Gungnir sound before and after multi-bit upgrade?


Would appreciate reading owners' descriptions of what they heard before and after upgrading their Schiit DACs to multi-bit.  What were the sonic benefits?  Mostly interested in effects on the Gungnir but would be interested in comments about Modi, BiFrost or Yggdrasil as well.  

Searched here on A'gon but did not come across anything that clearly addressed before and after sound.  

If this has been discussed and I missed it, my apologies but please link me to it.   

Thanks in advance.
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I'm also curious about this. I've read the multibit calms the hot high characteristics. I actually placed an order for the Guby to mate with my Mjolner2 which I really like but I canceled the order after a long wait for "back-ordered parts to come in". Oh well. I do hope to try one in my headphone rig someday. 
I've read the multibit calms the hot high characteristics. 
That's a good way to put it. I can't speak for the Gungnir but it's true for the Bifrost Multibit. There is a certain rightness, a natural and organic sound quality with the Multibit upgrade. (I know, cliché audiophile-speak, but true nonetheless).


WTF - Thanks for the feedback. Did you purchase a "stock" BiFrost and then upgrade it to Multibit?
Hi Ghosthouse-

I had an stock BiFrost that I then upgraded to Uber, and then multi-bit, when it became available.

It has been over a year, so can not give many of the fine details, but:

1. MB was a much bigger upgrade than Uber.

2. Like wtf, the thing I remember the most is that there is a "rightness" to the sound. It just has the sound that the real thing, or at least the sound of my vinyl rig.

3. It started me back listening to my system, something that had really stopped up to that time. This has continued for 17 months now. I can’t wait to get home at night and get into my chair.

4. It was so good, that I bought a Yggy. For that price, to have the "best" of what really is quite amazing (the MB BiFrost), was irresistible. The MB BiFrost is now in my office system, as the previous DAC was unlistenable, once I had heard MB. Even the Red AQ Dragonfly, as good as it is, sounds wrong to me (for my road rig). I am hoping Schiit can come up with a MB USB DAC with low current draw for my iPhone rig, although I suspect AQ has some patent protection on the USB receiver chip that might make that impossible.

Bottom line: I would not own a Schiit DAC without MB, now that I have.

-jim
@ghosthouse .. yes, I purchased the Bifrost when they first came out. The 1st time I shipped it back to Schiit was for the Uber Analog upgrade and then again for the Multibit upgrade. The Multibit brought the DAC to another level entirely and was worth every penny. Funny, I have a Chord Qute EX DAC which I love but it's the Bifrost Multibit that remains in my system. Sounds like music.
@docknow 

Jim - Thank you very much for your encouraging reply.  Did you get the Ygg with multi bit?  I'm guess you would have.  

I've been looking for reviews on-line.  A certain "rightness to the sound" post-MB upgrade seems a common theme.  I guess my concern is spending $500 for MB on my Gungnir when it already sounds so good.  Several things have recently made a big difference in my system w/respect to sound associated with the unmodified Gungnir.  Running balanced out from Gungnir to a Schiit Freya pre-amp was huge.  I'm not experiencing digital glare that is often mentioned with digital.  Could spending for multi bit it really make it sound 5 bills worth of better?  

"I can't wait to get home at night and get into my chair."
That's the best endorsement right there.  Thanks again for your time.

@wtf 
Hey wtf, thanks for the follow up.  Glad to read your positive experience with the multi bit upgrade and favorable comparison to the Chord Qute.  I quickly checked price on that.  What HiFi had it at 990 British Pounds back in their Oct 2014 review...so that's some strong company for the Bifrost.  Thanks again.  
@ghosthouse

Yes, the Yggy was only released as MB.

Questions about money are always dependent on the value you place on things, and your economic situation. So I will not address absolute "worth".

Relative "worth" is easier. I think it would be as big or greater an improvement as going from singled-end to balanced cables (although this ignores the quality of each type of cable). It is said that the SE summing circuit on the Yggy is "super transparent" (see #2 on http://tweakaudio.com/EVS-2/Schiit_mod.html), and if it is the same on the Gungnir, this might be part of your preference for balanced ICs.
Can the MB upgrade be done by the owner of a Bifrost? 
Can the MB upgrade be done by the owner of a Bifrost?
No, unless they've changed their policy since I had mine upgraded.
MB upgrade of Bifrost requires return of unit to Schiit, as they need to flash upgrade the software on the main board (EPROM?), I think ...
Had lost track of this question.  

FWIW - sent the Gungnir into Schiit yesterday via FedEx ground.  It is supposed to get there Wed 5-24.  A day or two in the shop, expect I will get it back first week of June.  
I think you made a wise decision.  Will be interested to know what you think after you get it ...
Thanks, doc.  
I hope what I think ain’t, "I just wasted $500 bucks!".
We shall see...or, more appropriately, "hear" I suppose.
In the absence of the Gungnir, running Aries Mini USB out to V-Link 192 and then via D-750 coax to the DAC in a TEAC CD3000 (also has balanced out) to Freya pre. Things are sounding discouragingly good ;-)
I was going to buy the Ygg and after 2 months of waiting I cancelled my order and got a ps audio junior,couldn't be happier.

It also took about 2 months to get a Freya which is the worst sounding pre I've ever owned,I returned it and got a refund.

I've learned my lesson I will never buy another piece of Schitt again.
I have heard the ps audio junior dac described as quite dry sounding although very detailed...
Hey @kdude66  - 
Thanks for posting.  Real helpful input given the original question that started the thread.  I guess we can say, "You weren't as happy as a pig in Schiit" and leave it at that.
I don't think the jr is dry at all in my system it's voiced to be neutral and some may find it dry all system dependent.

I use the jr driving a first watt sit2 powering Zu audio def4's in my 2nd system.

Kenny.
kdude, what didn't you like about the Freya and compare to what other pre? Sorry if off topic. 
Kalali,

I got the Freya for my 2nd system which has a push pull sit Amp and Zu def 4's.

I found the Freya noisy and lacking the big tone that the 6sn7 is well known for.I have a large collection of very good nos and new production tubes that have been previously been used in a modwright ls-100 and a Valvet soul shine and soon to be used in a Linear tube audio MZ2,when I get it in a couple of weeks.I did'nt try the stock Russian tubes that come with the Freya.I also used all the trial period I had to allow plenty of time to settle in.Basically maybe my expectations were to high for this budget piece but I did find the functionality decent.

Kenny.
Update
Received the Gungnir with multi bit upgrade today. Going on 7 hours since putting it back in the system.

On first getting the Gungnir installed, put Peter Gabriel’s "So" (CD ripped as ALAC file to external hard drive) on repeat from the Aries Mini (USB >>V-Link 192>>DH Labs D-750>>SPDIF Gungnir).

In the first few minutes after starting playback, things sounded noticeably brighter and somewhat harsh and "tizzy". Put the amp on mute and just let the file play through the Gungnir and Freya.

Started listening in earnest 6 hours later. Treble tizziness and harshness were gone. Improvements I noticed vs stock Gungnir:
Wider sound stage
Greater clarity...micro details better defined
Cymbals sound a lot more metallic and "shimmery" for lack of a better adjective
Percussive sounds have a firmer edge to them
Front to back depth is a little more evident
A bit more "heft" to the music (e.g., plucked strings)

Liked the Gungnir before the upgrade. Like it even more now. Hoping there’s further sonic "blossoming" with more hours. If it stays as it is, that’s okay too.
Good to hear Ghosthouse
Multibit (properly implemented), compared Delta Sigma doing RedBook (pcm) replay, to me has bigger more powerful presentation, with deeper wider sound stage, and with more foot tapping bounce to the music. Delta Sigma seems too smooth and a bit of a yawn. But Delta Sigma has it’s place, as it can do DSD/SACD for the download crew, if that’s what your into.

MoJo Music: says it all:
" When a PCM/RedBook/DXD file is played on a DSD/Delta Sigma or Bit Stream converter, the DAC chip has to convert the PCM to DSD in real time. This is one of the major reasons people claim DSD sounds better than PCM, when in fact, it is just that the chip in most modern single-bit/Delta Sigma DACs do a poor job of decoding PCM. "

Cheers George
Ghosthouse--Do you like the Gungnir/Freya together?  Too soon to judge, but just picked up a Freya at FedEx, yesterday.  At some point, I'll want to try an MB, somewhere.  If I end up liking the Freya, will probably lean toward the Gungnir MB or Yggdrasil. $500 is a bargain for:

Wider sound stage
Greater clarity...micro details better defined
Cymbals sound a lot more metallic and "shimmery" for lack of a better adjective
Percussive sounds have a firmer edge to them
Front to back depth is a little more evident
A bit more "heft" to the music (e.g., plucked strings)


KD--Was it the tube output, specifically, that turned you off to the Freya?  I got the Freya mostly to satisfy my curiosity on a passive, have balanced outs, and secondarily something else to burn through a bunch of 6sn7s.  In just the hour I had to play, and with the stock tubes, I'd agree that the tube output lacks the 6sn7 flavor (although that's in relation to Cary products, so probably sonic pineapples to oranges, anyway).

Did either of you find significant improvement/settling as they burned in?

Thanks!
I got the Freya mostly to satisfy my curiosity on a passive
Passive mode, will give you the most transparency of any preamp.
Just have to make sure your poweramp is the industry standard of 47kohm input impedance or higher, which most are.
And the source should have an output impedance of "less" than 1kohm (1000ohms) which most are.

And with passives, keep the interconnects to the poweramps less than <2mts and good quality low capacitance ones, which most are.

Cheers George
Yes, George.  Went with the Freya at least partially based on your recommendation in another string.
"...[a] bigger more powerful presentation, with deeper wider sound stage, and with more foot tapping bounce to the music."

@georgehifi - I think that quote pretty much nails it as far as my perception of the Gungnir post-multibit.  Thanks for the comments. Glad to get some affirmation we’re not entirely delusional. Foot tapping bounce is the real bottom-line.

@stfoth - I am very happy with the Freya/Gungnir combination. I am using the Freya in JFET buffered mode almost exclusively. I actually pulled the tubes. No point burning them if not listening through them.

FWIW -I had posted some comments about the Freya on another thread ("Do I need a new preamp", maybe) I did run the Gungnir with a different tube pre-amp (Opera Consonance Ref 50; 2-6H30s & EZ80 rectifier) for a good few years before getting the Freya. I thought that pairing sounded great...and it did - but the Freya brought a more "refined" sound. Another plus for the Freya is the balanced design. I thought running balanced ICs made a positive difference. Or at least, that’s the delusional gestalt we got going here. Good luck with the Freya (do give it plenty of time to "burn in"). Hope you like it.
Ghosthouse,

Sounds like your happy as a pig enjoying your new Schitt and we'll leave it at that.
Points to you, kdude, for originality and a timely rejoinder (not to mention additional useful input). And yes...as a matter of fact, I am.
But seriously I see the YGG is back in stock and I ordered one today and hopefully will get it in about 2 wks or less.

I keep reading such good things about it and there is only one way to find out.

Best,

Kenny.
Hey @kdude66
I do sincerely hope the YGG works out for you. That there is top of the Schiit (DAC) pile! Of course your past listening experience, the gear you are comparing it to, expectations and interaction with the rest of your system are going to be major factors affecting the verdict.

The only advice I can offer is to run that thing 24/7 with some kind of burn in CD when you first get it. I run continuously track 9 of the XLO test cd. No need to have amp and speakers playing, of course. Just be outputting signal through the DAC. The Gungnir took a good long while before it opened up (can’t remember hours; I had the stock Gungnir several years before I sent it off for the multibit update). When I first got it, the Gungnir’s highs were definitely rolled off sounding which also lead to a closed in soundstage. It was quite dark sounding, initially. It did open up, however. I do leave mine powered up 24/7 even after break in.

I can also say it responds to cable changes and that balanced seems better to me than single ended. Intelligibility of vocals is much improved with balanced (or so I think).

Anyway, good luck. Maybe you too will be able to brag about the piece of Schiit you have in your system ;-)

FWIW (if you haven’t seen it) - a pretty active Yggdrasil thread on HeadFi.org. Entertaining, if nothing more...

https://www.head-fi.org/f/threads/schiit-yggdrasil-impressions-thread.766347/page-348
Ghost,

Thank's for the advice and encouragement,

I'm generally a open minded kinda guy and will give the YGG a honest chance and careful comparison.


Best,

Kenny.
I am glad the OP liked the upgrade. I, too, have a Gungy and would like to upgrade it. Your posts have pushed me to do so.
@kdude66 
I admire your openness to buying Schiit again. (Pun intended).
I started with a Bifrost Multibit, and got a Modi Multibit for the office, but when a Gungy came up for sale, I got it. To be honest, it really put the previous DAC's to shame (though they were pretty good, if you didn't hear the Gungy).
So, I think the Yggy should be a pleasant surprise.
Bob
Bob,

I've heard so much good about the YGG I just got to try one,now I presently use a ps audio direct stream in my main system and a JR in my 2nd system.

I figured I really couldn't go wrong either way and there is only one way to find out and who doesn't like a made in the USA product.

It might be the best 2k that I have ever spent on audio Schitt. LOL.

Best,

Kenny.
gdnrbob - Hope you like what you hear with the Multibit mod.
Yes, the multibit Modi and Bifrost were very, very good. I was hesitant to spend more, as they were so 'Right', but I found a Gungy for sale locally and I have to say that moving up the chain of Schiit yielded undoubted benefits. The only thing that smokes it is my Ayre Codex-and even then it is pretty close.
I have to send the Gungy to Schiit to be upgraded to multibit. Hopefully, they are catching up with upgrades.
gdnrbob - I just got the Multibit upgrade latter part of May.  Started the process May 16 or 17.  The authorization to ship in my Gungnir for the upgrade came very quickly after I completed the on-line order form at the Schiit website - same day or, at most, the next day.  Once they received it, was only  a day or day and a half before I got notice it was done and being shipped back.  The entire process seemed efficient and fast to me.  Time in transit during shipping was the main delay.    
Hello all,

I have more than 500 hrs on my Yggdrasil now and I have directly compared it to my direct stream jr.It's so close to the jr it's like splitting hairs to decide,I 'm highly impressed with it and will be keeping this piece of Schitt.My jr has been upgraded to the latest Huron software and has a very tiny but noticeable lower noise floor than the Yggy but other than that they both sound darn good.

I listen to mainly good ole red book cd and flac files on a hard drive using a oppo 105 as the transport.

Digital playback in general has gotten so good in the last 4 to 6 yrs that I hardly ever spin any vinyl anymore and really don't miss it.

Best,
Kenny.
Glad the Ygg is working out in your system, Kenny.  Schiit Audio seems like "the real deal" in terms of designing and mftg. affordable, great sounding equipment.  For me, the MB upgrade to the Gungnir is turning out to be even better than what I had first thought.      
@ghosthouse ,
Thanks for posting how long it takes. I was going to upgrade, but there was a backlog. It's nice to know that when they accept the order, it goes very quickly.
My only bugaboo with Schiit is that they will not comment on what makes the various models sound better. As I said, I owned the Modi and Bifrost.
When they would not comment on improved sound quality, I was hesitant to spend more, as what I owned sounded pretty darned good.
That my Gungnir bested them laid my mind to rest, (and, this is despite not being a Multi-Bit unit).
I thought they were full of their company name, but now I am a believer.
Bob

@gdnrbob
Did you fill out the form to join the que for the MB upgrade? The more I listen to the G w/MB the more certain I am it was money well spent. Continues to sound better and better.

re, "...they will not comment on what makes the various models sound better."
Schiit is a bit of quirky outfit. I had called at one point to find out what they recommended cable-wise...ICs and maybe power cord. Can’t recall if it was for the Gungnir or an Asgard 2. The response was something along the lines of "we don’t believe in cables". That’s NOT an exact quote but is the gist of what was communicated.  The tone was definitely "blunt".  I guess I can understand them not wanting to get sucked into the whole cable controversy, especially given how system (and listener) dependent results with different cables can be. It just wasn’t the helpful sort of response I was expecting.

Anyway, good luck in your further dealings with them. Hope you do get the MB upgrade.


I had called at one point to find out what they recommended cable-wise...ICs and maybe power cord.
The response was something along the lines of "we don’t believe in cables". That’s NOT an exact quote but is the gist of what was communicated. The tone was definitely "blunt".

The guys at Schiit are very technically orientated, especially Mike Moffat.

They probably were referring to mains cables, which is a bit of a voodoo subject, because differences can’t be measured, within the envelope they are being used with their products.

However interconnects "can" depending on output and input impedance’s, cause filtering effects with inductance, capacitance and resistance, the best with these are the lowest of all three, if you want/need the most transparent ones.

Cheers George
Another followup post re the Gungnir MB upgrade...

Am continuing to enjoy how music is sounding, mostly listening to ripped CDs or Tidal through an Aries Mini via Black Cat Silverstar 75 SPDIF to MF V-Link 192 to Gungnir. After listening to a ripped CD of Clapton’s 461 Ocean Blvd., I decided to listen to an old vinyl copy of "There’s One in Every Crowd". Usually, switching from digital to vinyl playback, I’ve noticed a greater fullness and "mellowness" associated with vinyl. Yesterday, for the first time ever, I was struck by how little difference there seemed to be switching from digital to vinyl. As others have said, seems like the MB upgrade has resulted in a more analog-like "feel" to digital playback.

Now you got me thinking of upgrading the Gungy.
Though, considering your comments, I can only wonder how the Yggy would sound?
The DAC world is moving at an incredible pace. The best part is that we don't have to spend exorbitant amounts of money to achieve near analog sound reproduction.
Bob
Bob,


The DAC world is moving at an incredible pace. The best part is that we don't have to spend exorbitant amounts of money to achieve near analog sound reproduction.

You got that right,
90% of my music listening for the last 4yrs is from digital and I primarily only play my Lp's that were never put on cd.I used to be a big time analog only kind of guy for many years even though I did have one of the very first CD players in late 1982.

There is some very very good sounding Dac's under the 3k mark.

Kenny.

Bob - Doing the MB to the Gungnir seems to have transformed it into a different product altogether. I’m not given to exaggeration; often things some call "huge" I either can’t hear or simply find to be subtle and inconsequential. Upgrade doesn’t really convey the significance of this change, however. Can’t tell you how to spend your $. If you got the scratch, I’m guessing Yggdrasil would be the way to go but personally, I don’t see me feeling the need for another DAC for a long time. I was leery about spending the $ but it ended up being good value for money. Thanks again to DPatterson for recommending it.

An afterthought - look to your digital coax.  Before the upgrade I liked the way things sounded using a DH Labs SilverSonic D750 coax more than the Stereovox XV-2 SPDIF I had.  Afterwards the XV-2 took front seat.  It sounded very very good.  Recently I switched to a Black Cat Silversonic 75 SPIDF cable.  The sound is insanely good and certainly a contributor to my enthusiasm.  I auditioned several digital cables from The Cable Co. - worth considering to maximize what you already have component-wise.

Can I get some feedback please regarding Schiit order wait time?

I have a Yggdrasil on order for nearly six weeks. I am patient (waited 5+ months for speakers and 12+ months for blue ray player), but the issue I see is that their web site continually changes with the "back ordered, orders placed now shipping the week of MM DD" constantly changing - for the worse - and obviously inaccurate to begin with.

When the date read "shipping the week of August 22" my order was in a few weeks before. 8/22 came and went. Their website date changed to September 14. That came and went. Their website date then changed to September 22. I was hopeful. Now, the date reads October 6.

I've contacted Schiit via email and they regurgitate the same response; that parts are back ordered. I fail to understand why they can't be more precise with the "when" aspect of my order. Again, I don't mind waiting, but do mind lack of information.

Any feedback (no pun intended or reference to Jimi Hendrix or Grateful Dead) is appreciated. Thanks.
Hi gdhal,

Glad to see that you have decided to pursue a fine DAC. I don’t have answers to your questions and I doubt anyone else does (outside of Schiit themselves and maybe they don’t either).

I have extensive first-hand experience with procurement in the electronics industry and can tell you that when critical parts become unavailable, the small guys get the shaft. They often have to buy from distributors due to low volumes and these distributors are one mouth to feed on a long list of large corporations with direct contractual agreements specifying their supply priority with the component’s manufacturer. This process is known as "allocation".

If the shortage is a crystal/oscillator, the wait can be extensive as these must be cultured, tested, and sorted. This can take a very long time. The common practice is for an engineer to identify an alternate manufacturer, but if it is an unusual frequency, then everyone is up Schiit creek.

It is likely that Schiit does not have a firm delivery commitment from their source at this point. I assure you that they want this shortage cleared even more than you do.

As insensitive as this may sound, either buckle in for a possible long and bumpy ride or cancel your order and select another DAC from a long list of fine alternative brands that have product in stock.

Dave
@dlcockrum

Thanks Dave. I appreciate your well articulated response. To be honest, it was the feedback from you and some others on this forum that helped guide my decision to the Yggy versus any other DAC. I realize there are alternatives, however, I do want multibit and I don’t recall if there is any viable alternatives *at the price point of the Yggy*. I’d prefer to not cancel at this point.

I can and do remain patient, but I just can’t understand why Schiit cannot provide realistic dating. Updating their website every two weeks by pushing out the date another two weeks seems to be their normal modus operandi.
@gdhal - 

Just today ordered an Eitr USB/SPDIF converter from Schiit.  Placed the order around 9:30AM (my time - 3 hrs ahead of Calif) and got an email from Schiit right at noon saying my order had shipped.  Was picked up by USPS 2:40 this afternoon.  

Truly sorry for your long wait...but I'm guessing it's for a legitimate reason and not incompetence on their part.  Hope the Yggdrasil is worth the wait.  By all accounts, I expect it will be.
gdhal,

Glad to at least add some clarity. A couple of things: One, I never heard and therefore never recommended (or at least never intended to recommend) the Yggrasil. I would personally go in a different direction. Two, I was quite clear in explaining why Schiit likely cannot give you a solid ship date.

Dave