Schiit Reference Sytem review: Freya into Yggdrasil, into Vidar


For those interested in great sound, without the hi-priced "glitz" of expensive chassis work, just what counts on the inside.
https://www.computeraudiophile.com/ca/reviews/schiit-audio-reference-system-review-part-1-r676/

Cheers George

 
D4dc97ae e7a1 4118 bfe9 5604576a5f82georgehifi
Ha Ha!  "cheaper than the sales tax on many power cables"

BTW the heading should read 

" Yggdrasil into Freya into Vidar"

Cheers George
also even if ya dont know jack S
the book is a great read

"cheaper than the sales tax on many power cables"

Really? $50K power cable? I get the joke.

I am all for the latest round of Giant-killer DACs. I think it is wonderful that the kind of performance that only Meitner and a few select offered over 15 years ago is now quite widely available in $2000 range. Technological progress and competition is wonderful.

That said, I take JA of stereophile's comments as a serious concern with regard to the Yggdrasil. You can find other DACs in this price range that Stereophile has given a much cleaner "medical health checkup"!

Quote Stereophile:
"It's difficult to sum up the Schiit Yggdrasil's measured behavior. While the processor's analog circuitry is superbly well designed, its digital circuitry appears to have problems with high-level, high-frequency tones, and with the LSBs of 24-bit data. It's possible, of course, that the former will be rare with music, and that the latter will be obscured by the noise floors of recordings. But it does look as if the digital circuitry is not fully optimized. Hopefully, this could be addressed with a firmware upgrade.—John Atkinson
Read more at https://www.stereophile.com/content/schiit-audio-yggdrasil-da-processor-measurements#lvfQgKsUQg5tp3S...
STEREOPHILE: Its digital circuitry appears to have problems with high-level, high-frequency tones, and with the LSBs of 24-bit data. It’s possible, of course, that the former will be rare with music,

This says to me that it may never happen with playing music, maybe only with overloading with bench tests signals that Stereophile performed.
It maybe a fine balancing act designed into it by Mike Moffat to get the very best out of it, almost red-lining it to get the very best with music, before the nastie’s happen that Stereophile measured with bench signals.

Also I don't believe that Schiit advertises in Stereophile, make what you will from that. 

Cheers George
That said, I take JA of stereophile's comments as a serious concern with regard to the Yggdrasil. You can find other DACs in this price range that Stereophile has given a much cleaner "medical health checkup"!

Didn't we just go through this?
https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/schiit-yggdrasil-21-bit

Don't you think you might be giving **WAY** to much credence to John Atkinson and Stereophile's review?
https://www.head-fi.org/threads/schiit-happened-the-story-of-the-worlds-most-improbable-start-up.701900/page-1130#post-13245036

See the above link for some comments from Jason Stoddard (Feb 8, 2017) relevant to Stereophile/Atkinson remarks about Yggdrasil.

https://www.head-fi.org/threads/schiit-happened-the-story-of-the-worlds-most-improbable-start-up.701...

See the above link for some comments from Jason Stoddard (Feb 8, 2017) relevant to Stereophile/Atkinson remarks about Yggdrasil.


@ghosthouse


Thank you!!
@ghosthouse

The 20 bit thing is not on the whole a big deal. I think Stereophile was wrong to say that.

However to truncate or simply round the 24 bit incoming data shows total ignorance of 20 years of best industry practices for reducing bit depth. A designer who doesn’t have a clue about audio industry digital signal processing should not be designing audio digital converters, IMHO.
A designer who doesn’t have a clue about audio industry digital signal processing should not be designing audio digital converters, IMHO.
I must have missed something, which designer are we talking about here?

Cheers George
@shadorne

Thought you might find the following excerpt from https://www.computeraudiophile.com/ca/reviews/schiit-audio-yggdrasil-multibit-dac-review/ interesting.
-------------------
The "Yggdrasil is the world’s only closed-form multibit DAC, delivering 21 bits of resolution with no guessing anywhere in the digital or analog path." According to Schiit Audio. Let’s dive into that statement a bit. Many audio enthusiasts will immediately see the 21 bit number assume this DAC is inferior to other DACs that claim 24 or even 32 bits of resolution. Several manufacturers today advertise the fact that their DACs feature multiple 32 bit DAC chips per channel. Making a judgement on a DAC’s superiority or inferiority based on the number of bits advertised is foolish. For example, a 24 bit DAC has a theoretical maximum SNR of 144 dB, but the best current DACs can only obtain an SNR of 124 dB or 21 bits due to the noise floor of the components. In addition, human hearing has a dynamic range of about 120-130 dB. What’s more, DACs have what’s called Equivalent Number of Bits (ENOB) to signify the actual resolution of the DAC. A closer look at many 32 bit DACs reveals they actually have an ENOB of 19.5. Can you see why making judgements about DACs based on specifications is ridiculous?

Readers may be asking themselves, what happens when I play a 24 bit recording on the Yggdrasil if it only supports 21 bits? The reality is that 24 bit recordings don’t have 24 bits of resolution / information. It’s possible to select 24 or even 32 bits as the output resolution for the Yggdrasil in Audio Midi. The truth is that it doesn’t matter on any DAC. Note 1: Vinyl playback has about 12 bits of resolution, CD has 16 bits. Note 2: The Yggdrasil doesn’t support DSD.
-------------------------
@gdhal

It is good marketing I have to admit. Claim that your competitors are all "guessing" and yours is the world’s only DAC that doesn’t "guess". It would be nice if it were true. No well known DAC competitor is actually guessing. Honestly I have absolutely no problem with this marketing claim as it is so similar to other marketing hyperbole typical of the audio trade.

Also as posted above, I agree that JA was out of line to call the Yggdrasil obsolete. The fair critique is when JA refers to mistakes in the digital design foremost by truncating (or rounding if you prefer which amounts to the same thing). This is clearly a design mistake even if it wont affect things much - possibly spurious tones at the 21 bit level which is still low.

Although in the real audio world 20 bits is very nearly as good as 24 bits, the world of high end is measured by diminishingly small additional performance. A Ford Focus RS is a very good car and performs as well as one could ever need on a legal road but that doesnt make it as good as a Porsche GT3 does it? But Stereophile were out of line just as if a car reviewer were to say the Ford Focus RT is obsolete - it is definitely wrong!

 the world of high end is measured by diminishingly small additional 


If you are one that will purchase a $5000 + interconnect cable, Schiit will not be on you radar anyway. 
Majority of Schiit’s  purchasers are not concerned with “ bit depth” details in digital files. Schiits buyers just want simple, great sound. That is what they provide. 
Post removed 
Except for the 2 grand or so DAC and an integrated amp, everything these guys (Shiitheads?) make is basically "super cheap." I've been thinking about buying a "Loki" 4 band tone gizmo just to destroy any shred of audio geek credibility I may or may not have, as I imagine it friggin' works (can't find any reviews, but still). Although I love my current preamp (balanced SS monster, dual mono, blah blah), I recently decided to jump from the frying pan into a Freya because hey…look at the damn thing! 
OK then…I ordered a Loki. To all my friends on the forums (imagined or otherwise), I’m sorry…I had to try the thing…I’m normally a purist (sort of) firmly in the anti EQ camp, I’ve railed against DSP gizmos, bullied and ridiculed others who don’t share my view, and now…here I go…adding something in the line to my beloved Fire Bottle amp…what’s happening to me? I clearly need professional help…*sniff*…sad…
I like the Loki…wrote a little review…it’s way cool (the Loki, not necessarily my review).
I just adde3 a LOKI into the tape/processor loop of my RP-1. I basically use it as a loudness control ( low end boost) at low level night listening. Very quiet and sounds great
Wolf, where can we read your review? Been considering the gizmo for my office system to "compensate " for the low listening volume, sort of like loudness as abery mentioned.
Just buy it. Very smooth controls, transitions and no artifacts or noise. 15 day return policy. You will not regret
Just buy it. Very smooth controls, transitions and no artifacts or noise. 15 day return policy. You will not regret

To bad the Loki doesn't have balanced connectivity in/out. Now, "that would be something" :)
To bad the Loki doesn't have balanced connectivity in/out. Now, "that would be something" :)

It's only an advantage with noise, if the interconnects are over 10mts long.
Single ended in most cases sound better, because many balanced inputs or outputs are just a balanced opamps thrown into the signal path before or after the true single ended input or output!!

Cheers George   
Schiit (I spell this wrong often) has hinted (in their site info) that the Loki Mini might be joined by another EQ…Loki Maxi maybe? I bet balanced could be in the offing if that happens. Kalili…my review, such as it is, is here on Audiogon someplace…although Schiit is misspelled. Note that now that I've been using the damn thing for a few days I remain astonished by the fact that it's so quiet, easily tested by flipping it in and out of the line.
Okay, I'm going to buy one of those Lokis for Christmas, got to try it out.  I"m also eyeing the Vidar amp.  Funny that this thread is about a Schiit system review, and gets hi-jacked over some DAC bickering.  What is it with audiophiles and having to prove the other brand(whichever brand they hate at the time) is not as good as theirs?
It’s only an advantage with noise, if the interconnects are over 10mts long. Single ended in most cases sound better, because many balanced inputs or outputs are just a balanced opamps thrown into the signal path before or after the true single ended input or output!!

I believe balanced is advantageous from a noise perspective regardless of the length. But sure, the longer the length, the more advantageous.

And, while I do agree that balanced cables doesn’t necessarily mean a true balanced circuit in its entirety, the signal level is typically +6 db hotter than straight SE, and that too can (although sometimes not do to clipping) also be advantageous.

I disagree, however, that SE sounds better in *most* cases. In fact, I believe the opposite is true, that balanced sounds better in most (but do agree not all) cases.

EDIT:

And what does this have to do with the topic/thread? Well, in the case of the Yggdrasil, Schiit prefers balanced by stating (in the manual) "if you don’t have balanced gear, we’ve provided two sets of summed single ended outputs that preserves much of the balanced "magic" of the Yggdrasil."

I think the operative word there is that it preserves *much* of the balanced magic, but not all.
I disagree, however, that SE sounds better in *most* cases. In fact, I believe the opposite is true
This is your belief, I found the opposite true with 2mt or less interconnects. Who wants extra opamps in the signal path for balanced operation if not needed.

And what does this have to do with the topic/thread?
"To bad the Loki doesn’t have balanced connectivity in/out. Now, "that would be something" :)"

I simply answered to this.

Cheers George
@georgehifi

To your thread, which involves a Freya, Yggdrasil and Vidar, all of that can be connected via balanced cabling, true? I’m assuming Vidar in mono. If so, and the owner of said equipment desired to go that route, how would the Loki be connected within the systems three components? Hence the reason I stated " to bad the Loki doesn’t have balanced connectivity in/out".
You can use these for the Loki, if your insistent on using the balanced on the source and amps. otherwise use single ended everywhere.

https://www.jaycar.com.au/3-pin-xlr-type-to-rca-adaptors/p/PA3802

https://www.jaycar.com.au/3-pin-xlr-type-to-rca-adaptor/p/PA3800

Cheers George


I owned the Vidar for a month and had to sell it. It was going into protection constantly driving my big PMC. I even had a desk fan on it as it was burning so hot.

Still happily own the Freya though, awesome preamp. 
my big PMC
Which model were these?

Cheers George
EB1i is the model. They’re frightening beasts. Had buddy's big Krell integrated go into protection every 5 minutes on them. Just got a DAC Cherry amp 3 days ago and it's rock solid on them. Loud & proud.
scott_w236 posts02-16-2018 3:38pmPMC EB1i is the model. They’re frightening beasts.
The PMC EB1i are transmission line, which are normally known to want huge power. In this review they had to use the massive $5K Classé CA-2200 to drive them.
I would think the 7 x cheaper, Schiit Vidar probably drove them well to a "certain level" before the protection tripped.
http://www.hifiplus.com/articles/pmc-eb1i-transmission-line-loudspeaker/?page=4

Cheers George
Oh they did, aye. I would have mono'd them but they're not rated to 4 so I decided to go another route (the cherry). I decided that after borrowing my buddy's @titaniumhead Rowland 525 monos and realizing class d was the way to go on these. Sounds chewy and amazing on d.

I would have mono’d them but they’re not rated to 4

Right, bridging amps into mono is a hoax, all you gain is more wattage, everywhere else it takes a hit.
Less damping factor (higher output impedance), higher distortion, less current ability into low impedance’s, all in all the only reason really to bridge an amp it to have it drive a P.A. system louder.

Cheers George
Interesting.  My Vidar has never gone into protection mode driving my N801s.  I’m selling it, though.  I bought my end-game amp.
Wondering if in Australia Schiit is pronounced "shite."
Nah we just say crap.

Cheers George
Interesting. I hope the controversy continues. 

Not because Mr. Moffit doesn't know what he is doing (notice "Mr."), but because I think here in the real technical world, I think we are being robbed of bits!

Did I read records/vinyl being 12 bit? 

So in the same thread, I think I'm reading that Stereophile has published that records have less resolution than 16 bit, And Mr. Moffit doesn't know what he is doing. 

Then again, I think I am only capable of thinking in 4 bits or so. Or maybe...My capacity of BS fills in the missing bits. 
How would one determine the analog playback of vinyl has about 12 bits of information?