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Schiit Audio Bifrost 2

Discussion in 'Dedicated Source Components' started by starence, Aug 29, 2019.
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  1. starence
    Bifrost 2 is nothing less than a complete re-invention of the affordable DAC. Compared to the outgoing Bifrost Multibit, Bifrost 2 offers:

    • Balanced output: Bifrost 2 now has balanced output, as well as single-ended output, to simplify its integration with any system
    • Remote control: Bifrost 2 now has a remote control for input select, mute, and phase invert
    • Better DACs: Bifrost 2 now uses the 18-bit Analog Devices AD5781ARUZ D/A converter, rather than the 16-bit AD5547
    • Better USB: Bifrost 2 introduces our Unison USB—a complete elevation of the USB input
    • Easier updates: Bifrost 2’s Autonomy architecture means that both cards are replaceable from the back of the product for easy hardware updates, and firmware changes are handled with an external MicroSD card slot
    • Improved power supply: Bifrost 2’s transformer is larger, and the power supply has more stages of local regulation, for insanely great low-noise performance
    Bifrost 2's Unison USB input is the first appearance of Schiit's proprietary USB solution. Not based on C-Media or XMOS, Unison USB is the result of nearly 2 years of development and testing of a fully UAC2 compliant digital input based on a general-purpose Microchip micro controller. This allows us to focus specifically on optimizing the performance of USB for PCM audio.

    "As a result, Unison USB is now our preferred input over SPDIF," said Mike Moffat, Schiit's Co-Founder. "It's not 'just as good,' or 'close.' It's really better than SPDIF. And yes, that's me saying this, not an alien pod person."

    The Autonomy platform is also the result of extended R&D, and a response to customer requests.

    "Our customers were saying, loud and clear, that they liked the upgradability of our DACs, but they also didn't like sending them in for upgrade," said Mike. "And yeah, I get it, being without a DAC for a couple weeks really sucks. So we decided to do a platform where they won't have to send it in for USB, analog, or firmware upgrades."

    In Autonomy, the USB and firmware upgrades slide in from the back, making user-installed upgrades possible. Also, firmware changes are done via microSD card, so the chassis does not have to be opened or sent back to us for code changes. The goal is an upgradable product that gives the owner all the benefits of upgradability, with none of the downsides. As far as Schiit knows, this is the lowest-cost, completely upgradable DAC (hardware and firmware) in existence.

    Since Bifrost 2 is a new platform, Schiit is addressing current Bifrost owners with a reassurance that Bifrost will continue to be supported and upgradable. As an example, the Unison USB card for current DACs, expected in January, will be available for Bifrost, and Bifrost does not have to come back to the Schiit factory for upgrade.

    In addition, current Bifrost owners or upgraders receive $100 off the price of a Bifrost 2, if they want to move to the new platform. Current Bifrost owners or upgraders are anyone who purchased a Bifrost or Bifrost upgrade from Schiit or an authorized reseller, at any time. Current owners and upgraders will be asked for a proof of purchase.

    Bifrost 2 is available at schiit.com now at the following pricing:

    • $599 for current Bifrost owners and upgraders
    • $699 for all-new owners


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    Last edited: Aug 30, 2019
  2. starence
  3. theveterans
    Bifrost 2 with my Schiit Saga (Original)

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. theveterans
    @Jason Stoddard

    I don't hear any difference if at all between the LED light ON and LED Light OFF? Is this like a phase switch or something?

    Edit: Nevermind. It's the phase switch. So if the LED is off, the phase is 0 degrees and if on, it's 180 degrees correct?
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2019
  5. Alcophone
    Bifrost 2 in the house! Woohoo!

    The LEDs are less bright than the Silver LightDims covered one of the Jotunheim:

    20190831_140014.jpg

    The metal work looks smoother than the Jotunheim's and Mimby's, with a slightly different tint, and the print is darker and thicker. I don't know whether that just faded over time or came like that, though.

    20190831_140121.jpg

    While hooking it up, I realized that the XLR jacks are upside down. I know the cards are mounted upside down, and maybe this is the only way you can attach the jacks to the card. It threw me off when I was trying to insert XLR cables though, because I was doing it without seeing the jacks.

    Jotunheim vs. Bifrost 2, crops of images from schiit.com:

    Jotunheim XLR.jpg XLR.jpg

    With the Ragnarok 2, muting turns off the speaker and/or headphone LED instantly, and it stays off. With the Bifrost 2, muting is a bit more playful:



    I'll save sound impressions for later.

    Edit: Another little side note, unlike Mimby, Bifrost 2 does not have an "Enhancement" tab in the Windows control panel. I only looked for that to check "Disable all enhancements", but if you rely on the EQ features normally available there, they won't be available with Unison.
    The "Spatial sound" tab, however, is still available.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2019
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  6. Balthazar B
    Can see how you go into an altered state of mind when your jacks are off...
     
  7. tafens
    Aargh.. must.. resist.. ..

    Nope. Didn't work. Just ordered the Bifrost2.

    Seriously though, the Bifrost2 was exactly what I had waited for. I had thoughts about ordering the original Bifrost, but I was reluctant to because it uses the same multibit tech as the Modi multibit I already have. I also thought about the Gungnir, but it is too big and costs a wee bit much with multibit. Enter Bifrost2. The right size at the right price between Modi and Gungnir, better tech than Modi but a bit lesser than Gungnir. And will stack beautifully with my Lyr3 :)
     
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  8. Alcophone
    Had some fun with it last night. Balanced into the Jotunheim, Ether Flow 1.1 with balanced DUM cable, very nice. Thick and creamy comes to mind, with a firm grip on the low end and a smooth, non-fatiguing presentation. The bass had so much more heft than Modi Multibit single ended, it sometimes sounded a bit darker than it should, but very enjoyable. Whether that's because of Bifrost 2 or because I'm back to Jotunheim balanced, I don't know yet.

    When I got the Yggy, cymbals were the first thing that stood out to me. Cymbals are nice with the Bifrost 2 as well, but bass and drums stand out even more to me. I have not done a direct comparison with the Yggdrasil and haven't used it (or any other balanced DAC) with the Jotunheim in a long time, so please don't consider this a comparison.
     
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  9. theveterans
    One main difference aside from the sound between the Bifrost MB and the Bifrost 2 is that the Bifrost 2 definitely runs much warmer than the original. Maybe it has to do with balanced output running simultaneously with SE though I haven't tried the Balanced output since my Saga is only SE.

    Anyways, I'm loving how Bifrost 2 sounds with SPDIF Coax. It's just so frigging musical with no sibilance while giving off that "Chord signature micro level detail and timing retrieval" that I enjoy with their Hugo/Hugo2 DACs when I demoed them
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2019
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  10. kdoof
    I had the chance to listen to this (as well as the Asgard 3) at the Schiitr today and it was really excellent. Detail retrieval is through the roof -- I was noticing details I'd never heard before through my Bimby, they were just 'there'. It wasn't too different from the upgrade to Asgard 2 > THX 789 -- it was just so easy to pick apart the layering and production and effortlessly detect little details that slipped under the radar before. The background was blacker and cleaner and the sound was just overall more pristine than Bimby without leaning towards being cold or clinical in any fashion. It went from a big 'eh, maybe someday eventually' for me to a 'damn it, I have to upgrade'. I really only listened for maybe 10 minutes and had to leave because I was just getting too hyped and I may have made a bad decision if I'd stuck around too much longer. But the difference was so immediately apparently and palpable I kind of didn't need to hear any longer to know that it was a must for me.

    (As an aside -- I found the Asgard 2 and Bifrost 2 have a really special parity together -- the A2, being a little 'shoutier' than the more relaxed A3, seemed to bring a little extra force to the B2's newfound clarity and resolution, and there was really amazing stuff going on in the bass-and-midbass-synergy of things.)

    I can't afford to pull the trigger just now on a Bifrost 2, even with the $100 credit (which is an amazing gesture by Schiit, in my opinion) so I may just wait until they release the Unison expansion and see how much closer that brings Bimby to Bifrost 2 levels (another demo'er at the Schiitr said he'd gone to a meet-up where they compared Gen 5 to Unison and said it was night and day between the two when they were A/B'ed) -- but then again for that same approximate $100 (after reselling my Bimby and the $100 credit) I'd then have a balanced DAC plus a nifty remote and the new upgradable software platform...

    I also really commend Schiit for listening to customers on a wide variety of levels: easy upgradability, balanced output, and even something as little as the more-subtle, dimmer LED lights up front demonstrate that Schiit are hearing us and improving their products beyond merely updating measurements or specs.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2019
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  11. theveterans
    I really don't know how much of the Unison impacts these differences because what you described is everything of what I noticed upon A/Bing with my Bifrost MB both on Coax (same transport) so it's the actual DAC implementation that's really making the difference in my experience. I have never used the Unison USB as my input for both Bifrost 2 and Bifrost MB. The improvement at least with coax as input is most significant in bass department but everything else is also taken much closer to Yggdrasil A2 levels
     
  12. starence
    I wonder why there’s no DS option like there was with the old Bifrost. It would be cool if you could just switch modules when you wanted to go from Multibit to DS.
     
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  13. Allanmarcus
    Maybe I shouldn't have ordered a Bifrost 2 right before Schiit announced the Sol and is on their way to RMAF. Oh well, I'll eventually get it :)
     
  14. ColtMrFire
    Definitely interested in hearing the Yggy comparison when you have time.
     
    S-S-MR, Alcophone and oneway23 like this.
  15. mvn1
    I have a MB card in my Lyr3. I'd love to know peoples thoughts who have both the MB Lyr3 and Bifrost 2 - if there is a big difference?
     
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