Who makes the best value DACs in the world today? No stronger case could be made than for California’s Schiit Audio whose range of decoders mixes multibit with delta-sigma designs across a broad spectrum of price points. Their flagship Analog 2 Yggdrasil (US$2399) reminds us that high value can also be among multi-thousand dollar audio components.
At the opposite end of their DAC range sits the Modi, which today officially steps out as a third generation budget decoder to put a bullet in the Modi 2 and Modi 2 Uber.
For the Modi 3, Schiit has upped the delta-sigma decoder silicon to the 24bit/192kHz-capable AKM AK4490 which in turn hands off to a DC-coupled output stage.
The biggest change relate to connectivity. The Modi 3 adds TOSLINK and coaxial to the previous version’s USB-only design to say hello to TVs, Chromecast Audios and games consoles – as per the Modi 2 Uber – but drops the price to US$99.
And that new S/PDIF socketry calls for an external power source. Go with USB from a computer or use the supplied wall-wart and microUSB cable that additionally enables the Modi 3 talk to smartphones and tablets without iOS or Android complaining about too much power draw.
Mike Moffat Schiit’s co-founder and chief digital designer drives the progress point home via the Modi 3’s press release:
“The original Modi in 2012 was a USB-only DAC that worked only up to 24/96 and provided only 1.5V RMS output due to its simple USB power supply. Now, Modi 3 gives you three switchable digital inputs, a better D/A converter, 24/192 capability, a dual rail power supply and full 2.0V RMS output—and we included a wall-wart and a USB cable, for the same price as the original Modi.”
Schiit doesn’t sit on its hands. Moffat and Jason Stoddard develop and redevelop products so that they not only earn a reputation for high value but also maintain that reputation. When it comes to bang for buck, Schiit’s competition largely lives in their rear-view mirror.
Further information: Schiit Audio
Photos: Lee Shelly