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Author Topic: DAC - Schiit Modi  (Read 5111 times)

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Offline JimmieC

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DAC - Schiit Modi
« on: June 17, 2014, 01:44:19 PM »
I got the Schiit Modi DAC (first external DAC) last week and was wanting to mention how much I love this unit.  I didn't think a DAC would change the sound of my playback so much but right away we (even my 10 yr old son) could hear the improvement in the mids and higher frequencies.  Without the Modi (laptops DAC to amplifier) they are kind of harsh sounding but never really noticed till I got the Modi.  I think the low end improved too but the source (Gordon's WSP from 2nd night at Redhat) has an amazing low end sound to it all ready.  Seemed to improve the dynamic range and separation of instruments.  No problems with drivers (Windows 8 and 7) or getting it working.

I tried running my Lunatec V2 as a preamp between the Modi and amplifier.  However, I didn't really care for the sound too much.  It made it loud but seemed compressed but will have to try again.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2014, 03:22:15 PM by JimmieC »
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Mic:AKG C460B(CK61)/HM1000(CK32/CK47), Naiant Couplings/PFA, ADK-TL; Preamp:Lunatec V2, Naiant Littlebox v1.5; Rec:Tascam DA-P1/DR-100mkii/DR-680; Cable:GAKcables; Bar:Shure A27M, Robb Bar 23-cm, it-goes-to-eleven DINa Active Bar, GAK 3' Bar; Mount:Shure A53M, Audix MC-MICRO; Clamp:AKG K&M 237, Photek Grip Clamp w/Manfrotto 042; Stand: Manfrotto Alu Master 3 Riser 12' AC Stand/122B, Lowel Full Pole; Battery:18000mah Universal Lithium Battery; Playback:laptop>Schiit Modi>Yamaha HTR5890>Klipsch Synergy F2. My recordings on LMA

stevetoney

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Re: DAC - Schiit Modi
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2014, 02:15:08 PM »
Nice! 

I recently had a Parasound ZDAC that I didn't perceive did anything to my sound...it just seemed to act as a transparent digi to analog converter.  When I added a Woo Audio WA-3 tube amp though, I definitely improved my playback sound through my Sennheiser HD-700 headphones. 

OOK recently went to a head-fi meet where he sampled a number of stand-alone DACs and he had very positive feedback on a couple of them.

I doubt any blanket conclusions can be made from any of these statements, but it's interesting to read about people's experiences.

Offline nickgregory

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Re: DAC - Schiit Modi
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2014, 04:26:38 PM »
the effect of adding a DAC is directly proportional to the quality of your system to be able to hear the nuances and the component you are replacing that is doing the conversion today.

I added a Rega DAC to my system 6 months ago, and feed it with my Arcam DV137 and apple airport, and the difference was subtle but absolutely there. 

stevetoney

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Re: DAC - Schiit Modi
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2014, 08:20:04 AM »
the effect of adding a DAC is directly proportional to the quality of your system to be able to hear the nuances and the component you are replacing that is doing the conversion today.

Yeah, no doubt.  But that's certainly not the only factor...the end result is also subjective to the specific sound personality of the DAC and how it works with the other gear in your system.  For example, I'd never say a V3 is not a high quality piece of gear, but the sound isn't what I'm after with the mics I have in my recording rig.  My only point is that blanket statements about the impact of a DAC probably aren't going to convince me until I hear it in my own system with my own ears.

Offline JimmieC

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Re: DAC - Schiit Modi
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2014, 10:08:31 AM »
Tonedeaf, did you sell your Parasound ZDAC?  I was looking at your signature and the Woo Audio WA-3.  I like the look of the amp and wish I could hear one.  One day I will have a tube preamp or amp and is the main reason I went with a standalone DAC which can be upgraded to if needed.

Hopefully my post didn't sound like a blanket conclusion.  It just helped will my playback and could not believe how much.  I have no clue what it will do for others.  I like it so much that I carry it from home to work everyday and might just have to order another one next month to keep at work.

And, of coarse, a DAC is not going to help if the source sounds bad.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2014, 10:12:23 AM by JimmieC »
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Mic:AKG C460B(CK61)/HM1000(CK32/CK47), Naiant Couplings/PFA, ADK-TL; Preamp:Lunatec V2, Naiant Littlebox v1.5; Rec:Tascam DA-P1/DR-100mkii/DR-680; Cable:GAKcables; Bar:Shure A27M, Robb Bar 23-cm, it-goes-to-eleven DINa Active Bar, GAK 3' Bar; Mount:Shure A53M, Audix MC-MICRO; Clamp:AKG K&M 237, Photek Grip Clamp w/Manfrotto 042; Stand: Manfrotto Alu Master 3 Riser 12' AC Stand/122B, Lowel Full Pole; Battery:18000mah Universal Lithium Battery; Playback:laptop>Schiit Modi>Yamaha HTR5890>Klipsch Synergy F2. My recordings on LMA

stevetoney

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Re: DAC - Schiit Modi
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2014, 02:29:10 PM »
Tonedeaf, did you sell your Parasound ZDAC?  I was looking at your signature and the Woo Audio WA-3.  I like the look of the amp and wish I could hear one.  One day I will have a tube preamp or amp and is the main reason I went with a standalone DAC which can be upgraded to if needed.

Hopefully my post didn't sound like a blanket conclusion.  It just helped will my playback and could not believe how much.  I have no clue what it will do for others.  I like it so much that I carry it from home to work everyday and might just have to order another one next month to keep at work.

And, of coarse, a DAC is not going to help if the source sounds bad.

Yeah, I did sell it.  Here's my story.

So after spending all my money for years on recording gear, around Christmas I got the itch for an upgraded playback rig.  OOK became my mentor.  It had to be headphone based because my wife hates my music.  I decided to build my playback around my PC.  After a short time of researching head-fi and turning my brain into complete mush (too much information) I bought the ZDAC and a pair of Senn HD600 headphones.  About $800 worth.  The ZDAC also has a built in headphone amp.  The appeal of the ZDAC besides just the DAC was that it had some options for ins and outs to build around.  I also picked up a pair of Byerdynamic DT990pro headphones at around $150.  Being one to jump in with both feet, the upgrade in headphones meant that I no longer enjoyed the sound I was getting out of my earbuds, so I upgraded those to a pair of Senn IE80's at $300 or so. 

Along around I think late February, I had a biz trip scheduled and about 2 hours to kill in the airport, so I visited the Inmotion store or whatever it's called.  I knew I was asking for trouble, but the guy had me try an bunch of phones and IEMs.  I was strong and resisted headphone temptation, but I'm a gearslut and couldn't leave empty handed.  At $150 or so, I embarked on my biz trip with a new FIIO E11 DAC/PRE which I paired with my 160gb ipod classic. 

By this time, I've been using my new PC > ZDAC setup for awhile.  After that trip, I got home and I was pretty dang stoked about the sound vs. size factor of my ipod classic > FIIO rig, so I did some fairly intense A vs. B listening to all of the gear I owned.  I know this might be controversial to say, but I wasn't getting really all that much better sound from the PC (24bit FLAC files) > ZDAC rig than I was getting from my ipod > FIIO rig.  In fact, there were some sound flavoring factors that caused me to actually enjoy the portable rig more than the full-sized rig...warmer sweeter sound. 

I got back in touch with my mentor (and got some independent advice from one or two others) and we had some more discussions about where the bang for buck is in a playback rig.  Without coming to any definitive conclusions, I decided to try another headphone upgrade on for size.  I WANTED to get a pair of HD800s, but I ended up going for the upgrade from the HD600 to HD700.  Those set me back $550.  A cable upgrade was another $50.  To fund the headphone upgrade, I sold the HD600, but also decided to part with the ZDAC.  In doing so, I was temporarily committing to listening again solely through my portable ipod > FIIO rig.  I was fine with that though because it sounds so damn good and it's so easy.

Well, it wasn't long after I got the HD700's (and they sound freakin' great) that I was searching around Head-Fi used gear forum that I stumbled across the WA-3 used.  This one has an output preamp upgrade and upgraded tubes.  I did some research and the predominant comment was how great this WA-3 sounds with Sennheiser HD-650 headphones.  Well that was good enough for me to extrapolate out to using it with my HD-700s.  $500 or so later...

So now I'm listening to my ipod classic through the WA-3 then through HD700.  It's a beautiful combo.

I'm looking to insert another DAC in the chain.  I want to have the option to listen to 24bit FLACs out of my PC.  But frankly it's kinda a PITA compared to using my ipod.  The ipod goes with me everywhere and the interface is so awesome.  I haven't looked around much, but I find that both Foobar 2000 and Winamp to be huge PITA's as far as interfaces go.  Maybe I just haven't grabbed enough of the plugins to make them work for me, but so far I'm not impressed at all with either one of them.   Maybe the interface shouldn't be a reason I stick with my ipod, but dammit it's such a PITA to listen through my PC compared to my ipod. 

So that's where I'm at right now.  I'm sure I'm gonna get another DAC sometime soon.  Maybe I should step in some Schiit.

Offline OOK

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Re: DAC - Schiit Modi
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2014, 07:58:02 PM »
Sorry about your wallet.... :P
DPA/HEB 4060's > R09HR
MBHO648/KA100Lk/KA200/KA300/KA500 > SD702

stevetoney

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Re: DAC - Schiit Modi
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2014, 08:09:37 PM »
Sorry about your wallet.... :P

It's all good.  Music is what I live for, so getting gear that feeds into it is sorta like air and water.  At worst I liquidate and get out nearly what I have in. 

Offline cavekelly

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Re: DAC - Schiit Modi
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2014, 10:35:58 AM »
At the risk of a minor thread hijack, I am in the market for a DAC myself.  I want a unit to use both in my PC system and for the big rig.  These two systems are not near each other.  Sooooooo, I need a unit that has both USB input and coaxial SPDIF (not optical).  Any recommedations?  Would like to stay under $300.

Offline raymonda

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Re: DAC - Schiit Modi
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2014, 11:05:34 AM »
Tonedeaf, did you sell your Parasound ZDAC?  I was looking at your signature and the Woo Audio WA-3.  I like the look of the amp and wish I could hear one.  One day I will have a tube preamp or amp and is the main reason I went with a standalone DAC which can be upgraded to if needed.

Hopefully my post didn't sound like a blanket conclusion.  It just helped will my playback and could not believe how much.  I have no clue what it will do for others.  I like it so much that I carry it from home to work everyday and might just have to order another one next month to keep at work.

And, of coarse, a DAC is not going to help if the source sounds bad.

Yeah, I did sell it.  Here's my story.

So after spending all my money for years on recording gear, around Christmas I got the itch for an upgraded playback rig.  OOK became my mentor.  It had to be headphone based because my wife hates my music.  I decided to build my playback around my PC.  After a short time of researching head-fi and turning my brain into complete mush (too much information) I bought the ZDAC and a pair of Senn HD600 headphones.  About $800 worth.  The ZDAC also has a built in headphone amp.  The appeal of the ZDAC besides just the DAC was that it had some options for ins and outs to build around.  I also picked up a pair of Byerdynamic DT990pro headphones at around $150.  Being one to jump in with both feet, the upgrade in headphones meant that I no longer enjoyed the sound I was getting out of my earbuds, so I upgraded those to a pair of Senn IE80's at $300 or so. 

Along around I think late February, I had a biz trip scheduled and about 2 hours to kill in the airport, so I visited the Inmotion store or whatever it's called.  I knew I was asking for trouble, but the guy had me try an bunch of phones and IEMs.  I was strong and resisted headphone temptation, but I'm a gearslut and couldn't leave empty handed.  At $150 or so, I embarked on my biz trip with a new FIIO E11 DAC/PRE which I paired with my 160gb ipod classic. 

By this time, I've been using my new PC > ZDAC setup for awhile.  After that trip, I got home and I was pretty dang stoked about the sound vs. size factor of my ipod classic > FIIO rig, so I did some fairly intense A vs. B listening to all of the gear I owned.  I know this might be controversial to say, but I wasn't getting really all that much better sound from the PC (24bit FLAC files) > ZDAC rig than I was getting from my ipod > FIIO rig.  In fact, there were some sound flavoring factors that caused me to actually enjoy the portable rig more than the full-sized rig...warmer sweeter sound. 

I got back in touch with my mentor (and got some independent advice from one or two others) and we had some more discussions about where the bang for buck is in a playback rig.  Without coming to any definitive conclusions, I decided to try another headphone upgrade on for size.  I WANTED to get a pair of HD800s, but I ended up going for the upgrade from the HD600 to HD700.  Those set me back $550.  A cable upgrade was another $50.  To fund the headphone upgrade, I sold the HD600, but also decided to part with the ZDAC.  In doing so, I was temporarily committing to listening again solely through my portable ipod > FIIO rig.  I was fine with that though because it sounds so damn good and it's so easy.

Well, it wasn't long after I got the HD700's (and they sound freakin' great) that I was searching around Head-Fi used gear forum that I stumbled across the WA-3 used.  This one has an output preamp upgrade and upgraded tubes.  I did some research and the predominant comment was how great this WA-3 sounds with Sennheiser HD-650 headphones.  Well that was good enough for me to extrapolate out to using it with my HD-700s.  $500 or so later...

So now I'm listening to my ipod classic through the WA-3 then through HD700.  It's a beautiful combo.

I'm looking to insert another DAC in the chain.  I want to have the option to listen to 24bit FLACs out of my PC.  But frankly it's kinda a PITA compared to using my ipod.  The ipod goes with me everywhere and the interface is so awesome.  I haven't looked around much, but I find that both Foobar 2000 and Winamp to be huge PITA's as far as interfaces go.  Maybe I just haven't grabbed enough of the plugins to make them work for me, but so far I'm not impressed at all with either one of them.   Maybe the interface shouldn't be a reason I stick with my ipod, but dammit it's such a PITA to listen through my PC compared to my ipod. 

So that's where I'm at right now.  I'm sure I'm gonna get another DAC sometime soon.  Maybe I should step in some Schiit.

I've never listen to a Schiit but it certainly get s good press and praise. I have found, and posted several times here, that the Matrix Mini-i is an excellent budget DA. I have now sold my V1 and purchased V2 with upgraded USB. Both unit sound great and use the same twin DAC chips. The also have a headphone amp, which is good and would be great for a second listener in your home.

I've compare the DAC with sources to compare what the DAC adds or takes from the source and can say that it is an honest sounding DAC. I use it with both tube and solid state and with both it is a winner. Highly recommended!!!!!

stevetoney

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Re: DAC - Schiit Modi
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2014, 08:38:51 AM »
I got the Schiit Modi DAC (first external DAC) last week and was wanting to mention how much I love this unit.  I didn't think a DAC would change the sound of my playback so much but right away we (even my 10 yr old son) could hear the improvement in the mids and higher frequencies.

Why would you say "even"?  Your son likely has much better hearing than you do, unless his is impaired.  Test him sometime with high frequency tones, it's amazing what we adults can't hear anymore.  Try something like a 16kHz highpass filter before playback--he will still be able to tell what song is playing; you probably won't (depending on the volume of playback and how much HF hearing you have lost).

My son is 11 and I know he hears high frequencies better than me.  My son is awesome...in addition to hearing high frequencies, he rolls over and fetches too!

Offline JimmieC

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Re: DAC - Schiit Modi
« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2014, 02:24:06 PM »
My son does not know about or have any preconceptions about DACs, so thought he was a good person for A-B test.  Guess I should have said that. 

I will give the high pass filter test a try on my son since I'm curious how he would do.  At lunch, I got Foobar's IIR working and it was interesting test.  Then, I drove my co-workers nuts with Audacity's generated tones. 

Wonder what a dog would do to the generated tones.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2014, 02:26:33 PM by JimmieC »
OH Grown
Mic:AKG C460B(CK61)/HM1000(CK32/CK47), Naiant Couplings/PFA, ADK-TL; Preamp:Lunatec V2, Naiant Littlebox v1.5; Rec:Tascam DA-P1/DR-100mkii/DR-680; Cable:GAKcables; Bar:Shure A27M, Robb Bar 23-cm, it-goes-to-eleven DINa Active Bar, GAK 3' Bar; Mount:Shure A53M, Audix MC-MICRO; Clamp:AKG K&M 237, Photek Grip Clamp w/Manfrotto 042; Stand: Manfrotto Alu Master 3 Riser 12' AC Stand/122B, Lowel Full Pole; Battery:18000mah Universal Lithium Battery; Playback:laptop>Schiit Modi>Yamaha HTR5890>Klipsch Synergy F2. My recordings on LMA

Offline JimmieC

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Re: DAC - Schiit Modi
« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2014, 12:52:33 PM »
One reason I went with a standalone DAC is so I can upgrade preamp/amp or DAC separately.  If I had gotten a integrated DAC and preamp then I would possibly have to upgrade both again later.

After reading Jon's post, I'm now thinking the biggest improvement in my playback was from removing the laptop/desktop headphone amp from the playback lineage by using a USB DAC, and possible some improvement from the better DAC chip.
OH Grown
Mic:AKG C460B(CK61)/HM1000(CK32/CK47), Naiant Couplings/PFA, ADK-TL; Preamp:Lunatec V2, Naiant Littlebox v1.5; Rec:Tascam DA-P1/DR-100mkii/DR-680; Cable:GAKcables; Bar:Shure A27M, Robb Bar 23-cm, it-goes-to-eleven DINa Active Bar, GAK 3' Bar; Mount:Shure A53M, Audix MC-MICRO; Clamp:AKG K&M 237, Photek Grip Clamp w/Manfrotto 042; Stand: Manfrotto Alu Master 3 Riser 12' AC Stand/122B, Lowel Full Pole; Battery:18000mah Universal Lithium Battery; Playback:laptop>Schiit Modi>Yamaha HTR5890>Klipsch Synergy F2. My recordings on LMA

 

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