Schiit Bifrost Multibit option

Just seen this new option/upgrade and wondered if anyone has tried it yet?


Finally a manufacturer that has put sound quality first.

Schitt has seen the light? and is now offering an upgrade improved main board of their Delta Sigma based dacs backwards to a Redbook only R2R Ladder Multibit dac. Ahhhh now that's a good Schitt!!!

Cheers George
George - my Bifrost is superb as-is, but it did require some tweaks.

Having said that - it doesn't hurt to push that envelop :-)
Similar update being offered for the Gungnir too, Willie. I haven't done it. A little bit tempted but it's $500 bucks which is almost what I spent buying it the first time around (it was returned/B Stock; since my purchase, looks like they've also had a price increase on the stock Gungnir). I don't understand the upgrade technology, but I'm wondering if George LoFi is not being tongue in cheek. Backwards to the future?
Gh, I tried their USB upgrade, only to discover the v-link was far superior.

I'm now looking at Musical Fidelity based on the quality of the v-link

I'm not impressed with their upgrades

Btw, I also believe Gearoge's tongue was firmly planted in his cheek :-)))


No, no back to the future for me I briefly stepped my toes into Delta Sigma type convertors (eg: 1bit,bitstream,single bit, Sabre ect) they're all Delta Sigma based.
But they couldn't come close to properly implemented R2R Multibit for Redbook replay sound quality.
And I have no interest in DSD, Hi-rez or SACD it does nothing for me, maybe because it has to go through a Delta Sigma type dac, I don't know, it just has no jump factor or midrange warmth, it sweet enough but just a bit of a yawn.

They "the real hiend guys" not just the ones that jumped on the DSD Hi Rez bandwagon that need to use Delta Sigma type dacs. Will all be going back to R2R Ladder Multibit one day as it is "the bit perfect process", and sounds better on Redbook than Delta Sigma.

These are just some of the very best around at the moment that have shunned Delta Sigma and gone back and used R2R Multibit, either discrete or chip. And the list grows all the time.

Trinity Dac
Ypsilon Cdt-100
MSB Platinum
Total Dac
Audial (Peja Rodgic)
AMR top dac and cdp (Thorsten Loschec)
Emm labs
CH precision

Cheers George
I just got the Bifrost MB and have had it for two days getting it warmed up. It sounds similar to my Theta DS Pro Progeny v. A but with more resolution and less bloom in the upper mids and bass. The Theta is arguably more "fun" but not as resolving or accurate. This is a $600 game changer. I upgraded for $250 and shipped it on the Friday it was launched and received it yesterday. I'm waiting for a comparison of the Bifrost MB and Audio-GD DAC-19 Anniv. DSP. Both are competing R2R DACs at the lowest price range in the market. I know I am one of the first people to receive a Bifrost MB so I'm sure more impressions are coming soon.

A correction in that list of R2R Ladder Multibit dacs.

Delete the EMM labs, it's delta sigma.
What should have been in it's place is the DaVinci from Harmonic Light.

Cheers George

Delta Sigma type dacs (redbook dsd, hirez, sacd ect)
R2R Ladder Multibit dacs (mostly redbook only, there are a couple of very expensive exceptions).

This guy hits the nail on the head for me, there are many others also that delve into it far to complex for these pages.
If you can't understand it don't worry go down to the look and it may start to make some sense.

Cheers George
Wow... I don't know why, but I actually understood what he was talking about.
I guess it's true, an old dude can learn if he obsesses and reads enough about a subject.
I will be sending my Bifrost in for the upgrade very soon.

Looks like Bruno Putzey of Hypex Class D amp fame has gone to designing a discrete Multibit dac (called the Mola Mola) that uses 32 x 1 Bit dacs per channel, that is capable of doing dsd as well as Redbook.

Production board

I think this was the prototype

Cheers George
Thanks for the link George...I read through it, and aside from the fact that the main crux of his analysis is to ultimately sell you one of his products, the real issue I have is that he, like so many before him, absolutely cannot get his point across without resorting to banal hyperbole. For example, someone, anyone, please tell me the name of the Delta-Sigma dac you listened to that made cymbals sound like someone crinkling a piece of paper. And while you're at it, tell us the amp and speakers used, and whether you were sitting in a normal room or buried 10 feet underground in a wooden box with Uncle Ben's rice stuffed in your ears, when you heard a D-S dac make a cymbal sound like crinkling paper. I mean, come on...

"cymbal sound like crinkling paper"

Yes his description of the highs is a bit out there, but I think know were he's coming from.

I too on Redbook find DS has a lack of "jump factor" and midrange body to the sound and the bass of Multibit always impresses me over DS, and cymbals on DS either on rock or orchestral don't hit hard and clean, they are either too laid back and sweet or in your face and harsh depending on the filtering used.

Delta Sigma has massive noise that need to be got rid of a bit like Class D amps with it's switching noise.
(Teac gives may different filter combos for the user to play with their DS dacs)
It all comes down to the filter/s that have to get rid of it.

I read a while back one of the digital gurus on where all the big boys play like Thorsten Loesch (AMR), Charles Hansen (Ayre), Pedja Rojic (Audial) and a bunch of others used this analogy. (hope I got it right from memory)
In Class D the switching noise can be filtered two ways either very high and out of the audio band, which leaves some noise in the audio band, or low which has phase effects and HF roll-off's with in the audio band, or half way a bit of both. One sound hard "like crinkled paper" the other sound soft (opaque) or a combo of both.

Cheers George
Just to complicate matters there is also the Bifrost 4490 upgrade @ $100, which states...

This DAC/Analog upgrade card betters the sonic and measured performance of all previous Bifrosts, including Uber. It incorporates the AKM AK4490 Verita® D/A converter, followed by a sophisticated fully discrete summing and gain stage with no capacitors in the signal path.

Is this an even better upgrade than multibit?

Where I am having the problem is...
1. the Multibit works with the Uber Upgrade
2. the 4490 upgrade sounds better than the Uber
- (but is that with the Multibit?)
3. seems the Multi-bit and 4490 are mutually exclusive?

So which option sounds better?

Is anyone else confused like me?

I believe the Multibit dac upgrade $250 for the Bitfrost is a cheaper version of the Yaggdrasil's Multibit dac $2990, both made by Analogue Devices.

And the AKM4490 is a Delta Sigma dac the cheapest $100 upgrade. From what it had when first released 2013 which had the AKM4399 Delta Sigma.

Cheers George
George - on second reading of the Schiit site it appears that both upgrades sound better than all previous Bifrost config's as well as Bifrost + Uber.

It appears that the Multibit and 4490 upgrades eliminates the need for Uber, which is not too good if you have bought into it.

I'll drop schiit an email for clarification

Thanks for the clarification

This could be nice, all starting to get back on the R2R Ladder Multibit wagon. Maybe it does Hi-Rez as well.

Cheers George
Well, I guess my curiosity got the better of me - I just placed an order for the 4490

At $70 for the self install option it was just too good to pass up

I guess we'll have opinions on both upgrades in the coming weeks :-)

any of you guys own one the dacs live in New Jersey? I'd like to hear one.

Send me a message if you do.

The 4490 board arrived this morning and has been up and running for around 2 hours.

My old Bifrost environment was
- Uber Analogue Upgrade option
- V-Link192 in place of the Schiit USB port
- excellent power cables, USB, IC's and SPDIF cables

I have always liked the Bifrost for it's "spirited" and detailed abilities, but the 4490 has now upped the anti in a very good way...

- The dynamics are a little more punchy
- The image is very cohesive - the best I've ever heard it
- the mid-upper frequency details and clarity has improved
- The high end has much more body - not quite so shrill
>>> upper register of violins is much smoother
- Micro details have improved
>>> excellent venue acoustics reproduction
>>> significantly improved decay of cymbals
>>> more whispery textures on vocals

The upgrade from the Uber Analogue to the $70 4490 was well worth it, so I would imagine upgrading from a stock Bifrost to the 4490 would appear even better.

I was not impressed with the USB Gen 2 upgrades, since its performance was trounced by the v-Link192.

But the 4490 upgrade shows that the Bifrost Team can pull off a very worthwhile upgrade for a very affordable price.

This is as close to analogue as I've ever heard it!

It should be really nice - once it's burned in :-)

Well, after 11 days continuous burn-in the 4490 has provided an exceptional improvement in SQ and is providing the most cohesive reproduction I've ever experienced on my system.

All aspects of fidelity, i.e. timing, image, spatial accuracy, dynamics, clarity, and details have exceeded my expectations for a $70 upgrade. Only leaves me wondering what the Multibit is capable of.

Comparing the Uber Upgrade board to the 4490 reveals a remarkable similarity in the components used and their placement - I would guestimate 90% the same - which leads me to believe that the Uber Upgrade is also included.

If you are considering 4490 upgrade I can highly recommend it :-)

Just got the bifrost multibit.  Had no experience with the original bifrost/uber.  Came from a John Kenny jkdac32 which I enjoyed, but the battery gave up the ghost.

Keep in mind, this is after a week of ownership, so this is more impressions, rather than hard statements.

Overall, it’s near-edgelessly detailed, stages well, has decent but not bone crushing bass energy, and really very listenable.  Compared to my memory of my jkdac32, it has a noticable amount of extra midrange sheen which comes across as extra energy, which can be good or bad, and sounds more precise without crossing over into overanalytical.  Again, very listenable.

Compared to my jkdac, it doesn’t sound as "analog" , but the bass is tighter, and the music carries more energy.  Doesn’t have as much bite or grunt as my old benchmark dac 1, but doesn’t sound as thin, either.  Compared to every dac based on the sabre 9018 chip I’ve heard or owned (w4s benchmark dac2, wadia 121, oppo 105), it sounds more engaging, without sounding less polite.  The sabre 9018 chip always sounded a bit mechanical and restrained to my ears, but is articulately inoffensive, and the Bifrost Multi seems to give me what I liked about the sabre 9018 dacs, but with more passion and solid energy.

Someone else in this thread said it reminded them of a Theta, which funny enough, I owned a Theta years ago, and he’s kinda right.  Theta had more prominent midbass, and the Schiit untangles the highs far better, but I actually thought of that exact same dac the third day I listened to the Multi.  Something about the energy music has coming out of both is very similar...engaging and alive, in a fun way. It’s funny someone else made the exact same parallel.  It’s very distinct.  I hadn’t heard another dac like that suddenly, I get to hear something like it every time I listen to music.

Word of warning.  The break in on this product is the 2nd worst I’ve ever experienced in any piece of audio gear I’ve ever owned.  The sound goes from overly composed out of the box, to completely shrill and unlistenable in six hours.  Takes about 48 hours to find it’s sound.  Might still be smoothing out still, or I might be getting more used to it, I don’t know, but a week later, I really like it.  But there were times in that first day I went from absolutely loving it, to wanting to pack it back up and ship it back as fast as I could.

Kinda rambled on here a bit, figuring more is better than less, but the short of it for me is this; it’s the real deal.  It certainly doesn’t sound like other sub 1000 dollar dac’s i’ve heard, and I mean that in a good way.  I’m not in love with it, the way I’m in love with my fallen jkdac32, but I like it a whole lot more than I hoped I would, and more than any other dac I’ve heard in a while.

Backgroundblur - some questions (sort of)....

  1. are you using the power cable that came with the DAC? - the Bifrost really ups its game with a good power cable :-)
  2. are you using the USB port? - I upgraded to the new Gen 2 USB, but on a whim I tried a v-link192 USB-SPDIF converter - the improvements were nothing short of amazing - seems Schiit has a lot of work to do on their USB Interface
  3. What interconnects are you using? - the Bifrost rounds out its game with the selection of really good IC's

You are right about burn-in - I've had the 4490 installed for about a month and it's taken most of that time to really settle

I upgraded to the 4490 and could not believe the improvement in details, image, clarity and punch - the multibit is supposed to be even better.

The "analogue feel" should come over time, but it takes around 200-300 hours of playing for it to get close - 300-500 hours and it will start to "fill out" very nicely.

I listen to classical and for the first little while the upper register of the violins and high notes from sopranos could be very shrill - not any longer - just incredibly rich, full bodied and very detailed.

I did think about the Multibit upgrade, but figure I'll wait until I upgrade to the Gungnir :-)



I usually go stock on things till a month or so., but I tired a shunyata and a pangea on it to see how responsive it is to upgrades, and they make a difference, but I'm gonna let it burn in Stock till I settle into what I'm looking to improve.  I've ran cards golden cross, audioquest emerald x3, and acoustic zen into it, and like the golden cross best so far.

Really, I have no complaints.   It's a very good dac.  Better than most I've heard.  Liking it more everyday.