Delta Sigma Versus R2R Ladder

Ron Resnick

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Check out the new SCHIIT Yggdrasil “Less Is More” DAC.... Uses Four TI Dac 8812 chip’s .
The current “buzz” on the Internet is that this is their best DAC so far. They actually have 3 different versions of the latest Yggdrasiil DAC, with three distinctive tonal flavors. The “Less is More” model has the most “Analog”, sound characteristics of the three, ( the other two are described as “ Neutral” ( the “MORE IS LESS” version, and finally the “OG” version, being described as the most detailed, etc. Anyway something to consider, although it’s less money than your target search bracket ( 2199.00 to 2599.00 for the OG version).

Cheers....

What is there a circuit design methodology for implementing these three different total flavors?
 

MRJAZZ

[Industry Expert]
Jan 21, 2014
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What is there a circuit design methodology for implementing these three different total flavors?
Not exactly sure what they are doing, other than the use of different DAC chips in the three versions of the Yggdrasil, and then tuning them for different sonic presentations .....There are various reviews of these new Yggy models on the Internet that probably can answer your question better than what I just indicated.....
 

dcathro

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Sep 16, 2016
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Although the DAC methodology is just one aspect of performance, I believe it to be very important. My preference is for R2R. Also very important is the filtering, where I prefer no digital filter with just a simple analog filter.

Obviously the output stage and power supplies are also critical.

Good luck with your search Ron!
 

KostasP.

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I suggest that preconceived dogma is jettisoned and - especially at this level of the hobby - replaced by observing QUALITY of implementation at every critical level: conversion \ filtering \ clocking, output stage, power supply.

From what I know, Lampizator now uses Delta Sigma. Listen and judge without bias. I compared seven at the time ( R2R \ Delta Sigma, SS \ Valve ) and for my criteria and system settled for the T&A PDP3000 HV ( high voltage ). Not cheap but exquisite in every respect.

Cheers and be well, Kostas.
 
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bazelio

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What is there a circuit design methodology for implementing these three different total flavors?
Schiit has, for a few years, been tweaking the output circuit in both the Yggy and Gumby to achieve a particular flavor of sound... A supposedly analog sound, thus the "Analog 2" upgrade offered originally which merely tuned the output stage. Now they've decided to offer up multiple Yggys, each with a different DAC chip in order to obtain improved measurements. They got reamed in Stereophile a few years ago for poor measurements that revealed apparent problems with the digital circuitry at the time. And they have now apparently responded with a pick your poison solution. One DAC, three entirely different converter chip options, one of which they claim now measures quite well. Odd, in my opinion. Certainly unheard of.
 
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Al M.

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Schiit has, for a few years, been tweaking the output circuit in both the Yggy and Gumby to achieve a particular flavor of sound... A supposedly analog sound, thus the "Analog 2" upgrade offered originally which merely tuned the output stage.

Not really. The name "Analog 2" does not refer to an "analog" sound, but to the analog board of the Yggy (which apparently includes the D/A circuitry; I'm a bit confused about the technical terminology). As to flavors, Mike Moffat, the designer, once said when asked why he does not have a tube output stage on his DACs: "I don't like to put lipstick on a DAC."

(Not that he has anything against tubes; he likes and previously designed tube amps, and Schiit sells tubed headphone amps and preamps.)

Now they've decided to offer up multiple Yggys, each with a different DAC chip in order to obtain improved measurements. They got reamed in Stereophile a few years ago for poor measurements that revealed apparent problems with the digital circuitry at the time.

Some of the poor measurements of that old Yggy version 1 in Stereophile could not be replicated by others. One most contentious measurement could: the 1 kHz sine wave at -90 dB (i.e., at weak signal). Some have pointed out John Atkinson's hypocrisy since the MSB Analog DAC that he had measured a few years earlier showed a similarly bad 1 kHz sine wave at -90 dB but was praised by him for "excellent measured performance".

Atkinson just couldn't get over the fact that the Yggy "only" has 20 bit resolution (21 bit as sum of balanced DAC circuits), which is irrelevant in the real world, since the noise floor of any DAC (starting with the power supply) cannot be lowered enough to allow for a resolution at its analog output of more than 20 bits (120 dB dynamic range; the dynamic range of entire stereo systems is usually around 80-90 dB if I remember correctly).

Anyway, on the newer Yggy Analog 2 (now called Yggdrasil OG) the measured 1 kHz sine wave at -90 dB is picture perfect smooth, and thus also better than on most DACs.

At the time Schiit had some good humor about Stereophile's tear down of the Yggy. They took out a full page ad in, yes, Stereophile with big letters "OBSOLETE" written on top of a picture of the Yggy, saying: "That's what some have called Yggdrasil. Why? Because Yggdrasil uses 20-bit D/A converters."

The ad then ends with:

"(And if you really, really want a "non-obsolete", "32-bit" DAC, you can save $ 2,200 and get our $ 99 Modi 2 with the AK4490 converter.)"

Here is the ad (I wrote out above some of the text since it is quite small and you would have to blow up the picture to read it; as I said in Stereophile it was full page):

schiit_obsolete_stereophile_final_really.jpg
 
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Al M.

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And they have now apparently responded with a pick your poison solution. One DAC, three entirely different converter chip options, one of which they claim now measures quite well. Odd, in my opinion. Certainly unheard of.

The reason why they looked for other DAC chips was apparently the current chip shortage which also affects the auto industry big time. Different DAC chips and their implementation then lead to different sound flavors. Let the customer decide.
 

spiritofmusic

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Al, I thought Obsolete in that ad was named after the Norse God of Marketing.
 
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marslo

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When I compared some of the Lampi dacs with Lukasz he told me I have a preference for R2R. My GG is R2R and I could hear a distinct difference with chip at that time. It is in dynamic range, effortlessness, and flow. It is difficult to compare it to latter chip dacs as a lot apart from R2R and chip would have changed in between.
I had for a few years Lampi B7 with R2R design. I loved it.
2 hours audition of Pacific was enough to understand that is is a leap forward though.
Then my Pac was further upgraded and W20 new soft made possible native DSD playback instead of DoP. All together a new level of music reproduction.
But sometimes I miss my beloved B7…
I should have kept it in my 2 nd system, but one can’t have everything.
 
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morricab

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I had for a few years Lampi B7 with R2R design. I loved it.
2 hours audition of Pacific was enough to understand that is is a leap forward though.
Then my Pac was further upgraded and W20 new soft made possible native DSD playback instead of DoP. All together a new level of music reproduction.
But sometimes I miss my beloved B7…
I should have kept it in my 2 nd system, but one can’t have everything.
You should look for an Ayon Skylla 2, CD5Ss or S5 server with proper R2R BB1704 chips...and a very good tube output stage...would go great with your Crossfire...
 

marslo

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@morricab
My AA La Fontaine has BB 1792 as far as I remember, very good PCM DAC with tube ( micro triodes) output stage.
 

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bazelio

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@Al M. I just remember at the Analog2 release time, Jason and maybe Mike making comments on another forum along with the forum mods who had the upgrade about the "analog" sound. It wasn't a coincidence that it was named as such. I also talked to Jason at a meet in Southern Cali where he was telling me what he was trying to achieve and that ultimately he could not get there at the price point of the Yggy. It would involve transformers (and transformer saturation), which was just too cost prohibitive.

A concern I recall in Stereophile measurements was the high error rate around the zero crossing. We weren't arguing so much over its existence at the time, but over it's audible effect.
 

Tinear1

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Ron... have you had a chance to listen to the SW1X dac yet?
 

Al M.

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A concern I recall in Stereophile measurements was the high error rate around the zero crossing. We weren't arguing so much over its existence at the time, but over it's audible effect.

Yes, this was in the sine wave measurement that I mentioned. The error from that glitch energy at zero crossing, inherent in the DAC chip design, was already brought way down by Mike Moffat for the Yggy version 1. The DAC chip designer himself was amazed that this could be done (because of that issue, the DAC chip was not recommended by Analog Devices for audio applications, only for precision industrial applications, like medical or military). I didn't hear the problem; it was way down in the signal.

Anyway, it's a moot discussion now, since for the Analog 2 Mike Moffat managed to eliminate the zero crossing problem completely. As I mentioned, the 1 kHz sine wave at -90 dB is now perfectly smooth, textbook style.
 

microstrip

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I had a wonderful afternoon at the home of Phil (213cobra) on Tuesday! Phil's Bricasti DAC (one of the several he owns) can switch between delta sigma and R2R at the touch of a button. (...)

IMHO you just listened to the particulars of the implementation of these technologies in the Briscati DAC - no way you should make your mind in a afternoon listening session using a speaker that is night an day compared to your future ones.

Again IMHO the magic is not in the chips, but in the overall result of the implementation, and particularly in how it matches our system and preference.
 
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morricab

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@morricab
My AA La Fontaine has BB 1792 as far as I remember, very good PCM DAC with tube ( micro triodes) output stage.
The BB 1792 is a pretty good Soundcastles by delta sigma DAC chip. I had the Audio Aero Prima DAC, which was just a capitole 24/192 without the drive. Nice sounding but too smooth overall and a bit soft on dynamics. I always thought the last Audio Aero DACs were very Good...often rooms at shows with them performed well.

That said , the 5000+ euro AA was outperformed by my inexpensive Monarchy Audio M24 DAC, which uses the famous BB PCM63 20 bit chips...
 

K3RMIT

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Ron my advise is simple
while im
partial to Lampi and do feel a tube is a must in the digital chain
I do feel you should try to match the sound of your analog
in this manner it’s not a shock going from one medium to another.
the Baltic is an amazing dAC in price and performance
changing tubes / brand is a way to dial it in to your analog system
 
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caesar

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Not all ladder DACs are the same. TotalDAC and Aries Cerat carry much more emotion than MSB, which is an excellent audiophile DAC , delivering the audiophile vocabulary in spades, along with great detail retrieval and with a very musical sonic signature.

But MSB can't match TotalDAC or Aries Cerat for emotional engagement.

Bricasti DAC sounds great on Zu (because of Zu's great, rich tonality), but again, I dont' trust them with their R2R implementation , as they have been a sigma delta company for a long time. I think they just threw the R2R feature in there for audiophiles to play with, just like they have 10 or so different filters for people to drive themselves crazy with.

Also, the MBL reference DAC , which is delta sigma, carries much more emotion than MSB. So , again, can't really generalize.
 
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