Schiit Gungnir Multibit impressions

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by Bill-P, Oct 7, 2015.

  1. klyrish

    klyrish Acquaintance

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    Thanks for the info regarding the upgrade process. I'm impatient. Gungnir Multibit is likely going to be my endgame and I'm annoyed with myself for having wasted so much time trying to find something "similar" or "as good" for far less than the price of it and now even more for waiting 15+ days with no movement. There was a Gungnir Multibit on eBay for $980 + $29 shipping and I pulled the trigger last night after canceling my upgrade order. I should be able to recoup the costs by selling my Gungnir DS + Modi Multibit, Vali 2, and Loki and hopefully break even.

    Based on the pics of the backside from the listing (https://www.ebay.com/itm/Schiit-Gun...e=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649) and the current pics on the Schiit site, I'm pretty sure this is the original/A1 Gungnir Multibit. From what I've read in this thread about impressions between the A1 and A2, the A1 sounds like the signature I'm looking for.
     
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  2. rott

    rott Secretly hates other millenials - Friend

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    A1 till the day I die. Or decide to upgrade.
    Cut me some slack, still buzzing from a cocktail-heavy lunch with the wife...not because she is my wife mind you...
     
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  3. Josh358

    Josh358 Almost "Made"

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    OK, so I'm getting a Gungnir multibit in today -- I want to compare it to my Exasound e38 Mk II within the return window. The problem is that I understand the Gungnir Multibit sounds better with the SDIF input, but my E22 is at Lynx for repair. So I'm wondering if there's a good, inexpensive way to get quality SDIF for the evaluation. I looked for [email protected] cards, but it looks like they aren't made anymore? At least, no one has them in stock. Maybe an EITR on trial? Suggestions would be much appreciated!
     
  4. hifiandrun

    hifiandrun Almost "Made"

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    You don't need a Eitr for a Gungnir MB with a USB 5. The Eitr is basically an external USB 5. Unless you are getting a second-hand old Gungnir MB with USB2.
     
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  5. Josh358

    Josh358 Almost "Made"

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    Great, thanks, I didn't know they'd upgraded the USB input (or if I knew, incipient senility erased the knowledge).
     
  6. Mr.Sneis

    Mr.Sneis Friend

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    Maybe it is the structure of your sentence but it sounds like you ordered a new Gungnir from schiit? If so then it should by default have the gen 5 USB. Why would you need a special transport just to figure out if you like the dac or not? Having the best pc transport chain would not likely transform the dac into a different sound anyways.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2019
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  7. AdvanTech

    AdvanTech Friend

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    Enjoy it as it is, and know it'll only get better once your E22 comes back.
     
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  8. Josh358

    Josh358 Almost "Made"

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    Thanks, yes, hifiandrun already straightened me out. I'd read only the first 15 pages of this thread and saw all the complaints about the sound of the USB input vs. SPDIF, knew that the Yggdrasil had USB 5 but didn't know or had forgotten that the Gungnir Multibit had been upgraded as well. This was a very last-minute purchase since I'm evaluating the e38 and didn't have a ladder DAC to compare it too, just other ESS DACs (and not even my E22, which is I think AKM).
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2019
  9. Josh358

    Josh358 Almost "Made"

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    Thanks, do you think it still sounds better with the SPDIF input?

    Sadly I don't think my E22 will be back in time for the comparison, if I'd known I was going to be doing this comparison I wouldn't have sent it out for repair now, because the problem is in an analog channel. I want the Gungnir Multibit to be doing its best for comparison purposes -- one of these DACs will be going back. So far the e38 Mk II is sounding wonderful except for what sounds like some digital glare -- not nearly as bad as on my old e28 Mk II, but I hate HF glare and I'm after a more analog sound.
     
  10. AdvanTech

    AdvanTech Friend

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    Gen 5 is definitely an improvement over Gen 2, but Lynx is another step above that. It’s easy enough to hear the improvement via E22.
     
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  11. Josh358

    Josh358 Almost "Made"

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    Thanks. Guess I'll just have to do the comparison without, Lynx's repair department seems to be backed up.
     
  12. Josh358

    Josh358 Almost "Made"

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    Belay that, I heard from Lynx today and my E22 will be back on Saturday. Meanwhile, listening to the Gungnir Multibit all wrong (only one day of burn in, unbalanced cables, no SPDIF) -- and *loving* it. The same recordings that were screechy and hard to take on my ESS DACs now sound like they did on LP. More to come, when I do the real comparison.
     
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  13. Josh358

    Josh358 Almost "Made"

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    Got my E22 back today, and you're so right! Running it off the Lynx is almost like getting a new DAC. Just to make sure that it wasn't my imagination, I set it up with both inputs level matched and playing simultaneously using JRiver zones, so I could switch and compare easily. I also tried feeding the Gungnir Multibit through an iFi iUSB 3 and a Pangea dual USB cable, and that brought it much closer to the quality of the Lynx, but not quite.

    Some other observations -- I thought I'd cleared everything but the Gungnir Multibit off the motherboard's USB 2 hub. But last night, I discovered that I'd accidentally plugged something else into a USB 2 port the day before. So I unplugged that while I was listening to the Gungnir Multibit and was surprised by an immediate improvement in the sound. It wasn't at all subtle, "pop" and the sound changed.

    I also think I heard an improvement when I switched from a generic USB cable to the Pangea cable, but without the iFi decrapifier. But I'm less sure about that because I haven't repeated the experiment.

    I also found, as someone else had, that the Gungnir Multibit's balanced outputs sound better than the single-ended one -- but can't say whether that's the Gungnir Multibit or the amp.

    Now to move onto the Exasound comparison . . . I've had the Gungnir for three days now, so I gather from what people say here that tomorrow will bring maximum goodness.
     
  14. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Friend

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    I find it's 48 hours to sound 90%, then over the next week it becomes more refined, and more holographic/dimensional.
     
  15. Josh358

    Josh358 Almost "Made"

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    How about after four days? I'm going to have to do the e38 comparison tomorrow because the return window is closing. I already have a general idea of how they compare, but I had to change the configuration of my system significantly to try the Gungnir, using high level crossovers instead of triamping, so I'll have to listen to the e38 again through the high level crossovers to make a fair comparison. Subjectively so far, the e38 is cleaner and much more detailed, but has annoying digital glare and what I can only describe as subtle delta sigma weirdness in the highs -- everything from pumped noise to frequency-dependent distortion. And the Gungnir has better depth and layering as well, and has *body* to it in a sense that the two 9038pro DAC's I've heard don't. But some of that may be due to the speaker configuration.
     
  16. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Friend

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    Doesn't really make sense to fully evaluate Gungnir Multibit until its fully warmed up, which is 7-10 days. Everything just snaps into place.
     
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  17. Josh358

    Josh358 Almost "Made"

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    (sigh) Wish I had a choice, but the time window on my e38 return is running out and I have to make a decision about whether it goes back today. But I'll keep this in mind and refrain from making a final assessment of the Gungnir until a week has passed. What I really want to know right now is whether I should stick with the Exasound or go to multibit -- not necessarily the Gungnir, I could go for an Yggdrasil or what have you. Curious about the Holo Spring . . . heard the Soekris at AXPONA and couldn't stand it, super grainy, but it's always hard to know from shows.
     
  18. Cos

    Cos Acquaintance

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    @Josh358 Youre torturing yourself too much. If both DACs sound very good to you and you need to “squint” err.... pause your breath to hear differences, any of them will do royally.

    If you continue on this pathway of obsesing on small differences you may choose something reluctabtly and then continue to ask yourself if you did the right choice and what else is out there that could be 1-5% better and waste much time in the process - like the next step you imagine Gungir vs Yggdrasil where you’ll be stuck again with the DACs not warmed up at the fully potential simultaneously.

    (Bad idea for any other decision in life and bad for your blood pressure )
     
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  19. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Friend

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    [​IMG]
     
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  20. Josh358

    Josh358 Almost "Made"

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    To put this in perspective, the Gungnir and Exasound don't sound even remotely alike. They could be from different planets. In a nutshell, and ignoring for the moment the fact that the Gungnir isn't entirely burned in, the Exasound is a good deal more detailed and transparent, with better localization, but tipped up with piercing highs. Also, it sounds great when things are soft but when they're loud it sounds like a locomotive. The Gungnir has more depth, is less dynamic, is less detailed and transparent in the midrange -- the best way I can describe it is that it sounds tubey.

    OK, so why does this matter so much? Most of it doesn't -- different character -- but I find the Exasound virtually unlistenable because of the HF emphasis and glare, which is very apparent on true ribbons and might be less so with a dome tweeter. It's hyped.

    So that's why it's important to me. if I just listened to rock and pop, it wouldn't matter, the e38 sounds great on that, but when it comes to massed strings, chorus, and even soprano voice, it sets my teeth on edge. Particularly on distorted recordings, the kind that have been through too many op amps. When I listen to the Gungnir Multibit, it's literally a relief. The distortion is still there, but it isn't emphasized, it's more like listening to an LP.

    For the hell of it, I tried the analog outputs of the E22 which I haven't heard in several years, an AKM chip I think, and they were glarey too, and had more grit than either the Gungnir Multibit or the Exasound.

    Anyway, that's where it stands and since at this point it looks like I'll be returning the Exasound and I have the Gungnir on trial, I think it makes sense to make the best decision. I can always go back to my old e28 temporarily if I decide to go with something else. But the essence of it is that I really hate the delta sigma glare and the hyped ESS impulse response. I'm sure it would work in a different system or with different music or maybe different ears and tastes, but it doesn't work for me (and from what I've read, I'm not alone in feeling that way).
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2019
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