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Schiit Bifrost Uber Analog Upgrade

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  1. ToTo Man
    Source is a Mac Mini playing a variety of resolutions from 16/44 through 24/192.  My musical tastes are very broad and I am open to all genres as long as it is listenable from a production/mastering standpoint (I have ZERO time for "brickwall" mastering techniques so I tend to favour older music!).  
     
    It's difficult for me to set the Valhalla in context for you because it is my first proper headphone amp, so I don't know how its sonic signature compares to its competitors.   However compared to what I was previously driving my HD600's with (the built-in phones amp of my vintage 1974 Yamaha receiver), the difference really is like night vs day.
     
    The Yamaha is fat, mellow and warm, with a full-bodied/bloated upper bass and comfortingly full mids, with a high end that shimmers rather than cuts. The sound isn't particularly clean, transparent or detailed, and there is a relatively high noise floor of background hiss, but the sound is very musically involving and easy to listen to, especially when kicking back on the sofa late at night and cranking up the volume.

    The Valhalla, on the other hand, is very clean, lean, detailed and precise, with a slightly 'brassy' bite in the mid HFs (possibly around the 8k-10k region?). This makes listening at higher volumes more of an "on the edge of your seat" experience and not as relaxing as my old Yamaha receiver.  Mids on the Valhalla are much cleaner and thinner with vocals having less weight and warmth but better clarity, and the low end is markedly thinner/weaker but faster/tighter and much more transparent/defined).  Also, the noise floor is amazingly low on the Valhalla (my ears detect no his or hum), so it is possible to listen at low volumes and still hear an incredible amount of detail and clarity.
     
    Hope that helps! :)
     
  2. Rusty143
    Thanks very much!!! Great feedback!!!

    I think I am leaning more toward the sound of the woo wa3. Sounds like it is a bit fuller in the mids.
     
  3. KR500
    Thanks for starting this informative thread.
    It was a good reminder to get me to have the uber analog upgrade installed on my Bifrost.
    I just received it back from Schitt Audio very quickly and really enjoyed listening to it this weekend
     
  4. Stillhart
    So here's a question that's probably been asked 100 times in this thread, but I'm new to the thread so please be gentle!
     
    I picked up an optical Modi recently so I can use the DAC between my computer sound card (Sound Blaster Omni) and my amp (Matrix M-stage).  I'm doing this so I can use my sound card as a DSP for virtual surround when gaming, but still have the DAC in-line for music.
     
    After some extensive A/B testing, I found the differences really slight.  I had to REALLY listen to hear some very subtle differences.  In essence, while I think there WAS a difference, I don't believ the Modi is enough of a step up from the DAC in the Omni to make it worth the price tag.
     
    The Bifrost is the next DAC in the Schiit line with an optical input and I'm curious if people think it will be a significant difference from the Modi.  I'm a bit wary to spend $300-400 on a DAC when I spent only $150 on headphones and $200 on the amp.  Especially when the Modi had such little effect!  I really don't want to be one of those guys spending $100 on a cable for an infinitessimal increase in SQ.
     
    That said, I've read that the Bifrost could be an "endgame" DAC as it sits at a nice price/performance point.  So will I be able to tell with my setup?
     
    Thanks!
     
  5. Tuco1965
    I honestly think only you can make that call. The biggest difference would be to change headphones.  I like both DACs.
     
  6. Traum
    I dunno about your $150 AKG Q701, but on my $250 Beyerdynamic DT-880 with a Magni, the Bifrost definitely brought out some easily noticeable improvement in most of the important areas -- transparency, separation of instruments, level of detail compared to the Modi. Sound stage also improved somewhat, but it seemed like it was constrained by the Magni a little bit. When I swapped the Magni out for a Lyr, that freed up a bigger sound stage still.

    As Tuco says, you are really the only person that can make the call. But between the Modi and your AKG, I suspect the headphone is probably the weaking link at this point, not the Modi.
     
  7. Stillhart
    Well to be fair, the Q701 used to be a $400 headphone and they still go for $200+ on Amazon (depending on the day).  I'm not sure how familiar you are with them, but they're rated pretty highly, comparable to the Beyer DT's but with a much different sound signature.
     
    Not saying you're wrong, but it sounds like you're not super familiar with the headphones and you're making assumptions based off the price. FWIW, the amp is about $300 new and it's a clone of a much more expensive one.
     
    Anyways, thanks for your feedback.  It's good to know you heard a noticeable difference.  Some other stuff I've been reading makes it sound like it's not super noticeable...
     
  8. Traum
    ^^ Yes, I am definitely not very familiar with your AKG. But I am very familiar with how my Modi, Magni, Bifrost, Lyr and DT880 mixing and matching with one another before I sold the M&M combo. So I will tell you that there is definitely a lot more substance behind the Bifrost compared to the Modi. Whether your headphones and your amp can realize that extra potential is another question that I am less clear on.
     
    Stillhart likes this.
  9. Byrnie
    I'd say price to performance the Modi is hard to beat.  I would wait 'til you're more into the headphone hobby before you jump to the Bifrost as DACs will usually only provide subtle differences.  To me, when I upgraded from the Modi to the Bifrost Uber.  I did notice the differences they weren't blatant but there were there.  
     
  10. gefski

    I don't know about your computer and music files, but improvements with an external dac should be real obvious if you're delivering undamaged lossless files to the dac.
     
  11. Stillhart

    I'm using FLAC files through Winamp with WASPI driver.  I'm using an upgraded sound card (not the onboard one) so it's already got a better-than-garbage DAC. 
     
  12. shackleford
    Is there anyone that can help me? I am really frustrated, I am trying to install usb gen 2 card into my bifrost.. Something is going wrong, I'm not sure what. When I put it all back together the usb input is a bit too high for the cut out for it. Any suggestions?
     
  13. Tuco1965
    Just start reading the beginning of the thread. Within a few pages you'll read how to deal with the LEDs.
     
  14. fenderf4i
    The card is pushed down in the sockets all the way?

    Can you post pictures?
     
  15. shackleford
    Yes I believe they are pushed all the way down.[​IMG][/IMG][/IMG]
     
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