Modi Multibit: Multibit for the masses.

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by MrTie, Jul 25, 2016.

  1. Koth Ganesh

    Koth Ganesh Friend

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    This, my man. Would you recommend this for classic rock ? You know, Deep Purple, Floyd, Led Zep etc etc? Ah what the heck, I have the Yggdrasil, Gungnir MB and the Bifrost MB. Need to get the Modi MB to complete the MB series from Schiit. Plus, Modi is the PM in India now ;)
     
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  2. sphinxvc

    sphinxvc Gear Master (retired)

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    I'm glad you posted this. Was starting to wonder where the plate tectonic bass I get with Bifrost Multibit in my room was coming from.

    Side note, I grow increasingly convinced you can prove any point with but two simple metaphors: blow jobs and hand jobs. (ELIS -> explain like its sex)

    Caveat about my room though, it is semi-treated and I use floor standers.
     
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  3. fjrabon

    fjrabon Acquaintance

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    So, mine has stabilized, to my ears at least, but I will keep an ear out for more changes as it passes the 24 hour mark. I believe somewhere Mike said that it should take MoMBy 1/8 the time to warm up as Yggdrasil, but maybe I'm misremembering that. First 2 hours were massive changes. last 3-4 hours have mostly been stable. Some very early, not too in depth impressions:

    So mine has been warming up for about 5-6 hours now. Interesting to compare it to my Grace m9XX and iDAC6. Amp used is the Torpedo III.

    First impression is this is a great DAC. It so insanely beats everything else at its price level that it's not funny. A true game changer in lower-mid-fi (price wise at least) DACs. Compared to the m9XX, I give the m9XX a large nod on versatility. This is obvious because the m9XX has more features (filters, crossfeed, DSD, ability to run off USB bus power or external power, etc). I'd give the MoMBy a moderate but noticeable nod on "naturalness" of presentation. I'd say they're about equal in detail and soundstage. They're both what might be called "warm" DACs. Which really I think is because they're both less harsh than most sabre based DACs. m9XX has a bit more low end power though. I wouldn't say that the MoMBy is lacking there, or that the m9XX was excessive, they both are just slightly to either side of the middle point. MoMBy has maybe slightly better textured bass, whereas m9XX has a slightly better sense of raw power. a bit of a judgment call as to which has the better bass.

    I'd give the MoMBy the slight edge overall on pure sound quality. The m9XX acquits itself well, and there are practical reasons somebody might choose m9XX over MoMBy, but it's hard to not come to the conclusion that MoMBy sounds a bit more natural and easy to listen to without giving up any ground in resolution. Resolution + naturalness = transparency and he MoMBy has that in spades.

    Switching gears to comparing the iDAC6, things get harder to make any sort of definitive conclusion. For those unfamiliar, the iDAC6 uses dual AKM4490 chips in a truly differential implementation. It also has both transistor and tube output buffer stages. It's a new product and retails around $900.

    Whereas the m9XX's selling point was feature robustness, the selling point of the iDAC6 is being able to be a tonal chameleon. Whereas the m9XX has 4 DAC filters, they're extremely subtly different and are designed to solve aliasing and intermodulation distortion issues more than they're designed to actually change the sound. The iDAC6 on the other hand has 5 filters that are fairly radically different and can fairly dramatically change the soundstage depth and transient response. Then when combined with the transistor vs tube output, the iDAC6 has 10 fairly distinct tonal flavors. That makes a direct comparison with any DAC very difficult, let alone a R2R DAC like MoMBy.

    I'd say the iDAC6 slightly edges the MoMBy in soundstage width. Both are very natural sound stages. Depth is more complicated because with the iDAC6's most upfront setting (super slow roll off, transistor output), the MoMBy is much deeper, while the iDAC6 is aggressive and in your face. However, going to the iDAC6's most laid back setting (sharp roll off, tube output), things switch, with iDAC6 being deeper and MoMBy being more upfront. In the middle setting for the iDAC6 (slow roll off, transistor output) they're more or less identical in soundstage depth.

    iDAC6, depending on the setting, can destroy the MoMBy in bass power, and holds its own in bass texture, but on other settings the iDAC6 can also do subtle, precise, layered bass that blends in well. I'd say the iDAC6 clearly wins out bass, as in all of its settings it at least matches the MoMBy in bass, and has the potential with the right settings for blowing its doors off when called upon. Midrange I'd maybe give to the MoMBy overall, as it just has a naturalness and resolution that I find irresistible. Treble it really depends and, again, it's hard to say, as it depends on whether you value one solution or a series of tools. The iDAC6's treble can vary from smooth, to razor sharp, to a few points in between. The MoMBy hits a nice compromise, and, again, sounds overall very good. But if you're willing to experiment you can usually find a combination on the iDAC6 that fits the recording just a little bit better.

    I'd say that if you're willing to tinker and match DAC settings to particular recordings, the iDAC6 is capable of beating the MoMBy around half the time, dead heat 1/4 the time, and MoMBy wins 1/4 the time. However if you like your DAC to be set it and forget it, the MoMBy is as good, and maybe a bit better than the iDAC6 on its most "normal" setting. The iDAC6 will also do DSD if that matters to you. They're at the very least comparable in quality, it just comes down to if you want flexibility in your DAC or just one great set it and forget it sound. I think they both fit for me. And given how cheap MoMBy is, I don't have to feel very guilty about having an extra "unnecessary" DAC.

    The MoMBy will absolutely be my new "lower mid-fi" entry level DAC recommendation. It's the only DAC most people will need unless they're ready to go all in on an end game DAC. This product is absolutely going to put other manufacturers on notice. It's, in my opinion, the first truly market changing product in headphone audiophile land since the HD800. And the first in the budget conscious tier since, well, maybe ever.
     
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    Last edited: Aug 8, 2016
  4. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Most improved member; A+

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    Great impressions @fjrabon . How did the instrumental separation compare on the DACs? for separation, I thought the M9XX was about = to the AK4490 Modi 2U and both were minutely better than the AK4396 Modi 2U (which was more tonally flat). The Bifrost Multibit stomped them all though but was tonally more off than the cheaper stuff and the Bifrost 4490 had the widest stage but was tonally way out there and exaggerated the AK4490 chip's inner bloom with not actually better separation than the cheaper stuff.
     
  5. fjrabon

    fjrabon Acquaintance

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    I've never heard the 4490 Modi, so I can't comment there. I did however think the m9XX beat the 4396 Modi by a fair amount, I've spent a decent amount of time with two different 4396 based DACs, the AudioEngine D1 and older Modi 2 U and I thought they were both solid, but not great performers. I lay all that out to get a aseline to make the m9XX comparison more salient to the others.

    I think the MoMBy wins separation over the m9XX by a hair, while still staying musical. A great sabre based DAC might beat them both on separation, but it does it with harsh, etched tone. MoMBy and m9XX both give off the vibe of a very comfortable listening room.

    The iDAC6, again, is harder to pin down because it has so many different combinations of settings. On tube output with the filter set on short delay sharp roll off, it has the separation of roughly the m9XX. On transistor output slow roll off, it has razor sharp separation, but not quite with the harshness of most sabre based DACs. On slow roll off transistor, it has roughly the same separation as the MoMBy, which is on the very good/great level without getting into "etched" territory at all. (I know it seems like I'm spending more time talking about the iDAC6 than the MoMBy, but it's hard to discuss such an oddball DAC without going into a lot of detail).

    The biggest thing I come away with when listening to MoMBy is just no nonsense "gets it right." There are DACs that beat it on separation, but the separation on the MoMBy seems right to me. There are DACs with more detail, but at the expense of harsh tone and in your face presentation, again MoMBy gets it right. There are DACs with wider stage, but they sound disconnected, MoMBy gets it right. There are DACs with deeper soundstage, but they sound veiled, again, MoMBy gets it right. It's a very goldilocks DAC. My only very mild quibble with the MoMBy is that it would be nice to be able to coax a bit more aggressive bass out of when warranted, maybe a touch more in amount, and a touch more in impact and a touch more in speed. But that's a very, very mild quibble, and many people may even prefer this bass response, and in fact most amps wouldn't be able to deliver more than what the MoMBy will deliver anyway.

    Right now my chain is MoMBy -> Torpedo III -> HD800 (calibrated) and I'm not totally sure which part is the weak link, which is saying quite a lot given that the TIII is a bargain at $1500, and I think my Sonarworks calibrated HD800 beats the pants off an HD800S.
     
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    Last edited: Aug 8, 2016
  6. Scott Kramer

    Scott Kramer Friend

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    Wondering if anyone ran across this, not sure how to explain it... but I think the superburritofilter or DSP chip lost it's mind!

    It started when playing this Album (gypsy fire)--

    [​IMG]

    On this song (Nuevo Sol) there are high delicate brushed cymbals-- the Dac was adding some crazy resonate "cricket type sounds" but were in tune and at the same time the cymbal brushes happen. At first thought it was some new information we've never heard. It was also a very phasey/spacious sound.

    So tried other songs, this sound carried thru... on Morcheeba Recipe for Disaster it was there... it's like a tube blew out & resonating at certain frequencies...

    ... what the Hell? :confused:

    Anyway turned the pi/piCorePlayer (coax transport) on/off -- wasn't it.

    Then turned the Moby on/off --> *it completely went away*

    Also it was after it had been on for 12hrs... it's sound was getting crazy organic! It really changes after warming up.


    FYI, just a heads up, in case someone else runs into this... I suspect it may never happen again!
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2016
  7. bixby

    bixby Friend

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    thanks to @jexby got to hear the Moby with my Senn 650s via the excellent Vali2. Really surprising dac. Does a very good job at its price and left a better impression on me vs the m44902u via the same amp. Only shows some shortcomings in the female vocal area when compared to some better and more expensive dacs.

    Today's short listen lends to this subjective ranking. This should not be a surprise as all were good and differed mainly in naturalness, space representation and plankton. Gungnir Multibit>Mojo>Moby.

    Moby and Vali 2 make a very formidable combination. Was eclipsed by running the Mojo into the Vali 2 but now we are talking much more dinero. Mojo Vali2 combo was very close when cost is considered to the beautiful tones coming from Jexby's Gungnir Multibit and EC Black Widow.
     
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  8. jexby

    jexby Posole Prince

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    Note: I didn't perform DAC switcheroo between Chord Mojo and Moby, with Vali2.
    Moby had been powered up for 26hours during our listens today.

    between the 2 rigs below there are some tonal characteristics in common, yet with HE500 (open grills, Focus A pads)
    Moby + Vali2
    and
    Gungnir Multibit (XLR to ISOmax SE) to BW1

    the biggest difference is the more wide open, relaxed, spatial delivery of Gungnir Multibit + BW1. super resolving and engaging. effortless listening enjoyment.
    Moby+Vali2 sound stage is a little crammed, less space between physical elements. more intimate maybe, sound is closer in around your ears/head.

    Gungnir Multibit+BW1 blows it open to "in room or in music hall" listening. tones and instruments have more flow, echo, decay.
    more natural in terms of physical acoustics or some such fluffery like that. (now stepping off the 6moons path to hilarious descriptive bunk.)

    note: NOT disappointed in Moby at all! there is nothing it does poorly, and it's cheap! (in DAC-world costs)
    more Moby time this week, maybe after 48+hours of power on it opens up a bit wider.....
     
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  9. fjrabon

    fjrabon Acquaintance

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    After another day of listening, some further impressions:

    The transients are a bit softer than my other DACs. It's most noticeable on bass transients (hard kick drum sounds, electronic beats) but it's even there in the midrange and treble. The closest thing I can compare it to is actually a headphone, the HiFiMan HE1000. It's not quite as soft as the HE1K, but it's that sort of idea. A plus here is that it allows you to "see inside" the transients a little more clearly because your ear is less overwhelmed by the hardness of the edge. There are times when I wish for a bit more guttural kick with bass transients, but the sound has a very alluring quality to it on its own. It also makes for an extremely easy listen as well. It makes the system forgiving without losing detail. Oasis's first two albums have never sounded better. They're still poorly mastered, and you can hear the brick wall mastering still, but it's much less harsh and much more detail is extractable.

    Another good example is Al DiMeola, John McLaughlin and Paco De Lucia live in San Francisco. Al Di Meola plays a steel string acoustic, while Paco and McLaughlin play nylon strings (paco's may even be gut strung). So sometimes Al's tone is so much harder than the others that it can overwhelm the ear a bit. With MoMBy even when all three are playing everything stays smooth and well defined. Being able to distinctly keep three acoustic guitarists separated in the stereo image when they're literally playing the same exact parts at times in a live acoustic setting is quite a feat but MoMBy (and TIII + HD800) pull it off.

    Overall, this slight softness in the transients, to me is where Yggdrasil slightly pulls ahead of MoMBy. Yggdrasil gives a more true to life power in the transients while still maintaining the detail and smoothness. This leads Yggdrasil to be a bit more transparent and image a bit better as well.

    That being said, I can see some listeners actually preferring the presentation MoMBy gives, even over Yggdrasil. It's so liquid and natural. I think this lack of sharpness is where people get the impression that MoMBy is warm. It's perfectly dead flat neutral, it just has a little less pure quick sharp edge power in the transients, which is less grating in the ear, which can seem "warmer"

    Soundstage depth is very interesting on MoMBy. On the one hand that lack of sharpness of edge would seem to put it further back depth wise. However, MoMBy also has incredible presence frequency detail that pulls it back forward a bit. It makes it really hard for me to get a great feel for the depth it presents. It almost seems to pull midrange instruments forward but push cymbals and bass instruments back, to my ears at least.

    Also if I haven't mentioned it, micro detail is jaw dropping at times. This is a very well matched DAC for HD800. Feeds it the detail it craves without the harshness that will rip your ear off of many other detailed DACs.

    To me this unit is a pretty clear step above m9XX and Mojo (and I love both of those units) but YMMV.
     
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  10. Scott Kramer

    Scott Kramer Friend

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    Does Mike's filter have pre/post ringing, or does multibit not have it in the first place? Ayre, Meridian, PSAudio (maybe not their Directstream Dac) etc. use an apodizing filter to try and minimize that --

    [​IMG]
     
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    Last edited: Aug 12, 2016
  11. rott

    rott Secretly hates other millenials - Friend

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    What would having or not having that translate to in terms of what is actually heard? Just curious.
     
  12. Xac

    Xac Rando

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    Has anyone compared Momby to Bifrost Multibit?
     
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  13. Huxleigh

    Huxleigh Almost "Made"

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    Several people, myself included. Advise that you read this thread before posting. And that you take the time to introduce yourself here.
     
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  14. FredM

    FredM Rando

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    Hi Scott, have you also seen the latest episode on the 'Hans Beekhuyzen Channel' ? A similar picture was on subject. I find it a very informative youtube channel, every friday a new subject. Cheers, Fred
     
  15. Huxleigh

    Huxleigh Almost "Made"

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    Gonna give the Bifrost Multibit another listen this evening to see whether it stays or goes. Keeping in mind what @baldr pointed out, too. Should be interesting. I'll post some thoughts on this session later.
     
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  16. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better fan fics than you

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    Gonna be buying this next week out of curiosity of the R2R sound.

    But I'm still grappling with some of these audio terms. What is micro-detail? And I suppose the flipside of that is macro-detail.
     
  17. jexby

    jexby Posole Prince

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    micro detail = you can hear the mouse fart in the background.
    if it was in the room, during a pause of the saxophone fade and guitar pluck.
    and if the recording engineer had decent microphone placement.
     
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  18. Huxleigh

    Huxleigh Almost "Made"

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    Damn... although I still prefer Moby in my current system, I can't bring myself to put the Bifrost Multibit up for sale. It just has too many virtues relative to its smaller counterpart to be easily dismissed. And in the (nearish) future, I might be grateful to have retained it...

    More to follow, but I'm reasonably sure at this point that the Bifrost Multibit is the more "correct" DAC. Or at least the more analog sounding of the two, anyway. So I've changed my tune somewhat, for what that's worth. :oops:

    "Woe is me, I can't decide between two premium audio components. Which is better? Guess I'll just have to keep both... :Violin:"
     
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    Last edited: Aug 16, 2016
  19. Zed Bopp

    Zed Bopp Friend

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    Just ordered one from Schiit Europe - We'll see how much of a difference a dedicated DAC makes vs my old & trusty Apogee Duet. At least I don't need to switch cables every time I use my Lyr 2. There doesn't seem to be a quick way to switch from one to another for testing, hmm.

    Too bad I cannot sit it atop the Lyr, it seems. I'm thinking placing it on its side. We'll see.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2016
  20. Serious

    Serious Inquisitive Frequency Response Plot

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    The Megacomboburrito filter has symmetrical pre and post-ringing afaik. Go NOS if you want a nice-looking impulse response.
     
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