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Schiit Modi

  • Modi is the most advanced USB DAC under $100 that is made in the USA. With a C-Media CM6631 USB 2.0 asynchronous input receiver and 24-bit AKM4396 DAC coupled to an active filter output stage, Magni is ideal for a computer-centered audio system.

    USB Powered, No Drivers
    Modi plugs into virtually any computer—Windows or Mac—and requires no drivers to deliver great sound, up to 24/96 sampling rates. It features asynchronous transfer with individual crystal oscillators for the 44.1 and 48k sampling rates, and uses the USB Audio 1.0 standard over USB 2.0, and is powered by the USB port.

    24-Bit AKM4396 DAC
    Modi uses the 24-bit AKM4396 DAC with switched-capacitor filtering and a high-quality active filter section with excellent line-driving capability. Yeah, we know, engineerese is a disease. What this means is that it uses one of the highest-performance DAC ICs out there, and it will comfortably drive long cables. You can easily hide Modi behind your computer and run long RCAs to your main audio system.

    Made in USA
    By “made in USA,” we mean made in USA. The vast majority of the total production cost of Modi—chassis, boards, assembly, etc—goes to US companies. Our board house is 20 minutes away from our office in Newhall. Our chassis guys are just over the hill in the Valley.

Recent Reviews

  1. Nada190
    Amazing sound quality
    Written by Nada190
    Published Jul 4, 2014
    Pros - Everything
    Cons - Nothing
    I'll keep it simple.
    Makes my stereo sound 100x better than it ever did.
    Super high quality, looks fantastic. 
    I have it hooked up to my receiver which along with the speakers have been booming strong for the past 25 years, hope it can live as long as them. 
    Before I hooked this up, bass was uncontrolled and boomy but with the Modi, it's much more accurate. Highs are little better but still not much good, mids are better but like the highs, didn't change a whole lot. 
    Receiver: Pioneer VSX-9700s (25 yrs old)
    Speakers: Bose 10.2's (25 yrs old)
    DAC: Schiit Modi!!! (4 months old)
    1. altomite
      I can understand the Modi making converted computer music sound better, but STEREO?
      How does it do this, and how do I connect it to my Onkyo 626?  Appreciate any response!
      altomite, Jul 4, 2014
    2. Nada190
      Oh, I have it connected to my HTPC and RCA out to my receiver. 
      Nada190, Jul 4, 2014
  2. Holeff
    If you are looking here - then you are thinking to buy it - GO FOR IT
    Written by Holeff
    Published Mar 31, 2014
    Pros - Sound picture is just sooo much better with this little majic box
    Cons - N/A
    Just did a new install - and it sounds just so much better than internal DAC.
    I did my purchase based on a reviews and company in general.
    Very good build and probably best in-expensive DAC out there.

    PS. My USB cable is coming, probably will be better than the one I plugged it with now.
  3. lup1
    Written by lup1
    Published Mar 1, 2014
    Pros - Clean , detailed , and Very easy to use , small and beautiful , build quality
    Cons - Light
    I always thought Dacs arent that great of a deal. I had my BH Crack connected to macbook pro directly by a 2xRCA and listened to music with my hd650. Unfortunately I still wasnt impressed by the soundstage nor separation and detail. So i bought speedball for crack , then a new Power cable , new hd650 cable and all that improved the sound . The biggest difference was made after the speedball instalation and the smallest was made by the HP Cable.Then I thought id buy the Modi. I bought it and WOW. Guys dac is crucial for the sound and the difference between macbook/iPhone out and modi is night and day ! And that little fella is 99 dollars and solidly built .He made the sound much cleaner , extended the treble which i thought was veiled by the sennheiser veil. The soundstage got nicely organized and extended much!! If you dont have a dac yet , you can easily go for the modi !
    1. joseph69
      I also use the Schit Magni/Modi with my MBP and I think it sounds great!
      joseph69, Mar 1, 2014
    2. Schizeophonic
      Thanks for the review - I also have an HD650, and was looking for a new DAC to go along with a possible purchase of a bottlehead crack. Your review helps solidify my choices. Thanks for posting your feedback, and giving us information about your setup. Extremly helpful!
      Schizeophonic, Dec 28, 2014
  4. SursumCorda
    Great little Dac for the price!
    Written by SursumCorda
    Published Oct 2, 2013
    Pros - Small. Decent sound. Great deal for this price-point.
    Cons - It's so light the cable tention from the RCA cables can move it around!
    This isn't a review so much as throwing my throwing 2cents into the "great little DAC for the price!" pot.
    I think if I was starting out and I needed gear, this with the magni, or the Asgard, would be my first choice.
    I use this at work with the PSY RCA/USB cables. They are plugged into a Schiit Lyr with some nice Russian tubes.
    I usually this setup with the HD650, sometimes the LCD2.2
    It sounds really good from old MP3 VBRs all the way up to 24bit FLAC files.
    As noted, it pulls out detail quite well. It's not as revealing than the NFB 3.1 I have at home, but then again, it's 5% of the size!
    I much prefer it over the Fiio E17/E9. (Which were nice... but now that the magni/modi are here...)
    At some point I'd like to compare a higher end Schiit DAC against the Audio_gd NFB 3.1.... ^^
      Pratt and speeedfire like this.
    1. tdockweiler
      Totally agree accept for it having just "decent sound". IMO it's definitely worthy of being used with the more expensive amps. To my ears it's better than the E17, HRT MSII and comparable to the ODAC. I've found it to be very transparent.
      Hopefully the Bifrost sounds similar but just with slight improvements.
      tdockweiler, Oct 2, 2013
    2. SursumCorda
      I read a review that said the Bifrost is really close to the Modi, but little more refined...
      But honestly, everything I've tried from this company I've liked. And has been above average. They have their Schiit together, yes no?
      I agree with being used with high quality amps... I have it plugged into my Lyr... (Well -I- like it.) At some point I should bring it home and do a side-by-side against the NFB 3.1 with the  WA2/T1....
      The Modi is quite a bit above it's price-point when it comes to quality. I -really- enjoy it with my Lyr/russianettes(tubes)/HD650 at work. (and if sound isn't about enjoyment, what is it about?) For me, decent is not "ok." Decent is "laudably acceptable." It's sort of an in-thing with my crowd down here, so I should have used a different term to describe what I wanted to convey. Whoops. My bad. =)

      "Great sound for the price" "What you want before you pay $1000+ on a dac" etc is in a similar vein. In the meantime, I will continue to save for a Audio_gd Master 7 at home. =)
      SursumCorda, Oct 2, 2013
  5. JustinBieber
    Great DAC, noticeable sound difference versus on-board sound.
    Written by JustinBieber
    Published Aug 11, 2013
    Pros - transparency, soundstage, price, build quality,
    Cons - USB noise, slightly bright
    Build: Simply put it, the build quality of the Modi is 100% perfect. Made in the USA and it feels and weighs more than you would think for something so small and only $99.
    Sound: The sound of the Modi is pretty transparent, it doesn't alter the frequency response very heavily. Using the Modi improves the technical areas of my headphones and speakers, like the detail and soundstage. One of the most noticeable difference versus onboard sound is the increased soundstage. Everything sounds a lot wider with my HD 600. A good example of this is the first minute of Avenged Sevenfold's "Victim". Everything sounds less mashed up and more separated, the guitar on the right also moves farther towards your right instead of being mixed up in the middle. The Modi also slightly brightens the treble with most headphones and speakers I've paired it with, this was good with my HD 600, cymbals stood out more and you get less of a laid back tonality. The slight treble boost is very subtle however, it won't make any headphone you pair with it instantly become bright. 
    The only bad thing I can say about the Modi is that because of the USB DAC input, it suffers from USB noise on some computers. Using Modi with my PC, it doesn't have a fully black background after 50% volume and the low end of the bass makes a static sound and it plays high frequency tones when playing 30/40/50 hz sine waves. Using a USB isolator would eliminate all of these problems, but an isolator is about $50. Additionally, plugging the Modi into my iMac or my laptop, the background becomes black even after 50% volume and I hear no problems with static and the bass. The high frequency sound being played with the bass is rarely noticeable in 99% of my music (and I listen to a-lot of dubstep and bassy songs) but it is there sometimes and when it happens it is very annoying. 
    Overall, it is a great DAC assuming you don't get problems with USB noise. It improves the sound if you're running a computer with the integrated onboard sound. The great thing about Schiit is you have a 15 day money back guarantee, so if you do have any problems you can return it.
      Pratt likes this.
    1. matabroad
      Im a Belieber!
      matabroad, Aug 12, 2013
    2. JustinBieber
      I swear I can never post anything on here without someone making fun of my stupid headfi name.
      JustinBieber, Aug 13, 2013
  6. tdockweiler
    Comparable to ODAC (but slightly better/different)
    Written by tdockweiler
    Published Mar 17, 2013
    Pros - Cheap, well built, RCA jacks
    Cons - I'll find one
    I will compare the Modi vs the ODAC for this mini-review. They both have the same general "signature" and really just sound very transparent/flat/balanced. I can't really detect any coloration and they don't alter the sound of any of my headphones or make them sound different than how they're supposed to be. I doubt that there is a headphone that would sound bad with the ODAC or Modi. For testing I used the Schiit Magni and Headroom Micro Amp + Astrodyne (both transparent). I used the AKG K400, Koss Pro DJ 100, HD-650 and Q701. It was the easiest to detect the differences with the DJ100 and Micro Amp. All the differences listed below were heard on both amps.
    After a week of use here are some differences I've noted with the Modi:
    1. Slightly better Soundstage on the Modi. The Modi seems to have better depth and height, but other than this it seems the same size or very close.
    2. Slightly less clear than the ODAC on some songs. The difference is so extremely subtle that it's barely worth pointing out. I could be hearing things.
    3. Much easier to pinpoint the exact position of instruments on the Modi compared to the ODAC. This for me was very noticeable.
    4. The Modi to MY EARS sounds a little smoother. I know they both measure flat. The ODAC sounds slightly more shouty at times.
    5. When you have vocals in front of you that sound slightly further back IN the recording, the ODAC is less accurate. You can't judge the distance as easily. Often the ODAC seems to shove things in your face in comparison. It's much easier to be fatigued with the ODAC. Again, I know they both measure ruler flat.
    6. I can't really detect any warmth in either. Maybe the Modi has a touch more, but if so my ears can't detect it. I don't care about this. None of them sound "cold and analytical" though.
    7. Both have about the same amount of detail. At times I felt that some detail was easier to hear on the Modi, but now I imagine it's probably the same.
    8. Modi is not forgiving at all, just like the ODAC. They won't take the edge off harsh or bad recordings.
    9. The mids of the Modi seem slightly more "relaxed" in comparison to the ODAC (still measuring flat). Maybe the Modi is just more accurate to how a recording really is? I think this is why and it's easy to be fooled.
    10. I can't detect any difference between the bass and treble. Not after a week at least.
    11. The difference between the ODAC and HRT MSII is MUCH greater. Doubt anyone cares, but this might give some an idea of how similar the Modi and ODAC are.
    Again, I want to point out that the differences are very minor and almost nit-picking. To my ears, the Modi sounds similar to the ODAC but with some slight improvements. With my setup the Modi is maybe just about 5% better. The only way I could be able to pass a blind test here is when testing the differences in the soundstage. The Modi would almost always sound smoother to my ears also.
    Both are very good and you can't go wrong with either of them. I now prefer the Modi over the ODAC and my old HRT MSII. It's probably not worth selling off your ODAC for a Modi.
    I'm sure there are plenty of other differences people have heard, but I haven't heard them.
      PenDragon, Pratt and the012701 like this.
    1. grizzlybeast
      if noone said it, thank you for this review. much needed. I hear the bass roll off always mentioned with the modi. I attributed the soft sound of it to the amp I was using with it before. I am not sure but I was about to get an odac and cant tell now.
      grizzlybeast, Jan 19, 2014
    2. congle
      Thanks for the comparison! I have been struggling deciding which of these 3 dacs to buy. :grin:
      congle, Mar 15, 2014
  7. halilo
    awesome DAC
    Written by halilo
    Published Feb 19, 2013
    Pros - Price, Quality, Made in U.S.A. !!!
    Cons - Please supply a (Made in USA) USB cable with this!
    My first DAC.  My goal was to not rely on the built in DAC of my PC.  I can only compare this to the built in DAC of my PC.  I can distinguish the individual instruments more clearly.  Less fatigue, more precise and consistent timing.  There is dead silence when the music is turned off, not the buzzing sound from the 3.5mm jack.  I can't believe I am writing this but I can hear the difference in the timing precision.  Go figure.
      Pratt likes this.
  8. Mattjh90
    Big sound for a little device
    Written by Mattjh90
    Published Jan 15, 2013
    Pros - Price, Build, Sound Stage, USB Input
    Cons - Entry level still
    I received this little DAC just over a week ago and have been playing music through it ever since. Immediately out of the box i could tell a difference, I am running this from my Macbook Pro via USB (the only input this DAC has) and then running it to my Fiio E9 amp. Before i used the Fiio E7 combo with the E9 and that was already a huge improvement from just playing it out of my computer. The E9 is a great desktop amp that pumps some good power for a low cost.
    Back to the DAC, the first thing i noticed was just the sound stage, i use closed back headphones so my soundstage isnt the best to start with but the DAC definitely improved it. Second was the clarity of the music (both good and bad). I can fortunately/unfortunately notice the lower quality audio files much more and have been looking forward to downloading lossless files. 
    The audio quality not only is much better, but it doesnt color it. It keeps the sound signature of the headphones and just cleans up the sound. The instrumental separation is amazing in sounds now, you can hear some great things that without a DAC, you couldnt before.

    I saw a review of the Modi/Magni combo vs the Bifrost/Asgard combo and the reviewer was very happy with the entry level stack. This is a great DAC and for just $100 it is really hard to beat. If you are looking to get into high quality audio but dont have the coin yet to get some amazing gear, this is the place to start
    a small con for me is because Modi runs off USB power, it can suck the battery life out of my laptop but that is a minor detail, especially if you are using a desktop computer in the first place.
      Pratt likes this.


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