Schiit Audio Bifrost DAC

Average User Rating:
4.84615/5,
  1. bosiemoncrieff
    5.0/5,
    "Bifrost Multibit: worth the price"
    Pros - transparency, realism
    Cons - not balanced?
    I only have my Mjolnir 2 Amp to test with Multifrost (Vali is in storage) so it's hard to tell where one ends and the other begins.
     
    That said, since I sent in my uberfrost for the upgrade, I've noticed a general lack of sibilance in my music, a smoothness that I associate with sitting in symphony hall itself. It feels more natural, organic, palpable, and real. My main criticism of the uber is that it sounded digital. I heard compression artifacts and the sound could come across thinner than it would be in reality.
     
    Bimby definitely isn't indistinguishable from a live performance, but the sound quality is still quite high, and represents an excellent value. I recommend it enthusiastically. The uber was certainly the weak link in my chain; now, although I would love to upgrade to the Yggy, there is no sense of bottleneck at the DAC.
     
    Listening to the Solti/CSO Resurrection Symphony of Mahler on the HD800, you get an incredible sense of being there. Strings have heft, the oboe has its glorious nasality. The soundstage is holographic.
  2. stigin
    5.0/5,
    "The new Multibit version is a game changer"
    Pros - Standalone DAC with multibit, 5 year warranty, beautiful, awesome build quality
    Cons - 45 seconds startup time not mentioned in manual
    This is a review for the Autumn 2015 Bifrost Multibit. 
     
    First reaction (after 5 minutes): this is certainly different than anything I have heard before. Clarity was the first thing that came to mind.
     
    Second reaction: I can actually hear the difference between this and the Modi Uber and the difference is much bigger than I expected. By comparison the Uber sounded a little woolly or the Bifrost is just crystal clear.
     
    Integral reaction: This DAC is so much fun to have in my setup and makes a (bigger than I expected) difference.
     
    Game changer: This used to be my opinion on any DAC I sampled: "This DAC sounds like any other (decent) DAC i have heard." Not any more, this is a game changer, I could easily hear the difference between the Bifrost Multibit and a few delta-sigma DACs. Maybe all the other multibit DAC's have the same audible difference (the technique is completely different) but as they all have price tags of (ten)thousands of euros they all fall in never-gonna-happen-land. This only costs 630 euros! Okay, it isn't cheap but still, 630 euros for a multibit DAC of this quality.
     
    Fun fact: my headphone setup is at work and although I am allowed to work from home I found myself getting in just to be able to listen to music using the new setup.
     
    Setup used (for those interested): Tidal HIFI (lossless) - USB - Schiit Bifrost Multibit - Schiit Magni 2 Uber - Audeze LCD-2F.
     
    Cons:
    -I was surprised by the 45 seconds startup time at first  (not mentioned in manual) so I wrote an email and within the hour Schiit confirmed this was normal.
    - Now I am contemplating buying at least another one for our main set at home and maybe for the secondary set too.
     
    Summary: This thing blew me away. It is good enough to motivate me to write a review. If you are shopping in this price range or higher you should at least try this!
    aamer23 and landroni like this.
  3. Padgett
    5.0/5,
    "More attention grabbing than an an ankle biting ferret and highly likely to render you oblivious to anything else. "
    This is my non review of the Multibit upgrade to the Bifrost ('Bimby'), in which I don’t try and describe to you how it sounds. I think reviewing audio equipment must be like trying to describe sex with smoke signals. Unless you actually experience it for yourself, it’s just a bunch of pointless puffing. Instead I’ll tell you how it feels, which is brilliant.
     
    Listening to Bimby I can’t hear what the second cellist had for lunch, and I can’t determine their spatial position relative to the violinist. Probably because I don’t listen to classical music and more thruthfully because either descriptions like that are bollocks and hyperbole, or my listening just isn’t that refined (which I’m willing to concede is plausible) or because I’m usually not paying that much attention to the music.
     
    To understand why I’m not paying that much attention to the music, I need to tangent a few degrees. My Schiit stack sits on my desk at work and for the most part I listen to music in order to tune out my co-workers and general office background noise.  My co-workers are awesome, and this isn’t a middle finger at management or a solitary sulk, it’s just my way of being able to concentrate so that I can get stuff done. I feel I need to make a reasonable attempt at being productive given I’m being paid and there’s a firm desire on my part to remain employed so I can provide for Wifey and the soon to be 2.2 kids (one is two and clearly the head of the household, one is on the way, and the .2 is furry and likes to wash the taste of cat food away by licking his butt.) 
     
    I’ve been listening to my my original Bifrost and Asgard 2 for a couple of months, and it’s been performing admirably and isolating me from the aforementioned distractions. As a baseline the Bifrost and Asgard is like a Honda Accord – It meets all of my expectations, is perfectly serviceable, does what it says on the box, nothing more or less. I have no complaints.
     
    Pay attention now because we’re back to the interesting bit.
     
    Bimby is utterly failing at allowing me to concentrate at work. It’s ruined my productivity, and I love it. The first album I played (Rush – 2112) did it’s job and I was able to focus on work. This is most likely because I was working to a deadline and had gone deep into 'the zone'. A ferret is using my ankles as a grinding stone for his teeth and I’m not going to notice deep. Then I put on some Doors (L.A. Woman). At some point I found myself sitting up - I had exited the zone and could feel my heart racing. The kind of heart racing you get from standing in front of the stacks at a live gig, where the sheer volume displaces enough air that you can feel it reverberate through your chest and you feel thumping bass comes up though the floor, though the soles of your feet* and out your mouth as you scream along with the band. Which incidentally I don’t recommend as a spontaneous action appropriate for an office environment.
     
    I found myself foot tapping and head bobbing. Which I hate because I’m male, middle class, white and uncoordinated. I think God have us head bobbing and foot taping to make up for the fact that when taken as a class of people, we can’t dance. And I didn’t care. I was lost in the music. I could feel the music, and it was wonderful. I’ve never experienced that outside of a live performance.
     
    My verdict? Bimby: More attention grabbing than an an ankle biting ferret and highly likely to render you oblivious to anything else. 
     
    This review was based on the following stack:
     - Schiit Bifrost Multibit
     - Schiit Asgard 2
     - Beyerdynamic T5p
     - Spotify Premium on a Mac Book Pro, connected via USB
     
    * Unless you’re in the Pony nightclub in Melbourne, in which case the flooring (at one point it may have been carpet, if the carpet was shaved down to the underlay) reverts from it’s mostly solid form to a slightly more squishy form as the years of spilt drinks, vomit and other bodily fluids liquify with the changing air pressure and body heat. You still feel it in your toes, though it’s more sticky and makes you want to shower.
     
    Note: The purchase price is actually the upgrade price from Addicted to Audio in Melbourne. 
  4. bretemm
    5.0/5,
    "GREAT, better then Modi, but modi is still great"
    Pros - music sounds stronger, more of a "base" to your music, switching,no noise using with Valhalla2
    Cons - needs to warm up (to break in that is)
    the new Bifrost Delta Sigma is great, 
    i first got the Modi and Magni then after 1 and a half years i got the Valhalla2 and wanted a better Dac,
    so i waited for the Schiit event for the Bifrost to be updated, then went for it!
    verses my modi using it with my Valhalla2, i noticed noise, BUT, now with the Bifrost (DS) I have yet to year noise. 
    I'm actually using some klipsch IEMs (g3) before the s4i, I NEED BETTER IEMs I KNOW,-im limited to IEMs because i can't get by strong magnets.
    I'm going to possibly get Klipsch X11i, Westone or Shure next.
     
    the audio quality i put SLIGHTLY lower because some tracks off youtube (HQ or FLAC files if they even were)  didn't sound that well at first, but that might be because it needs to warm up more (break in).
     
     
    overall, 
    Schiit is a great company with great support for their customers and the Bifrost DS is my 4th purchase.
    its really has added more detail to my music and a even wider sound range and "space" the Valhalla2 is a great compliment to the BIfrost (as well as with Modi) 
    watchnerd likes this.
  5. Aurthur
    5.0/5,
    "Great DAC, can't imagine improvement"
    Pros - Great build quality, easy to set up, sounds great
    Cons - Doesn't support DSD natively (Loki add-on or DSD compatible player required)
    Amazing little DAC.  Fits easily on my desk without any hassle.  It even improved the sound of Pandora so much that I can barely hear the difference between their stream and local FLAC or uncompressed WAV files anymore.  Setup on Windows 7 was plug in and go.  Updated the drivers to the ones from Schiit's website just to get the additional sample rate options per their instructions.  Changing to the improved drivers was a breeze for anyone familiar with driver installations on Windows.
     
    My only complaint, if I had one, is that it doesn't natively support DSD.  I don't actually have any DSD files to play, so that doesn't bother me, and the explanation from Schiit makes perfect sense to me as to why they didn't include it.  I do have some SACDs I wouldn't mind playing, but it's not really a high priority for me, as I use this primarily at work where I'm all digital.  If I really care about it in the future, I'll grab a DSD compatible player to plug into one of the toslink connections and switch input to that.
  6. hodgjy
    5.0/5,
    "End game DAC for my system"
    Pros - Space, imaging, PRAT, micro detail, dogmatically vigilant sound
    Cons - None at this price
    Holy Schiit!
     
    That's the first thing that came to mind when I connected the Bifrost Uber to my system and gave it a listen.  Here's a rundown of a few things.
     
    Amp: Trafomatic Head One
    Cans: Sennheiser HD600
    Old DAC: V-DAC ii with V-PSU ii
    Apple lossless -> iPod Classic -> Pure i20 dock -> coaxial connection
     
    For a long time, I felt my rig was basically end game.  But, over time, I began to notice some weaknesses in my overall sound, which I started to attribute to the V-DAC.  Some of the hailed strengths started to be weaknesses to me.  For example, at times it was too smooth and polite.  It rounded some notes off.  Then, I began to realize a lot of the weaknesses, too.  It had some grain in the upper frequencies, even though the overall sound was smooth.  This just drew more attention to the grain because the mids and bass were silky smooth.  Despite the bass being smooth, it wasn't overly authoritative.  Also, the image got crowded at times and it struggled with micro details.  The V-DAC also lacked PRAT during some complex passages.
     
    So, I began to look for a DAC upgrade.  My research lead me to the Bifrost Uber.
     
    Specifically, here's what I noticed immediately when playing my reference tracks with the Bifrost Uber vs. the V-DAC.  Granted, differences between DACs are subtle, but I can hear them.  It's not my attempt to overstate things or use hyperbole to describe the sound.  But, I need to describe the differences somehow.  Below are the subtle differences I noticed immediately:
     
    1) The sound is alive!  There's no better way to say that.  The sound has energy and is alive and real.  Not dull.  No veil.  No boring politeness. 
    2) The background is absolutely black.  The blackest I've ever heard.
    3) The bass is authoritative.  It's textured.  It runs deep and hits hard.
    4) There's no grain in the upper frequencies.  It's smooth and life-like.
    5) The imaging is exquisite.  I have to retrain my brain to imagine where the instruments are on stage because it's filling is spaces that weren't previously there.  I'll be spending many late nights re-listening to my music collection.  The sound isn't the "three blob" image we hear about from time to time.  It's more 3D and complete.  Great width and depth.  Height is pretty good, too.
    6) The attack and decay are dogmatically vigilant. The DAC attacks the music and throws it at you with enthusiasm.
    7) The midrange is superb.  Guitars have texture I'm not used to hearing.
    8) Space.  There is space between instruments and voices that simply wasn't there with the V-DAC.
    9) Micro detail.  The detail retrieval is much better than the V-DAC using the same source files.  I'm hearing sounds I've never heard before.  Unfortunately, I'm hearing flaws in some recordings that the V-DAC's politeness masked.
    10) PRAT monster. 
     
    In my mind, there's no comparison between the V-DAC and the Bifrost Uber.  Sure, differences between DACs are subtle  But, the collection of these subtle differences put a huge gap between the V-DAC and Bifrost Uber.
     
    I'm not trying to cut the V-DAC down.  When I first bought it, it was was a major upgrade to my CD player and I was super excited to have it.  But, time has passed it over and the Bifrost Uber is the better piece of equipment at this time.  And, but a pretty large margin.  Well, if you add up all the small differences, it becomes a large margin.
    spiderking31 likes this.
  7. dc-k
    5.0/5,
    "Perfect complement to Lyr, completes my digital music system"
    Pros - Great DAC for the price
    Cons - slightly awkward placing of power switch
    I bought the Bifrost to complete my home audio system. This started with me listening to my portable player at home, followed by open headphones, then headphone amp and finally HDD based music and the DAC.
     
    The more home listening I did the more I needed something to link my HDD full of high resolution music to my lovely LCD2 headphones. As I'd been using a Lyr amp for some time, the Bifrost was the obvious solution. Fortunately, computer has optical audio output so I could get away with the basic bifrost without the USB option, so for me the USB as optional is a money saver rather than a cost.
     
    I can't compare the sound with any other DAC, but the quality of playback is far better than when I connected my PC to the Lyr via standard audio connectors. The gain over IBasso DX-100 to Lyr via its line out is greater in convenience terms than in audio terms and certainly less of a leap than the gain from PC to Lyr direct.
     
    My only minor quibble is the power switch is not easy to use, being placed right at the back, so I tend to leave mine on for more time than I would like.
     
    In short, I now have easy access to my 250 GB of mostly high resolution music straight from desktop to ears and the Bifrost is a great, cost effective, neat link in my digital music chain. I would happily recommend this DAC to anyone.
    watchnerd likes this.
  8. Tibwolf
    5.0/5,
    "Wonderful Clarity"
    Pros - Bright and crisp sound, 3 different inputs to match your setup, Solid construction, Great and prompt customer support
    Cons - USB addon is pricey, Bright input indicator LEDs on front (color mismatched to a Schiit Lyr)
    ALAC lossless music > MBP > Optical > Schiit Bifrost (previously a Nuforce uDac) > Schiit Lyr > Audeze LCD2r2 (previously a Denon d2000)
     
    Artists listened to:
    Deadmau5
    The Birthday Massacre
    Dub Fx
    Feed Me
    Flux Pavilion
    Skrillex
    Teebs
     
    The construction of the Bifrost is superb, with only minor quirks. The aluminum chassis is rigid and sturdy; there's no body flex or any loose components inside. The only downsides are that the input indication LEDs on the front are bright and not the same temperature of white as the Lyr.
     
    The jump in sound quality from a simple entry-level DAC is definitely noticeable. Everything about my music improved, if only slightly. The soundstage has noticeably opened up, with the highs becoming more crisp and the lows having a more defined texture. At lower volumes, the Bifrost retains its clarity and resolution over the uDac, which gives a greater impression of dynamic range.
     
    Overall, I would really recommend this to anyone looking to sate their latest temptations in the pursuit of greater sound. This is a great component to any setup and it feels like it will last a long, long time!
    evilscientist likes this.
  9. Gerzom
    5.0/5,
    "Schiit Bifrost"
    Pros - Sound and build Quality
    Cons - None
    I own my Bifrost now for 2 months and it just keep getting better. Major improvement was also achieved by upgrading the power cable. Im not using it with headphones but to play music from Spotify via my iPad. I started my DAC quest via an Audioengine D1 to a Micromega MyDac which had issues with the Apple connection to finaly the Bifrost.
    evilscientist likes this.
  10. BokononVolta
    4.5/5,
    "Neutral, solid amp"
    Pros - highly capable, doesn't have any quirky sound issues
    Cons - construed as a bit boring?
    Before getting this DAC, I ran my Asgard thru a Pacific Valve NOS DAC. I also compared this in my main home system to a Audio-GD Reference 1 DAC.

    When I first received it, it went into my home system for the comparison against my Audio-GD. Its not really a fair competition, but I found the Bifrost held up a lot better to rock/metal fast type of music. It was very clinical and detailed compared to my Audio-GD. I didn't find myself wanting for anything, but when I plugged in my Audio-GD I found that the music gained more life, thickness, and personality. So that let me to believe that this was a highly capable, if boring, DAC.

    I then brought it into work and replaced my PV NOS DAC and found myself thinking the same thing. Compared to the Pacific Valve, it was a lot more detailed and "cleaner" sounding. I am still using the Bifrost and I don't think its bad at all, but I am glad i have other DACs I can listen to to gain new insights as well. The Bifrost is like the Nerd who gets everything pretty much right and makes few (if any) mistakes, but sometimes you need to experience something a bit more personable :)

    I'm not particularly high end, but I like to try things and compare.

    Headphone-wise I used it with a variety of cheaper units:
    Panasonic RP-HTTF600, Monoprice 8323, Beyerdynamic (DT770 250 ohm, DT880 250 ohm, DT990 600 ohm), Grado SR80i, AKG271 MKII, Bowers & Wilkins P5, Sennheiser HD-280.

    I also plugged in my JH Audio JH-5 IEMs, and it also sounded good, in fact these pulled the most detail out of everything I tried.

    I listen primarily to 24/96 vinyl rips that I make on my home system (Clearaudio TT, Grado Reference cart, E-mu 1212m ADC, after a thorough vacuum clean of the vinyl - i am pretty anal about it). I listen to a variety of genres, and find myself enjoying this amp for rock/pop type of music. Like most of the Schiit offerings, it doesn't have qualities that (to me) favor certain types of music - very neutral sounding.

    After living with the Asgard amp for awhile, I swapped it out for the Valhalla, and felt the Bifrost held its own with that amp as well. I was hoping the Valhalla would warm up the sound more and breathe some personality into the Bifrost, but I found it really did not. (not that I am disappointed - just something to keep in mind).

    Hate to sound like my review is hating on the DAC because I actually like it a lot. I use it over my Pacific Valve DAC exclusively now. Makes the NOS sound a bit muddy when doing direct comparison. Just wish I could have Bifrost clarity with a bit more thickness and lushness. I will have to look into the Gungnir :) :) :)

    One annoying thing for those that use it hooked up to a computer. It has a relay that clicks on/off after a little pause. So if you are leaving the DAC turned on while you are doing doing computer stuff with no music playing... you will get an annoying click. i.e.: if you empty the trash on your computer you get CLICK! -empty trash sound- CLICK! as the DAC "turns on" and then "turns off" - and there's no way to get around this except to leave music playing all the time. It took me awhile (longer than I hoped) to get past this, but I now ignore it.

    I used it exclusively with the TOSLINK optical port. I may eventually get a M2TECH HiFace for my computer and go coaxial. If I notice any difference I will update this review again.