but an older one that looks identical except it is blue did. The Gungnir doesn't seem to like older USB (1.1?) audio standards.

 

Anyways my point is to try a converter, you don't have to spend much and the Gungnir's coax inputs are better anyways.


Edited by grokit - 5/30/13 at 11:29pm
post #1067 of 1570

Hi grokit, thanks for the suggestions, which I will try in the very near future. In the meantime I have a few questions for you if I might. Computer audio isn't my strength so I'm learning.

 

(1) Is the USB standard on the computer implemented via the OS (I'm using Win 7), or is it a firmware thing (in which case my 7 year old Dell is certainly an issue). I am about to upgrade it to a 4 year old Dell that at least has a dual core CPU. That said, I only use this as a music server and my Audiolab 8200 had no issues at all with either WASAPI mode.

 

(2) Where did you source that converter, and at the risk of sounding ignorant, how is it used? I know there is a COAX input on the Gungnir, but does the USB out from the computer interface with the converter?

 

(3) I was planning to upgrade to the newer USB card from Schiit, might this and a newer computer help/eliminate the playback delay issue?

 

I am currently using ASIO and it is better, I do still get a few hiccups (one just happened now) perhaps one every 5 - 6 minutes which does suck. I'm tempted to try a dual OS machine with a Linux partion to see if that helps (Jason says their testing indicates that Linux provides the best audio).

 

Any and all thoughts/suggestions welcome. I really like the sound of the Gungnir, I would need to do more testing, but I think it has better bass in terms of control than the 8200, but not completely sure as of yet. I am sure that the mids are more forward (in a good way) through the Gungnir.

post #1068 of 1570
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonic Defender View Post

Hi grokit, thanks for the suggestions, which I will try in the very near future. In the meantime I have a few questions for you if I might. Computer audio isn't my strength so I'm learning.

 

(1) Is the USB standard on the computer implemented via the OS (I'm using Win 7), or is it a firmware thing (in which case my 7 year old Dell is certainly an issue). I am about to upgrade it to a 4 year old Dell that at least has a dual core CPU. That said, I only use this as a music server and my Audiolab 8200 had no issues at all with either WASAPI mode.

 

(2) Where did you source that converter, and at the risk of sounding ignorant, how is it used? I know there is a COAX input on the Gungnir, but does the USB out from the computer interface with the converter?

 

(3) I was planning to upgrade to the newer USB card from Schiit, might this and a newer computer help/eliminate the playback delay issue?

 

I am currently using ASIO and it is better, I do still get a few hiccups (one just happened now) perhaps one every 5 - 6 minutes which does suck. I'm tempted to try a dual OS machine with a Linux partion to see if that helps (Jason says their testing indicates that Linux provides the best audio).

 

Any and all thoughts/suggestions welcome. I really like the sound of the Gungnir, I would need to do more testing, but I think it has better bass in terms of control than the 8200, but not completely sure as of yet. I am sure that the mids are more forward (in a good way) through the Gungnir.

It's the hardware in the old laptop.  Firmware and/or drivers will not help.  USB 2.0 is a minimum.

You will also want to use something other than the stock Windows USB driver so as to get speeds above 24bit/96khz.

I did the USB upgrade on both Bifrost and Gungnir.  Better sound quality, and support of 176.2khz

 

Cheers,

Frank

post #1069 of 1570

Hi Frank, thanks for the input. It actually is a desktop (retired government work station). I will be getting a newer (4 year old Dell soon). I found a link that will lead to a Microsoft fix that might help people experiencing similar problems. Essentially there is a common problem where Win 7 users have issues with their USB interfaces being unsigned which results in them being operated as 1.1 rather than 2.0. The link I am about to post was a free test/fix, but the author updated the page to reflect that MS finally fixed the problem and he has posted a link to the proper update page on Microsoft.com. I ran the update and so far my ASIO mode is working without any playback issues (didn't help my WASAPI sadly).

 

http://forums.mydigitallife.info/threads/24666-The-Windows-7-SP1-USB-Driver-Bug-(what-it-is-and-how-to-fix-it

post #1070 of 1570

Ah, cool.  So it *is* really a USB 2 device that just has the wrong drivers.  Sounds like progress.  Bon chance!

post #1071 of 1570

Well, strike that, the playback hitches still occur, but seemingly less so. I can only hope that the newer hardware/USB update helps. Does anybody know if I can get a Linux build that allows JRiver 18 to run? If I understand Jason correctly I should not have these issues under Linux or Mac, but I won't get a Mac machine (Not going to pay those premium prices just to have a machine you can't do anything to).

post #1072 of 1570

I will just chime in on #2, the pictured converter has a USB "B"input on the other side, it cost < $50 on eBay, and will limit you to 16/48. There are some great $200 converters that will do 24/192, which is what I use with I use my modern Mac Mini. I will also add that the (early version at least) USB input of the Gungnir works great with an iPad/CCK.

post #1073 of 1570
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonic Defender View Post

Well, strike that, the playback hitches still occur, but seemingly less so. I can only hope that the newer hardware/USB update helps. Does anybody know if I can get a Linux build that allows JRiver 18 to run? If I understand Jason correctly I should not have these issues under Linux or Mac, but I won't get a Mac machine (Not going to pay those premium prices just to have a machine you can't do anything to).

 

Check out:   http://quocomputer.com/

 

You can make it as cheap, or as fast as you want.  "Speed costs money, how fast do you want to go?"

 

I have one of these boards inbound from the original KickStarter crowdfunding with the sole purpose of being my media center appliance.  I have Audirvana+ and I bought a copy of JRiver for the MAC at the intro price.  Currently I use a MacBook pro 15" which is "borrowed."

post #1074 of 1570
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonic Defender View Post

(Not going to pay those premium prices just to have a machine you can't do anything to).

 

Then again, the mac users aren't posting any problems with music streaming ;-p

 

Seriously though, Ideally you shouldn't have to resort to switching OS for your music playback.  Hopefully you can get things working on your preferred Windows platform...

post #1075 of 1570
Quote:
Originally Posted by BokononVolta View Post

 

Then again, the mac users aren't posting any problems with music streaming ;-p

 

Seriously though, Ideally you shouldn't have to resort to switching OS for your music playback.  Hopefully you can get things working on your preferred Windows platform...

 

I hear you, but Mac users pay through the teeth for that very small benefit, at least from what I can tell. While this is counter-intuitive I took Jason's suggestion and tried setting the buffer time in ASIO to a lower as opposed to higher setting and based on a solid half hour of play time without a playback pause, I would say it seems to help. I am looking forward to the updated USB card and newer computer hardware. I am very happy with the Gungnir's sound so far, certainly different than the very good Audiolab 8200. By the way, at the $650 I'm selling mine at, that is a stupid deal. The DAC in it seems so good that I am going to have to have a shot-out with the Gungnir before I actually let the 8200 go. As well you get a very good transport and analog stage. I know, selling stuff in a non-sales forum, slightly un-cool, but the 8200 is so nice it deserves the attention. How many people have had a chance to hear the 8200?

post #1076 of 1570

I could just freakin scream. I wrote a nice, detailed review/impression of this amazing DAC, and when I was spell checking it, the damn site kicked me out of the editor and lost my work. Damn that is frustrating after writiing away. I'll have to hope I can recapture the words which really conveyed and fit my impressions.

post #1077 of 1570

About Linux Mint Maya:

 

Hello
yesterday it was time my Gungnir has arrived.
It harmonizes perfectly with the Bryston and the source files are easily transferred via USB.
My Lapptopp runs Linux Maya13 and when I use the player Audacious where the DAC is easily recognized.

 

 

Thanks to Schiit for this great job!

 

Greetings from Germany

 

Jens

post #1078 of 1570
Sonic Defender, just a word of general advice: if you haven't tried Linux before , do it prior to making a decision to use it with your Gungnir. This would be just for purposes of familiarizing yourself a little, so you're not trying to learn Linux and resolve any little playback issues at the same time.
post #1079 of 1570
Quote:
Originally Posted by judmarc View Post

Sonic Defender, just a word of general advice: if you haven't tried Linux before , do it prior to making a decision to use it with your Gungnir. This would be just for purposes of familiarizing yourself a little, so you're not trying to learn Linux and resolve any little playback issues at the same time.

Good advice, and I briefly had a dual-boot with Linux before. This will just be on a music server so deep knowledge of Linux will likley not be necessary. So far the playback stutter issue has been resolved by using ASIO, and counter-intuitively, I set the buffer time lower which Jason suggested sometimes helps. I have had a few long sessions in this configuration with no issues. Love the DAC, really well designed, but I'll be more detailed about my impressions later. Just came back from a wedding where I kind of drank hard with some friends so certainly feeling that. Cheers.

post #1080 of 1570

What I think most stands out to me about the Gungnir is that for me this DAC does detail properly (not meaning others don't of course). What I find is that while there is a deep resolution of detail, subtle and nuanced, the detail isn't supreme unto itself. Gungnir doesn't seem to present detail as an isolated thing, rather the details all fit well, they reinforce each other in a very balanced, and articulate presentation. When comparing to the 8200 the most obvious difference is that the Gungnir produces really well scaled bass. The 8200 has plenty of bass extension, however it is slightly warmer and to my ears perhaps a little less controlled. As I have been so accustomed to the 8200's sound at first I felt the Gungnir bass was significantly less, however it didn't take me long to realise what was really going on here. The Gungnir is very controlled and detailed in the bass, it remains tight and controlled throught the range of lows. I here more detail that is unmistakeable, there is overall more detail, plus a micro detail that is very, very impressive. It is unfortunate that words often fail us when we are trying to convey something as intricate as perception, and sadly I can't do justice with words to what I am hearing. Without a doubt this is the most compelling and musical interpretation of what a properly designed and implemented lower frequency response should sound like that I have heard. I am sure that somebody with a very experienced and gifted ear (Mike Schiit) had his hands all over the DAC itself. You would need a very, very experienced ear to be able to present such a "right sounding" lower frequency signature like this. You would have to be a music fan who listens to and enjoys a huge variety of music and who equally wants to share that appreciation.

 

I think the language of art that I am using is very fitting as this DAC seems to me to be sonic art, The mids are very rich and just forward enough to reinforce the depth and presence of the music. I am hearing a more 3 D presentation, not massively so, but nonetheless, a very good stage that includes depth. Vocals sound more natural and oriented better in the sound, there is a richness that comes from being forward enough, but not over-presented. It also seems to me that the lower-mids, and the upper-lows remain distinct and in very good balance to one another, additive and not in competition. I do not want to represent these qualities as this landslide, night and day improvement over the 8200, that wouldn't be at all correct, but the differences are for me, quite apparent, and to the point where the return on investment with the Gungnir is quite favourable. I always have a hard time describing how I respond to the higher frequencies. I think highs by their nature are frequencies that our brain will not lock onto as easily and for as long without effort. I always find that if I really want to be able to talk about what I hear up high, I have to actually work to focus and listen intently, and even then I find it hard to remain locked into them. I think these frequencies would have the most potential to be perceived as an irritant, and perhaps that is why I have such a hard time. Lets face it, while there is some wonderful musical impulses in the high frequencies, we all know that a significant amount of any punishment a recording will deliver to our brain, will be here. Okay, done trying to make sense there, not working well. I find the Gungnir to be smartly respectful of the high-frequency tight-rope that needs to be kept in mind, to little emphasis and focus here and you have an overly rolled off and perhaps boring signature, too much energy and you may have a fatiguing, and strident sound. There doesn't seem to be a great margin for error here as almost every thread I have read here and elsewhere on the subject indicates to me that most people are quite sensitive to the high-frequencies. The Gungnir is very detailed, but again, a skilled hand and ear struck that proper balance. Highs are rewarding and enagaging, not punishing or boring. I will need more time with the Gungnir to really get a handle on this aspect of the sound, but I know enough already to know that it is a very, very nice sounding DAC. I couldn't be happier with the sound and I am equally happy to report that even with my 7 year old Dell music server, I am currently not experiencing those horrible playback stutters.


Edited by Sonic Defender - 6/2/13 at 7:52pm
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