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Measurement and Review of Schiit BiFrost Multibit DAC

amirm

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Here is another example of their measurements vs mine as far as -90 db 1 Khz tone. Remember that we are looking for sine waves here:

Schiit BiFrost Multibit DAC -90 db sine wave measurement vs SBF.png


Again we see general agreement. In each cycle of the sine wave there is a spike/glitch followed by something that kind of, sort of, looks like half of a sine wave. The instruments are different so actual details vary some but overall shape is the same. This DAC cannot reproduce -90 db sine wave (one bit less than 16 bit data) correctly.

It seems that they simply did not put any mitigation for glitching in R2R ladder DACs even though that is part and parcel of what they are.
 
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amirm

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A valid discussion might be what is actually addible and what is not. Also what is more important to sound quality? Do you trade off certain parameters for others that might have more impact on sound quality?
Such discussions should go to another thread. Please don't pollute this one with it.

Do you have any comments on new data I have posted? You brought up the point about warm-up, measurements elsewhere and such.
 

mindbomb

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Conclusion:
Assuming the high level stuff isn't too badly stuffed, it can "sound good", even if the low level goods are fugly.
I agree Ray, but the paradox is that people pay a premium for these R2R dacs for noise performance. But to appreciate that, you have to look much lower than where the linearity and quantization noise issues pop up. Am I missing something here? It seems like a fundamental issue with the conception of this dac. And then there is the jitter and distortion which isn't good at high levels either.
 

RayDunzl

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Here is another example of their measurements vs mine as far as -90 db 1 Khz tone. Remember that we are looking for sine waves here:
Huh? Sine?

Is it a 16 or 24 bit DAC?

One bit of 16 should show 3 levels at -90, no? 24 bit, yes.

(also, I don't get the second image/description showing the DX7)
 

Cosmik

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Huh? Sine?

Is it a 16 or 24 bit DAC?

One bit of 16 should show 3 levels at -90, no? 24 bit, yes.

(also, I don't get the second image/description showing the DX7)
I showed what you should get with 16 bits here.
(I think the DX7 label is wrong - they're both the Schiit).
 

Sal1950

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the emotiva did not measure so badly to suggest all our measurements are wrong.. it might of looked that way when compared to the reference dac amir uses.
Actually the Emotiva measured quite well, only missing one of the best tested so far by a small amount in a few areas. Absolutely nothing that would make me want to sell it for something better or question my positive impressions of it's sound. Amir has measured numerous DAC's that didn't show some of the gross failures from the Schitt units. All that's left now is for some to start claiming ASR is "out to get them" as we've heard from a couple others that didn't like the outcome of their products.
When all else fails claim fraud, but in these cases the measurements can be verified, sooooooooooooooo.
 

mindbomb

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Huh? Sine?

Is it a 16 or 24 bit DAC?

One bit of 16 should show 3 levels at -90, no? 24 bit, yes.

(also, I don't get the second image/description showing the DX7)
The bifrost multibit uses 16 bit dac chips, so it might be a little more than 16 bits depending on how they divide up the work. Everything appears to go through a dsp chip first, so it might accept 24 bit signals and downconvert them.
 
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amirm

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(also, I don't get the second image/description showing the DX7)
Sorry I missed that label. :) Corrected it. The right side was the measurement from SBF/AtomicBomb linked to earlier.
 

amirm

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Another test they ran was -70 db sine wave. Here is their results:
upload_2018-2-6_9-58-59.png


We see clearly glitches as I have circled in red. Folks, this is -70 db, some 26 db above the noise floor of 16-bit CD format. So clearly even that can't be reproduced correctly with their own measurements. We see all the distortion products generated as a result of tha in the spectrum analysis below it.

Here are my measurements of -70 db test tone (24-bits):

-70 db sine wave.png


Completely consistent results and unacceptable performance.

Here is Topping DX7 output:

-70 db sine wave.png


There is just no comparison. This box does what my measurements show. They are confirmed by the other measurements. I don't understand how a designer at Schiit doesn't realize that the measurements posted elsewhere are just as damning.
 

rebbiputzmaker

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Such discussions should go to another thread. Please don't pollute this one with it.

Do you have any comments on new data I have posted? You brought up the point about warm-up, measurements elsewhere and such.
Yes another thread would be a good idea. I do see your updated info, thank you. I hope you pull out your Stax and compare some of the DACs you have on hand. As a trained listener your take on the differences would be insightful. I own 4 different pairs of Stax phones and over the years have found them invaluable when it comes to comparing gear.
 

Dismayed

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That is not how it works. Sorry.
Does the unit need to aligned to magnetic North, too? Are magic incantations needed? Sorry, that isn't how it works because 'burning in' is absurd for solid state electronics. But, hey, I could be wrong. So show me a valid double blind test, with volumes matched to 0.1 dB, to prove that people can reliably identify the 'burned in' unit.
 

Veri

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There is just no comparison. This box does what my measurements show. They are confirmed by the other measurements. I don't understand how a designer at Schiit doesn't realize that the measurements posted elsewhere are just as damning.
Signed up to give you a heartfelt thanks for all your measurements, these Mulbit ones have been particularly interesting to look at!
 
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Dismayed

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Even if you dont believe Amirs measurements shouldnt the grossly distorted -90db sine wave shown in the other set give you a clue to how poor the dacs linearity is?
It's not good. It's Schiit!
 

Purité Audio

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Only ten bits but what bits they must be.
I am sure they chose a noun and have ended with an adjective .
Keith
 

Jimster480

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Another great review!
Are you able to test input via USB to see if you can find pop/crack noises during playback? This has been an issue for me and a number of other people I know who have had Schiit DAC's in the past.
 

amirm

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Another great review!
Are you able to test input via USB to see if you can find pop/crack noises during playback? This has been an issue for me and a number of other people I know who have had Schiit DAC's in the past.
Thank you. I am listening to it right now. Went to download a benchmark program and when I opened the zip file, playback stopped for a second or two. After that I can't duplicate it. I say this is within degree of performance of Windows/Roon though so I can't point the finger at a problem here.

What playback software do you use?
 
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