Originally Posted by Jono338
Couldn't "Gungnir uses two AKM4399 32-bit D/A converters ..." as opposed to Bifrost's one suggest something more than "a bit better"?
That goes along with the balanced stage....like I said, if running balanced is where I expect one would see most of the gains. If running unbalanced I suspect it'll be a bit better but that's not where most of the gains should come from. And that has to do with the particular chip and the particular balanced design. Plenty of excellent balanced DACs costing far more than Gungnir use a single chip as well (not the AKM chip specifically.)
My point is the part numbers and the number of parts does not a good DAC make. It's all in the implementation and my interperetation as someone who has not yet heard a Gungnir, based on the information provided is that, as I said, I expect it's definitely better in all ways, but the bulk of the benefits would still be seen when running balanced. Obviously it has a redesigned analog stage in general which should be useful for both balanced and unbalanced. But if you were to break down percentages of improvement (wherever that percentage may lie) I think a much greater portion of that would be seen when going balanced. I may very well be wrong....they've started shipping some, so we'll see.
Gungnir may or may not be "more than 'a bit better'", but if it is, the mere fact that it's using two decoder chips instead of one is not likely the primary reason for it being so. One could make a worse DAC using two chips as well. It was simply one method of implementation they chose to use as part of the end goal. They could have chosen other methods as well.