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What a long, strange trip it's been -- (Robert Hunter)

Discussion in 'Mike Moffat (Baldr)' started by baldr, Oct 13, 2015.
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  1. FLTWS
    That being the case it might make se
    I plan to upgrade for the new analogue sections (and Gen 5 while its in the shop even though I don't use it) but no rush. My UPS guy slogged through the ice and snow to deliver the last (finally) of my hardware today; a 1 in 4 out passive stereo XLR balanced switch box, so I can choose between my 4 different balance amps and turn the signal to them them on or off with the flick of a toggle switch, it'll be way elegant. I've been using Emotiva's cost effective, passive, but only 2 way "Y"'s since you recommended them Cozzi. They worked great but I still had to play plug roulette when I wanted to change amps to other than what was already connected.

    And yesterday a box with ac cables of different, but just the right lengths came, so I can completely reconnect everything without 25 pounds of excess, coiled up in a ball, ac lines bulging off the back of my upright stand. I love elegant solutions.

    Busy day tomorrow.

    I can finally enjoy all that I have now. I can wait a few months to upgrade and until the queue dissipates for Yggdrasil redux.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2018
    RCBinTN likes this.
  2. Baldr
    This upgrade stuff can be a real hassle. I started this over 30 years ago at Theta Digital, in an era when digital audio tech was moving quickly, relative to today. In 5 years I went from Gen I to Gen 5 (missing, as with Schiit, the Gen 4 (4 means death in most of Asia) moniker). Kinda like USB tech today. But in the case of major sonic upgrade in the Yggy as a DAC only, it took almost 4 years to turn the page.

    So what do you get for your $550? Two new analog boards with 4 really expensive DAC chips, check, all DSP software upgrades done, check, oh and all production LTIPPs fixed. WTF is an LTIPP? It is a (L)ess (T)han (I)deal (P)roduction (P)henomenon. Let's go over these one at a time. DSP software for the megacombo burrito filter. Couple of increments there – the first was a glitch visible on the -90 db sine wave measured on the earliest Yggys that was endlessly trolled on one of the forums dealing with computers and audiophiles. The second software enhancement was to was to add some routines in the filter which helped overall linearity. Then the LTIPPs – the first was a 75 ohm (instead of 50 ohm) BNC connector which affected some Yggys before production caught it. At 12 Mhz, the maximum S/PDIF frequency (at 192KHz sampling, 3MHz at 48K) the affect is negligible, but a specification is a specification. Finally, there was a revision changing the grounding of the mother board which was more of an enhancement than a LTIPP. The result is better electrostatic sensitivity. Finally the analog boards. The so-called analog boards are the heart of the entire Yggy because they are the digital to analog converter boards. All other boards live in support of these boards. These boards, more than any others are a significant sonic enhancement of the entire product. This is not only my opinion, but a concensus of several beta users. The 600 ohm driving capability, initially absent, was added after the fact of the main mod because we could while we were revving the board. Whereas the appearance of the top of the boards in particular is quite similar, the inner layers of the boards are quite different. Most of the differences are not apparent from an inspection of the top layer. I will be coy, because it is something I view as proprietary.

    So for $550 you get two new analog boards, an a$$hole to appetite inspection, all new upgrades we have figured out over the last almost 4 years. The result is a better measuring, far better sounding unit. So why do we have a few users bitching, and sometimes very loudly. Some is on us. We are trying to simplify our lives – one model, one color. Keeps the price down. Except we from time to time run black units, which get mixed in with our normal clear aluminum anodize color. Then we make a change, run it a few months but since the black units were made before the announced change date, it falls through the cracks. It is just then that a user bellyaches with about 685 posts all about how much we suck and don't keep our deals. Then we have two problems – the first is our black unit which fell through the time made vs. Time shipped crack which is on us and then the second is we have a customer who apparently thinks 685 posts is better than contacting us and telling us why he thinks we are wrong, as opposed to telling the whole world we are wrong. This makes us wonder why we even offer black, much less upgrades, because we are really not a custom shop.

    So why do upgrades? Two big reasons – one is the fact that the best designs are inherently upgradable. One big reason is the best designs divide the major components in compartments. In the Yggy design, that would be Power supply, analog, DSP, Input, control, USB, etc. Makes it easy to change one part of a circuit (or sometimes even chassis) to affect a major change. Allows the imagination to run wild. Please understand that the below is my pure imagination; nothing planned – only a what if: replacing the control section and chassis with a windowed one could make the unit remote controlled – replacing the input card could add a gadget or other inputs. Replacing the USB, could sound better or accomodate new USB standards. Replacing the analog or the DSP software can make the unit measure or sound better. On and on. Get it?

    The other reason arguing upgradability is value. An upgradable unit always has a residual value that the last year's model does not. More used Yggys on the market reduce its value, making it far more obsolete in planning than upgrades. Jason agonizes when we offer upgrades – the engendered cries and squeals from those who either had unfortunate timing or those who suffer from C programming language logic - "If Schiit ever offers an upgrade, even after 4 years, then I got phucked" or better yet "Schiit's upgrade program is planned obsolesence".

    I have no ability to envision what ideas I get tomorrow, next year, or next decade. I do know that I am doing my damnedest to offer the best over time at the highest value. I/we aren't perfect – but I've been doing the best I can for the last over 40 years. I also respond best to the nicest queries/complaints. It is not that difficult to be cordial. Thanks, everyone.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018
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  3. Rtg97229
    Please don't take this as a complaint Mike but can you explain why the upgrade is only $550? Those are some expensive parts on the boards and even recycling the AD5791 parts off of the old boards you are paying US labor rates. Just curious how you are pulling this off.
  4. Pandahead
    Stay on the creative path, and thank you. Unfortunately a few irrationals can muddy the water for the vast majority. It took me 2 years to get up the nerve to join and post. Life is too short to be running off the rails at every little thing. Being old school and used to having civil conversation at the local HiFi shop back in the day, if there was a disgruntled customer they usually went somewhere else. Sigh.
    I have one of the first Yggy's so thanks for the update. It's one of the reasons I bought it! And, I hope to send it in again when the next one comes along.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2018
    RCBinTN and FLTWS like this.
  5. DoubleIPA
    @Baldr - I really enjoy your write-ups, your frankness is refreshing.

    That's a classified secret or at least it is until someone escapes. It's good to have big basements.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2018
  6. liamo
    The old boards will be sold for a tidy sum and used to produce a knockoff DAC called the Lamisil after the ancient god of jock itch. Well, that’s what I heard.
    ScOgLiO, vemo100 and Pandahead like this.
  7. bosiemoncrieff
    That was a fascinating read. Please, give us a whole chapter!
  8. Snowpuppy77
    Just so you know upgradability is a key reson why I puchased a Schiit DAC to begin with. I started with the Bifrost uber and then upgraded to mulitbit. I was thrilled to get such a terrific upgrade for only $250. My Dad bough a Bryston BHA-1 DAC with that super long warranty. Then he read a review of the new Bryston BHA-2 and how much better it was. It looked exactly like his model but cost a lot more. What good is that super long warranty with a digital product with no upgrades? He wanted to upgrade but could not bring himself to purchase a whole new DAC and put his old perfectly functional DAC in storage. We said then that it would be nice if Bryston would sell an upgrade for his DAC. He said that if he bought a new DAC he would want one that was upgradable. All this before we even knew about Schiit. I am very much looking forward to getting a Yggy soon. And even then I would still upgrade my Bifrost again in a heartbeat as I love its form factor for a desktop headphone system. Honesty I will be very exited if/when there is an announcement of a Bimby ugrade. I am very proud to own it.

    I say all that to say this. You did the right thing in making upgradable DACs. And I believe you have handled these upgrades in a considerate and proper manner. So don't change or have any regrets. Whiners will whine. Customers like me love you for what you do.
  9. rkw
    Which one did you get? I may need a balanced switch later this year.
  10. Alcophone
    I appreciate what you do, and so the other merchants on my credit card bill have reason to become jealous of all the repeat business. I do feel funky about how I responded, I was certainly cranky. I really like your philosophy of never doing deals, giving me the confidence that whenever I decide to make a purchase, I get the best deal, because it's always the same deal, for everyone. Your mysterious announcement, though certainly made with good intentions, literally used the word "deal" and so seemed to betray that idea, and my timing was as bad as it could be: I read it after the price was increased, but before Jason's corresponding announcement had gone out, during a rare >9h time window without me checking my phone due to having been on an airplane. I only saw the increased price, with no justification. Unusual for you, but maybe some parts ran out and your costs increased beyond what's tolerable, okay. I did notice the Analog 2 blurp for the first time, but it also said that you made that change late last year, so I assumed I just missed it and that you would have increased the price back then if necessary. So it seemed like you just increased the price, without a clear improvement, mysterious deal hints and not enough time (for me) to respond. Boo!

    But then I saw Jason's announcement, realized the Analog 2 change was a proper improvement, in light of which the price increase seemed modest, and I calmed down again.
    It's still unpleasant to have to pay $100 more for the same thing I would have gotten days earlier, but well, can't always be lucky. The bit about black Yggys also helps understand why the announcement and price change weren't made earlier, thus eliminating Schiit deals.

    Now, however, I'm very much looking forward to finally having an Yggy, and the best ever on top. Thanks for that!
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018
    US Blues likes this.
  11. FLTWS
    Switch Witch Price:$239.75 (list: $361.99 - where do these kind of numbers come from, LOL) at Markertek
    ProCo manufactures it and it's distributed by Markertek,(among others) a company that supplies hardware used by the broadcast industry.


    Ableza got me pointed in the right direction to solve my problem with too many amps, LOL!


    Construction seems to be of very high quality. I found the staff at Markertek very helpful in answering my noob questions as I am unfamiliar with the pro recording hardware stuff and how it would or won't integrate with my rig.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018
    Pandahead, rkw, liamo and 1 other person like this.
  12. Alcophone
    Some more (2 outputs, not 4):
    The latter is more expensive than the switch witch, though, but more compact. There's also a version with inputs/outputs reversed, and both have a version with a potentiometer, essentially a balanced SYS (for 3x the price of what Schiit would charge, I imagine).
    rkw likes this.
  13. astromo
    How/Whenever the Gadget comes to fruition, my one comment (that I hope is seen as constructive) is whatever Mike's plan is, make it remote controlled.

    Can you imagine how big a drag it would be if you sat in your fave non-canned listening chair and then had to get up every other second to twiddle around to find audio Nirvana?

    With a set of phones on your head, no issue. Old school 2 channel via a set of speakers and it'd be a serious suck.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018
    ToTo Man likes this.
  14. Pietro Cozzi Tinin
    I use this Dodocus UBox2X now.
    You can choose for 2 different configs.
    1 source 2 play or 2 sources 1 play.
    Built with Deutsche Grundlicheit (German)
    You never have to use adapter xlr plugs now (fem2fem or male2male)
    And it looks a bit like Schiit.

    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018
  15. astromo
    Mike @Baldr please keep doing what you have been for the last 4 decades - and while you're at it - I especially love the frank interview / Schiit show videos that you've done (there's one with Jason, you and Darko that's supremely funny - I think you were explaining why DSD or MQA was not a Schiit thing, to put it politely).

    While I'm here, please keep offering black. There are some out here who understand the minimalist inventory philosophy but prefer a bit of darkness in their HiFi stack.
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