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Own Schiit Bifrost Without USB—is it worth to upgrade?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hey Head-Fi posters,

 

I come here with my brain fizzing full of clashing information.  Some threads rather out dated, and others that change topic off the USB upgrade versus the Uber Analog.  Everything is so conflicting, I'm hoping making a quick thread that can perhaps help me out.

 

To quickly explain my setup; I'm currently rocking the Bifrost (with Uber Analong, but no USB), Asgard 2, and Sennheiser HD 600's.  My DAC is connected to my computer via SPDIF (Digital Optical), and set to 24/96.  I however try to do 24/192, and no sound comes through.  I spoke to Asus (motherboard) support, they wanted me to RMA my board because they advertise it can support it, but personally I doubt that would be/fix the issue.

 

I have both sides of the spectrum yelling and screaming about SPDIF vs USB, and it turns out USB is better to the majority.  I read cymbals are more crisp, and the bass is more deep; but is it really worth $100 or $150 more for the USB Gen 2 upgrade.  All I do on my computer is rip CD's lossless, and generally listen to classical (The Piano Guys anyone?), or variants of upbeat music with good bass lines.  I do game as well, but have a separate microphone so the headphones are always being used.

 

All in all, the question comes down to the thread title and why.

 

If yes, I'm looking far and wide to no avail—hoping one of you can lead me in the direction how to self install the upgrade if I decide to get it.  I live in Canada, and the customs are quite harsh so sending something there and back would be quite costly.  Does it require soldering, or simple is it simple attachments and correct screw placements?  Schiit doesn't list any instructions of course either, besides the fact you should essentially be grounded.

 

By the end of the day, would one consider it even worth the upgrade when all I do is listen to music lossless?  Would the quality be significant enough to go through the trouble?  I'm expecting some biased opinions out of this, but personally any information would be more than appreciated.

 

Thank you very much for reading/posting,

 

Yujiza

post #2 of 8

First of all, USB measures worse than SPDIF (and this is pretty much universal truth for all DACs in the market right now)

 

http://www.stereophile.com/content/schiit-audio-bifrost-da-processor-measurements

 

The real reason you buy expensive DACs are.... really for analog section where actual sound of DAC is being made.

 

If you think RMA your motherboard is more painful than wasting 150 bucks for the upgrade... well, it's your choice, but I would not do it.

 

(I have Bifrost Uber with USB Gen 2)

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wnmnkh View Post
 

First of all, USB measures worse than SPDIF (and this is pretty much universal truth for all DACs in the market right now)

 

See, this is what I read too from other websites.  The fact that the I'm only listening to lossless, better measures around 24/44.1 is where I want to be rather than digitally enhanced right?

 

Pardon the lamen terms by the way.

post #4 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yujiza View Post
 

I come here with my brain fizzing full of clashing information.  Some threads rather out dated, and others that change topic off the USB upgrade versus the Uber Analog.  Everything is so conflicting, I'm hoping making a quick thread that can perhaps help me out.

To quickly explain my setup; I'm currently rocking the Bifrost (with Uber Analong, but no USB), Asgard 2, and Sennheiser HD 600's.  My DAC is connected to my computer via SPDIF (Digital Optical), and set to 24/96.  I however try to do 24/192, and no sound comes through.  I spoke to Asus (motherboard) support, they wanted me to RMA my board because they advertise it can support it, but personally I doubt that would be/fix the issue.

By the end of the day, would one consider it even worth the upgrade when all I do is listen to music lossless?  Would the quality be significant enough to go through the trouble?  I'm expecting some biased opinions out of this, but personally any information would be more than appreciated.

 

 

Schiit themselves recommend Coaxial>Optical>USB

(could be this statement was made before the USB Gen 2 was available)

So as Schiit has at one time recommended optical over USB, can't see a good (enough) reason spending that much cash.

 

You could try to find a used Asus Xonar sound card, Models DS, DSX. DX & D1 optical output will do 24-bit/192Khz.

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post


Schiit themselves recommend Coaxial>Optical>USB
(could be this statement was made before the USB Gen 2 was available)
So as Schiit has at one time recommended optical over USB, can't see a good (enough) reason spending that much cash.

You could try to find a used Asus Xonar sound card, Models DS, DSX. DX & D1 optical output will do 24-bit/192Khz.

Thanks for the input.

I was always on the fence about sound cards, whether they would out perform well enough worth the cost, and how a DAC performs or does with it.

I'll probably find a local store with a good return policy.

I am curious why you recommended those cards though. smily_headphones1.gif
Edited by Yujiza - 3/30/14 at 2:51pm
post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yujiza View Post

Thanks for the input.
I was always on the fence about sound cards, whether they would out perform well enough worth the cost, and how a DAC performs or does with it.
I'll probably find a local store with a good return policy.

I am curious why you recommended those cards though. smily_headphones1.gif

 

Your not getting the sound card for any audio processing features or for it's DAC chip, it just to provide you with a 24-bit/192Khz optical output.

Some other brands of lower costing sound cards might only come with a 16-bit/96Khz optical or coaxial output.

The cheaper Xonar DG & DGX only have a 24-bit/96Khz optical.

 

I'm a fan of the Asus cards so I know their features well.

Also you can get third party drivers (Unified Xonar Driver) for the Xonar sound card

 

Chances are you can go on eBay and get a good price ($40) for a used DS, DSX, DX or D1.

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the recommendation man! smily_headphones1.gif

I do have a concerning question though, I have this motherboard;

http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/SABERTOOTH_X79/#specifications

And I intentionally got it because I thought it could support it's own 24/192 as quoted here;

Realtek® ALC892 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC
- Supports : Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retasking
Audio Feature :
- Absolute Pitch 192kHz/ 24-bit True BD Lossless Sound
- Blu-ray audio layer Content Protection
- Optical S/PDIF out port(s) at back panel

Did I just read it wrong or is my motherboard actually defective? I checked the bios and found no settings to adjust the power.

Could my Digital Optical cable be holding my setup back? I doubt it, though.
Edited by Yujiza - 3/30/14 at 4:54pm
post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yujiza View Post

Thank you for the recommendation man! smily_headphones1.gif
I do have a concerning question though, I have this motherboard;
http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/SABERTOOTH_X79/#specifications
And I intentionally got it because I thought it could support it's own 24/192 as quoted here;
Realtek® ALC892 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC
- Supports : Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retasking
Audio Feature :
- Absolute Pitch 192kHz/ 24-bit True BD Lossless Sound
- Blu-ray audio layer Content Protection
- Optical S/PDIF out port(s) at back panel
Did I just read it wrong or is my motherboard actually defective? I checked the bios and found no settings to adjust the power.
Could my Digital Optical cable be holding my setup back? I doubt it, though.

 

You could make sure you have updated to the latest motherboard BIOS and chip-set drivers and audio software/drivers.

But i do not think it's worth it RMAing the motherboard for a "possible defective optical port".

As the optical works with 24-bit/96Khz I really doubt the optical port is defective.

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