- Jul 12, 2009
- Planet Earth. Usually.
Hey all, been perusing the crazy number of pages on this topic after deciding on the Jotunheim Multibit DAC/Amp combo.
I'm new to the audiophile world, only owning a pair of Campfire IOs that I bought in March of this year. Currently, I run the IO off my Samsung Galaxy S8, was subscribed to Amazon Music HD for a couple months, but decided against supporting them.
Now, I'm moving into the crazy land of buying an entry level system for home enjoyment (new job / birthday gift), while contemplating a complete switch to the Apple ecosystem (iPhone, iMac, etc.), and purchasing Hi-Res audio online. It seems like Jotunheim would be a good entry level, coming from nothing, while allowing me room to purchase over ear headphones in the future. My musical tastes range from Florence and the Machine to Slipknot. I love detail retrieval, and appreciate high-end frequency as much as low-end rumble.
Does the following setup sound alright?
Jotunheim with Multibit DAC card.
New iMac (don't own yet)
USB connection to DAC (do I need a special USB cable with a separate ground to ensure balanced output from the amp?)
Balanced male XLR to MMCX cable from http://www.mimic-cables.com
Campfire Audio IO IEM
I did notice the Jotunheim has a limit of 24 bit / 192 kHz audio input. I know some content goes well beyond that limit. Should this be a concern?
What I would do in your case (purely my opinion), assuming you will want to move to headphones later on (the Jot is too powerful to buy just for IEMs) and assuming you will want to upgrade/expand your system later on is:
-- for the Apple part:
-Mac Mini: runs just as fine as an iMac and you can attach any monitor to it, a cheap one at first and you can upgrade to a big ultrawide or for example a 48 OLED later if you want. Any monitor you like.
-iPad Air 11": just the right size, latest processor and tech at a much lower price than the Pro.
iPhone 12 Mini: I used to have a 6s, now an 11 Pro Max but I'm ordering the 12 Mini. The rest is way to big to keep in a shirt/jeans pocket and haul around everywhere.
- forget Apple's services like Apple Music and aTV+, they suck. Rip your music from CDs, buy from HDTracks and/or stream from Tidal or Qobuz.
-- for the audio part:
- The Jot is a true bang for the buck device and even performs well over its price. Get one without a DAC, the multibit card is nowhere near the performance/SQ and verstility of a Bifrost.
- For the dac, get a Topping D10s. It performs just as well as the AK4490 card you can put it the Jot at the same price but once you upgrade to a better DAC (Bifrost highly recommended) you can still use it as a DD converter. Later on it could serve for example to connect your Mac with USB to the Bifrost with coaxial for audio other than your music library. Upgrade to a Bifrost later on.
- to get your music from the Mac to the DAC use a Roon Bridge. This way you stream your music over your network instead of directly connnecting to your computer which improves SQ quite a bit.
The cheapest option would be an RPI4 with Ropieee. Just as adequate but arguably almost as good as much more expensive devices like a StackAudio Link, Lumin U1 (mini) or Auralic Aries).
You can find what you need for that on Amazon: "Labists RPi4 kit" + "Manouii case" (or any other case without fans made from solid aluminum) + RoPieee (very easy to install). Total price should be 100 bucks.
- For music software, use Roon, there simply is no better experience. Get a free 30-day trial (plus a free Tidal/Qobuz trial) you can run from your Linux computer now and connect your IEMs to your computer just to see how it works. It's expensive though, 149 for a year or 450 lifetime but you can use it on any device without purchasing additional licences (IOS, Android, Mac, PC, Linux, a dedicated music server (NUC, Roon Nucleus, Synology NAS)). If you get the lifetime deal, after 10 years it'll have cost you 45 a year.
I can't recommend Roon enough.
Your upgrade path is simple after that without needing to replace anything: add a Bifrost and keep using your D10s, add a NUC with Roon Core or a Nucleus, get some nice headphones with a balanced cable ...
My setup (or one of them at least) for desktop is:
Mac Mini + Windows PC with LG OLED 48 CX.
Roon Nucleus -> StackAudio Link -> Schiit Bifrost 2 -> Jotunheim + Lyr 3 (this is using the USB input of the Bifrost)
I also connect my Mac via USB to a Topping D10S that connects to my Bifrost via coaxial.
My windows PC is connected via USB to a SBX G6 that connects to the Bifrost via optical.