Schiit Yggdrasil Less is More (and MIL and OG) Impressions + Measurements

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by purr1n, Sep 9, 2021.

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Should SBAF get a loaner Yggdrasil Less Is More?

  1. Yes, please!

    75.6%
  2. Only if there isn't anything else more interesting

    11.5%
  3. No, I would prefer for a loaner an overpriced planar that looks like it's from House Harkonnen

    6.1%
  4. Save up for something better

    6.9%
  1. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    See below. As always, subject to change as I listen more, going back and forth with a variety of recordings. You guys know what a tough exercise - think ballpark. I've also changed a few things around after further consideration. A few extra DACs thrown in for entertainment purposes and relative comparisons. And yes, I do hear the DAC2541 has being slightly more engaging (however it does have less plankton to work with). As usual, I've put some thought into scale.

    Engagement / microdynamics / immediacy
    Plankton / low-level information / resolution (not macro-detail)
    Blackground / clarity
    BAL OUTPUTS / AES INPUT and variety of headphones and amps
    upload_2021-9-11_11-41-50.png

    Richness (entire range, not necessarily warmth, think chocolate cakeness)
    Treble F'kery (digititus, sandiness, unnatural edge, prickliness)
    BAL OUTPUTS / AES INPUT and variety of headphones and amps
    upload_2021-9-11_11-50-44.png

    Thought: the prior generation AKM DACs were less resolving, but more engaging and much less F'd sounding. Hence my crapping the new AKM stuff here. I mean, if you are poor, get something like Modius or JNOG**. TBH, I use Modius as cheap instrumentation for headphone measurements. It's technically superb in some respects, but I have zero desire to listen to if I can avoid it. Of course it doesn't matter now with AKM. Cosmic forces beyond our control saw to this.

    Obviously these are specific technical aspects that do not really paint the entire picture nor attest to how they may synergize with your own specific components.

    **better yet, ditch delta-sigma garbage and get Modi MB and swap AD86xx opamp to OPA2156 (toob) or OPA1656 (clean) -or- wait for entry level stuff from Soekris. I wish we had other choices like RDAC. @CEE TEE? Sigh... if only those Airist Audio guys were the real deal and didn't turn out to be posers. Think what could have been. Then again, their profiles of Haavaad and Princeton should have been red flags.
     
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    Last edited: Sep 11, 2021
  2. Pancakes

    Pancakes Friend

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    What's really interesting to me (based on the above graph and the general impressions) is that A2 is more detailed than LIM but LIM has better blackground. I tend to associate better blackground with better ability to discern detail.
     
  3. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    Yes and no. We can still note microdetail through a sheen or on a less than perfectly black canvas. A sheen isn't necessarily opaque nor a less than perfectly dark canvas preventing the imprinting of fine detail. It's like noise. The nature of noise is random - this is why we can hear through noise unless the noise is just really bad. The noise floor we see as a nice line on AmirNADS graphs isn't static. It only looks static because it's averaged two times: first through an FFT processing window of so many tens of thousands of samples, and then another average of those FFTs.

    Also, I really dislike the word detail. If you want "detail", get a super crispy sounding Chi-Fi ESS DAC or the latest Chi-Fi IEM claiming to use the latest "advanced" e-stat tech or <insert random periodic table element> driver. Now that's "detail". That being said, the Yggdrasil A2/OG is both more macrodetailed as well as microdetailed to LIM. A2/OG is has a slight application of an over sharpening filter. LIM is like me doing this to every 4k TV I meet: immediately turn down picture sharpening from default (usually 20) to 0. LIM is 4k. A2/OG is 6K. None of this matters if you listen to Walküre Attack! However it most certainly will if you listen to classical recordings, even ancient stuff from the 60s if they were good recordings, e.g., LSO stuff during Decca/Stanley Black.

    Many years back, there was a Yggdrasil (A1) super fanboy on HF who argued that the grayness of the Schiit DACs was because of their ability to dig up the finest plankton and have an amazing ability to reproduce granularity to the finest levels. I think he had a point - but only so much because the Yggdrasil A1 and Gungnir A1 are in fact greyish sounding. (I'm not that much of a fanboy). On this thought however, I feel that DACs with overly black backgrounds are this way because there is a simplification going on. This blackness is fake because I don't hear it in real-life. In fact RL tends sound muddy and dirty as F sometimes. It's post tricks from sound engineers that clean up this shit.*

    * Which is why the Steve Albini master of In Utero F'ing rules. Boy, that shit got all fucked up between the band and the big studio. Glad 20 years later people realized that Albini actually knew WTF he was doing and the studio guys (and Nirvana for going along with it) were dipshits. BTW, there were bootlegs of those Albini masters floating around 10 years ago. I had them - FLAC/WAV, not mp3. Nirvana is supposed to be heard in a crowded bar with cigarette smoke everywhere, piss and beer on the floor, and the house PA overdriven to massive distortion and broken tweeters. (And I'm not ashamed to say that I liked Pixies and STP more, even though people said STP were posers).
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2021
  4. batriq

    batriq Probably has made you smarter

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    @purr1n How would rate YA2, Gungnir A2, and LIM when used with a tube amp and big woofer speakers? What about with Studio B and Elex or HD8xx/s?
     
  5. bboris77

    bboris77 Friend

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    "Chocolate cakeness"....just an awesome way of describing harmonic richness. I guess the Asgard 3 would be the king of this.
     
  6. laevi

    laevi Friend

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    Thanks @purr1n , this is good to know for my future amp purchases.
     
  7. Azimuth

    Azimuth FKA rtaylor76, Friend

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    But there is no grayness in reel to reel, to me anyways. Maybe it is possible invinyl because of the complex audio chain from physical pickup to final amplification, but there is hardly ever an analog recording I have heard grayness.

    We all have our theories, but remember LiM and MiL are using TI chips not AD. I think the grayness is just inherent in the AD chips themselves and it does not suprise me the TI chips have better background and why they might be closer in relation to the audio counterparts of PCM63. That is my theory anyway - subject to change.

    I do know that even my PCM67 Theta has better background and even more plankton and less grayness than Bifrost/Modi MB.
     
  8. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    Indeed. It's not just like this in the lows, but also in the mids, and highs. Very cohesive this way and probably underappreciated by me for this quality. There's something to be said to a coherent consistent presentation from lows to highs. As I get older, I'm placing even higher priorities on this. It's also often a primary reason for the disconnect between my IEM reviews to others. Any designer of audio products who thinks a BA, DD, and piezo driver can play together should be shot. Their bodies should be defiled, drawn, and quartered - if they developed it, listened to it, and actually thought it was good. These kinds of IEMs are like bad "Asian fusion" where some white chick makes a dish that mixes pine nuts and ginger. (I've so glad the Asian fusion craze has died out).

    Still same ratings as above because I cannot account for specific synergies. The ratings above are relative not absolute. I may want to pick up another chassis so I have can two Yggdrasils, one A2, the other LIM.

    Big JBLs with Fisher KX200 (PP 7591 fixed bias). Amp has inherent warmth, not outright warmth - great grip on drivers - belying the typical loosey goosey PP Chi-Fi garbage. Big 18" woofers have huge magnet and fairly stiff surrounds for power handling. Super low Qts. As such, despite being 18" bigass woofers, they are dry sounding, especially since cabinet is like 10cuft. JBL butt-cheek tweeter is laid-back and rolls off a bit on the highs, like any compression driver used more than 24 hours. With 10" mids, sound is smooth. Attack is fast, but decay is slow. Yggdrasil A2/OG is the correct choice here - better edge definition, organic bloom to dry lows, and some extra sparkle.

    EC x4 45 Studio. Used Gungnir A2 because Yggdrasil A2/OG does not work. Amp sounds like the OPTs (same as Studio B), so more Studio B sound than 45. Maybe close to same warmth and body (result of interstage transformers) as B but more extended highs. Also loved DAC2541 abd Burl B2 with this amp. SET is gonna sound like SET with rounder sound. Plus primary headphones are not HFM TOTL specials, rather JAR600, ZMF Verite, Grados - none of which have clean lows or perfect highs (small spikes on Verite and Grado), Yggdrasil A2/OG is a disaster waiting to happen, unless I really wanted a THICC sound and overemphasized top octave. Many folks love that extra air to get that sense in RL - I absolutely hate it because it almost always sounds wrong. (Exception of naturally mic'd orchestral or chamber recordings with simple small condenser mic arrangement).

    Anyway, LIM will replace Gungnir A2. Brainless choice because LIM SE outs can go direct into SET SE inputs without the need for a XLR->RCA line transformer. No matter how good or carefully selected a line transformer, if this can be avoided, and the intention is to not color the sound, by all means avoid. (Gungnir / Yggdrasil A2 SE outputs are gimped compared to BAL for those who didn't know.)

    BTW: All impressions via pi2AES AES output. Unison is overall warmer sound with less incisive transients.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2021
  9. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    The more you post about the qualities of the Gungnir A2, the more I think I would prefer it over the A1.
     
  10. roshambo123

    roshambo123 Friend

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    @purr1n Gungnir A1 'sweetness' = same as Harmonic Richness? When A/B'ing Gungnir A1 and Yggdrasil GS I thought GS had greater plankton and blackgound but Gungnir A1 had a preferable sweetness, but it was overall less technically competent. Ultimately, I kept GS and stand by that decision but still I feel like I traded one quality for another and I've never been completely satisfied. Soekris 2541 neutrality was not for me, so from what it sounds like, A2/OG is my jam not LIM?
     
  11. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    Let me send mine to you. PM me info including email and phone (for tracking notification).

    Tape and vinyl really different beats from digital - can't really compare.

    Yup. the grayness could be those AD57*1 chips. It could also be the output stages. Look at THD. It's a bit higher on A1/A2 than LIM. (The way I look at THD is that it matters... but only up to a certain point where it doesn't matter anymore). There were some tweaks to the output stage that improved the greyness deal on the A2 from A1.

    I never really felt Gungnir A1 to be sweet sounding. It is overall warmer and more pleasant - easier to integrate compared to Yggdrasil A1/GS. I did feel the Gungnir A2 upper mids were sweet - bit forward. On the other hand, others felt the A2 sounded beached, probably because of this.

    On Soekris DAC2541 vs LIM, hard to say for you. LIM isn't a neutral or dry or accurate as Soekris. LIM sits between Soekris and A2/OG. If GS works for you, then keep it. @ChaChaRealSmooth is using GS with his DNA Stellaris. DNA amps have a wetter bloomier sound. Good fit here. Now @ChaChaRealSmooth just needs to order a LIM for his EC Ultralinear - unless he's perfectly content with the GS for that too.

    It's like what Jason says: different flavors. Even the Rockna Wavedream which I feel is the overall best DAC yet, it's got a flavor - one that doesn't happen to work in any of my current setups. This is why 88% of rooms at audio shows and 99% of tables at CanJams suck. Most arrangements to mix and match gear are political or ones of convenience. It's the actual owners who F with this shit who get the best results - they are the best chefs. Unfortunately, the 200% for profit CanJams killed the hobbyist angle. Jude doesn't give a crap about you the little guy as long as he's laughing all the way to the bank.

    True story about careful selection of components into a greater whole: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...jam-2016-oc-meet-impressions.1638/#post-40897

    Except from HF:

    And then maybe a year back to the LAX Hilton was this kid, not even in high school (maccat) had this awesome setup with the HD650, a turntable, a Jolida phono-pre, and a Bottlehead Crack. I was like wow, this kid put on a better setup than 90% of the others with 25% of the budget.​

    BTW this kid showed up a few years later to a San Diego Meet. FOTM Schiit DAC, FOTM Schiit amp, and FOTM Audeze LCD-3. Sounded like ass (it wasn't that bad, but relative to what he had before, disappointing because everybody by then had a similar setup). This is what happens when you randomly throw TOTL / FOTM stuff together because HF sold you on it.
     
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  12. Josh Schor

    Josh Schor Friend

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    currently have EC studio B and bifrost 2, is the LIM an upgrade and the best way to go for the studio b?
     
  13. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    Loaner poll up.
     
  14. nedifer

    nedifer Facebook Friend

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    SBAF has been kind enough to include me on a few loaner rounds and I cannot tell you how much I appreciate it. I, for one, would love to be able to purchase a LIM, not to mention a host of other gear but due to life choices (working for nonprofits my whole life, having kids late in life, etc.) simply cannot afford them - at least at present.

    I've spent ~$3-4,000 over the last 30 years slowly building a 2-channel system that sounds good and has potential for further growth - assembled out of scavenged, used and gifted components. The SBAF loaner programs have given me an opportunity to hear things I simply wouldn't be able to get my wife to agree to, while also has helped open her skeptical/practical mind to a few possibilities I'd otherwise not have been able to take advantage of (ie, a miraculously low priced pair of used Von Schweikert VR4jrs).

    A loaner of some sort would be my only way of hearing a LIM (or any Yggdrasil variant) in my own system for the foreseeable future and I suspect there are more folks like me.

    So, whether you decide to or not in this instance, thank you for the loaner programs that SBAF has had and will have in the future as it has afforded people like me a chance to hear things we otherwise wouldn't and, along with all the insightful sharing here, has helped guide me in my ongoing quest to find cost effective ways to find listening pleasure on a tight budget.
     
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  15. haywood

    haywood Friend

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    Stone Temple Pilots were complete posers, look up Mighty Joe Young on youtube for a sample of who they were pre-grunge hype. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t like them though; Joe Strummer used to be a folkie who called himself Woody pre-Clash but that doesn’t make me hate the Clash.

    People on the fence about LIM realize this is the FOTM and you really have nothing to lose by waiting until more impressions come out. Schiit wouldn’t bring a product to market they couldn’t sell and dac chips don’t use the state of the art fab processes which are in ultra-high demand for things like GPUs and high-end processors.
     
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  16. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    OK bad example using GPUs. Have you read the news about Toyota cutting production 40%, or the Walmart CEO saying stuff about supply chain and inventory shortages going well into 2020, or container ships having to anchor off Shenzhen? Heck, a company I am consulting for can't even get the firewalls and network switches we need. Maybe I know something or maybe I don't. The current situation could always change. I'm just trying to helpful here to folks at SBAF. Not trying to be a know it all. It's not just GPUs dude. If you work in any kind of capacity which involves procurement of equipment or material, you would know how the supply chain is totally fucked now, with notices from manufacturers of how it's going to continue to be fucked, with no end in sight. Heck, I can't even buy certain sized inductors for a speaker crossover I'm working on, or a Burl B2 Bomber DAC, or a Sony Alpha 1, unless used. All out of stock.
     
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  17. haywood

    haywood Friend

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    The supply chain is fucked, yes, but I don’t think Schiit would introduce a product without procuring enough parts to meet reasonable demand.

    FOTM is such a powerful motivator for audio purchases and the upgrades are relatively cheap but if you’re at all unsure then waiting for the new shiny to wear off and more impressions to come in isn’t going to hurt too bad, especially when you already have the OG Yggdrasil.
     
  18. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    I've warned folks about FOTM and have already made clear this is a sidegrade. The only thing different is that I lowered the fire button from 90% of 70% certainty because of the uncertain global supply chain situation.

    Tell that to Toyota, GM, Ford. Do you think they would still NOT release a product because they knew they couldn't meet demand? That would be absolutely asinine. Oh, let's not sell Corvettes this year because we know we can't meet demand. It's better not to make money, not sell a product, because no potential customer will bitch at us for not having an item in stock. I'd murder with my bare hands any CEO who made this decision if I sat on the board.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2021
  19. schneller

    schneller Acquaintance

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    Are we saying here that LIM/MIL SE outputs <> A2/OG SE outputs? Important for me as my amp doesn't accept XLR.
     
  20. Soundmancan

    Soundmancan New

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    From what I have read here, it seems as though the SE outputs on the new Yggys aren't gimped like they were on the A2(now OG) model. I believe the new Yggys are setup similar to the Bifrost 2 where the SE outputs were only slightly behind the balanced outputs.
     

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