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.
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