Hello from a long-time lurker who has finally mustered up the courage to join this incredibly informative and awesome forum! TBH I feel like a bit of an imposter, as although I have a nice "Head-Fi" setup, the majority of my listening is done through conventional loudspeakers (I'll spare you the gross details, but basically my ear canals "gum up" with wax if I keep my cans on for more than a few minutes at a time, - I assume this has something to do with trapped heat!).
Anyway I have been enjoying the musical delights of my Schiit Bifrost DAC since I purchased it in the summer of 2012. I was originally using it on the optical input but after a few weeks switched to using its USB input so that I could get the sonic benefits from my 24/192 material. I soon experienced the well-documented 'screeching' problem, which I rectified by sending my unit in to have its USB board replaced with the updated version. As well as curing the 'screeching', this also added support for 176.4kHz playback, which was a welcome bonus. It has been plain sailing since.
Fast forward 18 months and I am now considering sending my Bifrost away again, this time to have the Uber analogue upgrade board installed, an upgrade that has received tremendous praise on this forum. At a cost of just £70, it would seem silly not to. However I also have one eye on the Gungnir. This is the reason why….
My current setup is as follows:
-> RCA Y-splitter --> Yamaha A-S2000 (amplifier) and Schiit Valhalla (headphones amplifier) -> Tannoy Monitor Gold 15" (loudspeakers) and Sennheiser HD600 (headphones).
Audirvana Plus -> Mac Mini w/Snow Leopard -> USB2 -> Schiit Bifrost DAC
As shown above, I am currently splitting the Bifrost's single pair of unbalanced outputs into my Yamaha A-S2000 and Schiit Valhalla. The Gungnir has two pairs of unbalanced outputs, which means I could do away with my Y-splitter. The Gungnir also has a pair of balanced outputs, meaning I could take advantage of the balanced inputs on my Yamaha A-S2000. What I'm not certain of however is whether the Gungnir allows you to have both the unbalanced and balanced outputs active at the same time?? If not then this would be a deal-breaker for me. Plus, I have also read about a potential incompatibility between the balanced output of the Gungnir and balanced input of the A-S2000. Apparently the Gungnir outputs 4Vrms while the Yamaha is only rated to accept 2.8Vrms?? If this is true then it is a major faux pas by Yamaha!
Another important consideration is cost. Upgrading my Bifrost with the Uber board will cost me just 70 GBP, compared to the 850 GBP the Gungnir will set me back(!!). So as well as offering the increased functionality of twin unbalanced outputs and a set of balanced outputs, I need the Gungnir to offer superior sonic performance over the Uber-modded Bifrost in order to justify the extra outlay. I'd therefore be grateful to hear from those of you who have had the opportunity to directly compare the Gungnir with the Bifrost w/Uber upgrade. Is the Gungnir still sonically superior?
Thanks in advance (and apologies for such a long first post!).
Edited by ToTo Man - 1/6/14 at 7:27am