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post #1771 of 1778



Thanks. I shall heed your advice.  Very well said.


I suspect many of us have another challenge which is that there are no longer showrooms to go listen to a variety of DACs (if ever there were).  I happen to live in far Northern Idaho, the woods and mountains are great but there aren't a lot of good audio shops around.  Most of them don't carry the models most of us would like to look at anyway.  At the end of the day shopping doesn't help much because you can't hear the DACs plugged into the rest of your system with your room and speakers or your cans.  Nor can you listen critically for hours in most stores.  Jason Stoddard talks about this phenomenon in book/blog.


Direct sales has really changed the whole ethos of buying.  You order something and try it out and if it works for you, you keep it, if not you send it back.  Most direct sales companies encourage customers to try their equipment out and send it back if they don't like it.  That's what I am going to do for Gungnir.  


I don't know if it exists anywhere but wouldn't it be nice if there were a rental or free lending library for electronics?  I'll bet most of us have some pieces we could donate.  It's an interesting concept for someone who wants to put in the work to set it up and run it.  Which is not me.


Thanks again KLJTech....

post #1772 of 1778
Originally Posted by AudioBear View Post

I don't know if it exists anywhere but wouldn't it be nice if there were a rental or free lending library for electronics?


Close:  http://www.thecableco.com/Product/NEW-Headphone-Lending-Library

post #1773 of 1778
Originally Posted by KLJTech View Post

I would never claim to be an expert, I simply someone that is addicted to music and have been buying components and speakers to play said music on since the mid-80's. In my opinion most (not all) of your better DAC's and amps have gotten pretty damn good so unless you are very aware of how your system sounds (and you're not making changes to it all the time) you may not even be able to tell the difference between two pretty good DAC's. With a firm grasp on how your setup sounds and with recordings you're very familiar with its easier to pick up what one DAC is doing when compared to another. It's very seldom (almost never) a night and day type of difference and "a difference" isn't always for the better. 

As far as measurements go, I not so sure that we always know what to measure or how to measure it, beyond the obvious flat frequency response. I think the best thing to do is make a short list of components to audition, based on as much information as possible, from reviewers you've already found to have tastes that are similar to yours. Once you have your system together and you're happy with the results then you should try like Hell to forget about the gear and simply focus on enjoying your music. 

It's very easy and often fun to get caught in the trap of constantly "upgrading" your gear, but if you're not careful you'll end up chasing the rabbit down the hole and forgetting what this was all about in the first place...music. 
Well said sir. I think the happy audiophile is one who is content with their set up and does not chase the rabbit into the hole. I am planning on jumping into the hole and get a Yggdrasil. However I think a Gungnir could make me as happy, and save me money. But my ego wants a Yggdrasil lol and the ego over rules the diminutive cries of my wallet.biggrin.gif
post #1774 of 1778
Originally Posted by reddog View Post

Well said sir. I think the happy audiophile is one who is content with their set up and does not chase the rabbit into the hole. I am planning on jumping into the hole and get a Yggdrasil. However I think a Gungnir could make me as happy, and save me money. But my ego wants a Yggdrasil lol and the ego over rules the diminutive cries of my wallet.biggrin.gif



The Gungnir is a sweet sounding DAC that competes well above its price point in my opinion. I will say that the best sound I've had achieved was when I had an R-2R/ladder type DAC and a nice transport as my front end so I have very high hopes for the upcoming Yggdrasil (It's difficult not to have a ton of faith in an end-game DAC designed by Mike Moffat). Though it was the best sound I've ever been able to squeeze out of my system, it's really an unfair comparison. Rather than a room I shared with others (God forbid) it was a dedicated listening room with room treatments, one lone leather chair, and the flexibility to move my speakers wherever needed to sound their best. I haven't had that kind of flexibility for a few years and I imagine most here don't, but simply being able to take over the room, and set your gear and listening chair up wherever it sounds best is a HUGE advantage. I have no doubt that it made my gear sound a lot better than it would have in many normal rooms. Good luck with whichever DAC you decide on! 






When I mentioned auditioning components in your home I meant buy it, see if you like it and if not send it back. I realize that's not nearly as easy as driving to and from a store, but there are advantages to buying factory direct...like getting more for your money. Plus, with some gear, like speakers it really doesn't matter much what it sounds like in the showroom as they may sound like an entirely different animal in your house/room. I can only speak to what I've experienced, but the folks at Schiit Audio have been great to me. I hope you have a similar experience and end up with gear that you truly enjoy and then your only focus is on buying new CD's/albums! 

Good Luck!

post #1775 of 1778



Thanks again for the input. Totally agree on about rooms and speakers. One of the attractions of cans is getting away from room effects so that you can enjoy the music even if you don't have a magic listening room. The people around the house seem to appreciate this as well.   I used to build and test speakers and IMHO they are the really weak link in the sound reproduction system, followed by recording and then mixing/production.  I was so focused on those parts of the system I never even really thought about DACs and only a little about amps and playback devices.  Now that I use cans and IEMs, it makes sense to focus more on the electronics.


As far as auditioning in the home, I get it the world is a changing place.  Yes for sure it's the best way to try gear out -- and you can listen for extended periods.  I do like the factory direct system but what has been hard to adjust to is returning a lot of stuff.  I'm fine with returning stuff when they send the wrong thing, when it's less than perfect, or when it just doesn't meet my needs.  Returns also were once a big hassle. In today's on-line world with overnight shipping it's no big deal to make your living room the showroom of the world.  Direct-sellers like Schiit expect and want you to try and return or keep.  I have started to get with the program and will certainly do that with the Gungnir.

Edited by AudioBear - 2/28/15 at 8:49am
post #1776 of 1778

My short review of the Gungnir.  I ordered this thinking that it must be pretty damn good to garner the acclaim it has here and elsewhere in the high end press.  I was hoping that the newer technology it carried would propel it over my 2002-era DAC, albeit one that cost much more initially, and had also been modified some years ago by Steve Nugent of Empirical Audio (Electrocompaniet ECD-1, with Turbomod).


The Gungnir is amazing, for its price point.  I must admit, after reflection, perhaps I asked a bit too much of it - pitting it directly against the ECD-1+.  Here's the lowdown:


Gungnir significantly improves bass response and slam over the ECD-1+, especially through the big Maggies and Velodyne F15 servo-sub.  It also at least equals the musical soundstage as presented through either the Maggies or the Stax Omega IIs, with slightly better placement of sonic components along the horizontal and front-to-back axes.  It does so many things so frickin' well, I was almost ready to say it was THE budget replacement for the old Electrocompaniet.  For most of a week it just kept impressing me.


Then, I kept listening, and... it finally ran up against its match.  This happened when it came to Lisa Gerrard's subtle vocals (kind of buried under the percussive mix in "In The Beginning Was The Word' ("Departum" album))  I A/B'ed the two DACs with the Stax Omega IIs in very near real time.  To put it bluntly, Lisa just kind of disappeared when I switched in the Gungnir.  All the rest of the tracks of this complex mix were fine, but she just kind of lost her sense of palpable 3d within the vocal mix there.  Sort of an upper midrange suck-out.  I could hear something of her voice track in there, but it wasn't really fully present, properly rendered, as it was through the ECD-+.  The only way I can describe it, it was kind of like a paper doll cut-out rendering of Lisa's voice, to be brutally frank.   The bass still was a bit better and tighter through the Gungnir, but the presence was definitely missing in that vital upper midrange.  If I just listened to the rest of the mix, the Gungnir actually held its own, or even bested the old Electrocompaniet.  There are some absolutes this Gungnir gets so very right.  But it just didn't quite deliver the full package.  So this isn't so much a slam of the Gungnir, as it is my affirmation that the Schiit folks really do have their schiit together, missing only that very narrow band of female vocal rendering in this mid-priced DAC - and now - - I can't wait to hear the Yggy!


Really, in case this sounds harsh against the Gungnir, I'm saying this DAC pretty much rocks most of the bandwidth of most music (and, honestly, it took me more than a week to parse this weakness out.)   For most users, listening to most music, it would be difficult to improve upon the sound of this DAC without spending a helluva lot more money.


I, however, will wait for the Yggy.  From what I hear, I expect that it will not disappoint me.  I would give the Gungnir a solid B+ overall.  Truly a great effort at this price point.

Edited by Downrange - Yesterday at 8:03 pm
post #1777 of 1778

I've had my Gun+Mjo for a couple years and recently picked up a Audioquest Dragonfly for a portable work rig when I'm in the office. I can't believe how smooth and natural the Sabre DAC in it sounds. Hopefully Jason/Mike consider creating a ESS Sabre DAC board option for the Gungnir in the future, if it's even possible.


Is the consensus that the AKM Dacs more analytical in nature?

post #1778 of 1778

AKM DACs are very warm and natural sounding.  What you're hearing is the Mjolnir.  Schiit won't touch the ESS since upsampling is evil!

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