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Schiit Gungnir vs Schiit Bifrost w/Uber Upgrade


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Hello from a long-time lurker who has finally mustered up the courage to join this incredibly informative and awesome forum! I have been enjoying the musical delights of my Schiit Bifrost DAC since I purchased it in the summer of 2012. I was originally using it on the optical input but after a few weeks switched to using its USB input so that I could get the sonic benefits from my 24/192 material. I soon experienced the well-documented 'screeching' problem, which I rectified by sending my unit in to have its USB board replaced with the updated version. As well as curing the 'screeching', this also added support for 176.4kHz playback, which was a welcome bonus. It has been plain sailing since.

Fast forward 18 months and I am now considering sending my Bifrost away again, this time to have the Uber analogue upgrade board installed, an upgrade that has received tremendous praise on this forum. At a cost of just £70, it would seem silly not to. However I also have one eye on the Gungnir. This is the reason why….

My current setup is as follows:

Audirvana Plus -> Mac Mini w/Snow Leopard -> USB2 -> Schiit Bifrost DAC -> RCA Y-splitter --> Yamaha A-S2000 (amplifier) and Schiit Valhalla (headphones amplifier) -> Tannoy Monitor Gold 15" (loudspeakers) and Sennheiser HD600 (headphones).

As shown above, I am currently splitting the Bifrost's single pair of unbalanced outputs into my Yamaha A-S2000 and Schiit Valhalla. The Gungnir has two pairs of unbalanced outputs, which means I could do away with my Y-splitter. The Gungnir also has a pair of balanced outputs, meaning I could take advantage of the balanced inputs on my Yamaha A-S2000. What I'm not certain of however is whether the Gungnir allows you to have both the unbalanced and balanced outputs active at the same time?? If not then this would be a deal-breaker for me. Plus, I have also read about a potential incompatibility between the balanced output of the Gungnir and balanced input of the A-S2000. Apparently the Gungnir outputs 4Vrms while the Yamaha is only rated to accept 2.8Vrms?? If this is true then it is a major faux pas by Yamaha!

Another important consideration is cost. Upgrading my Bifrost with the Uber board will cost me just 70 GBP, compared to the 850 GBP the Gungnir will set me back(!!). So as well as offering the increased functionality of twin unbalanced outputs and a set of balanced outputs, I need the Gungnir to offer superior sonic performance over the Uber-modded Bifrost in order to justify the extra outlay. I'd therefore be grateful to hear from those of you who have had the opportunity to directly compare the Gungnir with the Bifrost w/Uber upgrade. Is the Gungnir still sonically superior?

Thanks in advance (and apologies for such a long first post!).

Loudspeaker system: 2010 Mac Mini 2.66GHz C2D -> 10.11.6 -> A+ 2.6.8 -> Schiit Yggdrasil (USB.v5 & Analog.v2) -> Yamaha A-S3000 -> Tannoy Edinburgh Monitor Gold 12 & BK XXLS400

Headphone system: 2010 Mac Mini 2.66GHz C2D -> 10.11.6 -> A+ 2.6.8 -> Schiit Yggdrasil (USB.v5 & Analog.v2) -> Schiit Mjolnir 2 / Schiit Jotunheim -> Sennheiser HD800S / HD600

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I would point you to the Head-Fi forums for both your questions. The Gungnir vs. Bifrost w/ Uber question has had specific discussion there. Also, Jason Stoddard frequently comments there (though maybe not right now due to CES).

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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Will do, thanks.

Loudspeaker system: 2010 Mac Mini 2.66GHz C2D -> 10.11.6 -> A+ 2.6.8 -> Schiit Yggdrasil (USB.v5 & Analog.v2) -> Yamaha A-S3000 -> Tannoy Edinburgh Monitor Gold 12 & BK XXLS400

Headphone system: 2010 Mac Mini 2.66GHz C2D -> 10.11.6 -> A+ 2.6.8 -> Schiit Yggdrasil (USB.v5 & Analog.v2) -> Schiit Mjolnir 2 / Schiit Jotunheim -> Sennheiser HD800S / HD600

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Hmm, for what it is worth. I have a newly acquired USB Bifrost with the Uber upgrade that is still burning in (at this time I cannot tell you for certain there actually is an improvement after burn in - I have not noticed any going from 0 to 25 hours). I bought this based on the "hype", but so far I have not been that impressed. Sounds like a $500 DAC to me :)

Merging NADAC / Theta Compli --> Spectral DMC-20 --> Spectral DMA-250 --> Avalon Ascendant (with tweeter upgrades)

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Hmm, for what it is worth. I have a newly acquired USB Bifrost with the Uber upgrade that is still burning in (at this time I cannot tell you for certain there actually is an improvement after burn in - I have not noticed any going from 0 to 25 hours). I bought this based on the "hype", but so far I have not been that impressed. Sounds like a $500 DAC to me :)

 

Be patient. :) My non-uber'ed Bifrost sounded horrendous out of the box (very one dimensional with congested bass, deeply recessed mids, and brittle crunching highs). I noticed the most improvement going from 50hrs to 100hrs, but it continued to smooth out and open up until I had reached 200-300hrs .

Loudspeaker system: 2010 Mac Mini 2.66GHz C2D -> 10.11.6 -> A+ 2.6.8 -> Schiit Yggdrasil (USB.v5 & Analog.v2) -> Yamaha A-S3000 -> Tannoy Edinburgh Monitor Gold 12 & BK XXLS400

Headphone system: 2010 Mac Mini 2.66GHz C2D -> 10.11.6 -> A+ 2.6.8 -> Schiit Yggdrasil (USB.v5 & Analog.v2) -> Schiit Mjolnir 2 / Schiit Jotunheim -> Sennheiser HD800S / HD600

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300 hours will be tough to reach in 15 days (Shiit's return window), must keep it on 24/7 I guess. :)

 

Yes that's exactly what I did. I also chose only to listen to it at the following intervals (0hrs/10hrs/25hrs/50hrs/100hrs/150hrs/200hrs/300hrs) to make it easier to identify sonic changes.

Loudspeaker system: 2010 Mac Mini 2.66GHz C2D -> 10.11.6 -> A+ 2.6.8 -> Schiit Yggdrasil (USB.v5 & Analog.v2) -> Yamaha A-S3000 -> Tannoy Edinburgh Monitor Gold 12 & BK XXLS400

Headphone system: 2010 Mac Mini 2.66GHz C2D -> 10.11.6 -> A+ 2.6.8 -> Schiit Yggdrasil (USB.v5 & Analog.v2) -> Schiit Mjolnir 2 / Schiit Jotunheim -> Sennheiser HD800S / HD600

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