Schiit Audio Yggdrasil D/A processor Associated Equipment

Sidebar 2: Associated Equipment

Analog Sources: Palmer 2.5 turntable, Audio Origami PU7 tonearm, AMG Teatro cartridge; Roksan Radius 7 turntable & tonearm & Corus Silver cartridge; Dynavector 20X2L, Hana EL, LP Gear The Vessel A3SS cartridges.
Digital Sources: Mytek Brooklyn, Line Magnetics 502CA, Halide DAC HD DACs; Hegel Mohican CD player; Integra DPS-7.2 DVD-A/CD player.
Preamplification: Dynavector SUP-200, Bob's Devices CineMag 1131, Lounge Audio Copla MC step-up devices; Dynavector P75, Lounge Audio LCR Mk.III+, Parasound Halo JC 3+, Tavish Design Adagio phono preamps.
Power Amplifier: First Watt J2, PrimaLuna Prologue Premium.
Integrated Amplifier: Line Magnetic LM-518IA.
Headphone Amplifiers: Audeze The King, Linear Tube Audio microZOTL2.0, Moon 430HA, Pass Labs HPA-1, Schiit Audio Asgard.
Loudspeakers: DeVore Fidelity Orangutan O/93, Falcon Acoustics LS3/5a, KEF LS-50, Zu Audio Soul Supreme.
Headphones: AKG K812,
Audeze LCD-4 & LCD-X, AudioQuest NightHawk, Focal Elear & Utopia, Sony MDR 7520.
Cables: Digital: Kimber Kable D60 Data Flex Studio (coaxial). Interconnect: AudioQuest Cinnamon, Auditorium 23, Kimber Kable Silver Streak. Speaker: AudioQuest GO-4, Auditorium 23, Zu Audio Mission Mk.II. AC: AudioQuest NRG-2.
Accessories: AudioQuest Niagara 1000 Low-Z, PS Audio PerfectWave PowerBase power conditioners; Dr. Feickert Analogue Protractor NG & Adjust+ software; Acoustical-Systems SmarTractor cartridge-alignment protractor; Fozgometer azimuth-range meter; Moongel stylus cleaner.—Herb Reichert

Schiit Audio
24900 Anza Drive, Unit A
Valencia, CA 91355
(323) 230-0079

mink70's picture

This is straight-up poetry:

"Live music may be viewed as a continuously pulsating wavefront. If you hold your hand up, you can almost feel it. Recorded music is a coded narrative simulacrum of that pulsing wavefront. If anything in the recording or playback chain interrupts, bends, truncates, or haphazardly disrupts the original (live) continuity—all the world's smart guys can never restore its hyperfragile relationships of time, frequency, and amplitude. Love, music, and poetry live only in the undamaged continuity of those relationships. (Unlike the stock market or election polling, music is not a stochastic process.)"

allhifi's picture


" ...coded narrative simulacrum .."
" ...pulsing wavefront."
" ..haphazardly disrupts..."
" ....hyperfragile .."

" ..undamaged continuity of those relationships."

It's straight-up alright, and perhaps even poetically-challenged !


allhifi's picture

Hi Kal: This review was indeed informative --two DAC's of opposite ends of the sonic spectrum was my take.
However, from one disc, music file or song to the next, which of the two will resolve each one distinctively --revealing the huge distinctions in recording quality/tonality known to exist within the music itself ?

That, to me, would make my decision (to purchase) much easier.


tonykaz's picture

I've been in Audio since the 1950s, my numerous Schiit pieces of headphone gear are the amongst the best performing Audio Electronics I've ever encountered annnnnnd they're cheap by comparison but not cheaply made or appearing.

Now Schiit is immigrating to the Audiophile world with a range of Preamps and Amps. This will be a breath of fresh air for all of us gripers about the Stratospheric Cost of High-End Audio stuff ( $100,000 Mono Amps, for gods sake ).

Designing is an Art Form, Mr. Stoddard is an Artist. I think he designs the entire product, a global type of designer, he does A Level work.

So, Audiophile World, Brace yourself, your about to get traditional Audio Research levels of performance at NAD 3020 price points! PHEW!

Well Done Schiit, just what we've been waiting for.

Tony in Michigan

ps. I'm a Schiit owner, not affiliated in any way with the Schiit Company, other than being a bit of a Critic

rt66indierock's picture

Forgot the DAC you reviewed. Harmonics wipe a big chunk of high end audio. A banjo gets most of the rest as Art Dudley reported his Capital Audiofest coverage last year. And finally fiddle sawing in Cajun music gets almost everything leftover. It is now pretty easy to choose from what little is left.

You must tell me sometime how you got the last paragraph of the review past the editors. Whatever you did keep doing it.

USAudio's picture

Mike Moffat, the digital designer at Schiit and an innovator in the field, has been doing this a long time. Perhaps JA could reach out to the guys at Schiit for details on why they made the design decisions they did, in particular the use of the 20-bit D/A converters and DSP?

USAudio's picture

Also, I don't see anywhere in the Yggdrasil measurements a mention of its measured resolution like we usually do with digital processors?
Per Schiit's website: "Yggdrasil is the world’s only closed-form multibit DAC, delivering 21 bits of resolution with no guessing anywhere in the digital or analog path." -
Did JA indeed find the Yggdrasil's resolution to be 21 bits?

John Atkinson's picture
USAudio wrote:
I don't see anywhere in the Yggdrasil measurements a mention of its measured resolution like we usually do with digital processors?

I didn't offer that judgment because the Yggdrqasil is not like conventional D/A processors that use 24-bit DC chips. With the latter, the resolution will be limited by the thermal noise of the overall DAC+analog circuitry, which produces a random noisefloor. With the Schiit, however, while the analog noise is very low, as I mentioned in the review, the noisefloor will rise with 24-bit audio due to what appears to be the truncation of the LSBs. As the noisefloor will therefore be related to the encoded signal, my usual estimate of the DAC resolution will be misleading.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

USAudio's picture

Thanks for the clarification John!

rom661's picture

Prior experience with an earlier product line of his makes me apprehensive.

USAudio's picture

I think you'll find with a little web searching and on that Schiit customer support is very well regarded. Anecdotally, and this isn't probably typical, but I once sent a question to Schiit technical support on a Sunday afternoon and got a response within the hour! Mike Moffat's partner, Jason Stoddard, is heavily involved in communicating with the audio community, particularly through

rom661's picture

As I said, this was a different company. Hope your experience is good.

USAudio's picture

"As I said, this was a different company."

"Not Schitt"
It's spelled "Schiit", but I guess that is based on your perspective! ;-)

allhifi's picture

RE: " "Not Schitt" It's spelled "Schiit", but I guess that is based on your perspective!"

Seriously? Who gives a shit.


SteveG's picture

As JA knows, the Schiit employs a 20 or 21-bit DAC. While the DAC may be able to accept a 24-bit signal, it cannot know what to do with the LSB of a 24-bit signal. Thus, his tests reveal neither that the hardware is defective nor that there is something amiss in the software.

John Atkinson's picture
SteveG wrote:
As JA knows, the Schiit employs a 20 or 21-bit DAC. While the DAC may be able to accept a 24-bit signal, it cannot know what to do with the LSB of a 24-bit signal.

My comments were not odd. When you have 24-bit data but 20-bit DACs, you need to dither those data to match the DAC. Otherwise, simply chopping off the 4 LSBs, called "truncation," reintroduces quantizing distortion. Schiit's Jason Stoddard has subsequently said that the Yggdrasil "rounds" 24-bit data but my measurements suggest that the LSBs of 24-bit data are simply truncated.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

gevorg's picture

>>When you have 24-bit data but 20-bit DACs...

Aren't most, if not all, DACs cannot truly resolve beyond 20-21 bits anyway, including those on Stereophile Class A list? So what difference would "rounding" or "truncation" make with the last ~4 bits of thermal noise/etc? Why should this matter for the audiophile, mastering engineer, critical listener, etc?

John Atkinson's picture
gevorg wrote:
Aren't most, if not all, DACs cannot truly resolve beyond 20-21 bits anyway, including those on Stereophile Class A list? So what difference would "rounding" or "truncation" make with the last ~4 bits of thermal noise/etc?

As I said but you appeared to ignore, truncation of the LSBs in 24-bit data reintroduces quantization noise/distortion. Research by people like Bob Katz has shown that this will be audible even with real-world DACs.

gevorg wrote:
Why should this matter for the audiophile, mastering engineer, critical listener, etc?

Now you could say that you prefer the sound of truncation against that of redithering and I have no argument with that opinion. But if it costs the engineer nothing other than a little bit more silicon real estate to do it right, why not? The end result is reduced–bit-depth data presented to the DAC that will never have audible consequences whereas simply truncating the data will produce artifacts that will be audible, perhaps not with every recording but definitely with some.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

scottbuzby's picture


Schiit Audio has made significant changes to Yggdrasil. Please re-measure a current production unit. I think you will find it measures much better than the original release.


bapcha's picture

Truncation and rounding create identical amount of rms noise. This is very basic. Claiming that rounding is better than truncation is incorrect - especially since you referred to qualtizing distortion (same thing as noise). Yes, you can check me on that. I studied under Dr. Henry Samueli, UCLA, Broadcom (one of the best known DSP guys on earth)

LarryMagoo's picture


It's a shame you cannot judge the Yggy with your ears as well. Because if you did, it would not have ended up in the Class B....its really that simple!

All any of has to "sell" is credibility. You just lost yours!


allhifi's picture

Wonderful comparison; Mytek "Brooklyn" and "Yggdrasil":

A wonderful contrast of two DAC's. A modern take on A Tale of Two ...." !

It's clear the "Brooklyn" incorportaes the latest understanding and technology of modern DAC design. I suppose the "Yggy" appeals to those who cannot break the bond of analog desires.

The superiority of Brooklyn's resolution shupld be commended --as is their MQA adoption. I envision a superior linear P/S on the Mytek wold elevate into the super-DAC territory (or perhaps the Manhatten 2) ?

But back to the $2K price-point, if Schitt can offer a decent linear P/S, how is it that Mytek cannot do the same for the "Brookyln" ?

Hmmm, my vote would be the Brooklyn". Let's move forward ...


hollowman's picture

I was just looking thru two early-90s Stereophile issues (Dec. 1992; Mar. 1993) ... not a single analog/phono review or article (tho' I did see an Acoustic Sounds ad with LPs and equip.). Some tube gear. And MANY multibit DACs or CDPs -- reviews, articles, ads, classifieds.
I have a late-1980s aftermarket-modified Philips CDP, with the classic TDA1541A and SAA7220 (4x DF). And it's better sounding than all more-modern DACs in my collection (that feature delta-sigma).
Indeed, those early-90s Stereophiles were full of glowing reviews of Arcams and MSBs and Naims ... all using that classic Philips platform.

My suggestion for JA and other Stereophile reviewers is to go into their attic or basement storage ... and dig out these gems. And use THEM as a basis of comparisons against Chord, Border Patrol, Benchmark, etc.

Oh ... JA ... please webify that 1995 Fabio article. He had VERY high-end $$$ system based on a Krell CDP. No phono, no tubes.

allhifi's picture

Herb's: Hmmm. Very odd, you start the review by saying:

" .. From the start, I enjoyed playing CDs. But compared to LPs, digital sounded deficient in contrast and conspicuously artificial, in a plastic-bottles-in-the-ocean kind of way. It felt distant and mechanical." (Sure did)

"Nonetheless, my brain readily adapted to its shortcomings."

Is that a joke? Of course not, so it's therefore most telling; Your 'brain' adapted to its short-comings ? WTF. Those "shortcomings" (back in the 1980's) were so severe/nasty that no normal "brain" could adapt to is shortcomings.

Yet, your comments become even more ridiculous, when you say (35-years later):

" My original Yggdrasil made music in a fun, highly articulate way, but its empty spaces were filled with a fine, vibrating, subliminal grain. That vibrating haze might have originated in my CD transport, my computer, or my brain—but with the Analog 2 upgrade, it was now completely gone. Was the cause the Gen 5 USB upgrade? No matter. Through the Yggdrasil Analog 2, backgrounds were now more transparent and "black" than before. Which, to my delight, allowed new sonic delicacies to emerge."

OMG, LOL; In other words, 35-years prior to Schiit's DAC/Yggy, you were happier than a swine in dung (your "brain" adapted to 1982's horrific CD sound), and then, near 40-years later you're taken/impressed by the second Generation of a $2K DAC because you can now:

" to my delight, allowed new sonic delicacies to emerge."

AND (the best part), you now have the "sensitivities" to identify and enjoy :

A)".Analog 2, backgrounds were now more transparent and "black" than before."

B) " ...Which, to my delight, allowed new sonic delicacies to emerge."

C) " ... I'm mesmerized by the tiniest subtleties of the master's touch. My mind follows and sees the butterfly-like tactility of every keystroke."

D) "The Analog 2 upgrade retained all of the original Yggdrasil's virtues, especially its force and drive, but with a new spiderweb delicacy, more lower-octave density, and, most important, a more complete transparency.

I'm near ready to throw-up:

" ..spider-web delicacy ...low octave density ...complete transparency"

Yet, back in 1982, again, using your words:

" ..FROM THE START, I enjoyed playing CDs ..."

An oxymoron if there ever was one; if one loves/understands/feels music, there is not a lobotomy in hell that could have fixed our brains to make sense of that atrocity of a (SQ) technology called the Compact Disc, back in 1982.

In fact, Herby, that was pretty much the status quo "sound" for the next 20 (CD) years as well -SHIT.

But, here you are, extolling the (rightfully) intricate details, subtleties (virtues) of digital replay NEARLY 40-YEARS after you admittedly enjoyed back in 82' !

A fake, and fraud.

peter jasz