Schiit Audio Bifrost 2

WaveTheory

Head-Fier
Schiit Bifrost 2 Review - by WaveTheory
Pros: A big, across-the-board upgrade from <$250 DACs. Excellent timbre. Bass punch/slam. Unison USB offers handy ergonomic benefit. Modular construction.
Cons: Good, but not class-leading detail retrieval. No DSD. Maxes out at 24/192 PCM decoding. Performs best when left on round-the-clock. Will make lower priced DACs unlistenable and make you pine for higher performing DACs…you’ve been warned.
Note: This review was originally published on HiFiGuides Forum on 18 January, 2021. https://forum.hifiguides.com/t/schiit-bifrost-2/8334/364

INTRODUCTION

I’ve been sitting on this one for awhile. The Bifrost 2 was my first DAC that MSRP’s above the $250 range. That was one reason why I hesitated: it’s difficult to do a meaningful review with the first product used to enter a new performance tier; context is lacking. I’ve since added the Denafrips Ares II to my collection – another DAC that costs close to the same as BF2 – and added a bit more context. With that added component and after playing around with several DACs under $200 I think I’m ready to give more meaningful thoughts on BF2 (and Ares!). The context is still somewhat limited, so I’ll focus in large part on what is gained by making the jump from <$250 DACs to this $699 DAC. My best DAC prior to BF2 was the SMSL SU-8 (I do own a Modius, too, but that arrived after the BF2 thanks to COVID shipping hell).

TL;DR

If you’re coming from DACs that are $250 or less, the Bifrost 2 is a gamechanger. Now move along.

I’m A Schiit-head

I had this same subheading in my Jotunheim 2 review. I’m putting a similar section here because I think it’s important for reviewers to be upfront with readers/viewers about what their tastes and biases are. In this case I need to say that I like Schiit as a company. I like their mission. I like the way they run their business. I also really like some of their products. In a spoiler for the rest of the review, the BF2 is one of those products that turned me into a Schiithead. The Asgard 3 and Modius are two other products that turned me into a Schiithead. However, I do my best to not be a shill and I think my Jotunheim 2 and Magnius reviews show that I don’t shy away from sharing where I think Schiit doesn’t reach their own standards or the market’s standards.

FEATURES & BUILD

The BF2 is a 699USD modular DAC built around a multibit (MB) DAC chip. This multibit chip is essentially a resistor ladder (R2R) on a single microchip (as opposed to a true R2R which has discreet resistors in a ladder-like configuration). The MB chips Schiit uses are actually intended for medical instruments and are thus rather pricey. It should also be mentioned that the BF2 does NOT decode DSD. It maxes out at 24 bit/192 KHz PCM decoding. If you have 500 SACDs that may be factor. Many computer music player apps have pretty good DSD-to-PCM conversion these days, however, and I also recently bought a Sony UBP-X800M2 disc player that does a very decent job with DSD-to-PCM conversion. So, IMO you shouldn’t summarily dismiss the BF2 if you have a robust DSD collection, but I certainly understand if it makes you hesitate.

The BF2 has modules for the USB input and the analog outputs, leaving room for future upgrades. The stock configuration (reviewed here) has a USB input module that Schiit has named Unison USB, spdif inputs in the form of RCA coaxial and Toslink optical inputs that are permanent, and an output module with unbalanced RCA connections and balanced 3-pin XLR connections. The front panel has 3 LEDs to indicate input selection and a single button to cycle through the 3 inputs. There’s also a small hole for the remote control sensor; which means there’s also a remote control! The remote has a mute button, input selection arrows, and a phase invertor button. That last bit means the BF2 can invert the signal phase if ever a listener runs across a recording that is phase-inverted. I’ve never had to use it, FWIW. The BF2 has the classic Schiit aesthetic which I don’t need to describe because the top of this thread has a picture of it!

The original remote control that came with my unit had a defect. The button panel was not attached to the metal handle:

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The 4 small, round holes in the metal handle are supposed to contain magnets that hold the button panel on the handle and allow the remote to adhere to the BF2’s chassis for safekeeping. To Schiit’s credit they sent me a new remote within 48 hours of my informing them about this issue. The new remote works just fine.

Singing in Unison

What is this Unison USB? It’s Schiit’s in-house solution to a number of connection issues that can happen when audio is transmitted from a computer to a DAC via USB. I don’t know all of the engineering behind it but supposedly reduces jitter and noise and generally makes for a more stable connection. I heard somewhere that Schiit spent over 2 years developing the tech. It was initially introduced in their TOTL Yggdrasil DAC and has now filtered down into Gungnir, BF2, Modius, and even the latest Modi 3+. Windows users should be aware that it only works with Windows 10 (I think. If this is wrong or ever changes please let me know and I’ll fix this line.) To the best of my knowledge Unison works just fine with MacOS. I can’t say if Unison makes a Schiit DAC sound better than DACs from other companies. Schiit’s multibit and delta-sigma (Modius & Modi 3+) chip implementations are also unique to Schiit and make it hard to tell if sonic characteristics are more because of Unison, chip implementation, or power supply design. However, I’ve found Unison to have a distinct ergonomic advantage: it’s always active!

Because Unison is always active, it’s always software-connected to the computer. Even if one of the spdif inputs are selected, the USB-PC connection remains. Most DACs break their USB-PC connection if a non-USB input is selected. Why is this handy? It makes using exclusive modes more friendly, IMO. Have you ever been listening to music via exclusive mode so you get bit-perfect audio flowing into your DAC? Probably. I mean, you’re reading a very nerdy review about a $700 DAC on a website called HiFi Guides Forum or Head-Fi, aren’t you? So, you’ve probably experienced listening to some great music and then thought something like Oh! I should check out the music video for this song! So, you go to YouTube and press play on that music video and you get no sound! And that’s because exclusive mode muted everything but your music app. So you go to the music app and you stop the music and turn exclusive mode off and then you go back to the browser and push play again but you get no sound because exclusive mode was active when you opened that browser tab which means the software did not load an audio device so then you close your web browser and open it back up again and then you navigate back to the music video and push play and you finally hear it and it’s great but then you have to go back to your music app and re-engage exclusive mode again and you finally are back where you started but you’re annoyed that you had to go through all that rigmarole just to switch between two sound-producing applications in the year 2021 [deep breath]. Yes, that’s an epic run-on sentence that drives English teachers crazy. But it gets the point across, right? Unison makes this a non-issue if you have a computer with spdif outputs! Connect the USB and spdif to the BF2 simultaneously. Set Windows 10 to use the spdif audio output as the default audio device. Then in your music app select USB to use with exclusive mode. Unison USB will allow you to switch between the USB signal and the spdif signal without ever losing the USB connection. It’s great! It’s wonderful! It’s the greatest thing since sliced bread! – is an expression that’s out there that never really made sense to me but oh well. Long story short: Unison USB makes it MUCH easier to use exclusive mode and other sound-making apps simultaneously without having to use multiple DACs. For me, that’s a very cool feature.

The Unison implementation on the BiFrost 2 is also the entry point where Schiit includes some level of galvanic isolation on the USB connection. The intent is to reduce noise and jitter. Schiit’s lower priced DACS (the Modi(us) dacs) that have Unison only use the software/firmware aspects of Unison and do not include this galvanic isolation. The PC I use the BF2 with has a ground loop issue and the BF2 does a pretty good job of filtering out from its SE outputs (the balanced outputs naturally remove ground noise anyway).

SOUND

Test Gear

I bought the BF2 back in November 2020. Since then it has really been my primary DAC. Headphone amps I’ve paired it with include Monolith Liquid Platinum, Cayin HA-1Amk2, Lake People G111, Schiit Asgard 3, Schiit Jotunheim 2, Schiit Magnius, iFi Zen CAN, Massdrop + Eddie Current ZDT Jr., and several budget models. It’s also been connected to my old Onkyo AVR that has a dead HDMI output and is now used as my desktop power amp to power a pair of Definitive Technology SM45 desktop speakers with a Polk PSW-505 sub connected via speaker-level connections. The Headphones I’ve used include HiFiMan Edition X V2, Audeze LCD-2 & LCD-3 (both prefazor), Audeze LCD-X, ZMF Eikon, OG Audioquest Nighthawk, Massdrop + Fostex TH-X00 w/ Lawton Purpleheart chambers and driver mods, Massdrop + Sennheiser HD6XX, Beyerdynamic DT-880 600Ω, and Focal Elegia – oh, and Koss Porta Pros just for the heck of it. So, yeah, a lot of different stuff.

Sound Signature

Yes, DACs have a sound signature even though virtually all DACs measure horizontally in FR graphs these days. It’s really tough for me to say, though. Neutral-warm? The BF2 kinda has that Schiit just-slightly-warmer-and-thicker-and-smoother-than-neutral sound. The sound leans more toward listening enjoyment than analytical.

One aspect of the sound signature that stood out to me right away was the bass. The bass isn’t emphasized from a frequency-response perspective, it’s not elevated, but it has more life to it than any of the budget DACs I’ve heard. There is lots of extension, slam, and impact here. The bass is very active, energetic, quick, articulate, and almost tactile. Headphones, and even my somewhat budget-level Polk subwoofer, sound more in control and punchier in the low end on BF. As a metalhead, and a basshead more generally, I appreciated the increased level of engagement this added bass punch and activity brings.

Detail Retrieval

The BF2 is not a detail monster, focusing more on a smooth presentation. Details are there, though. It’s more resolving with better overall detail retrieval than any budget DAC I’ve heard and introduced me to more details in the songs I know well more often than any other source gear component I’ve used. It’s been really fun to listen to drums. The room reverb has become an expected and normal part of the listening experience now where it was sometimes hardly noticeable with budget DACs. At the same time, BF2 has never struck me as a detail-oriented, clinical/analytical listening experience. For me it strikes a nice balance between resolution and smoothness.

Spatial Presentation

Compared to budget DACs the BF2 has a very wide, vertically spacious soundstage with a decent amount of soundstage depth. It also does an excellent job with imaging and spatial separation. A spine-tingling moment came starting at about 3:27 in Why So Serious? from The Dark Knight soundtrack. In addition to a powerful and deep synthesized bassline (which BF2 turns into a visceral experience) there is a snare drum played somewhat softly in what sounds like a large, empty parking garage or empty gymnasium. With MLP and HexV2, the BF2 sounds like it’s placing that drum several yards in front of me in well-defined location. It’s the first time I’ve ever noticed that much overall depth in that recording, or even just the immensity of the space where that drum was recorded, for that matter. MLP + BF2 + HexV2 put me seemingly in-the-church where Peter Hurford recorded his rendition of Bach’s Toccata & Fugue in D-Minor (AKA Dracula’s theme). The same combo put the entire Eagles band in a semicircle in front me during the vocal harmonies of Seven Bridges Road. It was almost as if I could point to where each singer’s mouth was relative to microphone. Chills.

If a Bifrost 2 Falls Over in the Woods With No One Around, Does it Still Have Great ‘Timbre’?

Yes.

Above I mentioned how the bass activity and impact stood out to me immediately. Right there with the bass was the timbre. Wow. My experience with Schiit’s source gear generally is they tend to have great timbre for their price points and the BF2 is no exception. Human voices sound closer to human voices, guitars sound closer to guitars, pianos sound closer to pianos, cymbals sound more like cymbals,…, than any other DAC I’ve had come through my system so far. Part of the reason the experiences described in the Spatial Presentation system were so spine-tingling was because the timbre was right there to keep helping with the illusion of reality. Does the BF2 sound lifelike? No. Does the BF2 sound more lifelike than any other DAC I’ve spent any significant time with? Yes.

Back to Unison for a Moment

As mentioned earlier it’s hard to say if Schiit’s Unison USB solution sounds better than other USB implementations like XMOS because there are so many other variables at play. However, it is quite clear that BF2 sounds best from its USB input, and the difference isn’t small. I struggle to hear the difference between BF2 and Modius when BF2 is getting a spdif signal. BF2 still sounds better than Modius, but it’s more difficult to hear its superior performance. From USB, though, BF2 really opens up and sounds wonderful and it’s readily apparent it’s in a higher performance tier than Modius. Did you notice when I spoke of Unison above I said use USB for the exclusive mode duties and spdif for the other stuff? It would work just as well from an ergonomic perspective to set it up the opposite way. However, your music won’t sound as good through the spdif connection.

COMPARISON WITH OTHER DACS

Simply put, if you’re hanging out with DACs that run $250 or less, the BF2 is going to sound better than them in just about every way. Detail? Yes. Timbre? Yes. Soundstage? Yes. Imaging? Yes. And so on… It’s not exactly a small jump either. The BF2 came along and lifted the performance of my entire system considerably. All my headphones, headphone amps (even the cheap ones!), and my speakers just had new life breathed into them. Some may be wondering why I made such a jump, $250 to $700 is big and there are a lot of $400-500 DACs out there. Sources I trust say that there’s a bit of “DAC hole” between $250 and $700 and if you want to really experience a jump, that’s the gap to span. I haven’t heard any $400-500 DACs, but I can confirm the $250-to-$700 performance gap was far, far bigger than I expected.

What about similarly priced DACs? I can give a few thoughts about BF2-Ares II comparison. They are essentially equals from a technical standpoint. To say one is better than the other at any particular aspect of performance in no way means the other one is bad. They’re both really strong across the board and easily better than $250 DACs. It’s really about preference between the two. I think BF2 has better bass control and slam, slightly more natural timbre, and while it takes time to tease it out, is slightly more resolving/has better detail retrieval. The Ares II has bigger staging, sounding both a little wider and deeper to my ear. That passage from Why So Serious? mentioned earlier sounded even more cavernous and the drum further away from me with Ares II than BF2. I think the Ares’s imaging was a little sharper in the same passage too. The Ares II, especially in non-oversampling mode, also has a more energetic presentation to it in every frequency region except the deep bass that can sound more engaging, or even fun, than BF2. This energy can present initially as being more detailed, however I think the BF2 actually draws more out of the recording than Ares II, it just does so with a more laidback presentation. From a features standpoint, the Ares II offers more decoding options than BF2 by offering PCM up to 1536KHz (which, why?) and DSD up to (way-more-than-ever-needed)X. So, if you have 500 SACDs and native DSD decoding is important to you, that might be a deciding factor. Ares also has 2 optical and 2 coaxial inputs and to my ear less of a difference in sound quality between spdif and USB. However, for me on most material that I listen to BF2’s bass and timbre with still very good spatial performance make it my preferred DAC between these two. BF2 is the one I use for critical listening and exclusive modes more often. The Ares has become the DAC I lean to while working because its bigger sense of space fatigues me less quickly over longer periods of time; I just feel less claustrophobic with it after wearing headphones for hours. I want to emphasize though that neither BF2 or Ares II are bad at anything here and neither feel claustrophobic in sound, it’s a question of degree and the differences are slight.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Gamechanger.

At least that’s what BF2 was for me after coming from SU-8 and iFi Zen territory for my DACs. It’s another, much higher performing world. It is really hard to convey the leap in performance here. Many struggle with the question of whether it’s worth spending $700 (or more) on a single piece of source gear when a $200 DAC is already a significant expenditure for most. I can’t answer that for you, but I can say the leap here is likely to be far bigger than you’re expecting it to be. It’s hard to go back, too. Yes, it was pricey, but I regret nothing here. Worth every penny.

Alright, thanks for reading yet another long review, everyone. And enjoy the music!
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Guidostrunk
Guidostrunk
What a great review! I absolutely agree with this opinion. A lot of folks can stop at either end be done . I personally chose the BF2 after a week of A/B both.
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WaveTheory
Thanks for the feedback. For clarity, which 2 dacs did you A/B?

GoldenOne

100+ Head-Fier
Why have neutral when you can have fun?
Pros: Warm and engaging presentation, forceful and well-presented lowend, convincing timbre, never fatiguing, isolated USB
Cons: resolution is 'good' but not amazing, blackground could be better, no DSD or high sample-rate support
Video review has been posted here:

The bifrost 2 is schiit's midrange multibit (R2R) dac offering.
It is an interesting dac for a few reasons, the primary one being that it offers an exceptionally warm and 'thick' presentation that will go a long way to satisfying rock and EDM lovers, as well as those that seek to ensure they will have an engaging and never fatiguing listen no matter what they're playing.

Build and features:
The build on the bifrost 2 is fantastic. Schiit's typical sleek design, a nice, matte finish metal sheet with sharp, clean text, and a simple front interface.
The build is overall fantastic and stacks perfectly with other schiit products. The only real gripe is that I do wish the power switch was accessible from the front of the unit (or that the input select switch doubled as a power button if you held it for example.)

Internally there are some fantastic things to see. A linear PSU, true balanced output stage, and perhaps my favourite of all, genuine, fully galvanically isolated USB. Its fantastic to see that on a DAC under 1k and is all too uncommon on alternative products.
Worth noting though, the SPDIF input does sound a touch different to the USB, even when fed from a schiit eitr or chord mscaler (upsampling off).
The USB input sounded a touch better to my ear, but the difference was subtle.

This is a no frills or gimmicks dac with some features that are very nice to see.

Overall sound signature:
This is a very warm sounding dac, its not a dac that is seeking outright performance in resolution and technicalities. Instead it seeks to draw you in with thunderous engagement, texture and a sound that invokes a desire to just get up and dance.
Even with dacs on my desk that were unquestionably more resolving, the Bifrost often ended up being my choice simply because it was just more FUN to listen to.

Bass:
Bass is particularly forceful and 'weighty'. Its not the fastest or most snappy, but retains excellent texture and timbre.
Genres such as rock, or tracks like "Pan" by plini sound fantastic, thumping, convincing and just all round fantastic on this dac. There is a sense of tactile imaging that many other dacs don't provide
The bass is really the defining characteristic of this dac. And there will be people who don't like it, it will certainly be a bit much for classical perhaps, but for many genres it really is just damn good fun.

Midrange:
Midrange is again, warm, engaging, forward and with a textured presentation that puts a smile on your face.
This is NOT a neutral dac, but I could not care less, because its just too much fun. Sometimes a little added colour and emotion goes a long way.
If you're a fan of something such as ZMF headphones, you'll be a fan of this DAC.

Timbre of both male and female vocals are invitingly real, with precise imaging and depth that leaves little to the imagination.
There are other dacs that outresolve the bifrost 2 for sure, but regardless the bifrost 2 is a more convincing presentation in several ways and I found myself switching back to it more often than other choices.

Treble:
The treble presentation on the bifrost 2 is 'good'. There's not a huge amount to write home about but nothing done wrong either.
Its not a hyper-resolving dac but never feels lacking.
The only real criticism is that I do wish 'air' on the bifrost 2 was a little more present. Switching from the Bifrost 2 to the slightly cheaper Soncoz SGD1 the SGD1 definitely won in terms of the presentation of more delicate upper treble elements and air.
Its good though, and there's really nothing to complain about. The other areas of this dac are what really sell it and the treble is done plenty well enough to keep everything sounding great.

Conclusion:
The Bifrost 2 is a flavoured (in a delicious way) and warm dac with a lot to love. Its not going to suit all tastes but if you're wanting more emotion, force, and THUNDER from your music then the bifrost 2 will provide.
The addition of extra features like galvanic isolation on the USB, and the linear PSU mean that its hard to find a reason NOT to recommend this dac unless the flavour simply isn't to your tastes.

My only issue now is It's left me eager to try it's big brother the yggdrasil!

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volly
volly
Really enjoying your reviews mate, keep it going!

Sean_MR

100+ Head-Fier
An Absolutely Stellar Entry into Multibit/R2R DAC's
Disclaimer: This review is primarily intended for newcomers to the hobby (such as myself), and/or individuals who are curious about making the jump from Delta/Sigma DAC’s to Multibit/R2R DAC’s. If you’re already versed in high end audio, you probably won’t get much from this review! There will be very little technical jargon and terminology in here; rather, this will more so be a story of my own “discovery” of what DAC’s can truly be. If you’ve only had experience with cheaper D/S DAC’s up to this point (as I did a year ago), I encourage you to read on!
It is quite lengthy, but I decided not to give a TL;DR as the context of the story is extremely important for the review, especially given the target audience mentioned above.



Roughly a year ago, I was about to quit the audio game entirely. Why? I just couldn’t hear it. I read on forums every day, scrolling through thread after thread, only getting more confused the more I read. The way that people described music, the sounds they heard and things they experienced while listening to songs, I just couldn’t hear any of it. It felt like everyone was speaking a foreign language that I couldn’t understand. But I didn’t want to give up; I was determined to keep trying to hear this magical sound. So I went all out and bought the Focal Stellia, which were $3,000 flagship headphones known for their outstanding detail retrieval and technical capability. Yet even with these headphones, I felt like I was living on another planet. Music just sounded the same as it always did to me; I was even getting worried my ears weren’t working properly.

So I was about to give up. I figured if even with my flagship headphones I still couldn’t hear what people with headphones a tenth of the price were describing, then I never would. But I decided to give the whole hi-fi game one final shot. I had a theory that had been in the back of my mind for a long time. I had always wondered, what if even with absolute top-of-the-line gear (such as the Stellia’s), performance could be limited if there was a weak link in the chain? It obviously wasn’t my headphones. And I doubted it was the amp, which was the THX 789. So I figured by process of elimination, maybe it was the DAC.

My DAC was the Topping E30. I chose it because at the time, it was shattering records everywhere with its world-class measurements. Previously you might had needed to spend 5-10x the price to achieve the measurements it achieved. It was all the buzz and everyone was going crazy over how this tiny little $130 box was matching toe-to-toe with thousand dollar plus DAC’s. When I was looking for a DAC, the E30 had just come out, so after reading all the news I thought “wow I got lucky!” and purchased it excitedly.

This is the paragraph that I think might really relate with a lot of people, and why I didn’t want to write a TL;DR. I’ve always been very OCD when it comes to technology. Whether it’s chasing the highest framerate numbers in gaming, getting the very best 4k resolution TV, or having the latest and fastest smartphone, I love chasing technology. The thrill of chasing those ever growing specs is something I can’t help but do. So when I found a new hobby in audio, my OCD naturally followed with me. How did it express itself in this novel hobby? The same way it always does. Chasing specs. That’s why the E30 was so attractive to me. Those sky high record-breaking numbers screamed at my brain “we’re the best there is!”, so I pulled the trigger.

Fast forward to me being about to quit the whole audio game completely, and thinking of trying a new DAC. I had always heard that measurements don’t always correlate to sound quality, and that non Delta/Sigma DAC’s like Multibit and R2R can actually sound amazing, despite “measuring poorly.” My OCD couldn't bear to believe it. But since I was about to give up on the whole hobby entirely and leave anyways, I decided “what the heck, might as well try it”. And WOW, am I glad I did.

Everything completely changed. Suddenly, I was hearing all of the things I had read in the forums. I didn’t feel crazy anymore. I finally got it. Music just came to life. Detail, imaging, and texture went through the roof. People often mention the diminishing returns principle regarding technology. I agree with the premise and believe it to be true, but not in this case. I’m pretty sure the aforementioned traits increased by quite literally 3-4x that of the E30. The biggest thing I absolutely became mesmerized by was vocals. Singers suddenly felt like they were actually singing in my room, and I could reach out and touch their voice resonating in the air. Previously, vocals sounded like a robot’s failed attempt at the recreation of a human voice, resulting in a flat and lifeless sound. Now there was literal texture to voices. How does a voice in a song played from a laptop through a cable have texture? I honestly don’t know. But the best way I can describe it is vocals now were 3-dimensional. Voices now occupied a physical space in the song with a back and front, left and right, and top and bottom. And inside that space was reverberations, pockets of air being pushed back and forth, and vibrations that sound like the intimacy of a human voice singing.

Vocals are my favorite part in a song to listen to but for the sake of time, the same analogy mentioned above applies well to everything. With the Bifrost 2, the whole song becomes holographic. The soundstage widens, but now also deepens and rises. You can reach out and touch the exact spot in the air where every instrument is located, and there’s no longer “bundles” of multiple sounds congested in the same spot. That expression you always hear of people saying they’ve heard things in songs they never did before? I always thought it was an exaggeration; it’s not. I literally DID hear things in songs I had never detected before. It’s almost as if before, I was only hearing bits and pieces of a song, never the full picture. Not to be cliché (because of the “multibit” name), but now it was like all the missing bits of the song came back and completed a previously unfinished puzzle. Whereas before I was listening to fragments of a song, I was now listening to the whole song completed, and with those new bits came bits of the song I had quite literally never heard before.

I think it’s quite obvious to say that I am extremely happy that I suppressed my desire to chase numbers and specs and made the leap of faith into multibit and R2R DAC’s. If I had never tried the Bifrost 2, I would have given up on audio a long time ago, and thought all the people on hi-fi forums were crazy and delusional :wink:

For sound quality alone, and especially considering value at its price point, the Bifrost 2 is easily 5 stars. No if’s and’s or but’s. So why the 4-star rating? QC. It kills me to type this, because it sounds so damn good. But my personal experience with Schiit’s QC has been quite unpleasant, and I want this review to be 100% honest for both the good and the bad. I had 3/3 defects from Schiit within a year, resulting in an essentially 100% failure rate for me. I purchased an Asgard 3 a while ago (before this story began), and that turned out defective. After I purchased my Bifrost 2, I turned it on one day to find it scorching hot to the touch, giving off a strong burning/smoking smell and emitting a sparkling/crinkling sound from the back; I honestly was scared it might explode. I sent it in to Schiit for a repair, only for it to break again 2 weeks after receiving it back. Two products and three defects in the timespan of a year. I even wondered if the breakdowns might have been my fault or something related to my room or setup, so I emailed Schiit asking if the engineers could think of anything that might be causing all the failures, but they said they couldn’t think of anything (for the record I can’t think of anything either, but I just wanted to be sure). Now I’m sure this is just me having really, really, really bad luck. With how successful Schiit is, I'm sure I am the rare case, so please don’t let this deter you from giving the Bifrost 2 a try. I just needed to include this for a fair review.

Anyways, I have to dock a star for my personal experience with Schiit’s QC during my time with their products over the course of a year. But I want to end by emphasizing that I am likely the .01%, and on audio quality alone, the Bifrost 2 is absolutely exceptional and the easiest 5/5 stars I can give.


P.S. I no longer have the Bifrost 2 (or anything else), as I actually ended up having to sell my entire setup due to covid unfortunately. However, I've had this review written up for a long, long time, so nothing is based on memory or recall. I just never posted it because it wasn't a "professional" style review, so I wasn't sure if I should :)
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S
Sean_MR
Thank you! Believe me, I hope so too! I bought some cheap headphones and a dongle DAC to hold me over in the meantime, but it's just not the same :frowning2:
sennfan83261
sennfan83261
As a BF2 owner, I enjoyed your review. With regards to the jump from the E30 to the BF2, I have to agree with you there (my jump was from a SDAC-B). I have to say though that the SDAC-B does not really do anything wrong in the tonality department. It is quite nice there actually. But BF2 stomps it when it comes to tactility (macrodynamics?) and soundstage depth. Music just feels much more alive with the BF2. I have to admit that I was spoiled a bit over a year ago when I managed to have a Chord Hugo TT2 loaner for week and experienced what a high end DAC can do. I never thought the tactility that I experienced with the TT2 can be had for considerably cheaper with the BF2!

Also, thank you for your honesty when detailing BF2's QC issues. While I never had a piece of gear from them committing seppuku and threatening to take out the rest of my house with it, I'd be furious if that happened. To their credit, they seemed to be genuinely willing to help solve your issues with your BF2 units.
S
Sean_MR
Thank you! I remember looking at the SDAC early on, I had a weird obsession with Massdrop haha.

I’d love to hear a TT2 one day! That’s one of my dream setups. But if you’re saying the BF2 can mimic the TT2, then wow it’s even a better dac than I thought! Except for the making me think it would explode part :) But yeah luckily Schiit helped out each time, it’s good that they stand behind making sure their products work.
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