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Schiit Modius Balanced DAC Review

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Hope I didn’t miss this somewhere, but is the Modius similar to the Modi 3 in the way that it does not put out a variable volume?

I am currently using the internal DAC in my streamer and am looking to upgrade the DA conversion, ideally via DAC with balanced outputs, but still would like to control the volume from that streamer and the corresponding app.
If the Modius does that, i.e. take in and put out variable volumes, this would actually be very close to what I was looking for.
 

Theriverlethe

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Hope I didn’t miss this somewhere, but is the Modius similar to the Modi 3 in the way that it does not put out a variable volume?

I am currently using the internal DAC in my streamer and am looking to upgrade the DA conversion, ideally via DAC with balanced outputs, but still would like to control the volume from that streamer and the corresponding app.
If the Modius does that, i.e. take in and put out variable volumes, this would actually be very close to what I was looking for.
Why are you looking to “upgrade” the DA in your streamer? Like most standalone DAC’s, Modius does not have volume control, just line level (pro and consumer) outputs.
 
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The thing is an average joe like me can’t really hear the 2nd,3rd nth IMD distortion under normal listening volumes let alone the auditory masking involved when listening to music. Multibit stuff is the Schiit subjective realm and I’m pretty sure they’ll come up with SOTA measuring DAC that will serve as antithesis of Multibit stuff they have to cater the objectivist side. Better yet, they might do a ala Holo Audio May approach in that they will opt out of chip ladder to a discrete one for better measured performance. There’s still a lot of approach for Schiit to making their own SOTA performing DAC custom implemented (like Mola Mola or Chord) or simple/reference board design implementation with the latest off the shelf DS chips
There is no reason a discrete resistor ladder should give a better measured performance. In fact it should be the opposite, tight tolerance are easier to achieve on chip. Do you have exemples of discrete R2R dacs that measure well? If so it should be for other reasons that the fact that it's discrete, but would be happy to be proved wrong
 

solderdude

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Hope I didn’t miss this somewhere, but is the Modius similar to the Modi 3 in the way that it does not put out a variable volume?

I am currently using the internal DAC in my streamer and am looking to upgrade the DA conversion, ideally via DAC with balanced outputs, but still would like to control the volume from that streamer and the corresponding app.
If the Modius does that, i.e. take in and put out variable volumes, this would actually be very close to what I was looking for.
It is just a DAC without volume control. Similar in that aspect to the modi. You must control the volume with the stuff that feeds the DAC or the amp behind it.
The Modius is bigger in size and has more connectivity and much better USB implementation.
 
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Why are you looking to “upgrade” the DA in your streamer? Like most standalone DAC’s, Modius does not have volume control, just line level (pro and consumer) outputs.
Well essentially to enhance to sound quality. Thought an external solution would be beneficial. The DACs I used in my desktop setting, e.g. Dragonfly and FiiO, did give out variable
It is just a DAC without volume control. Similar in that aspect to the modi. You must control the volume with the stuff that feeds the DAC or the amp behind it.
The Modius is bigger in size and has more connectivity and much better USB implementation.
hi thanks for your reply. Probably obvious that I am new to this, but it was my understanding that anything that comes out of e.g. the Modi is fixed volume, so you need a volume control after the DAC. Maybe got this wrong...
Sure, these DACs don’t have a volume control but my question was if I can control the volume with stuff that feeds into it, which you answered. Still a bit confused about the remarks made about the Modi fixed output volume.
 

solderdude

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The Modi and Modius simply put out a voltage that is determined by he digital signal going into it. There is no 'up/down' or volume control knob.
Some DAC's also have a remote or other volume control or output level settings via a menu. These don't.

You can control the volume on the source (PC or whatever you connected to it) and/or with an amplifier connected to it.
 
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The Modi and Modius simply put out a voltage that is determined by he digital signal going into it. There is no 'up/down' or volume control knob.
Some DAC's also have a remote or other volume control or output level settings via a menu. These don't.

You can control the volume on the source (PC or whatever you connected to it) and/or with an amplifier connected to it.
Great, that’s perfect for me then :)
again, I do see that there is no volume control on the DAC! Also, I do not want one.
The question stems from me misunderstanding/someone making the comment that the Modi DAC flattens any input signal to a fixed volume output. So that the volume from the digital source was irrelevant for what eventually comes out of your speakers.

In any case, thanks for explaining this!
 

Theriverlethe

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Great, that’s perfect for me then :)
again, I do see that there is no volume control on the DAC! Also, I do not want one.
The question stems from me misunderstanding/someone making the comment that the Modi DAC flattens any input signal to a fixed volume output. So that the volume from the digital source was irrelevant for what eventually comes out of your speakers.

In any case, thanks for explaining this!
So you’re looking for a compressor or something like ReplayGain? I’m really confused now.
 

Theriverlethe

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For normal levels of IMD, I'd agree with you. But the Bifrost 2 19+20kHz IMD measurement shows distortion products -62dB down in one channel (and a couple dB better in the other). At those levels, distortion audibility is a realistic and valid concern, objectively speaking, even taking into account masking, etc.

I'm not just looking at charts. I've owned the Bifrost 2 and returned it. At least to me, it's subjectively audible.
It might be worthwhile to set up a blind test with Bifrost and say, a Lyr 3, to see if they're actually distinguishable from a from a more "transparent" combo. The null hypothesis has not been refuted to my satisfaction...
 
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Hi Amir, thanks for the review! When you measured the SPDIF did you use the dedicated power connector or the data port for power? I am wondering if the results would improve if the USB power adapter was used.
 
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I seem to recall live transcoding DSD to to PCM with Jriver on a Core 2 Duo without issues. I don't remember if it was 128, 256 or 512. I'll have to buy some DSD now to experiment...
I know - that sounds like something is wrong. Roon can playback 5.1 channels of DSD256 transcoded to PCM 24/192 on my Mac Mini without a hiccup.
 
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amirm

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Thread Starter #292
Hi Amir, thanks for the review! When you measured the SPDIF did you use the dedicated power connector or the data port for power? I am wondering if the results would improve if the USB power adapter was used.
I used the included USB adapter for all the tests. And no, I don't think using a different power source would make a difference.
 
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Can anyone seriously hear the difference between the top 10-20 DACs on ASR? Sure the M400 is measurably a bit superior and a hell lot more expensive but can anyone seriously hear the difference in a blind test?
Hearing what? Noise and distortion? Can't even be heard by most listeners at -90 dB anymore ;)
I personally look at the features of the product and especially want to know how it makes things sound.
Not liking the akm-dac velvel house sound that much - personally interested in the sound signature, tonality differences, how it handles transients etc. between Modius and the Soncoz LA-QXD1 using an ESS chip. The soncoz unit is the alternative here at $ 200.
The differences are surely small. Waiting for comments or reviews from someone with a nice pair of high-end headphones making a comparison ;)
Also the output stage, transformer etc. of the shiit is using higher quality parts?
So is the modius fully balanced and not supporting asio natively?

Well, to be forthright, the owners of this company are not simply interested in creating products with the highest SINAD. If certain customers create a demand we will fill it. There are people who claim there are audible differences and they are less inclined to believe that the lowest possible distortion is as important. So we make things for them as well.

What we are trying to do now is create products for everyone. Schiit will be producing many more items that satiate your palate. Count on it.
That's cool!
At the end the whole implementation, not just the dac-chip alone and the distortion "makes" the sound.
Don't only go down the road which are smls and topping are doing with their flagship products right now - not only the dacs but also the amps. Cleverly increasing their profits by doing the "battle of distortion & noise", cater for very specific clients looking at measurements only, increasing their profit by doing so.
It's their marketing and advertising plan. Well, at least it has good side effects :)
 

Jimster480

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I guess the Geshelli ENOG PRO 2 was a western company selling a top quintile DAC last year. I guess this is a little better though.
I would have one if it had USB. If they come out with a new model that has USB then I will probably get it.
Still pretty happy with my Topping DX7 for the past 3 years... so I am in no hurry to replace it.
 

Angsty

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There is no reason a discrete resistor ladder should give a better measured performance. In fact it should be the opposite, tight tolerance are easier to achieve on chip. Do you have exemples of discrete R2R dacs that measure well? If so it should be for other reasons that the fact that it's discrete, but would be happy to be proved wrong
The Denafrips Ares measured fairly well on ASR, but as their entry-level DAC, I’d expect the more expensive ones with better specs to measure better.
 

McFly

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Did anyone establish if this DAC is a minimum phase or linear phase filter? I suspect it’s not the mega combo burrito or whatever they used in the higher level dacs
 

GPJ

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Wish Schiit would make a limited run of DSD DAC's. I would pay the extra for the license.

The black Asgard / Modius stack is stunning IMO.

Much better than my SMSL SP200 / M200 ...... not quite there in the looks dept ....
 
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