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Improving Schiit Eitr Sound Quality (2018)


exdmd
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A Guide on how to get the most from your Schiit Eitr

 

I recently began a quest to determine if it was possible to improve sound from the Schiit Eitr. There are three variables I knew to explore:

  • USB Cable from source to the Eitr
  • S/PDIF Cable from the Eitr to the DAC
  • Power Supply (not necessary: LPS already used by Schiit)

Where I am coming from: I listen using HD800S phones powered by a Kenzie tube amp and Brooklyn DAC+. I avoid powered USB hubs and connect the Eitr directly from a USB 2.0 port on my Win 7 Pro laptop.

 

USB Cables Do Make A Difference

 

My first experiment involved comparing the popular Blue Jeans USB 2 cable to the AudioQuest Diamond USB Cable, Type A to Type B, 0.75m.

 

AudioQuest Diamond USB Cable Review

 

Source was Tidal HiFi using non MQA tracks I was very familiar with. After listening using the Blue Jeans cable I swapped in the AudioQuest Diamond. The most immediate difference was in musicality: tracks were more enjoyable to listen to. Consider swapping a basic turntable for an LP-12 and the music becomes more "tuneful" as Linn used to say.

 

To be more specific sound stage became wider, deeper and taller using the Diamond cable. There was more air around instruments and voices. Treble was silky smooth and I noticed more impact in bass. I heard more detail and it was easier to listen deep into the tracks.

 

Advice: if you have a very revealing system and can get an AudioQuest Diamond on trial from a dealer try it for yourself. Bits are not always just bits and USB cables do make a difference. I have an interesting high-end S/PDIF cable on the way and will update once I have a listen.

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From my experience, cable upgrades make a significant difference to the Eitr.  When I first got mine,  I bought into the ‘basic cables are perfect’ philosophy - using Schiit and Belkin. It wasn’t bad, and I didn’t realize anything was missing.   After a month or two,  I was offered the chance to try some AQ Carbons.  The immediate SQ improvement was startling, to say the least.  Within 15 mins I knew I would be selling my basic USB and Coax and getting something better.  

 

I have no experience of power supply changes to Eitr but understood the standard piece is all you need.  I’ve heard that before ?

 

Tidal / Qobuz--> Roon--> Fios Gigabit--> Netgear Prosafe GS105 --> Supra 8-->EtherRegen --> Fiber--> opticalRendu / CI Audio LPS --> Curious Evolved Link --> Chord Qutest--> AQ Water --> Belles Aria Integrated--> AQ Robin Hood--> Kudos Super 20's

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Is there any reason an Eitr would occasionally cause regular clicks or pops when placed between a Mac Mini 2014 running A+ and a Rega DAC-R?

 

This isn’t frequent and always resolved by closing and restarting A+, but it didn’t happen prior to Eitr. 

 

Occurs with high-res files, Redbook, and Tidal HiFi, all of them. 

 

My digital front end SQ clearly improved overall since the Eitr, I should add,  if for no other reason than the coax input on the Rega DAC is superior. 

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8 hours ago, AmosM said:

Is there any reason an Eitr would occasionally cause regular clicks or pops when placed between a Mac Mini 2014 running A+ and a Rega DAC-R?

 

This isn’t frequent and always resolved by closing and restarting A+, but it didn’t happen prior to Eitr. 

 

Occurs with high-res files, Redbook, and Tidal HiFi, all of them. 

 

My digital front end SQ clearly improved overall since the Eitr, I should add,  if for no other reason than the coax input on the Rega DAC is superior. 

 

When I first got my Eitr I was running A+ through my 2012 MBP.  The sound was great, but I had the annoying, random clicks you are getting.  I increased the buffer in preferences and the noises went away, just like that.  My Mac has 8 gig of memory..

Tidal / Qobuz--> Roon--> Fios Gigabit--> Netgear Prosafe GS105 --> Supra 8-->EtherRegen --> Fiber--> opticalRendu / CI Audio LPS --> Curious Evolved Link --> Chord Qutest--> AQ Water --> Belles Aria Integrated--> AQ Robin Hood--> Kudos Super 20's

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5 hours ago, exdmd said:

On a lark I decided to try an expensive digital interconnect cable between my Eitr and Brooklyn DAC+. I had been using the 75 ohm Blue Jean Cables S/PDIF interconnect with great results.  I bought a Mad Scientist  Flexible Carbon/Graphene Digital cable expecting an improvement but no luck. The FCG cable was veiled and two dimensional. Not recommended.

 

Can't edit the original post turns out the Mad Scientist is directional and like an idiot I missed it and installed bassackwards. Sorry about that. The Mad Scientist is a fine cable needs to burn in for a week to form a final impression but at first listen it is an improvement over the BJC.

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4 hours ago, exdmd said:

 

Can't edit the original post turns out the Mad Scientist is directional and like an idiot I missed it and installed bassackwards. Sorry about that. The Mad Scientist is a fine cable needs to burn in for a week to form a final impression but at first listen it is an improvement over the BJC.

 

A thought that may be helpful:

 

I believe directionality in cables is caused by slight imbalances in the cable's construction that cause noise to more likely propagate in one direction than the other. It probably means one component is more susceptible to noise floor modulation due to noise injected into the ground plane by the cable (i.e. the ground reference voltage fluctuates with noise) and by reversing the cable, you are biasing the noise towards the other component.

 

Thus one thing to try might be to attach some appropriate frequency ferrite cores towards the end of the cable with the susceptible component.  In this setup, my guess would be towards the DAC end as that is where there is analog circuitry. (Hard to see how the digital end would be susceptible.)

 

Alas, without knowing how the DAC is engineered, it is hard to guess what frequencies it is more susceptible to -- and in any case, it also depends on what noise is more prevalent in your environment. I have a collection to try and experimentally determine if any are useful and then buy more of the one (or two to block a wider range of frequencies or to block more of the same range) that works best. Ferrite cores with data sheets (i.e. not from Amazon, but from an electronics distributor) are pretty inexpensive -- under $10 each.

 

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On 12/21/2017 at 4:03 PM, OldBigEars said:

From my experience, cable upgrades make a significant difference to the Eitr.  When I first got mine,  I bought into the ‘basic cables are perfect’ philosophy - using Schiit and Belkin. It wasn’t bad, and I didn’t realize anything was missing.   After a month or two,  I was offered the chance to try some AQ Carbons.  The immediate SQ improvement was startling, to say the least.  Within 15 mins I knew I would be selling my basic USB and Coax and getting something better.  

 

I have no experience of power supply changes to Eitr but understood the standard piece is all you need.  I’ve heard that before ?

 

 

No power supply upgrade needed according to Puma Cat:

 

Quote

Schiit pulled out all the stops on Eitr, including separate linear power supplies for both the USB and S/PDIF circuits, and having the S/PDIF circuit with it's own, separate isolation from the USB circuit (also including the use of transformers instead of optocouplers).

 

That leaves the USB and S/PDIF cable options. Some forums refuse to believe cables can make a difference with the Eitr. Some people also still continue to believe the earth is flat:)

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I also bought a $50 River Cable Digiflex Gold Plus Digital cable to compare to the Blue Jeans and Mad Scientist S/PDIF cables.

 

I have done enough listening to feel confident that any improvement to the sound quality from Eitr comes from use of a better (read more expensive) USB cable from the computer to the Eitr. Coming from the S/PDIF out of my Eitr the best sounding cables in order are:

  1. Blue Jeans S/PDIF
  2. River Cable
  3. Mad Scientist FCG

Recommendation: if you have a highly resolving system you can easily hear better sound using a more expensive USB cable to the Eitr. Going from your Eitr to DAC all you need is a $20 75 ohm Blue Jeans Cable S/PDIF cable.

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Despite the claimed use of transformers to isolate the signals in the EITR, noise is getting through, most likely normal mode noise on the USB differential signals, plus of course common mode noise through the AC power network.

 

When changing USB cables and a difference in sound is heard means the cable's characteristics are filtering 'something'. From the posts so far in this thread, the cabling from the PC to the EITR are just cables. To find the right cable that cleans up the signal may be great for one day, then the next day go down the tubes, when noise conditions change. That's the way it is.  

 

From recent experiments on reducing common mode noise and imaging, the two are inversely proportional to each other. If there is more noise, the stage height and depth reduces, less noise and the imaging and resolution improves. The most effective bang for buck is a Topaz/Elgar/Xantech isolation transformer and a plain power strip for everything to plug into.

 

Improving the signal integrity helps as well, so either the ifi MicroUSB3.0, Wyred4Sound RUR, Uptone Regen would work. Using a different USB cable can fine tune the sound to your liking, at least the sound will be consistently good or bad depending on the cable and not change from day to day.

 

 

AS Profile Equipment List        Say NO to MQA

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6 hours ago, exdmd said:

Going from your Eitr to DAC all you need is a $20 75 ohm Blue Jeans Cable S/PDIF cable.

 

I beg to differ, sir.  I lived with a $20 75 ohm Blue Jeans S/PDIF cable to connect my Eitr to my DAC for a month or two.  When I replaced said cable with an AQ Carbon, and ultimately a Coffee, I found the improvement in sonics to be most pleasing.  I recommend you try again. 

Tidal / Qobuz--> Roon--> Fios Gigabit--> Netgear Prosafe GS105 --> Supra 8-->EtherRegen --> Fiber--> opticalRendu / CI Audio LPS --> Curious Evolved Link --> Chord Qutest--> AQ Water --> Belles Aria Integrated--> AQ Robin Hood--> Kudos Super 20's

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4 hours ago, One and a half said:

Despite the claimed use of transformers to isolate the signals in the EITR, noise is getting through, most likely normal mode noise on the USB differential signals, plus of course common mode noise through the AC power network.

 

When changing USB cables and a difference in sound is heard means the cable's characteristics are filtering 'something'. From the posts so far in this thread, the cabling from the PC to the EITR are just cables. To find the right cable that cleans up the signal may be great for one day, then the next day go down the tubes, when noise conditions change. That's the way it is.  

 

From recent experiments on reducing common mode noise and imaging, the two are inversely proportional to each other. If there is more noise, the stage height and depth reduces, less noise and the imaging and resolution improves. The most effective bang for buck is a Topaz/Elgar/Xantech isolation transformer and a plain power strip for everything to plug into.

 

Improving the signal integrity helps as well, so either the ifi MicroUSB3.0, Wyred4Sound RUR, Uptone Regen would work. Using a different USB cable can fine tune the sound to your liking, at least the sound will be consistently good or bad depending on the cable and not change from day to day.

 

 

 

If I had to daisy chain a MicroUSB3.0 before the Eitr I would seriously think about giving up on USB audio and switching to AoIP using RedNet.

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On 12/27/2017 at 10:11 PM, PorkChop said:

If someone has the Uptone USPCB A>B Adapter, please try it with Eitr and let us know.  I got a sound improvement just going to a 4" cable so one of those solid adapters may the ticket. 

I wouldn't use anything else, tried both with Gustard U12 and  Eitr. Its all in the "details" you don't get passed through with wired cables.

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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On 28-12-2017 at 4:11 AM, PorkChop said:

If someone has the Uptone USPCB A>B Adapter, please try it with Eitr and let us know.  I got a sound improvement just going to a 4" cable so one of those solid adapters may the ticket. 

There’s already an Eitr topic on this forum, started and well managed by @Charente.  All these things are being discussed there. Everybody is free to start a new topic, all good, but I don’t see the point in this one.

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  • 6 months later...
On 12/27/2017 at 6:23 AM, OldBigEars said:

 

When I first got my Eitr I was running A+ through my 2012 MBP.  The sound was great, but I had the annoying, random clicks you are getting.  I increased the buffer in preferences and the noises went away, just like that.  My Mac has 8 gig of memory..

 

I never formally said thanks for this solution. It worked. Pops averted! Now I have a Yggy on the way (eventually), and I guess my Rega-EITR combo will find a new place in my home or someone else’s.

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54 minutes ago, AmosM said:

 

I never formally said thanks for this solution. It worked. Pops averted! Now I have a Yggy on the way (eventually), and I guess my Rega-EITR combo will find a new place in my home or someone else’s.

 

Excellent - you're welcome. Congrats on the new Yggy.  Interested to hear your findings and comparison with the Rega/Eitr once it has burnt in.

Tidal / Qobuz--> Roon--> Fios Gigabit--> Netgear Prosafe GS105 --> Supra 8-->EtherRegen --> Fiber--> opticalRendu / CI Audio LPS --> Curious Evolved Link --> Chord Qutest--> AQ Water --> Belles Aria Integrated--> AQ Robin Hood--> Kudos Super 20's

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A bit late to the party but nonetheless:

 

My setup is:

SOtM SMS-200 (powered by UpTone LPS-1.2) > USPCB (90 deg) > ISO Regen (with UpTone LPS-1.2) > USPCB (Straight) > Schiit Eitr > Belden 4794R Digital Coaxial Cable > Denafrips Pontus

 

1. Doing away with USB cables and replacing them with USPCB adaptors gave a nice boost in clarity.  My generic USB cable sounds mushy in comparison.

 

2. I feel that using an ISO Regen before the Eitr is a necessity, giving even more body to the music, with more precise imaging because everything is now in sharper focus compared to not using a Regen at all.

 

3. I had previously tried an old Audioquest digital coaxial cable I had lying around and compared it to a cheaper (and newer) Belden 1694 coaxial cable.  I felt that the Audioquest was more laid back and gave a slightly better sense of space to the performers and musicians, but preferred the immediacy, bass and snappier presentation of the 1694.  I recently purchased some Belden 4794R cable which is still burning in.  Early impressions are that it is somewhere in between the Audioquest and 1694, but with better body and a slightly darker sound.

 

 

 

 

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