I just received my Bifrost Uber, I'm pairing it up with the Asgard 2(only 2 weeks old) and my HD 650s. My setup went from a Claro Halo > HP, to Claro Halo > AS 2 > HP, and currently running with Claro Halo S/PDIF > Bifrost > AS 2 > HP. I am still new to this whole sound business so I won't go very in depth. I'm only posting this because I want to share my results about a little experiment, whether or not the upgrade of components produced a noticeable difference in audio.
The amp difference:
I began my testing with a negative mindset to hopefully overcome any placebos. To my surprise the biggest difference I noticed was with the DAC. I found that when using the Claro Halo as the DAC a lot of its "personality" made its way into the sound. In regards to the amp, the Asgard 2 was able to take the Claro Halo's sound and open it up. The AS 2 (compared to the built in amp) increased the soundstage significantly. This gave the music more room to breathe and live in. The added soundstage increased the perceived instrument separation without messing too much with the spatial location of the instruments. The only other sound difference I heard was in the bass, it felt more detailed somehow. I felt that the whole sound spectrum opened up more.
The DAC difference:
Note: I've only been using the Bifrost for 30 minutes and with only the HD 650s.
This is where the magic happened for me. I was really not expecting anything grandiose...this was far from the truth. As soon as I played my first track I knew I was in for a treat. I'll start from the bottom of the spectrum and work my way up. The bass obtained distinction and a small bit of quantity.I felt the Claro Halo had 3 major categories where most of the bass fell into; the sub-bass, transition between sub and mid-bass, and the mid-bass(top of the bass). The Bifrost has shown me that there is more to this, every song has its own highly unique bass. So far the mid-bass(drum kicks) has been the one that changes the most between tracks, there is a nice punch that was not there before. I have yet to figure out how to describe the mid-range so I will stick to how vocals sound. This is where I can bring up the Claro Halo's sound signature, it's bright and it has a metallicky texture that I found ok for the highs but not when it's present in the vocals. The Bifrost is able to add a dreamy like essence to vocals, mostly felt with female vocals. That's what I love the most about it. They sound less robotic and more human, I am able to not only hear but also really feel the tone and character of the voice. I am still new to this so the only things I can say about the highs is the increase in detail. The highs lost their edgy, peaky, almost fatiguing quality I experienced with the Claro Halo. Overall, the Bifrost sounds a lot cleaner and true to the music than the Claro Halo
I am extremely pleased with this Schiit stack and still can't believe the biggest difference came from the DAC. As to my little experiment, I have carefully listened to an Ipod Nano, a Cowon J3, MOBO sound,the Claro Halo sound card, and the dedicated components. There are differences in all of these. To any reader that might be skeptical I understand.The problem is that it wasn't until I moved up to the Claro Halo that I learned to perceive these differences. There is a skill level associated with this hobby, the more I listen the more I learn to appreciate the sound.