Schiit Bifrost Uber Analog Upgrade
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moriez

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Originally Posted by Chris J /img/forum/go_quote.gif
 
One advantage with Optical is there is no electrical connection between source and DAC, hence no power supply and CPU noise transmitted to your DAC.
Just Sumthin' to think about.
 
A good reminder and eventhough I prefer optical for that reason I cannot hear that it sounds better than USB. I'd find it very interesting if there's someone who can so I could focus on those perceived differences. On the other hand, if they aren't obvious to me right away they must be tiny minor.
 
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Chris J

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A good reminder and even though I prefer optical for that reason I cannot hear that it sounds better than USB. I'd find it very interesting if there's someone who can so I could focus on those perceived differences. On the other hand, if they aren't obvious to me right away they must be tiny minor.
 
It is interesting that you tell me that Optical doesn't sound WORSE than USB.
It seems that Optical is often considered the worst digital transmission system.  

 
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ngyu

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It is interesting that you tell me that Optical doesn't sound WORSE than USB.
It seems that Optical is often considered the worst digital transmission system.  
 
lol joke right? i see a wink smiley in there... must be a joke x)
 
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Chris J

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lol joke right? i see a wink smiley in there... must be a joke x)
 
Hey, I'm serious!
I prefer the sound of my CD transport via Toslink Optical to DAC over the sound via RCA Coaxial to my DAC.
 
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ngyu

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Hey, I'm serious!
I prefer the sound of my CD transport via Toslink Optical to DAC over the sound via RCA Coaxial to my DAC.
Oh okay... optical isn't considered the worst... its probably considered the best method for digital transmission. I too prefer optical over coax to my bifrost, and definitely over usb.
 
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kstuart

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Hey, I'm serious!
I prefer the sound of my CD transport via Toslink Optical to DAC over the sound via RCA Coaxial to my DAC.
Oh okay... optical isn't considered the worst... its probably considered the best method for digital transmission. I too prefer optical over coax to my bifrost, and definitely over usb.
It really depends on the implementation.
 
In the old days, Joe Blow Audio would offer a CD transport and a matching DAC.  They would choose the particular Toslink converter or Coax Converter on either end themselves.
 
Nowadays, you have to make a DAC so it can receive digital from effing anything - a TV, a Mac, a Windows PC, maybe a phone, probably in the future, a refrigerator. :)
 
So, as mentioned in one spot on the Schiit web site, they don't know what sort of device you are using to provide the digital, so they can't advise you about that (even if they know the exact model number PC, they don't know how the digital output performs).
 
This means that you cannot tell which of the three formats is better until you try them.  However, previously the USB Gen 1 was considered to be not quite as good as the other two formats.   The newer Gen 2 USB is now considered equal to the other two formats (hence Schiit removed wording saying otherwise), and it is considered equal to affordable outboard USB-to-SPDIF converters.
 
Conclusion - there probably isn't going to be too much of a difference, and if there is one, it would only be because your Toslink or Coax sender is poor quality.
 
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kstuart

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This post is mainly for future Jriver MediaCenter users with Schiit Bifrost USB DACs.  The settings probably work for Gungnir as well.

I just purchased a Schiit Bifrost DAC to upgrade from my HRT DAC.  This was due to very positive reviews of the two upgrades made to the Bifrost about six months ago - the new Uber Analog card and the new 2nd Generation USB card.  Okay back to settings:

Go to schiit.com/drivers and download the 1.03 drivers.  These are dated May 03, 2013 for XP, Win7 and Win8 and August 20, 2013 for Vista ( BTW, if you have drivers from earlier, you should probably update your drivers ).  Note that the Vista drivers are a separate zip and are only found on the /drivers web page.  Install as directed on that page.

In Jriver MC19, go to Tools->Options->Audio and the first line, Audio Device, select:

ASIO for C-Media USB Device

On the second line, click Device Settings and:

Make sure that "Use Large Hardware Buffers..." is not checked.
Make sure that "Device uses only most..." is not checked.

Under Buffering, in the drop-down, select:

Minimum Hardware Size

Click on Open Driver Panel, and there are two settings:

Bit-depth should be   32/32 bits
Latency should be            4 ms   (if you hear any pops or noise, increase this setting to the next level and try again, but 4 ms  seems sufficient so far)

On the third line,  DSP & Output Format:

Sample Rate ->  every line should be "No Change" except for the last line "Greater than 192..." should be set to 176,400 hz .   Do not up-sample any sample rate - the DAC is specifically designed to provide optimum sound quality by not changing the sample rate.  Schiit says:
 
Q: I heard about this upsampling stuff, where they take 16/44.1 and magically make it into 24/192. Does your DAC do that?
A: Not just no but hell no. None of our DACs will ever do sample rate conversion. Our goal is to perfectly reproduce the original music samples, not to throw them away and turn everything into a mystery-meat soufflé. Sample rate conversion destroys all the original samples. What goes in isn’t what comes out. We worked hard on a microprocessor-controlled, bit-perfect clock management system to ensure that all the original music samples going into Bifrost are delivered to the D/A converter, whether you’re running 16/44.1 or 24/192, rather than cheaping out and throwing in a sample-rate converter so we could use a single clock.

 
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TheGame

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Thank you for the post! I use JRiver with my DAC, but will soon hopefully be able to upgrade to a Bifrost Uber. The settings you posted will be really helpful, thank you kstuart!
 
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TooPoor

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 Dumbest question in the entirety of this thread: First of all, this is page 37, and that's a lot of reading. Having said that, has a consensus been come to on whether the the uber upgrades are worth it? $170 more than a standard Bifrost - worth it? Looking at new DACs and I want the Schiit to be a heavy hitter very badly, but haven't had the chance to hear one. I use to have a PS Audio DLIII which I LOVED, but I admittedly, don't know schiit about DACs. Input? I'm looking to get back in the headphone game after a bit of a hiatus.
 
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kstuart

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   Dumbest question in the entirety of this thread: First of all, this is page 37, and that's a lot of reading. Having said that, has a consensus been come to on whether the the uber upgrades are worth it? $170 more than a standard Bifrost - worth it? Looking at new DACs and I want the Schiit to be a heavy hitter very badly, but haven't had the chance to hear one. I use to have a PS Audio DLIII which I LOVED, but I admittedly, don't know schiit about DACs. Input? I'm looking to get back in the headphone game after a bit of a hiatus.
The Uber Analog card is an upgrade, the 2nd Generation USB card is now standard equipment if one orders USB.
 
Every person (customer or reviewer) who reviewed the Uber Analog said that it is an improvement over the original Bifrost analog card - which is not surprising, because it is the card used for the more expensive Gungnir DAC.   Whether the sound quality difference is worth $70 is one of those impossible questions that people can only answer for themselves.
 
The 2nd Generation USB card is more concrete in its advantages.  The difference was enough for Schiit to remove their "we don't like USB" statements from their web site entirely.  This comes as most audiophiles with PCs use DACs with built-in USB, or else outboard-USB-to-SPDIF converters.   Schiit now claims that the 2nd Generation USB card is at least equivalent to outboard converters in the same rough price range.  Two reliable reviewers agree.
 
Since $100 is a good value for a USB converter of that quality, then the 2nd Generation USB card seems a worthwhile investment.
 
(If you already have a Bifrost with the old USB card, whether it is worth $100 to upgrade the sound quality is again, something you can only answer for yourself.)
 
BTW, I just received my Bifrost with Uber Analog (and 2nd Gen USB) today, and I'm quite happy with its value for $520 - I think anything equivalent or a little better is somewhat more money.
 
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TooPoor

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Kstuart, probably one of the best answers I've ever gotten on Head-Fi. I didn't know that about USB upgrade being standard. If you come down to SoCal I'll buy you a drink! But seriously, much appreciated. I, at one time, had a Bifrost USB, long before the upgrades and liked it, but am very curious about how good these 'upgrades' are.
 
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kstuart

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  Kstuart, probably one of the best answers I've ever gotten on Head-Fi. I didn't know that about USB upgrade being standard. If you come down to SoCal I'll buy you a drink! But seriously, much appreciated. I, at one time, had a Bifrost USB, long before the upgrades and liked it, but am very curious about how good these 'upgrades' are.
Just to make sure that no one misunderstands what we are saying:
 
* Schiit upgraded their USB board to a new 2nd Generation design.  At that point, they stopped using the first board at all.  A few DACs shipped with the new USB board without even mentioning it.  The same USB board is used on both Bifrost and Gungnir.
 
* Schiit still charges $100 to have a USB board added to your DAC at ordering time.  That has not changed.  All that has changed is that in the last 6 months, you get a better USB board (that they now feel is competitive with other USB converters in that rough price range).  If you have the old board, they still charge for a new 2nd Generation one.
 
* The Uber Analog board is a $70 optional upgrade for the Bifrost (it optionally replaces the analog output board).  It is the same board that is included as standard in the Gungnir.   So by paying $70 additional, you get part of the same improvement that you would otherwise have gotten by buying a Gungnir instead of the Bifrost.
 
(I know all this because I just spent a bunch of time researching before making the purchase.)
 
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Since upgrading my laptop the usb is now my favourite connection.  I have since removed my optical drives from my headphone setup.  
 
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I'm curious, but I have a Creative Labs Titanium HD soundcard which I play music either through Winamp or Foobar2000 via Wasapi or ASIO, then BJC red and white cables to my Lyr.
 
Am I going to get a significant bump in audio resolution by getting the Bifrost with Uber? I would be taking a digital connection from either the computer or Onkyo, a Canare BJC coaxial cable, then to the Lyr.
 
I am close to pulling the trigger.
 
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TheGame

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It's tough to say, I own the Titanium HD as well which offers as you know 24/192 same as Uber. The Titanium HD actually is a pretty good DAC. If there is a difference, it is probably small. You can try the Uber and compare it to the Titanium HD and if you notice a difference that you are happy with then keep it, otherwise return it if you don't notice a difference. I would think the Uber would offer better quality as a DAC, but how much better is hard to say. I would say try them both and compare to see if it is worth the upgrade. Just my 2 cents.
 
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