Schiit Syn Review, Discussion, Impressions, Measurements

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by purr1n, Mar 31, 2023.

  1. AllanMarcus

    AllanMarcus Friend

    Pyrate
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,978
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Los Alamos, NM
    Home Page:
    Thanks @purr1n
    One more question. How's the DAC on the Syn? I noticed you are going right from your source to the Syn. Car to venture a comparison of the Syn DAC to another other Schiit DACs?
     
    • Agreed, ditto, +1 Agreed, ditto, +1 x 2
    • List
  2. Climber

    Climber Facebook Friend

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2019
    Likes Received:
    149
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    somewhat variable
    Quoth @schiit on the launch livestream, Modi+ "is a little bit of a step up from the DAC in the Syn, but it's the same class. It does sound a little bit better, though"

    https://www.youtube.com/live/1BfigfSTYTo?feature=share&t=2762
     
    • Like Like x 3
    • Agreed, ditto, +1 Agreed, ditto, +1 x 1
    • List
  3. Johnston98

    Johnston98 Facebook Friend

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2019
    Likes Received:
    145
    Trophy Points:
    33
    Location:
    Michigan
    The DAC is fine. Jason did a nice job integrating the ESS chip. As @purr1n said, this is not a purist device for music. I too would like to hear his thoughts though.

    You can always use the RCA input with your DAC of choice and bypass the ESS chip. I’m using my Mojo 2 > Syn > Folkvangr. Mainly because I know the sound of the Mojo 2/FV combo the best.
     
  4. Baten

    Baten Friend

    Pyrate
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2018
    Likes Received:
    1,133
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    EU
    How are you enjoying the addition of the Syn to this particular set-up? :)
     
  5. Johnston98

    Johnston98 Facebook Friend

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2019
    Likes Received:
    145
    Trophy Points:
    33
    Location:
    Michigan
    Immensely.

    The added depth and width of the soundstage to the headphone experience is addictive. I'm using the DCA Stealth for most of my listening. For my musical tastes (classical, vocal, acoustic, etc...) the combination is crazy good. My Yggdrasil died and I substituted the Mojo 2 for giggles. Turns out to be a pretty good combo. It's the first time in a long time where the headphones disappear and I truly get a "speaker like" experience.
     
  6. zerodeefex

    zerodeefex SBAF's Imelda Marcos

    Staff Member Pyrate BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2015
    Likes Received:
    14,121
    Trophy Points:
    113
    so basically the Syn is the ultimate virtual surround interface for headphones? @Hands its time to figure out how good it is for gaming.
     
  7. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

    Staff Member Pyrate BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    90,543
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Padre Island CC TX
    With respect the gaming experience to headphones, more expansive experience, but with the caveat that the width knob cannot be cranked up too much. Cranking the width too much kills the center information without a center channel, which is obviously not possible with headphones. The effect is subtle, maybe too subtle. I think if you are looking for a gaming surround wrapped into a headphone, the best choice is still here with @Hands recommended settings: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...tual-surround-musings-and-measurements.11838/

    So yes, we are still stuck with "crappy DSP" that comes with a "dirty" kind of sound when it comes to headphones.

    --

    However, when it comes to speakers, it a totally different ballgame. I put up the quad speaker system on my computer setup quick and dirty last evening so excuse the mess. JBL 308s in front and 306s in back. (FWIW, the 306s sound better, better integration between highs and lows and less muddy, but the 308s will get louder. Basically what @Psalmanazar has said many times.)
    IMG_0802.jpg

    With general games that do not necessarily support surround, 5.1, quad, etc, the Syn goes a good job providing ambient info and filling the environment. Examples of such games are Elden Ring (ancient engine) and Torchlight Infinite (mobile / PC ARPG). With non-surround games like this, I found out that I needed turn out the volume up the surrounds. With games that actually support surround mode like Diablo 3 (I know, that's ancient too), the Syn does a fantastic job.

    I wanted to crank up the width setting, which with speakers doesn't just crank up just the width, but also expands everything outward. However a lack of a center channel in the setup above didn't allow me to take full advantage of it.
     
  8. Johnston98

    Johnston98 Facebook Friend

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2019
    Likes Received:
    145
    Trophy Points:
    33
    Location:
    Michigan
    I’ve only tested it with music. I’m not a gamer either.

    It would be fair and accurate to say that it is the least artificial way of creating immersive 3D like sound with music on headphones. It blows away the 360 audio, Atmos, and other DSP “fuckery” on some streaming services.
     
  9. zerodeefex

    zerodeefex SBAF's Imelda Marcos

    Staff Member Pyrate BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2015
    Likes Received:
    14,121
    Trophy Points:
    113
    that’s it then. I’m ordering to test right now. I suspect this will be the best gaming interface on the market.
     
  10. Walderstorn

    Walderstorn Friend

    Pyrate
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2016
    Likes Received:
    1,913
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Europe
    Let us know as me, in particular, am interested for the same reasons as you.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • heart heart x 1
    • List
  11. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

    Staff Member Pyrate BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    90,543
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Padre Island CC TX
    The internal DAC is absolutely fine and more than enough for gaming or streaming movies (the fact is, movie sound is exciting and highly dynamic, but hardly audiophile grade). However note the MMB2 here, which I selected on the basis of Schiit's filter which provides tight imaging / localization and depth within the soundstage. The ESS just don't do this - it does stage farther (which the Sync can fix), but the stage is flat.
    upload_2023-4-12_15-1-41.png

    For kicks, I tried the Yggdrasil as the DAC. Yes, this darn thing actually scales better DACs - with headphones and also with these crappy cheap JBL monitors. Definitely more microdetail, tighter more articulate bass, more texture, way better layering, better timbre (matter of taste with the Yggdrasil LIM) and most importantly more engaging. LOL, I think I will keep the Yggdrasil in the chain. The only thing missing is a higher gain mode, which I suspect could sound better (especially with headphones), but also cause other problems (signal overload into monitors).

    It's my understanding that the Syn uses a discrete circuit for the main outs. The surrounds and center I believe are the opamp based stuff with a million db of feedback, but these channels are less crucial.
     
  12. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

    Staff Member Pyrate BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    90,543
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Padre Island CC TX
    Schiit Syn in a nutshell:

    Stupid surround for dumb or lazy people (like me who are too old or busy to F with stuff).

    91 /100 Official SBAF Rating
    DSCF0336-1.jpg
    Schiit Syn (of out focus) with MMB2 DAC stacked on top of it. Audio Pyrate is happy. SINAD Panther has a boner. JBL 308 monitor in the background.

    Pros

    • Line out provides flexibility with own amps/speakers or self-powered monitors on the cheap
    • Not limited to internal DAC. Can use any source, from turntables playing ancient quadraphonic LPs or mid-high end DACs.
    • The DAC inside is actually pretty decent.
    • Audiophile sound quality, scales with better sources, surprisingly more transparent than expected. Doesn't sound like your shitty Atmos capable Onkyo or Sony receiver at Best Buy.
    • Minimal settings, adjust three knobs, got out of seat while watching first movie a grand total of three times to totally dial everything in - never looked back.
    • Many use cases from music, games, movies - headphones or surround speaker setup.
    • Relies on matrixed surround embedded in stereo of shows from Netflix, HBO, or games that support it, etc. Also magically works on any music.
    • Amazeballs SINAD (if you care about this - think of it how I like my Belgium tripels with high alcohol content).

    Cons

    • Line out only
    • No speaker outputs, so need to buy amps or use self-powered monitors.
    • Don't bother with you have a proper double-D 5.1.2, 9.1.4, or 12.1.64 Atmos setup.
    • May cause you psychological problems if you are worried about it not being discrete digital surround - the fear of missing out on branded and licensed tech.
    • Center speaker needed if you plan on maxing out stereo width knob.
    • No balanced outputs, doesn't scratch my balls. More seriously, need to get good shielded RCA cables for longer lengths with gaming OLEDs that run at high refresh rates (120Hz+).
    • Not necessarily a con, but would like to have a higher gain for headphones (or maybe even the preamp).
     
    • Like Like x 13
    • Epic Epic x 5
    • List
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2023
  13. fraggler

    fraggler A Happy & Busy Life

    Pyrate
    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2015
    Likes Received:
    5,179
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Originally, I thought this was definitely not for me since I have a big-box atmos receiver for the HT, but now, I am getting a little intrigued as a desk device.

    I want a compact system for my home office (mix of music and games) that will likely be used with a JAR650. I have a number of small pieces collected which I'd like to cull to a single system and want to know how the Syn stacks up more on the sound quality side (leave out the surround sound stuff for the moment). I have the following:

    Schiit Vali 2+
    Nitch Piety
    iFi Micro iDSD Black
    iFi Zen DAC V1
    Schiit Jot 2 with ESS card

    I know the Syn probably doesn't compare to most of the possible combinations on the list, but if it is close enough, I can gauge whether or not the other functions are worth it to me. I saw the reference to the Modi+, but in combo with the built in, is this more a Hel? Modi/Magni stack?
     
  14. zerodeefex

    zerodeefex SBAF's Imelda Marcos

    Staff Member Pyrate BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2015
    Likes Received:
    14,121
    Trophy Points:
    113
    willdo. Will test PS5, series S and PC (mostly PC)
     
  15. mkozlows

    mkozlows Friend

    Pyrate
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2015
    Likes Received:
    512
    Trophy Points:
    93
    I feel like I'm missing something here. I get how this works for doing ambient presence stuff, but how the heck does it do genuine surround with games? Like, in Assassin's Creed, if someone is talking, and I spin the camera 360 degrees, with a regular surround setup, I hear the voice circle me 360 degrees, coming out of the left-front, then panning to left-rear, then panning to right-rear, then panning to right-front, etc.

    I just can't see how a downmixed stereo signal can be reconstructed into that. Where's the information coming from to place that voice?
     
  16. zerodeefex

    zerodeefex SBAF's Imelda Marcos

    Staff Member Pyrate BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2015
    Likes Received:
    14,121
    Trophy Points:
    113
    I'm talking about gaming with headphones. The other bits will have to be explained by others with Syn since I don’t have one in hand yet.
     
  17. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

    Staff Member Pyrate BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    90,543
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Padre Island CC TX
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matrix_decoder

    The game / OS of course would have to support it. Do not have details of Schiit's implementation of decoding...
     
  18. Azimuth

    Azimuth FKA rtaylor76, Friend

    Pyrate
    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2015
    Likes Received:
    7,032
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    Home Page:
    It's Dolby ProLogic II. Part of the HDTV broadcast (ATSC 2.0) in Dolby 5.1 or 2.0 AC-3. Pretty much all devices now will downmix this Dolby Digital (DD) 5.1 to a 5ch stereo mix into the two channels L - R (the 0.1 sub channel is dumped). This happens when you tell your device to ignore surround and only output stereo. This means your TV or DVD player will output PCM (like 16bit / 48kHz) out of the digital outputs or the analog outputs. Matrixed into the Left Front and Right Front information is also the Center and Left Surround and Right Surround information.

    Dolby PLII.png

    Now this also relies on feedback to control the VCA's (voltage control amplifiers) to steer the sound dominance. Although Jason has said no "steering", which to me is more "Pro Logic", which has a bandwidth limited mono rear surround and not independent full channel surround channels.

    The 90 degree phase-shift was always and issue for me in trying to listen to sports in stereo. They always put the parabolic mics in the surround, so when mixed down to stereo, it would just sound like the crowd was in a barrel. Those early days were rough, but now they have it much better figured out.
     
  19. AllanMarcus

    AllanMarcus Friend

    Pyrate
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,978
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Los Alamos, NM
    Home Page:
    LOL! You might be one of the most "F with stuff" people on the planet! :)
     
  20. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

    Pyrate BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    7,700
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Winnipeg
    The math teacher in me notices that these fractions are coincidentally the sides of a 30/60/90 triangle with a hypotenuse of 1 (or inscribed within a unit circle with an acute vertex at the centre, whatever)...
     

Share This Page