Best redbook 16bit/44.1kHz DACs?

Elberoth

Member Sponsor
Dec 16, 2012
1,860
14
38
Poland
#3
Schiit also does hi-res.

As far as redbook only DACs are concerned, I have read many positive reports on the new, battery powered Concert Fidelity DAC.
 
Apr 5, 2012
655
0
0
#4
I don't mind if the DACs play hi-res also, this is a nice to have feature, but not essential. Don't know about you guys but I listen to 95% redbook so want optimal performance for this format.
 
Apr 3, 2010
16,022
0
0
Seattle, WA
#6
Interested in The Schiit (on back order till end of June) but the FAQ is hilarious, a must read.

Any other recommended options in that price range?

http://schiit.com/products/yggdrasil
I would be very hesitant of buying any Schiit products without measurements. My son bought one of their $400 DACs and it was by far one of the worst performing DACs I have measured. I was measuring it because he was able to readily hear the activities of his PC bleeding through that DAC into his headphones. Here is its S/PDIF performance:



That jitter is at -62 dB FS. It is 20 to 30 dB worse than anything I have seen. Signal to noise ratio of redbook CD is 96 dB. So for the distortion to be at the level of noise, it would have to be -96 dB FS. This is 34 dB worse than that! It also has the dishonor of being the first fully documented case of use of different media players showing different outputs due to lack of isolation from the PC:



Keeping everything the same but using Media Player Classic gives this:



I can buy a $20 USB DAC with far better performance than these. My son could not return the DAC faster than he did.

He also bought a pair of interconnects from them. One of them failed immediately. I opened it up and it super lousy soldering job with no strain relief so the center coax connector broke off. They had bought the connectors from one of the famous cable companies and soldered their own wire to it. And screwing up the only part they had their hand in it.

They have lived up to their name in my book. No company that had any quality control or ability to measure gear would have ever released such products. Be afraid, be very afraid in buying their products as the line in Adam's' Family movie went.
 

Joe Whip

New Member
Feb 8, 2014
1,099
0
0
Wayne, PA
#7
Here is a link to measurements taken of the DAC. Seem damn impressive to me.

http://www.head-fi.org/t/764787/yggdrasil-technical-measurements

I have 2 Schiit products, the Gungnir DAC and the Wyrd and they work flawlessly. Mike Moffatt is no dummy. I recommend their products without hesitation. Sorry you had an issue Amir. We listened to redbook extensively with this DAC last night and it was sensational. So was high rez.
 
Apr 3, 2010
16,022
0
0
Seattle, WA
#8
Here is a link to measurements taken of the DAC. Seem damn impressive to me.

http://www.head-fi.org/t/764787/yggdrasil-technical-measurements
Thanks but the measurements are not properly documented. I can't tell for example if he used the PC to drive to the signal as I did or the Prism Sound output. Lack of isolation is not going to show up when you use a lab grade instrument to drive the DAC as opposed to typical noisy PC music server.

I have 2 Schiit products, the Gungnir DAC and the Wyrd and they work flawlessly. Mike Moffatt is no dummy. I recommend their products without hesitation. Sorry you had an issue Amir.
Me? No. I had no issue. We returned the box and got a refund. They have issues. What I have shown are clearly design problems in a $400 DAC. Not one problem but multiple. The workmanship on the interconnect was not subject to debate either. Maybe their other DACs are good. I don't know. What I do know is that significant issues existed beyond anything anyone can explain away in nearly $1,000 my son spent between DAC, headphone amp and cables, based on my recommendation of reading their subjective performance on forums no less. Having now egg on my face, I hope you forgive me for warning people to not jump in the pool the same way.

We listened to redbook extensively with this DAC last night and it was sensational. So was high rez.
When a device has poor isolation, its performance becomes variable and source dependent. Unless such time that it is shown to not have such issues, then subjective performance unfortunately cannot be relied upon as even if valid, may not be replicated on other systems.

My strong warnings remain.
 

Joe Whip

New Member
Feb 8, 2014
1,099
0
0
Wayne, PA
#9
Which is why they have a money back guarantee. Try it for 2 weeks and if you don't like it, send it back. My friend did it with the much more pricey Berkeley DAC. He keep the Schiit over that and a PS Audio DAC. Maybe you can order one, test it and let us know.
 
Apr 3, 2010
16,022
0
0
Seattle, WA
#10
Which is why they have a money back guarantee.
The guy selling hair growth ointment has money back guarantee too :D. Doesn't mean it is a substitute for proper data before jumping in. There is work and effort involved in buying and returning something.

Try it for 2 weeks and if you don't like it, send it back. My friend did it with the much more pricey Berkeley DAC. He keep the Schiit over that and a PS Audio DAC. Maybe you can order one, test it and let us know.
I think I have done my bit to add objective data to the conversation and that was enough for me to write off the company. With so many choices of DAC companies out there, I don't know why I would spend time dealing with a company that put out such poor performing product. You should have seen the soldering job on the cable. I can show a 6 year old how to solder wires better than they had.

If there is sufficient interest in their products and someone can explain to me why, sure, I can test another. For now, I would not remotely mention Berkeley products in the same sentence as them, your friend's experience notwithstanding.

BTW, what can you tell me about the guy who did these measurements? He has the gear so I assume he knows how to perform such but looking at what he has post has me concerned:



For one, anyone who posts blue graph on black needs to be taken out back and shot. :D I had to pull it into Photoshop, brighten it just to be able read the darn thing.

When I do that, I see correlated low frequency jitter that has landed on top of the main tone because his chart has too low of a resolution on X axis. The solution is to expand the X axis which would allow one to see the actual distortions.
 

Joe Whip

New Member
Feb 8, 2014
1,099
0
0
Wayne, PA
#11
I have no idea who the guy is who did the measurements. I just found it on the Head Fi site since you mentioned a lack of measurements. Fact is, there has been plenty of poor engineering and poor workmanship in a quite a few high end products over the years. I once witnessed a very expensive amp blow up the first time it was turned on after delivery. Glad it wasn't my purchase. A friend who is an audio and video reviewer as requested one of the DACS for evaluation. I believe you know him quite well but not from WBF. He knows how to do the measurements. Hopefully he will get a review sample and even better, I hope to be able to borrow it too so I can hear it in a very familiar set up. Trust but verify as someone once said. Can't recall who. :) We will just have to agree to disagree on this on Amir. Such is life.
 

wisnon

Active Member
Dec 12, 2011
2,483
6
38
#13
Which is why they have a money back guarantee. Try it for 2 weeks and if you don't like it, send it back. My friend did it with the much more pricey Berkeley DAC. He keep the Schiit over that and a PS Audio DAC. Maybe you can order one, test it and let us know.
Which Berkeley Dac, the Bada 1, 2 or Reference?
 
Jul 1, 2010
8,713
0
0
#14
Schiit was the darling of the day on Computer Audiophile for awhile. Evidently they had their moment on head fi as well. They couldn't even hear this Schiit on headphones? That's a cautionary tale about forum opinions and golden audiophile ears.

Tim
 

Joe Whip

New Member
Feb 8, 2014
1,099
0
0
Wayne, PA
#16
Not sure where you are going with this Tim, but I have had the Gungnir for over a year and am listening to it through Spectral gear and Vandersteen 3A Signatures and it sounds fantastic. NO issues at all, knock on wood.
 
Jul 1, 2010
8,713
0
0
#17
Not sure where you are going with this Tim, but I have had the Gungnir for over a year and am listening to it through Spectral gear and Vandersteen 3A Signatures and it sounds fantastic. NO issues at all, knock on wood.
Not going anywhere, Joe. I hope your piece is the exception.

Tim
 

Al M.

VIP/Donor
Sep 10, 2013
3,885
13
38
Greater Boston
#20
Which is why they have a money back guarantee. Try it for 2 weeks and if you don't like it, send it back. My friend did it with the much more pricey Berkeley DAC. He keep the Schiit over that and a PS Audio DAC. Maybe you can order one, test it and let us know.
The 'best' DAC depends all on system synergy and your personal preferences, next to more objective perceptions about resolution, which in turn can be colored by personal biases as well.

For example, during my phase of auditioning DACs in my system, which led me to purchase my current Berkeley Alpha DAC2, I also heard the Hegel DAC25 in my system. Some would have loved the sound: it was warm and full. Yet it always sounded warm and full: orchestral brass always sounded the same, regardless of recording, while the Berkeley DAC presented the recordings in a much more varied manner, apparently closer to what was actually on the disc. Some orchestral brass sounded just as warm and full as with the Hegel DAC25, some sounded more thin and bright. Given the varied presentation it seemed that the Berkeley DAC added far less color of its own. The always warm and full brass with the Hegel DAC became boring after a while: why should all brass sound the same? Yet I could imagine that some would have greatly preferred the Hegel DAC.

(The Berkeley DAC also gave a much livelier and more dramatic presentation, and had vastly superior bass, so in the end its purchase was a no brainer for me.)

My next DAC will probably be the Berkeley Reference DAC that your friend did not like as much.
 

About us

  • Founded in 2010 What's Best Forum invites intelligent and courteous people of all interests and backgrounds to describe and discuss the best of everything. From beginners to life-long hobbyists to industry professionals we enjoy learning about new things and meeting new people and participating in spirited debates.

Quick Navigation

User Menu

Steve Williams
Site Founder | Site Owner | Administrator
Ron Resnick
Site Co-Owner | Administrator
Julian (The Fixer)
Website Build | Marketing Managersing