Audioengine A2 + Schiit Bifrost = wow what a difference
Jan 13, 2013 at 5:05 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 16

jono454

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So i got my A2's today and i was kind of underwhelmed by the sound considering the hype around them. 
 
So out of curiosity I decided to put in my Bifrost to see if it made a difference and what a difference it made.
 
My initial setup was
Computer ->3.5mm to 3.5mm-->A2 = meh
 
The setup afterwards was
 
Computer-->Bifrost-->RCA to 3.5mm-->A2 = WOW
 
Didn't think these little guys were such capable beasts.
 
Jan 14, 2013 at 2:59 AM Post #2 of 16

patrick1

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Could be me more specific? I'm very underwhelmed with the A2's... Such an exaggerated bass and less detail than what I used too from cheaper speakers. 
 
What difference did the DAC made in what sort of terms? :)
 
Jan 14, 2013 at 9:54 AM Post #3 of 16

goodolcheez

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OP, saying it's underwhelmed is too vague.  What did you not like about the A2 speakers?  More detail please.
 
 
To me, the A2 speakers with macbook headphone port via 3.5mm sounded WOW...  It sounded like POO with Audioengine D1 DAC.  It absorbed some of the detail and sounded fat and not open.
 
 
.
 
 
Jan 14, 2013 at 9:58 AM Post #4 of 16

Grevlin

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Im a newb to this, but it seems to me that the speakers are just like headphones. The both would reflect the source.
 
So both powered and unpowered speakers should benefit from better source - in this case, a DAC.
 
 
Yes? no?
 
 
This thread caught my eye because I'm considering the A2 speakers...or an unpowered/amb combo.
 
Jan 14, 2013 at 12:01 PM Post #6 of 16

jono454

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Without the DAC it's plugged straight into my motherboards on board sound through the 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable. While it does sound better than the speakers on my monitor I was expecting a whole lot more.
 
I thought it sounded kind of muddy coming straight from the on board sound. In addition it didn't sound anything too special but that's probably the result of me being spoiled by my DT990 600ohm and K702s and my taste in more aggressive fast paced headphones. To me the A2s sounded a bit too warm for my taste.
 
Then i found a spare RCA to 3.5mm cable from Monoprice laying around somewhere in my room and decided to hook it up and WOW what a difference. I was a bit skeptical at first but i guess it does make sense since the A2s already have a built in amp and my not so great computer on board sound acts as a DAC resulting in the poor SQ. After using the Bifrost as the DAC all my sounds became MUCH MUCH clearer with superior instrument separation, more microdetail, bass was not any stronger but did have more punch, soundstage increased slightly, and just an overall better listening experience.
 
One of my main test songs is *except i have it in FLAC and use Foobar*

 
Before the BIfrost DAC, there was no separation and everything sounded jumbled up together. At the 0.21 mark when instrument (not sure what it's called) kicks in it was very dissapointing to not be able to distinguish it's location. Mind you, not everyone may have the same experience though, the rest of the song was just a dissapointment to my ears.
After using the DAC i re-tested several songs and instrument separation was definitely better. For Counting Stars, instrument separation and soundstage increased quite a significant amount after using my own DAC. Right from the beginning I could hear instrument separation. Drums to the left, the shaking noise located to the far right, and the guitar right in the front.
 
Going to get myself a ODAC now as I don't want to spend another $400 on another Bifrost.
 
Jan 15, 2013 at 2:05 AM Post #7 of 16

patrick1

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My first thought was: damn, a schiit bifrost is a little bit out of my price league :) The odac can be a nice alternative indeed. Do you have experience with other speakers? For instance the M-Audio AV40 of such? I find the A2's lacking a suprisely amount of detail. And I'm not really a bass-head. Just bought them because of all the good reviews. 
 
An upgraded jack cable can be worth checking out... But considering the price of these speakers, they should work great. I'm just not that overwhelmed.. 
 
Jan 15, 2013 at 12:53 PM Post #8 of 16

jono454

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Quote:
My first thought was: damn, a schiit bifrost is a little bit out of my price league :) The odac can be a nice alternative indeed. Do you have experience with other speakers? For instance the M-Audio AV40 of such? I find the A2's lacking a suprisely amount of detail. And I'm not really a bass-head. Just bought them because of all the good reviews. 
 
An upgraded jack cable can be worth checking out... But considering the price of these speakers, they should work great. I'm just not that overwhelmed.. 

My bifrost is used for my headphones....i just randomly decided to test it out with the speakers. The bifrost is still used with the headphones as I work late most of the time and when I get home i have to use my headphones or i'll wake everyone up. 
 
Yea i've heard many great reviews of the ODAC...even people using them with their LCD's. 
 
No I do not have experience with other speakers, i've been meaning to upgrade from the measly speakers built into my Asus monitor and i was able to pick up the A2s for $140 brand new during boxing week. My first thought was that it was rather lacking in detail too but after using it with the Bifrost i found everything was presented much more clear including micro detail and positioning of instruments and vocals.
 
By no means am i bass head either...i favor clarity, soundstage, and practically everything else over bass...though i still enjoy bass in my music. 
 
What do you mean by an upgraded jack cable? The 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable?
 
Jan 15, 2013 at 1:34 PM Post #9 of 16

patrick1

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Same here about the music preferences. No bass at all is awful. Bass has to contribute to the listening pleasure, not overpower the other details and sounds.
 
I mean a quality cable and jack plug instead of the standard one. I don't know if the included cables are good or not, but maybe it's worth trying.
 
Btw, my desk. As you can see I do not have that much space, so I cannot experience much but the placement of the speakers :)
 

 
Jan 15, 2013 at 3:48 PM Post #10 of 16

Grevlin

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So question-
 
Can you plug powered speakers into a headphone amp?
 
Like a Bifrost to Asgard to A2 speakers?
 
Jan 15, 2013 at 3:55 PM Post #11 of 16

yage

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Quote:
So question-
 
Can you plug powered speakers into a headphone amp?
 
Like a Bifrost to Asgard to A2 speakers?

 


You might end up overdriving the A2's amplifiers and/or decreasing performance (e.g., decreasing signal-to-noise ratio).
 
Jan 15, 2013 at 4:03 PM Post #12 of 16

jono454

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Quote:
So question-
 
Can you plug powered speakers into a headphone amp?
 
Like a Bifrost to Asgard to A2 speakers?

That would be double amping
 
double amping = not good...especially when it's such a powerful amp like the Asgard. Might explode your speakers haha
 
You can plug them into a DAC.
 
Jan 15, 2013 at 4:07 PM Post #13 of 16

Grevlin

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Quote:
 


You might end up overdriving the A2's amplifiers.

 
Quote:
That would be double amping
 
double amping = not good...especially when it's such a powerful amp like the Asgard. Might explode your speakers haha
 
You can plug them into a DAC.


Roger that.
 
Puff of smoke avoided - thanks.
 
Feb 13, 2013 at 6:08 AM Post #14 of 16

patrick1

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My post from the A2 review topic:
 
http://www.head-fi.org/t/596060/audioengine-a2-review/60#post_9158066
 
 
 
So, in the mean time I managed to buy a second hand, modded Maverick Audio Tubemagic D1 DAC from a fellow head-fi'er. The difference is very clear! The speakers now sound very much more detailed, warmer and sometimes really awesome, especially with instrumental music. They still are not that detailed as some other speakers I listened and the bass is still overpowered. With some music, like hiphop, the speakers resonate in their own bass when the volume is turned somewhat loud. 
 
If only the bass would be adjustable on the back or something, then they would be excellent speakers. They can really fill a decent room. 
 


 
Jun 1, 2013 at 11:08 PM Post #15 of 16

evilscientist

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Just got my Überfrost & set it up with my A2s. Man, what a difference from the Audioengine D1 I was previously running. So much separation between instruments, even right of the box. It's such good Schiit!
 

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