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Review and Measurements of Schiit Yggdrasil V2 DAC

gvl

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I've spent lots of time in hospitals and medical labs recently. I've seen things like this.

https://www.amazon.com/Tripp-Lite-IS1800HG-Isolation-Transformer/dp/B00008N6S7

Often tucked away if you aren't looking carefully. Usually in ICU's, not usually in regular hospital rooms.

I've also worked in non-medical labs and at times been the person ordering the gear. Some isolation gear was used for some purposes. Mostly to protect the lab equipment more so than to improve its performance.

This brand is one I've seen a number of times.
http://www.controlledpwr.com/SureImage_Medical_Power_Conditioner_Ultra-KM


These usually combine conditioning, isolation and UPS capabilities. If you look around most of your imaging gear, you'll see something like this. It may be in a closet, or behind a wall, but rarely (perhaps never) are such things as MRI, PET and CAT scan gear simply plugged into or wired into the wall. Again I think this is mostly to protect such gear more so than to improve its performance. I also imagine a hospital building full of the electronics you see in modern times is a far noisier environment than most people's homes.
People's homes have dimmers and LED lighting these days, they are inherently noisy.
 

Blumlein 88

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People's homes have dimmers and LED lighting these days, they are inherently noisy.
I don't think it was here on ASR. But when I moved a couple years back I measured some noise basics before and after swapping all the bulbs from incandescents to LED. No change. I also measured the noise on the outputs of some audio gear and again no change. I don't have any dimmers so maybe that happens. Still I don't believe the grid in homes will approach that of a hospital with thousands of electronic devices plugged in.

Now LEDs can be electrically noisy of course. It just seems that noise doesn't travel that far or infect audio gear as often as expected. I do have a couple LEDs that create an audible high pitched buzz. And once had a triple bulb fixture with two different brands in it. All three buzzed at about 11 khz faintly. I changed the bulb out so all were the same brand and it went away. The removed bulb by itself in other location was quiet. So such things are more possible than in the past.
 

gvl

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So they mean PCM, not DSD. They don't mean necessarily 16 bit 44.1khz. Though yes, that is also what most of my music is. I even agree if they properly arrived at good 20 bit performance is enough.
Aside from trying to reason why they would make it their flagship product the question I still have is if the Yggdrasil is good enough for what it is, i.e. an oversampling 20-bit multibit DAC.
 
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gvl

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I don't think it was here on ASR. But when I moved a couple years back I measured some noise basics before and after swapping all the bulbs from incandescents to LED. No change. I also measured the noise on the outputs of some audio gear and again no change. I don't have any dimmers so maybe that happens. Still I don't believe the grid in homes will approach that of a hospital with thousands of electronic devices plugged in.

Now LEDs can be electrically noisy of course. It just seems that noise doesn't travel that far or infect audio gear as often as expected. I do have a couple LEDs that create an audible high pitched buzz. And once had a triple bulb fixture with two different brands in it. All three buzzed at about 11 khz faintly. I changed the bulb out so all were the same brand and it went away. The removed bulb by itself in other location was quiet. So such things are more possible than in the past.
I've experienced buzzing from LED or dimmers too, and one can only hope their neighbor isn't using powerline ethernet adapters (I know I did at some point). Then there is solar power everywhere these days, those inverters must be sending enough noise down the lines.
 

Blumlein 88

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Aside from trying to reason why they would make it thiri flagship product the question I still have is if the Yggdrasil is good enough for what it is, i.e. an oversampling 20-bit multibit DAC.
How would you answer that question either affirmatively or negatively?
 

Blumlein 88

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Blumlein 88

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Here is another article about Parasound 20-bit units. Seems both have better linearity than the Yggdrasil, but slightly higher noise floor. Jitter measurement is using different approach, but I expect Yggdrasil to outperform both in the jitter department.

http://www.gammaelectronics.xyz/stereoph_4-1996_Parasound-DACs.html
Did you notice the Parasound threw away the lower 4 bits only feeding 16 bits to the 20 bit DAC. Still more linear than the Yggy. Also probably the reason for the higher noise. It appears they truncated and didn't dither to 16 bit.
 

gvl

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Did you notice the Parasound threw away the lower 4 bits only feeding 16 bits to the 20 bit DAC. Still more linear than the Yggy. Also probably the reason for the higher noise. It appears they truncated and didn't dither to 16 bit.
Hard to say what they did, but given the linearity graph is going below 100db they must have been feeding more than 16 bits. Well, I think we can say the Yggy is almost good enough as far as 20-bit multibit DACs go. Too bad it is 25-30 years late to be considered a worthwhile contender.
 

rebbiputzmaker

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It is? My wife worked in the hospital laboratory and they didn't use isolation transformers. Nor have I seen isolation devices while in hospital rooms. You have some experience you want to share on that ground?


And I can educate by testing the numerous other gear waiting for measurement.
Of course, you should test other gear, but IMO scientists always want to know, ----- why?

All sophisticated electronic equipment is properly isolated/filtered in a hospital environment. MRI machines CAT scanners etc are not plugged into the wall. Isolation might not be seen, as it is may be part of the infrastructure. If you were having surgery would you want the surgeons and anesthesiologist electronics plugged into a dirty power line?
 

Don Hills

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... Too bad it is 25-30 years late to be considered a worthwhile contender.
To be fair, Schiit do advertise it as such. ;)
 

gvl

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To be fair, Schiit do advertise it as such. ;)
It is just why spend 4 digits on the Yggy when you can pick a nice clean vintage specimen at 1/10 of the price? It may not do hi-res, but for redbook it will be just as good if not better, and you will get that audiophile multibit sound too.
 

Blumlein 88

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Hard to say what they did, but given the linearity graph is going below 100db they must have been feeding more than 16 bits. Well, I think we can say the Yggy is almost good enough as far as 20-bit multibit DACs go. Too bad it is 25-30 years late to be considered a worthwhile contender.
From the link you provided:


This test, however, revealed that the D/AC-1100 truncates incoming 20- bit data to 16-bits. I routinely use 20-bit resolution test signals now that processors are available which will pass 20-bit data to the DACs. Feeding the D/AC 1100 with a 20-bit dithered source from the Audio Precision System One Dual Domain resulted in the four Least Significant Bits (LSBs) being truncated, and with them, the dither. The result was the appearance of a lot of harmonic distortion because of the lack of dither. When I saw the high distortion, I repeated the test with a 16-bit test signal to create the plot of fig.3. Note that even though the Crystal CS8412 input receiver, PMD100 digital filter, and PCM63 DACs will all operate on 20- bit data or more, the D/AC-1100’s internal architecture provides only 16-bit pathways.
 

gvl

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From the link you provided:


This test, however, revealed that the D/AC-1100 truncates incoming 20- bit data to 16-bits. I routinely use 20-bit resolution test signals now that processors are available which will pass 20-bit data to the DACs. Feeding the D/AC 1100 with a 20-bit dithered source from the Audio Precision System One Dual Domain resulted in the four Least Significant Bits (LSBs) being truncated, and with them, the dither. The result was the appearance of a lot of harmonic distortion because of the lack of dither. When I saw the high distortion, I repeated the test with a 16-bit test signal to create the plot of fig.3. Note that even though the Crystal CS8412 input receiver, PMD100 digital filter, and PCM63 DACs will all operate on 20- bit data or more, the D/AC-1100’s internal architecture provides only 16-bit pathways.
It doesn't directly say that's how linearity measurements were done, but yes.
 

Don Hills

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For the same reason this "1-bit" image conveys shades of gray:



The key is dither. We add noise and extract more resolution.
That brings back memories... experimenting with different algorithms when converting greyscale images to black/white, so as to prevent the dots forming regular patterns, and retaining detail at sharp changes in brightness ("edges").
 

Frank Dernie

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Of course, you should test other gear, but IMO scientists always want to know, ----- why?

All sophisticated electronic equipment is properly isolated/filtered in a hospital environment. MRI machines CAT scanners etc are not plugged into the wall. Isolation might not be seen, as it is may be part of the infrastructure. If you were having surgery would you want the surgeons and anesthesiologist electronics plugged into a dirty power line?
We are not talking life and death here! This is a domestic bit if audio kit. So it should be designed to work when plugged into a typical domestic power outlet.
IMO any piece of domestic audio equipment which doesn't work properly when plugged into a domestic power point is poorly designed.
If anybody working for me had designed something domestic which needed a filter, I would first ask why isn't the filter built in, then tell him/her to find another job.
 
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IMO any piece of domestic audio equipment which doesn't work properly when plugged into a domestic power point is poorly designed.
If anybody working for me had designed something domestic which needed a filter, I would first ask why isn't the filter built in, then tell him/her to find another job.
I agree with you completely -- especially when we are talking about an audio DAC that costs north of $2K. At that price, you expect a superb power supply with great filtering and shielding. Schiit Audio describes the power supply this way: "Power Supply: two transformers (one for digital supplies, one for analog supplies) plus one input choke for discrete, dual mono, shunt-regulated analog +/-24V supply, plus 12 separate local regulated supplies for DACs and digital sections, including high-precision, low-noise LM723 regulation in critical areas." Sounds fancy, huh?

I don't understand how we can already have ten pages of hand-wringing about this product. It's expensive and measures poorly compared to much less expensive mass-market alternatives. That same sentence could be used to describe much of the gear marketed to subjectivist audiophiles.

If a Benchmark DAC has performed like this, then I could understand the level of angst, concern, and skepticism. Their DACs have a 15 year history of stellar measured performance and widespread professional use in recording studios. I'll be polite and just say that the Schiit Audio gear doesn't have that kind of record.
 

derp1n

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