Schiit vs. Mytek vs. Chord - looking for some thoughts
Looking for some thoughts on the following DACs: 1. Schiit Bifrost 2 Multibit 2. Chord Qutest 3. Mytek Brooklyn DAC+ I’m mainly interested in RedBook and DSD hi-res playback. I’m not looking for sacrifices in redbook in favor of hi-res. Has anyone compared any combination of these side by side? What are the sonic characteristics of each and compared to others? What DAC would you choose and why? Thanks in advance!
Ditto @ianrmack, you’re willing to leave this important decision open to a strangers with many numerous ideas as to what is going to work best in your particular rig with your specific musical interests?
I never did try the Shiit but did try the Mytek Liberty and the Cutest among a few others when I was buying. I bought the Cutest and have been very happy with it. It just seemed more pleasing to my ears and a better departure from the digital sound I was trying to escape. I also tried a number of cables and surprisingly found the Kimber D60 suited my needs best. But as the others mentioned, you need to try each in your system and your ears. No one can tell you if there is too much salt in your guacamole but you.
I listen to everything from classical to heavy metal. Amplification - Rogue RP-1 preamp, Rogue ST-100 amp speakers - Martin Logan Montis. Front end - Rega P2, Mac Mini running Roon Core with Qobuz into Bel Canto DAC-3, library of CD rips on HDD. Natural sound is what I’m after with precise imaging, width and depth of stage is a must.
“Digital” sound is also one of the things that cannot be an attribute of the dac for me, but not at the expense of sacrificing on detail and dynamics. Also, not looking for analytical/dry sound. isnrmack, theo...how would you characterize the sound of the Chord Qutest? Do you have tubes somewhere in the chain, what source are you using to feed the dac?
I have a prior generation of Bifrost Multibit. I do also have the Qutest and the Brooklyn DAC+. The Bifrost Multibit is on a HeadFi setup. I like it a lot there and I have not tried moving it over to my speaker systems. I am using the Mytek Brooklyn DAC+ currently on my speaker system and love it a lot. I have not reached the point to swap out the DAC+ and put the Qutest in place of it. But I can tell you that if you want some filters to play with, I think the Qutest is for you. The DAC+ is customizable in other ways. Not sure about filters though. I would have to check again. I can tell you that you will not go too wrong with either the DAC+ or the Qutest though.
My thoughts are you should try the Chord Qutest... I have a Lumin U1 Mini streamer feeding a Chord Qutest to a PrimaLuna Dialogue Premium PreAmp to a McIntosh MC152 SS Amp to Martin Logan ESLs...
Your Rogue RP-1 PreAmp Small Signal tubes might knock the edges off anything digital like my PreAmp does with CIFTE 12AU7s in the first gain stage... Forget DSD and MQA... Both are less than a perfect small signal...
I can tell you what I like and what I run it through. If you are interested in an analogue sound, the Exogal Comet gives my system a GREAT sound (admitted I like analogue > digital sound). BTW, I had a Chord Qutest prior to the Comet
Innuos Zen Mini to Exogal to Audion KT120 (tube) to Rethm Saadhana. Mostly Qobuz and my CD uploaded into Innuos.
If you are in the Nashville area (or even if not), Constantin at Atelier 13 audio has a program where he will send you a demo Comet to try in your system. You only pay shipping (unless you buy a new one) then I think he deducts from price. And he is an awesome dealer, has never tried to up sell me and always available for questions, etc
I compared chord qutest vs. Audiolab CDQ8200 V12E two weeks ago and audiolab was far better than qutest. Qutest lack bass and Dynamics. Also Hegel HD12 was far away from audiolab. My set is Magnepan 3.6, accuphase E450 and audiolab. Playing from tidal. I dont understand that Chord has get 5 star. It is better to trust own ears than beleave ratings. Of course ratings can give you directions.
Sorry I didn’t see your question earlier but I think the best way to describe the sound of the Cutest is, warm without being too lush. It delivers the details without over analyzing and sterilization of the music. I like the Red filter of the four but sometimes the Green seems more convincing. As far as the source, Bluesound Node2 and Deezer flac, Pre amp is ARC Ref5se and McIntosh Mc402 amp.
Two cents worth here. Theo2's post is on target. While I prefered the 'Sound' with both Incisive filters (White / Green) Qutest is not harsh. But exceedingly detailed! The negative results reported could be because of more than one reason. Good range of detail from Bass to top end. Gear / Set: PC-Qutest-Valhalla 2, with both Dynamic / Planar Headsets Streaming HD on aZon.
So, I’m gonna muddy the waters a bit because it’s what I do. Sorry in advance. Given the characteristics you’re looking for my first impulse was to recommend a NOS R2R DAC, which I don’t believe is represented in your other wonderful contenders. Two I’d recommend looking into would be the Metrum Onyx that offers a good bit of the top Pavane DAC in their stable thanks to a good bit of trickle-down tech, and the MHDT Orchid that is a tubed DAC and was well reviewed and bought by member @teajay — always the ultimate sign of a very high recommendation. One limitation is they don’t speak DSD, so there’s that. Not sure how MHDT handles demos, but you can buy the Onyx from Hifi Heaven and return it if it doesn’t work for you, which is nice. Anyway, sorry again if I’m just making life harder for you, but it’s coming from a good place. Best of luck.
The Qutest is a great performing DAC on it’s own. I prefer the green and orange filters with my system. Another DAC that is great is the MHDT Labs Orchid which is a tube based. Upgrade the tube to a western electric 396a d-getter jw military tube and you will be blown away. I have both DACs. The Qutest is very detail oriented but not at all harsh. Some say it has a warm quality but I think it has a vivid rich sound. I did have the opportunity to hear a Qutest paired with the Chord MScaler and the experience was mind blowing.
Ended up with the Chord Qutest. Very happy with it. Not much to complain about. With the Warm (orange) filter, it is smooth, throws a large soundstage. No listening fatigue, not analytical and just draws you in. A joy to listen to.
I had the previous gen Bifrost Multibit. It had depth, great imaging and a slightly warm sound. Cable changes were noticeable with this dac.
Then Schiit went and blew that dac out of the water with a new model, the Bifrost 2. Spec wise, everything took a big step forward. Plus it now has true balanced outputs and a remote. Worth a look, anyway. The Mytek is 3x the cost of the Bifrost. Normally one shops for components in the same price bracket, though the OP can do whatever he wants.
Has anyone had a chance to compare the Bifrost 2 to the Gungnir multibit?
They are very close sounding from what I have read. if you are using balanced out (xlr) into your preamp the Gungir sounds slightly better. With rca outs it is close to a draw. Remember the Bifrost 2 is the only one with a remote. probable the best bang for buck Dac on the market now. I picked up a used Yiggy 2 which I love before I knew about the Bifrost 2 coming out. Had a Mimby Dac, and original Bifrost. May have gone with the Bifrost. The differences between the dacs are not as great as some say. Even my Mimby Dac has wonderful tone and pace, soundstage, never harsh.
Check post #1096. Running single ended this guy says get the Bifrost 2. This guy has listened and compared most of the big buck dacs on the market. He must have deep pockets to do this obviously! Me not so much! I think there is a thread there devoted to the Bifrost 2.
I will share my thoughts and how I landed with the Qutest. My decision was based on the comparison I conducted in my own system. I had an opportunity to compare 4 DACs: 1. Mytek Brooklyn DAC+2. Chord Qutest 3. Bryston BDA-3.14 (streamer DAC, used purely as DAC). 4. Bel Canto DAC-3 (my current DAC at time of this comparison). I am running Roon Core on Mac Mini with Qobuz and my library of CD rips in AIFF, with the Wireworld Starlight USB cable. To not indulge too much into details and cliches...I’ll try to make it short...
1st place - the Bryston BDA-3.14 2nd place - the Chord Qutest 3rd place - the Brooklyn DAC+4th place - the Bel Canto DAC-3
The Bryston just lays this amazingly solid foundation, has better separation, slightly more relaxed sound, bigger soundstage.
The Qutest with warm filter is not far behind, trails the Bryston slightly, and I mean slightly, in that lower end solidity and gives up a bit in the stage width. A/B-ing the 2 DACs reveals these nuances, however, super close and the Qutest for the money is amazingly close to the Bryston for less than half the price.
The Mytek is a lot more forward sounding than the above 2 DACs, less depth, less width, not as dimensional in its presentation, appears to be a bit more dynamic but only because it is more forward sounding. it puts you on the stage with the band, instead of in the audience. This results, depending on the quality of recording, in listening fatigue. I ended up turning the volume down more often than I wanted.
The Bel Canto (just sold it) is a very nice DAC, but back when it was designed, it was geared mor towards using the coax, toslink and BNC. The USB input isn’t its strongest feature, and for hi-res streaming it lacked qualities that were strengths of the other DACs, and could not match the resolution of the other converters.Keep in mind, this is what I heard with my ears, in my system with my gear.
Unfortunately I was not able to try Schiit Bifrost 2 and I’m sure it is a great DAC.
As a side note, I am trying out a DH Labs Mirage USB cable now and it took the cutest up a notch in every respect.
Hope this helps someone in their research, but take it for what it is...my ears, my system, etc.