Feb 27, 201978 views

DAC Help (Bifrost MB, Gungnir MB, SMSL SU8)

How’s it going friends! I’m fairly new and I’m looking to upgrade my DAC capability. After primarily using the idsd nano BL for my 660s, I missed the THX 789 drop twice which led me to getting the Jot with the Dac option. I’ve been running this with the HD800S’s for awhile now and I want to get a dedicated Dac for my setup. I know the 3 mentioned above are all fairly different price ranges. So I came for some advice
  • Has anybody paired any of the above 3 with the Jot? If so, how do they sound?
  • With the Jot and the 800S, am I likely to hear great improvements with each one (I know some of this depends on my own ears and critical listening) but I think you all understand what I’m asking... Is there a lot of room for improvement DAC wise with any of these over the others
  • Lastly, is the Jot a good enough amp to actually benefit from the SMSL D1?
Any guidance or advice is more than welcome! Thanks guys!

I've owned the Jot as my primary Solid State amp for several months now. To respond to your third question, it's definitely a good enough amp to bring out the quality of the other devices in the chain, DAC included. While you'll hear people who are certain they can hear the difference between DACs, my experience is that, short of fixing some problem in the implementation of another DAC that introduces audible noise, upgrading a DAC provides some of the least bang for the buck in the audio chain. Lots of blind A/B tests come to the same conclusion. The reason to upgrade a DAC is really its features, rather than sound quality. I think your decision to go with the least expensive option in your list is a good call. If you didn't try it, you'd always have a nagging doubt, and this way you'll be able to test for yourself and draw your own conclusions - always the most valuable kind.
Love your train of thought as it pertains to Dacs and what we can actually hear. You were on the money as far as the jotunheim also. I got the SU8 in the mail yesterday and got it hooked up to the jotunheim. I’m a very happy camper and I’m glad I didn’t jump off of the ledge (yet) for the Gumby. The sound is beautiful! Very happy with the SU8
Excellent! When it comes to DACS, a lot of the more reputable Chi-fi stuff (Topping, SMSL, etc.) is very good performing and a great value. Glad to hear it worked out!
Haven't heard any of them but most modern DAC's measure similar (if you take into account the threshold for hearing). Some sites I won't mention because of the Tribal BS that occurs with some of their followers often points out linearity issues at borderline inaudible levels. Go with the features you need, worry about the sound later. When it comes to multi-bit DAC's I wouldn't go with a cheap one, expensive to pull off correctly (aka skip bifrost and go gungnir). The Gumby was on my DAC upgrade list for a long time but feature set has since bumped it off the list. I would go SMSL for the budget win or Gumby if you want to try out multi-bit.
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Ah! That makes perfect sense! Sounds like you’ve got your setup pretty squared away. Took your advice. The SMSL came in the mail yesterday along with the XLR cables to hook up to the jotunheim. I definitely see the improvement and I’m super happy with the purchase! Actually glad to have saved 1k for the time being lol. We’ll see when the itch for something new hits but the sound and performance is MORE than sufficient right now. Thank you again!
You are most welcome, glad I could help out. Upgraditis never truly goes away, just goes dormant for an indeterminate time!