So I recently have come into an issue with my Asgard 3 / Modius stack, though I’m not sure if one or the other is the cause as I don’t have a secondary amp or dac to test against.
So when I play any audio file from my computer I notice a crunchy, hissing kind of compression coming only from the right channel of my headphones. The easiest test is when I play the left/right channel test on windows but it’s easily recognizable no matter what audio I play. Specifically, this only happens when sound is playing, and seems not to be present (or not as present) during silent portions of an audio file. For instance, I am editing a video currently and the issue is noticeable only when the person in the video is specifically speaking. It is of course always present during a majority of music as most music has constant sound playing throughout the track, and never present when I pause the track or have no audio playing.
I have tested this using my Blon B20s and my HD 6xxs with no change in the issue between both headphones. I’ve power cycled the Asgard 3 and Modius with no change either. I’ve also changed out the usb cable I was using with the modius, as well as testing out a separate usb port on the back of my computer, with no difference in the issue. The only thing that seemed to have a minor affect was changing out the RCA cable that connected the Asgard to the Modius. The issue is still present, but the new RCA cable seemed to reduce the amount that it was noticeable, though I’m not sure why since the problem seems to be present nonetheless. Perhaps this has to do with the RCA connection or the piece that controls it inside the amp itself, but I don’t want to open the Asgard for fear of voiding the warranty.
I shot an email to Schiit to see if they could help but haven’t received a response yet so I figured I’d also message here to get some idea of what could be the issue. I’ve had the stack for about 3-4 months with no noticeable issue until this week, though I’ve had a sneaking suspicion that there could have been an issue with one or the other since there has always been a pinch of sharpness/harshness to the sound I get with it. Unfortunately I don’t have any other amp or dac to test against otherwise that might clear up which between the asgard and modius is causing the issue.
Anyhow, hopefully someone can educate me on some possible solutions to what is going on here! Thanks!
Since you tested it with differents headphones and rca cables already the problem is in the dac or amp, since the products still in guaranty the best solution is to use it.
Some additional things to try to help potentially narrow down the issue.
Do you have another PC/Laptop aka source that you could try and see if the issue follows the source?
Have you tried using different inputs on Modius, optical vs USB to see if there is any change in behavior?
You are probably best waiting for Schiit to respond first before trying
You could try eliminating the DAC entirely if your PC/source has lineout/spkr out 3.5mm jack and you have a cable handy with 3.5mm to RCA - It would not be an ideal operating technique for any extended use, but it may be good enough to see if the right channel issue is limited to the DAC or AMP? I would only do this as last resort.
Schiit is typically really good at customer service. Especially when you are within your first year warranty. You maybe required to ship (at your expense) the unit(s) back to them, but they will fix and return ship to you free of charge.
I do actually have a 3.5mm to RCA handy so I might try just that, didn’t think of that! So at the very least if it’s still present I could likely take out the modius as the potential culprit and only have one box to send out to Schiit on my dime. I’ll give that a shot when I get home!
Have you tried plugging the headphones directly to your pc?
I tried both headphones through my amp and had the same issue, with a slight change (but not full remedy) when changing the interconnect. I can’t imagine both of my headphones have the same issue if that is the case, unless you’re suggesting something else?
You have to eliminate one at a time until you narrow the problem down to the culprit.
It could be a bad cable either between pc and dac, Dac and amp, or even headphone cables,
Does your pc have a optical out? If so try using that instead to check for the sound, If it does not then try another quality usb cable.
Have you tried bypassing the dac and amp momentarily and plugging your headphones directly into the headphone jack on your pc?.
If you still have this sound then it may not be your amp or dac…It could be the pc causing the noise
Please post back with results of these tests.
Okay, so I tried a couple more things after hearing your guys’ suggestions.
I tried plugging in my HD 6XX into both my PC’s headphone out as well as my sound cards out with no buzzing/hissing/compression sound at all. Funnily enough they both sound better than the asgard/modius combo I was using as far as body and musicality, but clearly are terribly converted from digital.
This was more revealing. I hooked up just my Modius using a USB cable and then used a 3.5mm to RCA adapter to hook up the HD6xx directly to the Modius without the use of the Asgard. This time the conversion was much cleaner and showed better timbre accuracy. There seemed to be no presence of any compression/hissing sound when there was audio playing through the right channel. In fact, I found the sound to be easier on the ears, less fatiguing than with the inclusion of the Asgard 3, which seems to so far be a red flag on its own.
I tested the modius/asgard 3 combo again with the HD6XX and funnily enough there seemed to be a brief moment when I turned it on where there was no issue, but over the course of a few minutes the hiss/compression/buzz sound in the right channel slowly seemed to reappear. This leads me to believe that it’s an issue specifically with the Asgard 3. I’m also surprised that the Asgard makes things brighter and more fatiguing overall, as I heard it was the type of amp to do the opposite. Perhaps this is another sign the amp is the culprit?
Any other thoughts based on what I’ve found so far? I do appreciate the help with the troubleshooting! Hopefully someone in the future can find some of this info helpful if they run into a similar issue down the road.
Yes I believe I would be focusing in the Asgard as well. I have the same Asgard 3 amp. I have owned it almost a year now and it has number 1 never been shut off and is a very smooth sounding amp so this also leads me to believe there is a problem with the amp. Did you try different rca cables between the dac and amp? also I am not sure but maybe you could swap left and right rca’s between the two. Come out of the dac with the left and go to the asgard right? and right to left? This would also simplify the problem to be repaired I would assume, and also eliminate other possibilities
Really? Maybe I’m just paranoid but I’m afraid a lot of dust will collect inside over the years and ruin the thing. I wonder if it’s more healthy for the amp and dac to stay on forever…
When I am not using it, the amp is turned all the way down. It is just above tepid or luke warm. My Dac which is a Bifrost 2 is about the same temp.