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krelldog

Upgrading from my Yiggy

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To be fair, I haven’t posted in that thread for over a year.  And a lot has changed in my systems in that time.

 

My primary headphone rig is now a Chord Blu-Mk2 feeding DAVE which then feeds both a Chord Étude (to drive my SR1a) and Woo WA234 MkII Mono for all other headphones (though I do use the direct headphone output on DAVE when   I want solid-state output with non-pathologically-power-hungry cans).

 

My office rig is a Chord Hugo M-Scaler feeding a Hugo TT 2.

 

Speaker system is an all Linn Exakt setup driven by the latest Klimax DSM.

 

I use an RME ADI-2 DAC fs with an SPL Phonitor X as a consistent, neutral, reference for review purposes.

 

—-

 

Of all the other stuff I’ve auditioned, DACs in particular, most I’ve not bothered to even comment on unless specifically asked.  And only the TOTL MSB and dCS systems have really performed as well for me as the Chord combo, but since they were only different, not better, there was little incentive to buy into either.

 

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14 hours ago, Torq said:

To be fair, I haven’t posted in that thread for over a year.  And a lot has changed in my systems in that time.

 

My primary headphone rig is now a Chord Blu-Mk2 feeding DAVE which then feeds both a Chord Étude (to drive my SR1a) and Woo WA234 MkII Mono for all other headphones (though I do use the direct headphone output on DAVE when   I want solid-state output with non-pathologically-power-hungry cans).

 

My office rig is a Chord Hugo M-Scaler feeding a Hugo TT 2.

 

Speaker system is an all Linn Exakt setup driven by the latest Klimax DSM.

 

I use an RME ADI-2 DAC fs with an SPL Phonitor X as a consistent, neutral, reference for review purposes.

 

—-

 

Of all the other stuff I’ve auditioned, DACs in particular, most I’ve not bothered to even comment on unless specifically asked.  And only the TOTL MSB and dCS systems have really performed as well for me as the Chord combo, but since they were only different, not better, there was little incentive to buy into either.

 

 

Thanks for the update .

What about Yggdrasil A2?

IIRC, you wrote on SBAF that 

A2 is at least on par or better than Dave or Klimax DSM.

Thanks

 

Matt

 

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Yggdrasil A2 remains one of my favorite DACs for simply enjoying music with.

 

When fed with either the Blu-Mk2 (as an M-Scaler) or Hugo M-Scalers I wound up preferring DAVE.

 

Subsequent firmware updates to the Klimax DSM (when used as a DAC for analog output) and to the Exakt-equipped speakers pushed them ahead also.  Though conventional DACs aren’t useful (don’t work) in an all-Exakt setup anyway.

 

 

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Torq - you use the RME as an accurate reference, but feel that the others you mentioned are more euphonic?

 

is that right?

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8 hours ago, Ralf11 said:

Torq - you use the RME as an accurate reference, but feel that the others you mentioned are more euphonic?

 

is that right?

 

No.

 

I use the RME as a consistent and neutral reference.  Mostly because it’s affordable, relatable, and is both objectively and subjectively a very high performer.  And its relatively low price and small size makes it easy to keep around for long-term consistency.

 

Yggdrasil (and later Yggdrasil A2) used to be my reference DAC for such purposes ... again because it is relatable and relatively affordable (if less so than the RME).  It was taking up more space than I wanted for that purpose.

 

Oh, and I do not consider the Chord DAVE or TT 2 or Klimax DSM to be “euphonic”.  I do consider them better than the RME.

 

—-

 

My primary chain gets used in reviews too ... but the “review rig” is intended to be more relatable than a $25K source in a $100K overall headphone rig.  Especially when I am as likely to review a $100 dongle-DAC as I am a $4,000 flagship headphone.

 

 

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On 9/1/2019 at 12:19 AM, davide256 said:

 

If this is the Op’s system, IMO source solution is the weakest link for digital playback, and the yiggy is going to waste. time to start reading the threads on Audiolinux and Euphony NUC servers. 

 

+1 

@krelldog I emphatically agree with @davide256. I think you would be very well advised to pursue another digital source beyond your macOS/jriver setup.  Digital sources often make bigger differences than DACs.

 

if NUCs, Euphony and AudioLinux are too involved, check out the likes of Lumin and Aurender components (and of course there are many other good ones).

 

you might be amazed what feeding AES to your YggyA2 does 😉

 

Best part is you can make a comfortable and sane A/B comparison and draw your own conclusions.... 

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6 hours ago, jaynyc said:

 

you might be amazed what feeding AES to your YggyA2 does 😉

 

 

The upcoming Unison USB for Yggy is superior to AES.

 

Matt

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5 hours ago, matthias said:

The upcoming Unison USB for Yggy is superior to AES.

 

According to feedback from other forums Yggy with Unison is a perfect combo with the Allo USBridge, now replaced by the USBridge Signature which is supposed to be even better.

 

Matt

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I was lucky enough to be able to borrow a Chord DAVE, which I used directly to headphones. In that case, it was a very significant upgrade over the Yggdrasil. The problem with the DAVE is, once you go through other electronics, you lose a bit of its resolution and magic.  The ideal thing would be to borrow one, as I did, and see if it is a significant upgrade in your system.

 

Other ladder DACs I've tried, such as the Kitsune/Holo Spring and Audio-gd have been a side-grade. They are more euphoric-sounding, which can be highly pleasant. It would be interesting though, to try an Audio-gd HE7 as the maker reckons that the built-in power regeneration is a significant upgrade over the regular R7.

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12 hours ago, edwoodjr said:

I beta tested Unison for 6 months... no it's not.  It's good but not as good as Pi2AES via AES.  

 

What was your USB source in this case?

Thanks

 

Matt

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8 hours ago, Currawong said:

I was lucky enough to be able to borrow a Chord DAVE, which I used directly to headphones. In that case, it was a very significant upgrade over the Yggdrasil. The problem with the DAVE is, once you go through other electronics, you lose a bit of its resolution and magic.  The ideal thing would be to borrow one, as I did, and see if it is a significant upgrade in your system.

 

Other ladder DACs I've tried, such as the Kitsune/Holo Spring and Audio-gd have been a side-grade. They are more euphoric-sounding, which can be highly pleasant. It would be interesting though, to try an Audio-gd HE7 as the maker reckons that the built-in power regeneration is a significant upgrade over the regular R7.

Interesting:  Considering that the Yggdrasil uses integrated circuits for its conversion and the Holo uses a discrete resistor ladder.  Most people who prefer the sound of R2R DACs appear to believe that MSB (discrete resistor ladders) and TotalDAC (discrete resistor ladders) are the top performers.  Of course the quality of the resistors used in a discrete implementation will matter a lot.  Still, most circuit designers I know suggest that on chip resistors are never as good sounding as discrete parts...  I recently had a Bricasti M21 DAC here for awhile (on loan for Sonore's Demo system at RMAF, thank you Bricasti) and was impressed by its sound via its ladder DAC section.  I am pretty sure the Bricasti uses the same 20 bit R2R chips as the Yggdrasil...

 

On the DAVE, it has a very high output capability-likely enough to drive, say, a Purifi amplifier module directly (I have not researched it, but the Purifi needs around 11 volts in put for full output) without an input buffer.  For driving speakers, I wonder when we will hear about an approach like this.


ROON: DSD 256-Sonore opticalModule-Signature Rendu optical--Buffalo PRO or DSC-2--Ncore 400 Stereo-Focus Audio FS888-JL E-112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, DIY AC cables, Iconoclast XLR, Iconoclast speaker, cables, Synergistic Orange & Hi Fi Tuning Supreme Cu Fuses, Dark Matter system clarifiers.    Design/Build Consultant with Sonore

 

                                                       

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19 hours ago, barrows said:

I am pretty sure the Bricasti uses the same 20 bit R2R chips as the Yggdrasil...

 

I have so far not seen any disclosure from Bricasti whether the R2R DAC is chip based or not.

Do you have?

Thanks

 

Matt

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On 10/4/2019 at 1:22 AM, barrows said:

Interesting:  Considering that the Yggdrasil uses integrated circuits for its conversion and the Holo uses a discrete resistor ladder.  Most people who prefer the sound of R2R DACs appear to believe that MSB (discrete resistor ladders) and TotalDAC (discrete resistor ladders) are the top performers.  Of course the quality of the resistors used in a discrete implementation will matter a lot.  Still, most circuit designers I know suggest that on chip resistors are never as good sounding as discrete parts...  I recently had a Bricasti M21 DAC here for awhile (on loan for Sonore's Demo system at RMAF, thank you Bricasti) and was impressed by its sound via its ladder DAC section.  I am pretty sure the Bricasti uses the same 20 bit R2R chips as the Yggdrasil...

 

As far as I can make out the "euphoric" sound of discrete resistor ladder DACs is the result of harmonic distortion. The measurements I've seen suggest that the harmonics are too low to be audible, but I cannot see any other explanation, especially given that the Yggdrasil doesn't have that typical R2R "sound".  

 

The Chord DACs seem, to me, to break the usual issues of deciding whether to go for accuracy or musicality, compromising one thing for another. The DAVE gave me the kind of goosebumps that I feel at a live performance. It is as if, instead of the typical "black background", that the background is filled in with the underlying substance of the music that a typical DAC has lost, and left silent ("black") instead.

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33 minutes ago, Currawong said:

The DAVE gave me the kind of goosebumps that I feel at a live performance. It is as if, instead of the typical "black background", that the background is filled in with the underlying substance of the music that a typical DAC has lost, and left silent ("black") instead.

 

But they all try and tell us that pre and post ringing is suppose to be bad. 🙄


Roon Rock->Auralic Aria G2->Schiit Yggdrasil A2->McIntosh C47->McIntosh MC301 Monos->Wilson Audio Sabrinas

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2 hours ago, Currawong said:

As far as I can make out the "euphoric" sound of discrete resistor ladder DACs is the result of harmonic distortion. The measurements I've seen suggest that the harmonics are too low to be audible, but I cannot see any other explanation, especially given that the Yggdrasil doesn't have that typical R2R "sound".  

 

I think you should probably take a look at measurements of the MSB DACs.  There is no significant distortion to speak of.  So I do not think anyone could suggest that MSB's sound is "euphonic".  You might be right in the case of TotalDAC (I have never seen any measurements for it).

 

Most DSM DACs have artifacts, although it is true that Rob Watts has done a lot to eliminate these in his designs, and ESS, with their newer chips is very close to the same place.  We have all heard about the noise floor modulation, both ESS and Chord have been working to eliminate these artifacts from their designs.  It appears to me that the problems with DSM are quite nefarious: signal correlated noises which are sometimes difficult to measure, i know this what ESS pays attention to in their designs, and I am pretty sure Rob Watts is as well.  But these types of distortions, which are generally not harmonic in nature are considered much more of a problem psychoacoustically than just some harmonic distortion (which we get plenty of from our loudspeakers).  I have yet to see measurements for the Bricasti M21, or the newest version  of the Yggdrasil.  The chips used by the Yggdrasil are rather expensive, relatively, but it might be interesting to see what happens with say, four of them paralleled per channel, which could raise the resolution.  Suffice it to say, I do not believe most current R2R DACs suffer from non-harmonic distortions the way DSM DACs do.  DSM is a cool trick which allows for very low harmonic distortion, but at the expense of producing non-harmonic artifacts which many believe are more disturbing pschoacoustically-ther tis still work to be done here!  Check out how Jussi's new DSM modulators (EC) in the HQPlayer 4 seem to be a big improvement over anything previously used.

 

There are certainly more ways to skin a cat, but to suggest simply that discrete R2R designs are liked because they are euphonic is missing the mark, as evidenced by the lack of any of these distortions in the MSB DACs.  BTW, it does not look to me like Chord is really doing much that is unique in terms of modulator design (the long filters are rather unique, but that is another topic).  Both ESS and dCS are in a very similar place in how they do things, addressing noise floor modulation, and the typical artifacts produced by DSM modulators.  And then it appears, at least to me, that Jussi is at again another level with what the latest version of HQP is capable of (albeit with the need for a full on gaming machine to be able to run it!).

 

  


ROON: DSD 256-Sonore opticalModule-Signature Rendu optical--Buffalo PRO or DSC-2--Ncore 400 Stereo-Focus Audio FS888-JL E-112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, DIY AC cables, Iconoclast XLR, Iconoclast speaker, cables, Synergistic Orange & Hi Fi Tuning Supreme Cu Fuses, Dark Matter system clarifiers.    Design/Build Consultant with Sonore

 

                                                       

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On 10/3/2019 at 7:22 PM, barrows said:

I am pretty sure the Bricasti uses the same 20 bit R2R chips as the Yggdrasil...

Pretty sure it doesn't. The Yggy uses a non audio chip that required a LOT of proprietary software engineering to make it usable for audio. Haven't seen any hint anywhere that Bricasti has bought that technology from Schiit, and I doubt Schiit would sell it in any case. And Schiit touts the Yggy as being the only DAC in the world that has that technology.
I think if Bricasti has some unusual technology like that, they'd at least mention it, in their product blurbs, and they don't.
See below from the Schiit website:

 

Quote

The DACs we're using—AD5791—were billed as "the industry's first true 20-bit DAC" by Analog Devices when they were introduced in 2010. Note the words "first" and "true." This is not 20-bit as defined for audio applications, this is not 24-bit delta-sigma, this is not (nudge, snicker) "32 bit" complete fantasy stuff. These DACs have never been used in an audio product until Yggdrasil. Normally, they are used for medical device imaging and weapons targeting—applications in which accuracy is absolutely paramount.

There's more on the Schiit web site about what's involved. 


Main listening (small home office):

Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS>Kii Control>Audiolense DRC>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: CAPS Pipeline>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)>Schiit Freya>Kii Three . Also an SBT to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup and a RB Pi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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50 minutes ago, firedog said:

 And Schiit touts the Yggy as being the only DAC in the world that has that technology.

 

Schiit is not alone.

The Resolution Audio Cantata 3.0 uses the same chips as Yggdrasil.

 

Matt

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2 hours ago, barrows said:

 

I think you should probably take a look at measurements of the MSB DACs.  There is no significant distortion to speak of.  So I do not think anyone could suggest that MSB's sound is "euphonic".  You might be right in the case of TotalDAC (I have never seen any measurements for it).

 

Most DSM DACs have artifacts, although it is true that Rob Watts has done a lot to eliminate these in his designs, and ESS, with their newer chips is very close to the same place.  We have all heard about the noise floor modulation, both ESS and Chord have been working to eliminate these artifacts from their designs.  It appears to me that the problems with DSM are quite nefarious: signal correlated noises which are sometimes difficult to measure, i know this what ESS pays attention to in their designs, and I am pretty sure Rob Watts is as well.  But these types of distortions, which are generally not harmonic in nature are considered much more of a problem psychoacoustically than just some harmonic distortion (which we get plenty of from our loudspeakers).  I have yet to see measurements for the Bricasti M21, or the newest version  of the Yggdrasil.  The chips used by the Yggdrasil are rather expensive, relatively, but it might be interesting to see what happens with say, four of them paralleled per channel, which could raise the resolution.  Suffice it to say, I do not believe most current R2R DACs suffer from non-harmonic distortions the way DSM DACs do.  DSM is a cool trick which allows for very low harmonic distortion, but at the expense of producing non-harmonic artifacts which many believe are more disturbing pschoacoustically-ther tis still work to be done here!  Check out how Jussi's new DSM modulators (EC) in the HQPlayer 4 seem to be a big improvement over anything previously used.

 

There are certainly more ways to skin a cat, but to suggest simply that discrete R2R designs are liked because they are euphonic is missing the mark, as evidenced by the lack of any of these distortions in the MSB DACs.  BTW, it does not look to me like Chord is really doing much that is unique in terms of modulator design (the long filters are rather unique, but that is another topic).  Both ESS and dCS are in a very similar place in how they do things, addressing noise floor modulation, and the typical artifacts produced by DSM modulators.  And then it appears, at least to me, that Jussi is at again another level with what the latest version of HQP is capable of (albeit with the need for a full on gaming machine to be able to run it!).

 

Barrows,

you find measurements of your mentioned DACs in the DAC section of Audio Science Review.

Best

Matt

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14 minutes ago, matthias said:

 

Barrows,

you find measurements of your mentioned DACs in the DAC section of Audio Science Review.

Best

Matt

They have measurements fo the TotalDAC?  What I would be interested in seeing is measurements of the top of the line TotalDAC, as it uses multiple R2R sections in parallel to increase resolution.  In any case I'll take a look, not the measurements tell the entire story by any means, but I do prefer designs which at least have competent measured performance.


ROON: DSD 256-Sonore opticalModule-Signature Rendu optical--Buffalo PRO or DSC-2--Ncore 400 Stereo-Focus Audio FS888-JL E-112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, DIY AC cables, Iconoclast XLR, Iconoclast speaker, cables, Synergistic Orange & Hi Fi Tuning Supreme Cu Fuses, Dark Matter system clarifiers.    Design/Build Consultant with Sonore

 

                                                       

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1 hour ago, firedog said:

unusual technology

Ha!  unusual?  Anyone can purchase these chips (Google AD5791).  I think you that you (highly) underestimate the capabilities of Bricasti Design and their engineering partner!  Aas mentioned they are used by Resolution Audio in the most recent version of the Cantata as well (it used to use currently unavailable 1704 24 bit chips).

While I respect the capabilities of Stoddard and Moffit, they are hardly the only game in town.


ROON: DSD 256-Sonore opticalModule-Signature Rendu optical--Buffalo PRO or DSC-2--Ncore 400 Stereo-Focus Audio FS888-JL E-112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, DIY AC cables, Iconoclast XLR, Iconoclast speaker, cables, Synergistic Orange & Hi Fi Tuning Supreme Cu Fuses, Dark Matter system clarifiers.    Design/Build Consultant with Sonore

 

                                                       

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15 hours ago, barrows said:

 

I think you should probably take a look at measurements of the MSB DACs.  There is no significant distortion to speak of.  So I do not think anyone could suggest that MSB's sound is "euphonic".  You might be right in the case of TotalDAC (I have never seen any measurements for it).

 

Most DSM DACs have artifacts, although it is true that Rob Watts has done a lot to eliminate these in his designs, and ESS, with their newer chips is very close to the same place.  We have all heard about the noise floor modulation, both ESS and Chord have been working to eliminate these artifacts from their designs.  It appears to me that the problems with DSM are quite nefarious: signal correlated noises which are sometimes difficult to measure, i know this what ESS pays attention to in their designs, and I am pretty sure Rob Watts is as well.  But these types of distortions, which are generally not harmonic in nature are considered much more of a problem psychoacoustically than just some harmonic distortion (which we get plenty of from our loudspeakers).  I have yet to see measurements for the Bricasti M21, or the newest version  of the Yggdrasil.  The chips used by the Yggdrasil are rather expensive, relatively, but it might be interesting to see what happens with say, four of them paralleled per channel, which could raise the resolution.  Suffice it to say, I do not believe most current R2R DACs suffer from non-harmonic distortions the way DSM DACs do.  DSM is a cool trick which allows for very low harmonic distortion, but at the expense of producing non-harmonic artifacts which many believe are more disturbing pschoacoustically-ther tis still work to be done here!  Check out how Jussi's new DSM modulators (EC) in the HQPlayer 4 seem to be a big improvement over anything previously used.

 

There are certainly more ways to skin a cat, but to suggest simply that discrete R2R designs are liked because they are euphonic is missing the mark, as evidenced by the lack of any of these distortions in the MSB DACs.  BTW, it does not look to me like Chord is really doing much that is unique in terms of modulator design (the long filters are rather unique, but that is another topic).  Both ESS and dCS are in a very similar place in how they do things, addressing noise floor modulation, and the typical artifacts produced by DSM modulators.  And then it appears, at least to me, that Jussi is at again another level with what the latest version of HQP is capable of (albeit with the need for a full on gaming machine to be able to run it!).

 

  

 

I haven't tried the high-end MSB DACs yet. I'd like to, but nobody local stocks them. I've had more experience with R2R DACs under the $5k mark, which were all somewhat soft and euphoric in their presentation.

 

Yggdrasil Analog 2 measurements, including comparisons to the original, are here: http://www.just-hifi.com/Schiit-Yggdrasil-V2-upgrade-Technical-Measurements_10487560.html

 

The problem is, as I understand it (from explanations by both Rob Watts and Benchmark) is that the chips output a lot of noise alongside the audio signal, which has to be removed.  I suspect that is where the limitations are when it comes to resolution, and where Rob Watts succeeded by using an FPGA + discrete converter that doesn't have these problems, nor many others that affect conversion. Of course, it is more complex than just programming a filter in an FPGA, as the digital processing is completely unique.

 

14 hours ago, firedog said:

Pretty sure it doesn't. The Yggy uses a non audio chip that required a LOT of proprietary software engineering to make it usable for audio. Haven't seen any hint anywhere that Bricasti has bought that technology from Schiit, and I doubt Schiit would sell it in any case. And Schiit touts the Yggy as being the only DAC in the world that has that technology.
I think if Bricasti has some unusual technology like that, they'd at least mention it, in their product blurbs, and they don't.

 

There's nothing stopping anyone else doing what Mike did and figuring out how to use those chips for audio. I noticed that the actual chips used aren't mentioned. Though sooner or later someone will open one up and take a picture.

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