Schiit Modi 3

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by purr1n, Sep 21, 2018.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I guess this is finally out. See photos here: http://www.schiit.com/products/modi-1

    Front plate selector for input: toslink, coax, or USB. Two micro USB in the back. One for power and another for data / power. The neat thing is that the data USB input can be zero draw while the power USB is plugged in, so use with tablets and phones is feasible. I'll need to test this out more. A big change is no more AC wall wart (as with the Modi Uber). Schiit went with a switching power supply - a USB cable and wall adapter is included too.

    As for the sound, I find it hard to believe that it's a SD DAC. AKM and BB179* are the best of bunch in terms of presenting sound with a minimum of digital nasties, but it looks like Schiit has taken this a step further from the prior AKM4490 based Modi 2. There's still a bit of that AKM "velvet" sound going on (see here for an interesting read: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/akms-velvet-sound.2356/). The attacks aren't as sharp as the 4396/4399 based chips, the mids are recessed; but staging and resolution take a noteable step forward.

    Tonally, the Modi 3 sounds stately, laid-back, refined. Not quite as sloped / dark as the Modi Multibit, but it does have marginally better clarity. Where the Modi Multibit pulls ahead is with the imaging where there is stuff front, back, in between, etc.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2018
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  2. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    Nice to see you review again @purr1n

    Another major difference is that it's DC coupled now, no more capacitors.

    Are you going to try it with Eitr? Granted Modi + Eitr is the same as a Modi MB so it doesn't seem like an upgrade that makes sense.
     
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  3. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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  4. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Given the slightly different AC noise components as seen per the measurements I took, I'm sure peeps will now be looking for the ultimate USB wall adapter. Maybe AudioQuest or MIT cables can provide us with audiophile USB wall adapters ranging from $99 to $799.
     
  5. schiit

    schiit SchiitHead

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    It'll make your iPhone photos look better too, if you charge your phone consistently from the UnobtainiumUltraPlatinum™ USB Power Source.
     
  6. Elnrik

    Elnrik Super Friendly

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    Does the multi bit version use the same USB power scheme, or does it still have a dedicated wall wart?
     
  7. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    The MB version still uses the AC-AC brick / wall wart.
     
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  8. Elnrik

    Elnrik Super Friendly

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    Thanks!
     
  9. Type35

    Type35 Rando

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    Nice to read something other than the predigested press release.
    How do the Modi 3 compare with the Grace/Massdrop SDAC?
     
  10. Elnrik

    Elnrik Super Friendly

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    A little early to ask for comparisons I think.
     
  11. Pillars

    Pillars Embarrassment to Colorado crew

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    Odd that Schiit went the switcher route, tbh.
     
  12. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    Size and cost man. I remember way back in one of the power supply threads that Jason spoke up about switcher noise, but then dropped a hint about one they were working on. I'm guessing this was one of the results of that.
     
  13. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    They haven't made a single product under $100 that uses linear power, except the Wyrd which is just a standalone power supply.

    Edit: okay i forgot the magni
     
  14. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Let me do a direct comparison. I know that they will definitely sound different since the SDAC and Modi 2 AKM4490 were very similar sounding - and Modi 3 a departure from the Modi 2 AKM4490.

    No guarantees. Just came back from thr hospital a week ago and still have IV lines going from a vein under my left arm to my superior vena cava. The good news is that I've gained 3 of the 17 lbs I lost via Korean BBQ and McDonalds shakes and apple pies.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2018
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  15. YMO

    YMO Friend

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    $50 less and almost same features as the Modi 2 Uber. I can see this selling well with a lot of price points. Want something better than the DAC inside your TV for video games, rig it up here! Need something better for a 25 year old CD player from the 80s, then this can work.
     
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  16. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    OK, just did a direct comparison. Last time around, I said the SDAC and Modi 2 were a tossup, and that if anything, I might have preferred the SDAC because it had a "sweeter" sound.

    This time around, the Modi 3 is the runaway winner. The Modi 3 has better edge definition, better focus. Attack is about the same, but the SDAC renders voices, string instruments, horns a little bit on the blurry side so a bit of that bite is missing. There's a little bit of siblance (natural) in some parts of the Murray Head's singing in Heaven on Their Minds (JCSS) that sort of wasn't there with the SDAC. The bite of the horns was muted on the SDAC. Which leads to another Modi 3 advantage: better dynamics. Murray Head actually emotes on the Modi 3 whereas on the SDAC, less so. I feel like I need to adjust the volume knob on the amp when running the SDAC to get Murray's voice to the proper volume. The bass drum and bass notes while not very clear on the recording are more precisely rendered on the Modi 3.

    Tried another track, Daft Punk - Doin' It Right, pretty much similar results. On the Modi 3, I checked out the long bass drops and that section about 40 seconds in with a bass drop every beat that smashes my head in - which it's suppose to. The effect from the SDAC isn't as dramatic. Also, the reverb on the vocals tends to linger a bit longer on the Modi 3.

    Tonally, I'd say that they are close, but with the SDAC having just a bit more warmth (possibly from the lesser precision and focus) and the Modi 3 having a bit more presence (vocals, edge, string and horn bite). Soundstage of both DACs is very similar with the Modi 3 stage being closer by 5 rows (insignificant), but also offering noticeably more depth to instruments on the stage.

    HD800 and Verum headphones were used along with the Massdrop THX AAA and a prototype solid state amp.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2018
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  17. starence

    starence Facebook Friend

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    Thanks @purr1n . Have you had a chance to compare it with the Modi 2U?
     
  18. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    It was actually difficult for me to tell the difference between Modi 2U AKM4490 and SDAC. Modi 3 is one class up compared to Modi 2U and SDAC.
     
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  19. zonto

    zonto Friend

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    You tease.
     
  20. Type35

    Type35 Rando

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    Thanks. Just what I was looking for.
     

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