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Ayre Codex and Schiit multi-bit


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I might decide to splurge on a pair of Focal Elear headphones and a headphone DAC.

 

For the DAC, I was leaning toward the Ayre Codex. But then I started thinking about Schiit and multi-bit technology. For about the same price as the Codex, I could get a Gumby Multi-bit and one of their headphone amps.

 

Has anyone tried the all-Schiit headphone setup? Or compared the combination to the Ayre?

 

Thank you

Scott

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I've tried all of their amps except the Lyr 2 and Magni. My favorite is the Mjolnir 2 with high end NOS tubes. I found a source on eBay for Reflektor 1975 silver shields which produce a dimensional, euphonic and warm sound and definitely worth the $100 per tube. I have a pair of Amperex Holland Bugle Boys which I haven't tried yet.

 

The Ragnarok I sold after a few months because I got tired of its upper mid hash/glare due to its current starvation and/or wired bias control problems.

 

I haven't tried any of their DACs though as I'm uninterested in non-DSD DACs. From my frequent exposure to their reviews and impressions on the internet, the Gunjir Multibit is less resolving and technically able than the Yggdrasil but also warmer and more euphonic.

 

 

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I have only heard the Schiit multibits at head-fi meets, and they very good, but I like the Codex better as you could guess from my signature. Using it as an amp works extremely well and it is very clean. Unless your headphones are just obscenely hard to drive (like HE-6 hard) then it would take a very expensive amp to better it. One thing to note though, plan on using the Codex in balanced mode for its best results, SE is not nearly as good with it.

Roon ->allo Sparky-USBridge w/ SBooster 5V LPS-> Kii Control -> Kii Three

Roon->BMC UltraDAC->Mr Speakers Aeon Flow Open

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I've heard both many times. schiit makes great stuff but the Codex to me is in my top 5 Best Buy audio products. It comfortably competes with DACs under 5k. I have a lot of equipment pass through my system and I personally use the Ayre QX5 as my digital control center if you would. That's the top headphone amp/DAC I've had in the system. It competes comfortably with the Rossini IMHO. Ayre designed the Codex to be much more expensive. It's often what you don't see or don't talk about that makes the difference. The clock they use is better than the clock used in some of the 15k DACs I've auditioned. They buy in larger quantities than many others are able to do. We are the ones who benefit from that. I know of three board members who purchased the Codex last week after auditioning DACs under 3k and including both Mytek DACs (I know the Manhattan is around 5k). Just go listen if you are able to. Trust your ears and don't listen to my hype or anyone else's. It's you who has to love what you put together not us.

 

 

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Thanks everyone.

 

CA has been super keen on Schiit digital products so I am a bit surprised that everyone is raving about Codex. It must sound phenomenal.

 

As for balanced operation, is that just a matter of changing the cables?

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Thanks everyone.

 

CA has been super keen on Schiit digital products so I am a bit surprised that everyone is raving about Codex. It must sound phenomenal.

 

As for balanced operation, is that just a matter of changing the cables?

 

Use balanced cables to a balanced input. The red light to the left of "balanced" on the Codex will light when it is operating in balanced mode.

 

 

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There seems to be a split on Codex versus Yggdrasil. Torq on headfi likes the Yggy better. CTSooner did you listen to the Yggy with balanced output and AES input? Supposedly those are the best.

 

The Yggy + even a modest Schiit headphone amp is about $1,000 more than the Codex...well outside my budget.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Guys I've heard both DACs. For ME and my ears the Codex is more musical and has better detail and a larger presentation. That's in my main system that's highly resolving etc. I've never heard the Codex sound bad. That takes nothing away from the Yggdrasil which is also a nice player. I just love the Codex as do many others I'm friends with. Many are using it in systems costing well over 50k

 

 

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I just went and read the review in Stereophile of the Yggy. I would totally agree with all he said. He went head up against the Brooklyn, that everyone raves about. I have heard the Brooklyn and don't like it personally. It's edgy to me and although highly revealing, it's not as musical as I want in a DAC. He stuffs a lot of STUFF into his DAC's, but they just aren't my cup of tea. I need highly detailed sound that's still highly musical that let's me listen for hours on end and not think of the gear.

 

Codex gives me that. It's the only digital converter near it's price range that does. The Yggy was fun and musical. Again, the nice word came to mind. It's a seriously built unit, but to me lacks the sophistication of the Codex. For most, even with very high end systems, the Codex can easily be a long term solution to having a resolving and musical DAC.

 

I get nothing out of it other than sharing my thoughts as I've heard it so often. As for the Yggy, I only listened through balanced outputs as I'm running an Ayre AX5/20. The input was USB input, not AES. In this price range you won't find many servers that use a true balanced AES output into the Yggy. It's a very expensive output to implement, but I too like it when it's executed properly. That said, we are still talking incremental differences.

 

The server I use is possibly the best built Mac Mini you can find. It's the actually unit that Steve Nugent who makes Empirical Audio DAC's and upgrades used during his shows. He completely rebuilt the Mac and it uses a Paul Hynes LPS. That thing is a beast and filled with a ton of silver, lol. The point it that the Mac only runs a couple of things that are all audio related. It isn't even hooked up to wifi or bluetooth right now. Both are completely shut down. He rebuilt the USB output board that I use exclusively for the output so even that's not stock. I have it all set on an incredible anti vibration platform too. Steve gave me the solid silver power connection cord between the LPS and the unit and I also am using a Basis power cord on said power supply.

 

As most know, the system I was using at the time consisted of Vandersteen Treo's (the Quatro's are being built as I type), Ayre AX5/20 integrated amp, Ayre QX5/20 DAC connected with AQ Diamond USB into the Mac Mini. I run balanced throughout and use AQ Niagara between the QX5 (and the Codex/Yggy) into the AX5. I also have an Aesthetix Rhea phono and Basis Audio 1400 TT with Benz Glider cart and upgraded Basis 300 arm all sitting on a Ginkgo custom built platform using AQ Water balanced interconnects into the AX5/20.

 

All the music is of very good recording (remember it was all his show music) and most is of high resolution FLAC using Amara over iTunes.

 

 

It's all set up properly in a well put together room that allows me to hear what's really going on with the system and music. Not the best system by far, but far from the worst.

 

I guess my last point is that even if I was able to run AES/EBU out of the Mac mini, the sound quality may or may not be as good as the USB I'm running. I've had the Aurender W20 and N10 in the system for a spell too and I noticed the difference in the W20's AES/EBU and I'm also setting up an optically isolated wifi network that I will be running the Mac Mini on with Roon, all feeding into my QX5/20 via the galvanically isolated wifi connection as I've heard that vs the USB and feel it was better in the system I heard it in.

 

Each system and each house can sound different with each input. In regards to digital, a manufacturer can say this input or that one is our best sounding, but there are also so many other variables in digital, that's it's often hard to say it's a steadfast rule, so always keep that in mind when figuring out which input you want to use. Try and get cables for all that you can support and try them out. JMHO

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There seems to be a split on Codex versus Yggdrasil. Torq on headfi likes the Yggy better. CTSooner did you listen to the Yggy with balanced output and AES input? Supposedly those are the best.

 

I own both. The Yiggy is awesome on PCM since that's all it does, I use it balanced. The Codex in another room handles some head phones balanced and its not bad on either PCM or DSD. I find the Codex very musical, not harsh not over the top, but right in the middle. But like in anything it all depends on what the device is connected to. My Codex is connected to my Pass Labs Int-60. The Yiggie is balanced out into my W4S STP-SE and that goes to my SP331MK via RCA.

The Truth Is Out There

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