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Schiit Bifrost vs Gungnir - Page 2

post #16 of 39

I don't think I will be changing my Lyr amp now as I've just bought it for my new LCD-2 based on many positive opinions. I like the combo (LCD2+Lyr) and I think it's good enough for the money. Now I am looking for a suitable DAC for my headphones, one with large soundstage width. My budget is preferably $400-500 (max $700).

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Dangerous View Post

Bifrost is good in its tier of performance, but it doesn't sing like DACs in the $750-and-up range. Since you are using the LCD 2.2 (which is an expensive, highly resolving headphone), you will easily hear the difference. I wouldn't recommend it in this application. Instead, I'd consider upgrading the amp.

 

In terms of sound quality, a Decware Taboo amp would outdo a Lyr + Bifrost combination for roughly the same cost. The Taboo is built for low-impedance headphones like the LCD and has a tube crossfeed mode (called "Lucid Mode") which noticeably expands the soundstage. Furthermore, when and if you decide to add a dedicated DAC in the future, it will scale that much higher and bring the LCD to a whole new level. In other words, you wouldn't be "locked in" to a lower level of resolution at the source.

post #17 of 39

I'm relatively new to this site, and am a bit of an imposter: I listen to headphones infrequently, for travelling, but generally listen either to LPs (Thorens 124) or CDs (Quad CD-P2 and Oppo 830) with loudspeakers (Harbeth C7-3SE).  I'm posting this because I have recently been able to compare the Schitt Bifrost with the Gungnir, both of which I bought as a result of reviews on Head-Fi.

 

I've been using my Bifrost for about 10 months.  I've had the Gungnir for a month.  I'm using it in single-ended mode, with a Melody SP3 tube amp.

 

In comparing the two DACs I connected the Bifrost and Gungnir to the Oppo using coax and optical cables, so that I could move seamlessly from one to the other.  I switched the two interconnects between the two DACs to see whether the cables made a difference.  To my ears, at least, I couldn't detect any.

 

Here are my listening results:

 

CDs used:

 

Bach, Well-Tempered Clavier, Tatiana Nikolyeva (MK)

Bill Evans, You must believe in spring (WB Rhino)

Mahler, Symphony 5, Gary Bertini (EMI)

 

I chose the Bach because I believe that piano music is one of the best tests of equipment, and this recording is one of the best I have.  It seems to catch the peculiar resonance and timbre of this most difficult of instruments particularly well.  Repeated switching between the two DACs and cables revealed, to my ears at least, no difference at all.

 

I have an LP of the Evans which I have always enjoyed.  It's a bit "hi-fi".  The sound is exaggerated, almost etched, but very present and enjoyable.  Through my Quad CD-P this etching is slightly off-putting--the piano has an edge that is sometimes unpleasant.  The Bifrost duplicated this digital unpleasantness even more starkly, so that that half-way though I wanted to stop listening. There was something of an imbalance between bass and treble, I think largely due to this harshness on the top piano notes.  The Gungnir tamed this-almost, but not quite.  The top notes did not grate, and there seems to be a better balance between treble and bass.  I felt able to relax into the slightly too artificial sound almost as much as I did to the LP.  So the Gungnir was more relaxing; perhaps more natural.

 

Mahler offers a much more dynamic and complex mix of sound, especially the 5th, which begins with a trumpet call that makes quite a demand on the placing of the instrument (they are slightly recessed) and its relation to a very complicated mix of instruments that include some significant bass.  The Bifrost was fine: enjoyably integrated, natural and balanced, with a very slight edge to the trumpets.  The Gungnir was really very good.  The trumpets were placed more accurately within the soundstage, without the edginess, and the double basses were especially effective, with quite a lot more weight.  The orchestra was placed more accurately both spatially and tonally.

 

I have to say that the differences were actually quite subtle, though clearly discernible.  I had been enjoying the Bifrost very much compared to the Quad, but found myself listening more and more to the Gungnir.  I can confirm what others have written about it: there's better, more controlled and balanced bass; a less "digital", etched treble, and a general sense of balance tonally and spatially on recordings that include large orchestras and jazz groups.  I still can't tell the difference on the Bach piano recording. So it really depends what one can afford and what one listens to: the Bifrost is an astonishing bargain; the Gungnir a good one.

 

After listening to the Bifrost and Gungnir for about a month (and really enjoying both), I returned to my Thorens 124.  I was amazed how much better LPs sounded in all respects.  I didn't expect this.  I thought that a 2012 DAC would finally have outperformed the 1950s technology represented by the 124, SME 3012, and Denon 103.  Alas, no.  There's still something about analogue that speaks to the soul, and to the ears.

post #18 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by schalk View Post

 

After listening to the Bifrost and Gungnir for about a month (and really enjoying both), I returned to my Thorens 124.  I was amazed how much better LPs sounded in all respects.  I didn't expect this.  I thought that a 2012 DAC would finally have outperformed the 1950s technology represented by the 124, SME 3012, and Denon 103.  Alas, no.  There's still something about analogue that speaks to the soul, and to the ears.

I was in the same predicament as you for some time, thinking I would have to go extreme lengths (prices) to achieve a natural, convincing sound from a digital setup. Then I finally landed on a Yulong D18 DAC. I snagged mine for $500 used, but it sells new for $700. I use the balance outs into a balanced amp, the highly praised Schiit Mjolnir, then to my integrated, the Yamaha A-S2000 that is a unique balanced solid state implementation. My rig is fully balanced, except for my vinyl of course. The only additional purchase you'll need is a quality USB-to-SPDIF converter. Some fine examples would be HiFace Two, KingRex UC384, or Yulong's new U18 converter. You can go crazy with these, but the new converters that have come out in 2012 dont require a significant cost like they used to. Matter of fact, super expensive DACs from Berkeley and others use the exact same chipsets as these lol.

 

Good luck on your journey. I find myself listening to less and less vinyl now, but you sure can't beat the satisfaction of the ritual :)


Edited by brunk - 11/15/12 at 9:27pm
post #19 of 39
One other step to bring digital closer to vinyl... If you are using a PC as a transport, massage your 16/44.1 to 24/96 with Sox using foobar. More importantly set the phase to 'min', dither, and allow aliasing. I think you will be surprised. That disjointed digital kind of sound goes away. Smooth, music sounds like music!

I agree, that redbook still sounds 'quantized' even through the Gungnir. Somewhat 'choppy' and un music like. Less so than my other DACs. I would be curious as to how the above compares to a good vinyl rig, since I have been without such kit for about 40yrs!
post #20 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by earwaxxer View Post

One other step to bring digital closer to vinyl... If you are using a PC as a transport, massage your 16/44.1 to 24/96 with Sox using foobar. More importantly set the phase to 'min', dither, and allow aliasing. I think you will be surprised. That disjointed digital kind of sound goes away. Smooth, music sounds like music!
I agree, that redbook still sounds 'quantized' even through the Gungnir. Somewhat 'choppy' and un music like. Less so than my other DACs. I would be curious as to how the above compares to a good vinyl rig, since I have been without such kit for about 40yrs!

You referring to FooBar2000+SoX vs. vinyl? I may just do that very thing... granted I have a modest vinyl setup. Music Hall MMF-7.1 and Yaqin MS-12B with NOS Mullard tubes through out. The only problem I may run into is album inconsistencies and level matching. Either way, it's very close, but the vinyl being more laid back, and the digital being more forward in their soundstage. I will say the midrange on my vinyl setup is sublime.


Edited by brunk - 11/26/12 at 11:50am
post #21 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by brunk View Post

You referring to FooBar2000+SoX vs. vinyl? I may just do that very thing... granted I have a modest vinyl setup. Music Hall MMF-7.1 and Yaqin MS-12B with NOS Mullard tubes through out. The only problem I may run into is album inconsistencies and level matching. Either way, it's very close, but the vinyl being more laid back, and the digital being more forward in their soundstage. I will say the midrange on my vinyl setup is sublime.

Yep thats it. It doesnt cost anything, and its a great tweak. The main subjective difference I have noticed is a toe tapping prat, overall smooth digital nature. I have been back and forth several times due to the size of the files. I really would like it if it was not true, because I could fit about 1000 albums on my laptop in native 16/44.1. Only about 250 in 24/96. cool.gif
post #22 of 39
The Schiit, and Yulong products are mentioned very often on this forum. How about Matrix Quattro DAC/Amp?
Pricewise they are comparable with Gungnir and Mjolnir duo, but how about sound quality?
Also, should I conclude from this thread, that vinyl is the best, and just after it goes Yulong D18 DAC?
post #23 of 39

Hey can I ask about the difference between the Gungnir and the Uber'd Bifrost? Are they effectively the same, except for the fact that one is balanced and one is not? I'm interested in getting a Gungnir, but I don't know if the differences in everything preceding the analog output stage between the Bifrost and Gungnir would warrant getting the Gungnir over the Uber'd Bifrost. Any thoughts?

post #24 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by neoresin View Post
 

Hey can I ask about the difference between the Gungnir and the Uber'd Bifrost? Are they effectively the same, except for the fact that one is balanced and one is not? I'm interested in getting a Gungnir, but I don't know if the differences in everything preceding the analog output stage between the Bifrost and Gungnir would warrant getting the Gungnir over the Uber'd Bifrost. Any thoughts?


Bump.

 

I was wondering the same as well. Because the Uber borrows from the more expensive Gungnir, is definitely a question worth asking.

post #25 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldfishX View Post
 


Bump.

 

I was wondering the same as well. Because the Uber borrows from the more expensive Gungnir, is definitely a question worth asking.

 

+1, likewise interested in this question. Anyone have compared the two, able to shed light on this question?

post #26 of 39
Finally said screw it and bought the Gung. I adore my Peachtree Dac It, so i can't wait to do a full blown comparison with my other gear (got a good deal since it is discontinued, even if it isnt as good as the Gung is still good for my cubicle) Gives me the option to go balanced later too.
post #27 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by neoresin View Post
 

Hey can I ask about the difference between the Gungnir and the Uber'd Bifrost? Are they effectively the same, except for the fact that one is balanced and one is not? I'm interested in getting a Gungnir, but I don't know if the differences in everything preceding the analog output stage between the Bifrost and Gungnir would warrant getting the Gungnir over the Uber'd Bifrost. Any thoughts?

 

The Uber Bifrost is very good, but I still don't think it can really compare to Gungnir. Which is more resolving, much more dynamic and a bit more sweet sounding.

 

I would say that if you're running a single ended amp, then Gungnir is kind of wasted. Running balanced yields that much more of an improvement.

post #28 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by paradoxper View Post
 

 

The Uber Bifrost is very good, but I still don't think it can really compare to Gungnir. Which is more resolving, much more dynamic and a bit more sweet sounding.

 

I would say that if you're running a single ended amp, then Gungnir is kind of wasted. Running balanced yields that much more of an improvement.

 

Thanks!  Can we get a little further clarification there - if (or while) running single ended, would you still say that the Gungnir is "more resolving, much more dynamic and a bit more sweet sounding"?   Or do those comments apply only or mostly when running balanced?

 

Also, did, or do, you notice any difference in the soundstage? or musicality? Thanks!

post #29 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by FLguy View Post
 

 

Thanks!  Can we get a little further clarification there - if (or while) running single ended, would you still say that the Gungnir is "more resolving, much more dynamic and a bit more sweet sounding"?   Or do those comments apply only or mostly when running balanced?

 

Also, did, or do, you notice any difference in the soundstage? or musicality? Thanks!

No, it is. It's just that when you're running balanced everything opens up that much more. Bifrost also has some glare

and isn't near as much fun/enjoyable to listen to as Gungnir. Hardly any DACs are as toe tapping good as Gungnir, IMO. And that's regardless of price.


Edited by paradoxper - 12/6/13 at 5:03pm
post #30 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by paradoxper View Post
 

No, it is. It's just that when you're running balanced everything opens up that much more. Bifrost also has some glare

and isn't near as much fun/enjoyable to listen to as Gungnir. Hardly any DACs are as toe tapping good as Gungnir, IMO. And that's regardless of price.

 

Awesome - thanks very much

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