Schiit Bifrost 2

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by RobS, Aug 28, 2019.

  1. DigitalMaven

    DigitalMaven Rando

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    I'm assuming that this is a multibit comparison? I have the 4490 version and I wondered how that compares to the new B2. Or is the B2 so much better that the B1 4490 is just sucking on the exhaust fumes of the B2. Thanks.
     
  2. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    Not a direct comparison, but I had an early production BF1 MB and thought it was pretty janky. A bit "boom & tizzz". Lacked microdynamics and true detail, had no tone, and felt a bit disjointed between the lowest octaves and the midrange. Currently have BF2 MB at work but BF2 is a completely different animal. In a good way. It's exceptional for the price.
     
  3. Martigane

    Martigane Acquaintance

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    Yes, those are two multibit bifrost. I updated the post.
    I think and in depth comparison called "a tale of 8 bifrosts" was made some time ago on this forum.

    From what i read here on SBAF, multibit is consistently better than its DS brother.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2020
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  4. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

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    I know of at least on Friend who prefers the DS Gungnir to any multibit, and synergy is always something to keep in mind.

    BF2 vs OG Bifrost - either of them - I would say that though.

    B1 was worse than Modi until Rev B arrived, while B2 is shockingly closer to either big brother, lacking most of their downsides - like the weak SE out - and mostly pairs well with everything, not something one can say about Gungnir or Yggdrasil.
     
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  5. tranq

    tranq Almost "Made"

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    I have a Bifrost 4490 and a Bifrost 2. I'll try and keep this short. Both dacs are very resolving. Bifrost 2 has a way of making me aware of parts/details I didn't notice before, but if I quickly switch over to 4490 those parts are there and can be heard clearly now that I know what I'm listening for. Everything about the Bifrost 2 seems to be a bit fuller, meatier. Bass is stronger.

    I like Bifrost 2 better, but Bifrost 4490 is no slouch, and it will be debateable to some as to whether a Bifrost 2 is worth the extra cost if you are happy with an older Bifrost.

    I like my Bifrost 2 better, but man you have to really listen, and listen lots to fully appreciate the improvements Bifrost 2 brings. Don't expect your world to change.
     
  6. squishware

    squishware Friend

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    I went from years with an Uber Bifrost to the Bifrost 2. I definitely feel like it is a new world.
     
  7. auvgeek

    auvgeek Acquaintance

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    I think it really depends on your chain and your ears, to be honest.

    In like 2014-2015 timeframe (right before the Schiit multibit revolution), I had a Gungnir DS and "upgraded" to a Theta DSPro IIIa. I thought the sound was instantly more relaxed with much more natural timbre with tight, not-bloomy, slamming bass. It just wasn't close at all. I did my best to do "blind" comparisons with an external USB-SPDIF converter because the Gen2 USB sucked and the Theta didn't have USB input. It was hard to level match and also be blind because I think I'm recalling correctly that the Theta output like 6dB higher so I'm not claiming it was a perfect test. But I did my best to do blind subjective impressions, which as a budding audiophile seemed like the best compromise of the subjective and objective camps.

    When I upgraded again to the Gungnir MB A2 from the DSPro IIIa, I thought I was going crazy because the Gungnir MB A2 was much brighter and analytical than I expected. My first thought was "gosh, the Yggdrasil must be SUPER bright if this is the Gungnir." After some searching (mostly here on SBAF), I discovered the new (undocumented) rev of the Gungnir was brighter.

    So the point of this ramble is that, for my chain and my ears, the DAC changes I've heard are just not very subtle. Which isn't to say that I'll buy a Yggdrasil (which I've lusted after since it was released) and be bummed that it's not much better than the Gungnir MB.

    (Yes, I know the Gungnir DS uses a different chip, but I'd imagine it's better than the Bifrost 4490. Could be wrong, though.)

    Also: after reading about the big Yggdrasil debacle with warm up, I always let DACs warm up for about a week before listening to avoid any pyscho-acoustic effects of the sound burning in.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2020
  8. DigitalMaven

    DigitalMaven Rando

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    Now I'm wondering if it wouldn't be money better spent on the Tube pre amp Freya+ vs. upgrading the dac at this time. Maybe wait for an entire upgrade to the Yggdrasil and Gungnir lineup over the next couple of years.
     
  9. tranq

    tranq Almost "Made"

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    Sure, I can see that. I went from 3 months of a self installed 4490 to a Bifrost 2. You have way more hours logged on your Bifrost Uber.

    I think there is a fair amount of personal weighting that goes into each one of these assessments and opinions. One man's whole new world is another man's upgrade from a good chuck steak to ribeye steak.

    It's a good upgrade, don't get me wrong, I don't regret it for a second.

    Tough call mate, I'm sure folks will disagree, but if you have a transparent pre amp that you like, the DAC will probably give a bigger change to the sound. Tube flavoring is a whole nother ball game. Depends on what you are looking for vs what you have already. You likely can't go wrong, but the internal debate might never end.
    I'm still wondering if I should have returned the Sol beta, bought Aegir and just went with a cheaper TT.
     
  10. tranq

    tranq Almost "Made"

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  11. gefski

    gefski Acquaintance

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    A couple things to keep in mind:

    Upgrading downstream components can change the personality of our systems in fun and exciting ways, but cannot extract more information from the source, or repair damage done to the music files upstream.

    Bifrost 2 does not just offer mb processing, but also Unison USB, which is finally a truly transparent USB interface. Pre quarantine listening by some of us here in Seattle showed it to be nearly equal to our preferred non-usb options.

    For me, B2, paired with a very good $100 - $200 amp, can easily become a “laugh all the way to the bank” foundation for a real hi-fidelity presentation.
     
  12. tranq

    tranq Almost "Made"

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    I agree, Bifrost 2 is not wasted on a used Asgard 2 or a new Asgard 3. I'm running HD600s, and HD6XXS. Very nice combo. When the economy stabilizes, a second Bifrost 2 will find its way to my house, at some point.
     
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  13. allegro

    allegro Friend

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    Hard to go wrong with a Bifrost 2. It is kind of a no brainer under $1000 and should hold its' price well if you sell it later and move up to a Yggdrasil. I have not listened to one yet since I sold my OG Bifrost and bought my Yggdrasil but suspect I would have no problem living with one quite comfortably.
     
  14. sp33ls

    sp33ls Acquaintance

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    What I find kind of crazy is how some audiophiles are just so wrapped up into technical measurements. I grabbed my M.S. in engineering and so I understand the importance of measurements. But, I also admit that there are just too many variables at play to account for how something will be perceived subjectively. Also, it's arrogant to assume that our current suite of tests are sufficient based off of humanity's track record of stating that "we've already arrived at the peak of [XYZ] in technology." I'm sure 50 years from now will look quite different than today. :)

    All this to say -- I'm quite impressed with the BF2 after moving from Modi Multibit w/ Eitr. Of course the changes are subtle, but still impressive nonetheless. When I first gave it a listen I was like "no way -- this has got to my psychological / placebo". Maybe it is all in my head. IDK. But, for under $1000 (and modularity for future upgrades), I'm satisfied. I'm even more excited to receive my ZMF Aelous and see how they match with my system.
     
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  15. Martigane

    Martigane Acquaintance

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    Few more comments on Bifrost 1 multibit Rev B (May 2019) Vs Bifrost 2 (March 2020) - SE outputs:
    • Bifrost 2 is a lot less noisy at idle than Bifrost1: with Bifrost 1, I could hear a distinct hiss noise at full amp volume, while there is nothing with the Bifrost 2. Note that this full amp volume is around 9dB higher than the max volume I ever use, at which hiss noise cannot be heard. So practically not a real issue, but still a nice improvement.
    • It is possible to better "isolate" optically the front leds, I used some Blue Tack in between each led's transparent piece of plexiglass, creating a small "wall". Light bleeding improved a lot.. good enough for now.
    • The click made during sample rate switch across songs is a bit more quiet on B2, and more important, very fast: Bifrost1 was missing the first 1.5s of the song, while Bifrost2 only misses less than 0.5s, to the point where it is slightly annoying, but can live with it on a random playlist.
    • Bifrost 2 usb connector is a lot more firm and less flimsy than on Bifrost1.
    • Phase inversion makes a difference, especially on trumpets, but also where I did not expect it: some clean bass lines become colored when the phase is inverted. That's too big of a difference to just be a phase inversion. Something I will have to investigate.
      So far in a blind test, I prefer phase inversion OFF (amp is non-inverting too).
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2020
  16. scottcw

    scottcw Rando

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    I received my Bifrost 2 on Monday. One question I have is what setting to use in Windows 10 for sample rate/frequency. Windows defaults to 32/48 when connected to the Bifrost.

    I am using Amazon HD (HD tracks are 16/44.1 and Ultra are 24/44.1 - 192).

    I did a search and found various opinions on how to set sample/frequency. Am I better off at 16/48 to let the Bifrost filter do the up-sampling? or should I set Windows to 24/48 and let Windows handle up-sampling?

    Thanks!
     
  17. Baten

    Baten Friend

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    Definitely use 24-bit instead of 16-bit. Other than that, I would not let Windows upsample to silly rates, that's not high fidelity. 24/44 or 24/48 is the way to go, ideal would be to listen in such a way that the source sample rate is automatically respected. Never used Amazon HD though.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2020
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  18. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

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    48 is the way to go for Windows mixer settings.

    That's what basically all apps, browsers, and such are shitting out natively.

    Not that it makes much difference given how much mangling the mixer does, but setting to 48khz and lowering all in-app volumes to less than 100% does help.
     
  19. scottcw

    scottcw Rando

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    Thanks all, 24/48 it is.

    What is the benefit to lowering volume below 100%? 100% is 0db on my screen. Is a 0db signal to the DAC not recommended?
     
  20. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

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    @scottcw when the windows directsound mixer sees a 100% volume stream it applies a fast limiter to prevent clipping - and damage to cheap speakers/headphones - that mangles the sound pretty badly.
     

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