Death of the Modi

billfort

Administrator
Staff member
#41
I’d consider an iFi DAC like the Nano ($200) or Micro ($350). They sound great, have a nice headphone amp built-in, can be used portably and can play every format including DSD. Digital is a rapidly changing field and there is a LOT that can be tried with a computer attached - options are good, and IMO these have the ‘right’ options.

It’s easy to blow-off DSD if you only consider it an issue for music in that format, but there is other nuggets down that path (like on-the-fly conversion of everything to the highest DSD rate a chipset supports natively) and it is nice to be able to give these things a listen someday to see if you like them. Flexibility is a good thing and IMO makes messing with digital fun and rewarding, especially if you find a path that really suits your ear – I certainly did and now put digital right up there with vinyl on the enjoyment scale, maybe even better when you consider variety, convenience and flexibility. Don't think I'd say that if I never considered what is possible with DSD.
 
#51
Well the DSD capability was part of the reason. The D30 is just a better deal.
I hope that it works well for you. I was contemplating something DSD capable with my last DAC, with the option of upsampling everything to DSD via Audirvana, resembling what I think Billfort does at times in his rig.
 

Prime Minister

Site Owner
Staff member
#52
You didn't even bother with a head-to-head listening test between the two DACs for the benefit of yourself (and all of us)?



:D
Agreed. Schiit has a fantastic return policy. It was definitely worth a listen. And just cause it's DSD, doesn't mean it sounds better then Redbook.

You owe us a comparison review! :)
 

billfort

Administrator
Staff member
#53
The Modi MB came and went. It didn't make it out of the box. I found a Topping DAC D30. http://www.tpdz.net/en/products/d30/index.htm
Interesting, never noticed this one before. Looks like it does up to 24/192 PCM and DSD64/128 - a lot for $120 and an external PS makes for another upgrade path to try - should be fun to play with.

The conversion of all source material to DSD128 has a lot of variables and ultimately comes down to how your particular implementation performs in that mode - and of coarse personal preference. Example; I used to use a very good PCM/DSD DAC (Concero HD) that sounded great playing PCM, but IMO, sounded even better fed DSD128 - but only with certain software doing the conversion. With HQPlayer, feeding it DSD all the time had the edge but with Jriver, I liked the Concero best fed straight PCM (or DSD64) - no Jriver software conversion. Same with my current DAC; HQP or Roon doing the conversion, I like it fed DSD, with Jriver, I prefer sending it PCM. (no experience with Audirvana or Foobar).

No 'best' in all this stuff - have fun and try different things and DSD might just be a dead end, but you might get lucky and find it a way to allow a reasonably priced delta-sigma chipped DAC to perform above it's price point.
 

opa1

Moderator
Staff member
#54
The D30 wont be here until this Thursday 1/4/18. I've just found out that there is a chance that the D30 might have a counterfeit board inside. Now this is internet talk so who knows. I'll open it up when it gets here.

Now on to the Modi MB. I went ahead and took it out of the box and have it running now. I must say it's a hell of a DAC. It's 2.0v output really powers my amp. I don't have to return the Modi until next week. (15 day return window). I'll let it burn in for a day. So far I'm impressed with it. Much better SQ than the Modi gen.1 I had.
 
#55
You mentioned wanting a good DAC chipset in the new unit. The Topping has a Cirrus CS4398 on board. Isn't that kind of pedestrian, or am I conflating it with another chipset?
 

opa1

Moderator
Staff member
#56
Yes the CS4398 was launched around 2010. A bit dated but, this is a 120.00 DAC. It has all the same features as the Modi. Multi inputs and external PS. The D30 should be here tomorrow. I'll try them out side by side with the same equipment and music. I do really like the MB. I'll probably end up keeping both. :)
 
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opa1

Moderator
Staff member
#58
I have both units set up with my main Desktop system. PC/windows 10, Modi/D30, TPA3116/Linear PS, Pioneer BS-22's. I'm using Tidal for music source.
The Modi MB and the Topping D30 both have USB, Toslink and optical inputs, external power supplies, on-off and input selection switches. Links provided have the specifications.
http://www.schiit.com/products/modi-2
http://www.tpdz.net/en/products/d30/index.htm

I bought the DACs to use with my new Headphone systems. The Dac with the best SQ will be used with a Bottlehead Crack/ Sennheiser Massdrop HDXXX Hp's. The other on my desktop with a Vali 2 amp/Philips SHP9500S HP's and the TPA3116/BS-22's.

Impressions fresh out of box.
Modi is balanced. Clean SQ with good decay and air. I think Schiit does a burn in before they ship too.
D30 was a little harsh, Has good decay and air just somewhat bright. This is without a good burn in. I'll let it play and see if it changes some.
Both DACs require a driver download on windows 10 PC's.

IMG_1463.JPG
 
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opa1

Moderator
Staff member
#59
I've run the DACs for a good bit. Both of them are very close in SQ and very good. The Modi seems to have more stage space/ air if you will. It's just slightly different for the better. I'm happy with both. If I had to choose one over the other, I'd keep the Modi. I didn't get to try DSD with the D30. So can't comment. For the 150.00 price difference the D30 is a winner too. It's well made with good parts.
Going to keep them both. If I had bought the D30 first, I'd probably never would have tried the Modi. It's that good.
 

billfort

Administrator
Staff member
#60
If you have software that can play it, try listening to some DSD source material straight-in to see what you think of the D30 playing that. Best to try something that is known to have come from an analog or DSD source to get a good feel for potential and if you can, try some DSD128 (let me know if you’d like some samples).

If this seems a step in the right direction, there is more to try when (if? :) ) you want to explore further on down the DSD rabbit hole.

The CS4398 is a Delta Sigma chip with on-board digital interpolation filters for PCM, and as you can see in the block diagram on the first page of the datasheet, it also has a ‘Direct DSD’ route around these filters if passed DSD128.

Blah, blah, blah, I know, but this means you might be able to leverage external computer power to handle the filtering – which might do a better job at it than what is on-board that ‘affordable’ chip. HQPlayer is the best at this (IMO) but it’s not user friendly and a CPU killer, whereas Roon does a very good job of it with a killer flexible interface and without the brutal computer requirements – I was surprised how close Roon on a $200 mini-PC came to my bleeding-edge HQplayer box.

Warning; this is deep-geek, lunatic fringe digital stuff but if you keep an open mind and give it a listen, you might find you like it – a lot. I was amazed at how good this strategy sounded on a Sabre based DAC using DSD128 and more recently, Roon on mini-PC>convert everything to DSD256>affordable AKM AK4490 based DAC – really worth trying if Roon doesn’t scare you off.
 
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