After taking a twoish year break from the hobby (and this forum, I love this place but I was broke and I’m allergic to spending money even when I’m not. I’m still driving a truck that’s nearly as old as I am FFS) I’ve decided it’s time to step up from entry level chi-fi to something on a bit more. After consuming a bunch of reviews and spec sheets @WaveTheory 's write up on the Jotunheim 2 has me leaning in that direction. I’d like to experiment with balanced and the idea of having an American made unit that’ll power damned near anything I might randomly pick up in the next 2-5ish years is very appealing. My current XD-05 barely powers my DT 770s on quiet tracks. With an upgrade I could finally grab some harder to drive stuff and have more than 0-15% headroom.
My concern is that I understand DACs even less than I understand amps, and I’ve heard some not nice things about Schiit’s upgrade cards. Does anyone have any experience with both? I’ve read the spec sheets for the Schiit’s ESS DAC card and the Modius and I can comfortably say they have numbers and colored squiggles on them. Considering that I barely have an idea of what I’m looking at I’m having a hard time not seeing the options as “save $100 on a Modius, kick the cost of XLR cables down the road, and get USB C”, “Kick the cost of XLR cables down the road and get USB B” and “Pay for XLR cables right now and get USB micro”. I’m eventually going to get a stack of some sort (tubes?) so the XLR bit is kinda irelevant, but it does give a bit more money to play with in upcoming sales. I’m not a fan of the Modius using micro connectors, I’m down to 3 devices with stupid and/or proprietary connections and I’d rather not own another one without a good reason. If the damned thing used USB B I’d have already bought it.
I realize that the internal DACs are kinda worthless once I’m done with them and the Modius can be sold/used for something else if/when I eventually upgrade. The Bifrost is outside of my current price range, I’d rather spend that extra money on head phones until I know if I like Schiit’s house sound enough to spend $700 on it.
I’m open to questions, comments, concerns, alternatives and gentle bullying.
TL;DR: Does the Modius sound better than Schiit’s upgrade DAC cards and I should stop complaining about USB micro. Or should I just get the ESS DAC card? and do something memey like grab a car battery and make the world’s worst portable DAC/AMP
The Bifrost 2 is tempting but buying one would neuter my head phone budget and I’m not sure (heh) that I’m ready to drop $700 on a DAC.
Ignoring last nights insomnia post, the lack of reviews with comparisons between Schiit’s internal DACs and their stand alone counter parts is kinda agonizing for someone with limited hifi experience.
After sleeping on it (and doing a best of 5 coin flip) I think that I’m going to go with a Jot2/Modius stack. From my very limited research, the individual components seem to have a higher demand/aftermarket price than the Jot2 as a DAC/amp if I end up disliking them.
I am in the market myself and am looking at the Bifrost.
After using the Shiit Stack on my PC for $200 - a good DAC will breathe new life into mediocre / older audio speakers/headphones.
I’ve spent good money on a pair of bookshelf speakers (Which sounded amazing on the Schiit Stack) which have now moved to the TV. It is now time to upgrade the output from the TV. So I am in a different category then you, but I think it goes hand in hand.
TL;DR: Buy something amazing, then buy something else amazing after you have saved up for a year (or more) rather then two mid-range ‘do the job’ products
I haven’t pulled the trigger quite yet… but I have had a slight change of heart and a mildly silly idea.
I’ve really examined my listening habits in the last few day and I think that I’m going with a Jot2 with the ES9028 and get the Bifrost 2 a bit later. I currently have a XD-05 with an iffy battery that’s only portable in the sense that it gets ported from my my desk to my coffee table and wall outlet to wall outlet. Grabbing the ES9028 card is cheaper than any portable that’ll run demanding headphones and it’ll give me something to (unfairly) compare the Bifrost to. The Jot2 weighs about as much as my laptop and less than my dog, I carry both around the house regularly so I don’t see it being too much of an issue.
I’m going to bounce the idea around a little longer and make a decision by the weekend, I’d die a little inside if my Argons showed up before my amp did.
I really liked the Jot 2 while I had it, and I may re-buy it again when setting up another listening spot - Jot 2 and Bifrost 2 made for a very nice presentation. Also, if you are into aesthetics it makes a good looking stack that does not take up a whole lot of space.
Yeah, I’d be lying if I said that Schiit’s aesthetics weren’t a selling point. I’m usually for form follows function and Jason Stoddard seems to imply that Schiit’s designs (and oft maligned power switch placement) are heavily inspired by their internal engineering and logistics, that and the “Grandpa’s tools/mid 20th century firearm” stamped metal vibe earns some points (and forgiveness) in my book.
I went with the Jotunheim 2 with the ES9028 for now and in house portability until I can take the plunge on a Bifrost. If I find a stupid cheap used Modius and/or Multibit card sometime after I assemble the full stack, I’ll compare them for anyone struggling with the same or a similar decision.
I’d compare the ES9028 vs Bifrost 2 when I eventually buy it but “$700 product sounds better than $100 add on!” or “I don’t think I care for the Schiit house sound” doesn’t sound like useful or interesting data.