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Schiit Asgard 3 - Impressions Thread

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by XERO1, Aug 28, 2019.
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  1. treecloud
    Sorry for the delay.

    You won't necessarily know anything by doing this. But you may, and it's worth doing IMO. Best way to do is remove all cables from the back, and holding in one hand "exercise" the switch fairly rapidly. Is it clicking into place solidly in both directions? Then you probably haven't learned anything.

    Seems to me the problem is very likely one of 3 things: mechanical fault, electrical (contact surface) fault, or perhaps you have been too gentle when manipulating the switch.
  2. RB2021
    Hello all. First post here!

    I'm struggling to decide between the Asgard 3 with 4490 dac and something like the Topping D50S + a JDS Labs Atom. These will be my first ever DAC/AMP purchases and I intend to drive my Grado 125i + AT50s. I understand that these are both easy to drive headphones but I could expand the collection in time. I'm hoping to hear these headphones "open up" a little or provide a bit more resolution, sound stage and all the other things we try to describe HiFi with. I know I shouldn't expect miracles but I think the time is right to buy a DAC and Amp because it's chicken or egg if I want to buy harder to drive cans.

    Asgard Likes:
    • A E S T H E T I C - The Asgard 3 looks fantastic and will integrate into my desk set up well. I LOVE the Schiit style and build quality.
    • All in one - Something about having one box just seems a little cleaner. I don't have a great amount of space but similar to the last point, I feel like the unit will be heavy enough to not slide around when plugging things in.
    • Cheaper - After shipping and taxes Asgard 3 ends up being slightly cheaper. I haven't tallied it yet but probably a good $30-$40 bucks is my guesstimate right now.
    • Integrated PSU - I don't know for sure but it looks like the power supply is contained inside the unit. This means I'm getting a single thick power cable vs two bricks.
    • Test Drive - I can try it out and if I decide I can't tell the difference between a nice amp and my admittedly very satisfying sounding MOBO, I can send it back. (No really, Z-97-A by Asus had a ton of refinement and separate amps for front panel and rear. It blows the door off most of my Aux jacks on all my devices. 75% is ear damaging with the Grados.)

    D50S/ATOM Likes:
    • More Input Functions - The D50S can accept SPDIF, Optical, AND Bluetooth with a variety of high quality codecs. This will be nice if I want to switch over to my phone or If I want to plug a console into my DAC. Great features that I can see myself using.
    • Measurements - PLEASE! I am not trying to start a war in this thread, but if we take the advice of the measuring inclined folks, this combo performs better on some metrics that may or may not be significant within the scope of human hearing. I don't know what to think here, but I am inclined to believe in things I can measure.
    • Less Power Hungry - The Asgard 3 is rated for 30w on Schiit's website. Asgard 2 was known for being a toasty piece of kit. Looking at the power supplies for this stack it should consume less than half of the Asgard 3. I like my electronics to be efficient and cool as my living space is usually too warm and electricity ain't free.

    So there's all my thinking. I'm interested to know what you all think and if you think that the Schiit gear will sound substantially better than the alternative or visa versa. I'm concerned I won't be able to hear the difference between the new gear and my motherboard audio without a more resistant set of cans.
    I'm leaning towards Schiit but its a super close call right now because the extra inputs on the Topping DAC are a great feature. I would not consider going with the Schiit Modi for the extra inputs. If I go for two boxes I'm getting the D50S/Atom.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
  3. rascalion
    My Asgard 3 has been on since Monday. It only gets slightly warm to the touch. The old Asgard 2 you could fry an egg. I really enjoy it and it looks great on my desk at work.
  4. HifiRED

    I'm kind of in the same boat. I really feel like the Asgard 3 on paper seems to be the golden ticket for me but I can't decide between the DAC options. Leaning towards multibit though as I haven't heard much argument for the 4490.
  5. Shane D
    How would you compare the sound vs each one?

    Shane D
  6. Snowpuppy77
    Yes those features like bluetooth are nice but they do not equate to better sound quality and sometimes compromise sound quality of the other inputs. Better sounding amps often use more energy due to a higher class A bias. Asgard 3 is a great bargain if sound quality for the money is your biggest priority. A little extra electricity is more affordable when the Asgard 3 is so inexpensive. I have a pair of Grado RS1 and they sound great on my Asgard 2. No doubt your Grados will sound great on an Asgard 3. The Asgard 3 will never leave class A with Grados. The low impedance Grados respond very well to a low output impedance and high current.

    If you want measurements go to the Schiit Website and look under Specs and see the link (APx555 Report for Asgard 3) at the bottom:

    https://www.schiit.com/public/upload/PDF/Schiit Amp APx555 Standard Test Suite_ Asgard 3.pdf

    If you can afford it get the Multibit DAC card. The Multibit does not measure as well as the 4490 DAC but it sounds significantly better. Keep in mind that a component can measure well and still sound bad. The Multibit is not colored or innacurate in sound. Just more real, natural, and dimensional. Multibit is closed form and never looses any of the original sample unlike delta sigma.

    Wish you the best. Happy listening!
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
    441879 and volly like this.
  7. Snowpuppy77
    Multibit is worth the extra money. Getting neither and pairing the Asgard 3 with the Bifrost 2 is worth the extra money IMO. Though Asgard 3 is inexpensive it is still worthy to be paired with the Bifrost 2. Heard the Asgard 3 at RMAF and I was very impressed. IMO sonic upgrade over the Asgard 2.
  8. RB2021
    Thank you that is good to know. You are confirming what some other people have stated and I feel as if I have enough opinions on this now to trust it won't be an amp / grilled cheese maker. Schiit's own website claims if you are looking for a DAC that runs cool look elsewhere but I guess that's just to satisfy the Class A purists who expect an Asgard 2 follow up to behave similarly.

    Thank you for your input. Useful stuff. I have some thoughts though.
    I have heard good things about the topping dacs and while bluetooth might not provide the best quality, I use LDAC every day at work in my Sony XM2s and I find it quite good compared to older codecs. I can tell when the headphones are using the inferior SBC codec that plagued old bluetooth devices but LDAC sounds transparent. I also can't often tell the difference between my 320kb LAME MP3s and FLAC. I don't expect that the addition of bluetooth would damage the quality of the other digital inputs in a significant way for my needs. If the bluetooth feature allows me to switch between my phone and computer quickly it could prove quite useful.

    I am still skeptical that multibit is worth another $100 for my needs and budget. I'm absolutely not trying to open up the whole can of worms there but lets just say there are strongly varying opinions on it's value. Without getting to demo it myself, I'd prefer to either wait for more community consensus before I spend extra on it. I'm interested in something simple and neutral on a budget for my first system. Then I plan to branch out into tubes and multibit when I have more money to play with. I'd also of course love to demo a Bifrost 2 but that's way out of my budget and I think I'd prefer to spend that imaginary future money on some more headphones. But hey If I win the powerball lottery I'll have a bifrost 2 sent to my door with next day shipping.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
  9. starence
    Yeah, if you're not sure what your preference is, I think the 4490 is a safer choice.
  10. Mani ATH 87
    I tried this and didn't notice anything. The switch flips and feels normal each time, I couldn't notice any issue. I can't seem to reproduce the issue now at all, so no idea what was/is happening.
  11. Mani ATH 87
    The Asgard 2 is warmer sounding, more of a smooth presentation, less resolving.

    The Asgard 3 is more neutral, a touch brighter and more detailed, more resolving.

    The A3 for me is an improvement over the A2, it's a better technical performer. Some people may still prefer that warmer sound of the A2 though.
    Shane D, 441879 and volly like this.
  12. Snowpuppy77
    Agree if $100 is that big of a concern the go with the 4490.
    If an extra $100 is that much of a concern then definitely go for the 4490.
  13. cjc
    Are you kinda saying the A2 is more "tube amp sounding" while the A3 is more "Solid State amp sounding" ?
  14. Shane D
    Thanks for the feedback.

    Shane D
  15. rascalion
    Just a note that I'm feeding it with a Modi 3 which is comparable to the AK4490 card. I haven't had the opportunity to sample a multibit option yet, but if you've never heard it you won't miss it :) I can confirm that my combo sounds amazing. Someday I may upgrade to a Multibit card or Bifrost 2.

    I agree. Although when I had my A2, I was comparing to a Magni 3 and the same was largely true.
    There's a case for having both an A2 and A3 as they do sound very different.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2019
    Rensek likes this.
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