• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

Review and Measurements of Schiit Yggdrasil V2 DAC

Sal1950

Major Contributor
The Chicago Crusher
Joined
Mar 1, 2016
Messages
5,603
Likes
3,014
Location
Central Fl
Doesn't sound like you read his post. He did mention performing a blind test:
With no mention of the circumstances, the setup, how the levels were matched, nothing. Nor any mention of the identification statistics.
 

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
20,104
Likes
23,337
Location
Seattle Area
I think that measurements do not tell the whole story about dac's. they may be a hint of what will happen, nothing more.
its all about listening. its about the musical performance. if a dac gets me involved into the music...thats matters to me.
I have performed extensive listening tests of Yggdrasil DAC against others. None of what you state is what I heard. This is in careful AB testing with levels matched with my ears and that of others. Your statement about measurements is also not correct. It is an excuse to ignore objective data.

we had a weekend with friends. we had for 5 hours fun presenting the rme and the Yggdrasil in a blind testing.
guess what? the Yggdrasil was in every musical performance preferred. we had classical music, mercedes soza, r&b...andreas Vollenweider...jazz.
You will have to explain the protocol to us. How you matched levels, how you performed the blind test, etc. As I said, I have done this countless times and with others. None of your observations ring true. It will trivial for me to make either DAC sound better to you in blind testing if you don't know the proper protocol.

If ears are the ultimate test, I like to understand why you think your ears and your friends are superior to my ears.
 
Joined
Feb 7, 2019
Messages
15
Likes
2
A total of 8 volunteers took part in the blind testing. The session lasted several hours.
Six are trained musicians who have been in the business for 30 years, one is a sound engineer and my wife. We had a good meal and a wonderful weekend:)
One of the test persons has absolute hearing. He is a blind bassist, guitarist...he became famous worldwide with Tok Tok Tok...
I am a drummer, singer...musician with 30 years of active experience in recording technology and live playing.
I own a small recording studio for my productions and record other musicians.
The session took place in a 25 square meter acoustically optimized large room.

The loudspeakers are the Ecouton LQL200 in the final version. The amp is by Schiit Ragnarok.
The dacs were controlled by the Project Stream Box S2 Ultra. iMac late 2017 / Audirvana / Hqplayer / Reaper
We used three different apps to correct the room:
--Dirac Live via vst/audiounit
--Mathaudio room EQ
--Acourate via convolver in Audirvana / engine in Hqplayer

We took pieces that were well known to everyone.

- Steve Gadd Band - Steve Gadd Band / 02nd Auckland by number
This number focuses on Cymbals and natural recording.

- Mercedes Soza - Misa Criolla - 07. la peregrinación
This track was recorded in a church. Wonderfully staggered choirs.

- Chick Corea - Chinese Butterfly - 03. like I was sayin'
A jazz track. Perfectly tuned drums.

- Andreas Vollenweider - Caverna Magica - 01. caverna magica
Rooms....

- Somi - Petite Afrique - 08. Holy room
One of the perfect recordings in contemporary musical I know. Sensational Vocal!!

- Mahsa Vahdat - Trace of an old vineyard - 01. Vanishing Lines
Vocal!!!

- CTRL - 01.Supermodel
Modern!

- Richard bona - Reverence - 03rd Suniga
The drums with the brushes should be clearly defined in the room.

- Georg Friederich Haendel - Le concert des Nations - 12th Alla Hornpipe
Exceptional classical recording

- Mbongwana Star - From Kinshasa - 04th Masobele
wow...

and last:
- Paul Simon - Stranger to Stranger - 07. Stranger to Stranger
Vocal...Sounds

....................
All pieces that were played were clearly preferred for the Yggdrasil.
The natural analog reproduction of the instruments as well as the wonderful reproduction of the voices was always praised.
Also striking was the clear spatial separation of the instruments. Each instrument had with
the Schiit DAC a clear and distinct space in the stereo spectrum as well as in the depth gradation.

The RME DAC has always been certified to have an extreme resolution in the stereo spectrum. In the lowend a precise reproduction was recognized. However, the RME DAC was never able to create any depth gradation, nor were the instruments assigned clear spaces.
Voices were always classified as cold, as thin, as annoying in the " Desser " range.
Voices were absent from all test persons, the naturalness like physicality and warmth.

The test person with the absolute ear, who had tuned my drums to the nut in such a way several times, was extreme in his judgement: he said, the Yggdrasil makes music, the RME is able to present great measured values, only he doesn't sound as musical and excellent as the Yggdrasil.
The difference between the two dacs is that the Yggdrasil creates spaces from the information of the signals, while the RME operates one-dimensionally in the stereo base.
The RME initially impresses with the resolution, which is never able to create depth.
Furthermore the RME is annoying with a "metallic" sharp sound, which doesn't allow more than one hour of music.
We could all listen to the Yggdrasil for hours.

I was open without an end...if the RME had convinced me...the Yggdrasil would have left Ebay immediately. My son, 8 years young, said daddy, the RME doesn't sound good.
Voices scratch so...

He is right and has good ears.

To avoid misunderstandings: the RME is of course a good piece of technology for the money it costs and the features it offers.

Only because of excellent measured values to conclude that it is also the best DAC... is simply nonsense.

I recommend everyone to test properly in controlled environments. Measured system?
How do voices sound? Do cymbals sound like this? Is the room correct?
Which instruments (also voices) actually lead through the track?
How long can I listen without getting tired? Does the music pull me into the action? Can I assign instruments clearly in the stereo base as well as in the depth?
Furthermore it is with the hearing as with the tasting...you have to learn.

I say this without any value...I also had to learn over the years what sounds how and how good.
[email protected]: I have no idea how developed your hearing is. It is not tenable to try to derive a truth from pure measured values and a subjective, non-valid objective blind to blind classification via headphones.

I advise you to mistrust these "truths" and definitely let your own ear decide on the basis of clear criteria which I have mentioned.

So easy.

best

topazzo
 

Frank Dernie

Major Contributor
Patreon Donor
Joined
Mar 24, 2016
Messages
1,593
Likes
2,017
Location
Oxfordshire
Hi,
I came across this forum looking via google if I will find some reviews that will share my thoughts with the rem adi-2 dac. I have had the rme dac a week and still have the Yggdrasil dac at home.
to make it short.
I think that measurements do not tell the whole story about dac's. they may be a hint of what will happen, nothing more.
its all about listening. its about the musical performance. if a dac gets me involved into the music...thats matters to me.

the rme measures superb but does not sound superb.on the first listening you're overwhelmed by all the information you're getting. on the second and third listening I feel the dac does not have the ability to focus on the main musical structures...after 30 minutes my ears get tired...

if you listen to vocals you will understand what I mean.
if you have for example a good dac like the Yggdrasil side by side...its gonna be clear.
I would like to assume that a good chain is present and that the room is measured and thus heard via loudspeakers.

the rme has a very nice resolution but its character is a bit cold, metallic and flat. the rme does not have the ability to render a 3d soundstage.
everything remains flat with much information happening in the left-right stereo picture. the rme does not render the main musical ingredients.
In depth there is not much happening.
i have learned, that's a smart move, to judge a dac or musical equipment, how they render vocals.
if I take the rme I must say that vocals do not sound good. they are sharp, thin and have no warmth at all and miss body.
when I translate the vocal area to instruments, I see that instruments share the same character. coldness, sharpness....


now I'm coming to the Yggdrasil.

the Yggdrasil renders vocals beautiful. Vocals have a nice full body, warmth and they are never sharp, they never bother me
in the "desser" area. Vocals remain the leading instrument in a mix. Nothing in the stereo field distracts from the voice. The focus stays on the vocals. Instruments have all their clearly defined space and this is the reason the Yggdrasil can "3D".

the overall musical presentation is engaging and involving. I can listen to music with the Yggdrasil for hours...I have been listening a week to both dacs side by side.

to me, without a doubt, the much better dac is the Yggdrasil.
finally I will say, if the rme converter would be the better one, I wouldn't wait a second to sell the Yggdrasil.
btw the remote control is nice...but....

we had a weekend with friends. we had for 5 hours fun presenting the rme and the Yggdrasil in a blind testing.
guess what? the Yggdrasil was in every musical performance preferred. we had classical music, mercedes soza, r&b...andreas Vollenweider...jazz.

..........
a strange world today ...in the analog days with vinyls turntables....measurements were in focus and purchase decisions were made on this basis?
of course not...its all about sound...
.........
Ecouton LQL200 speakers, Ragnarok Amp, Audirvana with Dirac live or math audio RoomEQ, Project Stream Box S2 ultra.
It doesn’t surprise me.
Lots of People prefer the sound of equipment with audible levels of distortion and particularly kit with early treble roll off. Pickup cartridges and SET amplifiers, for example.
If a rolled off treble and a bit of euphoric distortion is found pleasing by somebody accuracy (high fidelity) won’t be their preference.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 7, 2019
Messages
15
Likes
2
We are no Hi-Fi enthusiasts. We are musicians, technicians with trained ears who know what sound is about.
 

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
20,104
Likes
23,337
Location
Seattle Area
My goodness, that's comprehensive. Other than omitting the most critical factors. Ah well.
My thoughts exactly. :)
 

SIY

Major Contributor
Technical Expert
Joined
Apr 6, 2018
Messages
2,718
Likes
4,639
Location
Phoenix, AZ
What critical factors?
Res ipsa loquitur.

Anyone who knows how to set up a proper DBT would be talking about the controls rather than the usual audiophile cant about albums, what instruments you play, and other extraneous commentary. Level matching procedure (critical and not trivial), blinding procedure (ditto), switching procedure (ditto). The fact that these didn't come first tells me that anything following on is questionable. 99% of the work is setting that stuff up and making sure it's correct. If I have to prompt you for that, then I already know, despite anything else you backfill, that it wasn't done correctly- if at all. This is amazingly common, I've dealt with this again and again over the years.
 

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
20,104
Likes
23,337
Location
Seattle Area
What critical factors?
1. Levels must be measured and matched. This will easily change the votes. Using level differential I can make any DAC regardless of cost/performance "sound better" than others.

2. You need to run enough tests to make sure these are not lucky guesses. I recommend at least 10 trials, getting 8 to 9 out of 10 right. I have routinely gotten 4 or even 5 trials right, only to be lost complete from then on, showing lucky guesses.

Here is an actual double blind test example I have run:

---

07:27:54 : Test started.
07:28:25 : 00/01 100.0%
07:28:40 : 00/02 100.0%
07:28:52 : 01/03 87.5%
07:29:04 : 02/04 68.8%
07:29:17 : 03/05 50.0%
07:29:38 : 04/06 34.4%
07:29:50 : 05/07 22.7%
07:30:35 : 05/08 36.3%
07:30:46 : 05/09 50.0%
07:31:02 : 06/10 37.7%
07:31:15 : 07/11 27.4%
07:31:27 : 08/12 19.4%
07:31:43 : 09/13 13.3%
07:31:52 : 10/14 9.0%
07:32:04 : 11/15 5.9%
07:32:15 : 12/16 3.8%
07:32:26 : 13/17 2.5%
07:32:39 : 13/18 4.8%
07:32:54 : 14/19 3.2%
07:33:06 : 15/20 2.1%
07:33:18 : 15/21 3.9%
07:33:41 : 15/22 6.7%
07:34:08 : 16/23 4.7%
07:34:16 : 17/24 3.2%
07:34:26 : 18/25 2.2%
07:34:38 : 19/26 1.4%
07:34:51 : 19/27 2.6%
07:35:05 : 19/28 4.4%
07:35:28 : 19/29 6.8%
07:35:39 : 19/30 10.0%
07:35:41 : Test finished.
----

Notice how I got 5 out of 7 right initially but then start to lose and the results never converged to 0% of chance I like to see. By 15 trials, it looks like I had it but then lost it again. And these are tests with provable differences, not what you were listening to.

3. You don't explain how the test was conducted blind even though you said it was.

4. Musicians have no better hearing ability than typical audiophiles with respect to kind of differences we are talking about. It is myth to assume just because someone plays music, they can hear these artifacts. Their ears are better than general public in other ways (e.g. hearing room reflections) but not in this regard. So please don't "appeal" to that.

When I say my ears are more discriminating, that comes from professional and formal training to hear non-linear distortions and countless double blind tests I have passed both professionally (i.e. my salary and job depended on being right) and socially (on forums). Until the listeners can demonstrate such skills, self-scoring yourself as having good ears unfortunately means nothing.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 7, 2019
Messages
15
Likes
2
Did I say anything about level matching? No, but I think it is needless to say, that we did level matching.
 

rmo

Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2018
Messages
53
Likes
38
It doesn’t surprise me.
Lots of Hi-Fi enthusiasts prefer the sound of equipment with audible levels of distortion and particularly kit with early treble roll off. Pickup cartridges and SET amplifiers, for example.
If a rolled off treble and a bit of euphoric distortion is found pleasing by somebody accuracy (high fidelity) won’t be their preference.
I would think that rolled off treble would be easier to listen to and there is some pleasing aspects of tube amplification, i will freely admit it.

My objective in listening to audio gear has always been to get it as close to live music as possible and we all know live music can have its own distortion possibilities.

Can't we like both the Ygddrasil and the RME for their own positives? I have both and like them both.
 
Joined
Feb 7, 2019
Messages
15
Likes
2
But you think amirm did beside his measurements a proper blind to blind test scenario before stating that the Yggdrasil is not the dac to buy, ....come on....
 

Frank Dernie

Major Contributor
Patreon Donor
Joined
Mar 24, 2016
Messages
1,593
Likes
2,017
Location
Oxfordshire
We are no Hi-Fi enthusiasts. We are musicians, technicians with trained ears who know what sound is about.
Well if you have done recordings for a long time you will recognise the effect. Rell-to-reel tape recorders have never been able to make a recording indistinguishable from the microphone feed, though the recordings sound nice because tape saturation sounds quite nice if you don’t go far and the inability to record high frequencies at high levels gives a more mellow tone.
Digital recorders have been capable of an output indistinguishable from the microphone feed for decades, as long as the levels are set correctly.
The digital recorder reproduces the microphone sound as it was picked up, the tape recorder adds distortion, soft clipping and attenuated loud top octaves and many people like this sound.
 

Frank Dernie

Major Contributor
Patreon Donor
Joined
Mar 24, 2016
Messages
1,593
Likes
2,017
Location
Oxfordshire
I would think that rolled off treble would be easier to listen to and there is some pleasing aspects of tube amplification, i will freely admit it.

My objective in listening to audio gear has always been to get it as close to live music as possible and we all know live music can have its own distortion possibilities.

Can't we like both the Ygddrasil and the RME for their own positives? I have both and like them both.
If you like something better it is better for you. No problem. I only take issue with the suggestion that the measurements don’t tell the whole story, they do, even when it is that some people prefer a bit of added distortion etc. Personally I generally prefer to try to reproduce what the artist and recording engineer released, not a modified version of it however euphonic, though I do have euphonic kit if I choose to do so...
 

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
20,104
Likes
23,337
Location
Seattle Area
I recommend everyone to test properly in controlled environments. Measured system?
How do voices sound? Do cymbals sound like this? Is the room correct?
Which instruments (also voices) actually lead through the track?
How long can I listen without getting tired? Does the music pull me into the action? Can I assign instruments clearly in the stereo base as well as in the depth?
Furthermore it is with the hearing as with the tasting...you have to learn.
Learning must be done. Not for us because we have the knowledge how to do these tests and those listening tests completely contradict yours.

You don't get a job to run medical trials just because you have been a patient. :) You need to understand the science and protocol about proper way to run tests before thinking you have. Likewise being an audiophile or musician doesn't make you good at hearing small differences.

The problem with audiophiles is that they always give themselves a grade of A in hearing differences. Can you imagine going to school and the professor telling you that you can give yourself grades??? For your statements to be right, you need to show your acuity on a reliable test and with proper protocol. "My musician friends and i got together and passed blind tests" does not remotely show that you have reliable hearing skills.

Here is an example test you can take to show us you do have good hearing acuity. https://ethanwiner.com/loop-back.htm

It is a piece of music that has gone through a DAC, then ADC, then back to DAC and so on. And on really bad DAC/ADC as audiophile standard go: a $25 Soundblaster X-Fi.

This is me finding the difference double blind with just one pass through DAC/ADC:
foo_abx 1.3.4 report
foobar2000 v1.3.2
2014/07/18 06:40:07

File A: C:\Users\Amir\Music\Ethan Soundblaster\sb20x_original.wav
File B: C:\Users\Amir\Music\Ethan Soundblaster\sb20x_pass1.wav

06:40:07 : Test started.
06:41:03 : 01/01 50.0%
06:41:16 : 02/02 25.0%
06:41:24 : 03/03 12.5%
06:41:33 : 04/04 6.3%
06:41:53 : 05/05 3.1%
06:42:02 : 06/06 1.6%
06:42:22 : 07/07 0.8%
06:42:34 : 08/08 0.4%
06:42:43 : 09/09 0.2%
06:42:56 : 10/10 0.1%
06:43:08 : 11/11 0.0%
06:43:16 : Test finished.

----------
Total: 11/11 (0.0%)

And of course with 20 loops:

foo_abx 1.3.4 report
foobar2000 v1.3.2
2014/07/18 05:38:16

File A: C:\Users\Amir\Music\Ethan Soundblaster\sb20x_original.wav
File B: C:\Users\Amir\Music\Ethan Soundblaster\sb20x_pass20.wav

05:38:16 : Test started.
05:39:05 : 00/01 100.0%
05:39:27 : 00/02 100.0%
05:39:44 : 01/03 87.5%
05:40:01 : 02/04 68.8%
05:40:18 : 02/05 81.3%
05:40:30 : 03/06 65.6%
05:40:58 : 04/07 50.0%
05:41:09 : 05/08 36.3%
05:41:19 : 06/09 25.4%
05:41:28 : 07/10 17.2%
05:41:38 : 08/11 11.3%
05:41:53 : 09/12 7.3%
05:42:02 : 10/13 4.6%
05:42:18 : 11/14 2.9%
05:42:29 : 12/15 1.8%
05:42:42 : 13/16 1.1%
05:42:53 : 14/17 0.6%
05:43:03 : 15/18 0.4%
05:43:16 : 16/19 0.2%
05:43:27 : 17/20 0.1%
05:43:40 : 18/21 0.1%
05:43:53 : 19/22 0.0%
05:43:58 : Test finished.

----------
Total: 19/22 (0.0%)

As you see, 0% of guessing.

Please take the test and let's see how you do. You need foobar, and its abx plug-in and that is it.
 

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
20,104
Likes
23,337
Location
Seattle Area
But you think amirm did beside his measurements a proper blind to blind test scenario before stating that the Yggdrasil is not the dac to buy, ....come on....
Measurements showed a clearly broken DAC implementation. 24 bit signals were being truncated instead of dithered, showing non-linearities. Post my review and measurements, Schitt fixed this and purchased a proper audio analyzer as I have.

The fact that you could not hear the distortions created that are objectively there and accepted by the manufacture, shows your hearing is poor on that front.

The mistake by Schiit was textbook signal processing error. It is something they teach you in DSP 101. And this was in a DAC sold for more than $2,000. This is why it was easy to recommend that people not purchase it. It was not well-engineered. That you can't hear the artifacts is not an excuse. Someone else might.
 

Similar threads

Top Bottom