Dragonfly Red in desktop system - replace with Schiit Bifrost Multibit?

Hi Folks,

I am seeking some honest input/reality check in regards to a potential purchase: I am currently using an Audioquest Dragonfly Red on a Mac with Audirvana for nearfield listening at my desk. It's hooked up to a pair of B&W MM-1 via a stereo minijack cable (though a seriously upgraded one is on the way as I write this). Let me give some background here:

In my experience, going from the original setup (USB connection from the Mac to the MM-1's onboard DAC through iTunes as the frontend) to the Dragonfly Red to stereo minijack line in on the MM-1 and through Audirvana frontend was quite a huge change for the better. After a few dozen hours of playback/burn in, the soundstage just exploded in terms of width - I am now getting a soundstage a few feet in either direction of the speakers. My jaw dropped. Pretty shocking results from a few numbers, notably Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love", John Coltrane's "Pursuance", Roger Waters' "Watching TV" and Gomez' "Tijuana Lady" come to mind. In some cases, the soundstage is so wide that it seems like things are coming from the next room (Waters' "Watching TV" is a great example- that track is absolutely spooky, especially listening to late at night!) I am very, very pleased with what I am hearing thus far, I must admit.

So what's missing? The depth. This is something that I have been searching for ever since I got into music and heard a setup that had it, and I know many others who are also on the same hunt. I have the same issue in my main system, which is a Wadia 151 PowerDAC coupled with Dynaudio Excite X12's. Great soundstage width, but the depth is relatively flat in comparison. To be fair, I do hear *some* depth in the current Dragonfly Red/MM-1 setup, but I would like more separation of instruments/air - if that is even possible, considering my rather budget-level speakers.

Back to the question at hand: I am thinking of possibly replacing the Dragonfly Red with a Schiit Bifrost Multibit. So I am asking those of you having experience with both of these options - do you think this makes sense, given the speaker choice, or an overkill for the MM-1's? (Yes, I realize the irony of a $600 DAC paired to a $400 set of speakers... but hey, you never know.)

From what I have read, it seems that some people say the depth comes from a good tube amplifier, though I cannot realistically fit one of those onto my desk. Others say it is both the amplifier and careful speaker placement. I have experimented a fair bit with the latter and seem to have found the right placement for my ears and my desk.

Anyone know of any good options? It doesn't need to be limited to the Bifrost Multibit, or even the DAC at all, if you think that isn't the bottleneck. In the case of the Bifrost Multibit, I have read that Schiit offers a 15 day return policy, but as I am currently living overseas, that isn't realistically something I can take advantage of at the moment, unfortunately.

Maybe I have hit the limit of what my speakers can do with the Dragonfly Red/Audirvana setup, which is fine - as I said, I am quite pleased with the setup that I have now, just wondering if there's possibly something I haven't considered that might make for a more enjoyable (and 3-d/holographic) musical experience. Note: I am listening to FLAC (though converted to Apple Lossless FWIW).

Feel free to also chime in with any recommendations you may have for specific songs or even albums that show off a great soundstage!


I've been running an Audioquest black and a red  for some time and to be honest they are both very good for the money. For your computer audio needs I don't think for the money your going to get much better. yes the Shiit will sound better but I honestly think your speakers are your limiting factor. I would spend your 600 and then some on some better speakers. near field you will always lack depth to some degree but some speakers do it better then others. 

I like the PSB alpha 1-100 speakers and matching sub but there are many to look at that will do a better job then the B&W's. you may even look to used and get a small integrated and separate speakers.

A friend has one of these for example and its killer for a few hundred.


match that with a set of speakers you like and you have a nice starter/desktop system.

I agree, I suspect it's the speakers.  However, the best way to find out is to see if you can borrow a different set of speakers or a DAC and see for yourself
@audioneo80 - I’ve owned the Bifrost, but that has since been replaced by a Bluesound Node 2 in my audio system. The SQ is so much better than my v-link192+Bifrost combo and provides a massive 3D image

The inboard DAC and the Analogue output stage are definitley audiophile grade - up to 24/192

Using great cables improves on the already excellent SQ.

I also have the PowerNode 2 driving my A/V system. It too was a very big surprise, mainly because it drives my Tannoy Mecury 4’s with ease and sounds every bit as good as the Node-2. It also has a sub-out which is great for surround AND the optical input caters to surround & 2 channel digital formats. It sounds fantastic and also has great 3D imaging

Then my latest purchase - the Bluesound Pulse Mini. I use it for outdoor music, but it’s sound quality is superb, especially with a quality power cable. I find I listen to music outdoors a lot more these days

The speakers provide excellent sound
- the bass is full and dynamic
- the mid’s and highs are crystal clear
- that’s before you consider the size of the unit
- they sound more like very good bookshelf units

The nice thing about this unit is that you can link two of them together for superb stereo sound.

They also have mounting screws in the back for wall/stand mounting

The main features of the Bluesound line for me...
- transfers digital streams via Ethernet or Wireless - so you can be certain all the data is received by the inboard DAC.
- no more speaker cables
- no more interconnect/SPDIF cables
- they all play up to 24/192 streams
- they have many services ready to go

Once I bought the first unit I was smitten - simple to use, with manual controls on each unit for next track, pause and volume - even my wife can operate it.

The software updates are simple to initiate and they work - no more version incompatibilities between OS and Audirvana, or the remote software I was using and bye bye to iTunes

If you are serious into "the music" - these provide an extremely good option

If it’s volume you like - use the PowerNode 2 and drive a better pair of speakers

Is it perfect? - probably not - the other day i experienced dropouts playing a 24/192 track on the Pulse Mini (wireless mode) - but then i discovered that I had also initiated the PowerNode 2 on the TV and it was playing tracks from the same hard drive - the router could also be an issue - it’s a little old

Hope that does not muddy the waters for you

Regards - Steve