I am a little confused about DACs. From reading the forum, DACs basically have the same purpose of converting data for the computer to a wave form. Why are Schiit DACs varying in prices if they have the same function? Also I want to purchase one for my Audio Technica AD 700 and future AKG K701. What are some brands of DACs I should look at?
The Schiit Modi uses the output stage implemented within the DAC itself. That means that the DAC does the digital to analog conversion *and* the amplification required to send a line level output to a preamp / headphone amp. The Bifrost bypasses the integrated analog output stage with a custom designed, fully discrete circuit. This has potential for improving performance. The Gungnir takes this a few steps further and reclocks the incoming signal in order to more accurately sample the data (the 1's and 0's) and also swaps out the analog output stage on the DAC with a fully balanced design, which should further reduce the noise floor. This would have the greatest benefit if connected to a fully balanced headphone amp.
So the increase in price comes down to an increase in parts (both number and quality), the time it took to develop the circuit designs, and the more complex assembly required as you move from Modi to Bifrost to Gungnir. In each case, the more you pay, the better quality and the more features you get (or so it seems).
Hope this helps.
Edited by yage - 2/20/13 at 2:19pm