Schiit Modi 2 Uber and headphone amplifier Schiit Magni 2 Uber – review and test

Schiit Modi 2 Uber & Schiit Magni 2 Uber

At this time we have on the test the equipment of the brand, which is not yet very well known: Schiit. The big surprise has caused the size of devices and a large inscription Made in USA. When I found out about the price, the question arose: maybe, indeed, “Shit happens”? Can, really, everything happens and it is possible to design and produce devices with good Hi-Fi sound at such a price?

The history of the name, I think, anyone can, if desired, find it on the Internet. The idea to organize the production of Hi-Fi equipment not in China, but selling directly, through its own site, belongs to two American engineers, in the past the developers of large audio-brands. They thought that it would be faster, cheaper and better to produce audio equipment in the US. Well, I can’t wait to check whether it turned out or not.

Schiit Modi 2 Uber and headphone amplifier Schiit Magni 2 Uber – price. Where is the best place to buy?

The recommended retail price of the Schiit Modi 2 Uber in the US is $ 179,00 and the Schiit Modi 2 Uber is $ 179,00. At this cost, you can order it on Amazon. Plus Shipping, so the total cost of Schiit Modi 2 Uber when ordering on Amazon will be about $ 190,00 and for the Schiit Modi 2 Uber too. I would not recommend ordering anywhere else except on Amazon. Since you are less likely to find cheaper, and if you do not take into account the fact that Amazon is probably the most reliable online store, it still very often provides free shipping.

Why is such a low cost

To reduce the cost of equipment, Jason Stoddard and Mike Moffat (owners and main developers) have excluded all collateral and non-production costs, which not only do not contribute to the better quality but often worsen. I’ll give you a concrete example. You want to cut costs and move production to China. Accessories buy there and choose, those that are cheaper. You have to constantly fly to the other end of the world or even constantly keep your employees there. Cheap components reduce the quality of machinery and increase the percentage of rejects – the cost of warranty repair and return of products. You have to spend more money on marketing and advertising to keep the sinking reputation of the brand afloat. And to stimulate sales, carrying out all sorts of events, which also become a heavy burden on the cost price. In general, the old British proverb in the appendix to our topic could be formulated as follows: “We are not so rich as to produce cheap things.”

Yes, it is possible to place an order on a large and modern Chinese enterprise, which guarantees a high quality of products, but also the cost price for it will be appropriate. The question is: why then so far away?

The main goal of this “most incredible start-up in the whole world” is the creation of audio equipment with the “right”, that is, very attractive sound at the lowest possible price.

Placing production in the US, Stoddard and Moffat have killed several birds with one stone: they are a good reason to write in the apparatus «Made in USA» and thereby increase confidence in their products, as well as reduced logistics costs and quality control. The components are purchased either locally produced, or from reliable companies that are based in the US, even if their production capacities are scattered around the world. This eliminates the chain of intermediaries and the risk of acquiring counterfeit parts. Only lamps (from Russia) and variable resistors Alps (from Japan) are imported.

By the way, about trade intermediaries. They were excluded from the distribution of finished products – Shiit Audio practices a model of direct sales (once in the same way developed Dell). All products ordered by customers of the company’s website – no retail chains and stores that can sometimes cheat to 50% of the price of the manufacturer. This business model, extremely effective in the United States, where postal services are very accurate and inexpensive, is quite successfully used in other countries, even in Russia.

No pathos

There is no extruded and much less milled aluminum in the hull design. Steel chassis and L-shaped lid made of steel for budget models and aluminum for seniors. Everything is done extremely technologically, simply. And it causes a feeling of durability – nice, sturdy devices are obtained.

In circuit design, only those solutions are realized that give a real qualitative effect. Instead of fashionable ESS chips with a huge and not very comprehensible price, equal (or even better) quality of AKM is used. In more expensive models – really multi-bit DACs from Analog Devices, which are usually used in professional measuring, medical and military equipment. As stated on the Schiit Audio website, doctors use them to accurately diagnose MRI (patient or cancer gas), and the military – to get a missile into an enemy ammunition depot, and not into a nunnery. Ordinary delta-sigma DACs are not suitable for this, and as Schiit Audio believes, for serious audio equipment they are also not very suitable.

In the analog part – simple circuits on discrete elements (they perfectly work on high-quality details). If the output stage needs mode “A” – there will be an “A”. At the same time around will not run sleazy marketers, wringing their hands, and moaning with pleasure: “Oh! This crystal-clear class is A! “.

At the same time, the company is so confident in the quality of its products that it gives a guarantee of up to five years (at least two years, depends on the model class) and the right to return any device back within two weeks after purchase – suddenly you will not like it.

First Look

Schiit Modi 2 Uber & Schiit Magni 2 Uber

So, in front of us an amplifier for headphones and DAC, created to work together. Schiit Modi 2 Uber – digital-to-analog converter with USB, optical and coaxial inputs. The analog output is on a pair of standard PCA connectors. On the front panel, there is an input switching button and a nice white LED indicating the operating state of the device. The DAC is powered by an external source – a traditional 16V power supply, which is plugged into the outlet. Inside, the AKM 4490 converter chip and the C-Media CM6631A USB interface. The analog circuit is built on discrete elements using film capacitors and thin-film resistors.

Schiit Modi 2 Uber

Supports signal resolution up to 24/192, with the reservations about drivers for Windows and the problems of transmitting a signal of such a high resolution via fiber. The DAC copes with this all perfectly.

To connect headphones you’ll need an amplifier Schiit Magni 2 Uber in exactly the same case, but instead of switching input buttons – volume control knob. In this apparatus, the ideology of Schiit is embodied clearly: the path is built entirely on discrete elements – field/bipolar transistors, with a constant depth of feedback throughout the range of audio frequencies, all cascades are connected by direct current, amplification class – AB.

 Schiit Modi 2 Uber & Schiit Magni 2 Uber

DACs Schiit Modi 2 Uber

Schiit Modi 2 Uber

Features:

  • Input receiver: C-Media CM6631A (USB), AKM 4113 (S / PDIF)
  • DAC: AKM4490
  • Analog totalizer and active filter: AD8616
  • Outputs: RCA
  • Frequency range (at ± 0.1 dB): 20 Hz – 20 kHz
  • Harmonic distortion (20 Hz – 20 kHz): <0.002%
  • Intermodulation distortion: <0.003%
  • Signal to noise ratio (unweighted):>104 dB
  • Power supply: external block ~ 16 V
  • Dimensions: 127 × 89 × 32 mm
  • Weight: 0.45 kg

Schiit Modi 2 Uber

As already noted, the device is surprising in small sizes, but there is no discrimination in switching. On board, there are inputs: USB 2.0, optical (Toslink), coaxial (RCA), and all interfaces support up to 24 bit/192 kHz. The power supply is of impressive size and weighs more than the device itself. The body of the device is completely steel (attached to the chassis L-shaped cover). On the front panel, there is one button that sequentially switches 3 inputs and 3 lunar-white LEDs to indicate the selected input. Toggle switch is on the back. With such a miniature size of the device, this does not cause any inconvenience.

Schiit Modi 2 Uber
Schiit Modi 2 Uber
Schiit Modi 2 Uber
Schiit Modi 2 Uber

Headphone Amplifier Schiit Magni 2 Uber

The device has the same dimensions as the DAC, and since the overall style of the cases is rigorous scrupulously, the devices look great in pairs.
Schiit Magni 2 Uber

Characteristics

  • Frequency range (up to -0.1 dB): 20 Hz – 20 kHz
  • Output power (RMS) per channel with:
  • 16 Ω: 2.1 W
  • 32 Ohms: 1.5 watts
  • 50 Ω: 1.2 watts
  • 300 Ω: 0.32 W
  • 600 Ω: 0.16 W
  • Harmonic coefficient (at 20 Hz – 20 kHz, 1 VRMS): <0.002%
  • Intermodulation distortion: <0.003%
  • Signal to noise ratio (unweighted):>104 dB
  • Output impedance (headphone output): <0.2 Ohm
  • Power supply: external block ~ 14 V
  • Dimensions: 126 × 88 × 33 mm
  • Weight: 0.45 kg

Schiit Magni 2 Uber

The gain class is AB. The audio path is built on field / bipolar transistors, with constant feedback depth throughout the audio frequency range, all cascades are connected by direct current. On the front side, there is a jack for connecting a “big” 6.3 mm headphone plug, a rotary analog volume control and the same LED as on the DAC, only in the singular – it burns when the amplifier is turned on by the tumbler switch on the rear panel. Also on the rear panel, there is a gain level switch: Hi / Lo. For high-resistance headphones, it should be placed in position Hi. I would especially like to note the presence of not only input but also output. Thus, it is possible to organize a through-channel and not to over-wire cables. For example, turn on the amplifier between the DAC and the preamplifier and use as needed. When the headphones are connected, the output is turned off. In the testing process Modi 2 almost did not heat up, and Magni 2 heated more, but in the normal range.

 Schiit Modi 2 Uber
 Schiit Modi 2 Uber
 Schiit Modi 2 Uber

Subjective Sound Evaluation

Our stationary testing system

  • Sources: computer with Twonky software server, laptop with Foobar player
  • DACs: Schiit Modi 2 Uber (AKM4490), ClassicVoice (TDA 1541), ClassicVoice (CS4398), Yamaha NP-S2000 (2 × PCM1792)
  • transport: Yamaha NP-S2000 network player
  • Amplifier: Musatoff PA-20
  • Acoustics: Arslab Classic 1, Sonab B32, KEF Xq40

Schiit Magni 2 Uber
The transport is connected via Ethernet to the router and receives digital data from the DLNA server installed on the desktop. The DAC receives a digital stream from the transport by S / PDIF (coaxial). I start to warm up with the rock. The sound is open, direct, energetic – like. I turn to other genres: jazz, jazz-rock, blues, blues-rock, classics. After a long listening, I note that the Schiit Modi 2 Uber sounds balanced, there are no serious claims to its sound – contrary to the original prejudice against the DAC in the size of 2 packs of cigarettes. In addition, in previous tests, some unpleasant features in the sound of the tested devices were shown on the first minutes of listening.

But the test would be incomplete without comparison with other devices. Unfortunately, there were no solutions for a comparable price for comparison. Alternately I connect to the transport author’s multibit ClassicVoice on TDA 1541 and author’s DAC ClassicVoice on CS4398. The third option is to send a signal to the amplifier from the built-in DAC Yamaha NP-S2000 (2 × PCM1792). It should be noted that the prices of the compared devices are 2-4 times higher than those of the tested DAC. Only in comparison with a multi-bit DAC I start to notice some simplicity of sound on saturated tracks, on jazz at big loudnesses sometimes I want more softness on wind instruments, and in classical music – more intelligibility at the highest frequencies and less resizing in bow sounds. I’m not sure that we would be able to distinguish delta-sigma-DAC even higher price from the tested Schiit Modi 2 Uber.

Headset

Headphone amplifiers: Schiit Magni 2 Uber, Musatoff 5SE
Headphones: Sennheiser HD700
Schiit Magni 2 Uber
Since there is an amplifier for headphones on the test, there is a great idea: compare our DAC with others, connecting them in turn directly to the headphone amplifier. So we will not be able to fully test the difference in the construction of the scene, but completely removed the influence of the room and the frequency response of the speakers. Good headphones with an even sound in stock – Sennheiser HD700.

Immediately I note how easily the amplifier shakes high-impedance headphones. Dynamics and study of the entire frequency range up to deep bass – at altitude; There is a margin for loudness.

All the features of the sound of the DAC of the Schiit Modi 2 marked during listening on a large acoustics are audible through the headphones. Rock sounds fine, more refined and complex genres sound quite detailed, dynamic and comfortable, and only when compared with a multi-bit DAC I note a little more roughness of the sound of the DAC of Schiit.

Let’s proceed to the connection via USB-interface. The source was a desktop running Windows 7 with Foobar software player and a laptop with Windows 10 + Foobar. The sound in comparison with the connection of the DAC to the transport by S / PDIF is very similar – not the fact that it will be possible to distinguish in a blind test. With a longer listening experience, I note that on complex genres, the sound is a little harsher than I’d like. The difference in sound when receiving digital stream from a desktop or laptop is not noted.

There was a logical question: what effect does the headphone amplifier make? I unpack the headphone amplifier, serially produced by another audio manufacturer from Russia. The size of this device is 3 times larger, and the price is twice as high. I’ll have to repeat all the “exercises” anew. I switch all the DACs one by one to a new amplifier.

The difference between DACs remained at the same level, which indicates a sufficient transparency of the amplifier for Schiit headphones; He does not hide the nuances. On rock, the difference in pitch between amplifiers is almost imperceptible, but you can already say for sure that it is. Schiit Magni 2 Uber sounds a little tougher, but for the rock it’s even better. When going to more complex genres, you hear that the more expensive amplifier sounds a little more intelligent and soft, but this difference is audible only if you listen specifically. With normal listening, Schiit Magni 2 Uber sounds fairly legible, energetic and balanced.

In addition, I would like to concretize these “legibly”, “vigorously”, “abruptly” on the specific tracks that were used in this test. For ordinary auditions without re-commutations and comparisons, the music of many styles was used for two weeks, and Schiit devices were connected to the system. For comparative auditions, the tracks from the “2010 -” Quick On The Fly Tests “Absolute Sampler” were mainly used. Everyone can check at home.

Quick On The Fly Tests Absolute Sampler

Can-can:

Scale, dynamics, and the Modi 2 Uber, and Magni 2 Uber – on top. Closer to the end of the track you can hear violins, sounding as if over the main action and very quiet relative to the other instruments. Multibit allows you to hear the vibration of the sound of violins (you must listen). The Modi 2 Uber vibration is less pronounced, sometimes merging into a uniform very high note. At the same time, this feature is also evident in other DACs who took part in the comparative testing. This difference can be heard by connecting to any of the headphone amplifiers. When listening to speakers in my case, this difference in the sound of the DAC is leveled.

Libertango:

Initial hits on the keys (apparently, the accordion) have a different volume and intensity on all the tested apparatus, but the nuance is sometimes different. When listening at a large volume level through the Magni 2 Uber, the tutti on the accordion occasionally acquires a loud voice. Worst case was with a USB connection. At all DACs sounding sometimes resembles a mosquito squeak, and only on a multi-bit is heard the “body” of the instrument. On the other hand, the multibit embellishes and “fat” sound, so it’s not entirely clear how right.

Brombo

A great track for checking the dynamics and naturalness of the sound. The Schiit devices performed just fine, without any discounts – both the DAC and the amplifier. Very drivey, the percussion is crumbly, there are no disadvantages compared to the more expensive test devices.

Opinion about the sound of the real owner

Quick On The Fly Tests Absolute Sampler

More general notes on sound. It would seem: if you sometimes hear harshness in both the sound of the DAC and Schiit amplifier, then in their pair work this effect should be doubled. But this does not happen. Together we get a combination, which in detail is not worse than the more expensive devices on the Saber – and at the same time without the inherent superstitiousness of some of them, which tires. The sound has important for rock, pop and electronic music openness, detail, energy. It is balanced. If you listen to more complex genres, especially classics – it makes sense to look at the Schiit devices of a higher level. There are all prerequisites for obtaining a good result in the next price range. However, during the testing period, I did not have a desire to turn off and replace the devices, their sound is comfortable in any genre at the volume level almost to the maximum, and this remark is made on the basis of comparison with the devices is much more expensive.

Opinion after testing

Based on the results of the three-week testing, it was possible to understand that the Schiit Modi 2 Uber DAC and the Schiit Magni 2 Uber headphone amplifier are a balanced bunch for sound, switching capabilities and exterior. The sound of the devices did not fall prey to miniature and low price. Among the disadvantages, it is necessary to install the driver on a computer for USB connection to the DAC and the reverse side of the miniature: when connecting hard cables, the device can stand on tiptoe due to its low weight.

Full video review of Schiit Modi 2 Uber & Schiit Magni 2 Uber



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