Schiit Modius DAC Review and Measurements

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by purr1n, Jun 3, 2020.

  1. Baten

    Baten Friend

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    Bal output = not meant to be used this way.. if you need SE just use the RCA outs! :)
     
  2. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    Then why do you bother? Seriously.
    Modius (particularly bal outs) will sound pretty opposite to NFB-2dac. If you like that dac's warmth or sweetness, staying away would be ideal.
     
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  3. Riotvan

    Riotvan Got lost for three weeks at Delft City Hall

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    It’s only doing low bass i doubt much sweetness is coming through. Just curious that’s all and also it’s not like it’s a massive investment. Risk seems not too big, if it was a 1k would be different ofc. I like tight, textured and fast bass, quality over quantity.
    Yeah i know but i read some comments in this thread that it sounds pretty different between the two outputs, i’ll probably make a cable and try it anyway if i decide to buy this dac.
     
  4. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    If I correctly understood what you wrote in the previous post, you're using Yggdrasil for 100hz and above and NFB-2 for the rest right? NFB-2 and Modius might have different latency. Also, I am not quite sure if Yggdrasil and Modius connects smoothly and cohesively -- I'd rather use Yggdrasil for all the frequency range. While I will avoid two dacs for one rig, if I really have to do, I will try as similar dacs (in architecture) as possible.

    If you happen to find a good setting to harmonize your two dacs luckily, I believe changing one of them won't come without any costs/sacrifice.
     
  5. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

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    SE to a BAL input can be OK, but the other way is not OK, as in let the magic smoke out not OK.
     
  6. Riotvan

    Riotvan Got lost for three weeks at Delft City Hall

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    You are correct each dac is connected directly to the active speakers and subs and i’m using a digital preamp for volume, source, crossover and dirac. In an ideal world i’d use Yggdrasil for the full frequency but analog crossovers are either more expensive or inferior to the digital one. I tried normal integration but that crossover is just too good to pass up, it is all very seamless. I guess the main criticism is sometimes low bass can be a bit wooly. But mostly it’s a grass is greener kind of thing.

    As for latency that is not problem because that can be adjusted on the preamp I’m using. But yeah there might be a more noticeable latency difference with mobius who knows. So far it’s at default and the subs and mains are stacked in a nearfield setup. Maybe i’m just bored and need a new toy... my rack is a bit full though haha. Probably some more reasons to conjure up...
     
  7. Riotvan

    Riotvan Got lost for three weeks at Delft City Hall

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    I’ve done it before with transformers without stepdown and it was fine. It all depends on the on the receiving end if it can take the voltage increase.
     
  8. Riotvan

    Riotvan Got lost for three weeks at Delft City Hall

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    Fair enough, source has to be considered as well. I just know that Yggdrasil to saga with a couple lundahl’s was fine but you’re right you have to do your due diligence and research if it will work.
     
  9. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    Didn't notice you used transformers. Brain farts. I apologize. Feel free to disregard my previous post.
     
  10. Riotvan

    Riotvan Got lost for three weeks at Delft City Hall

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    All good, i was actually going to look into trying to do it without this time. So the warning was fair :)
     
  11. Baten

    Baten Friend

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    Without transformer there will be no voltage increase, you will only carry over half the balanced output.
     
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  12. atomicbob

    atomicbob dScope Yoda

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  13. Metro

    Metro Friend

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    Either relax and enjoy your system, or if you're restless to play in the hobby you can scratch the itch and resell without much loss if it doesn't work out.
     
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  14. Riotvan

    Riotvan Got lost for three weeks at Delft City Hall

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    Yeah no worries, i moved my speakers a bit. That should keep me busy for a couple of days ;)

    Though as you said it is not a big a risk to try it out...
     
  15. Luckbad

    Luckbad Traded in a unicorn for a Corolla

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    Okay, I read up on atomicbob's paper and did a little more Googling regarding jitter measurements.

    These are some first attempts at measuring Modius jitter in several scenarios.

    Please feel free to advise how I can improve these charts if I'm doing something dumb.

    This is using Arta and an ADI-2 Pro FS R for the inputs. All using the XLR outs at the moment.

    Some observations:
    • Wyrd does some weird things to jitter. It looks cleaner but adds a wider skirt.
    • I have two Wyrds. The unit I used for most of the tests seems to be notably worse for jitter than the second unit I tested ("unitb"), which you can see in one of the graphs. It still widens the skirt, but makes the signal look cleaner.
    • Power supplies (linear or stock) make a bit of a difference in jitter vs. out of my front USB port, but not really against the Wyrd.
    • TOSLINK is garbage. I only did one optical output (ADI-2 Pro) for now. I'll check my PC and Babyface Pro at some point.
    • Measurements take more patience than I have.
    • I don't know WTF I'm doing. But, this seems to have some value in comparing my own situation.
    EDIT: The toslink linear PSU image is hosed. Just assume it looks about as bad as the stock PSU.
     

    Attached Files:

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  16. Luckbad

    Luckbad Traded in a unicorn for a Corolla

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    The Modius has been an interesting one for me so far. I used to be super into warm DACs. For a year or two, if it was a NOS DAC, I wasn't interested. I went toward NOS Tube R-2R DACs, which is about as far into the deep end as you can get.

    Eventually, I discovered the RME ADI-2 DAC, and felt it synergized really well with my warmer amps. Particularly with the Slow filter--which rolls off some of the high end--I really enjoyed it. The functionality, excellent USB, and overall sexiness of the unit grabbed me.

    I've been rocking delta-sigma since then.

    I got a loan of the current gen ADI-2 DAC and ADI-2 Pro (both AK4493) and bought this Modius to compare a more affordable option. The RME units came first and set the tone (if you will) for my listening.

    Powering up the Modius for the first time, I mentioned how I was not very impressed in a previous post.

    After using it for a few days, I've settled in with it. The wonky stage doesn't seem so wonky anymore. The bloom doesn't sound like a soft swoosh to me anymore. Trying the RME units after a day of listening to the Modius, and now those sound a little wrong instead. A bit thinner, a bit more prickly up top, a little tighter in the bass region.

    A wrench has been thrown in the spokes with the presence of a Bifrost 2.

    That being said, it sounds wrong to me when switching from the Modius now, which means I can safely pretend that would remain the case (unless I switch to it for a couple of days in a row). The Bifrost sounds better with classical music, but the Modius is better with a lot of more modern music (particularly electronic music).

    The worst (best?) thing the Modius and Bifrost have done for me is reminded me how much I prefer a little bit warmer DAC. Less accurate? Maybe. But more enjoyable to me. I really want to get back into a Sonic Frontiers DAC or something more modern with similar tonality.
     
  17. farbinator

    farbinator Facebook Friend

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    [​IMG]

    Setup: Gigabyte Aero 14 Laptop -> Modius (Unison USB Input) -> Jotunheim (Balanced In and Out Cabling) -> Sennheiser HD6XX

    I recently completed my completed my balanced desktop setup and I have to say I am really liking the Modius, particularly when paired with the Jotunheim using balanced cabling throughout. Here's my thoughts, and I welcome comments and critiques. My thoughts admittedly will look at the Modius in the context of my full setup.

    The combination of the Modius and Jotunheim absolutely brings my HD6XXs (unmodded) alive. The Jotunheim having gobs of power to drive them and the Modius being able to take advantage with a balanced cabling option is just great.

    Modius' Unison USB is a class act, it's dead silent with no USB background noise in my particular setup. Initially I ran this setup with SE interconnects and got a small but noticeable amount of USB noise with the laptop plugged into AC power (disconnecting AC power remedied that, so classic ground loop problem). Balanced interconnects ultimately solved the problem, but I also suspect the SE interconnects I was using were also at fault.

    After I bought the Modius, I got lucky and scored a used black Jotunheim at an incredible price (under $300 shipped, perfect condition) that happened to have the AK4490 card fitted so I have the benefit of being able to compare it to the Modius. They both sound fantastic, with a slight edge to the Modius in terms of resolution and detail, but it's not by much. The balanced outputs from the Modius are louder than the output from the AK4490 card for a given audio volume (Jot set to 12 o'clock, Windows audio volume set to the same level for both DACs) but I assume that is to be expected.

    Between this combination and my EC ZDT Jr. for when I feel like some tube flavor, I think I've found my sweet spot. Between all the different possible combinations there's plenty to satisfy whatever mood I am currently in. Big thumbs up for the Modius from me.
     
  18. Elmer Danilovich

    Elmer Danilovich MShenay trying to pretend to be an old man

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    I've spent that last 3 days with only Modius/HD 600 (With a ZMF Atmos Copper Balanced Cable) and from the BAL outs into both a Loxjie P20 [Full Headphones.Com upgrades, iFi PSU upgraded GE 5670W tubes ect...] and the SMSL SP200 and I have been really impressed with it!

    The Bal outs have a nice presence to them, good tonality and texture. Bass has SOME fullness but not tooooo round, all in all I'm kinda floored at how good it is! Hands down one of if the not the BEST performing Dac I've heard at $199

    Now that said the RCA out's aren't my favorite... to be frank it's not ENOUGH of an upgrade from Modi 3 imo to warrant the rather big price hike.

    Tho I did buy the Jensen 1:1 XLR to RCA passive... 2 weeks ago, I'm still unsure if I want to even review Modius with a $300 component in the mix... as for that price I imagine there are a dozen amps that can be had with native XLR in...

    As for comparing it to my full sized DACs I have a CCS Modded SRM-007tA I picked up from Birgir, along with a Stax SR 009 so figured that should be enough to really see how Modius compares to my RME ADI 2 FS [Gen 1 so what AK4490]...

    Still I spent my night comparing Modius to E30 and I have to say... hands down Modius is quite the impressive listen! E30 sounds kinda withdrawn and aggressive in comparison, and to my ears Modius brings not only better tactility/impact and texture but also better body without sounding... soft like Modi does!

    This was E30->RCA into SP200 and Modius ->XLR ->SP200, both streaming from Amazon HD Music with Ultra HD tracks...
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2020
  19. Backfire Fox

    Backfire Fox Rando

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    I just ordered my modius last night. It will be stacked with my Jotunheim using the balanced outputs. Very excited to see how much better it will be over the included ak4490 built in dac.

    I love the convenience of the all in one but I want to hear what my Jot can do with the Modius. Coupled with my HD800S I am very excited.

    Once it's in I'll definitely update this post on my thoughts and if it's worth the upgrade over the built in ak dac.

    Will be testing using my HD58X, HD660S, HD800S and my friends HD6XX using all balanced cables.
     
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  20. theveterans

    theveterans Acquaintance

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    Rather than telling us what you will going to do prior, it’s much better if you have already taken notes about your findings, laid them out here so we get the meat of your impressions. There would be a lot less noise that way and this thread would be more concise and informative for guests and members alike
     

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