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Time to upgrade: HE-400 vs Schiit Bifrost

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Sup dudes,

 

lookin for a new piece to add to my rig, as in the title, i am stuck between buying a new set of cans (HE-400) or a DAC (Bifrost).

 

Im looking for the best upgrade to my setup in terms of sound quality. and since both are sorta the same price im having a terrible time deciding between them.

 

My current setup is FLAC > onboard DAC > **Schiit Bifrost** schiit asgard > Beyerdynamic DT880 (250)

 

i feel like that the bifrost would be a better buy since i currently have no DAC in the chain as of yet, and it is about $50 cheaper, since i do not need to go for the USB addon.

 

Basically i suck nuts at making decisions, and need a little help pullin the trigger on this one

 

Any input would be greatly appreciated

 

Edit: **


Edited by broski - 12/21/12 at 11:00am
post #2 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by broski View Post

Sup dudes,

 

lookin for a new piece to add to my rig, as in the title, i am stuck between buying a new set of cans (HE-400) or a DAC (Bifrost).

 

Im looking for the best upgrade to my setup in terms of sound quality. and since both are sorta the same price im having a terrible time deciding between them.

 

My current setup is FLAC > onboard DAC > Schiit Bifrost > Beyerdynamic DT880 (250)

 

i feel like that the bifrost would be a better buy since i currently have no DAC in the chain as of yet, and it is about $50 cheaper, since i do not need to go for the USB addon.

 

Basically i suck nuts at making decisions, and need a little help pullin the trigger on this one

 

Any input would be greatly appreciated

So you already have a Bifrost? Anyways, get an amp first.

post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 

haha i knew i was gonna screw that post up.

 

i currently have the schiit asgard not the bifrost. my bad

post #4 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by broski View Post

haha i knew i was gonna screw that post up.

 

i currently have the schiit asgard not the bifrost. my bad

Ohh, hmm. I would suggest getting the HE-400. Then your very next purchase should be a Bifrost. You could always get the HE400 and a ODAC or a Modi. 

post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfetan44 View Post

Ohh, hmm. I would suggest getting the HE-400. Then your very next purchase should be a Bifrost. You could always get the HE400 and a ODAC or a Modi. 

 

Yeah the 400s look so nice, i love the blue. also i would have to limit myself to just the HE-400 and save up for the bifrost later. but are the 400s that much better than the 880s that they will make more of a difference than a DAC?

post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by broski View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfetan44 View Post

Ohh, hmm. I would suggest getting the HE-400. Then your very next purchase should be a Bifrost. You could always get the HE400 and a ODAC or a Modi. 

 

Yeah the 400s look so nice, i love the blue. also i would have to limit myself to just the HE-400 and save up for the bifrost later. but are the 400s that much better than the 880s that they will make more of a difference than a DAC?

Hm, I haven't tried the 400 nor the 880. But the 880 will improve with a DAC as any good headphone will. The 880 will be more comfy, though. I'm not sure as to which sounds better, I dont think it will be day and night difference though. So maybe the Bifrost?

post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 

Yeah i hear ya. i sorta think i should build a complete chain before i add any more cans, you know? plus i feel as if all of the time and effort i put in building my mostly FLAC library is kinda wasted without a solid DAC to really get the most out of those files. But idk ive heard so much great stuff about the HE-400s and ive had the 880s for so long i was kinda lookin forward to a fresh sounding pair of cans. idk if this made any sense but yeah i said it

post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by broski View Post

Yeah i hear ya. i sorta think i should build a complete chain before i add any more cans, you know? plus i feel as if all of the time and effort i put in building my mostly FLAC library is kinda wasted without a solid DAC to really get the most out of those files. But idk ive heard so much great stuff about the HE-400s and ive had the 880s for so long i was kinda lookin forward to a fresh sounding pair of cans. idk if this made any sense but yeah i said it

Maybe, you could get the Bifrost then get the HE-500. Many think the HE-500 competes with headphones of much more value like the Senn HD800, Beyer T1, etc.

post #9 of 23

get an odac if you want to save money and it is comparable to bifrost in sound quality... save a little more and buy both the odac and the he400... it will be 540$ instead of 400

post #10 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfetan44 View Post

Hm, I haven't tried the 400 nor the 880. But the 880 will improve with a DAC as any good headphone will. The 880 will be more comfy, though. I'm not sure as to which sounds better, I dont think it will be day and night difference though. So maybe the Bifrost?

As an owner of both, they are very different.

 

 

As far as HE-400, 500 and DT880, I would say it depends on what you are looking for. I find the HE-400 to be fantastic with EDM/Hip-hop and jazz . When it comes to classical, old rock and roll and acoustic/folk I reach for the HE-500. The DT 880 to my ears are great "jack of all trades-master of none" head phones, but rarely get any head-time in my rotation.

post #11 of 23

I'm not exactly a believer of expensive DACs... I find that a DAC with a decent chipset to be more than enough. For example, the ODAC is a great DAC... Another not well known one is my Calyx Coffee. Not many people know that it has a Sabre ESS DAC which is definitely good enough to satisfy me, especially hooked up to the EF-5. I suggest getting an affordable DAC first as a clean source is absolutely essential, then a headphone seeing you already have an amp. For the HE-400 and HE-500, FYI they match beautifully with the EF-5. Ahhh..

post #12 of 23

Yea... I would suggest a better DAC first. Your headphones become (almost) useless if you have a terrible/noisy source anyway, so you might as well improve the source first.

 

This is essentially what happened with me, when I purchased the HD-650. Great headphones, decent amp (Matrix M-Stage), but a terrible source, which is my motherboard onboard audio. The music is barely tolerable. Actually, it isn't, and I'm just biding my time for the savings to build up for a better, external DAC.

 

Given my experiences, I'm now a believer it's best to upgrade both the headphones and source at the same time. However, it seems you only want to decide one or the other, so I would say DAC first. It seems to me that's what you want, too, so...


Edited by fuzzybaffy - 12/22/12 at 12:08am
post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by fuzzybaffy View Post

Yea... I would suggest a better DAC first. Your headphones become (almost) useless if you have a terrible/noisy source anyway, so you might as well improve the source first.

 

This is essentially what happened with me, when I purchased the HD-650. Great headphones, decent amp (Matrix M-Stage), but a terrible source, which is my motherboard onboard audio. The music is barely tolerable. Actually, it isn't, and I'm just biding my time for the savings to build up for a better, external DAC.

 

Given my experiences, I'm now a believer it's best to upgrade both the headphones and source at the same time. However, it seems you only want to decide one or the other, so I would say DAC first. It seems to me that's what you want, too, so...

 

Well said. My order of operations is usually DAC->Headphones->Amp but that all changes when you mix up the procedures. For example, if you buy headphones first, this works very well as you need to buy a correct amp for the specific headphone. But you can never go wrong with buying a DAC as a good DAC should be fairly neutral.

post #14 of 23

gonna echo the others that recommended you to get an affordable dac (odac, modi), and save up for better headphones.  spending the money on the bitfrost isn't as efficient in terms of price/performance as cheaper dac more expensive headphones. gonna back that up with some of Uncle Erik's wisdom:

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Erik View Post

Bad DACs are bad and all good DACs sound about the same. They vary in output voltage which registers as an "improvement" because humans are hardwired to think louder equals better. Level match and they all blend into sameness.
Sure, a source is important. Linn's 40 year-old marketing campaign had some truth to it back when LPs and reel were all we had. (Linn also believed that an unpowered speaker in a room caused horrible problems. Seriously.) But since then we got digital. Digital has gotten to the point where excellent quality is dead cheap. They would have celebrated that in 1975. Today, everyone gets sand in their underwear when it's pointed out that superb digital reproduction is cheap and that their status symbols are status symbols. Money does not equal performance in digital.
So when you buy a DAC, make sure it is a reliable brand. Make sure it has the inputs and controls you want. Get a nice case if you want that. The rest isn't terribly important.

Edited by steelle - 12/22/12 at 12:38am
post #15 of 23

^ I don't know... I actually asked someone to compare their Bifrost to other DAC's, including the STX, and he still noted differences:

 

 

Quote:

Hey Fuzzybaffy,

 

Thanks for the question. I'd like to start out by saying, as you probably already know, sound quality is very subjective, but to my ears I would have to go with the Schiit Bifrost. I started out by not believing the stigma that external dacs are always better than internal ones, but I changed my opinion on that after testing both dacs. Now I believe that sometimes external dacs are better than internal. The huge difference in sound to my ear, is the over presence of the bifrost. I feel that the bifrost opens up headphones giving them new life, bringing out there full potential. Bass sounds tighters, mids sound more lush and smooth, and the treble is super clear. Upgrading your source is a hugh change in SQ imo. Not to say that you wont be happy with the stx, but I can for sure say that the bifrost is better in most areas, especially the treble. I love the bifrost and would recommend it to any. It's the best dac that I have come across thus far and I have had quite a few. I also have heard many in its price range such as the ODAC and Peachtree DAC. Between the two, I would definitely consider the bifrost if you are looking into buying a dac, and can afford the price tag(which is a bargain imo for the performance). As for the STX, it is a good dac. It really made me believe that you can get excellent quality with a internal dac. It's a great value for the price, and you are getting a decent amplifier to boot. I would say if you are looking for a sound card that has all you need, meaning a dac/amp combo... then look no further than the stx. It has great features and you are getting an extremely good value for the price. Let me know if you need more details.

 

(This was a private message obviously). If you read the message more carefully, he also compares the Bifrost between the ODAC and Peachtree DAC, and still sees a difference with the Bifrost. FWIW.


Edited by fuzzybaffy - 12/22/12 at 4:47am
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