Yggdrasil LIM Impressions Only Thread

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by rhythmdevils, Oct 11, 2021.

  1. Bill J

    Bill J New

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    New to SBAF. In reading through the thread, am I correct in concluding that upgrading from the Gungnir A2 using SPDIF (I have no USB sources) to the Yggdrasil LIM would be more of a side-grade than an upgrade? Thanks for any insights!!
     
  2. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    That's a tough one, and mostly the decision would be based on all the ancillary gear, and preferences. So spill it, what's the digital source, preamp, amp, and speaker or headphone? and what are your intents, sonically?
     
  3. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better fan fics than you

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    It is not a sidegrade. Yggdrasil LIM is flat out better in almost every way. Not massively, but noticeably. Imaging is more rock solid/stable, soundstage is more accurately laid out, bass is better defined/harder hitting, better micro stuff, overall better resolution... LIM is smoother/more liquid as well. Schiit doesn't cannibalize its DACs... pretty consistent improvements the higher you go.
     
  4. Bill J

    Bill J New

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    Well I'm a bit of an equipment prostitute. The main system, which is where the Gungnir is located, morphs from time to time. Digital is supplied by a SimAudio Moon Mind2 streamer, and an ancient Sony SCD-C333ES using digital out only (I've tried different players but really like the sound of the digital out on this player). Both of those go into the Gungnir. They are the constants. The rest of the system rotates periodically between;

    Transcendent Sound Grounded Grid into Welborne Labs Laurel IIx 300B into Altec Lansing Flamencos.
    " " " " " " " Moon Dog 2a3 " " " " .
    Pass Labs XP-12 into Marantz PM-KI Pearl Integrated (amp section only) into ADS L1230s or Celestion A3s
    Marantz PM-KI Pearl Integrated into ADS L1230s or Celestion A3s.
    Pass Labs XP-12/ Grounded Grid into First Watt SIT-3 into ADS-L1230s or a vintage pair of AKAI SW130s.

    If I had to place my sonic intents in one camp I'd say I like a lush-ish sound with a wee bit o' sparkle in the upper registers. My hearings topped out at 12-14k so...... I definitely am not in the hyper-detailed, overly cooked camp. Just not my cup of tea. No disrespect to those that enjoy that. Its all subjective anyway right?
     
  5. Bill J

    Bill J New

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    Thanks for this insight, I appreciate it!
     
  6. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    I don't disagree, but my experience with the Gungnir A2, and then moving to Yggdrasil A2, and then spending some time with LIM boards, aaaaand seeing some of the gear Bill J uses makes me think that Yggdrasil A2 might be a better match than LIM. At least, if there's a way to audition both, I'd say without much doubt moving to the Yggdrasil in either flavor is going to be an improvement in some relatively not super huge, but very much noticeable ways, and that the difference between A2 and LIM is going to be highly preference-driven. They're both flavors worth hearing. I'll just put it this way: right now I prefer A2, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to be keeping the LIM boards around just because they do some things better that I might kick myself later for not having the option to take advantage of. Dangling participles and all.
     
  7. Josh Schor

    Josh Schor Friend

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    The synergy between your gear and your ears will determine what sounds best. I went from the LIM to the Gungnir MB, the LIM was sort of boring to me, blackness yes, clear with good bass just did not find myself engaged. With the Gungnir MB I am tapping my feet. You have to try them out to find what's the best fit for you.
     
  8. Bill J

    Bill J New

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    Thanks for taking the time to reply with your insights and experiences.
     
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  9. Phantaminum

    Phantaminum Friend

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    First I want to tank SBAF for getting this loaner out to the community. It's great to be able to listen to gear without having to purchase it first or not have the means to put ears on them.

    LIM Review
    Equipment:
    PC USB --> Schiit LIM | Matrix X-Sabre Pro | Schiit Bifrost 2 --> Elekit TU-8600s | SW51+

    Headphones:
    ZMF Verite Open
    HD650
    Focal Elex


    Build: I won't too much into this but the I will say that the Yggrasil chassis is HUGE. I used to own the Gungnir MB but this beast is twice it's size. It dwarfs the Bifrost 2 making it look like a micromachine.

    Sound

    Bass: The LIM has better bass articulation and pitch when compared to the other DACs. The BF2 follows closely on it's heels when it comes to quantity but you can hear that the quality of the bass is moderately better on the LIM. This comes across easier to hear on certain tracks like Daft Punk - Lose Yourself to Dance or Infected Mushroom's - Avratz. The slam that the LIM brings is very satisfying that it was hard me to switch back to the other DACs while writing notes for the comparison.

    The Matrix X-Sabre Pro at the MOD3 PCM Filter has bass that works but you'd have to change the filter to a different setting to bring the same slam while sacrificing sound in other areas. I do feel that the LIM and the Matrix do have similar levels of bass tightness unlike the BF2 which on some tracks with either amp can feel somewhat bloated. Wish I could say more on bass extension but the notes I wrote kinda go off into the gibberish realm. Had more than a few drinks that night, ahem.

    Treble: The way that I hear the treble compared to all three is that the Matrix X-Sabre Pro has the best extension out of all three, followed up by the LIM and then the BF2. On both tube amps, the LIM does a great job of extended as far as it needs to without going sibilant when using more neutral to slightly darker sounding tubes. The Matrix X-Sabre Pro works well for amplifiers that are darker or rolled off at the top. It's really great with cymbals and has great sparkle compared to the other two DACs. The LIM falls in between the Matrix and the BF2. The BF2 does sound a little darker to the LIM.

    Texture/Plankton/Blackground/Imaging: I have no complaints here from the LIM. I haven't heard any of the other Yggdrasil versions so I can't comment on them but compared to the other two DACs the LIM is a step up from the Matrix (USB out to keep things equal) and just a tad better than the BF2. I'll add here that when I owned the Gungnir Multibit I didn't realize how gray it sounded until I purchased the Matrix and then finally the Bifrost 2. This has a black background that's comparable to the other two. When it comes to imaging the Matrix has a sharper outline definition of instruments compared to the LIM and BF2. But, the LIM and BF2 instruments hold a weight to them that the Matrix doesn't. I do believe going back and forth that the LIM does have better imaging than the BF2.

    Headstage: The LIM has great instrument placement. Better than the Matrix and better than the BF2. The stage is wider than the BF2 but very similar to the Matrix. I couldn't tell if the BF2 or the LIM had better depth with headphones so I'll chalk it up and say they're tied. The Matrix has some slight depth to the sound but like most D/S DACs it's a wall of sound. If you add to what was said before in terms of the imaging being better than the BF2; it sets it apart from both DACs.

    Timbre: This is what really sets this DAC apart from the other two. Instrumental timbre sounds.......right. A trumpet sounds like a trumpet, a french horn sounds like a french horn, and these instruments don't sound forced. The Matrix in my setup sounds forced. Maybe it's the tilt towards treble but it's trying really hard to say this is what a cymbal needs to sound like "SPLASH" which can make me wince. The BF2 can make it sound more muted that what it should while the LIM's cymbals gives enough sparkle to make it believable while not going to either ends of the extreme.

    Wrap Up: So what do I think of the LIM? Well I think if you're looking to step up from a BF2 then this is the DAC I'd go for. It has better bass, great slam, better definition, timbre is excellent, and sounds correct. Does the step up in sound quality from the BF2 to the LIM really equals the extra $1200? That's a hard question to answer but I have to add that during the whole time I was listening to the LIM I did not want to switch over to the other two DACs to compare. Each time I did and came back to it, sat back, and said, "Yeah...this sounds great". So now i'm sitting here thinking of selling the other two DACs to buy the LIM.
     
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    Last edited: Apr 24, 2022
  10. ckhirnigs

    ckhirnigs Friend

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    First off, thank you @rhythmdevils for letting a lowly non-friend like me on this loaner tour. I don’t know if I would have ever been able to hear the LIM without buying one, and I was honestly very hesitant to drop this kind of cash on a DAC without a listen.

    I’ve been using the Bifrost 2 for a little over a year now. It represents my largest monetary investment in a DAC to date. I stuck to the cheap, high-measuring stuff for years and was sadly ignorant of all the better-sounding equipment available out there that didn’t measure particularly well. Thanks to SBAF for educating me and helping me make better purchasing decisions.

    My current chain is as follows:
    iFi Zen Stream > SPDIF Coax > Bifrost 2 > Quicksilver Headphone Amp / SW51+ > ZMF Auteur

    I’ve been extremely satisfied with my chain since I dialed it in, which took some extensive tube-rolling in the Quicksilver. To be honest, the only upgrade I’ve even considered recently is the LIM. My two primary amps are single-ended, so the other Yggdrasil variants have never tempted me with their gimped SE outputs.

    I wasn’t sure what level of improvement to expect from a $1600 jump in DAC price. That being said, I tried to come into my listening sessions with an open mind. I used the LIM exclusively until the very last day, at which point I did a few comparisons using the same test tracks. I listened first with the LIM and then switched to the BF2. Hardly scientific, but it was enough for me to come to some conclusions.

    Quick disclaimer, I had a pretty bad head cold for the first 3-4 days of my week with the LIM. By the time I got better physically the Yggdrasil was fully warmed up and settled in, having been on for 3 days straight.

    I’m going to do my best to describe the things I found different between the two DACs. First and foremost to me was the bass presentation. While similar, the bass had more clarity and detail on the LIM. I could hear some nuance-type stuff that wasn’t as readily apparent on the BF2. I do believe there might be a tad more bass quantity with the BF2, but the nod for bass quality goes to the LIM.

    Mids and things like vocals were a bit of a toss-up to me, with both sounding excellent. My Auteur with the addition of a nice tube amplifier is so nice with vocals that it was hard to find improvement with the LIM in the mix. I found neither DAC detracted from the natural presentation I’ve come to expect with these headphones. Top marks for both.

    Treble was also hard for me to differentiate between the two. If I had to make a distinction, the BF2 seemed a little darker/more rolled-off than the LIM. I enjoyed the detail presented by both, and neither DAC ever approached sibilance in my setup.

    The X-factor for me was what I’ll call level-of-engagement. For whatever reason, I found myself more emotionally involved with the BF2. I could hear more detail from the LIM, specifically in the bass registers, but it didn’t equate to a more enjoyable listening experience. Luckily for me, I found I could be perfectly content with my BF2 even with the LIM at my disposal.

    I know diminishing returns are hard to quantify, but for me personally, the BF2 gets me 95% of the way to the LIM. I can’t justify the upgrade financially, but I can also understand someone feeling it’s totally worth the extra cash. I just think my current chain has excellent synergy, and the LIM didn’t take things to the next level like I thought it might.

    I’m incredibly thankful to have been given the opportunity to come to this conclusion. I really hope my impressions will be helpful to the community.
     
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    Last edited: May 9, 2022
  11. Tchoupitoulas

    Tchoupitoulas Friend

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    Yggdrasil Less Is More Loaner Impressions

    I’d like to thank Schiit Audio for generously lending us this DAC, to @rhythmdevils for all his hard work as gear master, and SBAF for letting us have the wonderful opportunity to audition gear. I’m most grateful.

    I need to state at the outset that I’ve had next to no experience with high-end DACs. This is my seventh year in the hobby, and my DAC experience thus far has been limited to the Fulla 2, Airist RDAC, and the Bifrost 2 (this last one for the past 18 months). I’ve been satisfied with the Bifrost 2 but am interested in seeing where potential upgrades may lead, if anywhere. I’ve heard the Yggdrasil A2 a few times but seldom for long, nor in ideal environments, and never in my own system.


    Setups
    Mac w/ Audirvana via USB -> LiM vs. Bifrost 2 -> Stratus -> Vérité and HD 800 SDR. I also compared the two DACs out of a LAuX -> LCD-4.


    Significant and readily-apparent differences
    The most immediate and striking differences between the BF2 and the LiM have to do with the bass presentation and the less congested nature of the LiM.

    The bass is cleaner, tighter, better delineated with the LiM. It’s also stronger, giving the low-end a greater sense of weight and emphasis than with the (already bassy) Bifrost 2. Unfortunately, the bass is often too strong for my tastes and gear; the bass guitar in Neil Young’s Down By The River, for instance, takes over the song with my Vérité and LCD-4 setups, to the point where the two electric guitars sit behind the bass, which isn’t really how that song should be heard. The extra bass heft is welcome, though, with the HD 800 SDR.

    I also quickly noticed that the sound of the LiM is less congested. Interestingly, I’d not really felt the BF2 to be congested before. The LiM, though, had a more open or clear sound. This isn’t to say the staging is more spacious, at least on first glance. Nor is it that the sound is more neutral or brighter than the BF2. Instead, I suspect it’s related to the cleaner, better defined sound of the LiM. I suppose this may be a function of the blacker blackground? The LiM’s bass presentation may also explain what I’m hearing, since the overall sound is less warm than with the BF2.

    The LiM offer more precise imaging (i.e. better localization of sounds) and better separation. Layering is about the same.

    I was left, though, in my first impressions, with the sense that the LiM might be ever so slightly less “engaging” than the BF2 (I know the term’s problematic). I wondered if it was a bit flat, perhaps - or if I was just concentrating more on the sound rather than simply enjoying it. It may just be that or the fact that I'm more familiar with the BF2 because, when I switched back to the BF2, I found myself more engrossed in the music and having more toe-tapping fun. The BF2 came across as more percussive, both in terms of macrodynamics and bass slam. Alternatively, could it be that the comparatively appealing sound of the BF2 might have something to do with the LiM's smoothness, as others noted in their impressions? I don’t know, and I’m not experienced enough to be able to tell, so I'll just leave this as a question.


    Subtler differences
    While the tonality of the BF2 and LiM are very similar, the timbre of acoustic instruments sounds better, more correct and convincing with the LiM. Pianos sounded very good, as did strings. The alto sax also comes across as being richer, with more apparent reverberations to its sound than with the BF2. The trumpet likewise sounds more complex and smoother in the treble. The BF2 sounds rougher and grainier, by contrast, and I think the BF2 sounds peakier. Miles Davis's trumpet in Cannonball Adderley’s Autumn Leaves (on the album Somethin' Else) sounded almost squeaky, somehow, while coming across as much more natural and realistic from the LiM, with more of a pristine, pure sound to it. I should hasten to add, though, that both DACs don’t extend very high - I notice the roll-off others have described.

    The LiM handles complex passages in music better. I’m better able to pick out individual instruments and follow them. Some of the individual voices in choirs could be heard with the LiM but not the BF2. The LiM also offers greater depth to staging than the BF2. Both these are attributes that, once noticed, become increasingly rewarding and significant the longer I listen to the LiM.

    I don’t know if the LiM is more resolving or if other factors - like the blackground or less-congested and cleaner sound - made it seem that way. Regardless, I found myself hearing little details more often and more distinctly. There isn’t a great difference in this quality, whether it be resolution or something else, between the BF2 and the LiM. But I did come to find the BF2 lacking by comparison. To describe what I’m hearing a bit more tangibly, I could hear the complexity of the sound of acoustic guitars better, especially with overtones. I don’t know if that has to do with the way decay works with the LiM.


    Things I noticed only after a few days (and am not sure about)
    I wonder if the upper-mids are more forward from the LiM. Male vocals seemed more up-front in the mix of several songs.

    The headstage is slightly wider and more spacious with the LiM. Perhaps.


    Subjective conclusions
    I’m glad I had almost a week with the LiM, I needed that time to get used to it and to come to appreciate its many qualities. Diminishing returns are kicking in hard here, though, and were it not for that, and were it not for knowing the price of the LiM in advance, I’d have hazarded a guess that the LiM would sell in the $1.5K range when it comes to price-to-performance considerations. Clearly, I need to hear more high-end DACs to get a better frame of reference.

    For all the many qualities I’ve mentioned above, and the many improvements the LiM offers over the BF2, I’m not sold on it: ultimately, the extra bass emphasis of the LiM is too much for me. With that being said, if a DAC with similar qualities had a tuning that was less bassy and were to be suited better to my gear and preferences, I could see myself saving up for it. I guess I really need to hear an Yggdrasil A2 properly.

    I have a new-found appreciation for the awesomeness that is the Bifrost 2.

    In the end, I’m grateful to SBAF’s loaner tours for the chance to hear high-end DACs like this. These are great learning opportunities, and I'd like to think I’ve gained some valuable experience here. Thank you.
     
  12. dasman66

    dasman66 Self proclaimed lazy ass - friend

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    While I'd like everything to cost less... I like to think of it more as the BF2 should be in the $1-1.2k range, rather than that the LIM should be in the $1.5k range.
     
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  13. Mystic

    Mystic Mystique's Spiritual Advisor

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    Forgot to post my impressions from the loaner. Been MIA due to life stuff.

    LIM loaner impressions

    Gear: Bifrost 2 or LIM - Studio B - Verite C

    DAC impressions are always the most difficult for me. Differences always seem to be pretty small and I was a little worried I wouldn’t notice much of a difference compared to my Bifrost 2. I was both right and wrong. I was able to tell a difference, however said differences were pretty small.

    LIM compared to the Bifrost 2 is overall a more detailed, more involving listen. The black ground was the most apparent difference. It made the image more lifelike, as the individual notes and sounds seemed like they had more space. It definitely made for a more involving and emotional listen.

    The LIM was more refined and maybe a little more reserved in the high notes vs the BF2. The later can get a bit of an edge to it on certain material while the former is a bit more smooth and linear without sacrificing detail.

    BF2 was a bit more bass heavy in general, not that the LIM doesn’t slam, just not as much. More even sounding. Which is a good description of the LIM overall. Balanced sounding.

    I used to own an A2 Yggdrasil. While I do think the LIM might be better for my ears, it was a different system and I’m basing this off memory, so take with a gigantic grain of salt.

    I was hoping I wouldn’t like it as much as I did, but I may just have to purchase one in the future. First need to hear the Holo Spring in my system.
     
  14. hifiandrun

    hifiandrun Almost "Made"

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    From Gungnir MB A1 to Yggdrasil LIM

    TL;DR. This is based on my notes, nothing hasn’t been covered by other more experienced members in the past 10 months since the Yggdrasil LIM was announced. However, I was surprised after I got my LIM because shockingly, beyond my expectations, no matter how many reviews and reports that I have read and all the triangulation and guesstimation that I had done, I had not correctly imagined what the Yggdrasil LIM would sound like to me.

    I feel that I am obliged to say that I am very grateful for what the SBAF has provided for me over the years. I find that I can easily base my listening preferences on the SBAF, which has helped me tremendously in making purchasing decisions and discovering new music. Particularly, it was the impressions of the Gungnir Multibit A1 (G A1) on the SBAF that led me to purchase one in 2016 and I have been enjoying the G A1 since then. Based on the reviews covering the different flavors of Yggdrasil’s, I decided to get one LIM. The new Yggdrasil LIM has been powered up for 2 weeks now.

    Speaker Setup.

    Pi2AES --> AES --> Yggdrasil LIM --> passive volume control using 4-gang ALPS blue 10K pots --> Aegir monoblock x 2 --> KEF LS50 (original non-meta version). Balanced digital cable was made from Mogami digital cable, SPDIF cable is BJC SDI Patch Cable (Belden 1505F), BNC to BNC. All interconnect cables are made with Mogami 2549 and Neutrik XLR gold plated connectors. Kimber 8TC speaker cables.

    Longer than Expected Burn-in (tedious daily notes).

    Day 1. Frankly, I was shocked and a bit upset after I heard the first few songs. I was thinking: “gee, okay, I get the black background (blackground) people have been talking about, but I’ve heard that similar blackground with a Gustard X20 DAC based on two ESS ES9028pro DAC chips.” Based on my memory, the LIM had the same level or better microdetails compared to the Gustard. The bass was weak, and treble was too “hot” to bear to me.

    By day 3, the music sounded organic, but somehow still not quite “right” yet. The violin has never sounded this good in my system before, with great sense of openness and easiness. Speaking about subjective music engagement, I felt that the source of my excitement was from the music, but not from the exciting sound, which was presented more often by G A1 at sometimes. Is this related to rhythmdevils‘ “heart versus brain” analogy? Because there were a lot more microdetails, I could listen to music at a lower volume. With the G A1, I preferred to listen at a higher volume to hear certain details and to able to be engaged.

    The bass improved. The treble became smoother. Vocals were very, very real. But there was a little weirdness, a little bit of disjoint between vocal and instruments. It was a bit “shouty” in the low-treble and high-midrange, overly forward sounding to my taste; however, it was not sibilance. “Joan of arc” by Jennifer Warnes still sounded a little hot to me and Lenard’s voice in the song was not as deep and meaty as when using the G A1. PRAT was surprisingly good, for example I was toe taping and rocking in my chair when listening to “Inertia Creeps” by Massive Attack.

    Day 5. All aspects improved; the bass dug deeper but was still missing texture. It still had a bit congested sound. The microdetails were there and better than from the Gungnir A1. The music still was disjointed between vocals and instruments but less so. Sound stage become more 3D and wider. The illustration of venue spread evenly in front of me. But still, due to the weird congested and disjoint low treble, a couple of times I thought about returning the LIM and getting the Yggdrasil OG.

    After about a week, the LIM came alive. Things started pulling together. In the 2nd week, the sound was still improving, but the sound signature of the LIM stayed the same. In the first week, I thought the LIM had somewhat a sound signature of a nicely designed D/S DAC. In the second week, I felt that the LIM was definitely a Schiit MB DAC, however at the same time it was also quite different than the others. The significant improvement in the second week was that the little hazy and distorted sound signature during loud play had gone. The slightly shouty treble also smoothed out. I felt the LIM was still improving, but in a way that I could not describe with words. It could have just been me getting use to the LIM.

    Yggdrasil LIM versus Gungnir MB A1 for Speakers.

    The comparison was done by physically swapping the XLR interconnects between the two DACs to the passive volume control box. Both DAC were fed by the same Pi2AES through SPDIF: the AES to LIM, the BNC co-ax to Gungnir A1. Most comparisons were done during the second week and songs were repeated on different days.

    Huge soundstage. In Marv’s initial review and almost all others, the correct timbre of the LIM has been mentioned. Still, I hadn’t fully understood it until I heard the LIM. But the biggest surprise to me was the wide and 3-dimensional soundstage. The LIM’s sound stage was about at 1-2 feet wider on each side beyond the speaker. The 1-2 foot width was just a guess because the stage was very real without a clear boundary. Together with the excellent imaging (positioning) quality, I felt I was in front of the big canvas of the stary sky at night on a dark and quite rural camp site. The sense of the reality of the recording venue was palpable. With the G A1, the soundstage was just at the outside edge of the speakers. Some instruments were clustered at the position of the speakers instead of spreading on the soundstage. This doesn’t seem a big deal, but the realistic soundstage together with all other virtues which the LIM carries resulted a remarkably elevated and engaging listening experience.

    PRAT and pace. Although PRAT is a common audiophile-despised cliché, the LIM had better PRAT than the Gungnir A1. Although the levels of overall engagement might be very close between the two, there were more things I could engage with while listening the LIM. I also found interesting that I felt the pace of the music was a bit faster with the LIM. Having struggled and felt unsettled with several D/S DACs before the G A1, I felt finally that I could relax and enjoy the music with the G A1. I felt as if the pacing of the music was slower, which I attributed to the multibit DAC and the megacomboburrito digital filter. The sense of pacing was faster with the LIM, but interestingly, the slightly faster pacing didn’t bother me like the previous D/S DACs, rather, the music was more fun to listen to, more exciting.

    Superior Imaging. Every individual vocal or instrument sounded outstanding, clearly defined, weighty, fleshy, but not in a congested or oversaturated way. The edges of the notes might be described as smooth but not sharp, but not in any way to be described as slow. In contrast, G A1 sounded warm and bold, but less detailed and slightly congested in the high-mid and low-treble range. The ability to separate the instruments was significantly behind Yggdrasil LIM. It emphasizes the main passages of the music in an abstracted, impressionist way. I think it was a very good way to render the music to be engaging while the resolution was limited. The LIM unfolds and presents a lot more details in the recoding faithfully. I discovered new things in most of the songs, gaining deeper insights of the songs. I started to listen to broader genres, especially classical orchestral music with LIM. For years with the G A1, I was aware that my music selections were narrowed to studio vocals, live jazz, and classical rock and roll. It didn’t bother me because I like to listen to those types of music anyway. Now I feel that I was enabled to explore more music with the LIM.

    Several members mentioned that the LIM didn’t render piano as well as the Yggdrasil OG, missing some sparkles. In comparison, the piano sounded a lot richer from LIM than from the G A1; most of the piano’s overtones were still faithfully presented. The overtones with G A1 sounded emotional but slightly colored. I felt it has to do with the relatively congested treble in the G A1. Sometimes, I felt that the LIM did not sugarcoat any recording of pianos. For example, the “"Ballade No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 23" - Chopin” from the soundtrack The Pianist was rendered with richness and the sound of the piano was very real. A little more sparkle would be welcome for the piano sound to my stereo system, but I also thought that I could try a pair of brighter speakers or a brighter preamp to get it. Would that mess up the correct timbre? I have no idea.

    Marv mentioned that the LIM surprised him at about 10% of the time. Coming from the G A1, I feel the LIM consistently surprises me, at least 90% of the playing time. At no time I felt LIM sounded flat or dull. The LIM just doesn’t over-exaggerate anything.

    Yggdrasil LIM versus Gungnir MB A1 for Headphones.

    Only compared briefly with headphone setup. Same streaming setting as above, balanced signals from the two DACs were directly plugged into Jotunheim 2 -> LCD2C.

    The differences between the two DACs were more obvious with the headphones. When paired the G A1 and the Jot 2 listening to “What is it about man” in the soundtracks for the movie Amy, the song felt lifeless, dark, congested, and muddy. Head stage was closed in to almost nonexistent. The G A1 and Jot 2 was not a good pairing, worse than Jot 2 and Modi MB with OPA1656 opamp mod. The first time I was bothered by the G A1’s grayground. The LIM with Jot 2 sounded effortless, open, detailed, with a wide and realistic head stage. Didn’t feel any downward frequent response. It was just right, no need for more, no need for less. I quickly forgot A/B the DACs, just immersed myself in the music. The A/B test lasted only one hour. It was not a fair comparison. The LIM had the right synergy with the Jot 2 and the G A1 didn’t.

    Another Brief Experiment and Summary.

    At the end of the two weeks, I went back to speakers and did a quick comparison with all the three multibit DAC that I have. The Modi MB had the updated firmware and had the OPA1656 mod which was considered the clearer and less warm sounding mod compared to the OPA 2156 mod.

    The signal chain was a bit complicated. Because I wanted to use G A1’s XLR output for the comparison and I don’t have a Freya preamp, the G A1’s XLR outputs were passed through a pair of Cinemag CMLI 15/15b line transformers into a Saga OG. Both Modi MB and the LIM outputs went into Saga OG using RCA. The output of Saga OG then passed through another pair of Cinemag CMLI 15/15b2 to convert the RCA to XLR to feed the pair of Aegirs. Seems crazy, but the sound wasn’t too bad or very different than the all-balanced connection through passive ALPS pots. Slightly colored sound, but lower noise floor and clearer sounding.

    This was a very brief comparison. All three DACs shared the good traits of the schiit multibit DAC. I could listen to any of them all day long.

    The Modi MB had the narrowest soundstage, like within the speakers. The tonality of the Modi MB was closer to the LIM, while the G A1 was warmer and meatier than both LIM and Modi MB. I liked all the three, they were all unique in their own way.

    The Modi MB is a classic, how is it possible that a small box can sound this good? I am pairing it with the Jot 2 in my headphone system.

    In terms of sound signature, I would imagine the G A1 as closer to the Yggdrasil OG than the LIM. I plan to try the Gumbyfreya someday to see the full potential of an unleashed G A1. The G A1 emphasizes the essential elements in the recording. The G A1 is very good at rendering the music in an engaging way. The LIM does the same thing but is better in a full spectrum way.

    Yggdrasil LIM. I still cannot describe it with words. It is scarily addictive, and I still don’t know exactly why. It sounded kind of flat at first, but then I felt: “no it is not flat”. It sounded like it had a rolled off treble at first, but the LIM renders a lot of details, and a hot recording would still sound hot. Although the LIM and Modi MB mod share a similar tonality, I still somehow felt that the Yggdrasil LIM is a more distant relative of the Schiit MB DAC family. And I hazard to say that the LIM is a move toward the detailed and clear sounding signature of a good D/S DAC, but without any hint of digititus.

    The LIM is growing on me.
     
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  15. dormantsheep

    dormantsheep New

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    Preamble
    I tend to shy away from posting impressions/reviews as my experience with audio equipment pales greatly in comparison from the veteran members of SBAF. Thank you to the community for providing a wealth of knowledge and reference points for me to extrapolate whether I would like/love a certain piece of audio gear. This led me to purchasing a BF2 (which has served me great over the past year), and eventually putting down the big dollar bills for an LiM.

    The plan was not to replace the BF2, but to find a high-end DAC for my dedicated audio corner, which hopefully grows into a speaker area or home theatre in the future.

    I will be comparing a lot to the BF2 since it is really the first standalone DAC I bought (I previously used an RME ADI-2 DAC while I studied overseas due to its size and all-in-one-ness).

    Usual caution applies: take my impressions with a grain of salt, this is how the LiM and BF2 sounded to me using the gear that I have with the ears I have. I have not heard any of the other versions of the Yggdrasil, or any other Schiit DACs for that matter. Also, most of my evaluation was taken from a more macro perspective with me listening to full albums and chilling (after all, it’s tiring to listen for every little detail when you are meant to just sit back and enjoy the music).

    Gear used
    PI2AES > LiM (AES) vs Bifrost 2 (Coax) > ECP DSHA-3F (Amorphous transformers) > Focal Utopia

    La Dispute – Panorama
    YOASOBI – THE BOOK
    Intervals – A Voice Within (Instrumental)
    Scale the Summit – The Migration
    Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.
    America – America
    Infected Mushroom – Army of Mushrooms

    Warm-up

    I didn’t really pay much attention to the change over time in the LiM as it progressively warmed up, save that I remember thinking “wait, is this it?” when I plugged everything in for the first time and listened to the LiM. At cold, the treble felt somewhat abrasive and uncontrolled, the staging felt collapsed, and the bass sounded ploddy (in comparison to the BF2).

    Fast forward a few days of work and errands (and getting covid), and the more warmed-up LiM definitely sounded closer to the impressions from other members. Everything sounded “settled”, for lack of a better term. Gone was the sort of wonky sound and mediocre staging, replaced with a more focused and cohesive piece of audio equipment.

    I do not know if the LiM needs more than a few days (I’m at day 6 as of writing) or the performance of some ancient voodoo ritual I am not privy to, but the LiM sounded competent enough and its traits apparent enough that, if it does get better, then all the better for me!

    Sound Impressions
    To begin with sound signature, from the BF2 to LiM, it never occurred to me that:

    (1) the BF2 appears to have a stronger bass emphasis starting maybe somewhere lower in the bass region. I guesstimate nearing subbass region given that the lower mids don’t appear to be much different between the two. This relative lack of emphasis in the bass region on the LiM likely contributes to the easier perception of microdetails on the LiM, with the BF2’s emphasis sort of casting a smear over some details in deeper bass notes. This isn’t to say the LiM is brighter than the BF2. In fact, I felt the LiM was ever so slightly darker compared to the BF2, but other differences in sound could be playing tricks on me so I am not entirely conclusive on this; and

    (2) the BF2’s treble has a sort of hardness and edge to it when compared to the LiM. This probably isn’t a slight to the BF2 but moreso the LiM having better treble quality, as in isolation the BF2’s treble is still very much acceptable to my ears.

    What caught my attention more than the slight tonal difference between the two was how the LiM could present plankton with so much more ease and without needing me to focus intensely on a particular sound to pick out the details. Not only that, the LiM conveys all these plankton in a manner that doesn’t feel forced as though it’s trying its darndest to grasp for your attention. The LiM doesn’t draw attention to itself and instead casts a more relaxed presentation, inviting you to kick back and enjoy the music, and if you choose, take a deeper dive into the music to soak into all the details.

    Now, does the LiM extract more detail than the BF2? As mentioned above I evaluate more holistically instead of analysing each exact aspect so I can’t be sure, but the relative ease of following the details does create, at least, the illusion that more detail is being extracted. For example, the visibility of plankton helped in highlighting definition/texture, especially in the trailing ancillary sounds which accompany (and typically be covered up by) the main sound.

    I will defer discussion of timbre to the more seasoned people who have heard live music and instruments and can attest to how close the LiM gets, save to say that the LiM seems to sound right to my ears. Instruments sound how I expect them to sound, and the LiM does not appear to impart its own character or rendition of how a given instrument is meant to sound. The LiM also doesn’t favour either male or female vocals, treating them both even-handedly against the rest of the mix, but you won’t be finding decadent male vocals or soaring female vocals here.

    Imaging and dynamics were other aspects that stood out greatly to me when moving from the BF2 to LiM. On the LiM, sounds have a clearer position amongst the soundscape, even as I trace them moving across L and R channels. Impressively, the minute levels of gradation, of how sounds grow and fade on the LiM, made the BF2 sound downright compressed (at least microdynamically). This was particularly evident, at least to my ears, when listening to cymbals strike and disperse across the soundscape. Not only was it more apparent where the cymbal was struck on the LiM, but the way the sound tapers off into nothingness feels very natural on the LiM, whereas the trails feel like they were cut short on the BF2. Perhaps the slightly blacker background I am hearing on the LiM is playing a part in highlighting the better microdynamics of the LiM.

    Lastly, headstage-wise, the LiM has a similar and average headstage as compared to the BF2, being decently wide (not out-of-your-head wide) and with some amount of depth. Think along the lines of a spherical headstage that straddles the periphery of your head. However, I still felt that the LiM had more room to breathe, maybe a factor of the better microdynamics of the LiM, the bigger range of gradation assisting in controlling the volumes of the different sounds in the mix.

    Conclusion
    Just as I was dumbstruck by how good the BF2 was (back then when I compared it to my RME), I am similarly smitten by how great a piece of audio gear the LiM is. Don’t get me wrong, the BF2 is still a competent DAC, especially given the price, but the LiM just nails so much more of the technical aspects and presents them so apparently yet never forcefully that, at least to me, it is a no brainer that the LiM is a keeper in my books*.

    Regardless, I can’t say that the LiM is definitely “worth it” for everyone, especially when it is a whopping $1,300-1,400 (depending on the finishing) more than the BF2. Laws of diminishing returns applies hard here, but this is natural when you enter kilo-buck territory. If you get on well with the BF2 vibe, I would say the LiM should definitely be on your radar.

    *P.S. I know these impressions don’t cover negative aspects of the LiM much or if at all, but with limited to no experience with what flavours other high-end DACs in the market has to offer, I can’t say for sure what I feel is lacking on the LiM at the moment, especially since it already gels with my preferences and setup so well. Factors such as a different headstage or a more “exciting” presentation may push your decision to other DACs instead of the LiM.


     
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  16. Greg121986

    Greg121986 Almost "Made"

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    TL;DR Executive Summary

    I'm very happy to have been able to audition the Yggdrasil LIM on the loaner tour. Take my impressions with some salt, but I do believe my verdict is accurate according to my personal tastes. I feel like I need another 8 weeks with this thing to really characterize what I heard and turn it into a proper write up. Based on the short time I had with it, I determined that the Yggdrasil LIM is not to my liking. I get along much better with the Holo Audio Spring 3 KTE. The LIM had a "bloom effect" and sound stage presentation that felt unnatural and exaggerated to my ears. This was actually useful with headphones, but the stereo presentation left me wanting something different. I felt like I was listening to a heavily processed signal and it was often distracting.

    I took copious notes during my critical listening sessions, so this is a reflection of those notes.

    I am far more critical of hardware in my stereo and in my experience a great stereo reproduction offers substantially more enjoyment than headphones. Thus, I did pay much more attention when listening on my stereo than I did with my current headphone setup. If I had more time I would have tested my Singxer SU-1 KTE DDC with I2S and AES to the Holo and Yggdrasil respectively. Despite the "objectively excellent" USB of the Holo and Yggdrasil, I really think the Holo 3 sounds better with I2S from the Singxer DDC. I only used USB for inputs. My previous reference was a Holo Spring 1 KTE and I compared it directly to a Gungnir A2 Unison DAC for awhile, so you may or may not want to find some bias there.

    Stereo Setup
    Holo Audio Spring 3 <--> KTE Yggdrasil LIM --> Audia Flight FLS-1 Preamp --> Audia Flight FLS-4 Power Amp --> Focal Electra 1028 Be

    Headphone Setup
    Focal Utopia with WyWires platinum cable (silver) --> Meze Empyrean with stock balanced cable --> McIntosh MHA200 with NOS Siemens & Halski 12AT7 & Tung Sol 12BH7

    I've found this to be the best tube combo with the MHA200. All the goodness without too much or too little of one thing IMO. Basically, it's the least tubey tubeset I found so far. Picked up directly from a local tube guy after I watched him match the sets. I really am not into tubes but I've been having a lot of fun with this amp.

    Source - Linux MPD server with direct USB connection to Yggdrasil and Holo. This allowed me to play the same file simultaneously to both DACs. Switching inputs on the stereo preamp maintained context and only lost a couple notes at worst. I measured a 1Khz tone and found that the Yggdrasil was -3dB down compared to the Holo. I was able to lower the preamp input for the Yggdrasil by -3dB to compensate for this. I did not have enough time to wire my Audia preamp into my headphone amp so there was a substantial delay there due to switching back and forth, unfortunately.

    Stereo
    The first song played on my stereo with the Yggdrasil LIM was Camille "Lilac Wine" from the compilation album, Autour De Nina. There was a strange sensation that the singer was kneeling in the first few notes of the song and then she stood up. This might be my mind playing tricks on me but it was startling. The sound stage was super deep and wide with a lot of distinct precision as to where each element was in the mix. All presumed textures of the stringed instruments (harp, cello) were incredibly vivid. They were also consistently emanating from precisely the same spot. I feel like I could have measured them with a laser tape measure. Vocals were forward in the mix such that they stood out from everything else. This is how it should be. I was listening at pretty low volume, around 50db. I usually listen at low volume and rarely above 70db.

    Next up was Jen Chapin - "Saturn" [24/96] from ReVisions - Songs of Stevie Wonder. This was the first album I listened to when I was introduced to HiFi and I've probably heard it 500 times by now. It is the sole reason I became an audiophool. The Yggdrasil LIM rendered a lot of subtlety within the dynamics of the vocal. This seemed artificial and unnatural to me as it really felt like the dynamics were a periodic volume swell, basically in time with the music. It seemed like there was some kind of "bloom" effect applied to the song. I've never heard it this way and it was distracting. I may be wrong, but I didn't like the way the Yggdrasil LIM presented this song.

    Other songs that I felt exhibited similar unnatural dynamics from volume swells to note decay were All Star Percussion Ensemble "Canon in D" from an audiophool reference disc, Chris Stapleton - "Death Row", and Gregory Porter "Hey Laura." At this point I had a hard time focusing on anything else because this really bothered me.

    I came back two days later after the Yggdrasil had been on for 48 hours and repeated the same songs. The Holo Spring had been on for the same amount of time. I still felt like the Yggdrasil LIM was rendering sound stage in a very strange way. Jen Chapin and Camille vocals sounded like they were singing through a hole in the wall. There was such distinction in the location of each source of sound that the vocal did not seem to fill the room in a natural way. Instruments felt like there were balloons floating in the air making sound, not an instrument being played and filling the room naturally. Comparatively, the Holo Spring did everything in a way that felt natural, as though the performers are in the room with me. This is what I want.

    I decided to play some electronic music to see why everyone likes to talk about bass a lot. Infected Mushroom - "Return To The Sauce", "Nutmeg", "Milosh" were BONKERS. The exaggerated sound stage and strict localization of every sound with the Yggdrasil LIM was f'ing awesome here. It is as though every element in the mix had its own speaker. When music becomes a bunch of _noises_ I think the Yggdrasil LIM is perfect. The Holo presented the same amount of bass to my ears. I did not feel like it was different from the Yggdrasil with bass. However, the Holo blended everything within the sound stage in a way that was certainly great, but not quite as striking and definitive as the Yggdrasil LIM.

    With the revelation of Infected Mushroom I went on to BT - "The Antikythera Mechanism" from This Binary Universe. This is another oldie for me that got me really into obsessing over system details. Again I felt like there was no difference in the bass between the two DACs. It hit with the same intensity and texture as far as I could tell. Maybe because my Focals really don't do anything below 35 Hz. The Yggdrasil LIM lacked delicacy in the opening section of the track, though. The Holo did a much better job with the plankton of the plucked instrument in the beginning. The Holo was clearly more cohesive and well blended. The Yggdrasil LIM felt more like I had a vivid filter on where note attack and decay was exaggerated. I don't think the Yggdrasil worked as well here as it did with the Infected Mushroom tracks.

    Onto headphones. Both DACs had been on for 4 days. The MHA200 was powered on for 2 hours when I took my final notes. I really should have used my preamp because the volume difference was more difficult to manage in this setting. I just had to wing it. I also could not A-B but at any rate, my overall experience with headphones was similar to what I felt was good or bad on my stereo.

    On the Focal Utopia Jen Chapin - "Saturn" was quite vivid with the Yggdrasil, but it was not as distracting as it was on the stereo. The Holo again had better tonality and sounded more natural. I did not feel like there was really a clear winner here, despite there being obvious differences. For Camille - "Lilac Wine." The Holo seemed to be more natural and lifelike to my ears. The cello in the intro sounded phenomenal as the rest of the orchestra faded out. The detail in the harp is excellent. Everything is rendered on the Holo in a way that makes me feel like I am witnessing a stage performance. With Infected Mushroom "Return To the Sauce," I felt like the Yggdrasil was really fun to listen to much like it was on the stereo. The distinction and separation of all elements in the track by the Yggdrasil were especially useful on headphones.

    I ended with some tracks that I did not play on my stereo. Morgan James "Funkier Than A Mosquitos Tweeter" sounded good with the Yggdrasil, but I felt like everything was being exaggerated again. Everything in the mix is forward in a way that I did not enjoy. The Holo put me properly at the second table from the stage, but the Yggdrasil made me feel like I was sitting on the stage right in front of Morgan.

    The Meze Empyrean was very interesting with the Yggdrasil but unfortunately I did not spend a lot of time with it. I was pretty exhausted at this point and I had to get the Yggdrasil back on the road. Overall I did feel like the Yggdrasil LIM was better with the Meze because it relieved some of the darkness that the Meze delivers. The exaggerated soundstage and details were somewhat more useful on the Meze than on the Utopia. But again, I did not spend enough time here to really form a complete opinion.

    Upon first inspection I have to wonder if this is the time when I need to stop thinking about nuance and the sum of all parts in the system and just appreciate music. I am hearing things that are striking, startling, and sometimes alarming with the Yggdrasil LIM. I had been torn on what to really think here. The Yggdrasil LIM _could be_ one of those pieces that relieves FOMO and eliminates concern for FOTM. It would be perfect for a system that you have playing while you are being productive. Somewhere that you end up listening passively like in a home office, while in the kitchen, or a workshop. I think if I had a second system in a home office I'd really be considering the Yggdrasil LIM because of the way it exaggerates detail and sound staging. It is a lot easier to detect these elements without having to pay attention. But finally, it is vital to me that a DAC can render certain tracks in a way that sounds natural and _real_ while I am paying attention. I get a lot more of that from the Holo Spring 3 than I did the Yggdrasil LIM so the Holo is the clear winner for me.
     
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    Last edited: Aug 29, 2022
  17. Maven86

    Maven86 Almost "Made"

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    Revisited the LIM again recently. But first off, I can't thank @yotacowboy enough for going out of his way to lend me the LIM boards earlier this spring. I'm quite touched at the generosity of some in this community. My initial impressions of the LIM were somewhat lukewarm but they piqued my interest enough to get my own pair. Figured I might like them better in another system... Which ended up being partly true.

    IMG_2273.JPG
    IMG_2275.JPG

    Opening up the Yggdrasil was a chore and half but once done, installation was fairly straightforward. Just replace the two boards on top with the LIM ones and don't forgot to swap out the firmware chip located in the middle board.

    Rig: iMac 2019--> AGD DI20HE + SR 10M Rubidium clock w/LPS --> (AES) Schiit Yggdrasil LIM --> Jenson input transformers 1:1 XLR to RCA --> Elekit TU-8900

    HPs and Speakers:
    JAR650
    HD580
    Utopia
    Verite
    Aeolus
    ADX5000
    Omega 3 HO XRS

    My initial gut reaction was that it had a signature closer to how I remember the Theta Gen V to sound than to any of the other Schiit DACs I've tried. After a few days of listening, I felt like that may have been somewhat of an exaggeration but certain qualities like the timbre, slight oversaturation of tones, and energy (PRaT?) were similar.

    Compared to the A2 OG, the overall presentation was more big picture focused with music having more of a cohesive quality to it. By this, I mean that I wasn't inclined to pick apart individual components of a song, or care as much about minor details but rather the focus on the overall "vibe" of what was playing. There's also better contrast between tones that can partially be attributed to a blacker background, but also because the tones themselves are more saturated (and therefore stand out). In terms of staging, the LIM was slightly wider but noticeably more flat. Images were less 3D and their placement lacked some depth but this wasn't always a bad thing as it made some songs easier to process and reduced fatigue in certain chaotic pieces (modern symphony...Polyfia ect.).

    I think @rhythmdevils described the overall presentation best, the LIM paints with a broad brush. If the analogy were taken further, I'd say that it's like an artist with an impressionistic bent that makes generous use of watercolors, isn't as concerned with the delineation of fine edges, and despite still being concerned with an accurate, intelligible representation of a piece, decides to focus a bit more on the overall impact of what is represented vs capturing as many minute (to some irrelevant), details as possible, with some consideration for a palatable presentation (the OG).

    Unfortunately, this didn't play out as well in practice the first time around. While I generally appreciated the more "musical" presentation of the LIM. I ultimately felt like I was giving up a little too much in the form of resolution, microdetail, and in some cases tactility and impact, especially with music that required a bit more extension in the lower registers. And despite the tone being more "pretty", it still had a slight dullness to it despite being more saturated (watercolor analogy), and wasn't able to render complex music, particularly those with many types of instruments, as realistically as the OG.

    Despite preferring, the OG in the end, I figured the gap was small enough, and the good qualities of the LIM enticing enough, to give it a second take after a component swap or two. Sure enough, I swapped out the Elekit for another DHT amp and I'm liking what I hear so far. Will probably give it another week or so before swapping boards and see if it holds up.
     
  18. ckhirnigs

    ckhirnigs Friend

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    @Maven86 Out of curiosity, did you ever listen to the LIM without your Jensen input transformer in the chain? It's my understanding that the LIM's single-ended outputs aren't gimped like they were on the A1 and A2 Yggys. I just wonder if you might get better results going directly from the LIM to your amp.
     
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  19. Maven86

    Maven86 Almost "Made"

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    I didn't consider this before but thanks. I changed outputs earlier but definitely still preferred the XLR outs, mostly because of the extra gain I get.

    Out of curiousity, do you know in what way the LIM became less gimped? I was under the impression that issue in the OG was the fact that the output was natively balanced and had to be re-summed for SE. It just so happened that people tended to prefer the conversion process with external transformers vs the internal re-summing.

    I looked at the specs on the Schiit site and this still seems to be the case for the the LIM. I wonder if anything else changed.
     
  20. ckhirnigs

    ckhirnigs Friend

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    It took me a while to track down some info to explain the reason why the LIM has a relatively better SE output than the OG (A2). I got an explanation from someone on another forum, and I’m going to quote his response here:

    “There are differences talked about in the documentation. Besides the different multibit DACs used in each of the flavors, they also list this:

    OG: Analog Stage: Fully discrete, DC coupled Class A FET buffers optimized for high current output and fully discrete, Class A FET summing stages for single-ended output

    LIM & MIL: Analog Stage: Integrated, using LME49724 differential stage

    So the question becomes is the Balanced output on the OG better than the balanced output on the LIM & MIL?”

    That’s the best explanation I could find. If I ever get a Yggdrasil, I’ll still be looking to snag a LIM. Right now though, my OG BF2 is keeping me satisfied.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2022

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