Bricasti M3 DAC

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by penguins, Dec 7, 2020.

  1. penguins

    penguins Friend, formerly known as fp627

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    The Bricasti M3 has been mentioned here and there on SBAF and other forums, but since I have a non-SBAF loaner unit right now, I'm going to make a dedicated thread. I have not seen a huge amount of feedback on this DAC, so hopefully this info helps those who are wondering.
    -------------------
    TLDR SUMMARY:
    The little I've seen mentioned about the M3 by other forums, persons, and communities can roughly be summed up as this DAC is on par with a Yggdrasil or a Wavelight. In short, I would mostly agree as this is overall a pretty good DAC. I still prefer the R2R sound, but if I wanted a DS DAC in this approximate ballpark of price and performance, I would strongly consider this. No DS glare, digital nasties, or other stereotypical DS complaints. Biggest downside was something odd in the sound that I still can't quite place my finger on.

    EDIT: OK, I realized it does have filters and once I changed it to the linear filter, this DAC sounds noticibly better and most of the "something odd" in the sound is gone now.
    -------------------
    GENERAL INFO:
    Bricasti M3 spec sheet and general info available here: https://www.bricasti.com/en/consumer/m3_specs.php
    MSRP is $5500 for the base model, +$500 for the built in streamer, +$500 for the remote. There is another version with a built-in headphone amp as well. My loaner only has the streamer, no remote or amp.

    Balanced topology, uses dual ADI 1955 chips for the "standard" portion of the DAC and a custom design for the DSD portion (i.e., not an off the shelf chip or component). Per pictures, 2 separate and I also suspect custom linear power supplies with large torroidal transformers.

    Since I'm the thread starter this time, an obligatory cell phone picture:
    [​IMG]
    --------------------
    SETUP, PREFERENCES (aka biases), and MISC INFO:
    Amps: Tested with DNA Stellaris, EC AF, Cavalli LC (M3 did NOT sit on top of the Cavalli when testing with Cavalli).
    Headphones: ZMF Autuers (Bocote w/ perf leather Auteur pads), Focal Clears, stock HD6xx, HE6se (my mods).
    No 2channel, sorry.

    Inputs:
    Optical sucks on this DAC. No nice way to say it. It sounds like a completely different DAC when using optical input - I would rather buy a different DAC than use optical on this.
    USB is not bad but lower registers sound artificially boosted and slightly disjointed. For reference, so does the Yggdrasil A2 to a much smaller degree. Not warm sounding like the Yggdrasil A2 though.
    AES - more cohesive sound vs USB, but NOT hugely better. The manual even has a paragraph about how they made the USB better, etc. Of course, USB still has USB limitations, etc.
    Network Streamer (RJ45 ethernet port) - still need to listen more. But yes, this is the best input, slightly better than AES (and it should be good considering that it's a $500 add on). See below for commentary on value proposition. Function as a streamer is actually pretty good too.
    Didn't test RCA SPDIF input. No I2S (via HDMI cable) input.

    Balanced vs SE - As expected per the topology, balanced is a little better, mostly via more microdynamics and it adds a little texture to the sound (one of my issues with this DAC, see below). Otherwise, aside from BAL input is a little hotter as is usually the case, there wasn't a huge difference - Bricasti did a good job making sure SE outs aren't crap. I would prefer to use BAL out, but the difference is small enough that the sound of adding a transformer into the signal path may be > the difference in sound quality.

    Warmup: This is a DS DAC, but the dealer that loaned it to me still recommended that I warm it up for a day, ideally 3 if possible, before listening. Real listening started after only 12 hours though as the loaner was still warm out of the box (was their in store demo unit) when I got home. Operating temp floated between 40-43C depending on where the DAC was placed.

    Size + setup considerations: While it's not big (~11x14"), I wouldn't put anything warm underneath and wouldn't block the 2 sets of vents on top. The instructions explicitly say if internal core temp exceed 60C the unit will automatically shut down. Something to consider depending on your setup. It's not heavy either, only ~10lb. On the flip side, I think purrin and a few others have mentioned it before and I agree, the big thick cases with lots of extra metal similar to the likes of a Wavelight or Matrix XSP Pro seem to add a sprinkle of magic that come from the heavy cases (maybe they act as a heat sink and thermal + mechanical isolation or as a MaGiC PInK arNERgy alignManT I smuk All thE WeeDS and SHrumS Creestals - I don't know) - anyways, I agree that it's a real thing and this doesn't have it. Neither do the Yggdrasil and many other DACs. This is a milled block of aluminum though (confirmed by manual).

    Preferences: For reference, I generally prefer a neutral sound with a little bit (+0.5-1dB) of extra "air" (~10-20khz) and low bass (<60Hz) sprinkled in. Slight preference towards a slightly drier (~-2 if -10 is full dry and 10 is full wet) and faster sound with moderate transient edges. Approximately row 15 or 20 staging (slightly forward of center), depending on the chain and song. I generally prefer good R2R DACs in the sense that I feel like I'm more "into" the music and everything is more engaging with good R2R. I don't have too many other hard line preferences in terms of most other subjective stuff - rather, the chain and vision must be coherent as a whole. Favorite CIEM ever is still the UERM beta version. No favorite headphone.
    ---------------------
    - Also keep this in mind as you read the everything - if you just skim over it, you may get the impression that I think this isn't a good DAC. That is not true. Once again, Yggdrasil is on par with M3. But at this level and price point, I don't want to just come in say everything is good.
    NO:
    [​IMG]
    YES:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2020
  2. penguins

    penguins Friend, formerly known as fp627

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    SUBJECTIVE LISTENING and SOUND:
    - There are definitely differences in the sound between this and the Yggdrasil and Wavelight. Your preferences and budget will probably pick for you. Absolutely speaking, I would say it's roughly Yggdrasil = M3 < Wavelight but the differences are small enough that synergy and preferences will be >> these small differences. Yggdrasil is better in some areas, M3 is better in others.

    - A few things to note for the SBAF crowd: 1) Many people here prefer the R2R sound. This DAC is noticibly DS sounding - it absolutely will not sound R2R. This is DAC is DS done well though - probably my favorite non-uber-boutique $20k+ DS DAC that I've knowingly heard to date. 2) [EDIT: I originally state you cannot change filters but can invert phase + No NOS. This is wrong. There are 2 filters, IDK what the correct answer w/ regards to phase is as the manual contradicts the interface, see post below.] 3) Even though this is DS, this does NOT sound thin or empty or like the music / notes have no body. If anything, in the lower registers, it's as thick as Yggdrasil but with more separation. Mids and highs are "thin" enough with enough separation that things sound more clear and are easier to focus on than my Yggdrasil.

    - No "wow look at me I'm a cool kid" factor to the sound in the same way a lot of modern DACs are. This DAC doesn't draw much attention to itself. More like a quiet but competent accountant chugging along quietly in the background. This was the 2nd thing that I noticed. EDIT: With the linear filter, it draws a little attention to itself, but still mostly stays out of the way.

    - Something with the overall sound is a little off though, and I can't quite place my finger on it. This was the first thing I noticed. I vaguely recall from over the summer reading brief impressions from 2 or 3 other members here (I don't remember who, maybe @Psalmanazar and someone else??) and they felt the same way (which surprised me at the time as in my mind these are members that know why the feel how they feel about a given piece of gear). I thought it was the lack of texture, slightly odd PRaT, and somewhat plastic-y timbre all combined with DS DAC sound throwing me off at first, but the more I listened, the more I suspect these are only contributors, not the main issue. EDIT: Most of the above and the oddness disappears with the linear instead of minimum filter.

    - Resolution - Behind the Yggdrasil and WL (and definitely below the Solaris, despite being the same chip) but above 1421, Gungnir MB, Onyx/Jade, and other similar level DACs I've heard.
    - Detail retrieval - Between Yggdrasil and Gungnir MB, closer to Yggdrasil. Oddly though, I think different details are emphasized. I hear a lot more stuff in the background but I can't hear as many details in the main part. ex: if someone is singing, I can't hear all the details in their voice as clearly, but I hear a lot more stuff in the background. May be due to the thinner DS sound vs R2R making it easier to pick up on the background details. As an absolute baseline, you can tell stuff like nylon vs steel guitar strings apart, synthetic vs steel strings for orchestral instruments, etc. EDIT: detail retrieval improves noticibly for me with linear filter
    - Texture - Everything is kind of lacking in texture. Like you can tell it's there, but it's all kind of glazed / glossed over. Even something that should be very obvious such as oscillating bass in EDM and similar music doesn't seem to oscillate enough. Also, some singers sort have a wet "pop" or tongue sticking to the mouth sound when they move their tongue and transition between words - you can hear it here, but it doesn't have the vivid texture and detail. A little better than Wavelight here though, Wavelight had this same issue but a little worse. EDIT: slightly better with linear filter, better than WL, but still an issue on this DAC.
    - Macrodynamics - Doesn't have the same amount of macro nor does it have the heft, weight, and slam of Yggdrasil or WL (probably b/c DS), but this also does so macro more cleanly and easily than Yggdrasil or WL (also probably b/c DS). The M3 is not placid though.
    - Microdynamics - good, about on par with Yggdrasil if both are using balanced outs. Oddly, on some tracks it was way better, on some tracks, noticibly worse.
    - Plankton - Between Yggdrasil (more) and Soekris 1421 (less), slightly closer to Yggdrasil.
    - Tonality - Doesn't stand out in any way good or bad. This is a good thing to me. Ties back into how this DAC quietly chugs along in the background.
    - Timbre - A little plastic-y but not too bad otherwise. Everything sounds more natural than say when I listened on the XSP (another DS DAC that is recommended here). EDIT: A little less plastic-y with linear filter. Note that this is not necessarily good/bad but more preference as excessively granular timbre sounds equally wrong/fake to me.
    - PRaT + Transients - I don't know what or why, but something feels wrong with the PRaT. It's not slow, it's not fast, the leading and trailing edges aren't overly rounded or sharp, nothing is artificially truncated (beyond what's in a recording), but something with the PRaT just doesn't feel right. EDIT: Better with linear filter, more lively.
    - Noise floor / blackground - Quiet enough. Didn't hear anything that shouldn't be there on any amp / transducer. Has more of a "dry" sound when coming off the blackground vs some other stuff has a "inky" sound.

    - Highs - Good. Cleaner, more detail is audible due not so dense R2R sound, not a tiny bit smeared or blended (due to the chameleon like nature) like on WL. No sibilance, no shrillness, annoyance.
    - Mids - Clear, clean, and crisp without being annoying. Nothing technically wrong. Only issue would be if someone wanted thicker R2R sound (or maybe you want clearer DS sound).
    - Lows - Everything sounded slightly disjointed and artificial, maybe a tiny bit boosted. Good otherwise, has enough of all of the subjective sutff we want out of bass other than maybe texture.
    - Warm (10) / cool (-10) - neutral, between -1 and 1 depending on the recording, chain, etc. Largely inoffensive and get out of the way whereas Yggdrasil is warm.
    - Staging and imaging - Great staging. Nice, wide, and deep while also very clear. Somewhere around row 15-20 (I'd say Yggdrasil is row 5, occasionally as far back as 10, WL is middle of venue). Even better, everything sounds very natural on the stage. No unnatural and excessive separation, nothing smudged or blended together, etc. I feel like my Auteurs and Clears were the limiting factors here actually. Not as wide or as deep as the Solaris, but way more natural sounding. No 2.5D feel of Morpheus.
    - Layering - Much cleaner and clearer and just better than Yggdrasil. Don't give the blended wall of sound feel of Morpheus though.
    - Speed - This DAC doesn't "sound" fast, but it can definitely go fast. I purposely played a test track where it's lots of different rumbling and oscillating "whooossshhhh" noises at once (i.e., fast and rapid sound changes at multiple levels at once... with many stacked on top of one another). Had absolutely no issues with this test. Never got lost with busy music. If anything, this DAC made it sound easy.
    - Dry (-10) vs Wet (+10) - Generally closer to -1, but can be around a +2 depending on the track, etc.
    - Musical (+10) vs analytical (-10) - +2?? I'm not that sure here actually.
    - Listening fatigue - Kind of like Solaris - I get to a base level of fatigue (maybe 2.5 or 3/10) in about 30 min with all 3 amps (normally do not fatigue me), but it stays low and then doesn't really get worse (maybe gets to 3.5 after several hours).
    - Attack and transients (edges and speed) - although this DAC is fast, the edges are actually more rounded than sharp. The actual transients sound as fast or as slow as they "should be" in the song - in other words, very minimally impacted by the DAC. This is rare in my experience.

    - Languages test - Only French (mild Quebecois accent), Japanese, Chinese (Mandarin with fairly neutral accent), and Spanish (Mexico) this time. Everything sounded fine except for one track in Spanish - some of the I guess "roll offs" (idk what the correct term is, but it's the way you sort roll off / come off the end of a word) unique to Mexican Spanish didn't quite come through. Once again, I am not completely fluent in all of these languages, I only know what they sound like ***to me***. See my other reviews for why I do this test now despite it not making sense on paper.

    Synergy: where -10 is max bad synergy, +10 is max good synergy, 0 is no synergy one way or another. This is also on an approximately flattened bell curve since good synergy is actually kind of hard / rare - most stuff won't score above/below +/- 5. Focal headphones + Feliks amps would be an example of 9+ synergy. Stellaris + Utopia is like a +7.5 to me.

    - with Stellaris - OK synergy per my preferences, maybe a +2, but if I put on my DS-hat, I would say this is a +4 or +4.5.
    - with EC AF - OK synergy, -1 to +1 depending on the song.
    - with Cavalli LC - good synergy, +4 or +5, they correct a lot of things for each other actually and the overall sound is really enjoyable for me. However, ultimate macrodynamics and power in the highs are hampered and swings are not strong enough - it sounds like the gear undershoots the swings with this combo. Microdynamics becomes a little lacking as well and plankton is not strong (but still there in small amounts). I find this odd b/c this all of the above are stronger when both pieces of gear are used separately from each other. High gain (and subsequent volume decrease) on LC helps a little bit, but not really.
    - EDIT: +1 to all synergies with linear filter

    - No one headphone really stood out with this DAC. I did like it with my UERM (via arcam rhead) as they roughly have the same strengths.

    ---------------------
    COMPARISONS:
    I'm probably won't make a spreadsheet, spider chart, etc as there are too many subjective things, synergies, personal preferences, and things to cover (i.e. messy spider chart), etc. A spreadsheet with a total score or the like would also imply that some DACs are "supposed to be better" than others in all cases due to some "total score" or the like. I do not believe the audio experience can be boiled down into a single number.

    - vs Schiit Yggdrasil A2 (own) - when I switched back to my Yggdrasil after listening to the M3, Yggdrasil sounded very warm, slow, a little lazy, and thick in the lower registers. Note that I agree with some criticisms of the Yggdrasil elsewhere that it can sound slightly thin (more so A1 + GS than A2) and a little on edge or harsh with the wrong setup. With this being said, do not mistake this as me saying the M3 sound thin (as mentioned above). Not as incisive as Yggdrasil, I think Yggdrasil is about 7/10 incisive. With the linear filter, I think this DAC is better than the Yggdrasil in more aspects.
    - vs Rockna Wavelight (loaner) - a very different sound. WL was very fluid, more chameleon like depending on the situation. M3 is the opposite - just plows through everything with a very fixed sound other than some slight changes with the LC. Very much "You can have any color car you want as long as it's black." Not nearly as fluid and effortless as the WL sounded, but more structured of a sound. Also, I mention M3 doesn't draw attention to itself. WL was the opposite. Combined with WL's chameleon factor, it was much harder for me to evaluate and critical listen vs M3 is amazingly easy to evaluate. EDIT: M3 becomes more fluid with the linear filter.
    - vs Sonnet Morpheus (loaner) - Pretty much the opposite in terms of presentation. Morpheus is like getting hit with a giant 2.5D wall of sound, detail, and resolution but it is slow and has bad PRaT. This is very separated and can go very fast, but last noticibly less detail and resolution.
    - vs Soekris 1421 (previously owned, have also heard the 1521 before but I'm not as familiar with it. I have not heard the new 2541). 1421 is a lot easier to listen to for a long period of time and sounds more neutral and slightly more clinical, but still has a little more "fill" due to R2R sound.
    - vs Crane Song Solaris (loaner) - Very different sounds but there are 3 similarities - 1) Great stage. M3 stage isn't as vast and as "black", but it's more natural and not so soft sounding. 2) If I use the rhead (about Asgard 3 level of amp) - you can definitely hear the flaws of this amp (and similar level amps when I used Solaris) very well with either DAC. Basically the "buy better gear" sound - note that some other DACs at a similar level will not do this on rhead. 3) Also, if you look at my Solaris review, you will see it was a little fatiguing for me. This is fatiguing in the same way but not as bad.

    - vs Metrum Pavane/Adagio, Onyx/Jade, Holo Spring, Chord Hugo2, PS Audio and Aurender DACs (I forget the exact models), and other similarly priced DACs that I've heard - I will refrain from commenting more as I am not familiar enough with these to give honest info. However, I will summarize by saying that the M3 is a better match than the above with my setups / chains and preferences. The Pavane and Spring lvl3 might be slightly preferred with different chains and setups.

    - Trying DACs as I find one to match the Stellaris. Still on my list to try are the Burl B2, Holo May, and maybe a MSB "Discrete" DAC ("Discrete" is the actual model name) depending on where used prices for these eventually land. EDIT: Suspicions confirmed, my original guess of 60% chance the MSB will sound like ORFAS-ville apparently is true. Just need to try a B2 and a May.

    ---------------------
    MISC FEATURES:
    Thermometer that measures core operating components - a good idea. I know this would be harder to implement properly with a R2R layout, but is a useful feature if you don't set and forget your gear for years on end.
    I'm glad the power supply is integrated - much more convenient.
    Slightly awkward interface but nothing horrible. Loaner did not include a remote so I can't comment on whether or not the remote is worth $500 for anyone else. To me it's not worth it and I kind of got the feeling that the dealer felt the same.
    The streamer was on par or slightly better than the times I've heard pi2aes streaming. Dealer strongly recommended the version with the streamer as well (may have just been the sales pitch, but it matches what I have heard so far). On the flip side, like any other built in streamer, you have to worry about software, firmware, or other updates breaking things, whether or not it will be supported in X years, etc.

    Volume control knob - Can be used as a pre-amp. Going from 0dB to -1 or +1db and adjusting volume knob on amp to match again, I don't think I can hear a real difference with my gear. Or, if a heard a difference, it was small enough to be due to volume mismatching on the amp. For reference, when I tried to use the Soekris 1421 as a pre-amp, I could hear a difference and there was a very slight but still noticeable degredation in sound quality (and hence I normally ran the 1421 at 0dB).
    ---------------------
    Conclusion and other comments:

    Quietly competent all around. To borrow a phrase from purrin, less sins of commission all around vs most other DACs I've heard in this approximate range, but the absolute technical and subjective performance may also be a little bit less.

    This DAC was good, but I feel that it's too expensive for what it is. I think a MSRP of somewhere between $3500-4500 for the base model (no remote, streamer, or headphone amp) would be more appropriate, this is including dealer markups. If it was direct sales, I'd say $2500-3k as it's more or less on par with the Yggdrasil A2 or other DACs in this approximate price range. Given that the no display version of the pi2aes is $230ish after shipping and taxes and that this streamer may actually sound slightly better, the streamer actually isn't TOO far off, maybe $400. Won't comment on the remote... Can't comment on the headphone amp module as this loaner doesn't have one, but I imagine most SBAF members would use this with a dedicated amp. For reference, I have never flat out said anything is overpriced in any of my reviews before, even when I did wish a particular piece of gear was slightly cheaper...

    Lastly, if I missed some aspect of the sound or anything is overly subjective, comment and I will try to clarify. I will most likely have the DAC until sometime this weekend or early next week.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2020
  3. penguins

    penguins Friend, formerly known as fp627

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    CORRECTION:
    Originally state no filters and no NOS but there is phase inversion.

    Correct statement should be that there are 2 filters but I don't know if you can invert the phase. No NOS. There is a button that says "Status" (upper right). If you click this button, you cycle through the following (use knob to change):
    - The phase (filter) - change between minimum and linear phase. All impressions above were with minimum phase.
    - Temp monitor and software version (1.04 for loaner).
    - Trigger - (trigger out, in, or "by another device")... oddly they label other device "remote" on the display, but this disables the M3 remote per the manual... wat??
    - Phase - Manual says "The M3 is absolute phase meaning that it does not invert the phase, there is no phase inversion of the analog path in the M3 so no inversion of the DSD is possible." Yet, if I turn the knob, it will cycle between "normal" or "inverted"... so which one is it?
    - Display Intensity and DSD conversion mode - chose between custom DSD solution by Bricasti (all impressions above were done this way) and PCM for using DS (via the ADI 1955 chips).

    Additionally, the manual specifically recommends against upsampling on other equipment. "Defeat all up-sampling features in your media player or CD transport."

    My fault for not reading the manual first, but giving you the option to change phase and then telling you that you can't change the phase isn't very intuitive.
    -------------------------------------------
    Update: Tried with linear filter, like it MUCH better than the minimum. About 50-75% of the "weird thing I couldn't place my finger on" is gone now. Everything is more fluid (in neither a good or bad way), transient edges sound more blurred together and a little more drawn / rounded out, but overall sound and cadence is more lively - personally I preferred the more middle of the road transient edges and the little less softness with the minimum filter, but I do appreciate how "that weird thing" is gone now and it just flat out sounds way better to me with the linear filter.
    I'm also able to hear more details - not sure if it's something in the filter that impact detail retrieval or the "weird" thing being gone opened up the sound a bit.

    Inverted phase while music was playing - there is a brief pause and then I THINK it sounds slightly different (mostly in the lower registers). However, I'm not 100% sure with headphones (it's easier for me to hear with speakers/sub) if phase actually inverted or if it's placebo or something else changing.

    ----------------------------------------------------
    Having some hiccups with the streamer now (probably issues on my end), still need to try with PCM (for DSD music) as well.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2020
  4. penguins

    penguins Friend, formerly known as fp627

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    Additional thoughts:
    PCM - Didn't listen enough to come to a definitive conclusion. IDK what happened, but I can't find my DSD formatted music right now and bluntly put, I'm not motivated enough to look harder.

    Streamer issues largely resolved. In short, optical << USB < AES < Streamer. AES and Streamer are all sufficiently good, USB is borderline between good enough (for the $) but the oddities are not bad enough (to me) to get in the way of musical enjoyment. The streamer sounds better than a pi2aes. However, the hiccups I had with the streamer (90%+ sure that this was no fault of the streamer) and the likelihood of less end user serviceability, possibility of updates breaking things, and no modularity for M3 streamer that I'm aware of make me prefer pi2aes solution.


    In conclusion:
    Nothing new has jumped out at me in the last 2 days of additional listening. Still prefer the linear filter by far.

    Still looking for a DAC for my Stellaris. So far, in terms of absolute preference and synergy, I actually like this better than everything else I've tried so far (surprisingly to me). However, while they sound different, the difference in overall level of preference between this and the Wavelight is small enough that realistically I'm probably going to go with whatever I can get a better deal on (or get faster if one has a ridiculous wait time once I'm ready to buy). With this being said, if I don't critical listen and just zonk out and listen to music, the difference between the M3 and Yggdrasil aren't HUGE (unlike say Yggdrasil and Morpheus) and part of me just wants to save the $5k+ b/c it's not a huge difference.

    Most prominent differences: M3 is DS sound, is a few more rows back from the stage, not as incisive, is slightly glossed and glazed over in texture and details (which doesn't help the plankton). Yggdrasil is modern R2R, a few more rows up, a little more incisive, and has more texture and details, but these are occasionally rendered in a way that almost makes you pause and go "wait what happened there" but it's never bad enough to actually stop the show / take away from enjoyment. WL, Morpheus, and most other DACs talked about before on SBAF have all been more different from the Yggdrasil than M3 if I just close my eyes, do nothing, and enjoy music.

    For anyone who had the same potential concern that I had going in of this being an ORFAS cash grab product - I will say it is absolutely NOT. Before auditioning, in my mind it was 35% chance that this was such a product, 5% I-buy-things-as-a-pissing-contest with no cohesive taste or understanding of said things new money Chinese guy type of product (only 5% b/c it's not flashy enough in per their average buying preferences), 25% chance it was more pro-audio-ish, 25% it was for slightly neurotic internet posters like myself on SBAF, 10% normie with a few extra audio dollars. I'd say this is probably some mix of the last 3 categories. Nothing against these groups or communities even if the descriptions above are not flattering - just a quick way to describe vastly different target audiences - those who have seen the above probably know exactly what I'm talking talking about.

    Up next: Soekris 2541 (most likely not meant to be a direct competitor to the WL, Morpheus, Yggdrasil, M3, etc... probably closer to a Gungnir MB level of competitor) as I was very happy with the 1421 up until I sold it recently. Burl B2 if I can locate one. Holo May once it is more readily available next year.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2020
  5. Cappy

    Cappy Rando

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    Superb review, thanks!
     
  6. ushanka

    ushanka Facebook Friend

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    Just out of curiosity, if I am reading this correctly, are you effectively looking for a more relaxed sound than the Yggdrasil? Reading through the differences made me think I am reading about a ~$2.5k DAC that may be level with the Yggdrasil providing different trade offs, so learning the actual price of the M3 was very surprising.
     
  7. penguins

    penguins Friend, formerly known as fp627

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    ^ Not quite. While I would prefer a slightly less incisive and front row sound vs Yggdrasil, you may be able to tell that it's a lot less than just a few traits or factors but rather more of a complete "sound profile" and how this said profile synergizes with headphones or gear. Hence why I mention so many aspects of the sound in such a subjective manner.

    I don't have one "set" sound profile that I enjoy. ex- a lot of members here criticize ampsandsound stuff as too warm, thick, and soft, and while I agree that it is warm, thick, and soft sounding, I actually think it comes together very cohesively with the right DAC and pretty much any ZMF headphone and can make for a very relaxing and enjoyable listen.
     
  8. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Most improved member; A+

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    "For reference, I generally prefer a neutral sound with a little bit (+0.5-1dB) of extra "air" (~10-20khz) and low bass (<60Hz) sprinkled in. Slight preference towards a slightly drier (~-2 if -10 is full dry and 10 is full wet)"

    waddafuq?
     
  9. penguins

    penguins Friend, formerly known as fp627

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    ^ actually a very fair wtf - I myself felt the same after re-reading.

    Let me reword and clarify - this is for the FR of the overall chain, but I realize most of this comes from headphones / transducers with a little bit occasionally a small amount from amp or DAC design (if they didn't shoot for a flat FR, i.e. NOS DAC). Some people like boosted bass, some people like less bass, some people want dip around 5 or 5.5k (Audeze) where as some people want a boost around that area (some HFM stuff), some people want NOS (i.e. typically a downward slope in FR after ~10k from what I can hear or have seen in measurements) and some people can't stand it, etc.

    So, I generally prefer a neutral frequency response with no boosted bass, no extra treble spike at 5k. But add a small bass low bass boost (+0.5-1dB) and a small boost above 10khz (also +0.5-1dB). In short, I guess a very slight U shaped FR.

    I mention this b/c sometimes preferences for overall sound seem to correlate to some degree with what subjective qualities we like in amps or dacs.
     
  10. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    Any chance you have any plans to use the Bricasti in a speaker setup? Just trying to triangulate a little more.
     
  11. penguins

    penguins Friend, formerly known as fp627

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    ^ Sorry - already returned it (I was given ~7 days). Additionally, I do not have a suitable 2ch system/setup available for testing.
     
  12. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Most improved member; A+

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    How can you have any preference for or against perceived linearity in products that are almost all flat when your system is so incredibly far from linear?

    Bricasti, Lavry, Prism, Burl, etc are above your pay grade to criticize.
     
  13. penguins

    penguins Friend, formerly known as fp627

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    Yes, I'm not pro audio. Audio professionals and engineers at said companies (or heck, even a lot of more senior SBAF members) have much more experience than me with DACs, but I can't change what I heard / perceived. That or maybe I'm a poster who's DAC impressions you just skip b/c it doesn't match your experience. If the above comment/s weren't clear or made me sound amateur-ish and consequently sound like I made up a bunch of subjective hoopla or whatever just to write or say something, well, (unfortunately) that's for the reader to decide or decipher between areas where I may lack in my writing abilities vs what I actually want to express vs how much I actually know how to listen.

    With that being said - I don't think you have to own something for years or even months on end to know whether or not you like certain aspects of it or not or maybe wish you could change this or that about the sound - i.e. "no perfect amp/dac/headphone". I've heard other gear I don't own before too... Much of it is considered "flat" or "neutral" but I generally didn't like it as a whole enough to buy it on top of what I already own. I have what I have now because I liked the stuff holistically after multiple listens despite all of it not being perfectly flat. I also mention "generally prefer" - it's not an absolute or set preference (I have posted this before 1 or 2x other threads as well) - most important to me is the overall sound or "vision" holistically coming together as a whole.

    Lastly, I also don't think a flat FR or not contributes to what one may hear (or not) with other subjective traits such as the sound stage or whatever else mentioned. Most of my comments above were not about the FR. Again, stating this preference was just a reference point to help people triangulate my preferences against their own and to help understand where I may come from, be biased, etc.
     
  14. Paul J Letteri

    Paul J Letteri Rando

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    For anyone to think the Schiit Yggsdrasil is in the same league , there is something seriously
    Wrong ,I had the most upto date latest yaggs and it was not even close ,
    The M3 needs 400 hours runin, and filter set on minimum I did not see that mentioned
    The m3 is so much more refined and it has a nice natural sound and truly pulls all the information of the recording with excellent separation of detail. With the ultra still points
    And uptone Ether regen truly a big upgrade and using Wire world $200 Ethernet cables from modem to router , Beldon certified cat 6 500 MHz , the from the regen to streamer wire world
    It sounds great ,with Melco N10 a great value for high end .
     
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