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Schiit Modi 3+ Review (Stereo DAC)

Trevor

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Both perform at a high level and are well beyond audible differences. Get the one that looks better, or has a better story, etc.

What about transients? The measurements seem to be made mostly on steady-state behavior which would not capture how well two different DACs reproduce transient sounds. Or am I missing something? I mean, even two linear systems could have the same frequency spectrum measurements but differ in the phase response which shows up as a different transient response. Thank you for your advice on this because I've been wondering about it.
 

JSmith

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Schiit should support DSD if they want to compete with Chinese brands. Same with JDS Labs.
Yeah agree, there is just not enough on offer with this unit for the price... totally hate their design too with silly symbols for things instead of words.



JSmith
 

ClosDeLaRoche

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To other Modi 3+ owners: in Window's Sound Settings, do you see a bunch of spaces after "Modi 3+"? It looks like this for me:
(Modi 3+____________________________) but those underscores are just spaces.

Not a huge deal but weird.
 

KTN46

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To other Modi 3+ owners: in Window's Sound Settings, do you see a bunch of spaces after "Modi 3+"? It looks like this for me:
(Modi 3+____________________________) but those underscores are just spaces.

Not a huge deal but weird.

My Modius is like this as well.
 

Jahn Ghalt

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A few comments - "late" - so it goes.

I've been entertaining myself with Schiit "propaganda" for about 1-1/2 years

(VERY entertaining)

But also far more than merely "entertaining".

As a former musician (Violin, Piano), current engineer (BSEE, overpaid), former audio dealer (never made any money), who admittedly never grasped digital filters (what do you expect in ten short weeks?) but DID totally get active filters (easy) and struggled with passive filter synthesis I can say that Schiit Audio is unusual, almost unique, in that they DO NOT RING MY B#LL$#!T DETECTORS.

(let me add that Dark Lord, before getting cut off, was entertaining in a very different way - thanks for not deleting his insults)

(still laughing, BTW)

Now for a few comments on earlier comments/questions:

#154
<i>Does any company have enough customers??</i>

Stoddard and Moffat seem to be "having the time of their lives" - they get to play (developing new products) are hands-off managers (they have hired folks to "manage"), they pay well, and do not demand strict, by-the-clock, working practices. I'd bet a large sum that they pay assemblers on a piece-work basis.

Reading Stoddard "Schitt Happened" book and his continuing thread on head-fi shows a focus on fun and unconventional business practices.

SO - they (he) don't (doesn't) seem to care about having "enough customers".

They just expanded to Corpus in Tejas - so it looks like the bills are getting more than paid.


About DSD and MQA - they are focused on the 99% (really 99.9%) of digital music out there - and make no bones about it. Zero Support for DSD, SACD, MQA.

(you CAN plug your SACD player SPDIF output into any of their DAC's - from a $79 closeout Modi to the $2000+ "Yggie")

This leads to the one of the initial comments:

#1 "the USB implementation has been replaced by Schiit's own design. I am assuming there is some cost saving there as otherwise I don't see the reason for reinventing the wheel there."

Some here have already disabused the notion that two-years R and D suggests "cost saving", but let developer Mike Moffat's openly stated reason address "reinventing the wheel"

"USB sounded like F****** ass"

see the embedded youtube video here:

https://darklantern.proboards.com/thread/1315/schiit-audio-jason-stoddard-moffat

It seems plain that Moffat does not subscribe to a narrow view of science - that he doesn't EXCLUDE open, repeatable, observation.

(aka "listening")

(there also seems to be a tendency here to conflate "observation" with "opinion". I just got here - so I may modify this observation)

Moffat DOES use the usual tools available to any designer. One example: the noise spec for the 6DJ8 - much quieter than the commonly-used 12AX7.

Moffat claims that the 6DJ8 was regarded as a "video tube" and that he was the first to use it in a commercially available preamp by his company, Theta Audio circa 1979.

30-40 years later, when the developer is happy with measured and sonic performance, the prototype "makes the rounds" - each of several listeners give the device a tryout - all not commenting until everyone gets a chance at it. I don't recall if the subsequent note-comparing will drive further development.

Stoddard has also commented on doing level-matched comparisons of devices - stating that the differences are difficult to detect.

Schiit is scupulous about not expressing "preferences" - or ranking producs - or commenting on other companies' products.

Stoddard does "admit" that the DAC in his personal rig in not the high-priced one - stating that he prefers the colorations (my use of the 1970s term) of a less costly DAC.

Lord know he has options - a current count yields seven different DAC's.
 

guildenstern

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I have a problem with a new Schiit Modi 3+ DAC. I use an Allo DigiOne as Roon streaming device which is connected with Coax to the Modi 3+. Within Roon i got some sort of ground hum on the beginning of a track if I switch from an 16/44 track file to a HI-RES file and vice versa. Please someone have an advice to solve the problem?
So, I had a similar problem--and I think you and I both posted about this on the Steve Hoffman forum. Anyway, in case it's of interest to ASR members, with my Modi 3+, using either coax or optical inputs, when switching from 44.1 kHz tracks to high-res tracks, the Modi 3+ made a significant "pop" sound through the headphones. This popping sound occurred only on coax or optical, not on USB, which worked fine. And to be clear, this is an electrical sound that interrupts the audio signal, not the mechanical sound of a relay in the DAC.

The source feeding the Modi 3+ was a Bluesound Node 2 streamer. Using this same source feeding other DACS (including an older Modi 3, not the current "plus" version), there was no popping sound when switching from 44.1 kHz tracks to high-res tracks.

I listened to the Bluesound Node 2 directly through its headphone output, and also from it's analog audio output--no popping noise when switching from CD-res to high-res. Going back to the Node 2 feeding the Modi 3+ via coax, I tried switching between "fixed volume" and "variable volume" on the Node 2 settings, but no difference. I tried switching the Node's "Audio clock trim" setting on and off, but again no difference. And I tried using different coax cables--no difference.

When I reported the problem to Schiit, they promptly sent me a new Modi 3+ and provided a prepaid shipping label for the return of the one I bought. This second Modi 3+ made the same popping when switching from 44.1 kHz tracks to high-res tracks. Schiit told me I could send it back for repair. I did, and received it back with a "board swap" and a "Post Repair Checklist" stating "Unit is 100%." Did the repair work? Alas, no--just as before, everything sounded fine via USB but when used with coax or optical output from Bluesound Node 2, there was still a popping noise when switching from CD-res to high-res tracks.

I'm really curious about what's going on. Why does my older Modi 3 work fine with the Bluesound Node 2 but three units of the Modi 3+ all made the popping sound when switching from 44.1 kHz to high-res? In moving from the Modi 3 to the 3+, Schiit changed to Unison USB, and they say "we also tweaked it a bit to improve performance even further." What "tweak" could result in this popping sound on the newer Modi 3+? Is this popping sound a strange interaction peculiar to the Modi 3+ and the Bluesound Node via coax/optical (and to enricoh's Allo DigiOne as well)? Or have other users experienced this popping problem using other sources feeding the 3+?

If anyone wants to respond, please understand that I'm not Schiit-bashing here. They have been very fair and helpful. To Schiit's credit, they allowed me to return the Modi 3+ for a full refund. I really hoped they could figure out the problem because the Modi 3+ is a great-sounding little DAC.
 
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Veri

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I'm really curious about what's going on. Why does my older Modi 3 work fine with the Bluesound Node 2 but three units of the Modi 3+ all made the popping sound when switching from 44.1 kHz to high-res? In moving from the Modi 3 to the 3+, Schiit changed to Unison USB, and they say "we also tweaked it a bit to improve performance even further." What "tweak" could result in this popping sound on the newer Modi 3+? Is this popping sound a strange interaction peculiar to the Modi 3+ and the Bluesound Node via coax/optical (and to enricoh's Allo DigiOne as well)? Or have other users experienced this popping problem using other sources feeding the 3+?

If anyone wants to respond, please understand that I'm not Schiit-bashing here. They have been very fair and helpful. To Schiit's credit, they allowed me to return the Modi 3+ for a full refund. I really hoped they could figure out the problem because the Modi 3+ is a great-sounding little DAC.
Before, they used a "tried and true" typical interface, I believe going forward with Unison they are using something in-house developed, and I suppose it's likely it has some bugs/kinks they will need to improve in the future. That's my conjecture, at least.
 

guildenstern

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Before, they used a "tried and true" typical interface, I believe going forward with Unison they are using something in-house developed, and I suppose it's likely it has some bugs/kinks they will need to improve in the future. That's my conjecture, at least.
Thanks for the reply, though in this case it's not Schiit's Unison USB that's the problem -- in my experience, the Modi 3+ worked fine and sounded great via USB -- the popping when switching from 44.1 to high-res occurred only via coax and optical. That's why I'm wondering if others have experienced the same problem with the Modi 3+, or if it comes down to a peculiar interaction between the 3+ and the Bluesound Node streamer.
 

Veri

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Thanks for the reply, though in this case it's not Schiit's Unison USB that's the problem -- in my experience, the Modi 3+ worked fine and sounded great via USB -- the popping when switching from 44.1 to high-res occurred only via coax and optical. That's why I'm wondering if others have experienced the same problem with the Modi 3+, or if it comes down to a peculiar interaction between the 3+ and the Bluesound Node streamer.
I looked into it and both Modi3 and Modi3+ should use the same AKM 4113 s/pdif receiver for coaxical and optical according to the specs, only USB changed there. So quite peculiar you run into issues with the 3+ and not the 3 :/ hmm.
 

guildenstern

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I looked into it and both Modi3 and Modi3+ should use the same AKM 4113 s/pdif receiver for coaxical and optical according to the specs, only USB changed there. So quite peculiar you run into issues with the 3+ and not the 3 :/ hmm.
Thanks for that interesting and helpful research--yes, "hmm" indeed! When using my Modi 3+, I carefully checked and double-checked various configurations, leading me to these possible conclusions:
(a) There was something faulty in all three specific Modi 3+ DACs that I tried.
or
(b) There's something strange going on in the specific interaction between the Modi 3+ and the Bluesound Node 2.

I was leaning to (b), as a user on the Steve Hoffman forum reported the same problem with his Modi 3+ with Bluesound Node as source. But then there's ASR member enricoh who (in post #197 in this thread) says that he has experienced the same or similar problem when using the Modi 3+ with his Allo DigiOne.

shakespearelove-itsmystery.gif
 

3rdShift

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Could it be something the Bluesound Node 1, 2 and Allo DigiOne share in common?

I have no idea if it's possible, just something that crossed my mind when reading the last few posts.
 

guildenstern

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Could it be something the Bluesound Node 1, 2 and Allo DigiOne share in common?
That's a possibility, and I wish I had samples of all the gear and a mad-audio-scientist lab (and the know-how) to poke and pry into the inner workings. As it stands, I only have the Bluesound Node 2 on hand (two of them, and I tried both). As I mentioned in my earlier post (#207), I tried the Node 2's coax and optical outputs not only with the Modi 3+ but with other DACs as well, including an older Modi 3 (not the new "plus" version) and a Schiit Modius. Of all those combinations, only the Node 2 with the Modi 3+ resulted in the popping sound when switching from 44.1 to high-res. Still a mystery!
 
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oneils

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I just bought one of these. Should be getting it today.

For Canuckians like me, its around 125 $CAD, plus $28CAD for shipping (international economy), and $27 in import duties (probably HST - I am in ON).

So a total of around $180 CAD for the Schiit Modi.

The Topping D10s is going for $140 CAD plus HST on amazon.ca. Free shipping. So that would be around $160 CAD, in total.

I don't know what stock of the D10s is like, maybe its in and out of stock. And the modi seems to be the one thing Schiit has in regular stock that can be shipped out immediately. So there is that to consider too.

I guess I am just commenting on price and availability of the two units, in Canada.
 

Nick_L

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here was something faulty in all three specific Mo
That's a possibility, and I wish I had samples of all the gear and a mad-audio-scientist lab (and the know-how) to poke and pry into the inner workings. As it stands, I only have the Bluesound Node 2 on hand (two of them, and I tried both). As I mentioned in my earlier post (#207), I tried the Node 2's coax and optical outputs not only with the Modi 3+ but with other DACs as well, including an older Modi 3 (not the new "plus" version) and a Schiit Modius. Of all those combinations, only the Node 2 with the Modi 3+ resulted in the popping sound when switching from 44.1 to high-res. Still a mystery!

I have the same issue with a Logitech Squeezebox Touch and my new Modi 3+. Schiit support mentioned the relay but I agree with @guildenstern - it is an electrical sound.

I asked Schiit for an upgrade but they only mentioned the muting relay - I think I have to live with it...

Cheers
Nick
 
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