Schiit Modius DAC Review and Measurements

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

  1. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    I just reached out to Geshelli about a loaner JNOG and Eirish.
     
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    Last edited: Jan 22, 2021
  2. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    Unfortunately Geshelli doesn’t have any JNOG units to spare, but would be happy to send us an Erish for now. They’re also working on a new DAC and said they’d send that to us for a loaner when it’s available as well.
     
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  3. Baten

    Baten Friend

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    That was super quick!! Props to them for that.
     
  4. androxylo

    androxylo Rando

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    While using Modius with MacBook I found this to be imperative for good sound:
    1. Connect USB to Mac directly, no USB hubs
    2. Upsample digital signal in Mac to 32 bits, 88.2 kHz
     
  5. dematted

    dematted Almost "Made"

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    Received one of these earlier today. Decided to get one of these while I was waiting on my Soekris 2541 to be delivered...also was very curious what it would sound like after all the comments here, and wanted to get a sense if I could enjoy D/S as much as I do R2R. Listening with Pi2aes with AES and then balanced outs to BAL-SE convertor to ZMF Pendant and an Auteur. One note: this is my only dac right now, so when I compare to others, it's purely through recollection!

    Well, I have conflicting feelings about this dac. On the one hand, it does some things really well - and not just for a $200 dollar dac, mind you. The level of musical information presented (detail), the expansiveness of stage and layering (this is especially impressive) and timbre are all quite good. The first three (detail, stage, and layering) meet or -exceed- the Soekris 2541 and Bifrost 2 from my recollection. This thing doesn't really get congested, which makes it really fun for listening to complex, fast-paced music. Really cool and impressive from a $200 dollar dac.

    Problem is, I can't quite get away from the feeling that the music as a whole is presented in a somewhat choppy, incoherent way. Although transients aren't especially quick and leading edges aren't at all unnatural, there's just a lack of cohesiveness and fluidity to the music. I know this has been commented on before, but when I hear this dac it's as if I'm looking at a good artist's portrayal of, say, some flowers, not actual flowers. There's something somewhat artificial about the presentation, and not in the sense of "this particular instrument doesn't sound like a real instrument" but more "the way the music as a whole fits together doesn't seem quite right". Soekris 2541 and Bifrost 2 both don't have this problem (though I think I might actually prefer Modius in my chain to the Bifrost 2 despite this issue).

    As far as tonality goes, it strikes me as reasonably extended on all ends. The only issue I really have here is that the sub-bass seems just slightly elevated to where it should be. I switched to some suede pads on my Auteur which helped clear things up a bit, but with lambskin ones things sounded just a tad muddy.

    As far as other weaknesses, this dac doesn't do dynamics or bass texture as good as the upper-end dacs I heard. At first I thought the bass had excellent macro-dynamics, but upon closer listening, I think it's just loud and impactful, but lacks the sense of diffentiation in pitch that something like the Bifrost 2 has. And though the microdynamics and sense of fine texture is nothing to complain about, it's also nothing to write home about.

    In short, I'll probably hang onto this until I get my Soekris 2541, then sell it. I do think it punches well above its price point, especially in the right system, but it doesn't really suck me into the music the way that the Soekris does. And it shouldn't, really - it's less than a fifth of the price. Still do think it's a great deal for $200, and it's pretty crazy how much it does as well (or even better) than kilobuck dacs.
     
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    Last edited: Feb 10, 2021
  6. purr1n

    purr1n Building Magnis part time because it's peaceful.

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    ^ my feelings exactly. I wished the bass was toned down and the presentation more fluid. But then this would be a $500 DAC.
     
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  7. androxylo

    androxylo Rando

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    I think exaggerated makes it good at desktop rigs with small speakers (my case). I always had more mids and highs, but with Modius I finally get everything. However the bass doesn't seem very accurate to me, it's like losing some details. If that's what you mean, I agree. But at least I have something now.
     
  8. Zimmer266

    Zimmer266 Rando

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    This has been my starter DAC. I am using the AES input from a Pro Ject CD Box DS2 T transport. I’ve used the SPDIF coax as well, and am not certain that I can hear a difference.. Output from my computer via USB is my other source, and it’s not at all bad. The signal runs though a tube preamp, to an Asgard 2. This throws some heat, similar to the tube preamp. Or out to a power amp and speakers.

    I need to try something else, just for the sake of knowing what’s possible. BF2 seems logical, but I lose the AES. I don’t think that input comes back until a Yggdrasil.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2021
  9. gefski

    gefski Facebook Friend

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    How do you like the Pro-Ject transport? One of the few companies making CD transports any more, and with AES out!
     
  10. Zimmer266

    Zimmer266 Rando

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    The Pro-Ject transport has a display, and is a slot loader. For cosmetics I picked the black faceplate and the walnut sides. Very much like an old Sansui integrated. It feels sturdy in regular use. I have some cds that reach a certain track, and then skip, on all four CD players before this one. The Pro-Ject isn’t immune to skipping at the same spots. Oh well!

    It does match the Phono Box DS2 USB next to it on the rack shelf. Pro-Ject even offers an upgraded linear power supply if you’d like to power multiples of their devices.
     
  11. dematted

    dematted Almost "Made"

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    Posting this review here, as we don't have any threads on Geshelli Dacs, and I'm not sure I should start my own.

    Geshelli Enog Pro 2: A (mostly) Positive Review

    Introduction/Background (Feel free to skip)

    As some of you may know, I have been waiting on a Soekris 2541. Meanwhile, I've been looking for a dac that will fit into my system until then. I tried out the Modius, but was not particularly satisfied with it, despite it having some excellent qualities. After seeing @rtaylor76 praise the Enog Pro 2 from Geshelli, I decided to jump on a used deal - it was only $110, so why not? Overall, I'm pretty impressed by this dac: I enjoy it more than the Modius, which is a more well-known product, and am pretty confident that they trade blows.

    Sound

    By and large, the Enog Pro 2 is a competent, neutral dac that presents a smoother sound than the Modius even while maintaining solid speed in transients and a well-balanced tonal signature. The two immediate areas where this dac is superior to the Modius are Cohesiveness and overall tonal balance. Unlike the Modius, this dac does not have boosted sub-bass, which I often found fatiguing, and though it maintains some of the choppiness characteristic of D/S designs, I also find that this is much improved compared to the Modius. It doesn't quite yet reach the liquidity of the good r2r designs I've heard, but it gets close enough to where it doesn't bother me (unlike the Modius).

    Despite being more neutral, it also presents a somewhat more saturated, natural sound to me than the Modius, with the latter often sounding a bit digital and edgy in comparison. At times, this dac can sound just a little bit "soft", though this mostly goes away when running XLR instead of RCA (I don't recommend running this dac SE - it really doesn't sound great). The treble and bass both feel slightly more textured and nuanced than the Modius, all the while remaining fairly crisp and non-fatiguing.

    I would split the areas the Modius wins out into two categories: firstly, those in which its strengths propel it to exceed the Enog Pro 2 despite the latter being fairly strong, and secondly, those in which the Enog Pro 2 is fairly weak, but the Modius is just average. In this former belongs things like layering, staging, and detail. I feel like both these dacs do this very, very well for their pricepoint, but the Modius pulls ahead here, offering a more expansive, exquisitely layered soundstage, allowing one to more easily hear into the details of music. In the latter category, I'd put both micro and macro dynamics. The Enog Pro 2 is very, very poor at micro-dynamics in particular: everything sounds pretty much the same noise level, and its only capable of reproducing the most notable micro-dynamic contrasts in a track, rather than the more subtle ones.

    Overall, I'd say that I prefer to listen to the Enog Pro 2 more, though for more critical, analytic listening, the Modius might be preferable in some situations due to its uncanny ability to dig out extra detail from recordings. Even so, I find the Modius 'elevated levels of sub-bass to be a deal-breaker to me, and the bass in general on the Modius sounds a little strained in comparison to that of the Enog Pro 2, which is better controlled and also more natural in its presentation.

    Spider Chart


    Screen Shot 2021-02-23 at 12.13.38 PM.png

    Other notes

    -Don't use this with the RCA outputs. The sound is extremely soft, hazy, and unfocused. Amusingly enough, I initially used with the RCA outputs after reading they measured better on ASR. Not that I generally go there, but...yeah, seems whenever I end up following their guidance things end up bad.

    -Heard this dac with Auteur and ZMF Pendant.

    -Its very small, about the same size as my Pi2aes, which I used to feed it with SPDIF.
     
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  12. Abhishek Chowdhary

    Abhishek Chowdhary Friend

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    One opamp (opa1642) change made world of a difference:

    [​IMG]

    Very nice bass, blacker background than even the BAL out, perhaps better treble too vs bal out. Midrange otoh has more suckout and lower midrange has extra warmth vs the bal out. Original SE out was just unlistenable and mere opamp swap improved it exponentially

    Awesome solder job by @uniqusrname
     
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  13. haywood

    haywood Friend

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    Nice review but... it doesn’t really do anyone any good to mix different product talk/reviews into a modius thread. Maybe a mod could coalesce a Geshelli thread out of the last few pages of posts here.
     
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  14. Metro

    Metro Friend

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  15. djchup

    djchup Rando

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    Well I didn't read this whole thread, but I read the first page and it was enough for me to order a mobius to upgrade my modi multibit. I've been wanting a balanced DAC for awhile anyways to pair with my balanced amp but wasn't ready to spend big on a bifrost 2. Excited to hear it side by side with modi multibit.
     
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  16. loadexfa

    loadexfa Friend

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    The "new toy" excitement is understandable, we prefer to hear what you think after listening.
     
  17. Jay

    Jay Facebook Friend

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    I have a question that I'm slightly embarrassed to even ask. While I can describe sound, I know very little about electricity and sound amplification, etc.

    I have a Modius and have a question about hooking up multiple amplifiers to it at the same time. I have one amplifier that receives a balanced signal and another amp that receives SE signal. Can I safely have both amps connected to Modius at the same time? If one amp is turned off and the other amp is turned on, is it safe for the amp that is turned off to still receive a signal from Modius while I'm using the amp that is turned on?

    The reason I'm asking is I previously ran two amps off my Gungnir, and the amp that I used less frequently now needs to be re-capped as it developed the dreaded 120 hz hum. Coincidence? Or did sending a signal to it when it was powered off somehow less than ideal for it? I'd like to avoid this with Modius and my current amps in rotation.
     
  18. Azimuth

    Azimuth FKA rtaylor76, Friend

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    Yes, both are independent outputs.

    If an amp is off, there is nothing completing the circuit and the DAC is not putting any output. There is no "potential", so the audio circuit cannot be completed.

    The hum sounds like is from the power supply and just coincidence. Power caps are what need to be re-capped.
     
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  19. Jay

    Jay Facebook Friend

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  20. redrich2000

    redrich2000 Facebook Friend

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    Modius owners, how do you find the micro USB sockets? Mine are seated 1-2mm back from the edge of the case, which means I generall get very poor connections. I just picked up a Curious USB cable and it will not connect because it can't insert deeply enough. Just wondering if this is just how they are or whether mine is misaligned?

    20210618_202204.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2021

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