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  1. #1

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    Default Schiit Gungnir DAC - Impressions During Burn in ...

    As mentioned in the other thread, the W4S DAC-1 has not been a perfect match for my Q900 towers. For the LSi9s it's great, as they are laid back speakers and can take a little bit of 'shine' around the high end. The Q900s are not bright like my old RTi A7s were - but they are more sensitive to gear that have those kinds of characteristics. I didn't even realize it until I put the DacMagic in and the highs mellowed out; of course, in other aspects the W4S is just better. So, I decided to look for a new DAC that is closer to the W4S in terms of clarity, midrange, bass response, and imaging, but a bit more neutral on the top end.

    Picking a DAC based on my limited experience is going to be total guesswork :) The Rega DAC and the WM8741-based Audio GD DAC look interesting, as well as the Musical Fidelity M1A - but the dual AKM4399 based Schiit Gungnir caught my eye. Basic specs / marketing jargon:

    - 2 x AKM4399 hardware balanced 32bit DACs
    - up to 24/192 on all inputs (except 176k via USB)
    - NO Upsampling / Resampling
    - Instead it features VCXO re-clocking for good sources, and defaults to VCO clocking for high jitter sources.
    - Balanced outputs, 2 x RCA single ended outputs
    - Coax, Toslink, BNC, USB 2.0

    Rest of the specs: http://schiit.com/cart/index.php?mai...products_id=11

    It's as wide as a typical CD player or receiver and has nice heft to it. It has a mechanical relay that clicks when you change the input between two different res audio files (ex. 24/96 -> 16/44); and there is a slight delay as the reclocker is doing some source checking, etc. apparently.

    I'm a believer in burning in the DAC for 100+ hours to start getting an idea of what it's actually going to sound like - was true with the W4S, and after 24hrs is true with the Gungnir.

    Thoughts at zero hours yesterday:
    - Bass!! Better than the W4S or DacMagic, but doesn't sound like someone turned the bass knob up. Just more body and thump.
    - Top end started off a little gritty as expected, but nowhere near as harsh as the W4S was on Day 1.
    - Midrange was OK - needs to open up.

    Played through the usual suspects that tend to sound bright on these speakers: A couple of Dave Matthews Band tracks, Rogue Wave, my Brothers in Arms 24/96 DVD-A rip, etc. . So that's my baseline.

    Overall: promising

    Thoughts at ~24 hrs of burn in today:
    - Aforementioned bass :)
    - Biggest gainer of the day: the treble! Has neutralized the occasional gripes I have had about these speakers with certain albums. Strings, vocals, and cymbals sound like they should in real life now - no edginess. Very very happy about this.
    - Midrange: improvement, better separation of instruments & vocals; nice layering effect w/ synths.

    Overall: moving in the right direction
    Last edited by PrazVT; 10-19-2012 at 03:29 AM.
    ALL BOXED UP for a while until I save up for a new place :(

    Home Theater:
    KEF Q900s / MIT Shotgun S3 / MIT CVT2 ICs | KEF Q600C | Polk FXi5 | BJC Wire | Signal / AQ ICs | Shunyata / Pangea PCs | Pioneer Elite SC 57 | Parasound NC2100 Pre | NAD M25 | Marantz SA8001 | Schiit Gungnir DAC | SB Touch

    2 Channel:
    Polk LSi9 (xo mods), Polk DSW MicroPro 2000 sub | NAD c375BEE | W4S DAC1 | SB Touch | Marantz SA-8001 | MIT AVt 2 | Kimber Hero / AQ / Signal ICs | Shunyata / Signal PCs

  2. #2

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    48 hrs in and the sound continues to open up. I'm listening to R.E.M.'s 'Reveal' via 24/96 FLAC and it's just tonally perfect. I can't get myself to go to bed! Thus far, the Gungnir is the perfect complement to my components and the speakers.

    But tomorrow I'm going to bring the W4S back out from the bedroom and do a little A/B'ing.
    ALL BOXED UP for a while until I save up for a new place :(

    Home Theater:
    KEF Q900s / MIT Shotgun S3 / MIT CVT2 ICs | KEF Q600C | Polk FXi5 | BJC Wire | Signal / AQ ICs | Shunyata / Pangea PCs | Pioneer Elite SC 57 | Parasound NC2100 Pre | NAD M25 | Marantz SA8001 | Schiit Gungnir DAC | SB Touch

    2 Channel:
    Polk LSi9 (xo mods), Polk DSW MicroPro 2000 sub | NAD c375BEE | W4S DAC1 | SB Touch | Marantz SA-8001 | MIT AVt 2 | Kimber Hero / AQ / Signal ICs | Shunyata / Signal PCs

  3. #3

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    Glad to hear you are noticing some solid sonic improvements!

    What's your burn in process exactly? Just have a source playing music through the DAC but w/ no power amplifier turned on?
    Bedroom 2 channel: NAD C316BEE, Marantz cd6004, Polk Audio TSi100, Audioquest Bedrock & King Cobra
    HT: Onkyo HT-RC360, Athena Micra 6

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clipdat View Post
    Glad to hear you are noticing some solid sonic improvements!

    What's your burn in process exactly? Just have a source playing music through the DAC but w/ no power amplifier turned on?
    The idea is that you won't hear the end-state performance of the DAC on Day 1. With normal usage, it would take probably a few weeks before the DAC finally sounds like it will in the long term. So to compress that timeframe, you just run the DAC 24/7 for 100 to 200 hrs. As you mentioned, just play the source and leave the DAC on (amp and pre-amp are off).

    It's made a world of difference in less than a week.
    ALL BOXED UP for a while until I save up for a new place :(

    Home Theater:
    KEF Q900s / MIT Shotgun S3 / MIT CVT2 ICs | KEF Q600C | Polk FXi5 | BJC Wire | Signal / AQ ICs | Shunyata / Pangea PCs | Pioneer Elite SC 57 | Parasound NC2100 Pre | NAD M25 | Marantz SA8001 | Schiit Gungnir DAC | SB Touch

    2 Channel:
    Polk LSi9 (xo mods), Polk DSW MicroPro 2000 sub | NAD c375BEE | W4S DAC1 | SB Touch | Marantz SA-8001 | MIT AVt 2 | Kimber Hero / AQ / Signal ICs | Shunyata / Signal PCs

  5. #5

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    So this $750 dac has better low end than a w4s dac1 and I think in terms of sound the w4s dac2 sounds identical.

  6. #6

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    I did some A/B testing this weekend -

    Hooked the SB Touch to the Schiit via coax and the W4S via toslink, and both DACs to the pre-amp, and switched back and forth on various songs for about an hour.

    - The two DACs are more or less equal in terms of detail, clarity, etc. If it wasn't for the gain & treble differences, it would have been harder to pick them apart.
    - Bass response is better w/ the Schiit DAC, but not by a lot. Both are good here.
    - The W4S is noticeably brighter than the Schiit; but how that translates, depends on what speakers you have. As I mentioned, LSi9s are great w/ the W4S, but the Q900s suffer; so I guess the Schiit Gungnir is a bit more laid back.
    ALL BOXED UP for a while until I save up for a new place :(

    Home Theater:
    KEF Q900s / MIT Shotgun S3 / MIT CVT2 ICs | KEF Q600C | Polk FXi5 | BJC Wire | Signal / AQ ICs | Shunyata / Pangea PCs | Pioneer Elite SC 57 | Parasound NC2100 Pre | NAD M25 | Marantz SA8001 | Schiit Gungnir DAC | SB Touch

    2 Channel:
    Polk LSi9 (xo mods), Polk DSW MicroPro 2000 sub | NAD c375BEE | W4S DAC1 | SB Touch | Marantz SA-8001 | MIT AVt 2 | Kimber Hero / AQ / Signal ICs | Shunyata / Signal PCs

  7. #7

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    Have you tried the Dac-2 via USB yet...?
    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Face View Post
    Have you tried the Dac-2 via USB yet...?
    I have not Mike - but you know what, I'll hook the W4S back up here and connect my laptop to it and try it this week. Will report back on whether there's a difference between coax and USB. I hadn't tried before because I don't use USB in the living room system - but it's a valid item to confirm on.
    ALL BOXED UP for a while until I save up for a new place :(

    Home Theater:
    KEF Q900s / MIT Shotgun S3 / MIT CVT2 ICs | KEF Q600C | Polk FXi5 | BJC Wire | Signal / AQ ICs | Shunyata / Pangea PCs | Pioneer Elite SC 57 | Parasound NC2100 Pre | NAD M25 | Marantz SA8001 | Schiit Gungnir DAC | SB Touch

    2 Channel:
    Polk LSi9 (xo mods), Polk DSW MicroPro 2000 sub | NAD c375BEE | W4S DAC1 | SB Touch | Marantz SA-8001 | MIT AVt 2 | Kimber Hero / AQ / Signal ICs | Shunyata / Signal PCs

  9. #9

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    Have you tried the Schiit DAC with your LSi's? I'm wondering if the combo would be too laid back. I'm considering either the Gungnir, the Wyred DAC 1 or 2, or the MF M-1A for my system, which has LSi-15's.
    System
    ModWright SWL 9.0SE Signature Preamp | Aragon 8008 Mk II Amplifier
    Sonus Faber Cremona Loudspeakers
    Squeezebox Touch |Rega DAC
    | Jolida JD-100A CDP | Sansui TU-717 Tuner (Joseph Chow Mods)

  10. #10

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    yep - ditto the above. - I have had the gungnir for about a month. Probably 300hrs on it now. For sure it gets better the more it gets burned in. Smoother on top. Great DAC. Better than my Transporter, by a good amount!

  11. #11

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    Very cool man , what DAC MAGIC did you have? I have had the Magic here and loved it. I now have the Dac Magic Plus that will do 192. The Standard Magic only did up to 96.
    One thing I'm not sure on with the Plus is the fact it locks it's upsampling to 32/384 which to me is a bad thing. I'd rather have a bit perfect DAC that doesn't up sample anything unless I need it to. I prefer to play my music is 44.1 if thats what it's recorded in or 24/96 or 24/192 depending on the file. This way no extra conversion is going on.
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.

  12. #12

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    I never had a DAC Magic. They get good reviews though!

    Yep, the hardware upsampling thing has become a bit of a 'no no' as of late. DAC makers seem to be going 'retro' to NOS. The Gungnir does not upsample. Not sure about the filters on it.

    I personally think that if you are using a laptop as a music server, I would prefer a NOS DAC just because I can upsample the files in any way that I want with software. Pick my own filters etc. Then I can compare and decide which combo sounds the best.

    My experience with software upsampling (Sox, min phase, allow aliasing, apply dither, upsample to 24/96) is that it sounds better than native redbook on both my Transporter and the new Gungnir. Less so with the Gungnir. I would quantify the improvement as a certain 'ease' and 'realness' to the sound. More fluid, more believable. I would say the upsample and the min phase have the biggest contribution to that.

    Eric

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by mantis View Post
    Very cool man , what DAC MAGIC did you have? I have had the Magic here and loved it. I now have the Dac Magic Plus that will do 192. The Standard Magic only did up to 96.
    One thing I'm not sure on with the Plus is the fact it locks it's upsampling to 32/384 which to me is a bad thing. I'd rather have a bit perfect DAC that doesn't up sample anything unless I need it to. I prefer to play my music is 44.1 if thats what it's recorded in or 24/96 or 24/192 depending on the file. This way no extra conversion is going on.
    I have the original DAC Magic w/ the Pangea P100 external power supply - hell I had 2 Dac Magics at one point :). I'll be giving it to my dad as he's doing some upgrades to his system this week (he bought a Pioneer SC-65, SB Touch and some matching JBL surround speakers for his HT).

    @Jetmaker, i think the W4S DAC would be a good match with the LSi's. The slight brightness of the W4S (relative to the DacMagic and Gungnir) matches well with the laid back LSi's. The LSi's + the DAC Magic sounded good too, but I think the W4S is better in that combo.
    ALL BOXED UP for a while until I save up for a new place :(

    Home Theater:
    KEF Q900s / MIT Shotgun S3 / MIT CVT2 ICs | KEF Q600C | Polk FXi5 | BJC Wire | Signal / AQ ICs | Shunyata / Pangea PCs | Pioneer Elite SC 57 | Parasound NC2100 Pre | NAD M25 | Marantz SA8001 | Schiit Gungnir DAC | SB Touch

    2 Channel:
    Polk LSi9 (xo mods), Polk DSW MicroPro 2000 sub | NAD c375BEE | W4S DAC1 | SB Touch | Marantz SA-8001 | MIT AVt 2 | Kimber Hero / AQ / Signal ICs | Shunyata / Signal PCs

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