Schiit Bifrost 2

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by RobS, Aug 28, 2019.

  1. jexby

    jexby Posole Prince

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    the wonderful human @zerodeefex loaned me the BF2 initially, @Hands has already done the nice long impressions above, keeping my typing shorter. so:

    1. didn't have any SPDIF sources or converter, so will stay on the Unison train as it's clear, concise and convenient.
    sure maybe streamers with LPS are still slightly better in some TOTL rigs.

    2. said it elsewhere, had one initially bought a BF2 + SW51, there's no sense spending $ on another DAC + Amp pairing for years unless moving way up TOTL tube amps.

    3. Bifrost 2 is like a baby Yggdrasil A2. the areas it differs: reduced depth of stage but still good layering and separation. not quite as wide on the L R pans, and while the bass tone is Yggdrasil-like, there's a step less punch to the energy. but gawd, for the price- beyond stellar sound.

    4. If the Bifrost 2 SE outputs are improved, well it's weird that I preferred the Yggdrasil SE into the SW51 amp. maybe for the reasons listed above more so than a transport/cabling difference.
    or maybe I can't pick out SE haze for better or for worse.

    should be a Golden Schlong nominee for price / performance ratio.
     
  2. jnak00

    jnak00 Acquaintance

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    I finally ran the Bifrost 2 through speakers at a decent volume. I normally don't get to use it until my kids are in bed, so it's either headphones or speakers on low volume, but I was home alone and got to turn it up.

    The layering and separation was mind blowing. It could be placebo, but I've never noticed this level of holographic sound before. I got a real sense of where the musicians were on the stage, both side to side and front to back. I've seen comments that speakers are better for revealing differences in DACs and now I see why.
     
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  3. MyPetSasquatch

    MyPetSasquatch Friend

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    I keep coming back to the fact that I spent $700 on this little DAC brand new from the factory and I'm still stunned and annoyed at how inexpensive it is.

    I've had in my setup at varying points: PS Audio DirectStream, Metrum Pavane L1, Metrum Onyx, Gungnir Multibit A1, Benchmark DAC3, Lumin T1, Lumin D2, Chord Hugo TT, Chord Hugo 2, Chord Qutest, and a ton of other lesser-priced units. The Bifrost 2 isn't embarrassed at all in that company and for the price I'd honestly feel guilty shelling out more money considering how good it is.

    I really am wondering if I can think of a better price-performance ratio in the DAC space. There certainly isn't one new, and even bringing the used market into question I can't think of one either. Hell, the RME ADI-2 DAC goes for around $800 on the used market and that thing stank up the joint compared to the Bifrost 2.
     
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  4. ChaChaRealSmooth

    ChaChaRealSmooth SBAF Gearmaster

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    ***Thanks to @tommytakis for the kind loan of his system, which includes this Bifrost 2.***

    Being my first real experience with a Schiit R2R DAC (I don't count my short-time with a real old Gungnir MB A1, because I had that old speaker system before I was a member here or even knew anything, really), I wasn't too sure what to expect, but given the reviews that this relatively small DAC has gotten, my expectations were pretty high. And to absolutely no one's surprise, my opinion is that the Bifrost 2 kicks major ass.

    Now, I should make it clear here that I've only evaluated the Bifrost 2's Unison USB input, and haven't even bothered with trying another input. This is because USB is currently the best way for me to play audio from my desktop, unless I want to invest in a Lynx (the optical out is metaphorical gonorrhea from my motherboard). So no, I have no idea if the other inputs sound better, nor do I really know if this is any "better" than Gen V USB.

    In comparison to my current DAC, the X-Sabre Pro MQA (also plugged in via USB, using the XMOS XU216), the Bifrost 2 is just a touch rolled on the top by a teensy bit, and perhaps might be a bit shelved on the lows as well; making the Bifrost 2 mid-centric in comparison to the X-Sabre Pro MQA. The differences here are small and honestly not really worth worrying about that much, although it should be noted that the highs on the X-Sabre Pro MQA can be a little bit high-strung in character (I don't know how to describe it, but some people dislike this immensely). The Bifrost 2 exhibits none of that character, and in comparison is smooth and refined. Despite me calling it a teensy bit rolled on top, I don't feel that I'm missing the last bit of air with Starlett.

    Bass slam on the Bifrost 2 is fantastic. It's not immediately apparent, but it slams more than the X-Sabre Pro MQA. The Matrix kind of gets away with this (and cheats) by having ridiculous, slightly over-energetic transient performance. The Bifrost 2's transients are a wee bit relaxed compared to where I'd like it, but it has terrific nuance and isn't at all bad (this could be because I'm used to listening to the X-Sabre Pro MQA).

    I absolutely love the timbre of the Bifrost 2. Extrapolating from impressions of other Schiit R2R DACs, the Bifrost 2 exhibits the same "tone density" that those do and it makes vocals and stringed instruments really tuck at my heartstrings. This is something that the X-Sabre Pro MQA can only dream it can do. This does give the impression that the Bifrost 2 is especially full-bodied and rich-sounding. Despite that though, I feel the Bifrost 2 lags the Matrix in layering, but not by much (distinct possibility that it layers just as well, but I'm not used to hearing that tone density).

    The difference in stage and image between the Bifrost 2 and X-Sabre Pro MQA is not huge. I had to do a double-take, but the Bifrost 2 does seem to have a more defined center stage and more fleshed-out images. It's kind of hard to describe, but the sounds feel more "tangible" with the Bifrost, whereas the X-Sabre Pro MQA's images are a bit thin-feeling and not entirely "tangible." The difference in centerstage can be heard most with an amp like 3F; with the X-Sabre Pro MQA, the 3F kind of has this wide, diffuse center. With Bifrost 2, the center is much more defined and the listening is much more realistic-feeling.

    I hesitate to really try to give a solid verdict on resolve and resolution because my source is just shit, but in the context of my system, I do think the X-Sabre Pro MQA has the edge. This is partly also because the small sounds are easier to hear on the X-Sabre Pro MQA's super black background and its utter lack of congestion in the busiest of passages; the Bifrost 2 does sound slightly busy when tons of sounds are playing at once, and does have a slight "greyground." Perhaps my ears aren't trained enough here, and I'm confusing the blackground with "hifi."

    Overall, the Bifrost 2 is a great representation of what I imagined the "modern R2R" sound is. Absolutely a fantastic DAC, and a performance ceiling this high on a DAC of this price is just insane. I wouldn't be too surprised if I saw myself buying a Schiit DAC somewhere in the future. Golden Schlong-worthy in my book.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2019
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  5. squishware

    squishware Friend

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    Pulled the trigger this morning on one. If it wasn't Black Tuesday it would probably be here tomorrow.
    I did not mean to pollute the thread. Ops delete I cannot.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2019
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  6. ohshitgorillas

    ohshitgorillas Friend

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    I just wanted to throw in my 2c, I agree with previous posters saying that Unison is very good, but not the end-all-be-all of USB audio. It does sound a little tubey in the sense of space, but is just a hair less focused than a good coaxial source (in this case, Oppo BDP-103). I think the coax extends a little better on the low end and is a little tighter, which helps things like percussion snap/kick a little bit better. Not a major difference, but enough that I'm probably not getting rid of the Oppo as an SPDIF source anytime soon.

    As far as the DAC itself goes, it's the best DAC I've ever heard on my own setup for sure. For me, it isn't a major, night and day improvement over Bifrost Multibit, but I do find that it has notably better imaging/staging, a slightly blacker background, and leans more towards neutral than the Bifrost Multibit which has more of a warmer, darker tint. Personally I prefer the darker approach of Bifrost Multibit, but just about everything else about Bifrost 2 is superior.
     
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  7. Sounds Major

    Sounds Major Rando

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    I have an Oppo UDP-205 and I want it to sound better. Will the Bifrost 2 bestow a golden schlong upon the Oppo?

    I use the Oppo to play digital files of all resolutions via USB more frequently than silver discs, fwiw. Don't use no computers, phones, or tablets in my main rig.
     
  8. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

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    I was feeling the same but I wasn't sure, since I also switched from passing SE into Freya S to Bal, and I thought it might have been the nexus conversion to my Vidar monoblocks.

    Good to know I was, in actual fact, hearing things.
    :drunk:

    I'll try switching back from PYST XLR to my FAW Claire RCA, it might shift the balance just that little bit.
     
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  9. MyPetSasquatch

    MyPetSasquatch Friend

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    Are you using the internal DAC in the Oppo? If so, I think the Bifrost 2 is a big upgrade. To be honest, I've only heard the Oppo HA-1, but it was the brightest ESS Sabre DAC implementation I've ever heard, and I've heard similar things about the UDP series. I was grateful for Oppo's return policy because I couldn't get rid of the HA-1 fast enough.

    Let me put it this way: if you find the Oppo to be bright and thin-sounding, you're probably going to like the Bifrost 2. The Schiit DAC has better tonality, better imaging and staging, and is a warmer, more "natural" listen for sure. If you prefer a brighter signature you're probably better off with the Oppo.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2019
  10. MyPetSasquatch

    MyPetSasquatch Friend

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    One thing that hasn't gotten mentioned much about the Bifrost 2 is a simple feature: the remote control.

    This was a deciding factor of mine in giving the Bifrost 2 a shot, so big thanks to @schiit for including this on one of their DACs for the first time. I use Unison for music with my Roon ROCK server, and I use the TOSLINK input for my gaming PC. My audio rack is in a corner of my room and isn't convenient to access every time I want to switch inputs (which is usually multiple times a day). I had been toying with the idea of buying a Yggdrasil for the longest time, but the lack of a remote switchable input was a dealbreaker, sadly. Here's hoping this feature makes it into future revisions of the higher-end DACs.

    Also, the remote is of a nicer build quality than it has any right to be for the simple functions it delivers and the price point of the DAC itself. It's a solid little slab of metal, and it was super easy to program into my Harmony Hub remote.
     
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  11. Skyline

    Skyline Double-blindly done with this hobby

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    Speaking of the remote, can anyone give me an audio for dummies version of the phase inversion feature? It's not something I've ever had on my gear and don't really understand when or why I'd want to use it. The Schiit website mentions it but doesn't really explain it.
     
  12. Sounds Major

    Sounds Major Rando

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    Thanks for the great reply. I do use the internal DAC; I run my Xbox One and AppleTV 4K through the Oppo in addition to playing silver discs and music files over USB.

    I think the Oppo sounds good for what it is; fairly good imaging and soundstaging, but I'd like better timbre, timing, and warmth. Sounds like the Bifrost 2 could get me there.
     
  13. ohshitgorillas

    ohshitgorillas Friend

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    Combine the powers of the two. Those Oppo players make for excellent SPDIF transports, and the Bifrost 2 is an excellent DAC. Together I bet they will sound fantastic. The DACs in the Oppos are decent but as I recall they are made with home theater and surround sound in mind, rather than getting the most out of a 2ch setup.
     
  14. bixby

    bixby Friend

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    Speaking of bright, you obviously never heard a Mytek like the ole 24/96 or to a lesser extent but still ice picky, Brooklyn. :D


    @Skyline, this should help https://www.uaudio.com/blog/understanding-audio-phase/

    Apparently some recording can get effed up phase wise.
     
  15. Andre Y

    Andre Y Friend

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    It's for fixing recordings which may be recorded with inverted phase. For example, a trumpet's initial attack may have a positive going waveform, but for whatever reason, it's recorded inverted as a negative going waveform. Or if it's recorded correctly, something in your system may invert the waveform.

    Some people are sensitive to this (search for "absolute phase"), and the phase inversion switch gives those people a way to correct this. Most people can't hear this BTW, so don't worry about it if it sounds like the switch does nothing for you.
     
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  16. Mithrandir41

    Mithrandir41 Friend

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    The HA-1 had a horrible dac. That was 9018 based and sounded like trash. The newer 9038 implementations tend to sound much, much better.
     
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  17. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

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    @Skyline also some amps reverse polarity (e.g. MCTH, see the last post in atomicbob's measurement thread), so anybody wanting 'normal' polarity can have the Bifrost reverse it and the amp will reverse it back.
     
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  18. Inoculator

    Inoculator Almost "Made"

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    I am going to assume this is an issue with my garbage work PC, but just in case....

    Has anyone run into an issue with the Bifrost 2 via USB where you will start a track, and just get silence until you cycle through inputs back to USB again? I have had this happen both just with windows default settings via Spotify/Youtube, and with Qobuz exclusive mode. Any advice would be appreciated.

    Beyond this nagging issue, I absolutely adore this DAC. I have a Gungnir Multibit at home with the Liquid Platinum, but my Bifrost 2/Jotunheim stack at work goes toe to toe, and I would say has a bit of an edge when it comes to detail and bass slam. Sub-bass slam when paired with the Eikon is incredible, really just perfect synergy with those 3 components. This stack replaced a Monoprice THX DAC/AMP at work and it is not contest really, across the board upgrade.
     
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  19. Elnrik

    Elnrik Super Friendly

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    Have you tried turning it off and on again?

    Mine did that once, and after a power cycle, hasn't done it again.
     
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  20. Mithrandir41

    Mithrandir41 Friend

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    Pretty often, I have to press pause and then play, and the sound comes back. Only at the beginning of a track when I open new software.
     
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