My experience with DACs is relatively limited (but quickly growing), but I was given the chance to borrow the Gungnir for a while. purrin's description fit what I heard pretty well.
- It's true that the gen 2 USB input is really good! I took some basic measurements, and it slightly outperformed SPDIF performance from the JKSPDIF MK3 (w/ 10dB attenuator). Jitter in particular was almost non-existent. The rest of the measurements overall looked great and mostly maxed out the capabilities of my ADC. In other words, I can verify most claims and specifications listed on Schiit's site. It's (objectively) good Schiit.
- Going up against my Metrum Hex (w/ JKSPDIF, Gungnir on USB), I found the Gungnir to have a very sweet, easy-to-listen-to quality. I found both to be quite dynamic, and, surprisingly enough, I did not find the Hex to sound more laid-back than the Gungnir. They were more laid-back/more aggressive than the other in their own ways. I think this is because I found the Gungnir slightly softer sounding overall, and the Hex did a slightly better job conveying micro-swings, movement, and what I (for some reason) want to call small packets of blackness in between the notes/music. However, the Hex does technically have more of a roll-off in the very upper treble than the Gungnir, hence them being more laid-back than the other in their own ways. Gungnir had a slightly more expansive soundstage, where as the Hex was more compact and intimate. I liked what the compact nature did for vocals (greater focus and a sense of body) and "smaller" music (such as, say, a 5-piece, modern rock band), but the Gungnir is probably better for music that has more of a need for a wider soundstage and more-separated layers. (Listening tests done in 16/44.1 with NO software upsampling on either DAC. The Hex seems to handle 16/44.1 material w/out upsampling better than the Quad, and the Hex inherently has less of a treble roll-off vs. the Quad as well.)
- I really like the looks, feel, and finish of the Gungnir. Very sleek, yet simple. The Hex is about as boring as you can get in that regard, but both feel robust and well-built. The Gungnir was also much bigger than I expected!
Very nice overall! I would highly recommend the Gungnir or Bifrost w/ upgrades (haven't heard it, basing off Gungnir).
Edited by hans030390 - 2/23/14 at 12:19am