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Measurement and Review of Schiit BiFrost Multibit DAC

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I know that almost nobody takes ZeosPantera as anything more than an entertainer, but he telegraphed that multibit measures badly by uploading a video saying that the Modi Multibit was the only one that doesn't sound the same in a shootout against an iFi iOne and a JDS OL DAC. He said that it had more bass, which shouldn't be the case if it's transparent as the others. So it is very likely that it is similar to the Bifrost Multibit.
Zeos's subjective listening skills might actually be trustworthy - he also pointed out that the Bifrost MB wasn't anything impressive. As I mentioned earlier, there are two types of reviewers - ones that praised the Bifrost as "amazing", and ones that called it "alright" or "unimpressive". Zeos falls into the latter group, and the latter group is the one to pay attention to.
 
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Even a broken clock is right twice a day - Zeos' listening skills are anything but trustworthy, quite the opposite. Tons of inaccuracies that don't match the frequency responses, etc. Not to mention he loves bloated, horribly distorted bass. So much so that he does such bizarre things like breaking the seal on Stax, killing sub bass and raising mid bass. Lots of other things I could mention. I would say he's probably the "reviewer" I trust least when it comes to their ears. Just throwing that out there...
 
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Wombat

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Have you done anything to help bring you to this conclusion? Listening/testing? Or is it just something you have just adopted as a belief system?
I would say you would know something about adopting belief systems.
 

drconopoima

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I would say he's probably the "reviewer" I trust least when it comes to their ears. Just throwing that out there...
I trust Zeos' ears a lot more than those of Hans Beekhuyzen, who can be quoted saying that a perfectly measuring DAC that costs 100$ sounds 20% of the sound quality on his setup A, 40% of sound quality on his setup B and 80% on his setup C, compared to another DAC that costs 3000$ and also measures perfectly (better, but just better because it improves a little while both DACs are certainly below 115dB in noise floor and harmonic distortion and both certainly have more than 15-bit).
 

Candlesticks

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How Mike Moffat is regarded is entirely meaningless if their actual product is an engineering failure. If anything, products like this tarnish his and Schiit's reputation.
The jitter with the Modi 2 and Bifrost 4490 is what actually tarnishes Schiit's reputation. They still haven't responded to that.

I believe the Bifrost 4490 was before gen 5 USB so maybe gen 5 USB fixed that. The Modi 2 however is not fixed and I care a lot more about the Modi 2 than I do the Bifrost because a lot more people buy the Modi 2.

It's funny how the more expensive the audiophile equipment gets the less it matters about how good the measurements are because there is no feature advantage to make it worth paying that much money to begin with. It's at the budget prices of a few hundred dollars or less where the demand for quality is at it's highest.

It's why I don't care about measurements for the more expensive products here because there is no feature advantage to make it worth buying in the first place. The owner will care about some nebulous sound quality from sighted listening and the measurements won't stop that. They are just a novel curiosity to be discarded if they are less than ideal. Nothing at the high end matters which is why I hope this forum doesn't become fixated on it. The most that will happen is some audio nutters on another forum will get riled up and throw some accusations but it doesn't actually help anyone because they don't care and the people buying the high end equipment don't either. I just see it as a waste of time.
 
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Jinjuku

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If you know what usenet is, you know the answer tot hat.
I lived in dev sections on usenet (I was also a Comp-u-Serv subscriber).

The "they" that deleted your post were almost certainly head-fi mods and not Mike. They are very zealous about removing links to other audio sites. HOWEVER, a poster upthread said they called Jude and told him to yank the references. What would you do if someone called you and told you to remove links?
Is providing a through link to information against the TOS at head-fi? I would assume that Amir would look at the links in question and if they had merit let them stand. Not feel threatened.
 
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drconopoima

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Is providing a through link to information against the TOS at head-fi? I would assume that Amir would look at the links in question and if they had merit let them stand. Not feel threatened.
They are so 'zealous' about not having links to other blogs that they said they banned NwAVguy because he had a link to his blog in his signature and that made him some kind of a backlink seeker everytime he posted implying he only contributed to HeadFi forums to get people to see the links in his signature to his own blog... It's only a ridiculous censorship narrative when you take it up to those extremes, it's no longer any type of valid argument and forum etiquette policy.
 
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Well if you can do double blind listening tests, never mind about preference just see if you can reliably tell the difference first then we will be ‘all ears’.

Otherwise your subjective conclusions mean absolutely nothing here, I know that sound harsh but we all know how inherently faulty sighted listening is. You may well hear a difference or to be more precise related to the sound differently, who knows why but the resulting conclusions mean absolutely nothing minus any controls in the process . ( on this forum ).
All for this!

Let's start with an Exasound E32, Topping DX7, and the repaired Bimby.

Please make sure that the sample is unbiased -- including those that worship at the subjective altar AND those that worship at the objective altar...as well as those that don't 'know', or for that matter...care, what the results will be! ;)
 
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Even a broken clock is right twice a day - Zeos' listening skills are anything but trustworthy, quite the opposite. Tons of inaccuracies that don't match the frequency responses, etc. Not to mention he loves bloated, horribly distorted bass. So much so that he does such bizarre things like breaking the seal on Stax, killing sub bass and raising mid bass. Lots of other things I could mention. I would say he's probably the "reviewer" I trust least when it comes to their ears. Just throwing that out there...
Haven't listened to many of his reviews, so thanks for the additional perspective.
 

Thomas savage

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All for this!

Let's start with an Exasound E32, Topping DX7, and the repaired Bimby.

Please make sure that the sample is unbiased -- including those that worship at the subjective altar AND those that worship at the objective altar...as well as those that don't 'know', or care for that matter, what the results will be! ;)
It would be intresting now we’ve measured a good few DAC’s , get a few guys together and do some controlled listening tests.

See if it contradicts the measured performance or if it does not seem to relate to the measurements at all.

I’m not sure if we could get enough people together for the results to be statistically relevant.. but would be fun.
 
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I lived in dev sections on usenet (I was also a Comp-u-Serv subscriber).



Is providing a through link to information against the TOS at head-fi? I would assume that Amir would look at the links in question and if they had merit let them stand. Not feel threatened.
I think it is. I also think it is stupid, but it isn't my site to run.
 

Thomas savage

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I think it is. I also think it is stupid, but it isn't my site to run.
We don’t have that policy but we do get a fair few sign up that are basically spamming , Leaving a link to some doggy site.

Maybe the initial intent was to stop that and it’s just got misinterpreted/abused.
 

Candlesticks

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It would be intresting now we’ve measured a good few DAC’s , get a few guys together and do some controlled listening tests.

See if it contradicts the measured performance or if it does not seem to relate to the measurements at all.

I’m not sure if we could get enough people together for the results to be statistically relevant.. but would be fun.
If you fail you'll be disregarded for not being golden-eared enough by others who are supremely confident in the difference based upon their sighted listening. So it's only really of use if the individuals taking part in the test want to know themselves.
 

amirm

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Every picture had the link name, and you said you were discussing it here. By name. One google search (which really wasn't needed) and here I am. Searching for "schiit" let met get a little feel of the lay of the land here, before I posted.
If you have to google search for something, then it is not a link.

They monetize traffic on head-fi so every post I make there is money for them. That once in a while someone sees a way to come here where we do none of that, should be a fair deal even if I did put a link there. My posts there generate tons of discussions and traffic. They could have had these discussions on their turf and control but they helped remove it. It makes no business sense. And certainly produces really poor optics as far as having a transparent platform for discussion.

Anyway I created this forum to be able to have a place where we can have such discussions. Elsewhere whether it is the manufacturers or some users, riots start the moment someone says this or that product may have issues and here are the reasons why. So let them do what they do. It only makes a more compelling reason for why we are here. :)
 

Blumlein 88

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snip....

It's funny how the more expensive the audiophile equipment gets the less it matters about how good the measurements are because there is no feature advantage to make it worth paying that much money to begin with. It's at the budget prices of a few hundred dollars or less where the demand for quality is at it's highest.

It's why I don't care about measurements for the more expensive products here because there is no feature advantage to make it worth buying in the first place. The owner will care about some nebulous sound quality from sighted listening and the measurements won't stop that. They are just a novel curiosity to be discarded if they are less than ideal. Nothing at the high end matters which is why I hope this forum doesn't become fixated on it. The most that will happen is some audio nutters on another forum will get riled up and throw some accusations but it doesn't actually help anyone because they don't care and the people buying the high end equipment don't either. I just see it as a waste of time.
I think you express a useful concept here. Expensive, at least really expensive DACs aren't sold to customers convinced by measurements. In the middle ground may be moderately expensive DACs worth measuring as a reference. I would think the Benchmark is perfect for this (even the name of it fits). At some $2k or a bit more it isn't cheap. Its not super silly money. It may not have the finest performance on the planet, but it is darn close to SOTA. So much so the AP may cause more issues on the measurements than the Benchmark DAC itself. So that could be a Benchmark reference of the possible quality.

So the biggest benefit of this site, and its starting to generate some new members looking for exactly this, is good info not generally available elsewhere on the real measured performance for gear less expensive than $2k. Especially in the $500 and below range.

Schiit has used the reputation of Mike Moffat at Theta, and other wise spun up this image of a small boutique maker who makes DACs (and other gear) that sounds special. That has the ethos of a real high end upper performance company like MSB, or DCS or such people. Yet they have focused on giving a slice of those at affordable prices. So far it looks like the spin and promotion is all that is high end. The performance of the gear is iffy, or subpar or not what people are being given the impression they are getting. They aren't the only people pushing product this way.
Some are playing in the $2k to $5k range while being no better than some $1k gear. However like alluded to above, customers of such gear aren't going to pay attention to methodological testing.
 
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If you have to google search for something, then it is not a link.
Fair point, if a bit pedantic. The picture and comment couldn't be clicked on, no. And it didn't occur to me that you citing AudioScienceReview was a web site instead of a different thread -- my brainfade. :) In any event, I'm here.

Look: I'm pleased with the article on your test equipment and your writeup of test conditions. When you splatted your comment (and I maintain that it should have been its own thread, like atomicbob does/did over there), I was expecting some guy with a $60 USB scope rather than a piece of test gear.

For me, the question is, why have so many other people and mags looked at the same data and come away with such vastly different conclusions? Certainly JA at Stereophile (?) is no friend of theirs, and atomicbob seems to have no axe to grind on anyone.
 
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I just got off the phone with Jude. I told him that he better start removing references to Changstar or SBAF starting a few years ago. He complied of course.
Why on earth would you do this? Is it that serious a subject that you need to harass the web site owner on the phone?
 

amirm

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For me, the question is, why have so many other people and mags looked at the same data and come away with such vastly different conclusions? Certainly JA at Stereophile (?) is no friend of theirs, and atomicbob seems to have no axe to grind on anyone.
We are using different instruments and testing products at different times. I think the latter is the main explanation. Schiit seems to be making product changes without notice. I am reminded of this review by Stereophile of BiFrost: https://www.stereophile.com/content/schiit-audio-bifrost-da-processor-page-2

upload_2018-2-15_10-37-50.png


[...]

upload_2018-2-15_10-38-17.png


In other words they are a moving target.

Ultimately though the onus is on them to figure out the discrepancy in different measurements. Why is it my responsibility to explain the difference between my measurements and others? Why don't they have to explain it?

BTW, I accept that you don't have an axe to grind. I welcomed you to the forum and meant it. :)
 

Candlesticks

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I think you express a useful concept here. Expensive, at least really expensive DACs aren't sold to customers convinced by measurements. In the middle ground may be moderately expensive DACs worth measuring as a reference. I would think the Benchmark is perfect for this (even the name of it fits). At some $2k or a bit more it isn't cheap. Its not super silly money. It may not have the finest performance on the planet, but it is darn close to SOTA. So much so the AP may cause more issues on the measurements than the Benchmark DAC itself. So that could be a Benchmark reference of the possible quality.

So the biggest benefit of this site, and its starting to generate some new members looking for exactly this, is good info not generally available elsewhere on the real measured performance for gear less expensive than $2k. Especially in the $500 and below range.

Schiit has used the reputation of Mike Moffat at Theta, and other wise spun up this image of a small boutique maker who makes DACs (and other gear) that sounds special. That has the ethos of a real high end upper performance company like MSB, or DCS or such people. Yet they have focused on giving a slice of those at affordable prices. So far it looks like the spin and promotion is all that is high end. The performance of the gear is iffy, or subpar or not what people are being given the impression they are getting. They aren't the only people pushing product this way.
Some are playing in the $2k to $5k range while being no better than some $1k gear. However like alluded to above, customers of such gear aren't going to pay attention to methodological testing.
We have very different perceptions of price compared. The people in the /r/Headphones purchase advice sticky have budgets of less than $300 for a headphone and DAC/Amp. I consider <$100 to be the most important range for a USB DAC or headphone amplifier at the moment and this price range is likely good enough that better measuring equipment is not audibly different anyway. In one of my original posts I made a list of products that would cover every use case I could think of related to headphones and the majority is less than $100. Combinations like a Fiio Q1 and Schiit Magni 3 could cover 99% of headphone use cases for a cost of $150 and in most cases the $60 Fiio Q1 may be enough. But it's important to understand the limits of each product at this price range and as the price lowers the number of trade offs the consumer has to consider increases.

I don't find the Topping D30 to be particularly competitive on price. If a FX Audio X6 at half the price is good then that is a far better recommendation and covers the USB, optical, coaxial input requirement that some people have and is currently being covered by the Schiit Modi 2U or Topping D30 at twice the price.

At the moment people are often spending $200+ on a DAC and Amp which is a huge chunk of their budget that could be put into the headphone. My hope has always been to get people to spend 25% of that amount and have measurements to show that what they are buying is actually good.

Mathematically

(Amount of money saved from cheaper purchase) * (Number of people) = A lot of money

The market is massive at the low end. If quality products can be found cheaper it adds up to a huge amount of money saved overall which means people can buy better headphones for less overall budget. To me the market above this price point just doesn't matter because they are buying based upon subjective impressions and that won't change.

My concern is that people here get obsessed over a $500 DAC with no feature advantage to justify it. Chasing better numbers is worthless if you've crossed the audibility threshold at $400 less. If someone really cares they can buy a Benchmark DAC3 for the best numbers on the test bench.

Why on earth would you do this? Is it that serious a subject that you need to harass the web site owner on the phone?
It's sarcasm.
 
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In other words they are a moving target.

Ultimately though the onus is on them to figure out the discrepancy in different measurements. Why is it my responsibility to explain the difference between my measurements and others? Why don't they have to explain it?

BTW, I accept that you don't have an axe to grind. I welcomed you to the forum and meant it. :)
Most commercial products are. "Specifications are subject to change without notice." If you aren't moving, you're dying. In any business.

Thank you for the welcome. I do appreciate it.

I should say why I'm here: I looked at your plots, too, and they look like shit to me. But I'm no EE -- I'm a software guy. I have seen pieces of (my own) electronic equipment on a scope and remarked on all the switching noise in the signal, only to have an experienced tech say that the equipment looks exceptionally clean. In other words, I know enough to know that I don't know enough to be either fooled or led astray by a red herring.
 
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