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Schiit Happened: The Story of the World's Most Improbable Start-Up

Discussion in 'Jason Stoddard' started by jason stoddard, Jan 23, 2014.
  1. earnmyturns
    Welcome to the club! I was one of the earliest Unison USB "secret" testers, on my Yggdrasil A2. After early firmware issues were fixed, I never looked back. I sold my expensive AES-output streamer and used instead the much cheaper Allo USBridge streamer I had. The quality with Unison USB and the cheap streamer was noticeably better than AES+expensive streamer according to my patient wife who helped with the A/B tests. My current preferred Yggdrasil chain is Allo USBridge > Yggdrasil > Eddie Current Aficionado > ZMF Verité silkwood, an amazing auditory treat every time I come back to it from my frequent travels.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2019
    motberg, rollinbr, MatthiasP and 5 others like this.
  2. earnmyturns
    I've owned Eitr and I am one of the Unison USB testers. In my (subjective) judgment, the answer is definitely yes, at least with the speaker and headphone amps I've used with my Yggdrasil.
    bcowen, RCBinTN, Ableza and 1 other person like this.
  3. jimmers
    In my experience most 8 pin DIP dual op amps likely to be used have the same pin out as the 5532

    Always an interesting read
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2019
    treecloud and Paladin79 like this.
  4. earnmyturns
    Would defeat the purpose. Eitr was an experimen tin transformer-based isolation for DACs with better S/PDIF coax than USB receiver (like all pre-Unison Schiit DACs). With Unison, going through S/PDIF to get to the DAC would be a downgrade. IMHO, based on listening to Eitr and Unison-using chains.
    Derrick Swart likes this.
  5. Paladin79
    bcowen and CAPT Deadpool like this.
  6. Scott Kramer
    [re: opamps (my little story)]

    Remember thinking why not on an old preamp (got for free) designed the year Madonna's Papa Don't Preach came out, then subsequently cheapened / watered down until 2005:


    Seems like a diff world today re: opamps, wouldn't want to mess with them (personally) anymore, unless I was designing a circuit in the first place around one and understanding what's going on.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2019
    Paladin79 likes this.
  7. hearditontheX
    The Sol setup video is great. I went from being skeptical of being able to perform all the set-up steps to this looks like fun, I can't wait to do it.

    The thing I am puzzling with is the location of the motor. One can measure the "about 1" " distance readily, but what if someone thinks 1 1/8" or 1 1/4" is close enough? Are those outside the intended tolerance? Personally, I would want it as dead nuts to 1" as my eyes will enable, but there could be folks who may not be as critical.
    RCBinTN and Jason Stoddard like this.
  8. Paladin79
    The Whammy is a 2015 design I believe and the design of Wayne Colburn of Pass Labs so it is relatively new. Like many things in audio, if someone tells me they can hear the difference between op-amps, it is certainly easy enough to set up a blind listen and let them show me how well they do. :smile_phones: I have a hard time doing such things unless I can A/B the devices and I am more likely to hear differences in tubes and occasionally output capacitors, op-amps are another matter.
    bcowen and sam6550a like this.
  9. Ableza
    One of these might help if you are that concerned about it...

    barondla, sam6550a and Rensek like this.
  10. hearditontheX
    ^A ruler is implied in a dead nuts tolerance.
    golfbravobravo likes this.
  11. Derrick Swart
    You don’t want trouble in after sales
  12. Jason Stoddard
    Regarding tubes and op-amps:

    1. Tubes have to be swappable because they have a finite lifespan. Also, some people like trying different kinds of tubes. As long as the parameters are similar and the pinout is same, that's fine, but we do get a reasonable amount of service due to wrong tubes. This is expected and accounted for (translation: the products cost more); tube electronics take more care and feeding than solid state. As I've always said, "If you want certainty, you don't want tubes."

    2. When we use op-amps, their application is fixed--that is, we design around the op-amp parameters. Swapping another op-amp in may (a) degrade performance, (b) cause something nasty like oscillation, or (c) release the magic smoke (if it's, say, a single op-amp you swapped in for a dual.) So, if we did socketed op-amps, we'd have to plan for that (meaning the product costs more) and we'd also have the cost of the thru-hole socket, and the cost of socket failures, and the customer service for those who bent a pin on their $50 op-amp because the socket was too tight (meaning the product costs more.)

    So, you can either trust we know what we're doing with the op-amps we use, and enjoy the products we make with them, or you can choose another product that's designed for swapping. No judgement. Your choice.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2019
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  13. Alcophone
    Is that mostly a matching issue, i.e. opamp A in a given amp doesn't sound great, just like compatible tubes might not sound great in a given amp, or is there more to it? Are the megahertz resonances the "oscillations" I have read about? Is there a concern that your amp is becoming a radio transmitter and the FCC might knock on your door? Is there a concern about damaging the amplifier or the opamp?

    It has been suggested elsewhere that nobody without access to an oscilloscope should swap opamps. Is it conceivable that an amp designed for swapping opamps could come with a self check and simply shuts down with a warning LED lighting up if there's an issue? I'm assuming that wouldn't add all that much to the overall cost.

    Definitely. I'm thinking normally you would not want to build an amp with big holes in the top, through which vital components could be removed by the user at any point, even while running. Components that potentially run quite hot indeed. But since it's "necessary" (there are amps and DACs that just have tubes inside, without making it easy to swap them, so evidently it's not strictly necessary), you do it anyway. Well, if that is okay with tubes, then why not maybe with opamps? Though Ableza raises a good point below.

    I'm okay with them not doing it, but I definitely would like to understand better why the risk assessment is different compared to allowing it for tubes. Tube amps with user accessible tubes are not entirely un-mad.

    That's where Schiit would have a chance to distinguish themselves from all products with swappable opamps that I have seen: make the opamps accessible without needing to open the amp, just like the tubes are (or the modules in the Bifrost 2). I.e. provide a removable card with a DIP8 socket or two, or an opening just like for tubes, though possibly with a raised socket because opamps tend to be rather shallow, and make either approach sufficiently big to have flexibility about the various shapes and sizes opamps come in:

    01a Side (cropped).jpg 01b Top (cropped).jpg

    Even the Burson Fun, from a company that makes several types of discrete opamps, has to be opened by removing four screws in order to swap opamps. Makes the design cheaper, of course. And because of the point Ableza raises below, there would be a bigger incentive than for tubes to at least make it possible to cover the hole again after installing an opamp, at least for the designs without a case around the opamp's PCB.

    That they are usually external is probably owed more to their size, since otherwise the chassis has to be significantly bigger (at least if you want to support a variety of compatible tubes), and you'd have to dissipate the added heat somehow. Tubes generally need high voltages, but opamps operate far below 50 V from what I have seen. So it would still be iffy if you could touch an opamp while the amp is running, but less so than with the triple-digit voltages typically used in tube amps.
    Accessible hot tubes are a possible danger to you, your kids and your pets (hence the guards on many tube amps), though possibly a less severe one than touching an open circuit - that is a good point. Most opamps do not come wrapped in plastic cases like the Burson opamps, fragile as they can be (three of the eight I had access to came apart without trying, two with a newer design with just one plastic part):

    03a Old Design Front (cropped).jpg 03b Old Design Side (cropped).jpg

    The case makes it difficult to touch the PCB, but the pins are still exposed - but that's the same as with tubes. Is it generally advisable to take ESD precautions when touching the pins of tubes? It's a concern for opamps, but I'm wondering whether an opamp with a case like the Bursons is still more vulnerable to ESD than a tube.

    Exactly my point, we already accept that kind of risk with tube amps, so the precedent has been set. :)

    Thanks for the input, everyone!
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2019
    bcowen and Paladin79 like this.
  14. Snowpuppy77
    If you think the setup looked interesting and fun then I think you would really enjoy it in reality. Vinyl has been a rabbit hole but it has been a fun one for me. There is a learning curve in several areas. Like how to pick a good quality used record. Which vinyl issue is preferred, an original pressing or reissue? I have found some amazing used records that sound wonderful for low $s. I have also bought some duds but at least they were inexpensive. I am glad to pay more for a used record but only if I know the pressing history and can confirm the condition. Also you need to use a good method to clean new and new to you used record. I use a Record Doctor V which is easily worth the $200 bucks. Spinclean is also good and cheaper. You need a stylus cleaner and I use Onzo. You need to brush each side of the record each time you play. Make sure you pay the extra $5 to get the AudioQuest Anti-Static Record Brush (black and gold color). The cheaper carbon brush does not have the anti static properties. Also if you buy a record that has a paper or cardboard sleeve then put the record in a poly sleeve like the Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab record sleeve. Paper and card board sleeves can cause micro scratches over time and thus raise the noise floor. If the paper or cardboard sleeve has art or lyrics on it keep it but just don't put your record in it especially if you will be playing it a lot. I just store it side by side with the record in the poly sleeve. All German and UK pressings have paper sleeves but they are poly lined which is excellent.

    There is more I can share but those are some of the most important ones. Just giving a peek of the rabbit hole of only 3 years of being back into vinyl. It has been very fun and rewarding for me personally. But I can understand and support why some do not want to go through the hassle. I love my CDs and LPs and play them both a lot. Having a good vinyl and digital rig is a blast. I have the excellent Yggdrasil by the way. My TT is a Pro-Ject The Classic. Have loved my Pro-ject but the SOL has potential to be better. I will add that with 3 years of being back into vinyl and obsessive research, my mind is blown at what SOL provides for $799. That said there is still a good deal more to learn about it. Will start that learning tomorrow at RMAF.
    bcowen, judson_w and hearditontheX like this.
  15. Ableza
    Mr Stoddard gave you his answer.
    RCBinTN and Alcophone like this.

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