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Schiit Modi+ DAC Review

Rate this DAC:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 4 1.7%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 9 3.8%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther

    Votes: 144 60.8%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 80 33.8%

  • Total voters
    237

Robbo99999

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So, Amir, this confuses me a bit. Then does the JDS Atom+ have 32 bit selections? (While I'm not taking advantage of that now, I thought might be useful for purchased hi-res track playback down the road. I'm not into MQA in any way, but I thought having a DAC that went up to 32 bits would be a good thing.)
Re purchasing a DAC that has the ability to set varying bit depths from say 32bit down to 16bit - then the most value of having a DAC that can do say 24bit or 32bit is that when you set your operating system (or playback device) to 24bit or 32bit then when you use digital volume control you won't really lose any noticeable dynamic range when running at low digital volumes - I dunno say 5% on your Windows volume control. With a DAC you'd always want to run it at it's greatest bit depth so that you lose less or practically zero dynamic range when using digital volume control. Most DACS support 32bit, just run them at that. In terms of purchasing recordings, there's no advantage of anything beyond 44kHz/16bit - that's a seperate story to the digital volume control scenario I mentioned where you'd set your DAC to run 32bit: there's nothing wrong with setting your DAC to 32bit when playing 16bit music.....it just enables you to use digital volume control without losing dynamic range from the original recording. Where the dividing line is that makes audible vs inaudible is up for debate, but suffice to say if you set your DAC at 32bit then you don't need to worry about losing dynamic range when using digital volume control.
 

Doodski

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So, Amir, this confuses me a bit. Then does the JDS Atom+ have 32 bit selections? (While I'm not taking advantage of that now, I thought might be useful for purchased hi-res track playback down the road. I'm not into MQA in any way, but I thought having a DAC that went up to 32 bits would be a good thing.)
Here is my setting for my JDS Labs Atom DAC +.
zzzzzzzzz dac+.png
 
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Doodski

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To be honest and with all respects, i find metal cases for devices for which they aren't necessary the most overrated feature ever.
Plastics have come a long way since they were perceived as a cheap, ugly and underperforming replacement for metal and if aluminum cases are forcing producers to make compromises in other departments it would be a shame (i don't know if this is the case, just inferred from amir statement). I have the feeling that the preference for metal cases is just a consequence of the average age of the audio hobbyists or an extension of what can be true for amplifiers or other things. My 2c.
I have the Schiit Heresy and the JDS Labs Atom DAC+ with the plastic case and the plastic case does it's job. No issues, does not run hot and no weird RF issues etc. I think the plastic case is great. It's just a USD $109 DAC that is great value for the dollar. I don't have any issues with cables weighing down the DAC or moving it around but I did purchase the 6" RCA cables from JDS Labs and that makes everything hold together better than without the cables. :D
 

mdsimon2

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Re purchasing a DAC that has the ability to set varying bit depths from say 32bit down to 16bit - then the most value of having a DAC that can do say 24bit or 32bit is that when you set your operating system (or playback device) to 24bit or 32bit then when you use digital volume control you won't really lose any noticeable dynamic range when running at low digital volumes - I dunno say 5% on your Windows volume control. With a DAC you'd always want to run it at it's greatest bit depth so that you lose less or practically zero dynamic range when using digital volume control. Most DACS support 32bit, just run them at that. In terms of purchasing recordings, there's no advantage of anything beyond 44kHz/16bit - that's a seperate story to the digital volume control scenario I mentioned where you'd set your DAC to run 32bit: there's nothing wrong with setting your DAC to 32bit when playing 16bit music.....it just enables you to use digital volume control without losing dynamic range from the original recording. Where the dividing line is that makes audible vs inaudible is up for debate, but suffice to say if you set your DAC at 32bit then you don't need to worry about losing dynamic range when using digital volume control.

Even with a 24 or 32 bit DAC you will still lose dynamic range if you use digital volume control. A 24 or 32 bit DAC will reduce quantization noise associated with digital volume control but because the analog noise level at the DAC output is constant reducing the signal level will by definition reduce dynamic range. Also important to note that no DAC can actually achieve the equivalent of 24 bit dynamic range as a result of the inherent noise at the DAC output.

Michael
 
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amirm

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To be honest and with all respects, i find metal cases for devices for which they aren't necessary the most overrated feature ever.
You need fair amount of heft to keep the box in place with the cables dangling from the back of it. If it is too light the cables can tug and cause it to potentially fall on the floor. With a plastic case, it might chip, etc. Since it can be done at such low retail prices, I see no reason to not have it until we move below $100 mark.
 

Labjr

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Maybe they should make a "Black Hole Edition" with gravity so strong even EMI can't escape.
 
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amirm

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Here is my setting for my JDS Labs Atom DAC +.
View attachment 246097
If you don't use ASIO or Wasapi exclusive where the above is bypassed, those settings are forcing the OS to upsample everything to 384 kHz. Since most content is 44.1 kHz, best approach is to use that sample rate with 32 bit wide samples.
 

Doodski

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If you don't use ASIO or Wasapi exclusive where the above is bypassed, those settings are forcing the OS to upsample everything to 384 kHz. Since most content is 44.1 kHz, best approach is to use that sample rate with 32 bit wide samples.
OK. Changed back to 44.1 - Thank you @amirm for the heads up on that recommendation. :D
 

bboris77

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You need fair amount of heft to keep the box in place with the cables dangling from the back of it. If it is too light the cables can tug and cause it to potentially fall on the floor. With a plastic case, it might chip, etc. Since it can be done at such low retail prices, I see no reason to not have it until we move below $100 mar
Agreed 100% with extra heft being essential for headphone amps as one is always adjusting the volume and especially when unplugging headphones. However, aluminum cases are very light, and may not be much heavier than certain types of plastics. Do you know if the current revision of the Modi is made out of steel or aluminum?
 

Doodski

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Robbo99999

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Even with a 24 or 32 bit DAC you will still lose dynamic range if you use digital volume control. A 24 or 32 bit DAC will reduce quantization noise associated with digital volume control but because the analog noise level at the DAC output is constant reducing the signal level will by definition reduce dynamic range. Also important to note that no DAC can actually achieve the equivalent of 24 bit dynamic range as a result of the inherent noise at the DAC output.

Michael
Yes, I probably didn't explain that well enough, given that I don't understand it at the lowest most detailed level. My understanding is that it allows the range & detail of "volume steppings" within the recording to be retained (if that's the right kind of term), although I agree the noise floor remains the same, which is the main limitation with digital volume control.
 

Doodski

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Plastic cases, not the best for shielding, really.
I have mine 5" from my PC desktop power supply, 2.5" from the AC power bar and no issues. It just does what it is supposed to do. :D No balanced terminations required.
 

don'ttrustauthority

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In this case it isn't about the cost. Schiit doesn't support/agrees with the format, just like MQA.
I think they object to the idea you can be forced to pay, it's not the money. But it's not the format itself, it's just that it requires PERMISSION to use.
 

don'ttrustauthority

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To be honest and with all respects, i find metal cases for devices for which they aren't necessary the most overrated feature ever.
Plastics have come a long way since they were perceived as a cheap, ugly and underperforming replacement for metal and if aluminum cases are forcing producers to make compromises in other departments it would be a shame (i don't know if this is the case, just inferred from amir statement). I have the feeling that the preference for metal cases is just a consequence of the average age of the audio hobbyists or an extension of what can be true for amplifiers or other things. My 2c.
So, you object to Schiit responding to market forces by putting a metal case in, versus improving SINAD x db?

I guess you don't understand how markets work.

If Schiit did this, they would sell LESS because DEMAND for this is low, vs. demand for metal case which is relatively HIGHER for most people than a few db sinad.

You value sound. Others value touch and sight.

DACs perform more than a function of translating bits.
 

MarcosCh

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So, you object to Schiit responding to market forces by putting a metal case in, versus improving SINAD x db?

I guess you don't understand how markets work.

If Schiit did this, they would sell LESS because DEMAND for this is low, vs. demand for metal case which is relatively HIGHER for most people than a few db sinad.

You value sound. Others value touch and sight.

DACs perform more than a function of translating bits.
My comment was exclusively about plastic vs metal.
 

confucius_zero

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So being made in USA and providing customer services gives it 50 bonus sinad performance points over the competition?
 
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