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Not even close to being a valid DBT (which he admits), but amusing and interesting:
This may become one of the most controversial videos ever.
Polarizing, for sure.
Controversial? I don't find his (I don't want to say results, that makes it sound too scientific) conclusion very surprising.
Polarizing is a better term indeed.
atomicbob has already measured the Schiit gear and has shown clear improvements as you climb up their ladder. So I'm not sure I like that he's trying to push that there's absolutely no difference. The real question is if there's a real audible difference (and you'd need to test with someone who has peak human hearing).
As for differences between DACs, although anecdotal I feel like it does exist. I feel like I can hear a clear difference between my Oppo HA-2 and other DACs I've put it up against (HA-2 clearly has less bass and a smaller soundstage).
It seems like most of the time "clear improvement" usually involves taking something at -100dB and pushing them down to -110dB. Measurable, yes, but audibly meaningful, doubtful. A fun task for the engineer, no doubt.
"Less bass" is something that should be easily measurable, why leave it at anecdote?
Measurability and audibility are two different things.
As for "pushing" something...I don't follow. He's a reviewer. He didn't hear a difference. Is that somehow less permissible than reviewers who claim to hear huge differences?
But the HA-2 is also an amp, which complicates the situation greatly...or were you using it to feed something else?
Coming from a Schiit Modi, the Bimby is clearly more dynamic and has cleaner bass.
Admittedly, I've never AB tested the two, but the difference, while not night and day, was pretty significant.
ZReviews is a really fun channel, but I don't know what he was listening to there.
Did you level match the Modi and Bimby? Because one has 1.5V max output, the other 2.0V max output.
No, and I do have to lower up the volume on my amp around 1 o'clock with the Bimby to reach the same volume output level as with my Modi.
I really don't think that's the main source of the better dynamics, though, I believe its the better dac.
This post pretty much convinced me that Multibit Dacs are better than Delta Sigma dacs (at least at the same price range) and the source of the better dynamics:
Listeners have been consistently shown to prefer two items that are otherwise identical if one of the items is just (conscious imperceptibly) louder than the other.
However, that being said, even if you did level match, the Bimby has a heckuva lot better power supply than the Modi so its reasonable to conjecture that being a source of better dynamics. And that, IMHO, better analog section is more likely to account for most of the benefit, rather than the multibit angle.
After all, why would being multibit affect dynamics? It's not like the waveform is going to add dynamic range that wasn't there before.
P.S. The Bimby actually has a compromised analog section compared to the DS Bifrost. In order to make the upgrade fit, they had to switch from discrete to op amps in the Bifrost Multibit. The Gungnir doesn't have this limitation.
the higher cost of making a R2R DAC suggests that on the contrary, the delta sigma will pwn a R2R that would cost the same to manufacture. it's the very reason why R2R have disappeared. when only money is a concern, R2R isn't interesting.
and dynamic???? both are good enough not to have any dynamic difference. if anything the R2R will show some non linearities because of the resistors not being all of perfectly equal values. but that will only lead to more distortions, if a R2R DAC was actually more dynamic, it would be a defect compared to the original signal AFAIK. or am I missing something?
Both the Bifrost 4490 and Multibit have the same power supplies and analog sections. The only differences are the D/A chip and $200.
I haven't listened to the 4490, but first hand accounts on Head-fi and ComputerAudiophile suggest there is an audible difference.
I mean ZReviews said there wasn't an audible difference between all the dacs on his table, including the ODac, which I don't believe is true.
This is also the guy who took shots of whiskey when reviewing the Beyer T90s because he thought they were so bad.
Sorry, but no, you're wrong.
According to Schiit:
Analog Stage: Fully discrete, DC coupled
Analog Stage: precision I/V converter and output buffer based on AD8512
Also, there is a thread somewhere on Head-fi where Stoddard mentions the design trade off.
Here is the quote I was looking for:
"Hard Design Decisions
From there, Mike and Dave seemed to drop the development of a Multibit Bifrost. It made sense—we were getting deep into Yggdrasil production and ramping up Gungnir Multibit, so they had plenty to do on those fronts without any other distractions.
I didn’t realize how close we were to having a Bifrost Multibit until Mike asked, “You know, if Bifrost Multibit had an op-amp analog stage, how upset would you be?”
“Why?” I asked. “Are we really that space-limited? I know a real discrete I/V is a nightmare, but if we do parts on both sides of the board—“
“You need two gain stages per channel,” Mike said. “It’s a multiplying DAC.”
“Oh,” I said, letting that sink in.
“It comes down to the burrito or a discrete I/V,” Mike said. “And even then, I don’t know—“
“Burrito,” I said.