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Schiit announce $249 Modi Multibit DAC

  • The guys from Schiit Audio have been doing the multi-bit DAC thing for a good couple years now. First came the top of the line Yggdrasil DAC, then multi-bit takes on the Gungnir (which I rate VERY highly) and the Bifrost.

    According to Schiit, “Multibit DACs differ from the vast majority of DACs in that they use true 16-20 bit D/A converters that can reproduce the exact level of every digital audio sample. Most DACs use inexpensive delta-sigma technology with a bit depth of only 1-5 bits to approximate the level of every digital audio sample, based on the values of the samples that precede and follow it.” 

    Moffat refers to this as the “Burrito” filter (nope, me neither).

    Move down Schiit’s multibit range and you’ll note an ever-so-slight drift away from third-eye neutrality in favour of a little euphony. Nothing wrong with that.

    Not that Schiit are wedded to any one topology – delta-sigma versions of the Gungnir and Bifrost are available for fewer dollars than their multi-bit variants.

    schiit-modi-multibit - 2

    Now comes the Californian company’s most affordable multi-bit DAC to date: the Modi Multibit. Yours for US$249. That’s some cheap-ass multi-bit Schiit.

    “Modi Multibit smashes the price barrier in advanced multibit DACs,” says Mike Moffat, Schiit’s Co-Founder (aka Number 2) and head of digital development. “It is the most affordable multibit DAC built on a modern architecture—from any manufacturer, in any country in the world.”

    The new baby model sees Schiit’s closed-form digital filter – one that crucially doesn’t junk the original samples – running at 4x on an Analog Devices SHARC DSP processor.

    Digital inputs number three – USB, coaxial and TOSLINK – with the D/A conversion executed by an Analog Devices AD5547CRUZ – not your usual off-the-shelf DAC but a medical/military grade chip that is “specified down to 1/2LSB linearity”.

    The Multibit Modi’s filter is the same “Burrito” version used in the Multibit Bifrost. Modi also shares the same circuit design as the Multibit Bifrost. In fact, power supply and modularity aside, the Multibit Modi is a Multibit Bifrost squeezed into a smaller chassis for half the asking price. Impressive.

    Mike Moffat and Jason Stoddard once again prove their worthiness as the audio world’s ‘Kings of Value’. So far, so Head-Fi. If and when they start spilling with more affordable loudspeaker amplifiers (and similar), the entry-level scene will enjoy/endure further disruption. Long may they reign.

    The Modi Multibit is made in the USA and is schiipping now.

    Further information: Schiit Audio

    John Darko

    Written by John Darko

    John currently lives in Berlin where creates videos and podcasts and pens written pieces for Darko.Audio. He has also contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

    Follow John on YouTube or Instagram


    1. Cool 🙂

      I wonder if AD5547CRUZ is used in Cruise missiles? “Finds targets within 1/2 LSB accuracy.”

    2. I’d be curious to hear how close that baby turd is to the bigger logs.
      Like the Mojo sounding very close to the Hugo for a fraction of the price?
      In any case very commendable (unless of course it sounds like shit)

      • isn’t it the goal for this device to sound like schiit?

        doubt that mojo and it would overlap as as this neither has an headphone out nor (trans)portability but should offer red bookers a fun alternative.

    3. John

      Does this address the jitter over USB and S/PDIF or do I still need to clean these up with reclockers ?

      (still waiting on the release of iFi Audio’s S/PDIF iPurifier)


      • Yup, a USB reclocker will quite probably take the Modi’s performance up a notch.

        • That would probably be true for Bifrost too, correct? Only Gugnir/Yggradrasil have reclockers, AFAICT.

          • I *think* so. Of the top of my head, I think the Yggy has Schiit’s Gen 3 USB.

    4. Glad to hear schiit may be working on additional stereo amps. I would have bought the Ragnarok if it had a remote control.

        • Jason Stoddard has specifically stated in an audio forum that they are working on Preamps and Amplifier’s for 2 channel (good old-fashioned stereos- with speakers!). Jason is promising much more power than the Ragnarok (which is an awesome sounding amp), and has hinted at more flexibility of control (remote).

          • Stereophile’s measurements of the Ragnarok has shied me away from it. Don’t get me wrong I am not a measurements only guy, but the inconsistencies found by John Atkinson lead me to believe that the Ragnarok is a bit of an incomplete project (given the novelty of the design) and needs a bit more work. I am glad to hear that they are forging ahead with updated/new designs…

    5. Question from a total noob, is the extra US$100 for the Multibit worth it? What does the multibit provide, better soundstage, better seperation???…

      New to all this so trying to figure things out sometimes makes the head spin!

      • I’m not sure as I’ve not heard it yet. However, my experience with several iterations of the Bifrost suggests the Multbit offers better tonality and greater immersion.

      • I have the Modi Uber, and of the DAC’s I have tried in my system(s) I rank it at the bottom of the pile. It has more “digititus” (particularly that unnatural on/off quality around transients) than any other DAC I have ever tried at any price level. I am perplexed that it is recommended so often as an entry level DAC, given that their are others in the same price range that have a much better sound, though perhaps I have a bad sample.

        I assume that this new multibit model can bring some of that good Schiit sound found in the higher model lines…

    6. Love the Schiit approach. Innovate, and trickle down the innovation.
      Plus they and iFi regularly put out relative inexpensive components with very good sound. Pretty much anyone can afford a $249 DAC. I’d be tempted to get one just out of curiosity and as a 2nd dac.

    7. Yeah, there it is! Nice to see that this `think different` kind of Digital-to-Analog tech has made it to this pricepoint. Another fine piece of Schiit Audio tech, can`t wait to buy en listen. My digital-audiofiles might even `sound different`. (better… and all that)

    8. Own a Bifrost Multibit for 8 months now. The tonality of Schiit DACs that are based on their Multibit architecture could be characterized as being neutral & “accurate”. It is neither analytical nor artificially “warm” sounding; vocals and instrument timbre just sound right. There are plenty of write-ups/impressions/discussions at on Schiit DACs that utilize their proprietary “burrito” filter. For being priced at $249, I do believe this made in U.S.A Modi MB will be a game changer. If not, it certainly will give many run-of-the-mill delta-sigma DACs a good run for the money.

    9. There’s a lot I find refreshing about Schiit, from their sense of humor to their “DACs for the music you have, not the music you have to buy” approach. Problem is, I’m a single integrated DAC/headamp (no, Fulla doesn’t quite count) kinda guy these days. Wish they come out with something for me in the coming years.

    10. What would be an ideal way to stream to this? In terms of similar pricing- it seems there’s a gap in the market.

      • Sonicorbiter SE at US$299 would get my vote. Failing that, and as long as you can tolerate an absence of gapless playback, a Google Chromecast Audio w/ iFi S/PDIF iPurifier – the two should come in under 200 clams.

    The inconvenient truth about vinyl

    High-end future-fi: Devialet’s Expert Pro 1000