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Measurements and Review of Schiit Yggdrasil DAC

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Frank Dernie

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I found religious parables to be hollow from an early age. I went through years of religious 'learning/instruction' Very disappointed that that was the best that they could do.
So, we differ.

I replied in context, here, but would rather confine belief systems to audio.
For teaching technical subjects to students who need to go on to use technology you may well be correct to avoid analogy.
To expect to be able to explain technology in a way they can understand to an adult with little or no technical aptitude who may well have dropped science study in school at 14 years of age is a fools errand and will lead to frustration on both sides IME.
 
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Hi, I'm new to the forum. I found this forum in mid-March and have loved reading about the measurements and all of the equipment. I owned at the time a first generation Yggdrasil which I have had since late summer, 2015 and have enjoyed. I particularly enjoyed reading about the Topping DAC Dx7s. I had decided to upgrade the Yggdrasil to the gen 2 with the USB upgrade as well and ordered this from the Schiit company. Unfortunately, I am still waiting in the queue. In the meantime, I purchased the Dx7s and received it within one week, replacing the Yggdrasil in my system.

I read all of the measurements made by Amir and came to a pretty good understanding of what they meant, but I noticed there isn't a lot of comment on the listening differences between DAC's especially these two. So I have spent the past two months with the Topping. Very good sound, detailed, but with a bit of noise at first which seemed to subside over time. I played with the filters and settled in on setting 2 which was best to my ears.

This past weekend, not anticipating I would have to wait in the queue this long, I replaced the Topping with my Yggdrasil. No warmup, just cold back in my system. It is still version 1. Without a doubt, right from the start, the Yggdrasil sounds significantly better. More detailed, less noise, more bass umph and a smoother midrange/treble. That is to my ears.

I would love it if along with your analysis, you would provide your impressions of what sound differences these DAC's make in your system. That would help to guide all of us who are looking to upgrade and purchase some of these DAC's. I am not a troll from Schiit and have no attachment to them other than I own their Yggdrasil (if anything, a little frustrated it is taking this long to upgrade). I purchased the Topping and am certainly not upset that I tried it as it was affordable, but despite the high measurements comparatively speaking, in my system, the Yggdrasil simply sounds better.
 

Purité Audio

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Welcome Tom, it might be interesting , ( if you can be bothered) to compare both DACs unsighted, ie you do not know which is actually playing, you may need to level match if one is louder.
Keith
 

derp1n

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This past weekend, not anticipating I would have to wait in the queue this long, I replaced the Topping with my Yggdrasil. No warmup, just cold back in my system. It is still version 1. Without a doubt, right from the start, the Yggdrasil sounds significantly better. More detailed, less noise, more bass umph and a smoother midrange/treble. That is to my ears.
I went through the same experience, except I swapped my TotalDAC d1-6 out for the Yggdrasil as a temporary measure until the TotalDAC upgrade I had requested was completed. Swapping the TotalDAC back in, I was blown away. Bass, mids, and treble were all there in full force, restored back from the nothingness that I experienced before. Music that had simply sounded dead before was alive again.
 
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Welcome Tom, it might be interesting , ( if you can be bothered) to compare both DACs unsighted, ie you do not know which is actually playing, you may need to level match if one is louder.
Keith
I actually did that with my son and grandson (after I listened for several hours after the change back to the Yggdrasil) without them knowing which was being played and used a variety of music. They both favored the sound of the Yggdrasil (was easy to switch as it was simply a matter of changing the AES cord for the input and the balanced outputs from each DAC)....I use a loudspeaker system mainly (montis) and do listen primarily to a source playing redbook CD's ripped to a server....I don't have much in the way of high-resolution music at the time, nor do I use a service like Tidal. Since the topping had greater linearity, that may present a difference, but the comparison of the two was quite apparent using the source comparison that I did.
 
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I went through the same experience, except I swapped my TotalDAC d1-6 out for the Yggdrasil as a temporary measure until the TotalDAC upgrade I had requested was completed. Swapping the TotalDAC back in, I was blown away. Bass, mids, and treble were all there in full force, restored back from the nothingness that I experienced before. Music that had simply sounded dead before was alive again.
This sense of hearing is so wondrous and as unique to all of us as can be imagined!!
 
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I went through the same experience, except I swapped my TotalDAC d1-6 out for the Yggdrasil as a temporary measure until the TotalDAC upgrade I had requested was completed. Swapping the TotalDAC back in, I was blown away. Bass, mids, and treble were all there in full force, restored back from the nothingness that I experienced before. Music that had simply sounded dead before was alive again.
Maybe it is the bang for the buck for the most part: My yggdrasil originally $2200 USD, the Topping Dx7s $495, the TotalDac d1-6 is listed on their website as 12400 Euros which would be about 14,000 USD. Would love to hear the d1-6. Have had as DAC's a Stello (had for 2 years), a Bryston BDA-2 which I had for about one year, a one week audition of the Bricasti M1, I think, an NAD M51 for about a year, the Yggdrasil and the Topping Dx7s. Have had the Yggdrasil the longest, roughly, but we're always looking for something a little better, hence the upgrade to version 2.....Even though I am using an AES digital input currently, I'm thinking of upgrading my server to a Red Wolf and using USB......what do you think of the Red Wolf server?
 

Jinjuku

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but I noticed there isn't a lot of comment on the listening differences between DAC's especially these two
That's because the main focus of ASR is just about instrumented testing. You don't need anyone here to tell you what you think or like. You are perfectly able to do that for yourself.

Your opinion is the only one that matters. ASR just provides some additional insight. It could be the bit of grit that Schiit products introduce (and they certainly do because the testing bares this out) may be preferable.
 
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amirm

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I would love it if along with your analysis, you would provide your impressions of what sound differences these DAC's make in your system.
Hi and welcome to the forum. When levels are matched, and testing is done, differences between DACs become close to zero if not zero itself. To wit, with the owner of the Yggdrasil and a few others, we did compare the Topping DX7s and no one could detect either being better in that "casual" listening as audiophiles normally do.

As noted, put the two DACs where you can't see them and teach a loved one to plug one or the other in and let us know if you detect one being better than the other.

Note that I do include listening tests for any DAC that includes a headphone output. There, dependencies on headphone load and potentially higher distortion can bring out more differences.
 

Blumlein 88

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I actually did that with my son and grandson (after I listened for several hours after the change back to the Yggdrasil) without them knowing which was being played and used a variety of music. They both favored the sound of the Yggdrasil (was easy to switch as it was simply a matter of changing the AES cord for the input and the balanced outputs from each DAC)....I use a loudspeaker system mainly (montis) and do listen primarily to a source playing redbook CD's ripped to a server....I don't have much in the way of high-resolution music at the time, nor do I use a service like Tidal. Since the topping had greater linearity, that may present a difference, but the comparison of the two was quite apparent using the source comparison that I did.
Did you match levels on this? It doesn't take much to make one sound better than the other though not noticeably louder.
 
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Did you match levels on this? It doesn't take much to make one sound better than the other though not noticeably louder.
I guess my point is, it's almost impossible to "listen to" all of the DAC's and instrumentation that is out there. If many of you are like me, we are chasing audio nirvana...for it to "sound" as good as possible for each individual listener....it is fabulous to have these instrument readings on these pieces of audio equipment....I love going through Amir's analysis....nothing else out there like it....I'm just curious as to how that all translates into how does it sound....that's all. I understand the point, just adding my request to take it a step further.....
 

Blumlein 88

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I guess my point is, it's almost impossible to "listen to" all of the DAC's and instrumentation that is out there. If many of you are like me, we are chasing audio nirvana...for it to "sound" as good as possible for each individual listener....it is fabulous to have these instrument readings on these pieces of audio equipment....I love going through Amir's analysis....nothing else out there like it....I'm just curious as to how that all translates into how does it sound....that's all. I understand the point, just adding my request to take it a step further.....
I don't disagree.

I've come around to the conclusion over many years that our casual listening impressions are easily corrupted. Very easily.

Level matching helps plenty with that, and boy does it take very little mismatch to a make one unit sound nicer than the other. The D7s lists 4.0 volts out the XLRs. Stereophile measured the Yiggy as 4.24 volts out the XLRs. That is about .5 db which you'll never notice, but even under blind conditions the louder unit will get chosen very reliably near 100% as sounding better. Maybe Amir measured the D7s and it was closer to the Yiggy than that. I don't recall that data if it is here. And if you listen to several songs varying the volume it is much more tedious to correct (though not beyond doing).

So maybe the Yggy sounds different (measurements would indicate that wouldn't be because it has higher fidelity). Maybe you and lots of people prefer the difference. The big question is whether the difference is really audibly there. And it might well be with these two units. From experience I can tell you plenty of devices with different reputations don't sound different. It still amazes me how obviously different two units sound to me only to find that difference completely evaporate when I don't know which is which. The experience is jarring enough one will want to question it.
 
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Easy to test it. Tell kids to randomly turn up or down the volume while changing dacs. That will mess you up. If you dont have a clue whats playing after 4th change thats that.
 
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amirm

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Yes, a simple voltmeter and playing a 1 kHz tone downloaded from many sites will show the difference in levels. Just put the meter in volt range, connect the negative lead to the outside of RCA and connect the red probe of the meter to the center pin.

The problem would then be equalizing them. Software volume control may or may not work. But will certainly get one close.
 

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Yes, a simple voltmeter and playing a 1 kHz tone downloaded from many sites will show the difference in levels. Just put the meter in volt range, connect the negative lead to the outside of RCA and connect the red probe of the meter to the center pin.
Will you be uploading your project files for each DAC measurement now that you can?
 
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Will you be uploading your project files for each DAC measurement now that you can?
Project files? You mean the Audio Precision ones? If so, to what end?
 

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I continue to marvel at how many glowing reviews the Yaggi received from paid reviewers. Either they all love noise and distortion, or the entire audiophile publishing business is more broken than I ever imagined. Sorry, I have run down to the kitchen, my latest batch of snake oil is boiling over.
 

rebbiputzmaker

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I continue to marvel at how many glowing reviews the Yaggi received from paid reviewers. Either they all love noise and distortion, or the entire audiophile publishing business is more broken than I ever imagined. Sorry, I have run down to the kitchen, my latest batch of snake oil is boiling over.
Maybe it just sounds good to them. Why does everyone have be dishonest to like an item that some might not? Have you personally listened to DACs that exhibited audible noise and distortion?

Also, people seem to be so concerned about cost. The Yaggi is not really expensive as far as high-end goes. Granted people that are comparing it to relativity budget DACs are disturbed by the price, but looking at the high-end market (where it belongs) it sits at the low end, price-wise.
 
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