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Schiit Audio


Jason36

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I have just been looking at the Schiit Audio Bitfrost DAC and either the Asgard or Valhalla headphone amp.

 

Does anybody on here have any experience of these products or Schiit Audio generally.

 

what do people think of Schiit Audio.....these will predominantly be used in a laptop setup via headphones (Denon AH-D2000)

 

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Hey there,

 

I've had the Schiit Bifrost for a few weeks and it's quite amazing for the price. I'm enjoying it much more than my previous Wyred4Sound DAC-2 (both via USB) and there's a huge price difference between them. I sold my Wyred4Sound DAC-2 long before I got the Bifrost, so this is just going from memory. Sounds very detailed like the W4S DAC-2, but doesn't have the same slightly cold top-end and it's has more balance to the sound. The Bifrost is a huge bargain and sounds great through any of the inputs. I prefer using the USB to a Mac Mini, but my Mac Mini is my best source so of course it sounds the best. I tried SPDIF out of my PC with Xonar soundcard (it was pretty good), but it's not even close to my Mac Mini setup.

 

I also used the Bifrost via PS3 -> HDMI De-Embedder -> SPDIF -> Bifrost and it sounds very nice. Awesome for 2-channel gaming and movies. Also tried the toslink from the PS3 and it's very good as well, but the SPDIF sounds better to my ears.

 

I highly recommend the Bifrost DAC. Customer service and the build quality are great. I haven't used any of the other Schiit gear, as I'm not that much into headphone gear - but I am looking forward to their new products.

 

Will also be directly comparing it to my dB Tranquility SE DAC in the future, just for fun. I bought the Schiit Bifrost since my Tranquility is only USB and I wanted another high quality DAC for gaming and movies.

 

Hope that helps.

 

PI Audio ÜberBUSS > Synology DS1813+ > TP-Link MC220L > Sonore opticalRendu > Holo Audio Spring DAC L3 > Goldpoint SA1X > Hegel H20 > Salk SoundScape 10's > GIK / PI Audio Group Room Treatments > :)

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My DAC is Schiit...

 

 

 

Cheers,

 

Bill

 

 

Mac Mini 2011, 60 gb SSD, 8gb ram; PureMusic & BitPerfect; Wavelength Audio Cosecant V3 DAC; Wireworld Silver Starlight usb interconnect; McIntosh C2200 preamp; pair of McIntosh MC252 SS amps run as monoblocks; vintage MC240 Tube amp and 50th Anniversary MC275 tube amps; Krell LAT-2\'s on Sound Anchors; JL Audio F112 subwoofer; Nirvana SX ltd interconnects and speaker cables and power cords; PS Audio P5

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I am confused about the mini and s/pdif. I am currently outputting out of my mini via usb to my NuForce uDAC. I would like to upgrade the DAC. Schiit Bifrost appears to be a promising upgrade. I know I can use the usb, but I am not familiar with the s/pdif format. Can the mini output s/pdif? How does this work?

Thanks!

IR.

 

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Your Mini has a digital Toslink output (same output as the regular audio out), which is one of the types of S/PDIF interfaces. You would connect it to the Bifrost's Toslink input with a mini-Toslink to Toslink cable, which are widely available.

 

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 -> Apollon Audio 1ET400A Mini (Purifi based) -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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The Mac Mini does not have a native SPDIF (coaxial) output. It only has a Mini Toslink output (limited to 24/96). If you wanted/needed to have a SPDIF out from a Mac Mini, you would have to buy a USB -> SPDIF converter (example Stello U3).

 

Options for getting sound out of a Mac Mini:

 

- Mini Toslink to Toslink cable (limited to 24/96)

- USB (either native to a DAC or through a USB -> SPDIF converter)

- HDMI (You could use HDMI out into a receiver or something similiar. Or to an HDMI De-Embedder. Probably has the highest jitter.)

 

The Bifrost USB connection sounds wonderful with my Mac Mini and I would recommend that setup. It's also plug-and-play.

 

PI Audio ÜberBUSS > Synology DS1813+ > TP-Link MC220L > Sonore opticalRendu > Holo Audio Spring DAC L3 > Goldpoint SA1X > Hegel H20 > Salk SoundScape 10's > GIK / PI Audio Group Room Treatments > :)

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I own the Bifrost and have heard the Lyr, Schiit's top-of-the-line amp.

 

The Lyr sounded very, very nice for the half hour or so I listened to it.

 

Love the Bifrost. It's not at all out of place in a system where some of the interconnects were more than half the Bifrost's price. Got it with the USB option (Bifrost is $350 without USB, $450 with). In my particular system I prefer the USB to the Toslink connection from my MacBook Pro.

 

There's extensive discussion of the Bifrost and the Schiit amps at head-fi.org.

 

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 -> Apollon Audio 1ET400A Mini (Purifi based) -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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The Mac Mini does not have a native SPDIF (coaxial) output.

 

The Toslink connection does use the S/PDIF format.

 

Regarding sound quality, whether a Toslink or coaxial connection would sound better depends on your system. With a Mini, as Highfilter says, you'd need another box (a USB-to-S/PDIF converter) to use the Bifrost's coax input. It would be extra expense and might not sound as good as USB or Toslink direct to the Bifrost. (That was my experience testing the Musical Fidelity V-Link; either USB or Toslink direct to the Bifrost sounded much better.)

 

Also, as Highfilter says, Toslink output from the Mini is limited to 96kHz resolution. This won't matter if you intend to listen to ripped CDs, but will if you want to download and listen to high-resolution files. One important note about the Bifrost's USB input: It will handle all the common music file resolutions up to 192kHz except 176.4 kHz. The optical (Toslink) and coax inputs on the Bifrost will handle all common resolutions up to 192kHz without any exceptions.

 

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 -> Apollon Audio 1ET400A Mini (Purifi based) -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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My Schiit Bifrost is due to be delivered tomorrow and I am ready to do some experimentation with various combinations of:

 

- my MF V-DAC (with or without the V-LINK) and the Bifrost;

- different resolutions of music from 44.1/16 to 192/24;

- different cables (some I have purchased and some borrowed from a high-end B&M);

- different connections (USB, optical TOSLINK, S/PDIF);

- wireless (via a couple of Airport Expresses) versus wired (ethernet and power line); and

- different audio systems (for casual listening - bedroom, HT, living room - and my home office set up for critical listening).

 

I've got about forty days before I have to physically go back to the office (unfortunately I still have to do work but I have no face-to-face meetings until mid-Jan) and I plan to set up a bunch of comparisons and make up my own mind about what is going on. I'll keep notes and if I find out anything that might be interesting or useful to others, I'll check back at the end. And 8^) I'm going to listen to a whole LOT of music.

 

Have a Happy and a Merry. See ya in forty days...

Mike

 

P.S. Dealing with Schiit was great. Jason was particularly helpful and responses to my customer service inquiries (hey, I only made two 8^) were prompt, courteous and effective.

 

 

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Did many of the same things you're about to. Had lots of fun! I'm sure you'll do the same. :-)

 

- Re different resolutions, remember the USB input won't take 176.4 sample rate, but will take 192. The other inputs will take all common sample rates. I mention this because the software player I use (Audirvana Plus) and others will automatically down-res or up-res, so you might be listening to resampled material without realizing why the sound has changed.

 

- Cables: I use the Audioquest Carbon USB, after trying it and 3 other cables: the AQ Forest, the Wireworld Starlight, and the Furutech GT2. I think the AQ Forest for $25-$35 for about a 2-foot length, is an excellent value - I preferred it to all others I tried except the Carbon. In my system I preferred USB to optical Toslink (cheap plastic cable). Will be interested to know what you like in your system.

 

- Airport Express: Nice for convenience and casual listening, but not the best sound quality. Limited to 48kHz max sampling rate.

 

- Dealing with Schiit: They give new meaning to "prompt." My emails were answered inside of an hour. One response was sent out at 1:30 am California time!

 

- One other interesting thing: The latest tweak over at head-fi.org is replacing the stock BiFrost fuse with an audiophile fuse. I ordered one yesterday, should have it soon, and will let folks know whether it makes any appreciable difference to the sound.

 

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 -> Apollon Audio 1ET400A Mini (Purifi based) -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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I currently have two Bifrosts (work and home) and two Lyrs (work and home). I owned the Asgard for about 6 months. The build quality, components, and bang for the buck is very good with Schiit gear.

 

As mentioned, Bifrost performs very well. I'm actually feeding mine coaxial via an Audiophilleo2, and am amazed by the performance of this relatively inexpensive DAC. The default spdif and USB receivers performed pretty well, but the Audiophilleo is on another level. By feeding Bifrost a very low jitter, pristine digital stream, it really sings.

 

Btw Jud - thanks for your recommendations re: the Carbon. I'm using two of them, along with a Vaunix usb power hub to with Audiophilleo2, and couldn't be happier with the sound.

 

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I've had an Asgard for a while now, and have been extremely happy with it. Great performance and build quality for the money. Also have found Schiit customer service (via Jason) to be terrific.

 

@MisterRogers: what differences did you hear when moving from the Asgard to the Lyr? What phones are you using the amps with?

 

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I mainly used Denon D2000's, K702's and HD600s. It drove them all fairly well - the HD600's the best (to my ears). With Lyr, I listen to my T1's, DT990/600's and HE-500's. Lyr is capable of driving the lower impedance cans (with care, and a bit higher noise floor), but it really excels and driving the 600 Ohm cans.

 

The exception being the HE-500's. While they have lower impedance (30 Ohms I believe), as ortho's they're quite happy with the power of Lyr.

 

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Have to say, I'm very intrigued by the Bifrost.

 

But did anyone catch this snippet from Schiit's Bifrost FAQ? Looks like they feel USB doesn't offer the performance of SPDIF? That surprised me, especially given some of the positive things folks have said on this thread about preferring USB with the Bifrost.

 

Quote:

 

Well then, how about your USB? Is it fully buzzword compliant? 24/192? Async?

It is absolutely buzzword compliant! Not only is it USB async, but it’s USB 2.0 async that’ll do up to 24 bits/192 kHz sampling rates. Yes. USB 2.0. Not antique 1.1. It works without drivers on Mac and we’ll provide drivers here on the site for Windows 7, Vista, and XP. It’s a good-sounding, reliable, solid implementation of USB. But that’s like saying, “Well, its a very nice meal, given that the chef could only work with McDonald’s hamburgers.”*

 

Wait. Are you saying USB is crap?

We’re saying we put a ton of time into our USB implementation, but, to our ears, USB still doesn’t quite offer the performance of SPDIF. And we can even get into shades of gray on SPDIF too: consider Mike Moffat’s AT&T ST-optical interfaces and Sumo’s Axiom/Theorem transport and D/A, which had a separate low-jitter master clock connection from the transport.

 

 

 

 

iPad2 + RemoteApp/VNC Viewer --> Headless Mac Mini --> iTunes * ALAC --> cheap USB cable WireWorld Ultraviolet USB cable --> Musical Fidelity V-LINK --> SonicWave Toslink --> Musical Fidelity V-DAC --> $.97 (RadioShack clearance) Monster THX Digital Coax --> AIWA NSX-3300 --> Polk RTi4\'s --> Cheapskate Listening Enjoyment[br]

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But did anyone catch this snippet from Schiit's Bifrost FAQ? Looks like they feel USB doesn't offer the performance of SPDIF? That surprised me, especially given some of the positive things folks have said on this thread about preferring USB with the Bifrost.

 

Yes, been discussed here and at greater length over at head-fi.org.

 

This is going to be *very* system-dependent.

 

I have a MacBook Pro, with an optical S/PDIF output that is famously subject to jitter; a V-Link, with an async USB implementation of lower cost and quality than the one in the Bifrost itself; or an Oppo BDP-83 disc player, excellent quality for a consumer player but not cutting edge audiophile stuff, as my choices for providing optical or coax S/PDIF input to the Bifrost. My optical cable is an inexpensive plastic one. Using the USB output from the MBP and the Audirvana software player into the Bifrost's very good (in terms of value for money) async USB interface, with a ~$110 Audioquest Carbon USB cable does indeed produce better sound in my system.

 

With a different source (high quality low jitter computer sound card or dedicated file player), better optical cable, or a USB-to-S/PDIF converter sufficiently superior to the Bifrost's own async USB interface, the story could be very different.

 

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 -> Apollon Audio 1ET400A Mini (Purifi based) -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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I've had their Valhalla headphone amp paired with my AKG K701s and it's a fantastic combo. It's not terribly tube sounding to me when compared to a TC-7510 or Benchmark DAC1 USB but it's definitely different.

 

Build quality is exceptional, especially considering the price.

 

Customer Service is astonishing considering it mainly just Jason, Mike and Rina. I've only dealt with Jason and he's always been prompt, honest, and down-to-earth.

 

Hate to sound like a cheerleader for these guys but it's very refreshing to see a U.S.-based company using primarily U.S.-sourced parts, manufactured here with the quality, price-points and attitude that they have in this industry.

 

I think that their path of bringing the iPod generation into this hobby is dead-on, as is their marketing. Can't wait to see what their statement DAC brings next year.

 

Bill

 

 

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

Mac Mini->Roon + Tidal->KEF LS50W

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Thanks for the feedback guys....it all sounds positive. I did email Jason over at Schiit today and he replied within an hour....pretty good to say I am in the UK.

 

I currently use Denon AH-D2000's and Grado SR80i's at the moment and I was wondering wether the Valhalla would drive these or whether I would be better sticking to the Asgard?

 

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I picked up an Asgard last Christmas for my brother. He uses it with his Grado 325s and said he loves the match. He also listened to them on my Valhalla and said that they sounded even better.

 

My SR80s sound good on the Valhalla but I've not heard them on an Asgard.

 

Bill

 

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

Mac Mini->Roon + Tidal->KEF LS50W

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- One other interesting thing: The latest tweak over at head-fi.org is replacing the stock BiFrost fuse with an audiophile fuse. I ordered one yesterday, should have it soon, and will let folks know whether it makes any appreciable difference to the sound.

 

@Jud: I am very interested to hear your experience with the fuse upgrade in due course.

 

2011 Mac Mini (Lion) -> Audirvana Plus -> Audioquest Cinnamon USB -> Schiit Bifrost -> Audioquest Diamondback -> Rotel RA-1520 -> Analysis Plus Oval 12/2 -> Klipsch RF-62 II

 

"If it sounds good, it is good ..." -Duke Ellington

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So the Valhall is suitable for Headphones from 32 Ohm through to 600 Ohm Impedence.

 

The grado SR80i are 32Ohm so shouldn't be a problem then....however the Denon AHD2000 are 25 Ohm, so does this mean that the Valhalla wont drive them sufficiently? These are the headphones I will be mainly using the Bitfrost and Valhalla with.

 

Does anybody use the Valhalla with Denon's or similar impedence headphones at all?

 

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I've now had time to substitute the Hi-Fi Tuning fuse, do some, though not a lot of, "burn-in," and listen to the results. I really prefer to do my comparisons with very little time elapsed between the sources to be compared. I recall once reading that "audio memory" is limited to something like 30 seconds. But I wasn't able to open up the Bifrost's case (*lots* of screws) and make the switch in anything like 30 seconds, and unfortunately wasn't able either to do a "before" listening test with the stock fuse as I had planned immediately before the switch. I'm going on memories of the sound with the stock fuse a day or more prior to listening sessions with the Hi-Fi Tuning fuse, with all the associated pitfalls and potential for hearing my expectations rather than reality. So please take my impressions with all due caution and skepticism.

 

- Yes, I think there is an improvement with the Hi-Fi Tuning fuse. Not absolute night and day, but an improvement.

 

- Examples:

 

-- In general, I am noticing a greater difference between high-resolution downloads or DVD-A rips on the one hand and CD rips on the other hand than I did before the fuse replacement, even though the CD rips also seem to sound better. Jazz saxophonist Jan Garbarek has recorded three albums with the choral group The Hilliard Ensemble at the St. Gerold Monastery. (You wouldn't think saxophone improvisations wailing over medieval choral music would work, but it's got a sort of primitiive, eerie majesty.) I have two, the earlier, Officium, in 16/44.1 resolution, the later, Officium Novum, in 24/96. Both are beautifully recorded, but listening over the past couple of days it's quite evident that the higher-resolution recording has an even more realistic presentation of Garbarek's saxophone and captures even more of the acoustic space of the monastery (longer decay time until the echoes become inaudible). Another example is George Harrison's All Things Must Pass. My wife and I have been listening to the LP forever. The 24/96 download has plenty of detail, but just seemed to be missing a bit of the rocking energy of the band playing together vs. the vinyl. The sound of the download is now fully up to the LP in that department, as well as in details like the acoustic guitar strumming on Apple Scruffs. In fact there are details that never emerged before on the LP or the download, like the perfect slap-jangle of Ringo Starr's tambourine on If Not For You.

 

-- The sound of CD rips is also improved. We All Go Back To Where We Belong, the "single" from REM's career retrospective final album, is an excellent recording as well as a beautiful song, and has become a new favorite of mine. Michael Stipe's voice had always been very clearly presented by the Bifrost, but now sounds almost startlingly real, with that last little touch of Stipe's plaintive nasality. There's a line in the song, "I dreamed that we were elephants," where Stipe had formerly seemed to almost swallow the last syllable. Now, though the level of that "-phunts" is indeed a notch lower than the rest of the line, I can hear it clearly. On Gillian Welch's The Harrow And The Harvest, the song Down Along The Dixie Line frankly had felt a little slow paced and boring. Now the voices and backing guitars seem to come through with an extra clarity and musicality that give the song a stately, austere beauty.

 

- So is it worth it? The single fuse cost more than 10% of the price of the Bifrost (with USB) itself, so in relative terms the expense is just insane. It's clear why Schiit could never have reasonably thought of including it in a product built to the vicinity of the Bifrost's price point. In absolute terms,however, for a lot of people 50 dollars is not a huge amount of money. (Of course the Schiit balanced DAC may sound even better for not much more money, but that's in the future and the Bifrost is here.) For me, the question is, given what I believe I'm hearing now (sorry to keep emphasizing the provisional nature of my conclusions, but because I did not have the opportunity for a more direct comparison I think that's necessary), would I do it again? Yes, I would.

 

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 -> Apollon Audio 1ET400A Mini (Purifi based) -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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@Jud: Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the fuse upgrade. I am eagerly awiating my Bifrost. I am told it will be shipped towards the end of this week, although I have to add a few more days before I recieve mine via my frieght forwarder. Hopefully this will all happen before Christmas :-)

 

Could I ask what fuse you are using? Also, are you using the stock power cable shipped with the unit or have you upgraded to one of those fancy-a$$ one?

 

2011 Mac Mini (Lion) -> Audirvana Plus -> Audioquest Cinnamon USB -> Schiit Bifrost -> Audioquest Diamondback -> Rotel RA-1520 -> Analysis Plus Oval 12/2 -> Klipsch RF-62 II

 

"If it sounds good, it is good ..." -Duke Ellington

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Hi-Fi Tuning makes three grades, silver, gold, and "Supreme," a/k/a "black." I bought the Supreme. The Bifrost takes the small size (5x20mm IIRC) 500 milli-amp slow-blow.

 

Re power cords, the folks who make my preferred brand of cables (Omega Mikro) think most of the power cord tech in use these days is wrongheaded. Long after most interconnects and speaker cables have stopped slathering on the dielectric and slimmed way down, most power cords continue to look like the old "music hoses." Of course, yes, Omega Mikro offers their own high-$$ power cord line that looks far more like their interconnects and speaker cables. But if you don't buy their stuff, they feel the vast majority of the power cords available do more musical harm than good, and recommend just saving your money. When I listened to my system without all the old power treatment/power cord stuff (the old MIT Z series), I thought it sounded better without.

 

The other aspect of the power cord thing is, if buying a $50 fuse for a $350-$450 DAC is a little insane, what would you call spending double that or more on a power cord?

 

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 -> Apollon Audio 1ET400A Mini (Purifi based) -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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I am new to this board and this is my first post, so I hope it is successful.

I recently bought the Bifrost Dac and Lyr amplifier based on my exposure to them at RMAF. I have used the USB, coaxial and Toslink inputs to the Bifrost and have been very pleased. My most common set-up is using the coax input from my Squeezebox touch. Very pleasing sound. I've only had it for about a month so I'm not going to wax poetic.

The Lyr is being used with my Senn HD-600, which is overkill, but I am getting the Audeze LCD-3 for Christmas, having heard that combo at RMAF and loved it.

For me, Schiit has succeeded. High quality, low price.

 

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